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And Then We Danced

In Tbilisi, Georgia, teenage Merab lives in a crowded apartment where the electricity gets turned off as regularly as his phone runs out of data, forcing him to panhandle. After a lifetime of rigorous training alongside his dance/romantic partner Mary, Merab has hitched his hopes for an escape from his circumstances to a coveted slot in the Georgian National Dance Ensemble. But the tradition-bound regional ensemble leader thinks Merab is too “soft” to master the challenging, athletic choreography. The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli—gifted with perfect form and movement, and equipped with a rebellious streak and eyes full of mischief—upends Merab’s dedication to the company and his relationship with Mary, with galvanizing results. Levan Akin’s gorgeous film is a feast for the senses and an emotional tug on the heart. With his exuberant physicality, star Levan Gelbakhiani, who won the Best Actor award at the Sarajevo Film Festival, shapes Akin’s story into a joyous
Thu, Oct 10, 2019 6:00 PM
Fri, Oct 11, 2019 2:45 PM
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Blackbird

SPECIAL PREMIERE: With unvarnished clarity, unflinching courage, and delicate grace, versatile British director Roger Michell (Tea with the Dames, Le Week-End, MVFF 2013) sensitively examines the complex strands of parental, sibling, and other intimate relationships as three generations of an American family gather over the course of a weekend to bid farewell to their matriarch Lily (Susan Sarandon), who has chosen to take control over her final moments before end-stage ALS robs her of that dignity. Lily uses her indomitable will and her wicked sense of humor to counter the physical pain, but the idyllic weekend she envisioned is quickly sabotaged by her sparring adult daughters (Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska) who cast last minute doubts about her end-of-life decision. Michell has carved a niche in crafting unconventional, nuanced portraits of adults over 50, and with the stunningly cinematographic Blackbird, the complexities of long-term marriage and the two-way
Sat, Oct 12, 2019 4:30 PM
Sun, Oct 13, 2019 11:15 AM
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By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu)

If you think Spotlight (MVFF 2015) is all that the cinema world has to say about the trauma of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, François Ozon has some powerful news for you. Acclaimed for his stylish, sexually playful oeuvre (8 Women, Swimming Pool), Ozon radically shifts registers here with a gripping ripped-from-the-headlines exposé of a nationwide scandal still unfolding in France today. Ozon’s unlikely heroes (only lightly fictionalized) are three adult male survivors (top French talents Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, and Swann Arlaud) of the venerable and predatory Father Bernard Preynat. Discovering that their former tormentor has been reassigned to Lyon and has apparently been shielded all along by a heavenly institution hellbent on silence, the men—still scarred and facing near-insurmountable challenges to their faith—begin a movement to bring the Church to account. Sensitively performed and tautly constructed, this film—winner of the Silver Bear G
Mon, Oct 7, 2019 8:45 PM
Thu, Oct 10, 2019 2:45 PM
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Carmilla

Based on a 19th-century gothic novel (pre-dating Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 30 years), this evocative and supernaturally-inflected coming-of-age tale combines the beauty, gruesomeness, and inevitability of nature with a young girl’s burgeoning sexuality. Lara (Hannah Rae, Broadchurch), an isolated teenager, certainly earns the frequent palm whackings from her stern governess, Miss Fontaine (Jessica Raine, Call the Midwife). Fascinated with the macabre, Lara borrows "forbidden" anatomy books from her father’s study and uses her left hand to eat despite the governess' admonitions. When a carriage overturns on the road outside the estate, its injured occupant, the spirited and sensuous young Carmilla, takes up residence in the home for her recuperation. Lara develops a growing obsession with the enigmatic houseguest, and strange events unfold. When Lara falls mysteriously ill in the same manner as other girls in the region, suspicions turn to Carmilla as the source of t
Mon, Oct 7, 2019 9:00 PM
Tue, Oct 8, 2019 11:30 AM
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The Conductor (De dirigent)

