Best Fest Bets

Six movies worth checking out

The 36th Cleveland International Film Festival will showcase more than 300 features and short movies beginning March 22 through April 1 at Tower City Cinemas. Not even Roger Ebert has time to see them all. Among the countless hidden gems you might find, here are six worth clearing your calendar for.

Tickets for each film are $10-$12, available by calling 216-623-3456 or visiting

All Alone

This white-knuckle thriller about two couples from the city roughing it in the wild is an exhilarating break from the usual quirky indie comedies and gay road movies that typically fill film fest schedules. A radical environmentalist who's not what she seems is the linchpin to the violence that erupts onscreen.

(10:50 p.m. Friday, March 23; 9:20 a.m. Saturday, March 24; and 2:10 p.m. Monday, March 26)

David Is Dying

Spoiler alert: David, the central character in this new U.K. drama, is dying. Diagnosed with HIV, the successful hedge-fund manager with a hot fiancée and seemingly perfectly life looks back on the past year, which includes a history of violence, a stream of women on the side, and a baby on the way.

(8:40 p.m. Friday, March 23; 1:10 p.m. Saturday, March 24; and 9:20 a.m. Sunday, March 25)

Mexican Suitcase

Five years ago, a suitcase was discovered that contained rolls of undeveloped film shot by three photographers during the Spanish Civil War. This absorbing documentary finds parallels between the path of the suitcase and the people who fled Spain for Mexico 80 years ago.

(5:30 p.m. Monday, March 26; 11:50 a.m. Tuesday, March 27; and 2:10 p.m. Wednesday, March 28)


This comedy, about a married thirty-something couple that fights the stagnation of their lives by reliving their twenties, kicks off the festival. They party with young kids, ride around in a car that looks like the one they had back in the day, and squat in the abandoned apartment they used to live in. Good times!

(7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, and 3:40 p.m. Friday, March 23)

Paul Williams Still Alive

Like apparently 85 percent of the universe, we thought songwriter Paul Williams died of throat cancer sometime in the mid-'80s. Turns out he didn't. The fest's closing-night movie takes a look at the still-very-much-alive composer behind the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun," Kermit's "Rainbow Connection," and dozens of other '70s hits.

(7:20 p.m. Sunday, April 1)

A People Uncounted

Yes, it's another Holocaust documentary. But the victims this time are gypsies who've been persecuted throughout Europe for what seems like forever. This eye-opening film traces the prejudices, hatred, and disturbing violence that have plagued Europe's largest minority group through the years.

(8:40 p.m. Monday, March 26; 11:35 a.m. Wednesday, March 28; and 2:15 p.m. Thursday, March 29)

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