November 2016

Posted November 1, 2016. Additions made to Calendar on November 3 and 9.


  • Coming Attractions: Winter 2016 Trailer Program
  • Arabian Sights Awards
  • The Cinema Lounge
  • Elle: Q&A with Director Paul Verhoeven
  • Desierto: Q&A With Director Jonás Cuarón
  • Aquarius: Q&A with Actress Sonia Braga
  • The 41st Toronto International Film Festival
  • We Need to Hear From You
  • Calendar of Events

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    November 29

    Coming Attractions Trailer Program: Winter 2016

    The end of the year film landscape is ramping up with anticipated releases and a variety of awards contenders too numerous to count. Preview the trailers of these films at the Washington, DC Film Society’s twice-annual program, “COMING ATTRACTIONS TRAILER NIGHT, WINTER 2016.” We’ll highlight a wide range of upcoming films being released over the next few months.

    DC Film Society Director Michael Kyrioglou announced the date for COMING ATTRACTIONS will be Tuesday, November 29, 2016. Join us at Landmark’s E Street Cinema (E Street, NW between 10th & 11th) from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

    DC Film Critics Tim Gordon and Travis Hopson will bring the movie buzz and lead discussion on the trailers. You, the audience, get to vote on the movies you want to see (or escape from); we’ll pass this information on to the studios.

    Some of the 30 trailers we’ll be showing may include the Robert Zemekis war thriller Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cottilard, Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Onassis in Jackie, the next Star Wars film Rogue One, Jamie Foxx in Sleepless, Warren Beatty’s return with Rules Don’t Apply, Hidden Figures, animated offerings Sing and Moana, August Wilson’s Fences from director and actor Denzel Washington, A Monster Calls, sci-fi offerings The Space Between Us and Passengers, Glenn Close, Owen Wilson and Ed Helms in Bastards, Assassin’s Creed, Patriots Day, The Founder about McDonald’s founder Ray Croc, the thriller Kidnap with Halle Berry, Lasse Hallstrom’s A Dog’s Purpose, action and horror films The Lake, The Bye Bye Man, and M. Night Shyamalan’s Split starring James McAvoy, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, and much more.

    Tickets are only $3 for DC Film Society Basic Members, FREE to Gold Members and $5.00 for the general public. We’ll also have movie promotional items, movie posters, and raffle prizes, including DVDs and movie tickets.

    An updated trailer list will be posted when it becomes available, so check back soon.

    The 21st Arabian Sights Film Festival Awards

    The Arabian Sights Film Festival awards:

    The Audience Award winner is Hepta, The Last Lecture (Hadi El Bagoury) from Egypt.

    The Cultural Ambassador Prize winner is Good Luck Algeria (Farid Bentoumi) from France/Belgium.

    Thanks to everyone who voted.

    The Cinema Lounge

    The Cinema Lounge meets Monday, November 14, 2016 at 7:00pm. Our topic is "The Birth of a Nation." After all of the hype and the controversy, Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation will have finally opened. What does the film say to audiences both in the story it depicts and in relation to the current climate? Does Parker's past color how we see the film?

    New location! The Cinema Lounge, a film discussion group, meets the third Monday of every month (unless otherwise noted) at 7:00pm at
    Teaism in Penn Quarter, 400 8th St., NW in Washington, DC (closest Metro stop is Archives, also near Metro Center and Gallery Place). NOTE: We will meet in the downstairs area. You do not need to be a member of the Washington DC Film Society to attend. Cinema Lounge is moderated by Adam Spector, author of the DC Film Society's Adam's Rib column.

    Elle: Q&A with Director Paul Verhoeven

    By Ron Gordner, DC Film Society Member

    Paul Verhoeven answered a brief question and answer session after a public screening of Elle in September 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Michele (Isabelle Huppert) is a successful videogame company executive and is raped in her home by a masked intruder. The incident changes her life but she reacts in a strange way. In Elle her normal life is uprooted when she is raped but the film also should be seen as one story, not a composite of most women’s reactions to rape which has made the film sometimes controversial to critics and viewers. It also deals with the aging woman’s sexuality and her vulnerability, but also a very successful business woman.

    There is some movement to have her nominated for an Oscar in a very tough best actress field this year. This is France’s submission for best foreign language Oscar and will be distributed by Sony Picture Classics on November 18 in the DC metro area.

    TIFF Moderator: Paul, can you speak to what about the book or story compelled you to make the film?
    Paul Verhoeven: Some producers sent me the book to read and wanted to know if I was interested in directing it. I thought it was different than anything else I have done. I thought the novel was also. I said yes and originally it was to be an American movie, transferred to the American culture. We had the script done and translated to English. We then went out and looked for A-level American actresses and the answer from all of them was a resounding No. So after realizing this would not be made in the U.S. and was considered too controversial or the moral level of the movie was not pleasing to many viewers. So we went back to Paris. Months before, Isabelle Huppert had read the script and wanted to do the movie before we had wanted to make it an American film. She was still very interested in doing it.

    TIFF Moderator: Can you briefly cover doing your first film in French also?
    Paul Verhoeven: Yes I was concerned at first. I am Dutch and French is not even my first or second language-English is. When I was 17 years old my father had sent me to Paris to study and learn French since he thought it was the most cultured country in the world. Sixty years later my French was somewhat gone. I took a crash course and found I did still know some French but it was suppressed. We only spoke French on the set and I and the cast and staff survived. I had a headache at first due to stress but later it became much easier.

    Audience Question: Can you address the many changes in intensity in the film?
    Paul Verhoeven: Well it is a thriller about a rape and who did it. It is also about the bourgeoisie and the opening is a very violent beginning. Her intensity about punishing the rapist and other thoughts also had to be intense. Is the movie about rape or about a woman who refuses to have her life be ruled by the rape? She refuses to be the victim. It is not really a revenge movie as many others are. The movie never addresses a possible sado-masochism in her background and we didn’t want to go there. That is up to the audience to fill in those gaps.

    TIFF Moderator: Isabelle mentioned yesterday how she prepared for the role. Can you talk about that a little?
    Paul Verhoeven: Of course, I never really noticed. We didn’t discuss it in great detail other than some scenes. We didn’t try to explain the character. I felt that her female intuition and her changes to the script and her authenticity of acting was the best. In the morning I would talk about the scenes of the day and order and discuss her dresses but with very little discussion. Isabelle Huppert is amazing. I can’t imagine anyone else doing it, including an American actress.
    TIFF Moderator: She has made 130 films believe it or not.

    Audience Question: Did you or the scriptwriter make major changes to the book?
    Paul Verhoeven: Not really. One area is the end when Rebecca, the wife of the rapist, was aware of some of her husband’s actions. This is not in the novel and was added by the American script writer. The Roman Catholic level is also in the book but we added more about the mass and present the wife as a believer but that she also knew.

