Portland International Film Festival picks

The 39th annual NW Film Center Portland International Film Festival is officially underway! Like the fresh-baked Voodoo doughnuts that grace the schedule and posters around town, the 150 plus films represent the freshest filmmaking from more than 40 countries.

We asked Northwest Film Center staffers to recommend their top picks for the Festival. Museum members get a $1 off regular admission. Want more film all year long? Consider a Silver Screen Club membership for even more access to PIFF and year-round programs. Visit the website for a complete schedule.

The ARABIAN NIGHTS trilogy (Portugal)


Technically, this is three films, but it’s a mighty triad from Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, whose last film TABU screened at PIFF 36.

Read the New York Times review.



Director Yorgos Lanthimos scored an Academy Award nomination for his 2009 film DOGTOOTH. His latest, THE LOBSTER, is no stranger than that previous work. If anything it’s an even odder duck for including recognizable actors like Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and John C. Reilly in the mix.

Read the Telegraph’s review.



A visually arresting coming-of-age narrative about a young boy who discovers dark truths about the women and children residing in his coastal village. If BLUE VELVET were just about the discovery of the ear, it would be EVOLUTION.

Read Indiewire’s review.

THE WAVE (Norway)


Here’s a rare chance to see a Norwegian director channel the aesthetics of big-budget Hollywood disaster films. When one of the festival programmers saw this at another festival, he swears that there were large periods of time where everyone in the audience was holding their breath. A thriller if there ever was one.

Read the Hollywood Reporter’s review.



Thai master Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s last appearance at the Festival was with his massively fascinating 2010 film, UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES. CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR took home the Un Certain Regard award at the last Cannes Film Festival and was listed as one of the five most anticipated films of 2016 in a recent Indiewire critics’ poll.

Read Variety’s review.



Our annual showcase at PIFF of films made by local and state-wide talents. This year’s program includes films by festival favorites like Janet McIntrye (FADED), Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri (OCTOBER COUNTRY, OFF LABEL) whose film PEACE IN THE VALLEY just had a successful set of screenings at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and Howard Mitchell aka El Gato Negro (THE TRIMET TRILOGY), but also work by emerging talents like Dawn Jones Redstone, Sean and Michael Farris, and Tim Wade.