- SILVER SPRING, Maryland
The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center unveiled the complete slate of films for the 2019 AFI European Union Film Showcase, taking place December 4–22 at the American Film Institute’s historic theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Now in its 32nd year, the Showcase highlights 46 films representing all 28 EU member states, including award winners, regional box-office hits, debut works by up-and-coming talents and new works by leading auteurs, plus 11 of the top contenders for this year’s Academy Award® for Best International Feature Film and 10 U.S. and North American premieres.
This year’s AFI European Union Film Showcase opens on December 4 with the U.S. premiere of Cannes-debuted Europa Cinema Labels prize winner Alice and The Mayor (Alice et le Maire--France), a whip-smart political two-hander directed by Nicolas Pariser, starring Fabrice Luchini and Anaïs Demoustier. The Closing Night selection is the nudist colony comedy Patrick (De Patrick--Belgium). The feature debut of Tim Mielants includes New Zealand comedy icon Jemaine Clement in a supporting role and took the Best Director prize at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Special Presentations highlight several high-profile international co-productions, including Hirokazu Kore-eda’s French-language debut The Truth (La Verite--France/Japan) starring Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche; A Hidden Life (Germany/U.S.), Terrence Malick’s stunning World War II drama about Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter; Agnieszka Holland’s Berlin-debuted historical drama Mr. Jones (Poland/UK/Ukraine) starring James Norton, Peter Sarsgaard and Vanessa Kirby; and Sweden’s Cannes-debuted Oscar® submission And Then We Danced (DIR Levan Akin, Sweden/Georgia/France), a highly acclaimed drama set in Georgia’s national dance academy.
Additional highlights include anticipated new works from some of Europe’s best-known filmmakers and rising talents, including Sorry We Missed You (UK), Ken Loach’s powerful follow-up to 2016’s Palm d’Or-winning I, Daniel Blake; Céline Sciamma’s sweeping 18th-century romance Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (France), winner of the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay awards at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; the Dardenne brothers’ powerful Cannes Best Director award winner Young Ahmed (Le Jeune Ahmed--Belgium); Jonás Trueba’s self-discovery drama The August Virgin (La Virgen de Agosto--Spain), winner of the FIPRESCI and Special Jury Prizes at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Quentin Dupieux’s off-the-wall leather jacket thriller Deerskin, starring Jean Dujardin; and Italy’s official Oscar® submission The Traitor (Il Traditore--Italy), Marco Bellocchio’s epic Cannes-debuted Mafia saga.
Also among the 11 official Best International Feature Film Oscar® submissions screening this year are surprise Cannes Jury Prize winner Les Miserables (DIR Ladj Ly, France); acclaimed Holocaust drama The Painted Bird (Václav Marhoul, Czech Republic) starring Stellan Skarsgård and Harvey Keitel; controversial psychological thriller Instinct (DIR Halina Reijn, Netherlands), starring Carice van Houten; Corneliu Porumboiu’s twisty neo-noir The Whistlers (La Gomera--Romania); and the U.S. premiere of Tiago Guedes’ Toronto-debuted family epic The Domain (A Herdade), Portugal’s official Oscar® submission.
Complete list of 2019 Oscar® submissions for Best International Feature Film:
AND THEN WE DANCED (DIR Levan Akin, Sweden/Georgia)
CORPUS CHRISTI (DIR Jan Komasa, Poland)
INSTINCT (DIR Halina Reijn, Netherlands)
LES MISÉRABLES (DIR Ladj Ly, France)
LET THERE BE LIGHT (DIR Marko Škop, Slovakia)
MALI (DIR Antonio Nuić, Croatia)
THE DOMAIN [A HERDADE] (DIR Tiago Guedes, Portugal)
THE PAINTED BIRD (DIR Václav Marhoul, Czech Republic)
THE TRAITOR [IL TRADITORE] (DIR Marco Bellocchio, Italy)
THE WHISTLERS [LA GOMERA] (DIR Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania)
THOSE WHO REMAINED [AKIK MARADTAK] (DIR Barnabás Tóth, Hungary)
Complete list of U.S. and North American Premieres:
ALICE AND THE MAYOR [ALICE ET LE MAIRE] (DIR Nicolas Pariser, France)
HALF-SISTER [POLSESTRA] (DIR Damjan Kozole, Slovakia) – North American Premiere
MALI (DIR Antonio Nuić, Croatia)
NOVA LITUANIA (DIR Karolis Kaupinis, Lithuania)
PÉITRUSS (DIR Max Jacoby, Luxembourg) – North American Premiere
STORIES FROM THE CHESTNUT WOODS [ZGODBE IZ KOSTANJEVIH GOZDOV] (DIR Gregor Božič, Slovenia)
THE DOMAIN [A HERDADE] (DIR Tiago Guedes, Portugal) – North American Premiere
THE WEEPING HOUSE OF QALA [HEMM DAR IL-QALA] (DIR Mark Doneo, Malta)
VARIAÇÕES – GUARDIAN ANGEL (DIR João Maia, Portugal) – North American Premiere
ZIZOTEK (DIR Vardis Marinakis, Greece)
Complete list of Special Presentations:
A HIDDEN LIFE (DIR Terrence Malick, France/U.S.)
ALICE AND THE MAYOR [ALICE ET LE MAIRE] (DIR Nicolas Pariser, France)
AND THEN WE DANCED (DIR Levan Akin, Sweden/Georgia)
MARTIN EDEN (DIR Pietro Marcello, Italy)
MR. JONES (DIR Agnieszka Holland, Poland/UK/Ukraine)
OLEG (DIR Juris Kursietis, Latvia)
PATRICK [DE PATRICK] (DIR Tim Mielants, Belgium)
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE [PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU] (DIR Céline Sciamma, France)
SORRY WE MISSED YOU (DIR Ken Loach, UK)
THE AUGUST VIRGIN [LA VIRGEN DE AGOSTO] (DIR Jonás Trueba, Spain)
THE PAINTED BIRD (DIR Václav Marhoul, Czech Republic)
THE TRAITOR [IL TRADITORE] (DIR Marco Bellocchio, Italy)
THE TRUTH [LA VERITÉ] (DIR Hirokazu Kore-eda, France/Japan)
THE WHISTLERS [LA GOMERA] (DIR Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania)
THOSE WHO REMAINED [AKIK MARADTAK] (DIR Barnabás Tóth, Hungary)
YOUNG AHMED [LE JEUNE AHMED] (DIR Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium)
A complete slate of all festival screenings is below.
2019 AFI EUROPEAN UNION FILM SHOWCASE
THE CHILDREN OF THE DEAD [DIE KINDER DER TOTEN]
Sat, Dec. 14, 10:45 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 18, 10:00 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 19, 9:45 p.m.
Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s 666-page novel “The Children of the Dead” depicts a zombie uprising highlighted by conveniently forgotten figures from Austria’s recent past, both Nazis and Jews alike. As realized for the screen by the Nature Theater of Oklahoma and producer Ulrich Seidl, Jelinek’s scabrous novel becomes a most unusual modern-day silent film, featuring an amateur but very game cast, shot on Super-8 film and imbued with a midnight movie spirit reminiscent of John Waters and Guy Maddin. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, 2019 Berlin Film Festival Forum section. DIR/SCR Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska, from the novel by Elfriede Jelinek; PROD Ulrich Seidl. Austria, 2019, color, 90 min. Silent with German and English intertitles. NOT RATED
THE GROUND BENEATH MY FEET [DER BODEN UNTER DEN FÜẞEN]
Sun, Dec. 15, 3:30 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 16, 7:10 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 18, 3:00 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 19, 9:35 p.m.
In Marie Kreutzer’s (THE FATHERLESS) masterful psychological thriller, ruthlessly efficient and seamlessly together Lola (Valerie Pachner, A HIDDEN LIFE, STEFAN ZWEIG: FAREWELL TO EUROPE) is thriving as a successful business consultant. But she is also in the midst of a secret relationship with her boss Elise (Mavie Hörbiger) and struggling to support her sister Conny (Pia Hierzegger), who is battling long-term mental illness. When Conny attempts suicide, Lola’s world slowly begins to come apart, as she tries to do what’s best for her sister without allowing the crisis to seep into her already-complicated work life. As Lola works harder and harder to prevent the personal and professional from colliding, she finds her own hold on reality slipping away. Winner, Best Performance (Valerie Pachner) and Best Feature Film, 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival; Winner, Best International Film, 2019 Galway Film Fleadh; Winner, Best Leading Actress (Pachner), 2019 German Screen Actors Awards; Official Selection, 2019 Berlin, Hong Kong, Seattle, Frameline and OutFest film festivals. DIR/SCR Marie Kreutzer; PROD Alexander Glehr, Franz Novotny. Austria, 2019, color, 108 min. In English and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
YOUNG AHMED [LE JEUNE AHMED]
Sat, Dec. 14, 5:15 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 18, 7:20 p.m.
The latest film from the Dardenne brothers (THE CHILD; ROSETTA; TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT) concerns 13-year-old Ahmed, a psychologically fragile Brussels teen who has begun to fall under the spell of a charismatic imam who preaches an extremist, intolerant interpretation of Islam. Goaded by the Svengali-like imam, Ahmed starts to berate his mother and sister for their western dress and secular ways, and constantly argue with his Arabic teacher, Inès. Groomed by the imam to take action, Ahmed hatches an ill-conceived plot to kill his teacher. Winner, Best Director, 2019 Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne; PROD Denis Freyd. Belgium/France, 2019, color, 90 min. In French and Arabic with English subtitles. NOT RATED
PATRICK (2019) [DE PATRICK]
Sat, Dec. 21, 7:00 p.m.; also screens Sun, Dec. 22, 5:30 p.m.
Meet Patrick (Kevin Janssens, THE ARDENNES), the handyman and carpenter at his family’s nudist camp, who has just lost his father — but more importantly, his hammer. On a mission to get back his prized possession, he must fend off the swarming buzzards who will stop at nothing to take his dad’s vacant seat as owner of the camp. With his beloved tool still missing, no one is safe from Patrick’s interrogations. Confronting every member of the community and visitors, too, (including a hilarious turn from Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement), he begins to uncover the camp’s dirty little secrets, and a family history he never imagined. Winner, Best Director, Crystal Globe, 2019 Karlovy Vary Film Festival; Winner, Best Director, Next Wave Award, 2019 Fantastic Fest; Official Selection, 2019 Chicago International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Tim Mielants; SCR Benjamin Sprengers; PROD Sarah Marks, Bart Van Langendonck. Belgium, 2019, color, 97 min. In English, Dutch, French and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE FATHER (2019) [BASHTATA]
Fri, Dec. 13, 3:15 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 16, 5:05 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 18, 9:20 p.m.
Pavel is seemingly cold and indifferent to the passing of his mother Valentina, but his father Vasil is devastated and convinced her spirit still remains after a funeral attendee claims to have received a call from Valentina on her cellphone during the burial. Desperate to hold on to the love of his life, Vasil gets taken in by a fly-by-night psychic who promises to reconnect them. Now Pavel must put his life on hold to help his father process the loss and begrudgingly come to terms with his own grief, in this award-winning family drama that is as funny as it is touching. Winner, Best Film, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov; PROD Konstantina Stavrianou, Irini Vougioukalou. Bulgaria/Greece, 2019, color, 87 min. In Bulgarian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Croatia
Thurs, Dec. 12, 9:30 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 15, 5:45 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 17, 5:15 p.m.
Frenki is a drug dealer, and four years in prison haven’t changed him much. With his wife on her deathbed, his in-laws are determined to get custody of Mali, Frenki’s teenaged son. But Mali loves his dad — and his unorthodox parenting style. In fact, Mali’s life has been getting better since living with Frenki. In school, his grades are improving, and he’s acting out less. With a custody battle looming, Frenki and his group of unsavory friends must band together to make sure Mali stays with his father, by any means necessary. Winner, Jury Award of Recognition, 2019 Black Sea Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Pula and Sarajevo film festivals. DIR/SCR Antonio Nuić; PROD Boris T. Matic, Lana Matic. Croatia, 2018, color, 90 min. In Croatian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
PAUSE (2018) [PAFSI] [ΠΑΥΣΗ]
Sat, Dec. 7, 5:00 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 8, 2:45 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 9, 2:45 p.m.
Locked for years in a stifling routine with her uncaring but demanding husband Costas, fiftyish housewife Elpida begins to see things in a new light as she enters menopause. Visions of violent retribution begin to play out in her mind, perhaps inspired by the steady diet of thrillers she watches in the evenings, while Costas watches sports programs on a separate TV in the same room. The arrival of a handsome, eastern European housepainter in their apartment building gives rise to another kind of waking fantasy. Tonia Mishiali’s debut feature combines black humor and the suspense of a psychological thriller, as fantasy and reality blur into a new way of being for Elpida. Official Selection, 2019 Karlovy Vary Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Tonia Mishiali; SCR Anna Fotiadou; PROD Andros Achilleos, Stelana Kliris. Cyprus/Greece, 2018, color, 96 min. In English and Greek with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Czech Republic
THE PAINTED BIRD
Sun, Dec. 15, 6:05 p.m.; also screens Wed, Dec. 18, 7:00 p.m. at Cafritz Hall, Edlavitch DCJCC
Based on the celebrated novel by Jerzy Kosinski, this staggering work of beauty follows the brutal hardships of a young Jewish boy as he wanders the countryside during World War II in search of some respite from the atrocities of daily life. Featuring standout performances from Stellan Skarsgård and Harvey Keitel, this harrowing film overflows with incredible imagery shot in vivid black and white. Co-starring Udo Kier, Julian Sands and Barry Pepper. Official Selection, 2019 Toronto, Venice and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Václav Marhoul, from the novel by Jerzy Kosinski; PROD Aleksandr Kushaev. Czech Republic/Slovakia/Ukraine, 2019, b&w, 169 min. In Czech, German and Russian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
OUT OF TUNE [DE FRIVILLIGE]
Fri, Dec. 20, 7:45 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 21, 3:00 p.m.