    Audience Question: What were the first conversations Paul had with Isabelle before the film and thoughts about it after the completion of the film?
    Paul Verhoeven: Yes, the arc of changes in the character. Many have trouble believing it, but our early conversations were more about how much nudity there would be. This was the only really in-depth conversation we had and deals that we agreed to. It is odd that there are also many comic moments in the film so she doesn’t let the rape define her life.

    Huppert has also said: “It’s difficult for me to talk about ‘a story’ or ‘a character,’ it is something that I thought has never existed before in fiction. This woman, you certainly don’t meet her walking in the subway. She’s a new type of a woman, and I thought that was exciting to bring life to her.” “I don’t think she’s that mysterious, it’s more that she’s an unknown character, in that sense, yes, she’s mysterious.” “She’s what I would call almost like a post-feminist character, building her own behavior and space. She doesn’t want to be a victim, that’s for sure, but she doesn’t even fall into the caricature of the revenge avenger. She called her a post-feminist character. It is a woman’s film but defined somewhat by the failed or mediocre men around her also.”

    Desierto: Q&A with Director Jonás Cuarón

    By Ron Gordner, DC Film Society Member

    Desierto (Mexico/France, 2015) was screened at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival in October 2015 and also later at the AFI Silver Latin American Film Festival in September 2016 with the director in attendance. This is a discussion with the director from the BFI London Film Festival. Desierto is a dramatic feature about people trying to cross the border from Mexico to the United States and how they are treated on both sides of the border and by self-appointed vigilante and official border control personnel. Gael García Bernal is Moises, one of the Mexicans trying to cross the desert to the United States. The film won the International Critics Award or FIPRESCI Award at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, opened in the DC metro area October 21 and is still showing as of November 1.

    Director Jonás Cuarón and Actor Gael Garcia Bernal at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival

    Festival Moderator: Jonás can you tell me how you came to be interested in this project?
    Jonás Cuarón: I was interested in the subject of migration and immigration at the time and heard about these news stories and anecdotes of people crossing into the United States. I was in Arizona and was hearing about bad policies I thought were being created about immigration and also about the problems on the Mexican side also. I like action and thrilling films and thought this kind of genre would be a new way to show the personal plight of those trying to cross the border into the U.S.

    Festival Moderator: How did you develop the script? The title implies that the desert is a main character in a way also. Did you visit the desert or write the script first?
    Jonás Cuarón: I did a first draft of the story and then visited and mapped the journey in the desert. I spent three years looking for the desert or part of the desert I wanted, but never really found; but in the process I found that I would rewrite the script for the landscape of the desert I had found.

    Festival Moderator: You also wrote the script for Gravity so do you like stories where man is trapped or confronted by things in nature?
    Jonás Cuarón: Actually I wrote a rough draft for this about six years ago and talked to my DP and we discussed making movies like this, very minimalist, where the audience connects more sometimes than using their brain to understand or relate to the story. One of our discussions that night was, what if we do something similar in space and that was the beginning of Gravity and why I took a hiatus on this film again until two years ago.

    Festival Moderator: Mention the casting since you have two great actors, Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Sam.
    Jonás Cuarón: I needed the one character you identify with and his journey and I really admire Gael and his work. He also produced and acted in a number of documentaries or films about immigration or migrants. He was already prepared for this character and read and accepted the script and job thankfully.

    Festival Moderator: How easy was it to get Jeffrey Morgan?
    Jonás Cuarón: I needed to have a human villain. Someone who does horrible things but also has a human side too. When I met him he had a rifle and his pickup truck and dogs and I just knew I had to pick him.

    Audience Question: We learned very little about the back story of the hunter. Did you have a reason or back story yourself about what drove his behavior in that way?
    Jonás Cuarón: We did film some back story and more stories also of the migrants, but when I was in the editing room I realized a back story could not justify his actions in the massacre scenes so I took them out. The same with the migrants' stories. I just wanted the images and action to talk and tell the story.

    Festival Moderator: Do we know if this was the first time hunter Sam did this action?
    Jonás Cuarón: When I spoke to Jeffrey about the role we assumed it was his first time of really doing this extreme behavior as a turning point.

    Audience Question: I noticed much of the filming was done in a dynamic hand-held manner. Was that planned and because of the restraints and challenges of filming in the desert or how you really wanted to tell the story?
    Jonás Cuarón: When I met with the cinematographer, yes we wanted a very dynamic look and it's important to have those fast handheld shots to maintain the tension. The producers also later thanked me since we had to drive two hours into the desert and then hike another 30 minutes to our location shoot. Using film and cranes etc would have been very problematic.

    Audience Question: Tracker (the dog) had great chemistry with Jeffrey Dean. Did he have to audition or did you know about him before the filming? (audience laughter)
    Jonás Cuarón: I had discussions with producers and relatives that it’s not smart to have about 50% of the scenes involving a dog. I spent about two years looking in the U.S., Mexico and elsewhere to find this dog. I finally found a trainer in Mexico and when I visited him and his dogs I rewrote the script because these dogs could do more than I had originally written. It was actually easier working with the dogs than the actors (laughter).

    Audience Question: How did Woodkid get involved in the music in the film?
    Jonás Cuarón: On our trips I would listen to the radio and I really like Run Boy Run by Woodkid and I liked the mixture of strong percussive sound with the beautiful other music to reflect the difference of the violence of some scenes with the beauty of the desert landscape. When I was done shooting I contacted Juan and he was a great collaborator and really created a great sonar landscape for the movie.

    Audience Question: What do you want the audience to learn from the film and about migration or is it just an emotional instinctive drama?
    Jonás Cuarón: I want to highlight the subject but really just immerse the viewer into an instinctive, action thriller movie. It’s up to each individual to take or make what they can from the film. I hope they see the whole absurdity of what’s happening. I lived for some time in the U.S. There have been some murders on the border but I saw this more as the hatred and rhetoric I was finding creating this metaphor to see the migrants as the others or swarm of people, not the individual person. But you should make your own impressions.

    Audience Question: How was it working alongside your father?
    Jonás Cuarón: I started writing just out of high school and I always ask for his feedback whether he gets a producer credit or not. He is sometimes critical or cruel which is needed also with his feedback but doesn’t impose it.

    Festival Moderator: What was some of his advice on this film?
    Jonás Cuarón: Don’t work with dogs (laughter).

    Audience Question: Why did you edit it yourself?
    Jonás Cuarón: I have been writing or working on movies for the last seven years and I love storytelling and the constant rewriting process and you still do that in postproduction. I am possessive I guess and so want to edit also until it’s done.

    Audience Question: Have you shown the film to U.S. Presidential candidates since there is much dialog about immigration there?
    Jonás Cuarón: I invited them in Toronto but no one showed up (laughter). It’s funny this is still a major focus in politics but I wrote most of this six years ago, so little has really changed. I’m asked about the Confederate flag issue also but that is in the U.S. Also you are mentioning the U.S. but you have your own immigration and discourse issues here in England in Europe overall. The film is about the U.S./Mexican border but it could be an archetype and be located elsewhere.

