Portland, OR. Local cinema fans are gearing up for the 42nd Portland International Film Festival which will run from March 7th through March 21st. The Northwest Film Center is revealing the 42nd Portland International Film Festival (PIFF 42) lineup.

The Opening Night selection is Amateurs from director Gabriela Pichler (Sweden, 2018). Here’s a description: In Pichler’s side-splitting and astute sophomore effort, the lightly fictional small town of Lafors, Sweden is potentially due for a big upgrade as the German megamart chain Superbilly picks their newest location. The Lafors city council, in direct competition with a neighboring town, seeks to differentiate themselves and lure in Superbilly by making a promotional video extolling the quaint hamlet’s virtues. But when local government employee Musse (Fredrik Dahl) has the brilliant idea to enlist local teens to make the video, two young immigrant students, Aida (Zahraa Aldoujaili) and Dana (Yara Ebrahim Eliadotter), take it upon themselves to film their reality and uncover the real Lafors, warts and all. A touching cross-generational comedy, Amateurs gently skewers the provincialism and nationalism running through today’s Europe. (102 mins.) In Swedish, English, Arabic, Tamil, Kurdish, and Bosnian with English subtitles. 

Here’s more information about the Film Festival’s opening night and other special screenings:

Amateurs will screen simultaneously on Opening Night at the Whitsell Auditorium, located in the Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Ave) and at Regal Fox Tower 10 (846 SW Park Ave).
Here’s a trailer for the film:

Opening Night Screening times:

March 7 – Thursday 7:30 p.m. (Whitsell Auditorium)

March 7 – Thursday 7:30 p.m. (Fox Tower)


The Northwest Film Center and Regal Cinemas invite you to join us for our Opening Night screening of Gabriela Pichler’s Amateurs at Regal Fox Tower or the Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium followed by our Opening Night party in the Portland Art Museum’s Fred and Suzanne Fields Ballroom. Celebrate this year’s festival with Sponsored by Bulleit Bourbon, Ketel One Botanical and Tanqueray London Dry Gin. Co-hosts Elk Cove Winery Adelsheim Vineyard, Pike Road Wines, Rogue Brewery, World Foods, CHEFSTABLE Catering, and XRAY.fm.

Opening Night Film & Party tickets: $25 General Admission. The evening, and all other PIFF and regularly-priced, year-round Film Center screenings—nearly 500 annually— are free for Silver Screen Director, Producer, and Premiere Circle members.


Following Opening Night, PIFF retains a sizable presence downtown and throughout the city with screenings at the Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, located inside the Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Avenue), Cinema 21 (616 NW 21st Avenue), Regal Fox Tower (846 SW Park Avenue), the Empirical Theater at OMSI (1945 SE Water Ave.), and Cinemagic (2021 SE Hawthorne Blvd.).

Over the past 41 years, the Festival has populated its schedule with diverse and innovative films for an audience of more than 40,000 annually from throughout the Northwest.  As Oregon’s largest, most culturally diverse film event, the Portland International Film Festival pulls together a multi-faceted experience with over 130 films (88 features and 48 shorts) and special events presenting a full spectrum of features, documentaries, and shorts – featuring works by both returning masters and emerging talents.



Dir. Jia Zhangke

China | France | Japan, 2018

Jia’s 11th feature is a piercing tale of lost love, following Qiao (Zhao Tao, in one of the year’s fiercest and most heartbreaking performances) and her mob-boss boyfriend Bin (Liao Fan), rulers of the Datong underworld at the turn of the 21st century. When a rival gang threatens Bin’s life, Qiao acts in defense, setting off a series of life-changing events that see her traveling hand-to-mouth across the country—and notably through Jia’s familiar Three Gorges Dam region—in search of Bin and the life she left behind. Spanning decades and moving across vast swaths of China’s diverse physical and psychic landscape as seen through the eyes of one woman scorned, Ash is Purest White is “Zhao’s finest showcase to date—for the way she uses grace, intelligence, and humor with a dexterity that’s perfectly suited for the register of Jia’s aesthetically and thematically diverse film.”—Sam C. Mac, Slant Magazine. (137 mins.) In Mandarin with English subtitles.
Trailer: https://youtu.be/SOCpXuHQAZQ



Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve

France | Germany, 2018

In this gently-plucked-from-the-headlines, warmly intimate film, war reporter Gabriele (Roman Kolinka) returns to France, along with his colleague Frédéric (ever-reliable Alex Descas), after being released from a hostage situation in Syria. Unable to resettle comfortably after his harrowing experience, he travels to India, meeting with family friends including Maya (Aarshi Banerjee in a winning, breakout performance), a young woman searching for her next step in life. Gabriele’s family has a history in Goa, including their dilapidated rural home where he settles, while his estranged mother lives in a seaside town; past and present meet in the search for his future. Shot on luminous 35mm by star cinematographer Hélène Louvart, Hansen-Løve’s latest is a tender ode to life’s chance meetings and the ways they affect our future selves in unexpected and invigorating ways. “Beguiling…sinks deep under your skin because of how adamantly it refuses to get stuck in place.”—David Erhlich, Indiewire. (107 mins.) In French and English with English subtitles.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/gZSi6NMmZHg



