Starz Denver Film Festival November 8-10 must-sees: A Touch of Sin and more

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Again this year, Starz Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest -- including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies.

Today, Withey highlights three films: Friday's The Search for Emak Bakia, Saturday's The Fifth Season and Sunday's A Touch of Sin.

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Brit Withey.
The Search for Emak Bakia
Directed by Oskar Alegria
7 p.m. Friday, November 8
UA Pavilions

"This is one of my favorite film in the festival, hands down," says Withey of The Search for Emak Bakia. "I saw it at the very end of putting together last year's festival and tried to sort of force it into the program, but it didn't work timing-wise for us or the filmmaker," director Oskar Alegria. "But it was definitely worth waiting for.

"This is an incredibly personal, very poetic story of the director, who saw a short film called Emak Bakia made by the filmmaker/photographer Man Ray in 1926, fell in love with it, and wanted to know where it had been made.

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"The Search for Emak Bakia."
"The Man Ray film is silent, but there are a number of clues about the location. You can sort of see this region in the Basque part of Spain, and the coastline, and a very unique house."

According to Withey, knowing the house still exists definitely doesn't qualify as a spoiler, "since what the filmmaker discovers along the way is as important as what he finds in the end -- which is often the case with journeys or travelogues. What he finds out about the original film, and the location where it was shot, is very interesting, but what he finds out about himself is really beautiful."

As a bonus, Alegria will be on hand for the screening.

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An image from "The Fifth Season."
The Fifth Season
Directed by Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth
7 p.m. Saturday, November 9
UA Pavilions

A Belgian film made by directors Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth, The Fifth Season is "very surreal," Withey says.

The movie "takes place in a small village, a farming community. The townspeople are moving up this hill above the village and theyr'e carrying with them all of these dead trees and figurines made out of straw -- building a big pile on which they're building a bonfire. It's all part of saying goodbye to winter and welcoming spring and the beginning of the planting season."

This year, however, "nothing will catch fire, and that ushers in the fifth season -- a long, brutal extended winter that doesn't ever seem to have an end. Nothing grows from that time on, the livestock die and the people in the village begin to turn on one another."

The result, Withey says, is "an apocalyptic scenario on a very small front. We don't know what's going on outside of this very small farming community, and we don't know why anything is happening. It's one town's reaction to a strange, unearthly circumstance, where people start doing unexpected things -- things you're definitely hoping they won't do in order to barter for food. And blame gets placed on the last person to move into town, with people thinking that perhaps all of this is his fault. These are dark times in the little village, and sacrifices need to be made in order to hopefully lift this fifth season."

Continue for Brit Withey's must-see pick for Sunday, November 10, as well as to see trailers from all three featured weekend films.


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