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22 July

Recreating the sweep of history is familiar territory for Oscar®-nominated director Paul Greengrass, who previously made the riveting United 93 and Bloody Sunday (MVFF 2002). This time he applies his visceral immediacy to the aftermath of an attack—that of July 22, 2011, when a right-wing terrorist killed 77 Norwegians, bombing a government building in Oslo before going on a horrific murder spree at a summer youth camp. Democracy steels its resolve to follow the rule of law while reeling from the terrible loss in this drama told in the director’s signature style of naturalistic intimacy. Greengrass follows a recovering youth’s therapy and PTSD, a prime minister urging transparency, and the defense attorney committed to his client’s rights (but not his cause), meticulously entwining these threads to a powerful climax in a story about a nation dedicated to progress in the face of fear and hope in the shadow of hate.
Sat, Oct 6 7:00 PM
Tue, Oct 9 8:45 PM
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3 Faces (Se rokh)

In this fascinating, tender-hearted road movie, famed Iranian actress Behnaz Jafari, playing herself, journeys from her latest film set to a remote village. She’s responding to a desperate video from a young woman who dreams of becoming an actress, but whose family won’t let her leave home. Encounters that are both whimsical and delightfully curious—an old woman who’s trying out her grave for size; a stud bull, the ultimate symbol of virility, that’s fallen and broken his leg—provide a thematic backdrop for this exploration of women and men, tradition and freedom of choice. And at the helm on this journey is Behnaz’s driver, director Jafar Pahani who, as he did in Taxi (MVFF 2015), takes the wheel as a character in his fourth film since Iran banned him from making movies in 2011. In storytelling that’s deceptively simple, Panahi creates a richly layered and eloquent journey—right down to the last image.
Fri, Oct 5 6:30 PM
Sat, Oct 6 8:15 PM
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Los adioses

From Mexican filmmaker Natalia Beristáin (She Doesn’t Want to Sleep Alone) comes this riveting biopic of Rosario Castellanos, one of the most important literary voices to emerge from 20th century Mexico. As a young woman in postwar Mexico City, well-read university student Rosario (Tessa Ia The Burning Plain) transcends the era’s patriarchal society to grow into an influential poet and author. A volatile romance with her college sweetheart, Ricardo Guerra (Daniel Giménez Cacho, Zama), provides a personal avenue for her explorations of feminism and femininity, but the relationship grows tense as Rosario’s career blossoms, leaving her with a difficult choice. Beautifully shot, superbly acted, and immensely thoughtful, Los adioses is an engrossing drama and an insightful portrait of a writer’s life. Actress Karina Gidi (Abel), who plays the older Rosario, deservedly took home the Best Actress trophy at the Ariel Awards, Mexico’s equivalent of the Academy
Tue, Oct 9 8:45 PM
Thu, Oct 11 12:00 PM
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Alifu the Prince/ss

The struggle between upholding tradition and moving forward in the modern world is beautifully depicted in this heartfelt tale of the only son of an indigenous tribal leader in present day Taiwan. Alifu (newcomer Utjung Tjakivalid, who won a Best New Talent award at the Taipei Film Festival) lives in two worlds: In Taipei, she’s a hairdresser with a chosen family saving up to have sexual reassignment surgery; in rural Taitung, she’s still known as the son of the ailing tribal leader who is unaware of Alifu’s other life and wishes to pass the reigns onto his only son. With high production values and a number of sensational drag performances, Alifu, the Prince/ss intercuts the title character’s story with intersecting tales of romance among her chosen family, painting a diverse portrait of LGBTQ life in Taiwan and capturing the universal feeling of longing for love and connection, whether those feelings are reciprocated or not.
Sat, Oct 13 4:45 PM
Sun, Oct 14 2:15 PM
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Amalia the Secretary (Amalia la secretaria)