Newly imprisoned celebrity financier Markus gets a rude awakening on his first day behind bars when he’s greeted with a beatdown from a biker gang. Scared into voluntary solitary confinement, he reluctantly joins his fellow inmates in the choir, where his ego compels him to reach the top of the established hierarchy. As the competition heats up, he really gets to know his fellow inmates, with hilarious and often touching results. Official Selection, 2019 Rotterdam, Karlovy Vary and Chicago film festivals. DIR Frederikke Aspöck; SCR Lars Husum; PROD Senia Dremstrup. Denmark, 2019, color, 89 min. In Danish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE LITTLE COMRADE [SELTSIMEES LAPS]
Fri, Dec. 6, 5:00 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 7, 12:30 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 11, 5:05 p.m.
In the midst of Stalinist tyranny, six-year-old Leelo’s mother is sent to a prison camp. Haunted by her mother’s last words telling her to be good, Leelo vows to be on her best behavior in the confusing grown-up world, in hopes that it will bring her mother back — but her confusion only grows as “good” and “bad” no longer seem to mean anything in these troubled times. Leelo tries her best to behave, but keeps getting embroiled in one scrape after another, and becomes ever more perplexed as to what it even means to be good. (Note adapted from The Estonian Film Institute.) Official Selection, 2019 San Francisco and Cleveland film festivals. DIR/SCR Moonika Siimets; PROD Riina Sildos. Estonia, 2018, color, 99 min. In Estonian and Russian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
MARIA’S PARADISE [MARIAN PARATIISI]
Thurs, Dec. 5, 5:00 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 7, 2:45 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 8, 4:50 p.m.
In this chilling tale based on a real-life scandal from 1920s Finland, charismatic cult leader Maria Åkerblom leads her devout followers to Helsinki. Among them is the adoring teenager Salome, who was orphaned at a young age and knows nothing of life outside her community in their rural farmhouse. When Salome befriends local sex worker Malin, her worldview is challenged, and she is torn between the promise of newfound freedom and Maria’s dangerous, all-consuming love. Official Selection, 2019 Toronto, Helsinki and Chicago film festivals. (Note adapted from LevelK.) DIR Zaida Bergroth; SCR Jan Forsström, Anna Viitala; PROD Daniel Kuitunen, Kaisla Viitala. Finland/Estonia, 2019, color, 110 min. In Finnish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
ALICE AND THE MAYOR [ALICE ET LE MAIRE]
Wed, Dec. 4, 7:15 p.m.; also screens Sun, Dec. 8, 3:15 p.m.
After 30 years in politics, Paul Théraneau (Fabrice Luchini), the mayor of Lyon, has become a creature of habit: over-cautious, bureaucratic to a fault and lacking the passion and ideas he once had. Enter Alice Heimann (Anaïs Demoustier), a recent Oxford grad with a degree in philosophy, newly hired for a job that, in the latest round of organizational shuffling, has been eliminated before it ever began. Inspired, for the first time in years by his conversations with Alice, the mayor creates a new position for her before she can be slated for reassignment: to be his ideas person. The latest film from Nicolas Pariser will delight those who care about the thinking and practice of public policy and leadership, even as they despair at the reality of everyday politics as usual. Winner, Europa Cinemas Label Prize, 2019 Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR Nicolas Pariser; PROD Emmanuel Agneray. France/Belgium, 2019, color, 113 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
DEERSKIN [LE DAIM]
Fri, Dec. 6, 7:10 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 7, 9:20 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 11, 9:40 p.m.
French disruptor Quentin Dupieux (the man behind killer-tire classic RUBBER) returns to the realm of the malevolent everyday object with this daring and hilarious tale of a troubled man (Jean Dujardin, THE ARTIST) who takes his obsession with his designer deerskin jacket (admittedly, a very nice coat) to murderous extremes. Having just separated from his wife, Georges (Dujardin) decides he needs a new lease on life, and a new jacket, and sets off to buy a vintage deerskin coat, which he gets for 8,000 euros, with a camcorder thrown in. Increasingly impressed with his jacket’s majesty — and its excellent advice — Georges resolves to eliminate all other outerwear from the world. Meanwhile, he meets a bartender named Denise (Adèle Haenel, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE), accidently convinces her he’s a filmmaker and enlists her to edit and fund his latest (non-existent) project. She becomes a fan of the jacket too, and none of this is going to end well. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Toronto, Vancouver and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Quentin Dupieux; PROD Mathieu Verhaeghe, Thomas Verhaeghe. France, 2019, color, 77 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
ON A MAGICAL NIGHT [CHAMBRE 212]
Sat, Dec. 7, 7:20 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 10, 5:15 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 12, 7:20 p.m.
In Christophe Honoré’s (LOVE SONGS, SORRY ANGEL) delightful “Christmas Carol”-eqsue spin on the screwball sex comedy, Maria (Chiara Mastroianni, LOVE SONGS, PRÊT-À-PORTER) is a law professor with a good eye for handsome young men, and no qualms about pursuing them. Richard (Benjamin Biolay, PERSONAL SHOPPER, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE), Maria’s husband of 20 years, is less than keen on her extramarital interests, and when he discovers her latest infidelity, it’s the last straw. Maria retreats to a hotel across the street where she can gaze down on her apartment and keep an eye on her pained husband. But waiting for her in the room are the ghosts of affairs past — including a 25-year-old version of Richard (Vincent Lacoste, SORRY ANGEL) — ready to take her on a magical journey to reexamine the romances that were and those that could have been. Winner, Best Actress (Chiara Mastroianni), Un Certain Regard, 2019 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Busan and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Christophe Honoré; PROD Philippe Martin, David Thion. France/Belgium/Luxembourg, 2019, color, 86 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE [PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU]
Sun, Dec. 8, 8:15 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 9, 7:10 p.m.
