Twelve-year-old Beans is on the edge: torn between innocent childhood and delinquent adolescence; forced to grow up fast to become the tough Mohawk warrior she needs to be during the Indigenous uprising known as The Oka Crisis, which tore Quebec and Canada apart for 78 tense days in the summer of 1990.
Cut off from civilization, a single mother puts her children on high alert when they bring home a young girl caked in clay. She tells of spirits and spirit hunters, but these are not mere superstitions. As more strangers show up on her doorstep, she quickly finds another reason to fear the forest. Malaysia’s official submission to the 2021 Academy Awards.
The new feature documentary ALGREN is a journey through the gritty world, brilliant mind, and noble heart of Nelson Algren. Exploding onto the national scene in 1950 after winning the first-ever National Book Award for The Man with the Golden Arm, Algren defined post-war American urban fiction with his gritty, brilliant depiction of working class Chicago.
Hemingway declared him second only to Faulkner; Vonnegut dubbed him a literary groundbreaker. Hollywood soon came calling, immortalizing his breakout novel with none other than Frank Sinatra in the lead role. Algren even won a notorious place in both the heart and work of France’s premiere feminist, Simone de Beauvoir.
Including never-before-seen archival footage, newly uncovered audio recordings and his own rarely seen, personal photo collages, ALGREN charts the rise and fall of a man whose transgressions, compassion and thirst for justice pushed him to dedicate his life and career to giving a voice to the voiceless. Through interviews with Algren’s friends, literary experts and artists – including William Friedkin, Russell Banks, Philip Kaufman, Billy Corgan and John Sayles – the film is an intimate, witty and even antagonistic portrait of a tireless champion of America’s most marginalized.
MAN IN THE FIELD profiles pioneering artist and chef Jim Denevan, founder of Outstanding in the Field, a radical alternative to the conventional dining experience. The documentary intimately reveals Denevan’s artistic and culinary first with land art in epic geometric formations alongside grand dinners in beautiful natural settings. Instead of bringing the food to the restaurant, Outstanding in the Field has brought the restaurant to the food since 1999. Hosted at one long table, with 100 to 1000 guests dining together, Denevan has set tables in vineyards, beaches, meadows, fishing docks, and city streets. Over 120,000 lucky patrons in all 50 states and 16 countries have experienced this once-in-a-lifetime event.
One of the most acclaimed directorial debuts of recent years, and the winner of the coveted FIPRESCI Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Bogdan Mirică’s Dogs is the most haunting and gruesome Western to come out of Europe in decades.
Dogs begins with an elegant tracking shot through a marshland near the Black Sea, eventually landing on a severed foot, bobbing in the swampy water. Soon after, we meet Roman (Dragoș Bucur, star of the classic Romanian noir Police, Adjective), who has just arrived on a vast plot of vacant land bequeathed to him by his late grandfather, known locally as Uncle Alecu.
While selling off Uncle Alecu’s property, Roman learns that the land came into his family under murky circumstances. Then, after coming upon mysterious midnight meetings on the land, Roman discovers exactly what happened on Uncle Alecu’s watch, and why it will be both difficult and dangerous to sell his land: The squatters, led by the fearsome Samir (Snowpiercer’s Vlad Ivanov), are a gang of criminals so dangerous that the local police captain (Romanian cinema legend Gheorghe Visu) is powerless to protect him. After his friend disappears and the detached, chewed-up foot washes up, Roman must either cut his losses or stay and fight.
With gorgeous, sunbaked widescreen cinematography by Andrei Butica and masterful performances by three of Romania’s finest actors, Dogs is a terrifying allegory about class and corruption that builds towards a grim and bloody showdown. With Dogs, Mirică places himself squarely in the Western tradition exemplified by Sam Peckinpah and Anthony Mann.