Feminist icon Antonia Brico, for those not (yet!) familiar with her, was the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic. Internationally acclaimed for her work with the Berlin Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and her own Women’s Symphony Orchestra, the story of Brico’s rise from poverty to prominence in her field is truly extraordinary. Director Maria Peters' cinematically stunning and inspirational biopic tells the tale of a defiant and determined Dutch working-class immigrant (and SF Bay Area transplant) in the early 20th century. Raised by a stern and tradition-bound foster family, Brico must choose between her passion to train as an orchestra conductor—unimaginable for a woman of her time—and the comforts and constraints of traditional gender roles and functions. With galvanizing performances by Christianne de Bruijn (as Brico) and Scott Turner Schofield (as Antonia’s dedicated friend and confidant), this unforgettable drama brings Brico’s story to life with vibrant
Sat, Oct 5, 2019 2:00 PM
Sun, Oct 6, 2019 8:00 PM
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Ema

Premiering in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Pablo Larraín’s latest provocation Ema is a modern-day melodrama surrounding a crisis of understanding in how we define family in today’s shifting world. Expressed mostly through exhilarating contemporary reggaetón dance and based on the lives of real-life street dancers, the story oscillates around an unraveling couple dealing with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry. Gael García Bernal (MVFF Award 2016) plays the choreographer of a volatile dance company while Mariana Di Girolamo makes a stunning screen debut as his wife, a schoolteacher by day and a wildly self-possessed dancer by night.
Tue, Oct 8, 2019 8:30 PM
Wed, Oct 9, 2019 11:15 AM
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Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria)

Cinema has no shortage of movies about filmmakers looking back on their life and work, but few are as profoundly bittersweet as Pain and Glory, two-time Oscar® winner Pedro Almodóvar’s greatest film in years. Almodóvar veteran Antonio Banderas won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his career-defining performance as Salvador Mallo, a famed director who suspects his best years are behind him. What follows is a lovely, poignant, and sometimes pointed series of reminiscences as Salvador reexamines the crucial moments and individuals—including his adoring mother in a terrific turn from another Almodóvar regular, Penélope Cruz—that defined him. Drawing comparisons to reflexive masterpieces such as Fellini’s , Pain and Glory wrestles with big picture quandaries about the nature of art and the artist, while remaining deeply personal and candid. Salvador may be faltering, but the same certainly can’t be said for the two artists marvelously bringing him
Sun, Oct 6, 2019 8:15 PM
Tue, Oct 8, 2019 2:30 PM
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Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu)

Following such exceptional works as Water Lilies, Tomboy, and Girlhood, Céline Sciamma’s fourth feature is a staggering masterwork of indelible artistry, uncompromising vision, and emotional power. Gifted painter Marianne (a revelatory Noémie Merlant) arrives on a remote island to render the wedding portrait of Héloïse (a haunting Adèle Haenel, who made a splash as the object of affection in Sciamma’s feature debut Water Lilies) without the latter's knowledge or permission. As Marianne studies her subject's movements and moods, an intense bond starts to take hold with unexpected results. With a visual and emotional power reminiscent of Jane Campion’s The Piano (still the only film directed by a woman to win the Palme d’Or) and ample support from both veteran Italian actress Valeria Golino (Daughter of Mine, MVFF 2018) and promising newcomer Luàna Bajrami (School’s Out)
Fri, Oct 4, 2019 7:30 PM
Wed, Oct 9, 2019 3:00 PM
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The Prince (El príncipe)

Jaime is an orphaned teenager in 1970s Chile, sent to prison after a rash act of violence. His mouth set in defiance and fear, Jaime hardly speaks at first, obeying the commands of an older cellmate called The Stud—played with smoldering ferocity by MVFF regular Alfredo Castro (Museo, MVFF 2018; Neruda, MVFF 2016)—who takes Jaime under his wing and nicknames him The Prince. As their bond deepens, the erotically charged world of the prison takes on a steamy air of Derek Jarman by way of Jean Genet, alternating moments of brutality and tenderness among the shifting power games of this aggressive machismo society. Amid an economy of bartered polyester garments and tango guitar lessons, Jaime finds his voice and must confront whether he’s more truly himself behind bars than he ever was in the stifling life he left behind. The Prince opens and closes in blood, but at its beating heart, it’s an unconventional—and very sexy—love story.
Sun, Oct 6, 2019 5:45 PM
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Song Without a Name (Canción sin nombre)

