PFF ’12: One Great Scene At a Time (Wrap-Up)

Don Malvasi writer and film aficionado Don Malvasi had the opportunity to check out a bulk of the films that came in through Philadelphia during the 21st Annual Philadelphia Film Festival. An assortment of indie darlings and Oscar contenders provided some very memorable moments in moviedom. In this column, Don breaks down the 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival, one great scene at a time…
  • The haunting long shot at the devastating conclusion of the grim yet uncompromising After Lucia
  • The initial sparks-flying dinner scene between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in the refreshingly unconventional and uplifting Silver Linings Playbook
  • Denis Lavant’s diabolical tizzy opposite Eva Mendes, one of many unforgettable scenes in the iconoclastic, laugh yourself silly, near-indescribable Holy Motors

    Eva Mendes and Denis Lavant in Holy Motors

  • The riveting heartbreak of a divorced parent seeking a few minutes with his kidnapped child, brought by the other parent to Japan , where dual custody doesn’t even exist, in the documentary, From The Shadows
  • the final, “huh?” scene in David Chase’s charming and accurate ode to 1960s kids forming a band modeled after the Stones in the brimming-with-hooks Not Fade Away
  • the payoff scene in Sister, where “plot twist” takes on a new meaning.
  • the crushing Amy Winehouse duets, replete with her insecure, winsome commentary with Tony Bennett in the otherwise ebullient Zen of Bennett
  • FDR (Bill Murray) being carried, due to his polio, into his house by Secret Service agents once the press corps leaves the scene in Hyde Park on the Hudson
  • Helen Hunt going through the trash looking for the John Hawkes poem to her she never got to read in the marvelous The Sessions
  • The son of the boxer accidentally killed due to blows he received in the ring from boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, visiting Mancini thirty years later to selflessly make sure Mancini wasn’t feeling too guilty about things, in the touching documentary, The Good Son
  • The sheer terror of the first knock on her door by authorities hounding a formerly jailed West German activist (Nina Hoss in one of the year’s best performances) working as a physician in exile in East Germany during the cold war in the pitch-perfect Barbara

    Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Last Quartet

  • The previously cool-as-a cucumber Christopher Walken, losing it while he tells Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catharine Keener to quit fighting in his apartment in The Last Quartet
  • Billy Connolly’s shucking and jiving in just about any of his scenes in the fluffy yet charming Quartet
  • The final scene in the intriguing Terraferma, which makes the claim that bold social change comes from individual acts often arising from the most unlikely sources
  • The incomparable Isabelle Huppert playful yet stone-serious grilling of the knowing monk in the seriocomic In Another Country
  • The heartbreaking morality-twisting scene in Lore that brings the certain realization that there were often no good choices amidst the evil of Nazi Germany
  • The can-this-be-true? scene of the District Attorney still clinging to her story even after a confessed killer exonerates The Central Park Five in Ken Burns surefire new documentary.
  • The first scene we realize An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty isn’t playing around–it’s going to blend fiction, non-fiction and animation and bring them to a rock-solid, effervescent whole.
  • Jim Broadbent first realizing it isn’t a hotel he’s checked into but a wacko nursing home in which he’s been trapped’ in the visually ingenious yet often pretentious Cloud Atlas

What was your most memorable scene from the 21st Annual Philadelphia Film Festival?
Let us know in the comments below.

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