a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.
tue. nov. 1 king khan & bbq show @ el rey wed. nov. 2 evolution @ silent movie theater amarcord 8 PM @ cinefamily @ bob baker marionette theater tashaki miyaki FREE @ 751 crenshaw thu. nov. 3 shakes the clown 7 PM @ regent fri. nov. 4 criss cross FREE 8 PM @ union station touchez pas au grisbi 5:30 PM @ norton simon ty segall, king tuff @ hollywood forever sat. nov. 5 sunrise (w/ live score by rococo jet) 9 PM @ hm157 ty segall, king tuff @ hollywood forever the warriors MIDNIGHT @ vista sun. nov. 6 dependent origination, lumina @ center for the arts eagle rock mr. airplane man (10:00) @ cafe nela tue. nov. 8 mind meld @ resident wed. nov. 9 bouquet @ bootleg arrival FREE (RSVP) @ silent movie theater i clowns 8 PM @ cinefamily @ bob baker marionette theater thu. nov. 10 the love song of r buckminster fuller (w/ live score) 8 PM @ cinefamily @ skirball and when i die i won't stay dead 7 PM @ filmforum @ moca grand fri. nov. 11 yourself and yours FREE 6:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 flirting with disaster FREE 6:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 dark night FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 kill me please FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 the comedian FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian miss sloane FREE 8:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 buster's mal heart FREE 9:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 after love FREE 9:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 live cargo FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 harmonium FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 shorts program five FREE 10 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 prevenge FREE MIDNIGHT @ afi fest @ chinese 1 lisa prank @ bootleg rififi 5:30 PM @ norton simon umberto @ werk zombie FREE 8 PM @ hyperion tavern sat. nov. 12 the comedian FREE 12:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 nocturama FREE 12:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 i daniel blake FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 old stone FREE 1:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 oscuro animal FREE 1:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 prevenge FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 toni erdmann FREE 2 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian daughters of the dust FREE 3:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 the salesman FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 dark night FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 boris without beatrice FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 divines FREE 4:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 layla m. FREE 4:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 graduation FREE 6:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 wulu FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 fraud FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 it's only the end of the world FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian the future perfect FREE 7:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 paterson FREE 7:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 shorts program three FREE 7:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 actor martinez FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 a dragon arrives! FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 panamerican machinery FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 om @ casbah (SD) pandoras, loons, love revisited, premiers, creation factory, bombon @ echoplex qui @ smell cosmonauts, winter @ non plus ultra sun. nov. 13 the net FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 things to come FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 citizen kane FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian live cargo FREE 3 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 crosscurrent FREE 3:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 the salesman FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 kill me please FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 death in sarajevo FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 donald cried FREE 6 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 album FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 godless FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 elle FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian shorts program four FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 neruda FREE 7:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 nocturama FREE 9 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 old stone FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 home FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 always shine FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 a dragon arrives! FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 the commune FREE 10 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 om, m geddes gengras @ regent mon. nov. 14 yourself and yours FREE 12:30 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian miss sloane FREE 12:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 crosscurrent FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 godless FREE 1:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 donald cried FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 shorts program three FREE 1:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 the net FREE 3 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian boris without beatrice FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 neruda FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 the future perfect FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 fraud FREE 4:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 shorts program four FREE 4:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 il sorpasso FREE 6:30 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian the untamed FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 hunter gatherer FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 shorts program one FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 one week and a day FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 the wounded angel FREE 7:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 land of mine FREE 9:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 my entire high school sinking into the sea FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 divines FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 the demons FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 things to come FREE 10 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 tue. nov. 15 layla m. FREE 12:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 hunter gatherer FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 i daniel blake FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 carmen jones FREE 1:15 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian the commune FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 always shine FREE 1:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 toni erdmann FREE 3:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 actor martinez FREE 3:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 graduation FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 it's only the end of the world FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian shorts program five FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 one week and a day FREE 4:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 panamerican machinery FREE 4:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 oscuro animal FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 la la land FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese theater i am not your negro FREE 7:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 the eyes of my mother FREE 8:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 shorts program one FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 kati kati FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 wed. nov. 16 the wounded angel FREE 12:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 paterson FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 the hitch-hiker FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian the eyes of my mother FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 land of mine FREE 1:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 i am not your negro FREE 3:30 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian the demons FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 my entire high school sinking into the sea FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 after love FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 buster's mal heart FREE 4:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 the woman who left FREE 6:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 6 harmonium FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 home FREE 6:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 20th century women FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese theatre death in sarajevo FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 2 kati kati FREE 7:15 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 julieta FREE 7:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 the untamed FREE 9 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 3 wulu FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 5 album FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 and the ship sails on 8 PM @ cinefamily @ bob baker marionette theater thu. nov. 17 the woman who left FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 4 julieta FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ chinese 1 body/head @ hollywood forever fri. nov. 18 jon brion @ largo elevator to the gallows 5:30 PM @ norton simon sat. nov. 19 young people, amps for christ, sharp ease, centimeters, w.a.c.o., devon williams @ smell mon. nov. 21 colleen green FREE (RSVP) @ multiply tue. nov. 22 molochs @ bootleg big search @ echo wed. nov. 23 city of women 8 PM @ cinefamily @ bob baker marionette theater sun. nov. 27 neil hamburger @ satellite wed. nov. 30 cory hanson @ highland park ebell ginger and fred 8 PM @ cinefamily @ bob baker marionette theater thu. dec. 1 lee fields & the expressions @ el rey fri. dec. 2 too late for tears FREE 8 PM @ union station shoot the piano player 5:30 PM @ norton simon sat. dec. 3 gonn, ugly beats, loons @ the hideout (SD) fri. dec. 9 2001: a space odyssey (70mm) @ egyptian sat. dec. 10 susan @ hi hat mon. dec. 12 cosmonauts, numb.er, adult books FREE @ echo fri. dec. 16 jon brion @ largo thu. dec. 29 neil hamburger @ satellite sat. jan. 7 saccharine trust @ safari thu. jan. 12 cate le bon @ highland park ebell fri. jan. 13 tim presley @ highland park ebell fri. jan. 27 sleep, melvins @ fonda sat. jan. 28 sleep, melvins @ fonda tue. feb. 14 angel olsen @ wiltern fri. feb. 24 moon duo @ echo WHAT IT IS: ACTOR MARTINEZ AFI FEST alums Mike Ott and Nathan Silver collaborate on a film that follows an actor, Arthur Martinez, as he hires two indie filmmakers (Ott and Silver playing themselves) to make a film with him as the star. Once on set, the filmmakers decide to scrap the movie that Arthur had planned to instead explore the actor's real life. As Arthur becomes aware that the film has gotten away from him, his actions and motivations become unpredictable, forcing the filmmakers to question whether what Arthur does on set is real or just a performance. In their first collaboration together, Ott and Silver go to great lengths to merge fiction and nonfiction, resulting in an enjoyable experiment that blurs the lines between documentary and narrative. 75 mins. AFTER LOVE Joachim Lafosse returns to AFI FEST with his latest feature, which follows Marie and Boris, who have been married for 15 years, as they go through the emotional turmoil of divorce in full view of their twin daughters. At the center of the dispute is the house that Marie purchased and Boris completely renovated. Without a steady job, Boris can't afford a place of his own and so the two must share the house while caring for their girls, which only continues to drag out the divorce proceedings. Staging the entire film in the house they once shared, Lafosse's intimate, emotional movie allows his lead actors, Bérénice Bejo and Cédric Kahn, to give performances that really shine. AFTER LOVE looks at what it means to be a couple, while also exploring the dichotomy of two people who must figure out a way to peacefully coexist for their daughters. AFTER LOVE premiered in Directors' Fortnight at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. 98 mins. ALBUM Turkish couple Bahar and Selma are eager to adopt a baby, but they want to keep it a secret in order to give the world the impression that their child is of natural birth. So they create a few fake photo albums, small bits of evidence to back up false memories. Things go awry when this relatively innocuous act leads to unanticipated results, with the couple getting tripped up in the bureaucratic dance of adoption. The debut feature from Mehmet Can Mertoglu, ALBÜM is surreal and wonderfully absurd, while also firmly rooted in the trappings of contemporary life. As it skewers how young urban professionals are supposed to look and act and even what they are supposed to want, it raises the question of what happens to these individuals when this pursuit backfires. 104 mins. ALWAYS SHINE Sophia Takal's sophomore feature follows two friends, Anna and Beth, both actresses with varying degrees of success, as they travel to Big Sur for a weekend getaway in hopes of reconnecting and reestablishing a bond broken by years of competitiveness and jealousy. Once away, tension bubbles to the surface, forcing them to finally confront their issues — and to lose grasp of their own identities in the process. Building on the theme of jealousy that permeated her debut feature GREEN, Takal explores the nature of female friendships and what it means to be feminine in the eyes of others. Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald sink their teeth into the roles of Anna and Beth, straddling a delicate line between melodrama and realism. Reminiscent of films like Robert Altman's 3 WOMEN (1977) and other films about "psychotic women" from the 1970s, ALWAYS SHINE is a modern take that marks Takal as an important filmmaker to watch. 86 mins. AND WHEN I DIE I WON'T STAY DEAD In his “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” Walter Benjamin essays the political necessity of remembering. “Even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins,” he wrote. “And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious.” Billy Woodberry’s newest film, And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead (2016) is not only a richly hued portrait of the important yet often overlooked Beat poet Bob Kaufman, it is a profound act of reclamation as well. Much more than a traditional “biopic,” it is an object lesson in what it means to live a life of resistance. Like Kaufman’s own life and work, Woodberry’s film is cyclical, lyrical, even musical, sketching for us a biography “shrouded in myth and legend” by using the cinematic equivalents of rhythmic runs and choruses. And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead seems to echo Kaufman’s own poetry when he writes, “Let the voices of dead poets/Ring louder in your ears… Listen to the music of centuries/Rising above the mushroom time.” Woodberry will be present to introduce and discuss the film. BORIS WITHOUT BEATRICE Boris, a proud man of wealth and achievement, is forced to take leave from his work when his wife Beatrice, a minister in the Canadian government, falls ill. At their country home, Beatrice is cared for by a young nurse and in the throes of a melancholic breakdown, unable to speak in a near catatonic state. Boris is eager to help his wife but dismissive of psychiatric care. He nonetheless continues his sexual affair with an employee, and keeps up his demanding, arrogant demeanor with all those in his life, from a random shop clerk and the city council to his own daughter. When a mysterious letter from an unnamed man summons him to the local quarry late one night, he starts to question exactly what kind of man he is. Internationally acclaimed director Denis Cote returns to AFI FEST with this existential, satirical thriller that explores the limits of power and accomplishment in the face of loss. 93 mins. BUSTER'S MAL HEART Sarah Adina Smith's sophomore feature is the story of Jonah, a man who has been split in two by grief - one who lives in the woods and another who is trapped at sea - with each incarnation looking for a reckoning with God. Actor Rami Malek delivers an exceptional performance, playing fractured parts of the same man and imbuing each persona with a wholly different performance. Kate Lyn Sheil and DJ Qualls round out the cast, as Jonah's sensitive wife and a drifter who contributes to Jonah's downward spiral, respectively. Director/writer Smith expertly crafts a darkly humorous and touching film that explores the nuances of the human condition with elements of conspiracy theory and quantum entanglement. BUSTER'S MAL HEART is a visceral, mind-bending mystery that will keep you pondering long after it turns your world upside down. 96 mins. THE COMEDIAN An aging comic icon, Jackie (Robert De Niro) has seen better days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius, the audience only wants to know him as the former television character he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother (Danny DeVito) and his wife (Patti LuPone), Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there, he meets Harmony (Leslie Mann), the daughter of a sleazy Florida real estate mogul (Harvey Keitel), and the two find inspiration in one another, resulting in surprising consequences. World Premiere. 