COLD WAR by Pawel Pawlikowski
COLD WAR by Pawel Pawlikowski

Now in its 31st year, the 2018 AFI European Union Film Showcase, taking place November 30 to December 19 at the American Film Institute’s historic theater in Silver Spring, MD, will feature 49 foreign films representing 25 EU member states, plus 12 of the top contenders for this year’s Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film and eight U.S. premieres.   Films on the lineup  include Oscar®-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s highly anticipated Berlusconi biopic LORO (Italy) and Benoît Jacquot’s Berlin-premiered psychological thriller EVA (France), starring Isabelle Huppert and Gaspard Ulliel.

This year’s AFI European Union Film Showcase opens on November 30 with COLD WAR (Poland), the stunning, black-and-white, 1950s-set romance from Oscar®-winning director Paweł Pawlikowski (IDA). The Closing Night selection is Scottish director Jon S. Baird’s Laurel and Hardy biopic STAN & OLLIE (UK), starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the beloved comedy duo. Special presentations include two-time Oscar®-winning director Asghar Farhadi’s Spain-set thriller EVERYBODY KNOWS (Spain), starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem; off-the-wall critical hit DIAMANTINO (Portugal), winner of the Critics’ Week Grand Prize (and Palm Dog Jury Prize) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; and the U.S. premiere of actress-director Paprika Steen’s Toronto-debuted family dramedy THAT TIME OF YEAR (Denmark).

Among the 12 official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submissions showcased this year are multi-award-winning coming-of-age drama GIRL (Belgium), winner of the Camera d’Or, FIPRESCI, Best Actor and Queer Palm awards at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; Ruth Beckermann’s engrossing documentary THE WALDHEIM WALTZ (Austria), winner of the Glashütte Original Documentary Award at this year’s Berlinale; NEVER LOOK AWAY (Germany), Oscar®-winning director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s first German-language film since 2007’s THE LIVES OF OTHERS; and Rada Jude’s powerful political satire I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS (Romania), winner of the Crystal Globe for Best Film at the 2018 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

This year’s Showcase also presents an abundance of new works from some of Europe’s best-known filmmakers, including Olivier Assayas’ whip smart dramedy NON-FICTION (France), starring Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet; Christian Petzold’s stirring refugee drama TRANSIT; EUPHORIA, the sophomore feature from Italian actress-turned-director Valeria Golino; Christophe Honoré’s powerful ’90s-set gay romance SORRY ANGEL (France); Małgorzata Szumowska’s dark comedy MUG (Poland), winner of the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlinale; and Matteo Garrone’s powerful Cannes-debuted drama DOGMAN, Italy’s official Oscar® submission.

2018 AFI European Union Film Showcase Lineup


2018 Oscar® Selection, Austria
After serving as U.N. Secretary General from 1972 to 1981, Kurt Waldheim was elected president of Austria in 1986. But it was a controversial election, as new details about Waldheim’s service in the Nazi Wehrmacht in Greece and Yugoslavia during WWII came to light — including grave allegations as to his complicity in war crimes — and for many around the world, Waldheim’s explanations failed to convince. Ruth Beckermann’s gripping documentary combines the long view of historical perspective with the immediacy of someone who lived through the era — Beckermann shot much of the footage from the ’70s and ’80s herself, when she was an active protester of Waldheim’s candidacy. DIR/SCR/PROD Ruth Beckermann. Austria, 2018, color, 93 min. In German and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

U.S. Premiere
ANGELO (2018)
Markus Schleinzer’s audaciously stylized film is based on the life of Angelo Soliman, who was kidnapped from sub-Saharan Africa as a child in the 1720s, purchased from the slave market by a wealthy Austrian countess (Alba Rohrwacher) and raised and educated to be a “court Moor,” a courtier/entertainer/exotic status symbol for the household. Over time, Angelo is passed from one royal house to another, eventually marrying and gaining a measure of freedom. But the same society that Angelo navigated so skillfully in life finds one last way to cruelly exploit his personhood in death. DIR/SCR/PROD Markus Schleinzer; SCR Alexander Brom; PROD Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, Alexander Glehr, Bady Minck, Franz Novotny. Austria/Luxembourg, 2018, color, 111 min. In German and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

JOY (2018)
Joy is a Nigerian immigrant working as a prostitute in Vienna, who reluctantly has taken the newest arrival at the brothel, Precious, under her wing. Already stressed by having to support her family back home and paying off her debt to the madame, Joy now has to look out for the new teenage recruit. In her sophomore effort, director Sudabeh Mortezai gives a powerful and personal look at the immigrant experience through the lives of sex workers only recently arrived in Europe, often employing documentary techniques for an intimate portrait of this grim world. Featuring many former sex workers, the non-professional cast gives uniformly strong performances that anchor the story in reality. DIR/SCR Sudabeh Mortezai; PROD Sabine Moser, Oliver Neumann. Austria, 2018, color, 99 min. In English and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
2018 Oscar® Selection, Belgium
GIRL (2018)
Lara (Victor Polster) is a 15-year-old ballet dancer doing her best to fit in while standing out. Among her peers, family and friends, her trans identity is rarely an issue. We follow her internal struggle as she transitions both from her assigned gender and into adulthood. This refreshingly nuanced portrait of adolescence turns an empathetic eye toward growing up trans with a raw naturalism that recalls the Dardenne brothers. This multi-award-winning debut feature is at once warm and real, with standout performances by first-time actor Polster and a wonderful turn from Arieh Worthalter (THE ATTACK) as the loving father. DIR/SCR Lukas Dhont; SCR Angelo Tijssens; PROD Dirk Impens. Belgium/Netherlands, 2018, color, 109 min. In French and Flemish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