Once described as a young professional tennis prodigy, Thomas (Cesar-winner Alex Lutz) never had the career in the game he had hoped for. At 37, he decides to return to the French Open at Rolland Garros, in spite of his declining physical fitness and shattered knee. Although his wife Eve (Ana Girardot) and mother Judith (Oscar-nominee Kirstin Scott Thomas) advise him to give up on his unlikely ambition, Thomas obsessively perseveres. He will have to face his own demons as well as the intense competitive qualifying rounds to reach the tournament and eventually face a young tennis genius who disturbingly reminds him of his younger self.
Following a car accident, which kills her mother, 17-year old Ida moves in with her estranged aunt and her aunt’s grown sons. The home is filled with physical tenderness and love, but outside of the home, the family leads a violent and criminal life. When an unforeseen murder pressures the family and their loyalty to each other, tension builds as love and violence become impossible to separate. Ida is faced with the same question her mother faced before her: What are you willing to sacrifice for your family?
Utterly unique in film history, Mariam Ghani’s archival marvel WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED is a probing and engrossing case study in censorship, authoritarianism, and political art. Thirty years after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent civil war, during a new era of political uncertainty for the embattled nation, WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED looks closely at the era of state-funded Afghan filmmaking during the country’s Communist era, bringing together dozens of writers, actors, and filmmakers to discuss five unfinished, unedited projects produced between 1978 and 1991.
After each regime change, leaders always saw propagandistic potential in Kabul’s rich filmgoing culture and the high quality of Afghan filmmaking. Scenes from the five never-before-seen films, beautifully restored, testify to the immense resources provided to filmmakers willing to play by certain rules. The studio politics and mishaps that accompany any film’s production here rise to the level of life-and-death conflict, as filmmakers recall coming up against the censorship of an authoritarian government, as well as unceasing threats of violence. Depicting the censorship process with astounding detail, WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED raises potent, eternally relevant questions about art and politics, the freedom of speech, and what happens when the truth becomes a bargaining chip.
Mariam Ghani, the accomplished visual artist and a longtime advocate for film conservation, makes a passionate and personal feature directorial debut. Selected by the Berlin Film Festival, DOC NYC, and Il Cinema Ritrovato, WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED is an unsettling and brilliantly researched exposé which will prove disquieting to filmmakers and audiences alike.
For Berliners, the Baltic island of Usedom was once the most luxurious destination for excursions within striking distance of the city. This is where imperial Germany’s grand health resorts of Bansin, Heringsdorf and Ahlbeck were built. Heinz Brinkmann, who was born in Heringsdorf, traces the eventful history of his island. He talks about the magnificent villas on Europe’s longest beach promenade, about the expulsion of Jewish citizens by the Nazis and about Usedom being split into a German and a Polish half after the Second World War. During the GDR era, most of the spa architecture remained intact because of the lack of means to build something new. Since the fall of the Wall, however, investors have been trying to replace it with indistinguishable luxury residences.
Brinkmann also asks people about conservation and change. We hear from the mayor infuriated by the architectural eyesores of recent years, a farmer who bought an island in the Achterwasser lagoon for his organic cattle, a Polish hotel manageress and other bridge-builders between the two countries. Brinkmann also quotes from his own 1992 Usedom film and compares the plans of his former protagonists with today’s reality. A discursive tour through a fractured paradise.
A ROCKY-esque tale of determination and grit, PLATFORM follows of three Iranian sisters as they compete to become international champions of Wushu, a Chinese martial art. The sisters thrilling underdog story explores not only their dedicated training, but also their surprising place in society as they challenge traditional gender roles on the path to success.
“Iranian cinema has a rich, varied, and self-aware texture. While one might expect the strictures of a theocratic state to impinge creative output, these very restrictions push filmmakers to extraordinary lengths to tell stories with unique, even revolutionary methods. PLATFORM explores the unique and extraordinary tale of three sisters rejecting the assumptions placed upon them to become masters of Wushu, a Chinese martial art. They are not free from the conservatism of their country – they are forced to cover themselves entirely, unlike their opponents – but they do not shy from these problems, and succeed in spite of them.
