It's A Disaster Dir. Todd Berger
Eight friends meet for their monthly “couples brunch." But what starts as an impromptu therapy session / airing of domestic grievances takes a sudden, catastrophic turn when the city falls victim to a mysterious attack. Trapped in the house and unsure of their fates, these seemingly normal people become increasingly unhinged to hilarious, surprising, and revealing results.
IT'S A DISASTER is a fast-paced ensemble comedy about the worst brunch ever: the eggs are cold, the tensions are high, and the end is near.
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Reality Dir. Matteo Garrone
From acclaimed director Matteo Garrone, REALITY is a darkly comic look at Luciano, a charming and affable fishmonger whose unexpected and sudden obsession with being a contestant on the reality show “Big Brother” leads him down a rabbit hole of skewed perceptions and paranoia. So overcome by his dream of being on reality TV, Luciano’s own reality begins to spiral out of control, making for one of the most compelling tragicomic character studies since Scorsese’s The King of Comedy.
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Only The Young Dir. Jason Tippet & Elizabeth Mims
ONLY THE YOUNG follows the story of three teenagers that live in a small desert town in Southern California – a town dominated by foreclosed homes and underpasses, unfilled swimming pools and skate parks. These kids must find things to do in a place that offers nothing – yet in the course of observing their day-to-day lives, we see them discover friendship, first love, heartbreak, and what it means to be young. Tippet and Mims’ delicate, ethereal filmmaking and ONLY THE YOUNG’s innocent yet rebellious subjects collectively embody the very essence of adolescence.
Tchoupitoulas Dir. Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross
TCHOUPITOULAS is a lyrical documentary that follows three adolescent brothers as they journey through one night in New Orleans, encountering a vibrant kaleidoscope of dancers, musicians, hustlers, and revelers parading through the lamplit streets. The filmmakers fully immerse us into the New Orleans night, passing through many lively and luminous locations and introducing us to the people who make the city their home.
Wuthering Heights Dir. Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold's WUTHERING HEIGHTS is an excitingly fresh and distinct take on the classic novel by Emily Brontë.
An epic love story that spans childhood well into the young adult years, the film follows Heathcliff, a boy taken in by a benevolent Yorkshire farmer, Earnshaw. Living in Earnshaw's home, Heathcliff develops a passionate relationship with the farmer's teenage daughter, Catherine, inspiring the envy and mistrust of his son, Hindley. When Earnshaw passes away, the now-grown characters must finally confront the intense feelings and rivalries that have built up throughout their years together.
Arnold's film is a beautiful and evocative visual masterpiece that brings out the powerful emotions at the heart of Brontë's classic novel, resulting in a viscerally affecting love story. It is a sweepingly old-fashioned tale of family, class, and romance told in a bracingly modern way by one of contemporary cinema's most gifted and unique filmmakers.
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Hello I Must Be Going Dir. Todd Louiso
Selected as the opening night film for Sundance 2012, HELLO I MUST BE GOING features acclaimed actress Melanie Lynskey (WIN WIN, UP IN THE AIR, TWO AND A HALF MEN) in her breakout role as Amy, a recent divorcée who seeks refuge in the suburban Connecticut home of her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein). Demoralized and uncertain of her future, Amy begins an affair with a 19-year-old actor (GIRLS’ Christopher Abbott) that jumpstarts her passion for life and helps her discover an independence and sense of purpose that she has missed for years. Coupling Danner’s subtly riveting performance as a frustrated empty nester with Lynskey’s endearing and nuanced depiction of both the comic and tragic avenues of an existential crossroads, HELLO I MUST BE GOING is a modern, unconventional love story infused with sex, humor, and emotional honesty – everything Amy will need to get on in life.
Samsara Dir. Ron Fricke
Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience. SAMSARA reunites director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson, whose award-winning films BARAKA and CHRONOS were acclaimed for combining visual and musical artistry. SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.
