UK 1hr 46min Drama PG 13
A drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.
“Suffragette” is an absorbing, ultimately moving portrait of thwarted ideals that rings all too true today.” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Italy 1hr 58min Comedy Rated R
YOUTH is about two longtime friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps. Oscar winning actor Michael Caine plays Fred, an acclaimed composer and conductor, who brings along his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and best friend Mick (Harvey Keitel), a renowned filmmaker. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important film, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. The two men reflect on their past, each finding that some of the most important experiences can come later in life.
“Quixotic, idiosyncratic, effortlessly moving, it’s as much a cinematic essay as anything else, a meditation on the wonders and complications of life, an examination of what lasts, of what matters to people no matter their age.” Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Taiwan 1hr 47min Drama/Action NR
9th century China. 10-year-old general’s daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised – a cousin who now leads the largest military region in North China. After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings. A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
Combining Hou’s patient, observant style with a historical martial arts tale, the film is a fascinating hybrid of craft, genre and story.” Nicolas Rapold, New York Times
France 1hr 34min Drama PG-13
Early summer in a village in Northern Turkey. Five free-spirited teenaged sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmates. Though their games are merely innocent fun, a neighbor passes by and reports what she considers to be illicit behavior to the girls’ family. The family overreacts, removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in housework in preparation for them to become brides. As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate. The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut, a powerful portrait of female empowerment.
Academy Award Nominee Best Foreign Language Film
Iceland 1hr 30min Drama Unrated
Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at the Hampton’s Film Festival, this charming, stunningly shot drama focuses on two Icelandic sheep farmers whose decades-long feud comes to a head when disaster strikes their flocks. In a secluded valley, estranged brothers Gummi and Kiddi live side by side tending to their prized ancestral sheep stock, despite not having spoken in 40 years. When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s sheep, all the animals in the area are culled to contain the outbreak, with many farmers abandoning their land. But the brothers don’t give up so easily-and each tries to stave off the disaster in his own fashion. As the authorities close in, they will need to come together to save the special breed passed down for generations-and themselves-from extinction.
“Rams is a touching humanist drama set in a remote farming valley where two estranged brothers must come together to save what’s dearest to them: their sheep.” Alissa Simon, Variety
Embrace of the Serpent
Columbia 2hr 5min Drama Unrated
At once blistering and poetic, the ravages of colonialism cast a dark shadow over the South American landscape in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, the third feature by Ciro Guerra. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, SERPENT centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant.
Academy Award Nominee Best Foreign Language Film
Guatemala 1hr 33min Drama NR
On a Guatemalan coffee plantation on the side of a volcano, a sharp young Mayan woman, Maria, is unsure if she wants to continue with her family’s traditions or take a step into the wider world. That conflict is hardly a new one, but the performances, location photography and matter-of-fact look at local customs make Jayro Bustamante’s debut film a knock-out.
“While I don’t like to give much credence to industry awards, if there’s ever a film deserving of the attention that comes with being nominated, Guatemala’s first ever Academy Awards entry is it.” Nikola Grozdanovic, The Playlist