U.S. Premiere
ANGEL (2018) [UN ANGE]
After a drug scandal calls his reputation into question, world-famous Belgian cyclist Thierry goes on holiday with his brother to Dakar. There he meets Fae, a headstrong Senegalese sex worker who eschews the labels given to her profession and works to unite her colleagues against social stigmas. The two instantly fall for one another and indulge their passions and vices in a night that will change their lives forever. This vividly hued love story combines dreamy romance with more ominous undertones. DIR/SCR/PROD Koen Mortier, from the novel by Dimitri Verhulst; PROD Eurydice Gysel. Belgium/Netherlands/Senegal, 2018, color, 105 min. In French and Wolof with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Bulgarian director/writer Milko Lazarov (ALIENATION) sets his sublimely shot sophomore feature in the barely populated snowy wilderness of northeastern Siberia, where an elderly Yakut couple, Nanook and Sedna, live in a yurt with their sled dog, continuing to practice centuries-old ancestral traditions in the face of climate change and increasing scarcity. As the pair go about the precarious daily business of survival, their one constant is the dream of reuniting with their only daughter, Ága, who left their slowly vanishing way of life to work at a diamond mine in a distant town. When Sedna’s health deteriorates, Nanook is determined to reach Ága and fulfill the couple’s wish. Official Selection, 2018 Berlin, Sydney and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Milko Lazarov; SCR Simeon Ventsislavov; PROD Veselka Kiryakova. Bulgaria/Germany/France, 2018, color, 96 min. In Yakut with English subtitles. NOT RATED

2018 Oscar® Selection, Bulgaria
Emil has it all. He is a successful writer and owner of a small ad agency, with a wife and teenage son. But when his ailing father asks him to install a hidden camera after a few antiques go missing from the older man’s apartment, Emil is hooked. With cameras now in his home, office, bathroom and even his wife’s therapy practice, Emil knows more than he should. The constant surveillance has gotten out of hand, and it’s only a matter of time before it comes back to bite him in this probing and darkly comic examination of technology. DIR/SCR/PROD Ilian Djevelekov; SCR/PROD Matey Konstantinov; PROD Georgi Dimitrov. Bulgaria, 2017, color, 120 min. In Bulgarian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


2018 Oscar® Selection, Croatia
In this comedy from director/writer Ivan Salaj, an ambitious politician embroiled in a front-page scandal must lay low with a gubernatorial election looming. At the behest of the prime minister, Siniša Mesjak is shipped off to the remote island of Trećić. There, as its newly appointed state commissioner, he must organize the local elections and whip the government into shape on an island without internet or phone service. To make matters worse, Siniša doesn’t speak the local dialect. Seven commissioners in ten years have tried and failed. Will the eighth time be the charm? DIR/SCR Ivan Salaj, from the novel by Renato Baretić; PROD Jozo Patljak. Croatia, 2018, color, 139 min. In Croatian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Smuggling Hendrix
Smuggling Hendrix

This charming feature debut from Marios Piperides takes a wry and comic look at Cypriot border politics, with the aid of an adorable dog named Jimi. Loafing man-child Yiannis (Adam Bousdoukos, SOUL KITCHEN) is about to leave his fading music career and broken relationship on the Greek Cypriot side of Nicosia for a new life in Holland. But his dog, Jimi, has other plans. When the pup wanders across the UN buffer zone and into the Turkish side of the divided city — the capital of northern Cyprus, a country recognized only by Turkey — Yiannis is forced to enlist a trans-border band of misfits (including his ex-girlfriend) to skirt EU law and get the pooch back home before it’s too late. Winner, Best International Narrative Feature, 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Marios Piperides; PROD Martin Hampel, Thanassis Karathanos, Kostas Lambropoulos, Janine Teerling. Cyprus, 2018, color, 93 min. In Greek and Turkish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Czech Republic

U.S. Premiere
2018 Oscar® Selection, Czech Republic
In the dead of winter, the naïve and energetic Heduš runs into his stoic pal Mára and convinces him to go on a road trip to nowhere in a stolen Audi. Told from an interrogation room where Mára is recounting their misadventures, this coming-of-age, comedic road movie sees two first-time actors knock it out of the park. Combining first loves, light drinking and even a thrilling dog rescue, this lively romp revels in irresponsibility and gentle mayhem with an energetic camera and a playful score. DIR Olmo Omerzu; SCR Petr Pýcha; PROD Jiri Konecny. Czech Republic/Slovenia/Poland/Slovakia/France, 2018, color, 85 min. In Czech with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
Katrine (Paprika Steen) prepares to host her annual Christmas Eve family dinner, but this year is shaping up to be the most stressful yet: her teenage daughter is giving her more attitude than usual; her divorced parents (Karen-Lise Mynster and Lars Knutzon) start bickering immediately; her sister Barbara (Sofie Gråbøl) brings her badly prepared cabbage, her badly behaved son (Sofus Sondergaard Mikkelsen) and her pretentious author husband Torben (Lars Brygmann); while her other sister Patricia (Patricia Schumann), just out of rehab, surprises everyone by showing up with a brand-new husband and stepdaughter. Director and star Steen’s winning family dramedy rings true for anyone who’s ever had to laugh to keep from crying during the holiday season. DIR Paprika Steen; SCR Jakob Weis; PROD Mikael Chr. Rieks. Denmark, 2018, color, 101 min. In Danish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