Expanding on the themes they developed in BARAKA (1992) and CHRONOS (1985), SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man’s spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.
The filmmakers approach non verbal filmmaking with an understanding that it must live up to the standard of great still photography, revealing the essence of a subject, not just its physical presence. SAMSARA was photographed entirely in 70mm film utilizing both standard frame rates and with a motion control time-lapse camera designed specifically for this project. This camera system allows perspective shifts to reveal extraordinary views of ordinary scenes. The images were then transferred through the highest resolution scanning process available to the new 4K digital projection format that allows for mesmerizing images of unprecedented clarity. SAMSARA will be a showpiece for the new, high-resolution 4K digital projection, the HD format, as well as standard digital and film projection.
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28 Hotel Rooms Dir. Matt Ross
In this sexy, surprising romance, a man and a woman meet each other in a hotel while they are both traveling on business. Flirtation leads to a feverish night of sex that both find hard to forget. Although she’s married, and he has a girlfriend, their intense attraction turns a seemingly casual one-night stand into a continual series of passionate hotel trysts, uniting them in a profound and unconventional relationship.
Unfolding as a collage of moments—some sexy, some innocent, some profound, some silly—28 HOTEL ROOMS is an intimate portrait of an affair in which two people wrestle with the intoxication of sex and the confusion of loving more than one person.
Shut Up And Play The Hits Dir. Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace
If it’s a funeral… let’s have the best funeral ever.
On April 2nd, 2011, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM played its final show at Madison Square Garden. LCD frontman James Murphy had made the conscious decision to disband one of the most celebrated and influential bands of its generation at the peak of its popularity, ensuring that the band would go out on top with the biggest and most ambitious concert of its career. The instantly sold out, near four-hour extravaganza did just that, moving the thousands in attendance to tears of joy and grief, with New York Magazine calling the event “a marvel of pure craft” and TIME magazine lamenting “we may never dance again.” SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS is simultaneously a document of a once-in-a-lifetime performance and an intimate portrait of Murphy as he navigates both the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.
We Need To Talk About Kevin Dir. Lynne Ramsay
A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay’s WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN explores the fractious relationship between a mother and her evil son. Tilda Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller).
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva's own culpability is measured against Kevin's innate evilness. Ramsay's masterful storytelling simultaneously combines a provocative moral ambiguity with a satisfying and compelling narrative, which builds to a chilling, unforgettable climax.
If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front Dir. Marshall Curry
2012 ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE - BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
On December 7th, 2005, federal agents conducted a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front — an organization the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.”
IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT is the remarkable story of the group's rise and fall, told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. Part coming-of-age tale, part cops-and-robbers thriller, the film interweaves a chronicle of McGowan facing life in prison with a dramatic investigation of the events that led to his involvement with the ELF. Using never-before-seen archival footage and intimate interviews — with cell members and with the prosecutor and detective who were chasing them — IF A TREE FALLS asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.
Brooklyn Brothers Beat The Best Dir. Ryan O'Nan
Recently dumped by his girlfriend, underachiever Alex (O’Nan) embarks on an impromptu road trip with his new bandmate, the eccentric Jim (Michael Weston). By channeling their inner children and giving a new meaning to the term “lo-fi,” Alex and Jim find their unique style by bringing the sound of children’s instruments to their unsuspecting fans. Playing a series of bizarre shows and experiencing multiple near-disasters, Alex and Jim’s persistence takes them on a true coming-of-age journey – one that may be their last shot at achieving their childhood dreams.
Bellflower Dir. Evan Glodell
Best friends Woodrow and Aiden spend all of their free time building MAD MAX-inspired flamethrowers and muscle cars in preparation for a global apocalypse. But when Woodrow meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love, he and Aiden quickly integrate into a new group of friends, setting off on a journey of love and hate, betrayal, infidelity, and extreme violence more devastating and fiery than any of their apocalyptic fantasies.
