Atlanta Film Festival freaks out

Something wicked lurks in the dark corners of the Atlanta Film Festival.

For 32 years, Atlanta’s cinematic celebration has sought out promising new stars and compelling stories from the realm of American and global independent film. This year’s festival presents 166 features and shorts, bookended by the opening night’s The People Speak, a star-studded dramatization of the work of historian Howard Zinn, and the closing night buddy comedy Rudo y Cursi, which reunites Y Tu Mama Tambien stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, and winds down this year’s Spotlight on Mexican Film.

Like a ghost at the banquet, however, another breed of film moves among the scrappy documentaries about the economically disenfranchised and the lo-fi character studies of disaffected youth. A memorable minority of this year’s filmmakers seems less concerned with showing individuals separated from society than showing heads separated from shoulders. The smartest ones, of course, achieve both goals at once.

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(Photo Illustrastion by Brooke Hatfield)