Director Céline Sciamma (GIRLHOOD, TOMBOY) won the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay awards at the Cannes Film Festival for this sweeping, brooding romance set in rugged, 18th-century Brittany. When budding painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant, PAPER FLAGS, HEAVEN WILL WAIT) is commissioned by an Italian Comtesse (Valeria Golino) to paint a portrait of her soon-to-be-wed daughter Héloïse (Adèle Haenel, DEERSKIN, THE UNKNOWN GIRL), her assignment is complicated by the fact that she must not disclose the reason for her visit to their remote coastal abode. Masquerading as a hired companion, Marianne must closely observe her subject by day, etching her likeness into memory in order to paint in secret by night. When the ruse is revealed, however, the women allow themselves to form a much closer bond, igniting a fire that will lead to self-discovery and the liaison of a lifetime. Winner, Best Screenplay and Queer Palm, 2019 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Telluride, Toronto, New York, London, Busan and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Céline Sciamma; PROD Véronique Cayla, Bénédicte Couvreur. France, 2019, color, 119 min. In French and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, France
LES MISÉRABLES (2019)
Tue, Dec. 10, 7:20 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 14, 1:00 p.m.
Ladj Ly’s powerful Cannes Jury Prize winner made history in September when it became the first film by a black director selected to represent France at the Academy Awards®. Inspired by the riots which swept the Parisian banlieue in 2005, Ly’s urgent, frenetic debut centers on three members of an anti-crime unit and their tense relationship with the community in the tough Montfermeil district, where they are charged with patrolling the neighborhood and keeping the peace. Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) has just joined the unit from a far sleepier beat in Cherbourg. Gwada (Djibril Zonga) is still learning the ropes, but grew up in Montfermeil and knows the area intimately. Chris (Alexis Manenti) is the cynical team leader, a hot-headed, streetwise taskmaster with questionable methods and even more dubious motives. When an arrest gets out of hand, which is caught on camera by a drone, the trio risk inflaming tensions beyond anything they can control. Winner, Jury Prize, 2019 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Toronto, Busan and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Ladj Ly; SCR Giordano Gederlini, Alexis Manenti; PROD Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barral. France, 2019, color, 102 min. In French with English subtitles. RATED R
Fri, Dec. 13, 9:45 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 19, 7:35 p.m.
Mixing zombie lore with mean-girl angst and a smart examination of France’s colonial history, Bertrand Bonello (NOCTURAMA, SAINT LAURENT) expertly shifts between 1960s Haiti and contemporary France to meditate on the intricacies of race, class and cultural appropriation. In 1962 Haiti, a man is exhumed from his grave, brought back from the dead and forced to work on a sugar cane plantation. In present-day France, at an elite boarding school for descendants of Légion d’honneur recipients, rebellious teen Fanny (Louise Labèque) befriends Melissa, a new student who moved to France following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. When Melissa reveals an old family secret, Fanny becomes obsessed with her mysterious past and culture, seeking to use it to cure her recent heartbreak. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Toronto, New York and London film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Bertrand Bonello; PROD Judith Lou Lévy. France, 2019, color, 103 min. In English, French and Haitian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE TRUTH (2019) [LA VERITÉ]
Sat, Dec. 14, 8:30 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 19, 7:20 p.m.
With her American husband Hank (Ethan Hawke) in tow, Lumir (Juliette Binoche) goes to visit her mother Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) in her beautiful country home to celebrate the release of Fabienne’s memoir chronicling her lifelong career in front of the camera. Now in her twilight years, Fabienne is finally starting to show some vulnerability on the set of her latest film, but she’s still butting heads with her daughter at home. Meanwhile, Hank, the TV actor who speaks no French, is just happy to be along for the ride. This mother-daughter comedy from Palme d’Or-winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda (SHOPLIFTERS) starring two French screen icons is the perfect recipe for a good time. Official Selection, 2019 Venice, Toronto Film and Busan film festivals. DIR/SCR Hirokazu Kore-eda; SCR Léa Le Dimna; PROD Muriel Merlin. France/Japan, 2019, color, 106 min. In English and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
PELICAN BLOOD (2019) [PELIKANBLUT]
Fri, Dec. 6, 2:30 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 9, 9:30 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 11, 7:15 p.m.
Wiebke (Nina Hoss, PHOENIX) and her adopted nine-year-old daughter Nicolina live alone on an idyllic horse farm. After many years of waiting, Wiebke now has the chance to adopt another girl, five-year-old Raya, to provide Nicolina with the sister she’s always wanted. What begins as a harmonious new family takes a turn for the worse when Raya’s increasing aggression grows violent, forcing Wiebke to make a tough decision about her new daughter. Winner, Best Director, 2019 Fantastic Fest; Official Selection, 2019 Venice, Toronto, Hamburg, Zurich, Sitges film festivals. DIR/SCR Katrin Gebbe; PROD Verena Gräfe-Höft. Germany/Bulgaria, 2019, color, 121 min. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
A HIDDEN LIFE
Sat, Dec. 7, 3:30 p.m.
Based on real events, Terrence Malick tells the story of Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), an Austrian farmer from the Alpine village of Radegund who was a conscientious objector during WWII. Drawing extensively from the letters Jägerstätter exchanged with his wife (Valerie Pachner) during his time in prison, Malick combines the epistolary with the visionary in realizing this deeply spiritual story, aided by Jörg Widmer’s stunning cinematography and James Newton Howard’s moving score, with counterpoint provided by choice selections from Arvo Pärt, Bach, Beethoven, Handel and Gorecki. The excellent cast includes the late Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz in their final film roles, as well as Matthias Schoenaerts, Jürgen Prochnow, Alexander Fehling, Karl Markovics and Franz Rogowski. Winner, Ecumenical Jury Prize, 2019 Cannes International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Telluride, Toronto, New York and BFI London film festivals. DIR/SCR Terrence Malick; SCR inspired by “Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings from Prison,” edited by Erna Putz; PROD Elisabeth Bentley, Dario Bergesio, Grant Hill, Josh Jeter. Germany/U.S., 2019, color, 173 min. In English and German with English subtitles. RATED PG-13
I WAS AT HOME, BUT [ICH WAR ZUHAUSE, ABER]
Wed, Dec. 11, 9:15 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 15, 8:30 p.m.
Angela Schanelec won the Best Director prize at the 2019 Berlinale for her enigmatic, dreamlike narrative. Astrid (Maren Eggert), a Berlin mother of two, faces a crisis after her 13-year-old son Philip (Jakob Lassalle) disappears, only to reappear a week later, seemingly unharmed. The event goes largely unexplained, and Astrid doesn’t register anxiety or guilt in any conventional manner, but the family unit, including daughter Flo (Clara Möller), their friends and neighbors all register the after-effects of the incident in oblique, even absurdist ways. Best Director, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Toronto, New York and San Sebastian film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Angela Schanelec. Germany/Serbia, 2019, color, 105 min. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sat, Dec. 21, 1:00 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 22, 3:30 p.m.
