2015 AFI Film Festival Wrap Up

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By: Monteque Pope-Le Beau

 

The Art Of Monteque had the wonderful pleasure of attending the 2015 AFI Film Festival. Just like years pass this year’s Film Festival did not disappoint. With extravagant galas, wonderful premieres and those wonderful treasures that make going to a film festival worthwhile.The AFI panels were wonderful and very informative. Along with the panels discussing the emergence of virtual reality and how it will change the industry and film making. As always AFI volunteers were wonderful and very helpful to us all. So if you were not able to attend the 2015 AFI Film Festival, here is The Art Of Monteque wrap up coverage. These are the must see films to watch for!

 

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Concussion 123 min

Director: Peter Landesman

Writers: Peter Landesman, Jeanne Marie Laskas (GQ article “Game Brain”)

Will Smith give the  stellar Oscar winning performance in this triumph of a film. There is no argument there is more interest  in profits then human health and  social causes. In many cases profits will always win out every time, but there are a few rare instances when the  concerning few fight the biggest battle of their lives and  win. “Concussion” is one of those incredible stories. “Concussion” is a  dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith), the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.

 

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Where to invade next 110 min

Director: Michael Moore

Once again director Michael Moore has delivered an extremely entertaining and optimistic documentary.  Instead of the doom and gloom we have been hearing about which is associated with climate change. Director Michael Moore gives  a more uplifting point of you.  “Where To Invade Next” is an expansive, rib-tickling, and subversive comedy in which Moore, playing the role of “invader,” visits a host of nations to learn how the U.S. could improve its own prospects.”Where To Invade Next”  is a hilarious and  a fresh call for positive action which is realistic. Sometimes the solution to the problems we face are simply right up under our noses!

 

45 Years

 

45 Years 95 min

Director: Andrew Haigh

Screenwriter: Andrew Haigh

Can the knowledge of the distant past be considered a  betrayal?  Can a secret held so dear become the foundation to ruin a long time relationship? The film “45 Years” takes one on a roller coaster ride of emotional heart aching drama.  The film explores everything from love, jealousy, anger, uncertainty  and the fragile emotional state of the human psyche. “45 Years” is based on a short story by David Constantine. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay play Kate and Geoff Mercer a couple approaching their 45th wedding anniversary. In the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary they receive an unexpected letter which contains potentially life changing news that threatens to throw their pleasantly routine marriage into permanent upheaval. Director Andrew Haigh  film is full of raw emotional suspense. With years of  pent up anger, confusion and emotional stress;  the situation creates a powder keg which has the power to unleash unbelievable devastation  to destroy the peaceful  world  Kate and Geoff Mercer forever. Both Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay give Academy Award performances in this extremely well crafted film.

 

THE LADY IN THE VAN

 

The Lady In The Van 104 min

Director: Nicholas Hytner

Screenwriter: Alan Bennett

Do we really ever pay attention to the people that cross our path from day to day?  Who are they really?  Where did they come from and what story do they have to tell? In  the film “The Lady In The Van” a man forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman living in her car that’s parked in his driveway. The film is based on the smash hit play of the same name and stars Maggie Smith as Miss Mary Shepherd;  a strong willed homeless woman who is like a fine antique book that has been forgotten and neglected after many years with a great many stories to tell.  “The Lady In The Van” is a total delight with quite a few nuggets of wisdom to learn from. Director Nicholas Hytner’s “The Lady In The Van”  is truly a film of the heart.

 

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Carol 118 mins

Director: Todd Haynes

Screenwriter: Phyllis Nagy

“Carol” is a surreal painting of a  beautiful caged bird yearning to be free. Can anyone truly control who it is they love.  In recent years this really wouldn’t be an issue, but for Carol Aird (played by Cate Blanchett)  a well to do house wife who has everything she could ever want want or desire;  her life is made more complicated when she falls in love with Therese Belivet a shop girl (played by Rooney Mara).  The setting for the film is a 1950 America where such relationships are not tolerated and are frowned upon. As the two women begin a relationship, they embark on a adventure which forces them to  confront the difficulties of a life they so desperately desire to have together.  “Carol” is a brilliantly told film documenting  a dark time in women’s and gay rights. Director Todd Haynes artistically weaves a spectacularly told story  of intolerance and the search to live one’s true self.

 

Youth

 

Youth 123 min

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Screenwriter: Paolo Sorrentino

Director Paolo Sorrentino, who was the  the wonderful mind behind the film “The Great Beauty” has created the equally stunning and complicated film “Youth”. “Youth” is gorgeous in not only in the cinematography, but is also a well crafted story with a very impressive cast including Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and the fiery Jane Fonda. In “Youth” two  longtime friends are vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement and youth. Fred Ballinger (Played by Michael Caine), is a retired composer and conductor who has no plans to resume his musical career despite the opportunity to perform for the Queen. Mick Boyle (Played by Harvey Keitel)  is a famous filmmaker working to finishing a screenplay to  the last important film of his life  with his muse Brenda (Played by Jane Fonda). As memories start to fade and old wounds begin to be forgotten, real life crashes in on both Fred Ballinger and Mick Boyle carrying them away in an avalanche of misfortune, betrayal and demons. “Youth”  is beautifully simplistic and yet it is a amazingly complicated metaphor for life and its meaning.

 

 

SMBTM

Songs My Brothers Taught Me 94 min

Director: Chloé Zhao

Screenwriter: Chloé Zhao

“Songs My Brothers Taught” Me setting isamong the Lakota people of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Where the story of two siblings Johnny and Jashaun  unfolds. In the wake of a devastating  loss and the death of their father; the brother and sister relationship  suddenly and heartbreakingly become strained.  As Johnny starts to dream and look for ways of leaving the reservation with his girlfriend, Jashaun becomes more distant with feelings of betrayal and abandonment. The two siblings paths start to separate with dire consequences with Johnny  illegally selling alcohol and Jashaun searching out a surrogate brother. Their story becomes a  tangled destructive web of turmoil. The beautiful land South Dakota is a breathtakingly hunting silent character of the film.  James Richards “Songs My Brothers Taught”  is a masterpiece that connects the past with the future where a rich cultural heritage is at the center of the heart and soul of this magnificently done story.