    Audience Question: I found it a very powerful film. The part where the border guard really oks his action hit me about we who also sit back and do nothing was that intentional?
    Jonás Cuarón: As mentioned Sam is the villain but also human and the focus of this discourse but also a metaphor for the blind eye society gives this issue. Obviously we don’t know about massacres of this proportion, but every time one migrant is killed it means there is a blind eye to the situation. It can be dying because you have to cross a desert or an ocean to get somewhere else safe or with opportunities. We should stop seeing the migrants as the problem and look at the root problem of what is causing them to migrate.

    Festival Moderator: Is there a particular reason for the title "Desierto"?
    Jonás Cuarón: Well, the Desert is one of the most important character and about survival. Also the arbitrariness of our seeing physical or other borders and differences in individuals or groups. In scouting the locations, I would be told, oh we just crossed the desert into the U.S. but it looked the same. So the Desert as a charcter does not see any differences. Both the migrant Gael and the American hunter are at the mercy of nature and the desert climate.

    Audience Question: Did you always plan that Gael would come back for the girl?
    Jonás Cuarón: Yes I wanted to make him more human but really the moment he left her behind was also very human. He has his own interests. Maybe he has not first taken on the actions of a hero. I did want the ending to be somewhat optimistic. I only wanted it to look hopeful, but they still have to survive living in the U.S.

    Audience Question: Has the film been shown in Mexico yet?
    Jonás Cuarón: No, we had a world premiere in Toronto and you have seen it here in London so not yet in Mexico. I am happy that both festival audiences seemed to have a very visceral connection to the film. I hope it does well in the Mexico and the U.S. You know we have our own migrants from Central America who cross Mexico whom we also treat horribly. I also am interested in reactions in England and Europe or elsewhere because this is a universal issue close to home for many areas.

    Aquarius: Q&A with Actress Sonia Braga

    By Ron Gordner DC Film Society Member

    Aquarius (Brazil/France, 2016) was directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho and stars renowned Brazilian actress Sonia Braga as Clara, the last tenant in a high-rise planned for urban renewal in Recife, Brazil. She refuses to sell her apartment after everyone else has sold theirs and is impeding the old building’s destruction to make way for modern buildings.

    In 2013 Kleber Mendonca Filho made the critically acclaimed film Neighboring Sounds which also played in AFI Silver’s Latin American Film Festival that year. The screening of Aquarius was held in the large AFI Silver theatre on October 20, 2016. Following the screening, a discussion with Sonia Braga was held. She received a standing ovation from the sold out crowd. The film opened recently in the DC metro area. Todd Hitchcock, AFI Film Programmer, moderated the discussion.

    Todd Hitchcock: Congratulations on your wonderful performance in this great film and for coming to AFI Silver.
    Sonia Braga: I love this beautiful inspiring theatre which is so rare now. Thank you for coming.

    Todd Hitchcock: When you were first presented the screenplay by Kleber what were your thoughts?
    Sonia Braga: Kleber is sorry not to be here tonight. I haven’t done a movie in Portuguese in about 20 years. First I saw his other movie Neighboring Sounds and I loved that feeling of entering another dimension with the silence used in the film. When I read this new screenplay I remember that Clara was giving me back even my mother tongue. I found so many metaphors for my feelings and with a collaborative dimension with this Clara character and I gave her my body.

    Todd Hitchcock: It really is a role of a lifetime.
    Sonia Braga: It really is, like a remembrance of when you were born.

    Todd Hitchcock: The film premiered in Cannes in May and other film festivals including Toronto. It opened in Brazil in September. How have the audiences in Brazil reacted?
    Sonia Braga: They have loved it. At this time Brazil is really divided and this film has so many colors. It is not just black and white. Even young women have related to Clara since not those many characters like her exist in films now. One person told me when he left the theatre he was overwrought with feelings and was so full of emotion he didn’t think he would even fit in the cab (laughter). It has gotten wonderful reviews also. It was just so honest.
    Todd Hitchcock: It will be in DC starting tomorrow and also later here at the AFI Silver Theatre.

    Audience Question: Did you know the city Recife before making the film?
    Sonia Braga: No I only remember when I was young being in the play or musical Hair so I was busy and don’t remember a great deal about it then, but the people are the city for me. Kleber has a great ability to get collaboration from local cast and crew. There are some ugly towers in Recife that Kleber cleverly took out of the landscape and when the audiences saw these awful buildings were in the film there was great adulation from the audience. I went to the ocean and the real building--they said just don’t turn left where the poor section is. So of course I went left and met great people there.

    Todd Hitchcock: You also had the screening in a large older beautiful screen in Recife also.
    Sonia Braga: Yes it is a wonderful theatre also and Kleber introduced all the crew and cast at the screening.

    Audience Question: This seems to be a political and social allegory in the film. How do you think the Brazilian audience or society should react?
    Sonia Braga: Many people responded when the present government took over illegally. Many artists and others want democracy and are participating in the movements to reclaim our very young democracy. It is a coup but not a military coup. The first thing done was to remove the Ministry of Culture so there was a huge outcry.

    Audience Question: Were there real instances that inspired the story of the film? Was this influenced by a similar Spanish film?
    Sonia Braga: Kleber would need to answer these questions. Corruption unfortunately exists even in Brazil. Kleber wrote this film in two years. The new government is so right-wing and moralist that it is even difficult to describe. We hope that our movie takes a small story that could go outside the apartment and a force born in Clara that goes further. The film is about feelings and relationships, including his mother. This is one of the smaller apartment buildings left where all these tall black fingered buildings go up, some illegally and cover the sun and the sand.

    Audience Question: What do you want to do next?
    Sonia Braga: I don’t know what I will do next. It could be another wonderful character or just walking and enjoying life or fighting for something important as a 66 year old woman.
    Todd Hitchcock: You can also see Sonia in the series Luke Cage.

    Audience Question: Who chose the music?
    Sonia Braga: When I read the screenplay the music was already in place, it was already perfect. Each time Clara chose a record and a song she found a memory. She sees the Clara that is coming in her nephew’s girlfriend and the song that she played and Clara reacted to the charms of Diego (Humberto Carrao). Kleber has a great connection with the music, he is an archeologist finding a treasure and keeps looking for more. The film uses the music and silence like a concert itself.

    Audience Question: Did the nudity or sexual scenes in the movie bother you?
    Sonia Braga: No it is part of life, our sexual life. This older woman in the shower enjoying her life even despite her cancer and changes in her body. When all the girlfriends and Clara are together they are like young teenagers. The young lifeguard also she plays with and says, "Are you hitting on me?" I think sexuality belongs to the human body at any age. (applause)

    Audience Question: I found the young salesman or project manager an interesting villain.
    Sonia Braga: Yes. Kleber said, "I don’t want a mean villain." We have what seems to be a very pleasant kind man who then even gets to Clara’s daughter. I did meet the people who lived in these apartments and at one time half the building was gone.

