The Portland International Film Festival is here

This Friday marks the beginning of the 28th annual Portland International Film Festival, a celebration of the best global and local cinema. The festival features 75 full-length films and 33 shorts, spread throughout three downtown venues. Filmmakers involved range from internationally renowned directors – such as Jean-Luc Godard, Hayao Miyazaki and Danny Boyle – and comers like Xan Cassavetes and Tomy Wigand. The Vanguard will provide schedules and reviews throughout the festival, or you can find out more by visiting the Northwest Film Center online at Be a better person, go to the movies.

Friday Feb. 11, opening night!

Regal Broadway Cinemas, Southwest Broadway and Main Street

"Schizo" (Kazakhstan/Russia) 7:30 p.m. only
Set in Kazakhstan’s shady underworld, "Schizo" tells the story of a troubled boy coming into his own in a world where morality is second to survival.

"Kekexili: Mountain Patrol" (China) 7 p.m. only
This winner of Taiwan’s Golden Horse Award for best film features humankind’s timeless struggle against an unwavering nature, set against the Tibetan mountains. Local Tibetans are hired by the Chinese government to patrol their mountainous region, dissuading poachers. In addition to poachers, the patrols must contend with dwindling supplies and bitter weather to succeed.

Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 S.W. Park Ave.

"Merchant of Venice" (U.S.) 7 p.m. only
This big-budget retelling of Shakespeare’s masterpiece features an all-star cast including Jeremy Irons, Lynn Collins and Al Pacino’s giant mouth.

Guild Theatre, 829 S.W. 9th Ave.

"Dear Frankie" (Great Britain) 7 p.m. only
After deceiving her son for years by writing letters to him from his fictitious seafaring father, a single mother must come to grips with her lies. How? By hiring an actor to impersonate the missing dad, of course. Heartwarming ensues.

Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St.

Opening Night Party! 9 p.m.
Celebrate the start of PIFF with music by the Shanghai Woolies and libations by, well, who cares? They’re libations after all.