Dir. Olivier Assayas

France, 2018

Assayas’ (Personal Shopper, Clouds of Sils Maria) latest is perhaps best explained by its original French title, which roughly translates to “double lives.” Set in the book publishing world, this funny, insightful film follows Alain (Guillaume Canet), a publisher broadly past his prime, and his wife Selena (the ever-charming Juliette Binoche), a well-known film and television actress, as they navigate changing methods of the public’s artistic consumption. An almost-washed-up novelist (Vincent Macaigne) wants to publish his latest book with Alain, but larger forces intervene in many ways, causing the two men to reexamine both their places in the world and the necessity of storytelling in an increasingly fragmented artistic landscape. Finely tuned to the dynamics of change, Assayas crafts a warm, empathetic film about the anxiety of the unknown. (108 mins.) In French with English subtitles.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/osqw349H9zE



Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Turkey | Republic of Macedonia | France | Germany | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Sweden, 2018

Continuing in the long-take, deeply intimate and conversational vein of much of his previous work, Ceylan’s latest is one of the year’s most beautifully-shot films. Sinan (Dogu Demirkol), an aspiring writer fresh out of college, returns to his childhood village in search of inspiration, grounding, and funds as he tries to write and publish his first novel. But returning home unearths a complex web of emotion, as Sinan’s addict father (Murat Cemcir) coaxes forth the personal struggle between familial responsibility and creative freedom—plus the hard work that goes along with both, even when telling your own story. A deeply perceptive and engaging film, with The Wild Pear Tree “Ceylan delivers what might be his funniest, most politically poignant work yet. It also happens to be achingly personal.”—Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice. Turkey’s foreign-language Oscar submission. (188 mins.) In Turkish with English subtitles.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/306041386



Dir. Christian Petzold

Germany | France, 2018

Adapted from Anna Seghers’ 1944 masterpiece novel, with Transit Petzold transports the story of those fleeing the Nazis during WWII to modern-day Marseille—with a crucial twist. Franz Rogowski turns in a career-making performance as Georg, an average man trying to escape France. Asked to deliver papers to a subversive author, Georg instead becomes caught in an existential cat-and-mouse game, taking on the identity of a presumed-dead doctor and becoming involved with the doctor’s mysterious lover Marie (Paula Beer), who also longs to escape the increasingly claustrophobic confines of wartime France. Petzold, the unofficial leader of the “Berlin school” of filmmaking, delivers perhaps his finest work to date with the taut, crystallineTransit. “White-hot…lean, rigorous filmmaking.”—Steve Macfarlane, Slant Magazine. (101 mins.) In German, French, and French Sign Language with English subtitles.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/R15ekRCq-eY



Dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Japan | France, 2018

Hamaguchi’s feature filmmaking career started with a bang with 2015’s incredible Happy Hour, but his latest is no sophomore slump; rather, it’s full of invention. Asako I & II follows the titular 21-year-old Osaka woman (Erika Karata) who falls in love with the charmingly vacant Baku (Masahiro Higashide). One day, Baku mysteriously vanishes, but when, two years later, Asako meets what appears to be his look-alike in Tokyo, her world is thrown upside-down. Crisply shot and beautifully acted, Asako I & II plays like a strange kind of contemporary ghost story, one in which ghosts of the recent past appear in the most unexpected of ways. “Intoxicating. Hamaguchi’s mastery is making you hang on every moment to see how he undercuts or develops on his thesis. It’s thrilling to try and guess where he’ll take the story next.”—Davey Jenkins, Little White Lies. (119 mins.) In Japanese with English subtitles.

Clip: https://youtu.be/1OYoAoJWZqI



Dir. Dominga Sotomayor Castillo

Chile | Brazil | Argentina | Netherlands | Qatar, 2018

In this angular, sun-faded coming-of-age drama, Sotomayor Castillo excavates a certain feeling of youth in a teenage girl on the verge of adulthood: too old for naivete, too young for the hurt that comes with fledgling romance just outside the bounds of playground love. At a gathering of families seeking utopian, communal living in the mountains outside Santiago, 16-year-old Sofia (newcomer Demian Hernández) undergoes profound changes—her father increasingly distant, her mother nowhere in sight, and her slightly older love interest just out of firm grasp—scaffolding into a familiar feeling of tender malaise. As the harshness of the Pinochet regime began to fade from view in the early 1990s, Sofia—and so many like her—became an adult. Winner, Golden Leopard for Best Director, 2018 Locarno Film Festival. (110 mins.) In Spanish with English subtitles.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/288244523