It’s Lara’s 60th birthday, and she has every reason to celebrate: tonight, her son Viktor will give the most important piano concert of his career. Despite the fact that she paved the way for his musical success, Viktor has been unreachable for weeks, and nothing indicates that his mother will be welcome at his debut performance. With no word from her son, she buys all the empty seats in the house and hands them out to everyone she meets. But the more Lara strives to make the evening a success, the more things start to spiral out of control. Winner, Award of Ecumenical Jury, Best Actress (Corinna Harfouch) and Special Prize of the Jury, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Vancouver, London, Hamptons and Chicago film festivals.
(Note adapted from Beta Cinema.) DIR Jan Ole Gerster; SCR Blaz Kutin; PROD Marcos Kantis, Martin Lehwald, Michal Pokorny. Germany, 2019, color, 98 min. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Fri, Dec. 6, 5:15 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 9, 5:10 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 11, 7:10 p.m.
Nine-year-old Jason’s world is shattered when he is abandoned by his mother on an afternoon trip to the local folk festival. Panicked and afraid, he wanders into the woods and into the cabin of a reclusive, bearded man with a shotgun named Minas who reluctantly takes him in. A pariah in the community, the misunderstood, mute man eventually forms an unlikely bond with the kid, and they both find in each other a new family they’ve been longing for, in this moving story about unlikely friendships and human connection. Official Selection, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Vardis Marinakis; SCR Spiros Krimbalis; PROD Konstantinos Vassilaros. Greece, 2019, color, 92 min. In Greek with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Hungary
THOSE WHO REMAINED [AKIK MARADTAK]
Sat, Dec. 14, 6:30; also screens Sun, Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m. at Cafritz Hall, Edlavitch DCJCC
Budapest, 1948: the upheaval of WWII has given way to the refashioning of society by the new Communist regime. Having survived the war’s extermination camps, Dr. Aládar “Aldó” Kőrner (Károly Hajduk) has revived his medical practice, even if he hasn’t fully returned to the life he once led, haunted by the loss of his wife and sons. In steps a tornado named Klára (Abigél Szőke), 16 years old and full of life, herself a survivor of the camps, but one who has not yet fully processed her trauma, often penning long letters to her deceased mother and father. An unconventional but vitally supportive friendship develops between the two in Barnabás Tóth’s remarkable and immensely moving historical drama. Official Selection, 2019 Telluride Film Festival. DIR/SCR Barnabás Tóth; SCR Klára Muhi, from the novel by Zsuzsa F. Várkonyi; PROD Ernõ Mesterházy, Mónika Mécs. Hungary, 2019, color, 83 min. In Hungarian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Fri, Dec. 13, 5:30 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 14, 1:30 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 16, 5:10 p.m.
Scripted by Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle (“The Commitments”), ROSIE won the Best Feature Film Award at the 2018 Irish Film Festival London and Best Irish Film at the 2018 Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards. When the landlord unexpectedly sells their rental home, Rosie (Sarah Greene, BLACK 47), John Paul (Moe Dunford, BLACK 47, THE DIG) and their young family find themselves homeless. Cramming their belongings into their car, the family begins a daily search for a place to sleep. While John Paul works kitchen shifts, Rosie drives the older kids to and from school, where shame keeps her from confessing the desperation of their situation. Simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful, Paddy Breathnach’s (VIVA) powerful drama is a testament to the resilience of love. Winner, Best Irish Film, 2018 Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards; Winner, Best Feature Film, 2018 Irish Film Festival London. Official Selection, 2018 Toronto and London film festivals, 2019 Rotterdam and Jeonju film festivals. DIR Paddy Breathnach; SCR Roddy Doyle; PROD Juliette Bonass, Rory Gilmartin, Emma Norton. Ireland, 2018, color, 86 min. In English. RATED PG-13
Tue, Dec. 10, 7:10 p.m.*; Sat, Dec. 14, 3:15 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 16, 3:00 p.m.
*Q&A with filmmaker Federico Bondi on Dec 10
Winner of a FIPRESCI Prize at this year’s Berlinale, Federico Bondi’s (MAR NERO) poignant sophomore feature follows 36-year-old Dafne (Carolina Raspanti), a bright young woman with Down syndrome whose stable family life is upended by the unexpected death of her mother. As Dafne’s father, Luigi (Antonio Piovanelli) struggles with his grief, Dafne finds her own way to process the loss, assuming increasing responsibility at home and at work, and persevering to bring her father through a seemingly impossible period of change. This tender, subtle father-daughter tale is brought vibrantly to life by Raspanti’s engrossing central performance. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Karlovy Vary and Vancouver film festivals. DIR/SCR Federico Bondi; PROD Marta Donzelli, Gregorio Paonessa. Italy, 2019, color, 94 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Italy
THE TRAITOR (2019) [IL TRADITORE]
Sat, Dec. 14, 3:30 p.m.
Veteran Italian master Marco Bellocchio (FISTS IN THE POCKET, VINCERE) crafts a gangster epic for the ages with this powerful profile of real-life mafia boss-turned-pentito Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino, ANGELS AND DEMONS, WORLD WAR Z), whose work as an informant led to the infamous six-year Maxi trial and to the largest, most public prosecution of the Sicilian mafia in Italian history. After leaving Palermo for Brazil in the 1980s to escape a brewing crisis among feuding strands of the Cosa Nostra, Buscetta is eventually arrested and sent back to Italy to await punishment for his crimes. When he discovers that, in his absence, members of his family, including his own son, have been used as pawns in the mafia’s ongoing drug war, Buscetta begins to feel that his former associates have betrayed the Cosa Nostra’s code. Reluctantly, he agrees to testify against them, striking a bargain with the ill-fated judge Giovanni Falcone (Fausto Russo Alesi, VINCERE) that will change the history of organized crime in Italy and across the world. Winner, Best Director and Best Original Score, 2019 Italian Golden Globes; Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Busan, Toronto, New York and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Marco Bellocchio; SCR Valia Santella, Ludovica Rampoldi, Francesco Piccolo; PROD Beppe Caschetto, Viola Fügen, Simone Gattoni, Caio Gullane, Fabiano Gullane, Alexandra Henochsberg, Michael Weber. Italy/France/Brazil/Germany, 2019, color, 145 min. In English, Italian, Sicilian and Portuguese with English subtitles. RATED R
MARTIN EDEN (2019)
Sun, Dec. 15, 3:30 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 16, 7:00 p.m.
