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FRENCH BLOOD Director: Diastème

The 23rd Annual Hamptons International Film Festival revealed the films in the Narrative and Documentary Competition. The jury will select winners in each category; awards will be announced in a ceremony in East Hampton on Monday, October 12.

The feature films in this year’s Narrative Competition include Matt Sobel’s Take Me to the River, Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent, Avishai Sivan’s Tikkun, Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams, and Diastème’s French Blood.

This year’s Documentary Competition feature films include the World Premiere of Jon Fox’s Newman, David Shapiro’s Missing People, Jean-Gabriel Périot’s A German Youth, Michael Madsen’s The Visit, and Ilinca Calugareanu’s Chuck Norris Vs. Communism.

The jury deciding the winners of the 2015 Hamptons International Film Festival Narrative and Documentary Competition includes Michael H. Weber, screenwriter of 500 Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars; Dan Guando, head of U.S. Production and Acquisitions at The Weinstein Company; Josh Charles, star of television’s The Good Wife and Masters of Sex; Marshall Fine, renowned author, journalist and film critic; and Sarah Lash, acquisitions consultant at Conde Nast Entertainment.

East Coast Premiere
Director: Ciro Guerra

Ciro Guerra's "Embrace of the Serpent."

Inspired by the real experiences of explorers in the Amazon, Embrace of the Serpent centers on the relationship between Karamakate, a shaman of an extinct tribe carrying secrets and traditions, and two scientists in search of a sacred plant, capable of immense healing. Opting for powerful black and white cinematography, director Ciro Guerra tracks their parallel stories over 40 years with trips deep into the jungle. Winner of the top prize at the Cannes Directors Fortnight, the film intimately captures the thirst for knowledge and the ravages of colonialism that have destroyed the harmony and balance at the heart of the indigenous way of life.

RAMS (Iceland)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Grímur Hákonarson

RAMS, Director: Grímur Hákonarson

Brothers Gummi (Sigurdur Sigurjonsson) and Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson) live side-by-side but have not spoken in forty years. Stubborn and competitive, they only communicate via handwritten notes delivered by their loyal sheepdog Somi. When a deadly virus threatens their prize-winning sheep and livelihood, they are forced to come together to save their unique family breed, and themselves, from extinction. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Award in Cannes, Rams details the hardships of daily farm work in remote Iceland with humanism and humor. Stunningly combining otherworldly landscapes and powerful performances, director Grímur Hákonarson expertly builds this gentle comedy to reveal a deeper and emotionally moving tale.

East Coast Premiere
Director: Matt Sobel

TAKE ME TO THE RIVER Director: Matt Sobel

Accompanying his parents to a Nebraskan family reunion couldn’t be more uncomfortable for Ryder (Logan Miller), a gay Californian teenager. For his mother’s sake he agrees to act “normal,” but nonetheless attracts some unwanted attention from his conservative relatives. The only one who seems to like him is 9-year-old Molly (Ursula Parker), but a strange encounter between the two of them raises many questions and places Ryder at the center of a long-buried family secret. A superbly acted drama from first-time filmmaker Matt Sobel, Take Me to the River reveals itself through Ryder’s perplexed point of view, unfolding in an atmosphere of mystery and trepidation.

TIKKUN (Israel)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Avishai Sivan

TIKKUN, directed by Avishai Sivan

Haim-Aron (Aharon Traitel) is considered an illui (a prodigy) at his Yeshiva. He is absorbed in his studies to such a degree that he completely isolates himself from the outside world, going days without eating or sleeping. When a near death experience changes his perspective on life, he starts to slowly explore life outside of his secluded ultra-orthodox community and begins to doubt his faith. Seeing Haim-Aron’s transformation torments his father (Khalifa Natour) with nightmares in which he is instructed to perform Tikkun (rectification). With its riveting performances and the arrestingly beautiful black and white cinematography, Avishai Sivan’s haunting film is sure to linger long in your imagination.

FRENCH BLOOD (France) (pictured in main image above)
US Premiere
Director: Diastème
Marco (Alban Lenoir) is a young Neo-Nazi and skinhead who, along with his friends, terrorizes the lower-class suburbs of Paris hoping to clear out the “scum” that is polluting the pure, white landscape of their beloved country. Spanning almost 3 decades in Marco’s life as he struggles to understand his own anger and brutal actions, this evocative and moving portrait—the sophomore effort from writer-director Diastème—offers a rare and unsettling look into the rise of xenophobia in France. With a brilliant performance by Lenoir, this poignant drama distinguishes itself as a unique and powerful work by an emerging talent.

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