119 mins. THE COMMUNE Director Thomas Vinterberg returns to AFI FEST with his most personal film yet. Basking in the warm glow of Denmark in the 1970s, Erik and Anne are young people struggling to get by and raise their new family. When they fall in love with the enormous vintage home where Erik grew up, they hatch a unique plan to live there as a collective with some friends and strangers. This new strain on the marriage, however, produces fissures that shatter the family unit to its core. Returning to the energetic ensemble style of his 1998 breakout hit THE CELEBRATION, Vinterberg orchestrates a brilliant cast (including Ulrich Thomsen, Berlin Silver Bear Best Actress winner Trine Dyrholm and Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen) in a tale of warmth, chaos, humor and emotionally resonant melodrama. Most movingly, at the film's heart are a couple anticipating their own demise, in a house where so much space can drive two people in love apart. 112 mins. CROSSCURRENT In a daze following his father's sudden death, cargo ship captain Gao Chun falls under the spell of a mysterious book of poetry found hidden in his ship's engine room, sending the beleaguered captain on an unexpected journey both up the Yangtze River, the very cradle of Chinese civilization, and into the center of his own troubled soul. Guided by the beautiful, enigmatic An Lu, and carrying a mysterious shipment for a ruthless crime lord, Chun's pilgrimage to the powerful river's source becomes a sublime, poetic quest to understand man's relationship to nature, the impulses of love and desire, greed and corruption, and the very nature of faith itself. Filmed in gorgeous 35mm by Mark Lee Ping-Bing (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE), director Yang Chao's film melds elements of the classic road movie with a singular aesthetic rooted in ancient Buddhist practice. Featuring an unforgettable sequence in the Three Gorges Dam, CROSSCURRENT is a transcendent voyage into the possibilities of the metaphysical and the realities of flesh and blood. 116 mins. DARK NIGHT Tim Sutton's third feature is a quiet meditation on the planning and impact of a Cineplex massacre in a suburban town, taking place over the course of one day, from sunrise to midnight. Loosely inspired by the horrific real-life killings in a Colorado movie theater in 2012, Sutton doesn't apply a political message to this story, focusing instead on six strangers in a suburban town, all characters who embody real life archetypes in a realistic version of middle-American life. In doing so, Sutton subverts the audience's expectations of who the shooter in this fictional world could be. The film is beautifully shot by prolific French cinematographer Hélène Louvart, who lends a different perspective and cultural lens to this unfortunately very American story. DARK NIGHT engages with our epidemic of mass shootings in subtle and unsettling ways by taking an observational and expressionistic approach that creates an immersive experience in which the audience may examine their own fragility. 85 mins. DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST In her iconic feature film directorial debut, filmmaker Julie Dash beautifully weaves lush lyrical imagery and a poetic narrative to transport us into the tapestry of Gullah culture, descendants of slaves off the Georgia coast. Narrated by the voice of an unborn child, DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST introduces three generations of the Peazant family as they embark on a journey from their native St. Helena Island to the North, perceived to be the land of opportunity. However, along the way, the underbelly of early 20th-century racism, rape, class distinction and an unwanted pregnancy threaten the trip and thrust the clan into a whirlwind of conflict. Critically acclaimed and lauded with an award for cinematography and a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival, DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST was the first feature film directed by an African-American woman to receive mainstream theatrical distribution in the United States. 112 mins. DEATH IN SARAJEVO In 1914, a Serbian man named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, kicking off the chain of events that led to World War I. One hundred years later, during a centennial commemoration of those events, Academy Award®-winning director Danis Tanovi´c turns the luxurious Hotel Europa in the heart of Sarajevo into an ideological battleground. As visiting luminaries arrive for the ceremony, a looming hotel-worker strike pits a furious staff against management's underhanded cronies, while elsewhere, arguments about the region's turbulent history of violent conflict — beginning with Princip's fateful act — threaten to reach a dangerous boiling point. Tanovi´c's sublimely fluid camera glides through every corner of the expansive hotel, breathlessly capturing the escalating tensions with virtuosic panache. The film, a potent reminder that our unstable present has deep roots in the past, won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. 85 mins. THE DEMONS Growing up in suburban Montreal in the late 1980s, 10-year-old Félix is surrounded by a seemingly loving and stable family, and should be living a carefree existence. But the mysterious grown-up world around him comes into vivid focus when an intense marital fight erupts between his parents, and he starts to overhear stories about missing children in nearby towns. Félix, internalizing these disturbing changes, begins to do things he doesn't yet understand — with scary consequences. From the opening scene, which shows young bodies at a dance set to Bach's St. Matthew Passion, documentary filmmaker Philippe Lesage (in his narrative feature debut) shows a startling ability to create dread and anxiety in the most domestic of situations. With elegant cinematography and music, and a performance of surprising sensitivity and nuance by young Édouard Tremblay-Grenier, THE DEMONS shows the terrors — real and imagined — of growing up. 118 mins. DIVINES Disenchanted and unimpressed by the parameters of life in the slums of Paris, a fearless and ferocious teenager named Dounia unabashedly dreams of prosperity, not only for herself but also for her charismatic best friend and alcoholic mother. In her audacious pursuit of money, power and respect, she aligns herself with a ruthless gangster who uses her as a pawn to exact revenge on a rival drug lord. When their plan goes off the rails and escalates into violent territory, Dounia is forced to reconcile the allure of quietly escaping to the life of her dreams with the reality of the ramifications of her actions. Shot in a style that is at once melodic and discordant, DIVINES is a cinematic haiku of empowerment, youthful angst, racial inequality and the consequences of poverty. Winner of the Camera d'Or prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, DIVINES is the feature film debut of director Houda Benyamina. 