The Other F Word Dir. Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
This revealing and touching film asks what happens when a generation's ultimate anti-authoritarians – punk rockers – become society's ultimate authorities – dads. With a large chorus of punk rock's leading men - Blink-182's Mark Hoppus, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath - THE OTHER F WORD follows Jim Lindberg, a 20-year veteran of the skate punk band Pennywise, on his hysterical and moving journey from belting his band's anthem ”F--k Authority,” to embracing his ultimately authoritarian role in mid-life: fatherhood.
Other dads featured in the film include skater Tony Hawk, Art Alexakis (Everclear), Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo), Tony Adolescent (The Adolescents), Fat Mike (NOFX), Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), and many others.
FLOW Dir. Irena Salina
Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century: the world water crisis.
Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.
Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culpritsbehind the water grab, while begging the question 'CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?'
Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.
Howl Dir. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
James Franco stars as the young Allen Ginsberg – poet, counter-culture adventurer and chronicler of the Beat Generation. In his famously confessional, leave-nothing-out style, Ginsberg recounts the road trips, love affairs and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless and electrifying work of his career, the poem HOWL. Meanwhile, in a San Francisco courtroom, HOWL is on trial. Prosecutor Ralph McIntosh (Strathairn) sets out to prove that the book should be banned, while suave defense attorney Jake Ehrlich (Hamm) argues fervently for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the passionate as a host of unusual witnesses (Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alesssandro Nivola) pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban).
HOWL is simultaneously a portrait of a renegade artist breaking down barriers to find love and redemption and an imaginative ride through a prophetic masterpiece that rocked a generation and was heard around the world.
A Film Unfinished Dir. Yael Hersonski
At the end of WWII, 60 minutes of raw film, having sat undisturbed in an East German archive, was discovered. Shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and labeled simply "Ghetto," this footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings of the footage. A FILM UNFINISHED presents the raw footage in its entirety, carefully noting fictionalized sequences (including a staged dinner party) falsely showing "the good life" enjoyed by Jewish urbanites, and probes deep into the making of a now-infamous Nazi propaganda film.
A FILM UNFINISHED is a film of enormous import, documenting some of the worst horrors of our time and exposing the efforts of its perpetrators to propel their agenda and cast it in a favorable light.
Monogamy Dir. Dana Adam Shapiro
Increasingly anxious about his impending marriage to Nat (Rashida Jones) and thoroughly bored with his day job as a wedding photographer, Theo (Chris Messina) establishes a hobby: he's hired by clients to clandestinely snap voyeuristic photos of them as they go about their days. Things go smoothly until a sexy exhibitionist (Meital Dohan) leads him into an all-consuming obsession. As Theo stalks her day and night, the woman's mysterious public trysts send him reeling, forcing him to confront uncomfortable truths about his sex life at home.
MONOGAMY is an acutely observed portrait of a relationship on the brink, a timely tale of masculinity tested by fantasy and fear of commitment.
Dear Zachary Dir. Kurt Kuenne
On November 5, 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was murdered in a parking lot in western Pennsylvania; the prime suspect, his ex-girlfriend Dr. Shirley Turner, promptly fled the United States for St. John's, Canada, where she announced that she was pregnant with Andrew's child. She named the little boy Zachary.
Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne, Andrew's oldest friend, began making a film for little Zachary as a way for him to get to know the father he'd never meet. But when Shirley Turner was released on bail in Canada and was given custody of Zachary while awaiting extradition to the U.S., the film's focus shifted to Zachary's grandparents, David & Kathleen Bagby, and their desperate efforts to win custody of the boy from the woman they knew had murdered their son.
What happened next, no one ever could have foreseen…
William S. Burroughs: A Man Within Dir. Yony Leyser
Featuring never-before-seen archival footage of Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with colleagues and confidants including John Waters, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Sonic Youth, Laurie Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, and David Cronenberg, WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS: A MAN WITHIN is a probing, yet loving look at the man whose works at once savaged conservative ideals, spawned countercultural movements, and reconfigured 20th century culture. The film is narrated by Peter Weller, with a soundtrack by Patti Smith and Sonic Youth.