Filmmaker Pietro Marcello transposes Jack London’s 1909 American novel about a rugged, radical individual — seaman-turned-novelist Martin Eden — to a Neapolitan port city in the late 20th century. As Eden, the working-class sailor with big ambitions, Luca Marinelli gives a smolderingly intense performance; Jessica Cressy plays Elena, the bourgeois dream woman who motivates both Eden’s carnal desire and his quest for literary greatness and social status. Winner, Best Actor (Marinelli), 2019 Venice Film Festival; Winner, Platform Prize, 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Pietro Marcello; SCR Maurizio Braucci, from the novel by Jack London; PROD Beppe Caschetto, Viola Fügen, Thomas Ordonneau, Michael Weber. Italy/France/Germany, 2019, color, 129 min. In Italian, Neapolitan and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Fri, Dec. 6, 9:00 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 11, 5:00 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 12, 7:10 p.m.
After Oleg, a young Latvian butcher living and working in Brussels, Belgium, finds himself out of a job, he falls under the spell of Andrzej, a fast-talking, Polish, small-time crook he meets at a party. What starts as a promising opportunity to get back on his feet soon turns into anything but as Oleg tries to escape his newfound life of crime. This kinetic social thriller is a tragic and timely tale of a migrant worker struggling to make ends meet that ratchets up the pulse-pounding tension to the last second. Winner, Grand Prix, 2019 Brussels International Film Festival; Winner, Best Director (Juris Kursietis), 2019 Palic Film Festival; Winner, Best Feature Film, 2019 Valletta Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Busan and Karlovy Vary film festivals. DIR/SCR Juris Kursietis; SCR Liga Celma-Kursiete, Kaspars Odins; PROD Aija Berzina, Alise Gelze. Latvia/Lithuania/Belgium/France, 2019, color, 108 min. In Russian, Polish, Latvian, English, French, and Flemish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Thurs, Dec. 5, 9:40 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 8, 12:30 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 10, 9:30 p.m.
In the late 1930s, with a potential war looming on the horizon for the young country of Lithuania, geographer Feliksas Gruodis convinces the prime minister to establish a tropical colony overseas in case of emergency, and the two begin meeting in secret to make his dream a reality. Fully enamored of his crackpot idea, the geographer fails to see that his “backup Lithuania” is as doomed as his crumbling marriage, mirroring the country around him, in this sharp satire from first-time director Karolis Kaupinis. Official Selection, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Karolis Kaupinis; PROD Marija Razgute. Lithuania, 2019, b&w, 96 min. In Lithuanian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
North American Premiere
Mon, Dec. 16, 9:30 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 17, 3:00 p.m.
Since she’s started a passionate new relationship with the handsome and mysterious Joakim, life is smiling back at Lara again. Her marriage to detective Toni is now a distant memory. But when Toni accuses Joakim of having committed a series of unsolved murders in Luxembourg City’s Peitruss Valley, Lara’s world is thrown into chaos. While trying to prove Joakim’s innocence, she starts to wonder how well she really knows the one she loves. (Note courtesy of Samsa Films.) DIR/SCR Max Jacoby; PROD Jani Thiltges. Luxembourg, 2019, color, 93 min. In English, German and Luxembourgish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE WEEPING HOUSE OF QALA [HEMM DAR IL-QALA]
Sun, Dec. 15, 9:20 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 17, 5:10 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 18, 5:10 p.m.
Mark Doneo’s feature debut is a ghost story-turned-psychological thriller, set on Malta’s sister isle. In the quaint village of Qala in Gozo, Emily Edevane was abandoned, along with her three small children, by her husband. No one seems to have heard of them since. Four decades later, a Maltese documentary crew agrees to spend a day at the now desolate and decaying mansion, hoping to find out what became of the family. The film shoot takes a turn for the nightmarish when the crew encounters strange phenomena and dark forces in the house that they can’t explain. (Note adapted from Mad Movies Productions.) DIR/SCR/PROD Mark Doneo; SCR Mikiel Camilleri Haber. Malta, 2018, color, 85 min. In Maltese with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Netherlands
Sat, Dec. 7, 9:30 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 10, 9:45 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 12, 5:05 p.m.
Psychologist Nicoline (Carice van Houten, BLACK BOOK, GAME OF THRONES) accepts an assignment in a secure men’s rehab facility housing violent sexual criminals. There, she takes on the case of Idris (Marwan Kenzari, 2019’s ALADDIN), a handsome and charismatic manipulator who has served five years for rape and assault, but has progressed through the system and is now a candidate for unsupervised release. Professionally, Nicoline doubts that Idris is reformed, yet personally, against all better judgment, she experiences an undeniable attraction to him. Actress-turned-director Halina Reijn’s provocative psychological thriller provides no easy answers, as the pair’s mind games spiral into madness and the lines between victim and victimizer blur. Official Selection, 2019 Locarno and Toronto Film Festivals. DIR/PROD Halina Reijn; SCR Esther Gerritsen; PROD Arnold Heslenfeld, Laurette Schillings, Frans van Gestel, Carice van Houten. Netherlands, 2019, color, 108 min. In Dutch with English subtitles. NOT RATED; content warning: contains scenes of sexual violence.
2019 Oscar® Selection, Poland
CORPUS CHRISTI (2019)
Thurs, Dec. 5, 7:15 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 8, 5:45 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 12, 5:00 p.m.
The premise of Jan Komasa’s (SUICIDE ROOM, WARSAW ‘44) daring third feature may sound like the set-up for an outlandish caper comedy, but in his capable hands it becomes a profound and moving meditation on faith, forgiveness and healing. When 20-year-old Daniel (rising star Bartosz Bielenia, rivaling Andrew Scott for “hot priest of the year”) is released from a youth detention center, his dream of entering the priesthood is squashed by the weight of his violent criminal record. Instead, he is sent to work at a carpenter’s workshop in a rural town, where the community is struggling to heal from a recent tragedy. Mistaken for a priest in a strange turn of events, Daniel decides to run with it, taking over the local parish when the regular pastor is taken ill and gradually becoming a beloved fixture in the community. But even with this chance to transform the lives of those around him, Daniel is living a precarious lie, continuously fighting off his demons and a past that is never far behind. Winner, Label Europa Cinemas Award and Edipo Re Award, 2019 Venice Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Toronto and Chicago film festivals. DIR Jan Komasa; SCR Mateusz Pacewicz; PROD Leszek Bodzak, Aneta Cebula-Hickinbotham. Poland, 2019, color, 115 min. In Polish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
MR. JONES (2019)
Sun, Dec. 15, 12:30 p.m.*; Tue, Dec. 17, 7:10 p.m.