    Audience Question: How did you deal with Clara’s cancer in the film?
    Sonia Braga: We had to make Clara’s body believable and we wanted to make it an important part of her story. I feel women have still a way to go for equality in Brazil and elsewhere about their rights and their bodies.

    Audience Question: Was this film considered for the foreign language nominee?
    Sonia Braga: We heard that, but maybe because the cast and crew had signs at Cannes denouncing the new government that colored the decision. Aquarius has not been chosen as Brazil’s nominee for this year.

    The 41st Toronto International Film Festival

    By Ron Gordner, DC Film Society Member

    The 41st Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF): Infinite Views was held from September 8-18, 2016 showcasing about 397 films (including 101 shorts, and 296 features, documentaries, and retrospectives) and 138 world premieres from 83 countries, including 38 Canadian features, shown on 28 screens, chosen from over 6,933 submitted films. It was attended by nearly 500,000 people, 5,400 industry personnel, and 1,200 journalists. It was the 41st Anniversary of the festival with the theme "Infinite Views." Starting out as a collection of films from other festivals, the Toronto International Film Festival has now become one of the most beloved cinematic events in the world, universally regarded as an ideal platform for filmmakers to launch their careers and to premiere their new work and one of the major film festivals where public screenings are held. A few films from major studios or highly anticipated indie films this year did not see the need to spend advertising at festivals or skipped TIFF this year--films like Silence, Fences, Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk, and 20th Century Women. TIFF has a large economic impact on Canada, Ontario and Toronto since it brings in over $170 million Canadian dollars annually and currently employs more than 100 full time staff, 500 part time and seasonal staff and over 2,000 volunteers. The festival has become progressively more expensive per ticket depending on the venue and category, but is still one of the largest festivals offering public screenings.

    The usual very long lines around the block were seen for the Winter Garden and Elgin VISA screening rooms, or the Princess of Wales huge theatre, but if you have VISA Signature or equivalent level card in Canada you go in first in a separate line, and those in the front of that line may get to go into a holding area in the theatre with free drinks, popcorn and candy and get their seats first. This year they had some tickets listed as Balcony or Orchestra seats at Elgin which was frustrating for some viewers. The physical lines to pick up, switch or buy tickets seemed better than other years, since many people were using the online ticketing system. The online system had major problems early on when trying to enter ticket packages and choices. Many, including me, had to phone the TIFF box office with a 20-30 minute hold to put in ticket requests when the golden window hour of requesting was over and the Apply to Shopping Cart app did not work. Also this year some blocks of tickets were bought by scalpers who put up on other sites tickets for big gala screening and some naïve patrons paid up to $500 for those tickets before the Festival realized the problem. Another major problem this year was that the Scotia 14 Theatre had its very steep up escalator out of service for the first 5 days of the festival. Many press and trade screenings are held there, the first several days also, so the elevator got much use or patrons climbed to the high platform which looks like a star ship.

    For the first time in a few years, I got some Sweet Jesus custards twice when the lines were not around the block. It is a custard shop with lots of sugary goodies put on top in various mountain sizes and people usually take photos of them before consuming them. There are long lines especially in the afternoon and night.

    TIFF has sections or categories of films and also has some art installations. Sections this year were: Gala Presentations, Masters, Special Presentations, TIFF for free (some free films publicly screened outdoors and a free additional screening of the Audience Award winner on the last Sunday), Discovery (first and second time filmmakers), TIFF DOCS (documentaries), Vanguard, City to City (this year’s selection was several films about Lagos, Nigeria), Contemporary World Cinema, Canadian Programming, TIFF KIDS, Visions (filmmakers who challenge our notions of mainstream cinema), Wavelengths (avant garde cinema), and their famous Midnight Madness section (primarily horror and black comedy films screening at Midnight with usually an appreciative and rowdy crowd). The Wavelengths category described as: daring, visionary, and autonomous voices. Two new programs this year were Platform and Primetime. Platform named for Jia Zhang-ke’s film is a juried section spotlighting the next generation of film masters and a chance to discover new visionary cinema. Primetime included serial television storytelling that shows how recent tv films are blurring the line between big screen and small screen viewing experiences.

    TIFF has become a major market and sales stop for films to North America. There is a small market at the Venice Festival but it is really Toronto where they are primarily sold. Over 5,400 industry delegates from over 80 countries came to Toronto this year Some of the deals made in a slow but healthy sales climate in TIFF 2016 included Jackie going to Fox Searchlight and Maudie by SONY Picture Classics. Many films were already under development by new players like Netflix and Amazon or had been picked up since playing at other festivals like Berlin, Cannes and Locarno.

    I thought the selections this year were fairly good to very good including top notch Hollywood or American indie films. I only saw a few films that could be described as duds of about 49 films seen. Although a few film goers reported some films they thought dreadful, I only walked out of 2 films and one because its timing overlapped another film’s starting time. There seemed to be a few themes seen in many of the films I saw. Diversity was one theme as seen in films like Loving and United Kingdom about interracial couples and other films like Moonlight, The Birth of a Nation, I Am Not Your Negro, Queen of Katwe, and The Magnificent Seven. The festival also boasted having at least 30% of the films directed by female directors as an important metric. You will note that many of my favorite films this year are by women directors. I also saw many films with the migrant or immigrant theme again this year such as The Fire at Sea, Layla M., and Foreign Body. There seemed to be many films also dealing with rape or attempted rape such as: Elle, The Animal’s Wife, In Between, Graduation, Hema Hema, Maliglutit (Searchers), and Una. TIFF included several panel discussions after some films dealing with human rights issues also. As always there are films based on real life stories also as inspiration such as Loving, Birth of a Nation, Queen of Katwe, Lion, Bleed for This, Maudie, etc.

    There is usually an actor or actress that is in several high profile films at the Festival. This year it was French actress Isabelle Huppert who had the lead actress role in 3 films: Mia Hansen-Loves’s L’avenir (Things to Come), Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, and Bavo Defurne’s Souvenir. She was also in a special "In Conversation With" ticketed slot where she was interviewed and spoke about her current movies and career. She said that the three movies are all very different and unique but I don’t consider any of the characters really victims. In Elle her normal life is uprooted when she is raped but the film also should be seen as one story, not a composite of most women’s reactions to rape which has made the film sometimes controversial to critics and viewers. It also deals with the aging woman’s sexuality and her vulnerability, but also a very successful business woman. Although some may see that in Elle she is victimized, she is also a definite rebel. In Things to Come, it is a series of common events that happen in life: her husband abandons her, her mother is terminal, and her children are leaving the home and what may be left is an empty nest or new opportunities for this character. Souvenir is completely different. A past winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, now working in a factory, is rediscovered, and has the chance to have a love affair or more with a much younger boxer. I consider this to be more a melodramatic fairy tale, but again deals with an older woman, her self-identity and sexuality. She is busy working on her fourth film collaboration with Michael Haneke Happy End, which will be a family drama with elements of the European immigrant and refugee crisis. She said she likes working with Haneke and other directors who easily recognize when scenes are real and accurate.

