Film Programs


The 40th Denver Film Festival is replete with retrospectives. As a nod to our four- decade history of programming, we’ve picked a few standouts from festivals past. We’re also screening three films from famed Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figeuroa in conjunction with an exhibit at the Festival Annex in the McNichols Building. And finally, in honor of its 30th anniversary, we’ll be screening the cult classic Withnail & I—just because.

Breaking the Waves
Denmark 1996 159 min.

Danish auteur Lars von Trier's 1996 masterpiece stars Emily Watson as a deeply religious naïf who believes she's doing God's work through sex—a view not shared by her pious community. This devastating exploration of faith and sacrifice is also one of the most remarkable love stories you'll ever see.

Diary in a Marble
Poland 1993 110 min.

Two brothers in wartime Silesia are pushed in different directions: one into the Polish army, the other into the Nazi party—and, eventually, the arms of his sister-in-law. This tragicomic family saga from tribute guest Jan Kidawa-Blonski doubles an allegory of contemporary Polish history.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
France 2007 112 min.

After a stroke rendered him mute and almost totally paralyzed in 1995, magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby composed his memoirs—which he dictated by blinking his left eye. Mathieu Amalric stars in Julian Schnabel’s acclaimed, heart-rending and inspiring adaptation of Bauby's autobiography.

Joyeux Noël
France 2005 116 min.

As World War I rages across the European countryside, four individuals stuck on the front lines find themselves faced with the unthinkable in director Christian Carion's account of the real-life wartime event that would offer hope for peace in mankind's darkest hour.

Little Rose
Poland 2010 118 min.

In 1960s Poland, against a backdrop of anti-Semitism, a beautiful young woman is recruited by her lover, a secret service agent, to woo a famous writer in order to expose his Jewish identity. But the more this reluctant informant learns about her mark, the more the plan spins out of control.

Los Olvidados
Mexico 1950 85 min.

This 1950 classic from famed Spanish Surrealist Luis Buñuel—screening as part of a three-film retrospective of great Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa—tells the story of a gang of slum kids who become delinquents as a defense against poverty and the cruelty of life on the city streets.

Mexico 1960 91 min.

In this comitragic 1960 folk tale from Mexico—screening as part of a three-film retrospective of the great Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa—a peasant named Macario is granted the power to heal the sick by Death in the flesh. But there’s a catch that could itself prove fatal.

María Candelaria
Mexico 1944 102 min.

This Mexican melodrama from 1944—screening as part of a three-film retrospective of the great Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa—follows a poor couple as they endure the trials and tribulations of life in a prejudicial and greedy world. Dolores del Río stars.

Paris, Texas
Germany 1984 145 min.

Penned by Sam Shepard and directed by Wim Wenders, this breathtaking, heartbreaking 1984 classic (which first appeared at DFF7) stars Harry Dean Stanton as Travis, a drifter who has lost everything he loves; lacking the wherewithal to reclaim it, he nonetheless seeks the road to redemption.

The Room
USA 2003 99 min.

Now a cult sensation, Tommy Wiseau's notorious 2003 tale of passion and betrayal has been called “the Citizen Kane of bad movies." On the eve of the release of The Disaster Artist—a feature comedy by James Franco about its making—we’re screening The Room in all its dubious glory.

Rumble Fish
USA 1983 94 min.

Francis Ford Coppola's self-styled 1983 "art film for teenagers" is an intimate tale of estrangement and reconciliation between two rebellious brothers set in a dreamlike, timeless Tulsa, Oklahoma, and distinguished by haunting black-and-white visuals. Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane star.

The Sweet Hereafter
Canada 1997 112 min.

Set in a small Canadian town where the locals are reeling from the tragedy of a fatal school-bus crash, Atom Egoyan's quietly heartbreaking meditation on loss and healing took the Grand Prix at Cannes and garnered two Oscar nominations upon its release in 1997.

Three Colors: Blue
France 1993 98 min.

Julie's world is destroyed when her family is killed in a car crash. In her anguish and guilt, she leaves her old life behind to inhabit a kind of living death. But she finds she cannot so easily withdraw from the world in Polish auteur Krzysztof Kieslowski's 1993 classic starring Juliette Binoche.

Withnail & I
United Kingdom 1987 107 min.

Two unemployed actors—the acerbic, elegantly wasted Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the anxiety-ridden "I" (Paul McGann)—escape London only to realize they've gone on holiday by mistake in English writer-director Bruce Robinson's hilarious, semi-autobiographical 1987 cult comedy.

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