Burroughs was one of the first writers to break the boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950's. His novel Naked Lunch is one of the most recognized and respected literary works of the 20th century and has influenced generations of artists. The intimate documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.
Wendy and Lucy Dir. Kelly Reichardt
Proving why she is one of the most highly-regarded auteurs of current cinema, Kelly Reichardt's (OLD JOY) subtle storytelling technique uses a formal minimalist style to weave together a unique emotional and political road film.
Wendy Carroll (Michelle Williams) is driving to Ketchikan, Alaska, in hopes of a summer of lucrative work at the Northwestern Fish cannery, and the start of a new life with her dog, Lucy. When her car breaks down in Oregon, however, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes apart, and she confronts a series of increasingly dire economic decisions, with far-ranging repercussions for herself and Lucy. WENDY AND LUCY addresses issues of sympathy and generosity at the edges of American life, revealing the limits and depths of people's duty to each other in tough times.
Based on the short story "TRAIN CHOIR" by Jon Raymond.
Burma VJ Dir. Anders Østergaard
Anders Østergaard's award-winning documentary shows a rare inside look into the 2007 uprising in Myanmar through the cameras of the independent journalist group, Democratic Voice of Burma.
While 100,000 people (including 1,000s of Buddhist monks) took to the streets to protest the country's repressive regime that has held them hostage for over 40 years, foreign news crews were banned to enter and the Internet was shut down. The Democratic Voice of Burma, a collective of 30 anonymous and underground video journalists (VJs) recorded these historic and dramatic events on handycams and smuggled the footage out of the country, where it was broadcast worldwide via satellite. Risking torture and life imprisonment, the VJs vividly document the brutal clashes with the military and undercover police – even after they themselves become targets of the authorities.
Treeless Mountain Dir. So Yong Kim
When their mother needs to leave in order to find their estranged father, seven year-old Jin and her younger sister, Bin, are left to live with their Big Aunt for the summer. With only a small piggy bank and their mother's promise to return when it is full, the two young girls are forced to acclimate to changes in their family life. Counting the days, and the coins, the two bright-eyed young girls eagerly anticipate their mother's homecoming. But when the bank fills up, and with their mother still not back, Big Aunt decides that she can no longer tend to the children. Taken to live on their grandparents' farm, it is here that Jin comes to learn the importance of family bonds in this beautiful, meditative, and thought-provoking second feature from So Yong Kim, the acclaimed director of IN BETWEEN DAYS.
Variety's Robert Koehler said of Kim's film: "drawing out beautifully natural performances from her child actors, Kim once again has a distinct way of letting her camera observe her characters with kind thoughtfulness, allowing for a quiet mood to wash over the scenes."
Terribly Happy (Frygtelig lykkelig) Dir. Henrik Ruben Genz
Robert Hanson (Jakob Cedergren) is a Copenhagen police officer who, following a nervous breakdown, is transferred to a small provincial town to take on the mysteriously vacated Marshall position and subsequently gets mixed up with a married femme fatale. Robert’s big city temperament makes it impossible for him to fit in, or understand the uncivilized, bizarre behavior displayed by the townspeople. Quickly spiraling downward into an intense fable reminiscent of the Coen Brothers’ BLOOD SIMPLE and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, TERRIBLY HAPPY displays a unique, often macabre vision of the darkest depths to which people will go to achieve a sense of security and belonging.
Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie Dir. Jay Delaney
Dallas Gilbert and Wayne Burton, best friends from a dying former steel town in Ohio, are out to convince the world that Bigfoot exists. They have amassed a vast library of video footage and still photographs of proof (their website is highly trafficked) after years of venturing into the forest, day and night, to the capture shots of the legendary creature in its native habitat.
