The Vienna Film Festival focuses on independent films

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The Independent Culture

Since 1960, the Vienna Film Festival pleases independent minded filmgoers with its emphasis on documentaries, international shorts and experimental works. Titled Viennale 2009, this year's event runs October 22-November 4, screening more than 300 films for 90,000 attendees, mostly a young art-savvy audience interested in challenging material.

This year's schedule opens for the first time with an Austrian production, La Pivellina by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, which premiered at this year's Cannes festival to acclaim. The Viennale closes with the Joel and Ethan Coen's film, A Serious Man, considered one of the brothers' best.

New works from Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen are in the schedule as well as Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, a remake of the Abel Ferrar 1992 film with Harvey Keitel, which will also be screened, offering an interesting contrast.

Special programs include "State of Grace," a tribute dedicated to the Oscar-winning British actress Tilda Swinton ( Orlando, Michael Clayton), who will be present for the occasion. Also, Chinese filmmaker Gua Xiaolu will receive a tribute and the late Filipino director, Lino Brocka will be honored.

The respected Retrospektive at the Austrian Film Museum which began October 7 and runs through the end of the festival is titled, "The Unquiet American: Transgressive Comedies from the U.S." It features an eclectic array of funny films with various themes, from the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup and such as Jerry Lewis' The Ladies Man to John Waters' Female Trouble and Warren Beatty's Bulworth.