2018 Oscar® Selection, Estonia
Thirtysomething construction worker Erik hasn’t seen his ex-girlfriend Moonika in six months when he gets the news that she is going into labor with his child, but has decided she is not ready for motherhood. With the cards on the table, Erik is determined to be a single father to a daughter he never knew existed lest she be given up for adoption. Based on a true story, this quietly comic social drama explores contemporary gender roles in Estonia and what it really means to be a man. DIR/SCR Liina Trishkina; PROD Ivo Felt. Estonia, 2018, color, 102 min. In Estonian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


2018 Oscar® Selection, Finland
Pitch-black humor meets Nordic noir and animal rights advocacy in what filmmaker Teemu Nikki (LOVEMILLA) has called “DIRTY HARRY with pets.” Veijo Haukka (Matti Onnismaa) is a reclusive mechanic with a second job as a black-market pet euthanizer and a side project doling out vigilante justice to neglectful animal owners. When a local neo-Nazi gang member asks him to euthanize his dog and Veijo secretly adopts it instead, a spiral of vengeance unfolds. Winner, Best Screenplay, 2017 Tokyo International Film Festival; FIPRESCI Prize, 2018 Norwegian International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Teemu Nikki; PROD Jani Pösö. Finland, 2017, color, 85 min. In Finnish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


In this intimate, disarming romance set against the vibrant backdrop of gay life in early 1990s France, Jacques (Pierre Deladonchamps) is a worldly-wise HIV-positive writer living in Paris — and not expecting to find love any time soon, if ever again. When he meets Arthur (Vincent Lacoste), a curious, self-assured university student from Brittany, sparks fly. But as their fling gradually and unexpectedly evolves into a deep and tender bond, both men find their worlds transformed. What emerges is a complex, unconventional and utterly human love story, touched by humor, loss and hope. Official Selection, 2018 Cannes, New York and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Christophe Honoré; PROD Philippe Martin, David Thion. France, 2018, color, 132 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

French heartthrob Louis Garrel (THE DREAMERS, GODARD MON AMOUR) moves behind the camera once more for his charming sophomore feature — a French New Wave-inspired rom-com starring Laetitia Casta (THE BLUE BICYCLE, GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE) and Lily-Rose Depp (YOGA HOSERS) and co-written by legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING). When Abel (Garrel) is abandoned by his girlfriend Marianne (Casta) for his best friend Paul (also, she reveals, the father of her unborn child), the hapless young man accepts the devasting news and moves on. Years later, Paul unexpectedly dies, and the two meet again. As they begin to rekindle their romance, however, Paul’s alluring younger sister (Depp) and Marianne’s highly suspicious young son throw things off course, making matters delightfully complicated. Winner, Best Screenplay (Carrière, Garrel), 2018 San Sebastián International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Toronto, New York and Tokyo film festivals. DIR/SCR Louis Garrel; SCR Jean-Claude Carrière; PROD Pascal Caucheteux, Grégoire Sorlat. France, 2018, color, 75 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
Olivier Assayas’ smart dramedy set in the publishing world deftly balances a serious, informed debate about the future of publishing in the digital age against the romantic foibles, workaday stresses and crazymaking tendencies of the characters’ messy lives. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Guillaume Canet as a veteran publishing exec; Juliette Binoche as his TV actress wife; Vincent Macaigne as a mid-list literary author whose work’s worsening reception has him slated to be dropped; and former standup comedian Nora Hamzawi as Macaigne’s devoted but distracted partner, a hard-working political staffer. “Only actors of the caliber and intelligence of Canet and Binoche can toss off their sparring lines with the ease and conviction of stimulating dinner-party conversations, conveying warmth, brains and fallibility in equal measure: You want to join in the discussion around the table, hoping you can keep up.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety. DIR/SCR Olivier Assayas; PROD; Charles Gillibert. France, 2018, color, 108 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

This campy erotic thriller from Yann Gonzalez (YOU AND THE NIGHT) is set in the seedy milieu of the gay porn demimonde of Paris in the 1970s, where director/producer Anne (a fiercely committed Vanessa Paradis) aspires to be an underground auteur, working closely with her stock company of carefully selected “real men” actors and ace editor Loïs (Kate Moran), Anne’s former lover with whom she’s still self-destructively obsessed. But someone is preying upon the cast and crew of Anne’s latest production, a twisted killer with a sick vendetta. “Picture CRUISING as directed by Brian De Palma, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this frisky parody-homage, which is equal parts kinky and kitsch, rendered with the kind of meticulous attention to lighting, composition and sound (including a reunion with M83, who also scored Gonzalez’s first film) that all but guarantees a cult following.” – Peter Debruge, Variety. DIR/SCR Yann Gonzalez; SCR Cristiano Mangione; PROD Charles Gillibert. France/Mexico/Switzerland, 2018, color, 110 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
EVA (2018)
Benoît Jacquot adapts the lurid 1945 James Hadley Chase novel previously brought to the screen by Joseph Losey in 1962, with Jeanne Moreau and Stanley Baker. Gaspard Ulliel is a hot young playwright with a potentially career-destroying skeleton in his closet, if his appetite for risk-taking doesn’t do the job first. Isabelle Huppert is the mysterious call-girl with whom he begins a series of meetings, initially for “research” purposes but increasingly for more dangerous games of cat and mouse. DIR/SCR Benoît Jacquot; SCR Gilles Taurand, from the novel “Eve” by James Hadley Chase; PROD Mélita Toscan du Plantier, Marie-Jeanne Pascal. France/Belgium, 2018, color, 100 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED


IN MY ROOM (2018)
Armin (Hans Löw, TONI ERDMANN) is a fortysomething cameraman slacking his way through life in Berlin, still clinging to the days of his youth. But the club nights are starting to take their toll. After going back home to help with his ailing grandfather at the insistence of his father, he gets a chance to reinvent himself when he wakes up to find that he is inexplicably the last human alive on Earth. The absence of humanity provides an eerie calm in this smart and meticulous end-of-the-world tale. DIR/SCR Ulrich Köhler; PROD Christoph Friedel, Claudia Steffen. Germany/Italy, 2018, color, 119 min. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Based on a true story, Lars Kraume (THE PEOPLE VS. FRITZ BAUER) directs an excellent young cast in this gripping historical drama. 1956 East Berlin: a classroom of high school students stages two minutes of silence during lessons, in solidarity with the Hungarian Uprising recently crushed by the Soviet army — which is simultaneously an amusing prank to pull on their uptight teacher. But things escalate as the students are referred first to the principal, then to the school superintendent and ultimately to the GDR’s Education Minister, who is intent on throwing the book at these would-be counter-revolutionaries for dabbling in dangerous ideas from the West (and admittedly, that’s where the students learned about the events in Hungary, from a newsreel preceding the sex farce film they traveled into West Berlin to watch). DIR/SCR Lars Kraume; SCR from the book by Dietrich Garstka; PROD Miriam Düssel, Susanne Freyer, Kalle Friz, Isabel Hund, Thomas Kufus. Germany, 2018, color, 111 min. In German and Russian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

In this taut and timely nautical thriller, a German doctor (Susanne Wolff) encounters a wrecked trawler filled with refugees while on a solo sailing trip to Ascension Island. Alone, save for an SSB radio, she is given conflicting information by the coast guard and quickly becomes torn between maritime law and her own moral compass. As the stakes continue to rise, she is forced to reckon with the limits of her compassion. Winner, Heiner Carow Prize, Label Europa Cinemas Awards and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, 2018 Berlinale; Official Selection, 2018 Berlin, Toronto, London and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Wolfgang Fischer; SCR Ika Künzel; PROD Marcos Kantis, Martin Lehwald. Germany/Austria, 2018, color, 94 min. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
TRANSIT (2018)
This exquisite adaptation of Anna Seghers’ 1942 novel about German refugees trying to escape Nazi-occupied France gains additional resonance from director Christian Petzold’s (BARBARA, PHOENIX) daring decision to eschew any ’40s period trappings, instead telling the tale in contemporary settings and dress. Modern-day Marseille becomes a compelling stage for history: 75 years ago, against a backdrop of apartment buildings and commercial centers, a refugee crisis was taking place, one with eerie reverberations in today’s resurgent ethno-nationalism. The excellent cast includes Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Godehard Giese, Barbara Auer and Alex Brendemühl. DIR/SCR Christian Petzold, from the novel by Anna Seghers; PROD Antonin Dedet, Florian Koerner von Gustorf. Germany/France, 2018, color, 101 min. In German, French and French Sign Language with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Filmed amid the stunning Alpine beauty of Bavaria (Germany), south Tyrol (Italy) and Carinthia (Austria) and based on the imagined final days of Ötzi the Iceman, the oldest natural mummy of the Copper Age, ICEMAN may be the first Neolithic revenge Western. More than 5,300 years ago, Kelab (Jürgen Vogel) returns from a hunting trip to find his family murdered, his home burned and his holy amulet stolen. He sets out through the freezing mountains to wreak vengeance on the killers, and the result is mankind’s first unsolved murder case. The dialogue is entirely in an early version of Rhaetian, a now-extinct language spoken in the eastern Alps in pre-Roman and Roman times. No translation is required to grasp the essence of this ancient tale. Official Selection, 2017 Locarno and Hamburg film festivals. DIR/SCR Felix Randau; PROD Jan Krüger, Andreas Pichler. Germany/Italy/Austria, 2017, color, 97 min. In Rhaetian. NOT RATED

