Philadelphia Film Festival: 13 movies you have to see (and how to get in if they're sold out)

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Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy in 'Jackie.'

The Philadelphia Film Festival celebrates its 25th season through Oct. 30 with a selection of films that have generated serious buzz. Some will have a big showing at the box office, others are likely to snag a statuette or two come Oscar time.

Don't despair if tickets are sold out. Standby tickets will be available five minutes before start time for all screenings, save the opening and closing nights.

[Read more: Emma Stone sings, dances, dazzles in Philadelphia Film Festival opener 'La La Land']

Jackie

7:15 p.m. Friday, Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut St.

Chilean director Pablo Larraín (The Club, Tony Manero) has electrified viewers with this innovative drama about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as seen through the eyes of first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, played by Natalie Portman, who is a safe bet come the Academy Awards nominations announcement.

Toni Erdmann

2 p.m. Saturday, Ritz Five, 214 Walnut St.

This worldwide comedy sensation is about an aging retiree known for his elaborate pranks who poses as a fictional character to infiltrate the life of his estranged daughter.

Manchester by the Sea

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Prince Theater.

Acclaimed playwright and filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan (Margaret) directs Casey Affleck in this drama about a young man forced by the death of his brother to return to his small New England hometown. He joins forces with his estranged wife (Michelle Williams) to raise his brother's teenage son. Kyle Chandler and Gretchen Mol costar.

Christine

 

7 p.m. Saturday, Ritz East, 125 S. Second St.

Antonio Campos (Simon Killer) directs the remarkable Rebecca Hall in this true-life biopic about Christine Chubbuck, a 1970s local TV reporter in Florida who shot herself during a live broadcast. Voorhees' own Craig Shilowich wrote the script.

The Handmaiden

10:15 p.m. Saturday; 8:35 p.m. Oct. 30, Prince Theater.

Korean helmer Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) specializes in placing unhinged antiheroes in extreme situations. He stays true to form with this homoerotic black comedy about a pickpocket who falls in love with her mark, an innocent heiress, in 1930s Korea.

I Am Not Madame Bovary

4:20 p.m. Monday; 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, Prince Theater.

Sure to be a contender for a foreign-language Oscar, this drama from China's Steven Spielberg, Feng Xiaogang, stars screen legend Fan Bingbing as a divorcée who fights an epic battle with the Chinese bureaucratic and legal system to bring her thieving ex-husband to justice.

Moonlight

7:10 p.m. Monday, Prince Theater.

A coming-of-age story set in a poor area of Miami, Moonlight follows two decades in the life of a shy, intelligent African American boy named Chiron. Writer-director Barry Jenkins' meditation on class, race, gender, and sexuality is at once a brutally realistic social document and a graceful and achingly poetic character study. Kudos are due to a trio of actors who play Chiron: child actor Alex Hibbert, teenage performer Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes (If Loving You Is Wrong), who is a revelation as the adult Chiron.

Bleed For This

7 p.m. Tuesday, Prince Theater.

Miles Teller (Whiplash) delivers a powerhouse performance in this inspirational biopic about boxer Vinny Pazienza, who made a comeback from a nearly paralyzing injury to win the world junior middleweight championship.

Lion

7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Prince Theater.

Five-year-old Saroo is separated from his family in India and later is adopted by an Australian couple. As an adult, Saroo (Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire) searches for and finds his biological family via Google Maps in this true, heart-wrenching drama that has won international praise.

The Edge of Seventeen

7:15 p.m. Thursday, Prince Theater.

Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 2) is a rebellious teenager who can't handle it when her brother starts dating her BFF.

Paterson


6:40 p.m. Thursday, Ritz East.

American master Jim Jarmusch (Night on Earth, Broken Flowers) directs Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as a New Jersey bus driver and poet. Who knew NJ Transit could be so inspiring? (Jarmusch's new Iggy Pop rock doc Gimme Danger and his 1991 comedy Night on Earth also will be screened at the fest.)

Arrival

8 p.m. Oct. 28, Prince Theater.

Amy Adams is on a few Oscar short lists for her turn as a linguist in this alien-visitation entry from Canadian auteur Denis Villeneuve, who previously took on the war on drugs with Emily Blunt in Sicario.

Zero Days

3 p.m. Oct. 30, URBN Center Annex, 3501 Market St.

Acclaimed doc filmmaker Alex Gibney (Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine) will be on hand for a Q&A after the PFF screening of his new film about cyber warfare. This has been hailed as one of the best docs of the year.

tirdad@phillynews.com

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