At the crossroads of stoicism and paranoia, a rigid, rather cranky, Type A secretary named Amalia (the hilarious Marcela Benjumea) begins to unravel as carefree repairman Lázaro (Enrique Carriazo) waltzes into her life, introducing her (and effectively filling up her meticulous daily planner) to a world of cumbia, yoga, and spontaneous flirtation. As the CEO she loyally serves weighs the pros and cons of suicide versus reporting failing numbers at an impending board meeting, Amalia must choose whether to invest her high-functioning administrative energy into saving the company or launching a joie de vivre startup for herself and Lázaro, instead. With a close eye for detail, director Andrés Burgos captures the universal language of awkward office passive aggression, complete with clinking pens and shuffling paperwork, while juxtaposing the quotidian Colombian life of caring for elderly parents, commuting to work, and frequenting the local discoteca.
Thu, Oct 11 6:15 PM
Fri, Oct 12 3:00 PM
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El ángel

On the cusp of a sexual awakening, 19-year-old Carlitos (Lorenzo Ferro) meets a handsome classmate (Chino Darín), the son of a gun-toting father, and quickly graduates from adorable burglar to full-on sociopath. The titular “ángel” of Luis Ortega’s fourth feature, a box office smash in its native Argentina, is Carlos Robledo Puch, appearing barely post-pubescent with a soft white belly, golden ringlets, and a ruby-tinged pout—looking at odds with his starring role in a notorious 1970s crime spree. Bearing the artistic mark of Pedro Almodóvar (who co-produced the film), this true-crime tale deploys black humor, exuberant pop music, perfect period details, and some anachronistic art, providing subtle historical context in Argentina’s dictatorship and repressive machismo culture without excusing Carlitos’ behavior. Ferro and Darín deliver sensational turns as the criminal duo, with added support from the great Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother) and Mercedes Morán (La ciénaga
Sun, Oct 7 9:00 PM
Mon, Oct 8 8:45 PM
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Ash Is Purest White (Jiang hu er nv)

Revered Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke (Mountains May Depart) often chronicles the seismic cultural and political shifts in his homeland through his thoughtful, meticulous dramas. Ash Is Purest White is no different, blending a rich character study with a gangster epic while examining how the passage of time asserts itself on both individuals and societies. The film focuses on Qiao (Zhao Tao, the director’s wife and frequent collaborator), who’s devoted to her gangster boyfriend—so much so that she takes the rap for him on a gun charge. Five years later, Qiao is released from prison and tries to pick up the pieces of her old life, only to discover that much of the outside world has changed. Zhao is superb in the lead, bringing emotional shading and a quiet steeliness to a gangster epic that veers brilliantly from the surreal to the melancholy. You may never hear “Y.M.C.A.” the same way again.
Sun, Oct 7 7:30 PM
Sun, Oct 14 11:00 AM
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Becoming Astrid (Unga Astrid)

Before there was Pippi (Longstocking), there was the talented journalist and aspiring writer, Astrid Lindgren. And prior to her emergence as a beloved, world-renowned children’s author, there was the free-spirited Astrid Ericsson (Alba August, A Serious Game, MVFF 2016), a small-town teenager bursting with anarchic energy, doing the Charleston by herself at the village dance. This superb coming-of-age narrative connects the dots between Lindgren’s most famous character, Pippi, and her own remarkable defiance of social norms, as a fiercely independent-minded career woman and unwed mother, by choice. Astrid’s restless curiosity leads her into, and out of, an affair with her married boss—and the resulting pregnancy left-turns the film from biopic territory into a taut drama about the struggles of single motherhood in 1920s Sweden. Gorgeously shot (the camera is always hurrying after Astrid, trying to catch up), the storytelling is swift and understated, perfectly suited to the pion
Thu, Oct 11 6:00 PM
Fri, Oct 12 2:00 PM
Sat, Oct 13 2:30 PM
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Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano)

Directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (the luminous, Academy Award®-nominated Embrace of the Serpent, MVFF 2015) seamlessly blend gorgeous cinematography in the breathtaking wilderness of the Guajira desert and an atmospheric soundtrack to depict the escalating power struggle between two Wayuu clans in this drama based on an incredible and surprising true story that feels as timeless as a Shakespearean tragedy. During Colombia’s marijuana boom in the 1970s, a Wayuu family is torn between upholding indigenous values of aligned word and deed and amassing money, guns, and power. Prodigal son Rapayet (José Acosta) and seer matriarch Ursula (Carmiña Martínez) try to have it both ways, teetering back and forth between tradition and profits. As the feud escalates and the families grow away from their customs—honoring their ancestors and living a spiritual life—in the increasingly modern world, the film barrels toward an explosive, surprising climax.
Wed, Oct 10 3:30 PM
Thu, Oct 11 8:30 PM
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Border (Gräns)