An indigenous woman living outside Lima, Peru, pregnant Georgina sells potatoes in the market and performs in a traditional dance troupe with her partner. She’s lured to the capital to give birth after hearing a radio announcement about a clinic there, a come-on which proves too good to be true when her newborn is stolen from her. Desperate to find her daughter and ignored by the police, a distraught Georgina joins forces with Pedro, a newspaper reporter hiding secrets of his own. In an effort to discover the truth, Georgina and Pedro collect testimonials from the mothers of other kidnapped children and uncover corruption at the highest levels of government. Based on actual events in 1980s Peru, director Melina León based her debut feature on a story first reported by her father, Ismael. This astonishing drama, which premiered at Cannes earlier this year, is filmed in lustrous black and white and features a brooding score by Pauchi Sasaki.
Tue, Oct 8, 2019 6:15 PM
Wed, Oct 9, 2019 1:00 PM
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Synonyms (Synonymes)

Undoubtedly one of the year’s most exciting and unpredictable cinematic rides, Nadav Lapid’s brilliant and caustically funny follow-up to The Kindergarten Teacher begins with Yoav (electrifying newcomer Tom Mercier), a handsome Israeli ex-soldier, arriving in Paris intent on shedding his native language, heritage, and self—for reasons that may be either neurotic, erratic, or perhaps post-traumatic. Yoav sheds everything, and fast: the opening scene leaves him utterly naked in an empty apartment, where a pair of haute-bourgeois and sexually ambiguous French newlyweds soon take him in. But the more desperately Yoav tries to assimilate to his new culture—he tests out his mastery of French in torrents of antiquated verbal nuances and phrases—the more it appears that he may not be able to escape the identity he's fleeing. Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and featuring Mercier’s tour-de-force physical performance, Synonyms is boldly iconoclast
Sat, Oct 5, 2019 11:00 AM
Sun, Oct 6, 2019 8:30 PM
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Where's My Roy Cohn?

Roy Cohn loved the best tables at the finest restaurants, the toughest legal cases, the richest and most famous as his friends. But what this notorious New York lawyer loved more than anything was power, and he spent his entire career going after it by manipulating the media, spinning setbacks into personal PR “wins,” and a simple credo: Never apologize—just attack. It was a lesson he’d pass on to everyone from political hopefuls to paparazzi-bait clients to protegés like a real-estate developer named Donald Trump. Acclaimed documentarian Matt Tyrnauer (Studio 54, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood) gives us the definitive look at one of the most divisive figures of the 20th century: a man who made his name as Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man during the HUAC hearings, who represented Mafia capos, and counseled President Reagan, and whose shadow looms far too large on today’s divided states of America.
Sat, Oct 5, 2019 4:45 PM
Tue, Oct 8, 2019 12:00 PM
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Why Can't I Be Me? Around You

A chance encounter between recently transitioned mechanic Rusty Tidenberg and filmmaker Harrod Blank (Wild Wheels, Automorphisis) sparks a captivating portrayal of the multifaceted life of a transgender woman. Blank, son of revered documentarian Les Blank, first hires Rusty to work on his broken-down van, an interactive art car adorned with cameras, leading to their unexpected collaboration. Blank follows Rusty’s life over eight years, capturing her as she navigates her relationship with her unaccepting father, the changing landscape of romance, and the intricacies of being a woman. Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You—which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year—weaves in the voices of other art car aficionados and artists similarly exploring the gender spectrum but always returns to the philosophical Rusty. Through a series of intimate conversations about art cars, drag races, and personal struggles and triumphs, Blank vividly captures Rusty’s journey to
Sat, Oct 5, 2019 4:30 PM
Sat, Oct 12, 2019 8:15 PM
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