Dallas is the gregarious of the dyad is a Reiki master who uses Sasquatch calls into the wild and claims to have a sheep's bone in his skull; some claim Dallas to be one of the world's leading big foot researchers. Wayne is the repressed, emotional of the gang- a former high-school bully who currently works at a car wash and is living paycheck to paycheck.
Seeking fame, fortune, and notoriety, Wayne and Dallas's friendship is tested when a nationally recognized high-profile California BF researcher makes a stop in their town. Director Jay Delaney's honest and often funny look at their lives, proves that Bigfoot certainly is alive and well in Wayne and Dallas' world.
*Both Dallas and Wayne are happily married with kids.
Scott Walker: 30 Century Man Dir. Stephen Kijak
SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN is a rare glimpse into the creative world of the most enigmatic figure in rock history, and will trace the undeniable impact he has had on popular music through casual interviews with some of his biggest, highest profile fans.
We explore his fascinating trajectory, from jobbing bass player on LA's Sunset Strip, to his domination of the British pop scene that began in the swinging summer of 1965, to his transformation into a composer of true genius; an uncompromising and serious musician working at the peak of his powers.
At age 63, over the course of 2005, he went into the studio again, working on what could be his greatest artistic statement yet - and we were invited to document part of this process – a privilege no filmmaker has ever been granted.
The Garden Dir. Scott Hamilton Kennedy
An Academy Award nominated documentary, THE GARDEN is an engaging and powerful look at the famous political and social battle over the largest community garden in the U.S (located in south central Los Angeles).
A follow-up to Kennedy's award-winning documentary, OT: OUR TOWN, the film shows how the politics of power and greed (backroom deals, land developing, green politics, money) tragically intersect with working class families who rely on this communal garden for their livelihood. Equal parts THE WIRE and HARLAN COUNTY, USA, THE GARDEN, exposes the fault lines in American society and raises crucial and challenging questions about liberty, equality, and justice for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
Kenneth Turan of the LA Times said: "It's tempting to call "The Garden" a story of innocence and experience, of evil corrupting paradise, but that would be doing a disservice to the fascinating complexities of a classic Los Angeles conflict and an excellent documentary that does them full justice."
Unmistaken Child Dir. Nati Baratz
The Buddhist concept of reincarnation, while both mysterious and enchanting, is hard for most westerners to grasp. UNMISTAKEN CHILD follows the 4-year search for the reincarnation of Lama Konchog, a world-renowned Tibetan master who passed away in 2001 at age 84. The Dalai Lama charges the deceased monk's devoted disciple, Tenzin Zopa (who had been in his service since the age of seven), to search for his master's reincarnation.
Tenzin sets off on this unforgettable quest on foot, mule and even helicopter, through breathtaking landscapes and remote traditional Tibetan villages. Along the way Tenzin listens to stories about young children with special characteristics, and performs rarely seen ritualistic tests designed to determine the likelihood of reincarnation. He eventually presents the child he believes to be his reincarnated master to the Dalai Lama so that he can make the final decision.
Stunningly shot, UNMISTAKEN CHILD is a beguiling, surprising, touching, even humorous experience.
The Paranoids Dir. Gabriel Medina
Gabriel Medina's wonderfully crafted debut feature is a fresh, visually innovative, and often hilarious glimpse into the lives of some very offbeat, yet human, characters.
Thirty-something Luciano Gauna is odd. A failing screenwriter in Buenos Aires, Luciano lives in an almost intense state of paranoia, afraid of everything from STDs to even his doorman. When his childhood friend Manuel, a very successful TV producer, returns from Madrid with his stunning new girlfriend Sofia, his world is thrown into a near desperate funk. He discovers that Manuel has unflatteringly modeled him as the lead character on a successful Spanish TV show called THE PARANOIDS, which Manuel is now bringing to Argentina.
When Manuel leaves on a business trip to Chile, Lucian's remaining grip on reality unravels when he's left alone with Sofia and her alluring charm.