Customs agent Tina has a special talent for sniffing out all manner of malfeasance using her extraordinary sense of smell. Subjected to crude comments from co-workers and cruel treatment at home from her sponger boyfriend, Tina has become a target—for all the ways she is different from everyone else. But when she meets the mysterious Vore, the foundations of her universe begin to crumble. Based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In, MVFF 2008), Border is a gender- and genre-bending love story combining equal parts magical realism, dark humor, and spot-on contemporary social critique, whirled into a jaw-dropping tale in which absolutely nothing—and no one—is who, or what, they seem. Featuring the prodigious acting talents of Eva Melander (Sebbe, MVFF 2010) and Eero Milonoff (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, MVFF 2016), director Ali Abbasi won the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes for this unforgettable film.
Wed, Oct 10 6:00 PM
Thu, Oct 11 9:15 PM
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Burning (Beoning)

A brittle romantic triangle powers revered Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s (Poetry) exquisite adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning.” A relationship blossoms between deliveryman Jong-su and his former classmate Hae-mi when they run into each other after many years. Then Hae-mi returns from a trip to Africa with a new friend, handsome playboy Ben (The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun). A critical darling at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Burning expertly explores class, identity, and love as it concocts a mesmerizing mystery. The characters’ motivations are often oblique in a film that blends genres so deftly that it is almost impossible to know exactly where it’s headed. Burning’s ensemble is a master class of nuance, and Lee takes his time revealing his story’s surprises, resulting in a devastating examination of the secrets and lies we all carry around with us.
Wed, Oct 10 2:30 PM
Thu, Oct 11 11:15 AM
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Capernaum (Capharnaüm)

A 12-year-old boy, Zain, sues his parents in court: Asked why, he replies, “For giving me life.” Director Nadine Labaki’s (Caramel, MVFF 2007) deeply moving film opens our eyes—and our hearts—to the plight of the dispossessed, notably children. Zain runs away when his parents sell his beloved sister into marriage; life on the street pushes his resourcefulness to the limits. Meeting Rahil, an Ethiopian woman without papers, he babysits her (adorable) toddler while she works. Until, one day, she doesn’t return. As Zain, real-life Syrian refugee Zain Al Rafeea is extraordinary, an old soul in a wise-child body. Using nonprofessional actors whose personal backgrounds mirror what we see onscreen (think, Salaam Bombay!), Labaki is “trying to understand how the system fails these kids.” In doing so, she addresses one of the most pressing humanitarian issues worldwide, doing so with compassion rather than blame. It’s a profound achievement that received a Jury Prize at Cannes.
Sat, Oct 13 8:15 PM
Sun, Oct 14 1:30 PM
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Chris the Swiss

After a Swiss journalist is found dead wearing the uniform of a right-wing paramilitary unit during the Balkan Wars in the early 1990s, more questions than answers surface about his murder. Using leftover notebooks, archival news footage, and recollections of colleagues and family members, Anja Kofmel traces her cousin Christian Würtenberg’s mysterious transformation from idealistic war correspondent to doomed mercenary. Animated black-and-white drawings are cut expertly into the documentary footage, providing a heartfelt portrait of the adventurous young man Kofmel remembers from childhood as well as filling in visuals for the unknowable parts of his story. Kofmel does not flinch from the intensity of the conflagration nor Würtenberg’s dubious role in it, but with deft direction, she pulls her lens wide enough to reveal the hazards of front-line journalism and the irrevocable price of getting too deeply involved in the story.
Fri, Oct 12 2:45 PM
Sat, Oct 13 7:30 PM
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Cold War (Zimna wojna)

TRIBUTE: Based loosely on the lives of his parents—to whom the film is dedicated—Oscar®-winning director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War paints a portrait of complicated love during a period of great peril. This bittersweet drama, shot in luminous black and white, traces the courtship of Wiktor (Tomasz Kot), a composer, and Zula (Joanna Kulig), a singer and dancer, over several years, with their tempestuous relationship mirroring the fear and uncertainty of life during Communism. Much like Pawlikowski’s acclaimed Ida, Cold War examines mid-century Poland with somber specificity, but the actors’ performances bring a fire to this deceptively elegant romance. Pawlikowski tells his story in scattered vignettes, like a faded scrapbook with pages missing, resulting in a dreamy, half-remembered reverie. Winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, Cold War’s message of how love ebbs and flows—and also how it’s shaped by the trauma of its times—will speak to audiences
Fri, Oct 5 7:00 PM
Mon, Oct 8 3:00 PM
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Daughter of Mine (Figlia mia)