2018 Oscar® Selection, Germany
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s first German film since 2007’s Oscar®-winning THE LIVES OF OTHERS is another exercise in Vergangenheitsbewältigung ­— “coming to terms with the past” ­— this time, a bildungsroman about Kurt (Tom Schilling), a talented young artist from Dresden who finds the GDR and its totalitarian state machinery stifling to his art and a mere substitution for the recently discarded fascist state he grew up in. Emigrating to Düsseldorf in the West, Kurt makes a new life for himself, but finds that events, and people, from his past will always have a grip on him. Closely based on the life and art of Gerhard Richter, NEVER LOOK AWAY is an epic of mid-century modernism spanning the worlds of art and politics, with characters doing their best to survive in rapidly changing times. With Sebastian Koch, Paula Beer and Saskia Rosendahl. DIR/SCR/PROD Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; PROD Quirin Berg, Jan Mojto, Christiane Henckel von Donnersmarck, Max Wiedemann. Germany/Italy, 2018, 188 min. In German and Russian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
With his wife in a coma and his life in a rut, a sullen, nameless everyman soon finds himself addicted to his own sadness — with those around him continually throwing pity his way. As his kind neighbor brings yet another bundt cake, the man becomes more and more content with his sorrow, even going so far as to forbid his son from playing upbeat tunes on the piano. But what will he do if his wife wakes up? This pitch-black comedy is a riotous affair, with comedian Yannis Drakopoulos in the lead role and a script co-written by Efthymis Filippou (DOGTOOTH, THE LOBSTER). DIR/SCR Babis Makridis; SCR Efthymis Filippou; PROD Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Amanda Livanou, Beata Rzezniczek, Klaudia Smieja. Greece/Poland, 2018, color, 97 min. In Greek with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Nimród Antal made a name for himself with 2003’s KONTROLL; now, following a string of Hollywood genre films (ARMORED, PREDATORS, VACANCY) and music-related features (METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER), he returns to Hungary with this stylish and action-packed true crime tale. In the 1990s, an unknown bandit pulled off a string of daring, daylight bank robberies in and around Budapest, eluding the befuddled police, who had no leads save for one identifying trait: the faint aroma of whiskey the tellers noticed on the thief. Drawing comparisons to Sandor Rozsa, a Robin Hood type-character from Hungarian legend, the so-called “Whiskey Bandit” became something of a modern-day folk hero for Hungary’s chaotic, post-communist era. DIR/SCR Nimród Antal; PROD Barnabás Hutlassa, Tamás Hutlassa. Hungary, 2017, color, 126 min. In Hungarian and Romanian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

János Szász (2013’s THE NOTEBOOK) directs this moody and noirish true crime story from 1920s Budapest. Local meat-packing magnate Ferenc Kudelka falls madly in love with Mici, a former prostitute married to disabled former gendarme Gusztáv Léderer, who now toils in Kudelka’s plant. For a while, the Léderer couple extract a fee from Kudlelka for Mici’s services, but then attempt and fail to kill him. The trio’s bizarre and murderous love triangle descends into further madness as ever more desperate measures and subsequent murder attempts ensue. DIR/SCR János Szász; SCR Márk Bodzsár; PROD István Bodzsár. Hungary, 2017, color, 105 min. In Hungarian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Syrian refugee Aryan is crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary with his father when he’s suddenly gunned down by a trigger-happy border guard. In his wounded state, he discovers he can now mysteriously levitate at will. How should he use these new powers? Will he be able to live freely in his new country, or be exploited? Will he become a superhero, or a circus freak? Kornél Mundruczó’s (WHITE GOD) quirky tale combines genre spectacle and gritty realism to tackle the refugee crisis in a fresh and unexpected way. DIR/SCR Kornél Mundruczó; SCR Kata Wéber; PROD Viola Fügen, Michel Merkt, Viktória Petrányi, Michael Weber. Hungary/Germany/France, 2017, color, 129 min. In Hungarian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
Lance Daly (KISSES) pulls off the unthinkable with this brutal revenge Western — set in 1847 Ireland during the worst year of the Great Famine — creating an insightful thriller which melds genre conventions with gritty realism and historical critique. Deserting the British army to return home to Ireland, battle-weary soldier Feeney (James Frecheville, ANIMAL KINGDOM) finds his country — and family — devastated by the famine sweeping the land. With nothing more to lose, Feeney embarks on a relentless quest to get even with the criminally negligent British government and to track down landowner Lord Kilmichael (Jim Broadbent). Pursued by disgraced soldier-turned-policeman Hannah (Hugo Weaving), Feeney will stop at nothing to avenge his family and his country. Official Selection, 2018 Berlin, Toronto and Busan film festivals. DIR/SCR Lance Daly; SCR P.J. Dillon, Pierce Ryan; PROD Arcadiy Golubovich, Macdara Kelleher, Jonathan Loughran, Tim O’Hair. Ireland/Luxembourg, 2018, color, 100 min. In English and Irish with English subtitles. RATED R


Special Presentation
Celebrated Italian actress and director Valeria Golino’s (HONEY) Cannes-premiered sophomore feature is a riveting drama about two very different brothers forced back into each other’s lives when one is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Wealthy, flamboyant and successful, Matteo (Riccardo Scamarcio, LORO) is the polar opposite of his melancholy middle-school teacher brother Ettore (Valerio Mastandrea, PERFECT STRANGERS), who still lives in the small provincial town where the two grew up. Ordered by his brother to move to Rome while he undergoes therapy, Ettore is reticent, but as the men reconnect with one another, they also reassess themselves in the process. Official Selection, 2018 Cannes and Karlovy Vary film festivals. DIR/SCR Valeria Golino; SCR Francesca Marciano, Valia Santella; PROD Viola Prestieri. Italy, 2018, color, 115 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

U.S. Premiere
Pressed to rush things through so that an ambitious architect’s new building can break ground, single-mom land surveyor Lucia (Alba Rohrwacher, HUNGRY HEARTS, I AM LOVE) grinds things to a halt first when she discovers that the old maps are inaccurate and need redoing, then again after the Virgin Mary (FILL THE VOID’s Hadas Yaron) appears to her in the field and commands her to build a church instead. Gianni Zanasi’s quirky comedy won the Europa Cinema Label prize at the 2018 Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. DIR/SCR Gianni Zanasi; SCR Giacomo Ciarrapico, Michele Pellegrini, Federica Pontremoli; PROD Beppe Caschetto, Rita Rognoni. Italy, 2018, color, 110 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