Kisses Dir. Lance Daly
On the fringes of Dublin two kids, Kylie and Dylan, live in a suburban housing estate devoid of life, colour and the prospect of escape. Kylie lives with five other siblings and her overworked mother. Next door, Dylan lives in the shadow of an alcoholic father and the memory of an elder brother who ran away from home two years earlier.
After a violent altercation with his father, Dylan runs away from home and Kylie decides to run away with him. Together they make their way to the magical night time lights of inner city Dublin, to search for Dylan's brother, and in the hope of finding, through him, the possibility of a new life.
Lance Daly's vision of Dublin, as seen through the innocent eyes of our protagonists, is a kaleidoscope of magic, wonder and mystery. But as the night wears on, and Dublin takes on a darker character, the two kids have to rely on the kindness of strangers, the advice of Bob Dylan and their trust in each other to survive the night.
No Impact Man Dir. Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein
Author Colin Beavan, in research for his next book, began the No Impact Project in November 2006. A newly self-proclaimed environmentalist who could no long avoid pointing the finger at himself, Colin leaves behind his liberal complacency for a vow to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year. No more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food, no more material consumption...no problem. That is, until his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two year-old daughter are dragged into the fray.
Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's film provides a front row seat into the familial strains and strengthened bonds that result from Colin's and Michelle's struggle with this radical lifestyle change.
The Law (La Loi) Dir. Jules Dassin
THE LAW (previously released in the US as Where the Hot Wind Blows) stars Gina Lollobrigida, Marcello Mastroianni, Yves Montand, Melina Mercouri, and Pierre Brasseur. Lollobrigida plays Marietta, the gorgeous housekeeper to Don Cesare (Brasseur), the patriarch of a small Mediterranean coastal town. Lusted after by many men, including Francesco (Montand), the son of a local crime boss, Marietta has her own desires, consisting of the poor Enrico (Mastroianni). Determined to secure the dowry that will enable her to marry Enrico, Marietta connives the men of the town by turning the tables on them using their own vicious drinking game which they call "The Law." Haden Guest, Director of the Harvard Film Archive called the film "a totally underrated and underappreciated gem."
The Messenger Dir. Oren Moverman
Co-written by Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon, THE MESSENGER is a powerful and tender story about a returned war hero making his first steps toward a normal life.
In his first leading role, Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army's Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband's death, Will's emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival.
Featuring tour-de-force performances from Foster, Harrelson and Morton, and a brilliant directorial debut by Moverman, THE MESSENGER brings us into the inner lives of these outwardly steely heroes to reveal their fragility with compassion and dignity.
The Exploding Girl Dir. Bradley Rust Gray
When twenty-year-old Ivy heads home Spring Break with a fresh romance in her heart, everything seems to be going perfectly. When her best friend Al finds himself without lodgings, Ivy and her mother take him in and Ivy and Al's friendship strengthens while her boyfriend grows more distant from afar. Increasingly distressed about her conflicting feelings, Ivy must stay resilient in the face of her epilepsy, lest her emotions become something she can't control. Marking Zoe Kazan's first leading role, Bradley Rust Gray's film is a meditative and realistic portrait of a young girl coming of age and finding a deeper kind of love in New York City.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale Dir. Jalmari Helander
It's the eve of Christmas in northern Finland, and an 'archeological' dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But this particular Santa isn't the one you want coming to town. When the local children begin mysteriously disappearing, young Pietari and his father Rauno, a reindeer hunter by trade, capture the mythological being and attempt to sell Santa to the misguided leader of the multinational corporation sponsoring the dig. Santa's elves, however, will stop at nothing to free their fearless leader from captivity. What ensues is a wildly humorous nightmare – a fantastically bizarre polemic on modern day morality.
RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE is a re-imagining of the most classic of all childhood fantasies, and is a darkly comic gem soon to be required perennial holiday viewing.