By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival closes Saturday night (October 27th) with a showing of Denzel Washington’s new movie, Flight, directed by Robert Zemeckis. Zemeckis — known for blockbusters such as Back to the Future, Cast Away and Forrest Gump, for which he won an Oscar — will be in town for the screening and will be taking questions at two events both before and after the film is shown.

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In a phone interview with KYW Newsradio, Zemeckis said he’s excited about Flight, his first live action film since 2000. A definite departure from his earlier work, the film’s hero, played by Washington, has a dark and troubled side.

“What I loved about this piece was all the moral ambiguities,” he said. “I love those movies that are full of moral ambiguity and complex characters and irony that I grew up on when I was in film school in the 60’s and ’70’s.”

You can hear the full interview in this CBS Philly podcast:

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Zemeckis says a less likable actor might not have been able to stay sympathetic through those ambiguities and complexities.

“Denzel has got that magnificent gravitas and charm and swagger and all that stuff that he brings to characters that he plays that certainly, in a strange way, I think, not only does it draw the audience in, it allows them to watch him go to the dark side, but it also creates a certain suspense in the heart of the viewer.”

Zemeckis will be dissecting a key scene from the film, before the screening, when he sits down for a Q and A with long-time Inquirer film critic Carrie Rickey at the Kimmel Center at 3:30, part of an ongoing series about movies called, “Close Encounters.” He’ll also take audience questions. That’s a separate event, with separate admission, from the film festival.

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Flight will be shown at the Zellerbach Theater at Penn at 7, followed by a Q and A with Zemeckis. The movie is scheduled for release on November 2nd.