The 2019 Philadelphia Film Festival, which will run Oct. 17-27, announced a lineup Friday that includes major Oscar contenders and some of the most talked-about titles on the fall schedule.
Festivalgoers will be the first to see Martin Scorsese’s new mob epic The Irishman, starring Robert DeNiro as Philadelphia mobster Frank Sheeran and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa; Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple whose relationship is dissolving; and Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet, which has caused controversy for casting a British-Nigerian woman, the fantastic Cynthia Erivo, as the American hero.
There are two opening night movies: Bong Joon-ho’s thriller Parasite, about the problematic blending of rich and poor Korean families, which won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan in the true story of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, an Eastern University graduate who fought to free a man (Jamie Foxx) from death row. Stevenson will attend the festival along with Lemmons and other luminaries. The closing night film is thriller Knives Out, an Agatha Christie tribute starring Daniel Craig as a man investigating a murder at a British estate, courtesy of director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi).
Other highlights include Clemency, starring Alfre Woodard as a death row prison warden, which made writer/director and Temple alum Chinonye Chukwu the first black woman to win the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
There is a robust documentary section, including the locally made Maybe Next Year, which started as a documentary about long-suffering Eagles fans but became something special when the Eagles won the Super Bowl and the fan chronicle built to a conclusion no one expected, except maybe Nick Foles.
There is also a documentary executive produced by Sixer Ben Simmons, called The Australian Dream, about Australian rules football star Adam Goodes, whose anti-racism advocacy made him a target of derisive fans.
The lineup also includes Motherless Brooklyn, directed by Edward Norton, who also stars as a detective solving the murder of his mentor, and costarring Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe.
Tickets for the festival are on sale now for members of the Philadelphia Film Society, and will be available to the general public beginning Monday, Oct. 7. For tickets and information, go to www.filmadelphia.org/festival, or visit the box office at the Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut St.
The Film Center will be one of the principle venues for the festival, which will also screen titles at the Ritz East and Ritz Five.