The 2014 International Film Festival
To purchase tickets, just click on the Film title and time.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Sweden, 2013, 102 min. In Swedish with English subtitles.
The latest feature by Lukas Moodysson, one of the most acclaimed of contemporary Swedish filmmakers (TOGETHER, LILYA 4-EVER, MAMMOTH), WE ARE THE BEST! is an enormously entertaining and ultimately deeply affecting coming-of-age tale centering on three teenage girls with dreams of punk-rock glory. Set in 1980s middle-class Stockholm, the film charts the ups and downs of their friendship, their struggles to adapt to adolescence, and their determination to form a band together. While Moodysson doesn’t shy away from the comic spectacle of these pint-sized, bourgeois, high-school punk rockers (two of whom are largely unencumbered by musical talent), the beauty of the film is in its genuine admiration for its three protagonists, who in the true spirit of punk are gleefully non-conformist, unhesitatingly confrontational, and unapologetically true to themselves. Anchored by vivid, charming performances from all three actresses, WE ARE THE BEST! is irresistible.
Saturday April 5, 2014
France, 2013, 94 min. In French with English subtitles.
Built around an extraordinary performance by fearless actress Sara Forestier, SUZANNE is a tough-minded, unsentimental character study of a troubled young woman. The daughters of a widowed truck driver (François Damiens) who is deeply devoted to them both, Suzanne and her younger sister Maria (Adèle Haenel) enjoy a relatively idyllic childhood. While Maria develops into a mature and stable young woman, however, Suzanne grows increasingly impetuous, her actions and choices straining her family to the breaking point. Neither sentimentalizing nor judging Suzanne, filmmaker Katell Quillévéré narrates her story with enormous grace and sensitivity, depicting her as a woman who is deeply flawed but possessed by an irrepressible life-force.
Mexico, 2013, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles.
A worthy companion piece to WE ARE THE BEST! (even down to its similar title), Samuel Kishi’s WE ARE MARI PEPA also focuses on young punk-rockers, but swaps Moodysson’s teenage girls for a group of frisky, hormonal boys, and the wintry, bourgeois environment of 1980s Sweden for the sunnier but comparatively dead-end world of contemporary Guadalajara. MARI PEPA also distinguishes itself by focusing more on the boys’ milieu and daily routine than on their music – having just graduated from school, the boys find themselves facing the daunting realities of growing up, in a world where they have few options and where they’re destined to grow apart from each other. Animated by the energy of its lead performers and anchored by an indelible sense of place, WE ARE MARI PEPA is both funny and bittersweet.
See the 5pm screening and then join us for dinner at Trenton’s best Italian restaurant, Settimo Cielo!
The package includes a ticket to the 5pm screening and dinner.
Mixed green salad with tomatoes in a balsamic vinaigrette
Your choice of one of the following entrees:
Penne Melanzane, penne with eggplant, tomatoes and dried ricotta cheese
Pollo al Portobello, breast of chicken sautéed with portobello mushrooms, peas and sun-dried tomatoes
Filet of Sole Francese, egg battered, sautéed with white wine and lemon
Tea or coffee
Tax and gratuity included.
Wine and mixed drinks are not included, but can be purchased directly from the restaurant.
South Korea, 2012, 83 min. In Korean with English subtitles.
A dry, melancholy comedy centering on a reunion between three old high-school pals, THE SUNSHINE BOYS is as wise and affecting as it is deadpan funny. Traveling from Seoul to the military base in provincial Gangwon where their old buddy Min-Wong has a weekend’s leave from his military service, Sang-Won and Seung-Jun come bearing a Dear John letter from Min-Wong’s girlfriend. Reluctant to deliver this note, the two of them keep the news to themselves, as they embark on a weekend of carousing. Their bender leads to recriminations between the three of them, confrontations with Min-Wong’s military superior, and an unforgettable night at a local café, where a beautiful young woman helps disabuse them of some of their lingering innocence. Beautifully acted and paced, and perfectly capturing the mood of its sleepy, wintry village setting, THE SUNSHINE BOYS is a uniquely South Korean coming-of-age tale.
US/Angola, 2013, 90 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
This inspiring film documents the efforts of a handful of passionate and tireless young Angolans to energize their weary, war-torn community by mounting a death-metal concert. The film focuses on Sonia Ferreira and Wilker Flores, who run an orphanage in Huambo, a city whose residents still suffer greatly from the legacy of the civil war that devastated Angola until 2002. Devoting themselves body and soul to their orphanage, Ferreira and Flores are also fans of hardcore rock and roll. Perceiving the proliferation of Angolan death-metal bands (whose members find the genre a perfect vessel for constructively expressing the anger and frustration they feel in the wake of the civil war), and the need for a cultural event that will bring a sense of unity and excitement to the city, they set about organizing a concert that will bring all these bands together. Documenting their efforts, in the face of daunting obstacles, to bring the concert off, DEATH METAL ANGOLA is both a rousing concert film and a revealing portrait of modern-day Angola.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Poland, 2013, 80 min. In Polish with English subtitles.
Paweł Pawlikowski, the director of such acclaimed English-language films as LAST RESORT and MY SUMMER OF LOVE, returned to his native Poland to make this haunting and visually stunning period-piece about a young nun who’s sent to meet an aunt she’s never known, before taking her vows and withdrawing from the wider world for good. Set in the 1960s, and shot in gorgeous black-and-white, the film portrays the relationship between Ida, an orphan who has grown up in the convent knowing little or nothing about her origins, and her worldly, embittered aunt, Wanda, who once held a position as a powerful and influential judge. Wanda reluctantly leads Ida on a journey that reveals the tragic wartime history of their family and of Poland itself, as well as the bitter psychological legacy of this history.
Lebanon, 2012, 93 min. In English and Arabic with English subtitles.
Before his family settled in Denmark, filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel grew up in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh, in Lebanon. Hastily built in 1948 and today housing 70,000 refugees in one square kilometer, Ain el-Helweh is an unlikely source of nostalgia and yearning, but for Fleifel it represents the closest thing to a home, a precious concept given his family’s history and eventual settlement in Europe. Through the years Fleifel has returned regularly to visit friends and family, always with camera in tow, and in A WORLD NOT OURS he has shaped his extensive video diaries into an affectionate, witty, yet ultimately shattering portrait of this community. Gradually focusing on the experiences of Fleifel’s friend Abu Eyad, whose natural intelligence makes him an especially articulate and sensitive witness to the tragically circumscribed lives of Ain el-Helweh’s residents, A WORLD NOT OURS conveys the Palestinian experience with an insight that very few films have equaled.
All tickets $8.00, except for film & dinner which is $50