106 mins. DONALD CRIED Director/writer/star Kris Avedisian expertly deconstructs the contemporary obsession with "man-child" characters in mainstream and independent comedies in his feature debut. Since launching at SXSW and the Film Society of Lincoln Center's prestigious New Directors/New Films showcase, this darkly funny character study has earned Avedisian critical acclaim for his objective yet emotional dual portrait of former childhood best friends who reconnect decades later in their working-class Rhode Island neighborhood. Awkward humor and wacky hijinks ensue, but Avedisian curbs laughs at his characters' expense by maintaining precise control over the film's tense tone. As the friends rediscover their stifled aggression and teenaged rebelliousness, the filmmaker foreshadows the violence as well as the chuckles and uncomfortable hugs that will erupt among these men. 85 mins. PRECEDED BY: THUNDER ROAD - Officer Arnaud loved his mom. Dir. Jim Cummings, 13 mins. A DRAGON ARRIVES! A densely layered, postmodern pastiche of disparate genres and perspectives, Mani Haghighi's A DRAGON ARRIVES! reenacts the confounding circumstances surrounding the 1965 suicide of an exiled political prisoner, whose body is found in an abandoned shipwreck on a remote desert island. A bright orange Chevrolet Impala announces the arrival of suave police inspector Babak Hafizi. His investigation is quickly diverted when, dismissing local folklore, he buries the body in the ancient cemetery adjacent, prompting a mysteriously localized earthquake. Hafizi then calls in a geologist and an eccentric sound engineer to investigate the quake. What follows is an increasingly fantastic string of events featuring an expansive network of characters, extending to Haghighi's own grandfather, Iranian New Wave filmmaker Ebrahim Golestan. Integrating political allegory with personal history, Haghighi adds a uniquely absurdist voice to a continuing exploration into the nature of truth in cinema. 107 mins. ELLE Paul Verhoeven returns with his French-language debut and most sophisticated genre reworking to date. An adaptation of the French-Armenian novel "Oh…" by Philippe Djian, ELLE is a thriller as challenging as it is provocative. The inimitable Isabelle Huppert is Michèle LeBlanc, a successful video game company head who is brutally attacked in her home by a masked assailant. Having overcome family trauma and attained power in a male-dominated industry, Michèle has long cultivated a ruthless outward persona. In confronting her assault, she rejects victimization and, instead, determines to uncover the identity of her assailant, unwittingly drawing him into a perverse game of cat and mouse. Huppert wields both vulnerability and strength, lending a remarkable character of nuance and complexity to the body of work of an auteur all too often dismissed as camp. With ELLE and World Cinema entry THINGS TO COME (L' AVENIR), Huppert‘s expansive range is on full display at AFI FEST this year. 131 mins. A Tribute preceding the Centerpiece Gala screening will celebrate Huppert's extraordinary career and will include a conversation with the actress. EVOLUTION The long-anticipated second feature from Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Evolution is an eerie, sparse companion piece to 2004’s Innocence. While Innocence took place in a forest-world filled with young girls with ribbons in their hair, this new film is devoid of them, set on an island populated only by women and young boys. What happens to the young boys when they are no longer young boys becomes the film’s immediate and most urgent question, as its quiet, oceanic world of surreal horror builds to a climax. With stunning underwater and nighttime cinematography set to a score that evokes water moving and whales’ songs, this haunting, enigmatic provocation speculates about birth–by and of la mer and la mère. Dir. Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2015, DCP, 81 min. THE EYES OF MY MOTHER Director Nicolas Pesce's debut feature — fascinates with its combination of raw, brutal storytelling and elegant imagery. Beautifully lensed in black and white by cinematographer Zach Kuperstein, Pesce's film immediately immerses the viewer in its Gothic atmosphere with a jarring act of violence that disrupts the seemingly bucolic life of a Midwestern Portuguese-American family. Francisca, the young daughter of a farmer and his surgeon wife, carries the effects of witnessing this terrible event into adulthood and perpetuates the cycle of violence to a chilling degree. Played with magnetic intensity by Kika Magalhães, the character of Francisca provides an uncommonly personal look at psychosis. While Pesce never pretends to understand or explain the roots of her actions, by planting the film squarely in Francisca's point of view, he gives us an uncomfortable yet enthralling experience with this unique horror film. 77 mins. FRAUD Who is the author of a film — its director or its subject? And what is real — an identity presented to the world, or a secret self? These are just some of the questions raised by Dean Fleischer-Camp's FRAUD. An AFI FEST alum with a résumé of defiantly original work, Fleischer-Camp presents audiences here with something even more bracing and new, a stitched-together narrative that follows an all-American family via home movies on YouTube. As these films putter across the landscape of modern American consumerism, we watch the family members ceaselessly pursue pleasure and diversion at malls, amusement centers and other temples of Americana designed to separate people from their money. But not all of the money being swept away from them is their own, and this fractured funhouse mirror reveals a family unit on the verge of unraveling. FRAUD is a beguiling work of art that leaves you with as many questions as answers. 52 mins. PRECEDED BY: HAM HEADS - Larry and Barry are the world's oldest living conjoined twins. They live in their brother's basement. Dir. Efren Hernandez, 11 mins. THE FUTURE PERFECT Awarded Best First Feature at the Locarno International Film Festival, German-Argentinian newcomer Nele Wolatz’s THE FUTURE PERFECT explores fractured relationships within culture, tradition and language in this whimsical romantic comedy. Xiaobin has just moved to Argentina to reunite with her family, who own a laundromat in Buenos Aires. She finds work at a nearby grocery store, but after struggling to communicate with customers, she becomes determined to learn Spanish, enrolling in group language lessons for Chinese immigrants. The independence afforded by learning Spanish is offset by the anxiety of becoming further enclosed in Chinese culture through an arranged marriage, or alternately, accepting the proposal of coworker Vijay, who hopes to marry her and take her to live with him in India. As lessons progress, these decisions are placed on hold while the possibilities posed by Argentina expand with each new tense learned, providing a guide to hypothetical futures, hopes, fantasies and fears. 65 mins. PRECED BY: PEDRO - Pedro gets home at dawn. Before he falls asleep, his lonely mother drags him to the beach. Dir. André Santos, Marco Leão, 20 mins. GODLESS Gana is a nurse who spends her days shuttling between elderly patients. Yet behind her seemingly selfless work tending to the physical indignities of old age, Gana is running a scam: In cahoots with her boyfriend — with whom she shares a morphine addiction — Gana steals her patients' ID cards and sells them to a corrupt cop, who in turn supplies the cards to shell companies. When Gana strikes up a relationship with one of her patients, a retired choirmaster, and finds herself quietly moved by the hymns sung by his chorus, she begins to question her hardened existence. Is it too late for her to carve out a path of beauty and light? Directed with striking formal intuition by Ralitza Petrova, GODLESS follows one woman's existential dilemma in the post-Communist city of Vratsa, Bulgaria, here shot as a jarring juxtaposition of picturesque and crumbling. Irena Ivanova's understated performance, which scored the Best Actress prize at the Locarno International Film Festival, carries this stunning debut. 99 mins. GRADUATION Romeo, a middle-aged doctor living in the Romanian city of Cluj, is faced with a brutal moral dilemma. His bright young daughter, Eliza, is on the cusp of receiving a scholarship to Cambridge — she just needs to ace her final exam to secure her placement at the prestigious British university. When Eliza is assaulted the day before her exam, suddenly the likelihood of her passing the test with flying colors grows dim. Desperate to see his daughter leave the corrupt and dysfunctional Cluj and start a life of opportunity in the UK, Romeo begins the precarious dance of pulling strings around town with various higher-ups to make sure Eliza receives the marks she needs. Romanian master and AFI FEST alum Cristian Mungiu again crafts a deft, slow-burn social thriller that exposes the diseased nature of the system and how it infects everyone operating within it. With Mungiu's signature long takes, and a finely modulated performance by Adrian Titieni as Romeo, GRADUATION is a film not only about corruption but also the grey areas of parenting and family striving. 128 mins. HARMONIUM Awarded the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Koji Fukada's latest film uses themes of Japanese domesticity to investigate the surrounding fissures that expand to collapse a family shaken by tragedy. With his wife Akie, Toshio runs a machinery workshop in the garage attached to their family home. When Toshio hires an old acquaintance, recently released inmate Yazaka, the couple's quiet routine is disrupted and unspoken conflicts rise to the surface. Yazaka ultimately earns favor with Akie after offering to help their daughter prepare for a harmonium recital but, as the repetition of the metronome and the discordant harmonium resound, tragedy strikes. Fukada's measured psychological thriller elevates the genre to profound dimensions, shrewdly navigating themes of morality, guilt and atonement to illustrate the inherent solitude that separates us from those to whom we presumably feel closest. 118 mins. HOME Flemish filmmaker Fien Troch (KID, AFI FEST 2012) recreates — with a handheld camera and a confined aspect ratio — the fluctuating, heightened emotions of youth and the generational dynamics that render adults oblivious. Just released from a juvenile detention center, 17-year-old Kevin goes to live with his aunt's family, who agree to provide him with a stable home life and a plumbing apprenticeship at their renovation business. He is immediately drawn into his younger cousin Sammy's social circle, winning favor with his best friend and girlfriend at the supermarket parking lot, where relationships are mediated by cell phone footage of one another. Here, Kevin befriends John, and is determined to help him confront a difficult situation at home. Deprived of the comfort that home represents for their peers, Kevin and John share a sense of alienation that threatens to erupt in violence. 103 mins. HUNTER GATHERER Fresh from a three-year prison stint, wiry and high-strung Ashley (Andre Royo) returns to his mother's South LA home determined to pick up his life where it left off, including a longstanding relationship with Linda, who reveals she's since taken up with a local garbage man. Ferociously determined to improve his lot in life and win Linda back, Ashley quickly improvises an outlandish hustle, digging himself deeper into his own brand of trouble. He forms an unexpected friendship with the shy, awkward Jeremy, who's on his own quest to save the life of his bedridden grandfather. With each man hungry for connection and needing support, the pair come to rely on one another, each struggling to turn back the clock while somehow moving forward to a place of unexpected grace. Challenging common depictions of life in South LA, director/writer Josh Locy's HUNTER GATHERER is a sly, intriguing and frequently funny feature debut, anchored by Royo's exceptional performance. 88 mins. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO James Baldwin's unfinished final book "Remember This House" was entrusted to director Raoul Peck by the writer's estate. Drawing on this precious inheritance, Peck has crafted an incisive, elegant film essay that examines what it means to be black in America. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film links racial violence in the 1960s (the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., specifically) to current events surrounding the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police, and is edited so that disturbing images spanning almost half a century find even more heightened power together. As a Haitian filmmaker, Peck is able to add an outsider's viewpoint to the proceedings, while also furthering the idea that the black experience transcends borders and national identities. 93 mins. Peck joins us in person for the inaugural World Cinema Masters in Conversation section at AFI FEST. He will sit down for an in-depth discussion with Toronto International Film Festival Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. I, DANIEL BLAKE Reemerging from his announced retirement to resume his 50-year plus filmmaking career and claim a second Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, British master Ken Loach returns with another story about everyday people and the extraordinary challenges they face. Daniel, a 59-year-old carpenter from Newcastle, has to stop working as he recovers from a heart attack. For the first time in his life, he needs support from the state. However, Daniel is declared fit for work and has to apply for jobs if he is to get any money. While in the bowels of bureaucracy, he befriends Katie, a single mother who moved hundreds of miles from London with her two children, in order to escape a one-room homeless hostel. Through unforgettable and haunting moments, Loach reminds us again of the irreducible power of compassion in the struggle for human dignity in our modern socioeconomic order. 100 mins. IT'S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD For his sixth feature film — which took the Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival — AFI FEST favorite Xavier Dolan teams with a powerhouse cast of French superstars to adapt an intimate, observant stage play by Jean-Luc Lagarce. Gaspard Ulliel stars as Louis, a writer returning home after years away to share some troubling news with his family. His mother (Nathalie Baye), standoffish brother (Vincent Cassel), meek sister-in-law (Marion Cotillard) and eager-to-please sister (Léa Seydoux) are a volatile mix of personalities and temperaments, turning even the smallest conversational misstep into fertile ground for a full-blown argument. As Louis struggles to navigate the gauntlet of bittersweet memories and built-up resentments his absence has created, Dolan captures his stellar cast in claustrophobic close-up. He allows the tiniest of gestures to speak volumes, beautifully illustrating the uncomfortable truth that our honesty doesn't always come easily with the people who know us best. 95 mins. JULIETA When we meet Julieta (Emma Suárez), she seems to be a relatively happy, well-balanced woman preparing for a move away from Madrid with her boyfriend. But a chance encounter on the street leaves her reeling, and she's tossed back into the turmoil of her painful past. In flashback, we see Julieta as a younger woman (Adriana Ugarte), meeting the love of her life, fisherman Xoan, and having a little girl, Antía, with him. When Xoan dies suddenly, Julieta and Antía are left to navigate life together, a mother and daughter on twin courses of tragedy and survival. Pedro Almodóvar's latest is a moving testament to the undying love that exists between parent and child, even when that love manifests as harmful, suffocating or heartbreakingly distant. The Spanish auteur's trademarks of lyrical melodrama, character doubling, intoxicatingly vivid mise-en-scène and wicked Hitchcockian flourishes are on full display, here refracted through the lens of stories by Canadian writer Alice Munro. 99 mins. KATI KATI Without any memories or knowledge of who she is or why she is there, Kaleche finds herself in a field. Soon she finds a group of strangers in the nearby resort who tell her the truth: She is dead and this is the afterlife, not quite heaven or hell, where everyone is waiting to move on. All they have to do to get what they want is write it down and their wish appears the very next day. The only thing they cannot have is escape. The magical realist debut feature of Mbithi Masya, a member of a popular Kenyan alternative house funk group, KATI KATI deploys memorable performances and deceptively simple cinematic techniques to give us a beautiful, dreamlike depiction of life and the possible life after it. 75 mins. KILL ME PLEASE This debut film follows 15-year-old Bia and her friends as they grow up in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro. As the girls try to navigate the usual pitfalls of puberty, a wave of murders sweeps the city and bodies begin to appear in the group's usual stomping grounds. What starts as morbid curiosity slowly starts to infect their young lives, and after an encounter with death, Bia will do anything to stay alive. This audacious vision announces filmmaker Anita Rocha da Silveira as a rising talent whose mastery of dark subject matter is strikingly bold and altogether entertaining. The production, packed with killer performances from its young cast and brilliant music, is a giallo-tinged take on puberty and the experience of living in a girl's body. As it reaches its tense conclusion, the film's alchemy of styles creates something fiercely original. 