MSPIFF: Pages 16&17 tell the story

Story, what story?  Oh, what I’ll be doing (on and off) for the next couple of week(nights).

I got a copy of this year’s MSPIFF catalog.  Last year, the festival organizers ran out of printed catalogs quite early.  Louise and I went to the Norwegian WWII “Max Manus” on opening night (Thursday 415), so we were able to scoop up a copy of the printed catalog.

The catalog is … wonderful.  Frustrating.  Weirdly organized.  Mostly consistent, which is definitely not the same as 100% consistent.  For example, there’s disagreement on the pages for the 2nd showing of “Pink Taxi”: will it be the 21st or 22nd?  The section that describes “Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould” is supposed to be on page 64, but it definitely isn’t there, nor on page 63 or 65.

As I flip back and forth, forward, back, I keep returning to pages 16 & 17.  And I forget the time.  (The living room clock says 1:45am.  Oops.)  And I keep going, looking for both screening times … and catching the occasional film that’s only showing once.  ONCE.  Hey!  That means if I really want to see it, I don’t have a choice in the matter.  (Unless I want to wait for the “Best of Fest” showings in May, with no guarantee that a one-showing-only film like “Secret of the Kells” will be both popular enough, and the print will still be in Minnesota.)

But then there’s another conflict: if I can only see film X at a one-and-only screening, that means film Y at the same time slot must be seen at Y’s second time.  The festival hasn’t screened its second film (out of 145 or so), and I’ve already got conflicts?!  Am I daft?  Well, yes.

Pages 16 & 17 are the grid that shows the timeslots, screen numbers, and titles of each film.  I mark up those two pages until they’re close to illegible:

  * When is the next showing?  For example, "-> 25" if the other one is in the future on April 25th.
  * When is the previous one showing?  For example, "<- 18" if the other one is in the past on April 18th.
  * Circle once a film that I'm at least curious about.
  * Circle twice any film that I definitely want to see.
  * If a twice-circled X falls in the same time as another circled film Y, then it's cascade time.  So I need to see if Y's second time conflicts with anything.  See "Am I daft?" above.  Except that I'm not daft, because I found a cascade of 3 films that get squeezed because of conflicts with other circles.
  * Go to the [Star Tribune section on the MSPIFF]( and to the [ section on the MSPIFF](  The reviews are sometimes helpful, though usually for pointing out the ones that probably aren't so good.
  * Do more circling.  Work back and forth through the pages.  Or go to the MSPIFF online catalog and search there ... the catalog seems to be missing an entry for "Today's Special", which got a good review and I want to see.  Ah, but it's in the page 16&17 chart, hooray.

Well, after two hours of this, I think I know what I want to see on Friday 416.  Tentatively: “Forbidden Fruit” (Finland) and “The Wind Journeys” (Argentina).

Tentatively for Saturday 417: “The Secret of Kells” (Ireland), “Last Train Home” (China), “Son of a Lion” (Pakistan), and … the 9-10pm time slot is up for grabs.