The 2013 Florida Film Festival announced the international feature films that will screen at the festival. The 2013 International Showcase released includes the harsh tale of a loan shark enforcer with mother issues, a unique coming of age tale set against a British neighborhood, a shocking portrayal of accusation and scandal, and a Capture the Flag contest.
New to the Festival this year is the British Shorts Now! program, featuring several examples of UK short film. This program is filled with recognizable faces such as Dame Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Liam Cunningham (TV’s Game of Thrones), and Mackenzie Crook (TV’s The Office).
2013 FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE
BROKEN/UK (Director: Rufus Norris)
Skunk (newcomer Eloise Laurence) is an eleven year-old diabetic girl who lives with her lawyer-father Archie (Tim Roth, Arbitrage) and her older brother Jed. Though their family has been broken apart by divorce, they lead a regular life and share a residence in what seems like a normal British suburb. She hangs out with her brother and au pair Kasia, whose boyfriend Mike (Cillian Murphy, 28 Days Later), Skunk has a crush on. But when she witnesses one of her neighbors, a mentally disturbed young man named Rick, get beaten up for something he didn’t do by bitter and angry older neighbor Mr. Oswald (Rory Kinnear, Skyfall), things begin to change. The Opening Feature of Critic’s Week at the Cannes Film Festival and featuring a score by Damon Albarn’s Electric Wave Bureau, BROKEN is the award-winning feature film debut from theater director Rufus Norris. Its innovative, gritty, and powerful spin on British social realism and coming-of-age provides a curious look into a teenage adolescence surrounded by chaos and a seemingly commonplace suburban neighborhood that ultimately begins to crumble.
THE HUNT/Denmark (Director: Thomas Vinterberg)
Mads Mikkelsen, winner of the Best Actor prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, is brilliant as Lucas, a school teacher in a small, close-knit Scandinavian town. Lucas limps through an ugly custody battle over his son, only to have the promise of that situation’s resolution ruined by the accusation of his being a child molester. The charges come from Lucas’s best friend’s daughter in an innocent little lie and are so unfounded that he can barely bring himself to suffer the indignity of denying them. The investigation that follows is nothing compared to the nightmare Lucas finds himself plunged into by the social leprosy of his suspected pedophilia. The film’s unflinching focus on Mikkelsen’s character creates an inescapable and uncomfortable tension in this spellbinding new drama from Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration). Winner of two other awards at Cannes and Best Screenwriter at the European Film Awards, THE HUNT is a masterful piece of filmmaking.
I DECLARE WAR/Canada (Director: Jason Lapeyre, Robert Wilson) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
I DECLARE WAR definitely shows us a different side of war—the war games children engage in outside of school, perhaps during a boring weekend. The film follows a bunch of pre-teens as they arm themselves with make-believe weapons and real-life conflict for a contest of Capture the Flag, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Let the childhood games begin! In this war there are two teams—one led by P.K. Sullivan, a Patton fan who tries to win at any cost, and the other led by Quinn, who seems to run a group of misfits (they even have a girl on their side, which only adds to the tension). This isn’t just a battle about winning or losing. These kids all have their own issues to face, and this metaphorical war is just the place to do it. Skillfully blending fantasy and reality and boasting terrific performances from its young cast, this is an infectious film that brings us back to our childhoods, when adulthood didn’t seem that complicated from far away. Humorous and unsettling, I DECLARE WAR plays out like Roald Dahl crossed with Lord of the Flies or Son of Rambow.
PIETA/South Korea (Director: Kim Ki-Duk)
South Korea’s daring writer-director Kim Ki-Duk (The Isle; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring) delivers a visceral film that is sure to provoke controversy. While the title alludes to Michelangelo’s serene statue, this movie uses a gritty, poor former factory district as the setting where Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin), a loan shark’s enforcer, works its small alleyways and tin-roofed workshops. Showing no emotion, he routinely cripples marginalized workers to collect on insurance policies, robbing them of limbs and livelihood. The victims’ lives seem as meaningless as the detritus of the post-industrial machinery around them. A mysterious woman (Cho Min-soo) appears, claiming to be Kang-do’s mother. Unbelieving, he inflicts sadistic violence and humiliation upon her, until eventually believing her story. As Kang-do experiences new feelings, he begins seeing his victims and past actions differently, discovering guilt, remorse, and repentance. The acting is superb, the movie grim, and the plot has some unexpected twists. Ultimately, however, the story offers redemption and grace—or at least atonement. Winner of the “Golden Lion” for Best Film at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival, PIETA is a gripping and provocative vision of extreme storytelling at its finest.
BRITISH SHORTS NOW! PROGRAM
Lifelong friends Mary (Dame Judi Dench, Oscar® winner for Best Supporting Actress, Shakespeare in Love) and Linda discuss the pitfalls, pleasures, and problems with using social networking to try and woo Trevor, the local choirmaster.
82/UK (Director: Calum Macdiarmid) FLORIDA PREMIERE
A postman (Nick Moran, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) lets us into his dark world in quiet suburbia.
I AM TOM MOODY/UK (Director: Ainslie Henderson) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
Mackenzie Crook (The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean) and his son Jude provide the voices in this charming tale of a failed adult who, as he struggles to perform on stage, is forced to confront his inner child.
MOZZARELLA INC./UK (Director: Matan Rochlitz) EAST COAST PREMIERE
A former trance DJ and ex-club promoter brave London’s restaurant world to provide the freshest buffalo mozzarella on the market. They’ll stop at nothing to be the best…even if it costs them their friendship. This documentary won Best Short at the 2012 Chicago Food Film Festival.
STORMING OUT/UK (Director: Vito Bruno) NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
This funny but moving family drama deals with how well we know, or think we know, our nearest and dearest. Should we confront reality no matter how potentially painful that may be?
THE PUB/UK (Director: Joseph Pierce) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
As the booze flows, the line between who belongs behind and in front of the bar becomes increasingly blurred in this twisted tale of a day in the life of a North London pub. Winner of the Best Animated or Experimental Short Film award at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival.
THE NORTH LONDON BOOK OF THE DEAD/UK (Director: Jake Lushington) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
The tale of a grown man who struggles to come to terms with the death of his domineering mother, only to discover that she’s spending her “after life” very happily in a suburb of London. Based on a short story by Will Self.
PITCH BLACK HEIST/UK (Director: John Maclean) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
Michael (Michael Fassbender, Shame, Inglourious Basterds) and Liam (Liam Cunningham, Harry Brown, HBO’s Game of Thrones) are professional safe crackers who meet while doing a job to relieve an office safe of its contents. The catch is a light-activated alarm system that forces the men to operate in total darkness. BAFTA Award winner for Best Short Film.