105 mins. LAND OF MINE After World War II, Denmark faced the problem of how to defuse thousands of mines left buried in the country's beaches by German soldiers. The fair solution at the time seemed to be defeating the enemy to clear them. However, after seven years of war, the only enemies left were adolescent Wehrmacht conscripts. This film is their story, seen through the eyes of Sgt. Rasmussen (Roland Moeller, AFI FEST 2012's A HIJACKING), ordered to oversee the operation. Tense and thrilling like THE HURT LOCKER but with a humanistic focus, director Martin Zandvliet's LAND OF MINE has had festivalgoers gripping their seats worldwide, taking home the Audience Award in Rotterdam earlier this year. Working with his wife as cinematographer, Zandvliet filmed on a beach that still contained mines, and even uncovered one during shooting. 101 mins. LAYLA M. Prolific Dutch director Mijke de Jong provocatively frames radicalization as an expression of teenage rebellion and idealism in her latest film, the tough but heartbreaking LAYLA M. Played with assured grace by newcomer Nora El Koussour, Layla is an 18-year-old daughter of middle class Moroccan immigrants in Amsterdam. A crush on devout Muslim Abdel and a need to demonstrate independence from her parents spark with burgeoning local Islamophobia to ignite a passion in Layla for religion. Convinced she can do more good in the Middle East than in school in the Netherlands, Layla looks for a way out. LAYLA M. tells its ripped-from-the-headlines story with realism and sensitivity that humanizes the faces behind the veils. 98 mins. LIVE CARGO Nadine and Lewis, a young couple grieving after a terrible loss, escape to the Bahamas, where Nadine frequently spent time as a child. Though welcoming faces greet them, it's soon clear that director Logan Sandler's (AFI Class of 2014) feature debut is not content to frame its location as a carefree getaway. Cinematographer Daniella Nowitz (AFI Class of 2014) paradoxically captures the island's grandeur — from stunning underwater diving sessions to portentous nighttime lightning storms—in stark black and white, allowing Sandler to reveal the simmering tensions, stalled aspirations and dark secrets that infect the local population. We meet the town's gregarious mayor, a destitute young drifter desperate for a change, and the mayor's business rival, whose moneymaking ventures range from irresponsible to criminal. Tragedy is on the horizon, but Sandler shows how each character's richly realized inner turmoil leads them to respond in surprising ways. 88 mins. MISS SLOANE In MISS SLOANE, ruthless and highly successful political strategist Elizabeth Sloane (Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain), exposes the cutthroat world of DC lobbyists on both sides of the gun control debate. New legislation requiring more stringent background checks for gun ownership is gaining traction in Congress, and Sloane is approached to spearhead the campaign, pitting her against the formidable power of her political opponents. Deploying her notorious skills — and driven by a desire to win at all costs — she jeopardizes those closest to her, and puts her own career at risk. Directed by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker John Madden, and starring a powerhouse ensemble cast of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong, Alison Pill, John Lithgow, Michael Stuhlbarg and Sam Waterston, MISS SLOANE is a riveting political thriller that delves into the complexities of one of the most pressing and fiercely fought issues in contemporary America. 132 mins. MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA "Heightened style," a term mentioned by one of the animated characters in this audacious disaster comedy, aptly describes the painterly mixed-media visuals created by director Dash Shaw and lead animator Jane Samborski for their surreal take on teen comedies and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. Grim yet colorful, the images innovatively represent cartoon violence, but also transcend character animation to reach the realm of the experimental. Featuring the voices of Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph and Thomas Jay Ryan (of Hal Hartley fame), plus a scene-stealing Susan Sarandon as Lunch Lady Lorraine, the film also evokes SNOWPIERCER's device of "juggernaut as metaphor" to share its anti-authority, nonconformist message. MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA marks graphic novelist Shaw's feature film debut, as well as executive producer Craig Zobel's first return to animation since his co-creation of the cult web series HOMESTAR RUNNER. 77 mins. PRECEDED BY: THE SEND-OFF - On the evening of their high school prom, a group of students hope to transcend the rural town and industrial landscape that surround them. Dir. Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan, 13 mins. NERUDA Director Pablo Larraín returns to Chilean history with a unique film about the difference between man and artist, person and persona. In 1948, betrayed by the supposed left-wing president he helped support, renowned poet and senator for the Chilean communist party Pablo Neruda went into hiding to escape arrest. Assisted by party members with more personal knowledge of the hardships of proletariat life than the regal and aristocratic Neruda, he and his Argentinian wife try to escape the clutches of the government as led by the dedicated and anonymous police prefect Oscar Peluchonneau. Less a biopic than a Nerudian imagining of what a biopic should be, NERUDA looks at one man's life underground, beneath a society trying to repress passion, sensuality and solidarity for others. 107 mins. THE NET Korean master filmmaker Kim Ki-duk returns to AFI FEST with his latest offering, which explores the political divide between North and South Korea. When North Korean fisherman Nam Chul-woo's boat motor dies in a river separating the two countries, he inadvertently drifts into South Korean waters. He is immediately seized by the South Korean border police and investigated as a spy. As he spends more time in police custody and they attempt to turn him into a defector, one thing becomes clear: Whether or not Nam Chul-woo returns to the North, his life will never be the same again. Ryoo Seung-bum delivers a fantastic lead performance, bringing emotional heft to the character of Nam. While Kim expertly weaves together his most controversial film to date, exploring the unwavering ideologies of two countries whose residents fall prey to the dogmatic principles instilled in them, he creates a cinematic prison all its own. 114 mins. NOCTURAMA Bertrand Bonello returns to AFI FEST with his latest film, which follows a pack of Parisian teenagers from different backgrounds over the course of one day as they carry out a series of planned attacks throughout the city. Once their plans have been set in motion, they meet at a department store to wait out the night. Inspired by the current climate of political disillusionment and frustration felt by youth worldwide, Bonello focuses not on the why of his protagonists' actions, but instead on how a group of kids could execute such a plan, and what happens once it is over. Bonello, along with his director of photography Léo Hinstin, carefully arranges the mise-en-scène and divides the film into two parts, with the before and after colliding in a beautifully constructed film about an uncomfortable topic. NOCTURAMA serves as a warning of what society has taught our children. 130 mins. OLD STONE Timid and unassuming, cab driver Lao Shi (Chen Gang) finds his quiet workaday life turned inside out after helping an accident victim to the hospital. His decency is rewarded with a nightmarish descent into an unforgiving bureaucratic machine and the scorn of a deeply cynical culture where it's more cost effective for victims to die than survive. Desperately holding onto the last shreds of his humanity as his world unravels, Lao plots a last-ditch effort to regain his life — leading to a twisty, hard-to-forget climax. Employing the style of classic neorealism before brilliantly transitioning into a razor-sharp thriller, this debut from writer-director Johnny Ma is at once a finely drawn character piece and a pointed social critique. With sly humor and a willingness to challenge his audience, Ma has crafted a sharp, devastating rejoinder to the question of whether simple human decency has a place in the new China. 