Dir. Robert Bahar | Almudena Carracedo

Spain | US | Canada | France, 2018

Under General Francisco Franco’s fascist military dictatorship in Spain, lasting from 1939 until his death in 1975, the Spanish people endured unspeakable atrocities, with dissidents regularly tortured and killed and the country held in the thrall of state violence. Over six years of painstaking work, Bahar and Carracedo focus on the victims of this violent history, following groundbreaking legal proceedings in Argentinian courts geared toward bringing some of Franco’s most notorious lieutenants—many of whom still have streets and other public spaces named after them—to final justice. A film by turns an excavation, a deeply emotional journey to justice, and a vital portrait of a country coming to grips with its fascist past, The Silence of Others is a necessary affirmation of the will to live and the fight for lives free from violence. (96 mins.) In Spanish with English subtitles.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/beqRVfwBydg



Dir. Astra Taylor

Canada | US, 2018

The question posed by the title of Astra Taylor’s (Examined Life, Zizek!) latest documentary is undoubtedly a huge one with massive implications for contemporary global society—but this piercingly forthright and wide-ranging film is surely up to the task. Shot over several years, What is Democracy? seeks to answer some of civilization’s most pressing questions, using illuminating interviews with such luminaries as Silvia Federici, Wendy Brown, Cornel West, and many others to expand our knowledge of this well-spread political system and give us some sense of its future in the age of Trump and Brexit. Beyond the experts, however, Taylor’s focus expands to the immigration crisis currently gripping Europe and the US, fashioning a brilliant film that will leave your mind churning with ideas. What is Democracy? “serves as a sharp reminder to pay attention to politics and to remember that the personal and the local are political.”—Charlie Phillips,The Guardian. (117 mins.) In English.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/266692157



Dir. Santiago Caicedo | Paola Gaviria (Power Paola)

Colombia | Ecuador, 2017

Based on beloved Colombian-Ecuadorian artist Power Paola’s graphic novel of the same name, Virus Tropicalis a brilliantly line-drawn, gorgeous black-and-white film covering roughly twenty years in the life of Paola, born to an average middle-class Bogotá family. Paola is a mischievous, spirited girl, blossoming into a headstrong young woman who’s something of an outsider. The filmmakers beautifully capture Paola’s—and her family’s—travails including new children, domestic dramas, upheavals, and the normal stuff of life, crafting a film of subtle power and nuanced emotional intelligence. “An amazing look at a life that feels both familiar and exotic, and if we look inward, perhaps all of our own adventures have the potential to fascinate in the same way.”—Josh Hurtado, Screen Anarchy. Winner, Audience Award, 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Ages 16+. (97 mins.) In Spanish with English subtitles.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/240558114


In addition to the Opening Night film, the festival will host a Focus on Lucrecia Martel. Lucrecia Martel is the most important woman director in Latin America and among the finest directors in contemporary world cinema. Her already-storied career consists of four features spanning 16 years and numerous short films mostly made in the 1990s and early 2000s. Her first three features—La Ciénaga (2001), The Holy Girl (2004), and The Headless Woman (2008)— are all set in her native Argentina within a middle-class milieu and concerned with alienation, desire, and trauma as they play out specifically for women in this culture which Martel knows intimately. Her most recent feature, Zama (2017), an adaptation of the Antonio Benedetto’s novel, concerns the travails of a mid-level colonial bureaucrat in 18th-century Paraguay, and has appeared

on myriad best-of-2018 lists. All four of Martel’s features have premiered at the

world’s most prestigious film festivals, including Berlin, Cannes, and Venice, and her precise, exacting use of cinematic framing, sound, and uncanny acting make her

work uniquely thrilling in the broader landscape of the festival circuit. Marked by inconsistent funding, perhaps owing to her unique stylistic concerns, Martel’s relatively scant output (in the wider scheme of film production trends) is illustrative of the hurdles women directors often face when getting their work made and presented on screen, at festivals, and in distribution. Despite this, Martel has become one of international cinema’s most important and treasured voices.

As in past years, the festival features an abundance of short films. This year’s lineup features over 50 memorable snapshots from around the world and here in Oregon.

The full PIFF42 Program is available to peruse now via ISSUU: https://issuu.com/northwestfilmcenter/docs/piff42_2019_final


TICKETS AND FESTIVAL PASSES ARE ON SALE NOW: https://nwfilm.org/festivals/piff42/



Mark Building, Portland Art Museum, 1119 SW Park Avenue

Opens February 25 — daily from 12-6 p.m. (through March 21)

Advance tickets by phone at (503) 276-4310



General $14

Portland Art Museum members, students and seniors $12

Children (12 and under): $10

Silver Screen Club Friend & Supporter or New Wave Members: $9

Opening Night: $25



include LAIKA, The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Travel Portland, The Oregonian, and many others.


The Northwest Film Center is a regional media arts organization offering a variety of exhibition, education programs, and artist services throughout the region.  The Center presents a program of foreign, classic, experimental, and independent works year-round at the Whitsell Auditorium, located in the Portland Art Museum.  For more information, visit www.nwfilm.org.