    Actress Gemma Arterton is also in three TIFF films this year: The Orphan, The Girl With All the Gifts, and Their Finest.

    MUST SEE FILMS: (A few not listed here but seen at later festivals or in DC or highly regarded by other reliable sources were: Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Arrival, Paterson, A Monster Calls, and A Quiet Passion).

    Graduation (Christian Mungiu, Romania, 2016). The director of the critically appraised 4 Months, 3 weeks, and 2 Days has another morality film where good intentions begin but lead to corruption. Romeo, a physician, hopes that his daughter Eliza will do well on her tests and have a chance to go to London for university and better herself more than he has done. When she is attacked by a stranger but escapes being raped, she is shaken up, but her father is determined nothing will stop her from her plans for a successful future. This film also garnered the Best Director Palme at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

    Handsome Devil (John Butler, Ireland, 2016). 16 year old Ned is at a rugby-mad boarding school and is bullied by the others because of his dyed red hair and his playing of older rock and popular music. A dashing new transfer and rugby star has to kip in with Ned which bothers all the other students, but Conor has problems of his own and has been kicked out of several schools for fighting. Can the boys become friends or even remain roommates? Fionn O’Shea and Nicholas Glaitizine are excellent as the two students as is Adam Scott (who played Moriarity on Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes) as the empathetic English teacher.

    Heartstone (Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson, Denmark/Iceland, 2016). Two preteen boys who are friends survive small town Icelandic life. Thor has three sisters and a mother who is not always available. Christian has a drunken violent father. An outstandingly layered film for a debut film by a new director. Reminiscent of last year’s Icelandic nominee Sparrows.

    I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang, China, 2016). Year after year a café owner Li Xuelian (Fan Bingbing) goes to regional and higher courts protesting a fake divorce arranged by her ex-husband. Her determination is the consternation of local, regional, and national officials embarrassed by her annually. The film shows her constant determination versus the sometimes comical corruption of officials at all levels to regain her good name (Madame Bovary is a term used for an adultress). Stunning cinematography shows the story many times either within a circle (in the countryside) or within a square (in the urban areas). Winner so far of the Golden Seashell for best film and Silver Seashell for best actress Fan Bingbing and Toronto International FIPRESCI award –Special Presentations. NOTE: This film will be shown in the Freer's Third China Onscreen Biennial series.

    Jackie (Pablo Larrain, United Kingdom, 2016). The Chilean director who also had Neruda at the festival provides a snapshot into the life of Jackie Kennedy in the moments after President Kennedy’s assassination until she leaves the White House. Some flashbacks are also included such as her televised White House tour. Natalie Portman is excellent as Jackie and is being touted as a possible Best Actress nominee. The film also stars Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy, John Hurt as a priest, and Greta Gerwig as a faithful aide.

    La La Land (Damien Chazelle, United States, 2016). A rare wonderful musical from the director of Whiplash which has Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as possible lovers and striving for their own success in Hollywood during the studio era. Sebastian is a jazz pianist and Mia an aspiring actress/writer. Scenes include dancing and singing on a LA freeway in stuck traffic, the Griffith Observatory, and other common places that come to life. Winner of Toronto’s Audience Award, this may be the film to beat for the Oscars this year and carry some nominations for Stone and others.

    Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd, United Kingdom, 2016). Oldroyd is primarily a theatre director which can be seen in this story of Lady Katherine (Florence Pugh) marrying a landed gentry in Victorian England on the northern heaths of County Durham. Based on an adaptation of Nikolai Lesko’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk district, also the basis of a Shostakovich opera, the story is transferred to England and has more in common with Ibsen’s plays or Madame Bovary. Katherine is trapped in a tightly controlled house and world where classes do not mix and a distant feeling and errant husband cannot control her rebellious nature.

    Lion (Garth Davis, Australia, 2016). Think Slum Dog Millionaire meets an Australian adoption story. Based on a real story and the book A Long Way Home, a very small Indian boy falls asleep on a train that later takes him hundreds of miles from his family and is adopted worlds away until he learns about Google Earth and tries to find his original home and family. Sunny Pawar as the boy Saroo Khan is mesmerizing and Dev Patel as the adult Saroo continues the arc of the film. Rooney Mara plays his girlfriend and David Wenham and Nicole Kidman portray his Australian adoptive parents. Bring your hankies for this one. First runner up at Toronto for Best Film voted by the Audience.

    Maudie (Aisling Walsh, Canada/Ireland, 2016). My favorite smaller film from TIFF this year is the odd but inspiring story of Maud Dowley (Sally Hawkins) in 1937 Nova Scotia, a cast off relative living with her aunt. She eventually sets out on her own to get a job for a crotchety man on the outskirts of town (Ethan Hawke) who at first considers her as a housekeeper but below his dog and chickens in worth. Sally Hawkins gives a stellar performance as the arthritic ridden Maudie who finds some glimmer of happiness in her simple primitive painting that eventually catches the eye of others. This film won’t be released until 2017 but look for it and Oscar worthy acting from Hawkins and Hawke. Another Kleenex mandatory film but understated in many ways that makes it all the more powerful.

    The Net (Kim Ki-duk, South Korea, 2016). Kim Ki-duk is sometimes referred to as one of the bad boys of Korean cinema, but his films are always interesting and many times push the limits. This is a more subdued film but about a North Korean fisherman whose fishing net is caught in his motor causing him to drift into South Korean waters. His brutal treatment by officials in both Koreas is a powerful reminder how politics at every level can infiltrate the life of a common man who knows nothing about spies.

    Sami Blood (Amanda Kernell, Sweden/Denmark/Norway, 2016). The director herself is born to a Swedish mother and Sami father and lived in the far north of Sweden. A story that spans decades and begins in the 1930s in far north of Sweden deals with Elle Marja, a teenage Sami girl who tries to enter the world of the Swedes. This is a reminder of how the Swedes treated their own indigenous peoples with strange calibrations and ideas of their intelligence. Another powerful Discovery section film by a first time feature female director.

    Sand Storm (Elite Zexer, Israel, 2016). Jalila must prepare for her husband to marry a second wife in their Bedouin village, while her older daughter Layla, a university student is also told to forget about an unacceptable boyfriend and education and prepare for an arranged marriage. Another story of mixed loyalties to family, society, religion, tradition and self-fulfillment and another strong Discovery film by a female director. This is Israel’s nominee for best foreign language Oscar.

    Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, Germany, 2016). A favorite film of audiences and critics alike that somehow left Cannes without an award. I did feel that the 162 minutes could have been trimmed by 10-20 minutes. One of the few comedies I saw at TIFF this year that had audiences roaring at times in their seats. Another recurring theme this year dealt with children (sometimes as adults) and their parents. Ines (Sandra Huller) is a driven high-rolling business consultant who is constantly visited (sometimes in a bad disguise) by her prankster father Winfried. A very unique, freshly written script keeps the audience guessing where the film will go next. It should come out around Christmas or New Year’s in DC.


    After the Storm (Hirokazu Kore-eda; Japan, 2016). Another absorbing family drama from the master director of Like Father, Like Son and Nobody Knows. Like Yasujiro Ozu, he captuers the microcosm of a fractured family during a summer storm. Ryota the failed father meets with his ex-wife and young son at his mother’s for another try to establish himself as a breadwinner and responsible father. Like other Kore-eda films there is a quiet strength and truth in and bittersweet telling without forced melodrama.

    The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands, 2016). Vinterberg follow’s up the critically reviewed The Hunt with a more personal tale that is somewhat autobiographical about his youth spent in a commune. A middle class couple Anna (Trine Dyrholm--best actress winner at this year’s Berlin Film Festival) and Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) decide to change their inherited mansion into a commune and gather members in the 1970’s. The interactions of the assembled group and also their young son provide a bittersweet background to benefits and problems of living in a commune.

    Divines (Houda Benyamina, France/Qatar, 2016). Somewhat reminiscent of last year’s hit Girlhood, teenager Dounia and her friends dream of a better life outside the Paris projects. She changes from a shy school girl to a wanna-be gangster who may be too deep into bad waters. Mostly set in a Muslim and black housing area, it shows the intersection of French society with police and other authoritative powers. Cannes winner of the Camera d’Or for best first film, it is again another Discovery entry by a female director.

    Elle (Paul Verhoeven, France, 2016). As mentioned above, a successful videogame company executive is raped in her home. The incident changes her life but she reacts in a strange way. Verhoeven said in a Q&A that he had intended it to be a U.S. film with an American actress but could not find an actress willing to take the part that Huppert had wanted after first reading the script. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing this role after you see it. There is some movement to have her nominated for an Oscar in a very tough best actress field this year. This is France’s submission for best foreign language Oscar and is set to open in the DC area November 18.
    See here for a Q&A with Director Paul Verhoeven.

    Fire at Sea (Gianfranco Rosi, Italy/France, 2016). A film capturing the daily life of the people on the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, which immigrants in boats try to reach. Local fishermen and their families carry on daily life amidst the alarms and successful and failed trips on boats migrants across the sea. Their eyes are the cameras telling of normal daily routines and the large scale suffering and sober footage of those dying to reach their shores. The film has been chosen as Italy’s submission for foreign language Oscar this year.

    The Girl With All the Gifts (Colm MCCathy, United Kingdom, 2016). A Midnight Madness entry starring Gemma Arterton, Paddie Considine, Glenn Close and Sennia Nanua written by Mike Carey and based on his own best-selling novel of the same name. Newcomer Nanua plays Melanie, a young girl with her guarded classmates who can become zombies, but can also be normal some of the time. They are held in a captive fortress by the British military and have no idea of the zombie apocalypse happening outside their walls. Gemma Arterton is their teacher and Glenn Close a doctor experimenting on the children trying to find a vaccine to save humanity.

    I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, United States/France/Belgium/Switzerland, 2016). Haitian director Peck's film is built around James Baldwin’s words and is a mixture of essay and archival footage on America’s biases with skin color. A sober look at racial issues in America, the film is based on Baldwin’s unfinished book Remember This House which deals with the lives and assassinations of his friends and black leaders Medger Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. This is a powerful film about Civil Rights and historical struggles and received a standing ovation. I thought that no mention of Baldwin’s being black and gay with other biographical detail seemed lacking.

    In Between (Maysouloun Hamoud, Israel/France, 2016). A tale of three roommates in Tel Aviv, Arab Israeli women, some not considered quite Palestinian enough by their society. Lalia and Salma are much more worldly than their families wish. Nur, however, is a young devout Muslim woman studying at the university and engaged to a strict fiancé. This is the rare story of their odd friendship and bonds although coming from different backgrounds and philosophies. The directors and cast received a standing ovation in Toronto.

    Old Stone (Johnny Ma, Canada/China, 2016). A former resident and student in Toronto has returned to China and made a fascinating moral debut film based on news stories from China. Lao Shi, a taxi driver is involved in an accident to a motorcyclist caused by a drunk passenger in his cab. Being a good Samaritan and taking the cyclist to the hospital begins a long thread of a story where he is culpable for monetary and other legal issues. Real stories in China of good Samaritans being sued or arrested has created a current state of turning a blind eye to anyone in trouble many times now and the films highlights this issue in a powerful way. The film was named best Canadian first film at TIFF 2016.

    The Queen of Katwe (Mira Nair, South Africa/Uganda, 2016). Canadian-Indian director Nair by way of Disney provides a film based again on a true story of a village girl who learns to play chess and becomes a national champion. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong plays the girl’s mother who slowly realizes the need of her daughter to play chess. David Oyelowo is the teacher who sees the potential in 10 year old Phiona Mutesi (newcomer Madina Nalwanga). The film placed third in the TIFF audience favorites this year and has already opened in the DC area.

    Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Love, France/Germany, 2016). Hansen-Love whose earlier films Father of My Children, Goodbye First Love, and Eden were critically acclaimed, this time tackles the life of a middle-aged professor (Isabelle Huppert) who learns to live with her husband leaving her, her sickly mother, and grown children. She learns to start anew with the sometimes help of an indifferent gray cat and grandchildren. A quiet layered film of new acceptance and new discoveries highlighted this time by Huppert’s underplayed acting but facial expressions that say so much.


    Carrie Pilby (Susan Johnson, United States, 2016). Bel Powley plays a British girl living in New York City in an apartment paid by her London father (Gabriel Byrne). She needs to write a plan and start getting a job and a life. A deft and comical story of her job hunting and attempts to date are priceless. Perhaps a spoiled girl will adapt to many common and learned life skills.

    Ember (Seki Demirkubuz, Turkey/Germany, 2016). This is a slow burning, quiet film about a young couple who lost a child trying to rekindle their relationship after the errant husband returns from Germany to return to work in a garment factory. There are side stories with additional embedded embers also that keeps the audience guessing where the story will lead.

    Foreign Body (Raja Amari, France/Tunisia, 2016). Samia flees Tunisia for France with no proper papers and tries to exist through random jobs and working for the elegant widow Christine (Hiam Abass). She meets a young man who eventually also helps Christine and creates an issue of sexual tension for both women.

    Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (Khyentse Norbu, Bhutan/Hong Kong 2016). A beautifully photographed, almost silent film. Every 12 years individuals gather in the forest with masks for a ritual. Anonymity can be both a blessing and a curse. The leader says each is there to find out who they truly are.

    The Journey (Nich Hamn, United Kingdom, 2016). A film based on what may have transpired on an auto trip to the airport in 2006 with Irish Democratic Unionist Party leader, Reverend Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) and Sinn Fein (Irish Republican Army) leader MP Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney) to solidify a cease fire and signing of the St. Andrews Agreement in Scotland which ended the nearly 40 years of violence in Northern Ireland. Nervous Prime Minister Tony Blair (Tony Stephens) and government official (John Hurt) try to cement the deal and arrange a detour for the trip under the handling of chauffeur/agent played by Freddie Highmore.

    Marija (Michael Koch, Germany/Switzerland, 2016). Young Ukrainian émigré Marija arrives in Dortmund and tries to obtain a job, an apartment to share, and save money so she can send money home and prepare for a better life in the West. She goes through many trials and tribulations but has an inner strength that refuses to let her become another victim of the system.

    Noces (Stephan Streker, Belgium/France/Luxembourg/Pakistan, 2016). Zahira appears to be a typical Belgian teenager, but her Pakistani family is fairly strict when it comes to boys and she is expected to have an arranged marriage and maybe live in Pakistan. Another film that splits a young woman between guiding her own life and following the traditions of her religion and family can seem like a roller coaster ride with ambiguous endings.

    Pyromaniac (Erik Skjodlbjaerg, Norway, 2016). The director of the famous Insomnia again recreates the dark, cold Norwegian look. In 1981, 19 year old Dag returns home after military service and joins his father on the fire brigade in a small rural town. Dag still doesn’t fit in and his new fascination with fire can only mean trouble for him and the villagers.

    Rats (Morgan Spurlock, United States, 2016). A Midnight Madness entry may seem like an odd choice for the director of Super Size Me, but this is a chilling documentary about the rats that invade our city streets and sewers and their cunningness and ability to withstand infections that are then passed on to other animals and humans. One scene with cascading rats coming out of curbed garbage bags in New York City is very striking. Audience members were given plastic rat noses to wear during the Midnight screening.

    White Sun (Deepak Rauniyar, Nepal/United States/Qatar/Netherlands, 2016). A man returns to a small Nepal village for the burial of a friend but his pro-Maoist leanings and continuing conflict with Chinese backed soldiers and local resistance fighters provides a microcosm of societal, cultural, political, and practical problems of burying the man properly after appropriate funeral rites. The future prospects and ingenuity of the children shines in this tale of what seems like a simple task taking on many layers of cultural and official stalemates and corruption.


    The Animal’s Wife (Victor Gaviria, Colombia, 2016). This was one of the films chosen for discussion with a panel on human rights issues which were broken many times in this film. Many of the audience left before the discussion began due to the unrelenting physical rape, verbal and other physical abuse given to 18 year old Amparo. Early on, she is literally kidnapped and forced into a marriage against her will by the town bully no one would stop, including her sister. His nickname Animal well describes this nasty man and the gritty plot. There is a strange blaming of the victim which was difficult to accept and the fact that a 18 or 19 year old poor girl would still be a private Catholic school stretched credulity. She couldn’t deal with the rules of the school so escaped to begin a more dangerous path in life.

    Mimosas (Oliver Laxe, Spain/Morocco/France/Qatar, 2016). Winner of the Grand Prize at Cannes Critics Week, I will admit this has some lovely cinematography in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, but is extremely slow with amateurs just moving in the desert trying to take a dying sheik to another city to be buried. Not much happens and it has been described as having some metaphysical qualities that I failed to see or feel, only the hardness of the seat in the Art Gallery of Ontario theatre.

    Never Ever (Benoit Jacquot, France/Portugal, 2016). A master director who seems to make both excellent films like Three Hearts, School of Flesh and Sade but also some clunkers like The Untouchable. The title Never Ever says it all. Based on Don DeLillo’s novella The Body Artist, Mathieu Amalric plays an egotistical filmmaker who dumps his current lover and takes up with a very young performance artist. Things go well until she hears strange noises in the mansion and the relationship and circumstances go into strange plot twists in this psychological study.


    People's Choice Award: La La Land. Runners-up: Lion and Queen of Katwe.

    People's Choice Award For Documentary: I Am Not Your Negro.

    Toronto Platform Prize: Jackie.

    People's Choice Award For Midnight Madness: Free Fire.

    Best Canadian Feature Film: Those That Make Their Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves.

    Best Canadian First Feature Film: Old Stone.

    Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations Section: I Am Not Madame Bovary.

    Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Discovery Section: Kati Kati.

    NETPAC Award For Best Asian Film: In Between.

    Award For Best Canadian Short Film: Mutants.

    Award For Best International Short Film: Imago.

    The Dropbox Programme Filmmakers Discovery Award: Jeffrey.

    Check local theater listings and upcoming festivals such as AFI’s European Union Film Festival and The DC Jewish Film Festival which may have some of these and other films in coming months.

    Other Reviews and Awards

    Indiewire’s criticWire survey of top film critics and bloggers selected their favorite films, directors, and performances at TIFF2016.

    Top four films reviewed from TIFF2016: La La Land, Moonlight, Toni Erdmann, and Arrival.

    Individual votes by up to 45 critics can be found here.

    Visit the TIFF website for more information about the festival.

    We Need to Hear From YOU

    We are always looking for film-related material for the Storyboard. Our enthusiastic and well-traveled members have written about their trips to the Cannes Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Palm Springs Film Festival, the Reykjavik Film Festival, the Munich Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival. We also heard about what it's like being an extra in the movies. Have you gone to an interesting film festival? Have a favorite place to see movies that we aren't covering in the Calendar of Events? Seen a movie that blew you away? Read a film-related book? Gone to a film seminar? Interviewed a director? Taken notes at a Q&A? Read an article about something that didn't make our local news media? Send your contributions to Storyboard and share your stories with the membership. And we sincerely thank all our contributors for this issue of Storyboard.

    Calendar of Events


    American Film Institute Silver Theater
    "Portrait of an Actress: Remembering Setsuko Hara" is a tribute to the great Japanese actress who died last year. She worked with some of the greatest directors including Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse. The AFI's portion of this tribute starts October 29 and ends November 22. Titles in November are Sudden Rain (Mikio Naruse, 1956), The Idiot (Akira Kurosawa, 1951), Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949), Early Summer (Yasujiro Ozu, 1951), Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) and Tokyo Twilight (Yasujiro Ozu, 1957).

    "Small Stories" (October 8-November 23) is a film series inspired by architecture and co-presented by the National Building Museum which also exhibits historic objects through January 15, 2017. Film titles in November include Attack the Block, The Innocents, The Uninvited, Highrose, Hangover Square, The Royal Tenenbaums, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Crimson Peak, Clue and This Happy Breed.