In a dusty, isolated village in Sardinia, two vastly different women and one 10-year-old girl share a secret that threatens to unmoor the family relationships anchoring their lives. Tina (Valeria Golino) is the serious, devoted mother of young blonde Botticellian Vittoria; but when her daughter starts spending more time in the company of reckless Angelica—whom the town dismisses as a boozy tramp—Tina is both wary of and resigned to the unspoken bond that draws her daughter towards this magnetic lost soul. As she weaves the complex loyalties of motherhood, director Laura Bispuri leans again (as in her marvelous debut feature Sworn Virgin) on actor Alba Rohrbacher, who captivates as the dissipated Angelica; and on cinematographer Vladan Radovic, whose intimate, handheld view into these women’s lives reveals a world of emotions hiding behind hardened exteriors, much as their village hides its human dramas from the oblivious tourists basking on its sun-drenched beaches.
Sun, Oct 7 6:15 PM
Tue, Oct 9 9:15 PM
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Ernesto

Japanese-Bolivian medical student Freddy Maemura Hurtado (Japanese superstar Joe Odagiri) travels to Cuba in 1962 to become a doctor, but instead joins Che Guevara’s guerrilla army to fight alongside his hero in this powerful, anti-war biopic. A fascinating Cold War footnote, Freddy’s story resonates with themes that speak sharply to today: from the ongoing threat of nuclear war to the perpetual injustice of poverty, proxy wars, and illegitimate foreign-backed governments. An unusual Japanese-Cuban co-production, shot largely (and evocatively) in Cuba, the film personalizes its politics through Freddy’s transformation from serious, idealistic student into an unlikely revolutionary who idolizes Che and quietly burns with moral outrage. Anger at America is a pulsing vein throughout the drama, but the pointed question the film asks is: What should one do? Is the struggle for freedom, peace, and justice worth risking one’s life? The earnest, uncynical answer is yes.
Thu, Oct 11 6:00 PM
Fri, Oct 12 8:45 PM
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Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)

Two-time Oscar® winner Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman, MVFF 2016) delivers another powerful portrait of family secrets and complicated moral questions with Everybody Knows. Set in Spain, married Laura (Penélope Cruz) has returned to her hometown for the first time in years for her sister’s wedding, only to be reunited with her former lover Paco (Javier Bardem). But when her daughter goes missing, Laura faces a terrible dilemma: Did she run off… or has she been kidnapped? Everybody Knows is a gripping thriller with more than one mystery at its core, investigating not just the disappearance of the daughter but also the unspoken tensions coursing through Laura. Oscar®-winning real-life husband and wife Bardem and Cruz give performances full of anguish and regret. But the film’s secret weapon is Bárbara Lennie (The Skin I Live In), who is dynamite as Paco’s wife, and who only slowly comes to understand how little about her spouse she truly knows.
Fri, Oct 5 6:00 PM
Sat, Oct 6 9:30 PM
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The Favourite

In the latest audacious offering from world cinema’s leading provocateur Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Oscar® winners Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone vie for the affections of—and influence over—sickly Queen Anne (a gloriously unhinged Olivia Colman) as England engages in the War of the Spanish Succession. Hardened and loyal Sarah Churchill (Weisz), the Duchess of Marlborough, rests easy knowing her favor with the Queen, but the arrival of her distant cousin Abigail (Stone)—an affable, spirited servant whose ladyship was gambled away by her father—in the castle creates a dangerous triad of lust, jealousy, and power plays. With nods to Peter Greenaway, Lanthimos infuses The Favourite with his signature brand of hilariously deadpan humor, with the three leads perfectly matched to his bawdy wit in yet another truly unforgettable dissection of the darker side of human nature.
Sat, Oct 6 4:00 PM
Wed, Oct 10 2:15 PM
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