While compelling in content, Sahar Mosayebi also proves herself very much a daughter of Iran’s history of engaging, well-crafted cinema. The editing is especially impressive, cutting together fights and training as though part of a choreographed action sequence. These scenes provide the documentary with a spark and the spirit of these fighters seems to infect the film itself – a welcome meeting of content and form. PLATFORM is more than a simple telling of a sporting success story, it is an inspirational, motivational film about what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.”—Milo Garner.
The fates of an unlucky pig farmer, a feisty home-owner defending her property, a lovestruck busboy, a disenchanted rich girl, and an American expat pursuing the Chinese Dream converge and collide as thousands of dead pigs are found floating down the Huangpu River, towards a modernizing Shanghai in Cathy Yan’s (BIRDS OF PREY) debut feature.
A young widower sidesteps grief, loss, and familial dysfunction when he steals his wife’s ashes and sets off on an impulsive odyssey through America’s heartland in the charming new road trip comedy, MONUMENTS.
Ted (David Sullivan) encounters a cast of eccentric characters, including his rival Howl (Javier Muñoz), who direct and misdirect him on his mission to find something he’d lost long before the death his wife Laura (Marguerite Moreau).
MONUMENTS infuses humor and hope into a story of mourning, loss, and marriage to create one of the best feel-good indie films of 2021.
In Stip, a small town in Macedonia, every January the local priest throws a wooden cross into the river and hundreds of men dive after it. Good fortune and prosperity are guaranteed to the man who retrieves it. This time, Petrunya dives into the water on a whim and manages to grab the cross before the others. Her competitors are furious – how dare a woman take part in their ritual? All hell breaks loose, but Petrunya holds her ground. She won her cross and will not give it up.
Michael (Charlie Tahan, OZARK) is a recent graduate whose post-college plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. When the bus service hires a security guard to watch over the night shift, Michael comes face to tattooed face with Pineapple, a 300-pound punk rock Samoan.
Written and directed by Suzanne Lindon (Vincent Lindon’s daughter and 20 years-old at the time of production), SPRING BLOSSOM is charmingly refreshing, and oh so French coming of age story that heralds Lindon as a rising international filmmaker to be reckoned with. Suzanne (Suzanne Lindon) is sixteen. She is bored with people her own age. From the outside, everything appears lovely in her charmed world, but the everyday monotony of school and her relationships with friends and family feels completely uninspired. Every day on her way to high school, she passes a theater. There, she meets a 35-year-old actor named Raphaël (Arnaud Valois, BPM (Beats Per Minute). Despite their age difference they find in each other an answer to their ennui and develop a strong connection. Immersed in the world of grown-ups and adult choices, Suzanne begins questioning the pitfalls of blossoming too quickly and missing out on life – the life of a 16-year-old, which she had struggled so much to enjoy in the same way as her peers. SPRING BLOSSOM is a refreshing tale of young teen’s sense of curiosity and wonderment at first-love replete with freewheeling musical numbers that echo the song-and-dance routines of Jacques Demy’s beloved The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
The next generation of Romanian filmmaking talent finally arrives in the U.S. with Paul Negoescu and Two Lottery Tickets. A buddy comedy produced on a shoestring budget, starring three of the most recognizable faces in Romanian movies, Two Lottery Tickets suggests Pineapple Express by way of Abbas Kiarostami.
A winsome, riotous comedy of errors, Negoescu’s second feature is an audience-friendly social satire which merges a stoner’s shaggy-dog story with the sophisticated, intensely realistic style that has made the Romania cinema one of the most popular national film movements in the world.
Police, Adjective star Dragoș Bucur plays against type as Sile, an irresponsible carpenter who spends most afternoons at the pub, placing small bets, racking up a huge tab, and buying lottery tickets. He convinces his drinking buddy Dinel (Dorian Boguță), whose wife has just left him for an Italian, to play the lottery one hot afternoon. Borrowing a few Euro from Pompiliu (Alexandru Papadopol), the local conspiracy theorist, Dinel plays the numbers on the off chance that a win would bring back his wife.