GOMORRAH meets Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Ragazzi di vita” in the D’Innocenzo brothers’ stunning first feature, which is both a gripping crime drama and an astute study of toxic masculinity. Manolo (Andrea Carpenzano) and Mirko (Matteo Olivetti) are pizza delivery boys on the outskirts of Rome, bored out of their minds and itching for something to happen. And then it does. When the pair are involved in a hit and run and learn that they have killed a marked man, inadvertently doing the local mafiosi a great service, Manolo’s wannabe-mobster father jumps at the chance to get his son in with the crime bosses. As the two boys enter an enticing world of sex, money and guns, there seems to be no turning back. Official Selection, 2018 Berlin and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Damiano D’Innocenzo, Fabio D’Innocenzo; PROD Agostino Saccà, Giuseppe Saccà, Maria Grazia Saccá. Italy, 2018, color, 95 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
2018 Oscar® Selection, Italy
DOGMAN (2018)
Set in a picturesquely dilapidated seaside town outside of Naples, Matteo Garrone’s (GOMORRAH, TALE OF TALES) latest is a Neapolitan noir with the DNA of a revenge Western and a darkly humorous bite. The eponymous “Dogman” is Marcello (Marcello Fonte, who won the Best Actor award at Cannes for the role), a gentle dog groomer who deals cocaine on the side in order to make ends meet and raise his young daughter. Bullied by one of his regular customers (Edoardo Pesce), a puffed-up petty criminal who terrorizes the tight-knit community, Marcello becomes implicated in a criminal plan and pushed to the limits of his sanity. Winner, Best Actor (Marcello Fonte), 2018 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Telluride, Toronto and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Matteo Garrone; SCR Ugo Chiti, Massimo Gaudioso; PROD Paolo Del Brocco, Jean Labadie, Alessio Lazzareschi, Jeremy Thomas. Italy/France, 2018, color, 103 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

U.S. Premiere
Having dramatized the demise of former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti in 2009’s IL DIVO, Academy Award® winner Paolo Sorrentino (THE GREAT BEAUTY, THE YOUNG POPE, YOUTH) turns his caustic eye to another titan of Italian politics: media tycoon, billionaire and scandal-plagued ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (Toni Servillo, IL DIVO). The result is an eye-popping, candy-colored and surreal skewering of early 21st-century Italy and Berlusconi’s milieu of unfettered wealth, raucous “bunga bunga” parties and cutthroat political power games — a tale told in counterpoint to that of provincial arriviste Sergio (Riccardo Scamarcio, EUPHORIA), an ambitious wannabe from the Southern town of Taranto, desperate to impress Berlusconi and enter the big time. Originally spilt into two parts for its Italian release, LORO will be presented in its single, epic theatrical form. Official Selection, 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Paolo Sorrentino; SCR Umberto Contarello; PROD Carlotta Calori, Francesca Cima, Nicola Giuliano, Viola Prestieri. Italy/France, 2018, color, 150 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


In 1930s Riga, if you aren’t part of the in-crowd of the bohemian art scene, you might as well put away your brushes. Juris Upenājs, a poor young artist from the rural outskirts, is determined to break into the scene, and finds the love his life at a party on his very first night in town. From there, he’s off to the races, bumping up against the established elites and a rival artist just back from Paris in this hilarious and touching historical tale. Anna Viduleja’s award-winning feature debut is a romantic comedy of errors and intrigues. DIR/SCR Anna Viduleja; SCR Maureen Thomas; PROD Ivo Ceplevičs, Jānis Kalējs. Latvia, 2018, color, 123 min. In Latvian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


This observational documentary experiment takes place in one of the strangest tourist attractions in the world: a dying forest full of cormorants actively killing off the trees with their acid-fortified droppings along the border of Lithuania and Russia. Drone shots give a literal bird’s eye view of the beautiful ruin that draws in sightseers from throughout Europe and beyond. We listen in on the observers from afar as the hypnotic sounds of the black birds surround them in the woods. Official Selection, 2018, Locarno and AFI FEST film festivals. DIR Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė. Lithuania, 2018, color, 63 min. In Lithuanian, English, German, French and Finnish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