80 mins. U.S. Premiere ONE WEEK AND A DAY For Eyal and Vicky, it is the end of Shiva, the seven-day Jewish mourning ritual when a bereaved family opens their home to visitors. Grieving the death of their 25-year-old son, the couple tries to return to their lives in different ways. Vicky is eager to get back to teaching her elementary school students, while Eyal tries to make use of his son's remaining medical marijuana from hospice. Unable to roll a joint, Eyal enlists the help of their neighbor's son, a stoner sushi deliverer named Zooler. Dentist appointments, kittens, annoying nymphomaniac neighbors, ping pong and air guitar are all fodder in Israeli-American filmmaker and AFI alum Asaph Polonsky's feature debut. ONE WEEK AND A DAY is a dramedy about the unimaginable yet common grief of two surviving parents. Wry and moving but decidedly unsentimental, it finds absurdity in life after death. 98 mins. OSCURO ANIMAL Gorgeously shot and paced with patient rigor, feature debut director Felipe Guerrero's OSCURO ANIMAL follows three Colombian women who are all brutally affected by the country's armed conflict. Rocio returns from a routine laundry trip to find her small village gutted; homeless, she travels to Bogotá (but not without more violence en route) and finds some solace when she strikes up a friendship with a young city girl. La Mona also finds herself heading to the city, after bravely freeing herself of the abusive paramilitary who has impregnated her. Nelsa, herself a paramilitary, is similarly at the lustful mercy of her fellow male soldiers; she too departs for Bogotá. Practically dialogue free and haunted by the painful silences of loss and trauma, this startling vision imagines women who have experienced the unimaginable, and yet still take their fates in hand, heading to a shared destination. 106 mins. North American Premiere. PANAMERICAN MACHINERY There isn't a better workplace than Maquinaria Panamericana. Employees are in a convenient location, with an expansive workspace. They have a generous boss who treats his workers as family. It all feels more like fun than labor, until the day owner Don Alejandro is found dead at the back of the warehouse. Suddenly everything changes. It's discovered the company is bankrupt, and the boss had been paying wages out of his own pocket. With no prospects of employment elsewhere and no future to look forward to, the workers decide to take collective action and lock themselves behind the factory gates, only emerging once they have found a solution. Director Joaquín Del Paso's first feature is a witty and comedic examination of Mexico's dysfunctional system where attempts to find a collective voice often lead to more chaos and division. 86 mins. PATERSON Premiering at this year's Cannes Film Festival, PATERSON is the latest film from America's punk poet laureate Jim Jarmusch. Adam Driver stars as the title character, a working-class poet and bus driver living in Paterson, NJ. Eschewing the comforts of modern life, he lives a routine existence, finding beauty in everyday details. From this loose narrative, Jarmusch has found one of his most liberating film structures yet. Having already played with narrative in such films as NIGHT ON EARTH (1991) and COFFEE AND CIGARETTES (2003), here Jarmusch seems to echo an earlier version of his filmmaking self, laying down story beats based on characters and the rhythms of their environment — and playing with how these two forces push and pull one another. A grooving meditation on contemporary life and an aching ode to the poetic in the mundane, PATERSON sings. 118 mins. PREVENGE British comedy actress Alice Lowe makes her feature directorial debut with this pitch-black comedic tale of a pregnant woman whose fetus has a lust for killing. Seven months pregnant, Ruth receives murderous instructions from her misanthropic unborn baby, who has a vendetta against society for leaving her fatherless. Coached by the fetus, Ruth lures in unsuspecting victims by using her pregnancy as a cloak of innocence. Who would suspect a mother-to-be of homicide? Commanding a supporting cast of fantastic British actors, Lowe, a triple threat here in the roles of director, writer and actor, shines as Ruth. Lowe even lent some real life inspiration to the part, as she herself was pregnant during the film's shoot. PREVENGE is a macabre comedy and entertaining revenge film that could have only come from the hormone-influenced mind of a pregnant woman. 88 mins. PRECEDED BY: BLOODY BARBARA - Barbara roams the streets covered in blood, reenacting the scenes from some of her favorite films. Dir. Shawn Bannon, 6 mins. THE SALESMAN In Asghar Farhadi's latest masterwork on domestic discord, a couple, Emad and Rana, have just moved into a new apartment. When a violent occurrence mars their housewarming — Rana is attacked by an intruder — Emad takes it upon himself to seek revenge on the perpetrator. A cell phone, a set of keys and a pickup truck lurking down the street are all clues Emad discovers in his investigation, but when he ultimately stumbles upon the culprit, this whodunit is suddenly undercut by the greater issue of what Emad must do with new, startling information. Observant, neorealist and fueled by slow-burn suspense, THE SALESMAN is a brilliant work of character-driven complexity. 125 mins. SHORTS PROGRAM FIVE Screening: * FATA MORGANA – A grieving couple is forced to examine their marriage when they journey from China to the United States for the funeral for their only child. DIR Amelie Wen. * HIDDEN – Possessed by sibling rivalry, Parham must face his role in a series of events that have incapacitated his half-brother. DIR Farzad Ostovarzadeh. * ALL THESE VOICES – A Nazi soldier in disguise encounters a survivors’ avant-garde theater troupe celebrating the end of the war. DIR David Henry Gerson. * THE DISAPPOINTMENT TOUR – Three generations of women, crammed into a car along with their emotional baggage, experience an unexpected moment of connection on the side of the road.. DIR Erica Liu. * ICEBOX – A young boy from Honduras finds himself in a difficult situation when he is arrested at the U.S. border. DIR Daniel Sawka. TRT approx. 96 mins. SHORTS PROGRAM FOUR Including: * SUMMER CAMP ISLAND – Oscar has to accept that his totally normal sleepover with Hedgehog isn’t going to be totally normal. DIR Julia Pott. * SUPERBIA – In the land of Superbia, strict rules divide the societies of women and men. DIR Luca Tóth. * DEER FLOWER – A family visit to a deer farm results in a peculiar experience. DIR Kangmin Kim. * A COAT MADE DARK – Two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat. DIR Jack O’Shea. * LOVE – Affection is described in three different chapters, through an impact on a distant solar system. DIR Réka Bucsi. * THE ITCHING – In this parable, a shy wolf tries to connect with a group of hip, party-loving bunnies, but finds her body is in revolt. DIR Dianne Bellino. * PUSSY – A young girl decides to have a pleasurable evening at home, but not everything goes according to plan. DIR Renata Gasiorowska. * GLOVE – The true story of a glove that’s been floating in space forever since 1968. DIRS Alexa Lim Haas, Bernardo Britto. TRT approx. 97 mins. SHORTS PROGRAM ONE Screening: * DREAMING OF BALTIMORE – Freedom means only one thing: riding your dirt bike in the street, front wheel aimed at the sky. DIR Lola Quivoron. * DRAMATIC RELATIONSHIPS – The male gaze inspected through the relationship between a director and his female actors. DIR Dustin Guy Defa. * CRYSTAL LAKE – A group of girls takes over the half pipe. There on the ramp, with no boys around, they are thriving and visible. DIR Jennifer Reeder. * E.W.A – Ewa can’t stop bleeding. DIR Gigi Ben Artzi. * DIRT – Some things must die to live. DIR Darius Clark Monroe. SCR Darius Clark Monroe. * LIMBO – The leopard shall lie down with the goat. The wolves shall live with the lambs. And the young boy will lead them. Thirteen kids and the carcass of a whale washed ashore. DIR Konstantina Kotzamani. TRT approx. 