*Q&A with screenwriter Andrea Chalupa on Dec 15
The latest film from Agnieszka Holland (EUROPA, EUROPA; IN DARKNESS; SPOOR) tells the real-life story of Gareth Jones (1905–1935), a Welsh journalist and foreign affairs advisor to former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. He made a tour of the Soviet Union in 1931 but failed to get the interview with Stalin he desperately wanted. In 1933, he scored a major scoop as the first international journalist with firsthand coverage of Hitler’s ascension to Chancellor. Then he undertook his most daring investigation ever: slipping into Ukraine incognito to report on the widespread famine taking place there, despite the official reports on the great success of farm collectivization and five-year plans. James Norton (GRANTCHESTER, HAPPY VALLEY) stars as Jones, and the ensemble cast includes Peter Sarsgaard as New York Times journalist Walter Duranty, Joseph Mawle (GAME OF THRONES) and Vanessa Kirby (THE CROWN). Winner, Best Film and Best Production Design, 2019 Polish Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Berlin, Zurich and BFI London film festivals. DIR Agnieszka Holland; SCR/PROD Andrea Chalupa; PROD Stanislaw Dziedzic, Klaudia Smieja. Poland/UK/Ukraine, 2019, color, 119 min. In English, Ukrainian, Russian and Welsh with English subtitles. NOT RATED
North American Premiere
VARIAÇÕES – GUARDIAN ANGEL
Mon, Dec. 9, 7:00 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 12, 2:45 p.m.
Portuguese pop music icon António Variações gets his due in this long-awaited biopic, which charts the singer’s unlikely rise to fame before his untimely death from HIV/AIDS in 1984. Raised in a small village in Amares, in the north of Portugal, Variações (Portuguese TV star Sérgio Praia) longed to escape from an early age. Moving to Lisbon, where he became a barber, the young would-be singer became a fixture in Lisbon’s underground art and music scenes, becoming known for his unconventional, outrageous sense of style and his unique, pop-infused take on Portuguese folk and fado music. Similar to recent music biopics about queer music icons Freddie Mercury and Elton John, VARIAÇÕES is a poignant tribute to an artist with a singular, uncompromising vision, and like BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY and ROCKETMAN, it has become a box office sensation poised to inspire a whole new generation of fans. DIR/SCR João Maia; SCR Karen Sztajnberg; PROD Fernando Vendrell. Portugal, 2019, color, 109 min. In English, Portuguese and Dutch with English subtitles. NOT RATED
North American Premiere
2019 Oscar® Selection, Portugal
THE DOMAIN (2019) [A HERDADE]
Sun, Dec. 15, 7:45 p.m.*; Wed, Dec. 18, 7:15 p.m.
*Q&A with filmmaker Tiago Guedes on Dec 15
Portuguese filmmaker Tiago Guedes (BLOOD CURSE) joins forces with legendary producer Paulo Branco (MYSTERIES OF LISBON) to tell the epic story of three generations of landowners whose lives unfold on the south bank of the River Tagus, against the backdrop of several tumultuous decades of Portuguese history. With the passing of their father, brothers João (Albano Jerónimo) and Joaquim (Miguel Borges) Fernandes inherit one of Europe’s largest agricultural estates and a way of life. But power is only as valuable as the autonomy required to exercise it, and by the 1970s the heretofore apolitical João is being coerced into relinquishing that autonomy, first by Portugal’s authoritarian Estado Novo regime, and then by the socialist insurgents who ignite the Carnation Revolution and seek to nationalize the country’s resources. By the 1990s, the Fernandes empire is in slow decline and the children of João and Joaquim are disillusioned with the family enterprise. After weathering so many political tempests, the brothers — and their beleaguered spouses — must now confront the fallout of a more personal legacy, one characterized by infidelities, alcoholism and toxic masculinity. Official Selection, 2019 Venice, Toronto and Dublin film festivals. (Note adapted from Toronto International Film Festival.) DIR/SCR Tiago Guedes; SCR Rui Cardoso Martins; PROD Paulo Branco. Portugal/France, 2019, color, 166 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Romania
THE WHISTLERS [LA GOMERA]
Fri, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 17, 7:15 p.m.
This twisty neo-noir caper from Corneliu Porumboiu (12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST; POLICE, ADJECTIVE) has it all: a corrupt cop, a femme fatale, a Mexican mobster, government surveillance, double-crosses galore, a mattress full of money and, of course, an indigenous whistling language called “el Silbo Gomero.” When Romanian police detective Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) travels to the Canary Islands, his mission is to learn a local whistling language from island gangsters and a beautiful accomplice named Gilda (Catrinel Marlon), in order to aid in the escape of an imprisoned businessman back in Romania, without being detected by authorities. The goal: to find a mattress containing several million euros before anyone else — and to stay alive in the process. Porumboiu’s darkly comic thriller is both a riff on the heist genre and a smart look at the limitations and possibilities of language, both spoken (or whistled) and cinematic. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, London and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Corneliu Porumboiu; PROD Patricia Poienaru, Marcela Ursu. Romania/France/Germany/Sweden, 2019, color, 97 min. In English, Romanian and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Slovakia
LET THERE BE LIGHT (2019)
Mon, Dec. 16, 9:35 p.m.; Wed, Dec. 18, 5:15 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Milan, a father of three, does construction work in Germany in order to provide for his family back in Slovakia. While visiting home over Christmas, he discovers that his eldest son is a member of a paramilitary youth group. The boy has been involved in the bullying and death of a classmate — and now Milan must decide what to do. In the process, he and his wife come to discover the real truth about their son, their family, themselves and the community around them. Winner, Best Actor (Milan Ondrík) and Award of Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Chicago International Film Festival. (Note courtesy of Loco Films.) DIR/SCR/PROD Marko Škop; PROD Jan Melis, Petr Oukropec, Pavel Strnad. Slovakia/Czech Republic, 2019, color, 93 min. In Slovak with English subtitles. NOT RATED
North American Premiere
Sun, Dec. 8, 9:20 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 10, 2:45 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 12, 9:20 p.m.
Neža is going back to school and Irena is getting a divorce. Despite their past grievances and outspoken hatred for one another, the two half-sisters decide to rent a flat together in the coastal capital city of Ljubljana; desperate times call for desperate measures. Forced together by circumstance, it is only after the two finally exhaust their witty barbs, and even come to blows, that they begin to discover a deeper connection and familial bond, allowing them to see the best in each other. Official Selection, 2019 Karlovy Vary, Miskolc and Haifa film festivals. DIR/SCR Damjan Kozole; SCR Ursa Menart, Ognjen Svilicic; PROD Danijel Hocevar, Labina Mitevska, Jelena Mitrovic. Slovenia/Serbia/Republic of Macedonia, 2019, color, 105 min. In Slovenian and Albanian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
STORIES FROM THE CHESTNUT WOODS [ZGODBE IZ KOSTANJEVIH GOZDOV]
Sat, Dec. 14, 7:20 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 17, 9:30 p.m.; Thurs, Dec. 19, 5:30 p.m.