In this highly untraditional tale of forbidden romance, sixtysomethings Fer and Fransje are long-divorced when the sudden death of their forty-year-old son unexpectedly brings them back together. United in their shared grief, they console one another over the tragedy— and soon find themselves falling in love all over again. Worried about upsetting their family’s delicate balance, the pair try to keep their affair a secret, but this is easier said than done and when both their children and their current partners find out, things get complicated. Nicole Van Kilsdonk crafts a tender romantic dramedy about the endurance of love, the complexity of family life and the hope of second chances. DIR Nicole Van Kilsdonk; SCR Peer Wittenbols, Joris Oonk; PROD Ineke Kanters, Jan Van Der Zanden. Netherlands/Belgium, 2017, color, 99 min. In Dutch with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Opening Night:
2018 Oscar® Selection, Poland
Fans of Paweł Pawlikowski’s Oscar®-winning 2013 hit IDA will not be disappointed by his follow-up, a stunningly shot, music-drenched love story for the ages, which won the Best Director prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War in Poland, East Germany, Yugoslavia and France — and loosely based on the story of Pawlikowski’s own parents — COLD WAR follows a pair of star-crossed lovers from their first fateful meeting in post-World War II Poland. Wiktor (Tomasz Kot, SPOOR) is a jazz-loving musicologist tasked with recruiting traditional folk musicians to tour the Eastern Bloc as part of a state-sponsored showcase. When Zula (Joanna Kulig, IDA, THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH) poses as a villager to infiltrate auditions for the troupe and escape her troubled home life, she quickly becomes the star of the show, captivating Wiktor and sparking a 15-year love affair that spans borders, political regimes and musical genres. Winner, Best Director, 2018 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Karlovy Vary, Telluride, Toronto, New York, Busan and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Paweł Pawlikowski; SCR Janusz Glowacki; PROD Ewa Puszczynska, Tanya Seghatchian. Poland/France/UK, 2018, color, 88 min. In Polish, French, German, Croatian, Italian and Russian with English subtitles. RATED R

Based on the eponymous memoir by famed Polish war correspondent Ryszard Kapuściński, this stunningly crafted, graphic-novel-style biopic traces the journalist’s experiences of the 1975 Angolan civil war during a three-month period in which he travelled from the capital of Luanda across the war-torn country in search of a renowned rebel. Animation is interspersed with live-action testimony from survivors of the period, as writer-directors Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow paint a vivid picture of Kapuściński’s harrowing journey and how it shaped the writer he became. Winner, Audience Award, 2018 San Sebastián International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Cannes, Annecy Animation and CPH PIX film festivals. DIR/SCR Raúl de la Fuente, Damian Nenow; SCR/PROD Amaia Remirez; SCR Niall Johnson, David Weber, from the memoir by Ryszard Kapuściński; PROD Jaroslaw Sawko. Poland/Spain/Germany/Belgium/Hungary, 2018, color, 85 min. In English, Portuguese, Polish and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Winner of the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlinale, Malgorzata Szumowska’s (BODY, IN THE NAME OF) deadpan dark comedy takes a critical look at politics, identity, media and religion in contemporary Poland. Jacek (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) is a carefree, heavy-metal-loving laborer working on the construction site of what is to be the tallest statue of Jesus in the world. When a terrible fall disfigures him, the media and everyone around him are whipped into a frenzy as he undergoes Poland’s first ever facial transplant. The operation is a success, but as Jacek is painted as a national hero by the press, receiving star treatment and lucrative endorsement deals, his family and friends find it hard to cope with his new appearance. As Jacek’s celebrity grows, so too does his ostracization from those who once claimed to be closest to him. Winner, Silver Berlin Bear, Grand Jury Prize, 2018 Berlinale; Official Selection, 2018 Edinburgh, Busan and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Malgorzata Szumowska; SCR/PROD Michal Englert; PROD Jacek Drosio. Poland, 2018, color, 91 min. In Polish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
To sum up this brilliantly nutty, outrageously funny Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize winner as an astute political sci-fi satire with giant puppies, soccer, genetic engineering, neo-fascists and a fiercely pro-European Union agenda doesn’t really do it justice. But it’s a start. Diamantino (Carloto Cotta) is a Cristiano Ronaldo-like hero of Portuguese soccer — until he makes an unforgivable error at the 2018 World Cup, letting down his country and ending his career. As the guileless former icon starts to look for a new purpose in life — much to the dismay of his scheming twin sisters, who have other plans — a truly bizarre and wonderful odyssey unfolds, touching on the refugee crisis, the rise of nationalism and, of course, a delightfully unconventional romance. Winner, Critics’ Week Grand Prize, Palm Dog Jury Prize, 2018 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Karlovy Vary, Toronto, Vancouver and New York film festivals. DIR/SCR Gabriel Abrantes; DIR/SCR Daniel Schmidt; PROD Maria João Mayer, Justin Taurand, Daniel van Hoogstraten. Portugal/France/Brazil, 2018, color, 92 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
2018 Oscar® Selection, Romania
Mariana is a young theater director working to stage a production about the ethnic cleansing on the Eastern Front of 1941, in which Romanian soldiers executed 10,000 Jews. As tempers flare in rehearsals and city officials ramp up the pressure to tone down the portrayal of the massacre, Mariana must ask herself if she is willing to compromise her art in order for the show to go on. As slyly humorous as it is politically layered, Radu Jude’s (AFERIM!) powerful story evokes the old adage of not forgetting one’s past lest it be tragically repeated. Winner, Crystal Globe for Best Film, 2018 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Radu Jude; PROD Ada Solomon. Romania/Germany/Bulgaria/France/Czech Republic, 2018, color, 140 min. In Romanian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Produced by Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu (4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS; GRADUATION), Ioana Uricaru’s potent and timely debut feature follows Mara (Mãlina Manovici, GRADUATION), a young Romanian woman working in the U.S. as a physical therapist while awaiting her green card. Having recently married, Mara brings her nine-year-old son from Romania to live in their new home, but when she is accused by an immigration officer of falsifying paperwork and suffers an inexcusable abuse of power, a spiral of injustice unfolds. An unflinching look at one woman’s experience of the gender and power imbalances baked into the U.S. immigration system, and her determination to survive despite the odds, LEMONADE heralds a courageous new voice in Romanian cinema. Official Selection, 2018 Berlin, Tribeca, Seattle, Mill Valley and AFI FEST film festivals. DIR/SCR Ioana Uricaru; SCR Tatiana Ionascu; PROD Eike Goreczka, Christoph Kukula, Yanick Létourneau, Cristian Mungiu, Sean Wheelan. Romania/Canada/Germany/Sweden, 2018, color, 88 min. In English and Romanian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


