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Denver Film Festival

The 42nd Denver Film Festival runs October 30 through November 10th. The lineup includes 134 feature films and 130 shorts. Here are some especially good movies to catch in this year’s festival.

Courtesy Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum director Christoph Heinrich remembers his first introduction to Claude Monet’s work as a teenager.

“It was a postcard of ‘Water Lilies’ that I had forever in my room,” Heinrich said. “That taught me that a painting is more than just a depiction of something pretty.”

United Nation Photo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

One hundred years ago, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution aknowledged women's right to vote. Over the next year, until August 2020, states including Colorado will commemorate the women's suffrage movement with community engagement, outreach, dialogue and educational events. 

Well Go USA Entertainment

The characters in Takashi Miike's First Love spend a lot of time explaining what they're doing. That’s usually terrible filmmaking technique, but if they didn't tell the audience what’s going on, the movie might be impossible to follow.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

At Aurora's Arapahoe Park Racetrack, the smell of sunscreen and roasted turkey legs is heavy in the air. It's the last day of summer, and the crowd is ready for some serious pumpkin tossing — especially after last year.

"I think we're all scarred from last year," said Brittni Ehrhart, spokesperson for the annual Punkin' Chunkin' Colorado event. She's especially happy about the weather.

Magnolia Pictures

In our skewed political calculus, the notorious and beloved columnist Molly Ivins gets classified as a wild liberal. She was a life-long supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union; she also wrote for The Texas Observer and The New York Times – with three years as the sole Times reporter in the Denver bureau. Her last writing job was with the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Ivins was outspoken – to say the least – but she didn’t take stands on many specific political issues; over and over again she fought for fundamental fairness and decency – and against people who would lie and cheat, who valued ignorance over knowledge, and as a friend says in the film, who would kick someone who was down.

Inmates performing
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Inside a gymnasium in northeast Denver, a group of actors are performing the play 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' The lights dim, synthesized music blares and Chief Bromden stands on a box, arms outstretched. Bromden is the narrator, a catatonic, half-Native American man who talks to the audience through hallucinations.

The play is about a group of men locked in a mental institution who long to be free. This theme is not lost on the male actors — they are inmates at the Sterling Correctional Facility.

Courtesy of BlueShoe Media

While the inaugural Horsetooth International Film Festival features movies from around the world, its real focus is on local films and filmmakers.

Northern Colorado already has the talent, says festival co-founder Jesse Nyander. Now they just need to get the word out.

Pamela Gentile / Courtesy of the Telluride Film Festival

Three different times at this year’s Telluride Film Festival, I saw the kinds of films that are so potent you forget everything you’ve seen before. One was Kelly Reichardt’s sweetly named First Cow; another was The Human Factor, a documentary about the endlessly frustrating attempts at Palestinian/Israeli peace negotiations, and the third was A Hidden Life by the enigmatic Terrence Malick. Any one of these movies would make my eight-hour one-way drive to Telluride worth the trouble, but to get all three is close to miraculous.

Cohen Media Group

Tel Aviv on Fire is and isn’t a comedy. As viewers around the world have mentioned, it’s hard to make a comedy about something serious. The bravest attempt ever is the 1942 To Be or Not To Be, by the great Ernst Lubitsch, about the Nazi invasion of Poland, and made during the war. It comes off a lot funnier now than it did at the time. Tel Aviv on Fire, about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict goes down easier than To Be or Not To Be must have back in 1942, but I doubt that it will ever look so funny.