After two petty criminals jack his fanny-pack and the winning ticket, the three guys spend what little money they have tracking down the thieves. Although all three guys are easy marks with zero talent for sleuthing, their wild goose chase around Dinel’s apartment complex precedes a road trip to Bucharest, where the two thugs might be about to cash in on the €6 million jackpot.
Unpretentious, well-acted, and consistently hilarious, Two Lottery Tickets is a breezy reminder of the eternal essentials for good comedy: smart performances, a clever and intuitive style, and an irresistibly, unpredictable yarn.
Based on filmmaker’s, Maria Sødah, own experiences — Hope is the story of Anja and Tomas, longtime romantic partners whose large, blended family is upended when Anja receives a grave medical diagnosis.
ANJA (43) lives with TOMAS (59) in a large family of biological children and stepchildren. For a number of years the two adults have grown independent of each other, with creative jobs in parallel worlds. When Anja gets a terminal cancer diagnosis, their modern life breaks down and exposes neglected love. Alone with her grief and her fears, Anja realizes that she needs Tomas’ full help and support. It’s their only chance. How else will their children find the strength once she is gone, if their parents are unable to weather the storm together? Anja and Tomas are thrown into a crash course in mutual trust, and eventually a joint struggle, to deal with this unexpected and premature death. By getting to know each other anew, they unconsciously become the principal characters in a love story where they finally learn to truly love each other after a long life together.
Every Breath You Take is a searing psychological thriller about a psychiatrist (Casey Affleck), whose career is thrown into jeopardy when his patient takes her own life. When he invites his patient’s surviving brother (Sam Claflin) into his home to meet his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and daughter, his family life is suddenly torn apart.
Berlin-based Mosotho filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s devastating and hypnotic This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection is already one of the most esteemed African films ever to hit the international festival circuit, earning the Special Jury Prize for Visionary Filmmaking at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, before taking home Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Cinematography at Africa’s Academy Awards.
Deserving comparison with the work of Pedro Costa, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Souleymane Cissé, This Is Not a Burial marks the introduction of a major filmmaker and the final powerhouse performance of a remarkable actress.
The late Mary Twala Mhlongo, recognizable from Beyoncé’s blockbuster musical Black Is King, gives a heartbreaking career-capping performance as Mantoa, an 80-year-old woman who has lived in a small Lesotho village for her entire life. While preparing for her own death, she receives word of an accident that has killed her only son, leaving her entirely alone, with only the respect of her community, the traditions of her ancestors, and the courage of her convictions. When her community must relocate to make way for a nearby dam which would flood her family’s burial ground, Mantoa draws a line in the sand and becomes an unlikely political and spiritual leader.
Cryptic, impressionistic, and informed by magical realist literature, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection contains some of the most striking visual compositions in contemporary cinema, all the more impressive considering this is the first feature-length film for both cinematographer Pierre de Villiers and production designer Leila Walter. The cumulative power of Mantoa’s sacrificial crusade, Mhlongo’s earthy performance, and Mosese’s visionary artistry announce an unmistakable landmark in African cinema.
Adapted from British author Simon Mawer’s acclaimed novel inspired by the dramatic events of the 20th century and the birth of an iconic architectural gem, the Tugendhat Villa in Brno, the film tells a story of love, friendship and life-shaping decisions.
They’re zero-budget, amateur, homemade, zany, creative, weird and often downright hilarious: a dozen “Sweded” versions of favorite films come together in The Sweded Film Festival for Creative Re-Creations. From mega-blockbusters to concert films, The Sweded Film Festival for Creative Re-Creations offers fan-made, five-minute versions of Die Hard, No Country for Old Men, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Lighthouse – even Stop Making Sense, among others. The Sweded Film Festival for Creative Re-Creations showcases the passion, humor, creativity and incredible ingenuity of film fans nationwide who won’t be deterred by a pandemic … and can’t stop loving the movies.
