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Published on April 11th, 2014 | by Celina


TFF 2014: Cinema That Matters

Documentaries, non-fiction subjects, and real-life cinema tend to be polarizing, even when they are major biopic releases. But many of the best topics, and strangest fictions, revolve around things that actually happened, or are happening. Current events can inform and inspire every bit as much as the next sci-fi space epic, and where would we be without trying to understand history. Some of the most important films in any given year are often in this category- but we’re thrilled that so many rank also among the most entertaining.

Take for instance, Dior and I- what sounds like it could be a sort of puff piece, instead takes us behind the scenes of the glitz and glamour into a rookie designer’s first season, and will fascinate even those who are uninterested in couture. It condenses a lot of beauty into it’s 90 minute run-time, and is a delight for the sense from filmmaker Frédéric Tcheng. Instead of performances and writing, you’ll appreciate the characters, also well on display on several other films from this year’s slate. For instance, dating and technology intersect in Love & Engineering, a perfect date movie to get you talking but also for anyone who thinks they put too much time into their online dating profile.

TFF 2014 features plenty of compelling sports films as well- like Ballet 422, a short, intense look at New York City Ballet’s incredible endurance as they create their latest original piece and the films follows the journey from composition to performance. Anyone with a kid still living within them shouldn’t miss the adult-focused Beyond the Brick, a Lego documentary showcasing some great creations and a must-see for any brick-building fan. And food lovers shouldn’t miss the culinary exploration Search For General Tso, which offers exactly what you’d expect but in a more narratively-satisfying, hunger-inducing, lovingly-filmed sort of way.

Finally, one of the best-looking films isn’t as happy or light-hearted as the others mentioned, but deserves special attention nonetheless. Africa natural wildlife film meets Africa war film meets anti-corruption wake-up call in Virunga, which melds those contradictory directions with plenty humanity but never sentimentality. It contains not only breath-taking imagery of endangered mountain gorillas but also delves unafraid into politics, with interesting heroes in the form of park rangers and plenty of emotional range. A must-see.

All films showing multiple times across the city during this year’s film festival; check the official site for showtimes and tickets!

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About the Author

Celina Kelly is passionate about New York, scarves, and puppies. She also loves writing about herself in the third-person. She graduated from Barnard College having double majored in English & German Literature. While a student, she worked with The New Yorker as part of the editorial department for ‘Goings On About Town’. Since she was not busy enough, she added a concentration of creative writing, completing her thesis project in the form of a yet-unpublished novel under the guidance of a bestselling author. Celina operates a retail store on the Upper West Side, where she spends most of her time. She enjoys being able to design, order and merchandise a new collection twice a year with the help of a talented staff of minions. She is also currently pursuing a certificate in Millinery at the Fashion Institute of Technology. If you ask her nicely, she might make you a hat!

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