This touching homage to a lost way of life unfolds in a decaying forest on the Yugoslav-Italian border in the years after WWII. In the forest lives Mario, a stingy carpenter. Stubborn in his old age, he fails to notice his wife’s descent into illness — one among several missed opportunities to care for his loved ones. Mario tries to impart his hard-gained wisdom to Marta, a young woman who has been left behind to tend the chestnut groves after her husband’s departure. In their decaying surroundings, these lonely souls share fond memories — transformed into imaginative tales — and melancholic contemplations of their futures. Should they remain, haunted by a life that was, or does another path call: joining countless others on the rickety cart to a world unknown? Official Selection, 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. (Note courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival.) DIR/SCR Gregor Božič; SCR/PROD Marina Gumzi. Slovenia, 2019, color, 81 min. In Slovenian and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE AUGUST VIRGIN [LA VIRGEN DE AGOSTO]
Wed, Dec. 18, 7:00 p.m.*; Thurs, Dec. 19, 5:00 p.m.
*Q&A with actor Vito Sanz on Dec 18
On the verge of turning 33, Eva decides to spend her August in Madrid, where the heat and holiday festivities (las verbenas) drive most locals to abandon the city. From her borrowed flat, and without grand ambitions, she crosses paths with old friends and new acquaintances. Lazy summer days turn into nights of philosophical reverie. Seeking small revelations from the world around her, Eva embarks on a journey of self-discovery that unfolds on screen as a joyous, magical summer tale. Winner of the FIPRESCI prize at the 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the latest film from director Jonás Trueba (THE WISHFUL THINKERS) is a lovely rumination on new beginnings. Winner, FIPRESCI and Special Jury Prizes, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Chicago International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Jonás Trueba; SCR Itsaso Arana; PROD Javier Lafuente. Spain, 2019, color, 125 min. In English, Spanish and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
2019 Oscar® Selection, Sweden
AND THEN WE DANCED
Sat, Dec. 7, 7:10 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 8, 7:10 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 9, 5:00 p.m.
Levan Gelbakhiani dazzles as Merab, the star student at Georgia’s national dance academy whose customary role as the leading male dancer is usurped by the arrival of a talented newcomer, Irakli (Bachi Valishvili). But feelings of rivalry soon become mutual attraction for the pair of young dancers navigating the institutionalized, rigidly conservative world of traditional Georgian dance. Georgian-Swedish filmmaker Levan Akin’s drama overflows with finely observed social details and boasts outstanding performances from its talented young cast of actor/dancers. Winner, Best Actor (Gelbakhiani), 2019 Sarajevo Film Festival; Nominee, Queer Palm, 2019 Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR Levan Akin; PROD Ketie Danelia, Mathilde Dedye. Sweden/Georgia/France, 2019, color, 105 min. In Georgian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
SORRY WE MISSED YOU
Fri, Dec. 6, 7:20 p.m.
Ken Loach’s follow-up to 2016’s Palm d’Or-winning I, DANIEL BLAKE interrogates another facet of life in contemporary Britain, this time taking on the harsh realities of the gig economy through the lens of one family struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. Ricky (Kris Hitchen), a former construction worker who lost his job and home in the crash, is keen to make a go of it when a friend suggests he take a job as a semi-freelance delivery driver. Though it sounds appealing, it is soon clear that without any of the benefits of conventional employment, Ricky will need to run himself ragged just to call it a wash, forfeiting even the basic need for a bathroom break to keep on track and meet the steep daily targets. When Ricky convinces his wife, Abbie (Debbie Honeywood), an equally hardworking home care nurse, to sell her car so that he can buy his own van and avoid the unaffordable daily rental rate charged by the delivery firm, what starts as a step toward independence risks dragging Ricky and his family further and further behind. Winner, Audience Award, Best European Film, 2019 San Sebastián International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Toronto, Busan and Chicago film festivals. DIR Ken Loach; SCR Paul Laverty; PROD Rebecca O’Brien. UK/France/Belgium, 2019, color, 100 min. In English. NOT RATED
Fri, Dec. 6, 9:30 p.m.; Mon, Dec. 9, 9:20 p.m.; Tue, Dec. 10, 5:00 p.m.
Written and directed by Brian Welsh (BLACK MIRROR), this bittersweet, nostalgic view of ‘90s rave culture in suburban Scotland plays like TRAINSPOTTING’s more endearing kid brother. Against his parents’ wishes, 15-year-old Jonno (Cristian Ortega) is best friends with likable lunkhead Spanner (Lorn Macdonald), a kid from the wrong side of the tracks. With Jonno moving away to a more respectable neighborhood, the two friends light out for one last daring adventure together: attending a massive underground rave, planned as a protest against the spectacularly ill-conceived 1994 law prohibiting any “gathering around repetitive beats.” The soundtrack features iconic music from The Prodigy, Orbital, Liquid Liquid and Inner City. Official Selection, 2019 Rotterdam and Slamdance film festivals. DIR/SCR Brian Welsh; SCR Kieran Hurley, based on his play; PROD Camilla Bray. UK, 2019, color/b&w, 101 min. In English. NOT RATED
Fri, Dec. 20, 5:45 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 21, 5:00 p.m.
Described by The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw as “like F. W. Murnau directing an episode of EASTENDERS,” Cornish director Mark Jenkin’s (GOLDEN BURN) hypnotic, hilarious and utterly original seaside melodrama has taken the festival circuit by storm since debuting at this year’s Berlinale to sold-out crowds. Set in a once-thriving Cornish fishing village, BAIT tracks the ongoing war between locals and tourists through the eyes of Martin (comedian Edward Rowe), a proud fisherman forced to sell his boat and relinquish his home to a fancy London family looking for a weekend getaway spot. A weird and wonderful tale of gentrification, masculine pride and small-town anxiety, BAIT would be a worthy companion piece to Robert Egger’s THE LIGHTHOUSE, Guy Maddin’s MY WINNIPEG or Sergei Eisenstein’s STRIKE. Shot on 16mm film in grainy black and white and hand developed, the film’s unique visual style complements its beautifully handled blend of the comic, the sublime, the surreal and all-too-real, making it a breakout feature not to be missed. Winner, Audience Award, Best Feature Film, 2019 IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Berlin, New Directors/New Films, Edinburgh, Vancouver and Galway film festivals. DIR/SCR Mark Jenkin; PROD Kate Byers, Linn Waite. UK, 2019, b&w, 89 min. In English. NOT RATED