It's a big day for film buffs: The Portland International Film Festival is kicking off its two-and-a-half weeks of screenings with its big opening night screening and party at the Newmark with Nel Centro food, comped drinks (including the "PIFFtini") and live music from Swing Papillon, plus a screening of Salmon Fishing In The Yemen. Scripted by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), directed by Lasse Hallström, and starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and (the performance highlight, delivered by Kristin Scott Thomas) it's got quite the pedigree, though its tours of Scottish estates and Yemeni landscapes are a mite more captivating than its central plotlines. Still there's nothing like that opening-night excitement, and a $25 ticket for a movie, a band, and dranks is actually kind of a smoking deal.
There's plenty else to look forward to in the coming weeks, too. We've often criticized the festival for not engaging a younger generation of film lovers with sexy, exciting films. (There have always been gems at this festival, but it was often hard to recognize them in the PIFF catalog.) This year is different. There are tons of films about and aimed at young, sexy, exciting audiences like you. I've highlighted a few of them in the film section this week, plus there are more mini-reviews in Film Shorts, and we've got all hands on deck reviewing more, so check back for ongoing coverage. Meanwhile behold: Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, which, yes, is literally about airlifting salmon to Yemen: