Fresh from winning the Runner-Up Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival last week MARRIAGE STORY will open the 30th New Orleans Film Festival.
WAVES, from director Trey Edward Shults and starring New Orleans–born actor Kelvin Harrison Jr., will join BURNING CANE as a Centerpiece Film. WAVES had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and went on to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival.
In addition to the Opening and Centerpiece films, NOFS added seven new Spotlight Films, and a Special Presentation of AMERICA directed by Garret Bradley, bringing the most sought-after films of the upcoming Awards Season to New Orleans.
Spotlight Films include TROOP ZERO, shot in Louisiana and directed by Bert & Bertie; THE TRUTH (LA VÉRITÉ) starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, and Ethan Hawke; HONEY BOY directed by Alma Har’el and starring and written by Shia LaBeouf; CLEMENCY, winner of 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize; THE AERONAUTS starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne; MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN directed by and starring Edward Norton; and THE REPORT directed by Scott Z. Burns, starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Dir. Noah Baumbach| USA, UK | 2019 | 2h 16m
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda
MARRIAGE STORY is Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta co-star.
Dir. Trey Edward Schults | USA |2019 |2h 15m
Cast: Sterling K. Brown, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Lucas Hedges
Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.
Dir. Garrett Bradley | USA | 2019 | 27m
Cast: Donna Crump, Edward Spots
Shot on sparkling black-and-white 35mm film, America is a cinematic omnibus rooted in New Orleans that reveals and re-interprets a lost history of African American Cinema. In response to the MoMA’s recent discovery of Lime Kiln Club Field Day, a 1913 film by Black vaudevillian Bert Williams, New Orleans filmmaker Garrett Bradley pairs excerpts from Williams’ film with scenes reconstructing other possible films, those that have certainly been lost, forgotten, or destroyed. Bradley’s joyous iconography of Black artistry and stardom challenges ideas of Black cinema as a wave or moment (as in the L.A. Rebellion or the 1990s’ New Black Cinema) proposing in their place a continuous thread of achievement and contribution.
Dir. Bert & Bertie | USA | 2019 | 1h 34m
Cast: Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Mckenna Grace, Mike Epps
In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl named Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace) dreams of life in outer space. When a national competition offers her a chance at her dream, to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime and beyond. Written by Beasts of the Southern Wild co-writer Lucy Alibar and helmed by directing duo Bert & Bertie, Troop Zero was shot in Louisiana and stars Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, and Mike Epps.
THE TRUTH (LA VÉRITÉ)
Dir. Hirokazu Kore-Eda | France | 2019 | 1h 46m
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke
Catherine Deneuve, playing awfully close to type, stars as Fabienne, a reigning queen of French cinema who has just published her long-awaited memoirs. For the occasion, her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) arrives in Paris with her American husband (Ethan Hawke) in tow. There, the long-buried friction between Lumir and her mother’s versions of their lives’ stories erupt into full bloom. Though Hirokazu Kore-eda’s followup to last year’s much-admired (and Palme d’Or-winning) Shoplifters is his first film shot outside of his native country and language, he remains dedicated to excavating the fundamental contradictions that uphold families, the unknowns of the people who know us best.
Dir. Alma Har’el | USA | 2019 | 1h 33m
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Shia LaBeouf, Noah Jupe
Based on a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf and inspired by his own experiences, Honey Boy centers on Otis, played by Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) and Lucas Hedges (Manchester By the Sea) as a 12-year-old sitcom star and blockbuster leading-man, respectively. A child of divorce, Otis lives with his dad, a former rodeo clown with broken dreams of stardom (LaBeouf, startlingly transformed for the role), who belittles and dominates his son even as he makes a living off of his acting career. As the film chronicles Otis’ frustrated yearning for a real connection to his father, and the resulting fallout in his chaotic adult life, LeBeouf and director Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach) retain both the prankish humor and gutsy self-exposure that’s marked his adult career as a movie star and part-time conceptual artist.
Dir. Chinonye Chukwu | USA | 2019 | 1h 53m
Cast: Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Aldis Hodge, Danielle Brooks
In this year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave) plays female prison warden Bernadine Williams, who after years of carrying out death row executions, comes up against one inmate who forces her to confront the psychological and emotional demons her job has created. Through minimal dialogue and a captivating lead performance, this “constricting, devastating drama” (The Guardian) begs us to reconsider a system that dehumanizes those on both sides of the bars. Also stars Wendell Piece and The West Wing’s Richard Schiff.
Dir. Tom Harper | USA | 2019 | 1h 41m
Cast: Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel
It’s 1862 and a rage for lighter-than-air flight has swept over Europe. Headstrong scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) and wealthy young widow Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) mount a balloon expedition to fly higher than anyone in history, hoping not just for bragging rights but new discoveries about Earth’s atmosphere. As their perilous ascent reduces their chances of survival, the unlikely duo soon discover things about themselves—and each other—that help both of them find their place in the world. With Redmayne and Jones re-teaming for the first time since The Theory of Everything, The Aeronauts mixes period flourishes and high-altitude thrills.
Dir. Edward Norton |USA | 2019 | 2h 24m
Cast: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe, Cherry Jones, Leslie Mann
Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, Motherless Brooklyn follows Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna. A passion project 20 years in the making for director-star Norton, Motherless Brooklyn features an all-star cast including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Leslie Mann, Willem Dafoe, and Cherry Jones.
Dir. Scott Z. Burns | USA | 2019 | 2h
Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm
Idealistic Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) is tasked by his boss, Dianne Feinstein (played by Annette Benning in an awards-caliber performance) to lead an investigation into the CIA’s post-9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program. Jones’ relentless pursuit of the truth leads to explosive findings that uncover the lengths to which the nation’s top intelligence agency went to destroy evidence, subvert the law, and hide a brutal secret from the American public. “An angry, urgent film that rarely raises its voice,” (The Guardian), The Report also features a packed ensemble featuring Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, Maura Tierney, and Tim Blake Nelson.