96 mins. SHORTS PROGRAM THREE Screening: * A THOUSAND MIDNIGHTS – A lyrical documentary following the social histories of black Americans. DIR Carlos Javier Ortiz. * A STROLL DOWN SUNFLOWER LANE – An old grandfather, a little granddaughter, an old house and some glimpses of memory. She was growing up building hers. He was getting old losing his. DIR Mayye Zayed. * MADE. NOT BORN! – A home movie from 1981 turns out far more hypnotic than originally planned. DIR Mike Plante. * EARS, NOSE AND THROAT – A woman’s testimonial faculties are confirmed through medical examinations before she recites a tragic story, whose horrors we don’t see, hear or smell, but can imagine far too easily. DIR Kevin Jerome Everson. * THE BLOOP – In 1997 an unusual sound was recorded. It lasted one minute and was never heard again. DIR Cara Cusumano. * JAAJI APPROX. – The distance between a father and son is narrowed when locations and language meet. DIR Sky Hopinka. * TARGETING THE WORLD – In Fayetteville, NC, surveillance technologies are tested. DIR Jesse Moss. * SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT – Beginning in the present day, a scene of tragedy unfolds, telling a cumulative history that is both unbearable and inevitable. DIR AJ Schnack. TRT approx. 84 mins. THINGS TO COME Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) is a middle-aged philosophy professor, still deeply passionate about her career and in a seemingly happy, comfortable marriage with her husband Heinz. There are minor bouts of drama with her needy mother, but otherwise life is steady. When two quietly monumental life events happen to Nathalie in quick succession (played in the film with great understatement and a perfect lack of sensationalism), she finds herself for the first time in decades with an abundance of freedom — and all the exhilarating confusion and fear that come with it. Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve with confidence and beautiful narrative economy, THINGS TO COME is an elegant, observant portrait of one woman's new course when the ground begins to shift beneath her. Huppert reminds us why she's one of cinema's greatest living performers; her portrayal of Nathalie is at once sensitive and no-nonsense, humorous and moving. 100 mins. TONI ERDMANN The smash hit of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival is the third film from AFI FEST alum Maren Ade, a heartwarming father-daughter tale that follows a workaholic woman, Ines, whose prankish elderly dad, Winfried, is a source of constant embarrassment. When Ines is forced to cut her trip home short, Winfried decides to surprise her with an extended stay at her place. Winfried loves to play with people's perception of him. Dressed in fake buckteeth and a bad wig, he barges into her life declaring his new identity: Toni Erdmann. With masterful tonal shifts, the film strikes a nimble balance between comedy and heartbreak as we see the injustices children suffer by their parents — and vice versa. A naked party, a killer karaoke performance and a giant shaggy beast dot the wonderfully lumpy landscape of this narrative, as it guides its two main characters to a truly cathartic conclusion. 162 mins. 20TH CENTURY WOMEN Director Mike Mills brilliantly pulls back the curtain on the struggles, tragedies and triumphs of three generations of American women living in 1979 Santa Barbara. Annette Bening stars as Dorothea, a smart and resourceful woman in her 50s, raising her son by herself for many years. Surrounding Dorothea's small family is Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a 20-something woman who has recently survived a cancer scare and returns to her hometown to reassess her direction in life; and Julie (Elle Fanning), a teenager navigating the burgeoning independence of her adolescence and the responsibility it brings. An ace soundtrack — which includes The Talking Heads and The Raincoats — drives the story and its specific time and place, while the film's impeccable production design draws the audience into the crumbling decay of its central location, so fully that viewers can almost smell the plaster. 118 mins. A Tribute preceding the Centerpiece Gala screening will celebrate Bening's extraordinary career and will include a conversation with the actress. THE UNTAMED Alejandra is a young mother who works at a factory and takes care of her two boys. Her husband Angel spends nights away from home, involved in an extramarital affair and neglecting his wife's sexual needs. Her brother, Fabian, is a nurse at the local hospital who is involved in an unhealthy relationship with a married man. When the mysterious Veronica shows up wounded at the hospital, all of these characters' provincial lives are thrown into upheaval as she shows them something that allows them to experience pleasure purely and more intensely than they have ever known. In many ways a spiritual sequel to Andrzej Zulawski's POSSESSION (1981), director/writer and AFI FEST alum Amat Escalante explores the notion that our base instincts, sexual wants and desires often conflict with values and taboos ingrained in us as a society. The film brilliantly uses fantasy elements to explore what would happen if something allowed us to access pure sexual gratification. 100 mins. THE WOMAN WHO LEFT Winner of the Golden Lion at this year's Venice Film Festival, THE WOMAN WHO LEFT is the latest grand vision from renowned Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz. The film opens in a rural women's prison, where Horacia, an older inmate, teaches language to her fellow prisoners. That is, until Horacia is called to the warden's office one day, where she is told that her conviction was recently proven a frame job, and is immediately freed. Returning to her hometown after a three-decade-long absence, Horacia plots revenge on those who set her up and stole years of her life. But even with vengeance on her mind, she also strongly yearns to reconnect with her family, and to somehow get back the life she once had. Family, class and religion are all explored with the restraint, intimacy and emotional heft that only Diaz can conjure. 226 mins. Followed by a discussion. Led by AFI FEST programmers, this conversation will discuss the filmmaker and his work. THE WOUNDED ANGEL In the dry, austere beauty of a small Kazakh village, the dreams of four adolescent boys are challenged by the harsh realities of post-Soviet life. For Zharas, the shame of having a thief for a father drives a fierce self-righteousness that leads to an unexpected twist; for sensitive Chick, the breaking of his stunning, preternatural singing voice unleashes a simmering rage and sends him into dangerous emotional terrain; intense loner Toad scavenges metals from an abandoned mine, soon finding himself in the company of a strange band of underground dwellers; and studious Aslan, the pride of the village, finds his hopes of a medical school scholarship jeopardized by an unplanned pregnancy, and his illusions devastatingly shattered. With otherworldly cinematography by HOLY MOTORS lenser Yves Cape, director/writer Emir Baigazin's follow-up to his staggering debut HARMONY LESSONS (AFI FEST 2013) is a powerful and uncompromised vision. 112 mins. WULU When low-level transit employee Ladji (powerfully played by Ibrahim Koma) misses out on a potentially lucrative promotion, his years of scraping by to support himself and his sister finally bring him to a breaking point. He uses his connections to earn money as a drug-runner, dangerous work for which he soon discovers he's well-suited. It's not long before Ladji is rising in the ranks of the criminal network, and his control on the situation quickly slips from his grasp as he becomes embroiled in conflicts that stretch from Mali's government all the way to Al Qaeda. Set in Mali's capital city of Bamako, the debut feature of director/writer Daouda Coulibaly is at once a bracing gangster film and an intricate political statement on the country's recent turmoil. 95 mins. YOURSELF AND YOURS The seventh film YOURSELF AND YOURS to be featured at AFI FEST by prolific South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo, emerges as a singular work amid the expanse of Hong's subtle variations on a theme. With deceptive simplicity, this enigmatic modern romance is at once playful and melancholic, with Hong reaching higher-concept, more experimental terrain in its exploration of the male ego. Painter Young-soo confronts his girlfriend Minjung with a rumor she fervently denies — that she has betrayed her promise to him and has been seen drinking excessively and quarreling with another man. The following day, Young-soo cannot find her. As he searches for her, women around town, perhaps dopplegängers of Minjung, are drawn into quasi-romantic encounters with other men. A naturalistic style complicates interpretation as to whether Minjung is an obsession, reflection, idealization or simply a clever cinematic reference. 86 mins.