If the increasingly chilly fall weather makes you want to curl up and watch a movie, Philadelphia’s 27th annual film fest is the perfect event for you. The festival, which kicked off on October 18 and runs through October 28, is run by the Philadelphia Film Society (PFS), a nonprofit arts organization. Throughout the year, members of the PFS team scour film festivals for the year’s most critically acclaimed and thought provoking pictures. Keep an eye out for these highly anticipated films; they’ll likely blow up on the big screen in no time.

Cold War

The complicated relationship between Zula and Wiktor, set in Cold War–era Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia, and Paris, creates, “an impossible love story in impossible times.” The two are separated by fate, political climate, and character, yet their passion leads them back to one another.

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

Screening information: Sunday, Oct 21, 2:20pm and Thursday, Oct 25, 7:45pm at Ritz East B


This thriller, inspired by true events, follows dog–groomer and father Marcello as he enters the world of Simone, a recently released criminal, and goes down an unlikely and violent path. 

Director: Matteo Garrone

Screening information: Saturday, Oct 20, 2:15 p.m. at Ritz East A and Tuesday, Oct 23, 2:15pm at Ritz East B

Happy as Lazzaro

‘Lazarro Felice’ chronicles the unexpected friendship between Lazzaro, a farmer, and Tancredi, a young nobleman with an active mind. Tancredi ultimately acquires Lazarro’s help in orchestrating his fake kidnapping. 

Director: Alice Rohrwacher

Screening information: Monday, Oct 22, 7:10 p.m. at Ritz East A and Fri, Oct 26, 12:00 p.m. at Ritz East B


Roma documents the life of Cleo, a Mexico City houseworker. Director Cuarón draws inspiration from his upbringing to paint a picture of social and political disparities during the 1970s. 

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Screening information: Sunday, Oct 21, 4:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Film Center

Boy Erased

Jared, a gay teenager, is outed to his parents and pushed to attend a conversion therapy program. This coming–of–age story paints a picture of the hardships many LGBTQ individuals face when coming to terms with who they are and who those they love want them to be. 

Director: Joel Edgerton

Screening information: Sunday, Oct 21, 7:30 p.m., at Philadelphia Film Center


Adapted from Richard Ford's novel, Wildlife follows the turbulent dynamics among a 1960s family. 14–year–old Joe is forced to grow up when his father leaves to fight a forest fire and his mother Jeanette unravels.

Director: Paul Dano

Screening information: Tuesday, Oct 23, 6:00 p.m. at Philadelphia Film Center


Osamu and his son come across a girl alone in the cold after shoplifting. Despite their struggles to make ends meet, they take her in. However, a surprising incident reveals unforeseen consequences. This film won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year. 

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Screening information: Saturday, Oct 20, 2:40 p.m. at Ritz East B and Sunday, Oct 28, 2:20 p.m.
Ritz East B


15–year–old Lara is on the brink of achieving her dream of becoming a professional ballerina, but the fact that she was born in the body of a boy confronts her with hardships and forces her to test her limits.

Director: Lukas Dhont

Screening information: Sunday, Oct 21, 4:30 p.m. at Ritz East A

If Beale Street Could Talk

The director of Moonlight's adaptation of the James Baldwin novel follows 19–year–old Tish Rivers. She hopes for a future with fiancee Alonzo Hunt, but their plans are derailed when Alonzo is arrested for a crime he's not guilty of. This film explores how love and humanity can persevere over racial inequality and hardship. 

Director: Barry Jenkins

Screening information: Wednesday, Oct 24, 6:00 p.m. at Philadelphia Film Center

Studio 54

This feature documentary chronicles Studio 54, a revolutionary nightclub that became a symbol for the groovy 70s.

Director: Matt Tyrnauer

Screening information: Sunday, Oct 21, 12:10 p.m. at Ritz East B


Kena and Ziki are two Kenyan girls who fall in love despite political rivalry between their families. They are confronted with choosing between their love and their safety. This film caused such a stir in Kenya that it was censored until a judge lifted the ban.

Director: Wanuri Kahiu

Screening information: Sat, Oct 27, 10:00pm at Ritz East A and Sun, Oct 28, 10:30 p.m.
at Ritz East A

The Philadelphia Film Festival will continue showings through the 28th, so don’t miss out! Tickets can be purchased here.


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