Brit's Picks for the Starz Denver Film Festival: Festival de Cine Mexicano

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Editor's note: This year's Starz Denver Film Festival, November 12-22, features more than 200 films. To help navigate this cinematic abundance of riches, we asked fest artistic director Brit Withey to highlight some worthy selections off the beaten screening-room path. Look for Brit's Picks each weekday through the extravaganza's close.

Included in this year's schedule is Festival de Cine Mexico, a salute to the cinema associated with our neighbor to the south. "It's a really nice, diverse program, from one of the more interesting countries in terms of what's being produced there right now," Withey says about the eight films grouped under this umbrella. "You can often identify the films from a certain country pretty easily just by their style. You can say, 'That's so Danish,' or 'That's so Italian.' But the variety coming out of Mexico is incredible, and it's fun having so many different things coming into one program."

As examples of this wide span, Withey points to Northless and One For the Road.

About Northless, which can be seen on Sunday, November 15, at 7:15 p.m. and Monday, November 16, at 9:15 p.m., both at the Starz FilmCenter, Withey says, "It seems like an old story about a guy trying to cross the border -- but somehow, this film feels very new and different. The guy gets across the border, then gets sent back to Tijuana and gets a job in this little grocery store with these two women who run the place. It's kind of a good set-up; the women both like him and take care of him. But there's still this pull to go across the border. It doesn't really make sense at all, but he keeps trying and getting sent back. It's a sad story about the reality of life in a lot of these small border towns -- and a really great film."

One For the Road, playing on Sunday, November 15, at 9:30 p.m. and Monday, November 16, at 6:45 p.m., also both at Starz FilmCenter, presents a much hipper portrait of the country. "This is modern-day, contemporary life for young people in the big city," Withey says. "It's nightlife and drinking and staying out all night, money and excess and success -- just the complete, polar opposite of Northless. The story is about a bunch of characters who stay out all night long one night, and what happens to them as they come together, split apart, go their different ways, come back at a different point and split up again. Their paths cross and meet and cross again."

Together, the two films represent "an interesting juxtaposition -- a look at some of the styles going on in Mexican cinema today."

For more Festival de Cine Mexico flicks, click here.

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