2018 Oscar® Selection, Slovakia
Octogenarian translator Ali Ungár (Jirí Menzel, CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS) is on a quest for vengeance after stumbling across the identity of the former SS officer he believes murdered his parents. Instead of finding the man who pulled the trigger, he meets Georg Graubner (Peter Simonischek, TONI ERDMANN), the officer’s son. Despite a rocky start, the gregarious Georg hires Ali as his translator, and the two set out on the open road to discover what really happened to Ali’s parents in this funny and poignant odd-couple dramedy. DIR/SCR/PROD Martin Sulík; SCR Marek Lescák; PROD Rudolf Biermann, Bruno Wagner. Slovakia/Czech Republic/Austria, 2018, color, 113 min. In German, English, Slovak and Russian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Teenage angst and toxic masculinity abound in Darko Štante’s powerful debut feature, a Slovenian answer to Alan Clarke’s SCUM set in a youth detention center and inspired by the director’s experience working as teacher in a correctional facility. When Andrej’s (Matej Zemljic) youthful criminal tendencies look set to spiral out of control, he is packed off to a center for troubled young men, where he quickly falls in with Zele (Timon Sturbej), the center’s bordering-on-psychopathic alpha male gang leader. Beginning a deep dive into violence and criminality, Andrej simultaneously grapples with his unsure identity as a young gay man and the potentially disastrous consequences of his developing feelings for Zele. Official Selection, 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Darko Stante; PROD Andraz Jeric, Jerca Jeric. Slovenia, 2018, color, 93 min. In Slovenian with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darín and Bárbara Lennie star in Oscar®-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s (THE SALESMAN, A SEPARATION) acclaimed thriller set in Spain. When Laura (Cruz) travels from her home in Buenos Aires with her family to her hometown in Spain for her sister’s (Lennie) wedding, a startling crime and some long-buried secrets alter the course of their lives. A visually rich and thrilling emotional rollercoaster, EVERYBODY KNOWS is bursting at the seams with star power and peerless performances. Official Selection, 2018 Cannes and Toronto film festivals. DIR/SCR Asghar Farhadi; PROD Álvaro Longoria, Alexandre Mallet-Guy. Spain/France/Italy, 2018, color, 132 min. In English, Spanish and Catalan with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
When longtime friends Olivia, Eloi, Guille and Anna travel to Berlin to surprise their college classmate Comas for his 35th birthday, he is less than pleased to see them. During their weekend together, the group tries to revive the closeness of their student years, but contradictions and tensions emerge as they slowly come to realize that Comas’ life in Berlin is not what he’d made it out to be — and that perhaps they don’t know one another as well as they’d thought. Part twisted buddy comedy, part mystery, part existential crisis drama, Elena Trapé’s subtly powerful examination of friendship explores the fissures caused by time, distance and coming of age. Winner, Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress (Alexandra Jiménez), 2018 Málaga Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Busan International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Elena Trapé; SCR Josan Hatero, Miguel Ibáñez Monroy; PROD Marta Ramírez. Spain, 2018, color, 99 min. In Catalan, English, Spanish and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Stan & Ollie
Stan & Ollie

Closing Night:
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly bring their brilliant comedic chops to bear as legendary comedy duo Stan “Laurel” (Coogan) and Ollie “Hardy” (Reilly) in this hilarious road movie recounting the pair’s famed 1953 “farewell” tour of Britain and Ireland. Initially underwhelming, the tour gradually picks up steam as the duo move toward a big London finale, reigniting their celebrity and causing the world to fall in love with them all over again. But health issues, the stress of being on the road and the arrival of their wives Lucille and Ida (Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda) threaten to upset the delicate balance required for their creative partnership. Director Jon S. Baird (FILTH) and screenwriter Jeff Pope (PHILOMENA) offer a nuanced study of lifelong male friendship and a suitably laugh-inducing tribute to two of cinema’s comedy greats. Official Selection, 2018 London and AFI FEST film festivals. DIR Jon S. Baird; SCR Jeff Pope; PROD Faye Ward. UK/Canada/U.S., 2018, color, 97 min. In English. NOT RATED

Turner Prize-nominated British photographer Richard Billingham makes his feature film debut with this gritty, 16mm-shot family portrait, based on the 1996 photo series “Ray’s a Laugh,” which put him on the map as a Young British Artist and brought the term “squalid realism” into the lexicon of contemporary art. Inspired by his own upbringing in the Black Country, west of Birmingham, RAY & LIZ is named for Billingham’s highly dysfunctional parents and comprises three episodes in the family’s life, spanning the early 1980s to the late 2000s. Like “Ray’s a Laugh,” the result is grimy, shocking and truthful, yet grounded by a humor and humanity that breathes life and empathy into every frame. Winner, Special Mention Jury Prize, 2018 Locarno Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Toronto, New York, London and AFI FEST film festivals. DIR/SCR Richard Billingham; PROD Jacqui Davies. UK, 2018, color, 108 min. In English. NOT RATED

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