Thursday, February 20, 2014

Turturro, Fading Gigolo to Headline 24th Annual WJFF

John Turturro, Vanessa Paradis and Bill Block (r) at the 2013 TIFF

Last year, it was Elliott Gould. This year, it's John Turturro. I wonder who the Washington Jewish Film Festival plans on getting for next year's 25th anniversary celebration? One thing's for sure, the WJFF has firmly secured its place as DC's second biggest film festival (Filmfest DC is one tough nut to crack) with a stellar lineup of 64 films and 40 special filmmaker guests, including the former Cannes Film Festival Best Actor winner (Barton Fink) and Golden Globe nominee (Quiz Show) Turturro.

Mr. Turturro will visit the venerable AFI Silver Theatre on Saturday night, March 8th to participate in an extended Q&A following the Centerpiece Evening screening of Fading Gigolo. Fresh off its World Premiere as a Special Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival, Turturro's quirky comedy (he plays a male prostitute, with Woody Allen as his pimp... now that's quirky!) is making a few select stops across the festival circuit before a limited nationwide release on April 18th (hopefully including Washington, DC.)

Fading Gigolo sports an all-star cast in addition to Turturro (who also serves as Director and Writer) and Allen. Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara co-star as potential clients for Virgil Howard (Turturro's alter-ego) and Liev Schreiber stars as an overly-protective member of the Orthodox Jewish police, who butts heads with Turturro over the attention of a lovely widow played by Vanessa Paradis. If you're keeping score at home, lucky John gets paired up with Paradis, Stone and Vergara... in the same movie: Is that luck, or really careful planning?

Local super-critic (the only one, yours truly reveres) Arch Campbell will also be on hand to moderate the Q&A with Turturro; so you can be guaranteed it will be interesting. Advance tickets for the sneak preview/Q&A are sold-out; but a limited number of stand-by tickets may become available (lines start one hour before showtime.)

The Washington Jewish Film Festival opens Thursday, February 27th and runs through March 9th. Tickets are available now (click here to purchase.)