The nice weather makes it a great time for the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival to open. Sure the festival takes place indoors, but it’s right in beautiful St. Anthony Main overlooking the river. Make a day of it by enjoying the restaurants and nature in the area, while checking out this year’s crop of international and independent films.
Also this week, Manhattan-based Interpol has a concert at the Palace, the Candy Box brings you an intriguing lineup of contemporary dance, and singing sisters Jennifer Baldwin Peden and Christina Baldwin honor their mother in a new music-theater presentation by Nautilus.
Also this week, you’ll have an opportunity to check out Midway Contemporary Art’s new space as they present new films by Na Mira, and pianist Zlata Chochieva performs at Macalester.
The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) launches in the newly renovated and newly named MSP Film at The Main (where the St. Anthony Main was previously), for an in-person extravaganza (with some virtual programming) of 200 films from around the world and right here in Minnesota. There are lots of great options available. Here are a few that may entice you:
Black Mirror meets Margaret Atwood meets David Lynch in this raucous comedy about a vigilante group of puritanical sirens, directed by Anita Rocha da Silveira. This audacious film turns perspectives inside out, revealing truths about patriarchal structures and the true meaning of solidarity. It’s horror, comedy and empowerment all at once. 9:40 p.m. Friday, May 6, and 1:45 p.m. Monday, May 9.
This new adaptation of Vilhelm Moberg’s 1949 novel about a Swedish family moving to Minnesota has just a touch of a 21st-century lens in its presentation. It’s not that there’s anything anachronistic about the film — rather, it does a good job of highlighting issues that may look very different to audiences today than when the novel was written, such as the highly limited roles and lack of options for women. Less acute but still there is a depiction of the family moving into Native land. It is told from the settler perspective, but Erik Poppe shows how the family’s decision to make their home on Native land is infringing on the home of the Native tribe that was already there. The film’s strength is the performance by Lisa Carlehed, a woman who aches for community and the home she leaves behind. She learns to adapt and change to the new world. 6:40 p.m. Sunday, May 8, 2 p.m. Sunday, May 15, and 1 p.m. Thursday, May 19.
An old Chrysler Valient “Slant Six” is the star of this plucky documentary about Latvian American youth protesting the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Shown through archival and recent footage, the film highlights the impact of civil disobedience and collective organizing to instigate change. 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 9, and 4:45 p.m. Friday, May 13.
An adaptation of Balzac’s “Illusions perdues,” this film observes the rise and fall of a poet turned critic turned wannabe royalist, whose greatest downfall is love. It’s all set in a time of the Restoration, when bribing for good press was commonplace, and no one seems to have any quibbles about it, as long as you’re as sensational as possible. Gérard Depardieu plays a small role in the film as a greedy publisher, but perhaps the best part about the film is Vincent Lacoste, who plays the main character’s mentor turned enemy Étienne Lousteau. 6:50 p.m. Saturday, May 14, and 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 18.
“Move Me” tells the real-life story of dancer Kelsey Peterson, who co-directed the film with Daniel Klein. Kelsey is a dancer and choreographer who became a quadriplegic. The film follows Kelsey as she choreographs and performs for the first time since her accident — in “A Cripple’s Dance,” at the Southern Theater in 2019 — and finds ways to reinvent her creative self after trauma. 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, and 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 18.
Home Grown Drama shorts
MSPIFF’s short film programs are a great way to see a number of films all at once. The Home Grown Drama Shorts has a few that will entice you. They include the 7-minute film “A Little House in Aberdeen,” by Emily Goss, set in a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, about a woman’s personal and human experience of abortion, and “Perennial,” a film by Pam Colby about an elderly lesbian mourning her late partner and the friendship she develops with a gardener. Also on the program is “Bahaar (Outside)” by Prakshi Malik, about a young woman named Seher who faces the prospect of boarding school on the evening of a big family dinner. 7 p.m. Saturday, May 7.
The festival runs May 5-19 ($15). For a complete schedule, visit the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival page.
Tap into a goth mood and head to the Palace for the excellent Interpol, a post-punk New York-based band that’s been around since the turn of the century. Capturing ennui that rocks, with a resonant sound of rhythm, synth and sweet guitar licks, Interpol’s emotional lyrics give away its ironic presentation. The concert is part of a tour promoting the band’s new album, “The Other Side of Make Believe,” created at first over Zoom before the musicians could meet in person in the Catskill mountains. The album’s single “Toni” debuted on April 7, with the full album coming out on July 15. Tycho and Matthew Dear open. 7 p.m. Thursday at the Palace Theatre ($50). More information here.
Arena Dances presents its sixth version of Candy Box, a festival highlighting what’s new and interesting in the dance scene, curated by Arena Dances’ artistic director Mathew Janczewski. When it started, Janczewski recognized a need for additional support and performance opportunities for independent choreographers and small dance companies, and has every year brought together a mix of styles and visions that make for a varied festival. All week, Arena has been presenting happy hour performances of works in progress — there’s still time to catch the new creations by Alexandra Bodnarchuk on Thursday, May 5, and Emily Michaels King on Friday, May 6. Over the weekend, the festival presents more fully produced works by Leila Awadallah of Body Watani, former Minnesotans Chris Yon and Taryn Griggs, and the brilliant Joanie Smith, co-founder of Shapiro & Smith Dance. Happy hour performances start at 5:30, featured performances take place 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5-Saturday, May 7 and also 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7 ($25, $40 for Dine in Dance event Thursday starting at 6 p.m.). More information here.
Power sisters Christina Baldwin and Jennifer Baldwin Peden, both incredible singer-actors, team up for a new operatic musical theater piece adapted from the poetry of their mother, Fern Green Baldwin. With music by Daniel Nass and direction and dramaturgy by Ben Krywosz, the piece reflects on rural America, featuring the sounds, stories and imagery of the place we call Minnesota, and the changes it has gone through over time. May 5-May 18 at Nautilus Music-Theater ($10-40). More information here.
‘contrapunctual :: Na Mira’ opening reception
Midway Contemporary Art has a new gallery space, where they’ll be hosting “contrapunctual :: Na Mira,” an exhibition of 16mm holographic film installations. The films by Na Mira take an unfinished project by the late artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha as a starting point, as they imagine scenes that might have been scenes from “White Dust From Mongolia,” the film Cha couldn’t complete because of the political situation in South Korea at the time. Artist Hanna Hur plays the role of Character #2 in the project. It explores memory, dreams and the supernatural. 5-7 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Midway Contemporary Art (free). More information here.
Russian-born, Berlin-based pianist Zlata Chochieva, who last performed with the Frederic Chopin Society in 2017, returns to the Twin Cities on Sunday. Known for her sensitive musicality and inspired interpretations in addition to technical prowess, Chochieva will be playing Bach, Schumann, Grieg, Brahms and Strauss-Friedman, presented by the Frederic Chopin Society. 3 p.m. Sunday at Mairs Concert Hall at Macalester ($40). More information here.