AFI Film Fest 2012: A video guide

By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

The AFI Fest has become an increasingly vital part of the film year in Los Angeles by giving local audiences a snapshot of what has been happening recently on the festival circuit. Running from Nov. 1-8, with its smartly chosen selection of international films, American indies, documentaries, and awards-season hopefuls, as well as its innovative free ticketing, the festival is a great chance for L.A. audiences to catch up and look ahead. Roll over each film below to see its trailer. Full coverage



Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Both a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the classic "Psycho" and an examination of Alfred Hitchcock's relationship with his wife, Alma, this affectionate tribute to a life of cinema with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren seems a fine selection for the opening night of a film festival.

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'On the Road'

Nov. 3, 8 p.m.

The defining novel of the Beat Generation finally comes to the big screen in this spirited, youthful adaptation by "Motorcycle Diaries" director Walter Salles, with a gorgeous and talented cast including Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen.

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'Rust and Bone'

Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m.

French filmmaker Jacques Audiard creates a modern melodrama about the economy of the human spirit. Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts give revelatory performances as broken people who find each other with a backdrop of killer whales and a Katy Perry tune.

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'Life of Pi'

Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Ang Li takes a turn at 3-D filmmaking in this epic fantasy adaption of the novel about a boy shipwrecked with a wild menagerie of animals.

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Nov. 8, 7 p.m.

There are several attractions in this bio-pic of the final months in Abraham Lincoln's life: Tony Kushner's screenplay, director Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in the title role or the coming together of three powerhouse talents for this distinct piece of Americana.

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Special Screenings

'Ginger & Rosa'

Nov. 7, 8 p.m.
Nov. 8, 1:15 p.m.

Enigmatic British filmmaker Sally Potter surprises with this heartfelt, semi-autobiographical tale that merges a coming-of-age story with 1960s social drama, with a stunning turn by Elle Fanning.

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'Holy Motors'

Nov. 3, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6, 1:30 p.m.

There is genuinely nothing else quite like "Holy Motors," the first film in 13 years from French filmmaker Leos Carax, which spins actor Denis Lavant through nearly a dozen roles from the exuberantly surreal to the sincerely heartbreaking.

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'Room 237'

Nov. 4, 9 p.m.
Nov. 7, 1:15 p.m.

An exploration of numerous theories as to the "true" meaning of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," Rodney Ascher’s documentary is a fascinating celebration of the power of interpretation.

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'Silver Linings Playbook'

Nov. 2, 8 p.m.
Nov. 8, 3:45 p.m.

David O. Russell lands back in the realm of manic family dysfunction with this seriocomic adaptation of how love makes people crazy and crazy people can still love, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro.

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'West of Memphis'

Nov. 3, 7:15 p.m.
Nov. 5, 1:15 p.m.

The well-known saga of the West Memphis Three, wrongly imprisoned for nearly two decades and only recently released, is given a fresh look in the this documentary by Amy Berg, produced by Peter Jackson.

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World Cinema


Nov. 3, 4:30 p.m.
Nov. 6, 4:45 p.m.

Michael Haneke is quite simply one of the finest filmmakers in the world today, creator of movies with unmatched formal rigor, thematic heft and emotional power. His latest stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva as a couple trying to face the end of life with dignity.

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Nov. 4, 6:15 p.m.
Nov. 7, 4 p.m.

In Christian Petzold's gripping drama of Cold War anxiety, a female East German doctor is torn between her desire to escape to the West and growing love for a man she fears may betray her.

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'Something in the Air (Aprés Mai)'

Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4, 4:30 p.m.

Olivier Assayas crafts a story drawn from his own life, as a group of students tries to hold onto its radical ideals in post-1968 France while facing down the compromises and responsibilities of impending adulthood.

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Nov. 4, 7:15 p.m.

With dazzling, hypnotic camerawork, documentarians Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel explore the up-close and the epic as they hurl viewers into the world of commercial fishing.

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'The Sapphires'

Nov. 5, 10:15 p.m.
Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.

So no one thinks the world of international cinema is all major bummers and serious heavy-osity, there comes the Australian 1960s-set musical "The Sapphires," starring Chris O'Dowd ("Bridesmaids") as the manager of a soul-singing group of Aboriginal women.

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American Indies


Nov. 5, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7, 10 p.m.

Dree Hemingway gives a spirited turn as a young woman adrift in the far corners of the San Fernando Valley who strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly woman. Sean Baker's latest film is warm, insightful and surprising.

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'Electrick Children'

Nov. 2, 10 p.m.
Nov. 5, 4:30 p.m.

Can rock 'n' roll get a Mormon girl pregnant? Writer-director Rebecca Thomas crafts an offbeat youth picture in her feature debut that turns the coming-of-age movie on its head.

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Nov. 3, 3:45 p.m.
Nov. 4, 1 p.m.

Brothers Bill and Turner Ross follow four young boys into the New Orleans nighttime in this kaleidoscopic documentary, discovering a world so fantastical it must be true.

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'Somebody Up There Likes Me'

Nov. 3, 7:15 p.m.
Nov. 5, 1:45 p.m.

Bob Byington continues to develop into one of the most provocatively singular filmmakers in America with this fable of 35 years in the life of a deadpan deadbeat, starring Keith Poulson with a sharp supporting turn by Nick Offerman.

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'Simon Killer'

Nov. 5, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7, 10:15 p.m.

Aggressive and head-spinning, "Simon Killer" is filmmaker Antonio Campos' deeply subjective, darkly disturbing tour around Paris through the eyes of what might be a serial killer in the making, with a tenderly unhinged performance by Brady Corbet.

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