Anne Walberg is a master in perfumes. She creates fragrances and sells her incredible gift to many companies. She is a diva, selfish and temperamental. Guillaume is her new driver and the only one who dares facing her. This is probably why she does not fire him.
Florence, early XVI century. Although widely considered a genius by his contemporaries, Michelangelo Buonarroti (Alberto Testone) is reduced to poverty and depleted by his struggle to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When his commissioner and head of the Della Rovere nobility Pope Julius II dies, Michelangelo becomes obsessed with sourcing the finest marble to complete his tomb. The artist’s loyalty is tested when Leo X, of the rival Medici family, ascends to the papacy and charges him with a lucrative new commission – the façade of the San Lorenzo basilica. Forced to lie to maintain favor with both families, Michelangelo is progressively tormented by suspicion and hallucinations, leading him to ruthlessly examine his own moral and artistic failings. Written and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, SIN is a gripping reflection on the agony and ecstasy of individual greatness, and the profound humanity behind the legend of the Renaissance.
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky Cast: Adriano Chiaramida, Yuliya Vysotskaya, Orso Maria Guerrini Language: Italian with English subtitles Genre: Biography, Drama, History Rating: Not Rated Run time: 2 hours 14 minutes
Veteran filmmaker Philippe Garrel once again fashions a pinpoint-precise and economical study of young love and its prevarications, which ever so gradually blossoms into an emotionally resonant moral tale. Handsome Luc (Logann Antuofermo), following in his aging father’s footsteps to study the craft of furniture joining, doesn’t appear to have any trouble meeting and dating women; as the film opens he’s aggressively courting Djemila (Oulaya Amamra) at a Paris bus stop. Skeptical yet ultimately trusting, Djemila will not be Luc’s one and only. Constructed and composed with crystalline austerity, and co-written with Jean-Claude Carrière and Arlette Langmann—who collaborated on Garrel’s last two films, In the Shadow of Women (NYFF53) and Lover for a Day (NYFF55)—The Salt of Tears is a pocket portrait that demonstrates the persistent vitality of one of French cinema’s great observers of the callowness of youth. (From NYFF 2020)
A group of friends stumble upon a mirror that serves as a portal to a ‘multiverse.’ They soon discover that importing knowledge from the other side in order to better their lives brings increasingly dangerous consequences.
When a virus threatens to turn the now earth-dwelling friendly alien hybrids against humans, Captain Rose Corley must lead a team of elite mercenaries on a mission to the alien world in order to save what’s left of humanity.
Sherry Hursey (Home Improvement, Bring It On) portrays Lilly, a loving foster mom and the keeper of an enchanted lighthouse. With her spirited crew of kids, their exotic talking pets and zany friends, Lilly, uses joy, love, laughter, and song as her tools, and shows everyone that “Life is Full of Possibilities!”
Showcasing the rare talents of Brazilian acting legend Regina Casé — star of The Second Mother — the latest feature from director Sandra Kogut is a brilliant comedy about gross class disparity and the infinite resourcefulness of those who can never take anything for granted. Casé plays Madá, the fifty-something caretaker for a cluster of luxury beachside condos owned by a wealthy Rio de Janeiro family. Unfolding over the course of three consecutive summers — 2015 to 2017 — the film follows Madá as she invests in a roadside snack kiosk while tending to the every need of her condescending employers, becomes a bystander in a major money-laundering scandal, and eventually launches a whole new career. With every dizzying new turn of events, Madá manages to retain her high spirits, her sense of loyalty to those who deserve it — and her eagle eye for opportunity.
Baseball is life for the die-hard competitors in the 100th annual Koshien, Japan’s wildly popular national high school baseball championship, whose alumni include U.S. baseball star Shohei Ohtani and former Yankee Hideki Matsui. But for Coach Mizutani and his players, cleaning the grounds and greeting their guests are equally important as honing their baseball skills. In director Ema Ryan Yamazaki’s dramatic and intimate journey to the heart of the Japanese national character, will those acts add up to victory or prove a relic of the past?