    "Objects of Desire: The Films of Luis Bunuel" (October 27-November 23) is shown in several locations. The AFI's titles in November include The Young One, This Strange Passion, The Brute, Robinson Crusoe, Los Olvidados, Susana, Diary of a Chambermaid, Simon of the Desert, Nazarin, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, Tristana, Belle de Jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

    "Silent Cinema Showcase" (October 28-November 20) features silent films all with live musical accompaniment. November titles include Whispering Shadows with Andrew Simpson providing musical accompaniment, Faust (1926) with musical accompaniment by Gabriel Thibaudeau, The Half-Breed (1916) with Gabriel Thibaudeau, The Last Man on Earth (1924) with Gabriel Thibaudeau, Ben Hur (1925) with musical accompaniment by Michael Britt, The Shakedown (1929) with musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin, The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916) with Donald Sosin, Shoes with Donald Sosin, The Circus with the Columbia Orchestra, Destiny with music accompaniment by Stephen Horne, Stella Dallas (1925) with Stephen Horne, and a program of Laurel and Hardy short films with accompaniment by Ben Model.

    Special Engagements during November include Political Advertisement IX: 1952-2016 featuring a Q&A with filmmakers Antoni Muntadas and Marshall Reese, V for Vendetta and "CatVideoFest 2016."

    The 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows is on November 1 (16 shorts) with a shorter program of 12 shorts on November 5 and 6.

    Freer Gallery of Art
    The Freer is closed for renovations until October 2017. Films will be shown at varying locations.

    "Third China Onscreen Biennial" is a series of six films all showing at Landmark's E Street Cinema. On November 15 at 7:00pm is Tharlo (Pema Tseden, 2015); on November 15 at 9:30pm is the documentary Ta'ang (Wang Bing, 2016); on November 16 at 7:00pm is Crosscurrent (2016) with filmmaker Yang Chao in person. On November 16 at 10:00pm is the documentary The Road (Zhang Zanbo, 2015); on November 17 at 7:00pm is I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang, 2016); and on November 17 at 9:30pm is A Simple Goodbye (Degena Yun, 2015).

    "China Onscreen Biennial Sidebar: Dunhuang Projected" is an affiliated program to the above. All films in the Sidebar are shown at the National Gallery of Art. On November 12 at 1:00pm is The Cave of the Silken Web (Dan Duyu, 1927) with live music accompaniment by Andrew Simpson. On November 26 at 1:30pm is Stage Sisters (Xie Jin, 1964). On November 26 at 4:00pm is A Better Tomorrow (John Woo, 1986). On November 27 at 4:30pm is Saving Mes Aynak (2014) with filmmaker Brent E. Huffman in person.

    National Gallery of Art
    Special events in November include For Florence (Franco Zeffirelli, 1966) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1966 flood in Florence, shown on November 4 at 12:0pm and November 6 at 5:30pm. A Cine-concert on November 12 at 4:00pm features Un Chien Andalou (Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, 1929) with music by Spanish instrumentalist Remate. Following that is L'Age d'or (Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, 1930). On November 20 at 4:00pm is the documentary Olga (Miroslav Janek, 2014) introduced by Pavla Velickinova.

    The International Festival of Films on Art, held each year in Montreal, features new films on dance, painting, architecture, cinema and other art forms. This two-part series includes films from the most recent festival with different programs on November 25 at 12:00 noon and November 27 at 12:00 noon.

    Dunhuang is a Gobi desert oasis town in northwestern China. This program, "Dunhuang Projected", is a Freer program shown at the National Gallery of Art (see above). On November 12 at 1:00pm is The Cave of the Silken Web (Dan Duyu, 1927) with live music accompaniment by Andrew Simpson. On November 26 at 1:30pm is Stage Sisters (Xie Jin, 1964). On November 26 at 4:00pm is A Better Tomorrow (John Woo, 1986). On November 27 at 4:30pm is Saving Mes Aynak (2014) with filmmaker Brent E. Huffman in person.

    "Ipersignificato: Umberto Eco and Film" is a short series of four films evokes Eco's philosophy of the cinema. On November 13 at 2:00pm is Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973) followed by Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968). Two more in December.

    National Museum of the American Indian
    On November 5 at 7:00pm is Mekko (Sterlin Harjo, 2015) about a man released from prison. The filmmaker, Sterlin Harjo and actor Rod Rondeaux will be present for discussion.

    Smithsonian American Art Museum
    On November 6 at 4:00pm is Deaf Jam (Judy Lieff) about a deaf teen who enters a spoken-word slam scene. The filmmaker and featured artist Manny Hernandez will participate in Q&A after the film and Gallaudet University students will perform ASL stories.

    Washington Jewish Community Center
    On November 1 at 7:30pm is Junun (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2015), a music documentary, part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival. A performance by Sandaraa follows the film.

    On November 22 at 7:30pm is Time to Say Goodbye (Viviane Andereggen, 2015), a coming of age comedy from Germany.

    On November 29 at 7:30pm is Atlit (Shirel Amitay, 2015), set in 1995 Israel during the peace process.

    National Geographic Society
    On November 4 at 7:30pm is the Telluride Mountainfilm festival. Nine short films are shown November 4 and ten in a separate program November 5 at 7:30pm. See the website for titles.

    On November 13 at 7:30pm is "FotoFilms," a series of six short films about varied topics. Part of the FotoWeekDC Festival.

    French Embassy
    The French Embassy takes part in the Luis Bunuel retrospective. On November 9 at 7:00pm is Fever Rises in El Pao (1959) and on November 22 at 7:00pm is Death in the Garden (1956).

    The Japan Information and Culture Center
    On November 16 at 6:30pm is Round Trip Heart (Yuki Tanada, 2015). On November 18 at 6:30pm is Hal (Ryotaro Makihara, 2013), an anime film.

    The Textile Museum at GWU
    On November 10 at noon is Indigo: A World of Blue (2011), a documentary about indigo's history, traditions, superstitions and lore.

    On November 16 at 4:00pm is a film and discussion A Weaverly Path: The Tapestry Life of Silvia Heyden (Kenny Dalsheimer, 2011), a documentary about a Swiss tapestry weaver. The filmmaker will be present to introduce the film.

    National Archives
    On November 9 at noon is The Luft Gangster: Memoirs of a Second Class Hero (Mike Rott, 2016), a documentary about Tuskegee Airmen pilot Alexander Jefferson. The filmmaker will be present to introduce the film and answer questions.

    Bethesda Row
    "Cinema Arts Bethesda" is a monthly Sunday morning film discussion series. On November 20 at 10:00am is Behavior (Ernesto Daranas, 2014) from Cuba. Breakfast is at 9:30pm, the film is at 10:00am and discussion follows, moderated by Adam Spector, host of the DC Film Society's Cinema Lounge and author of the column "Adam's Rib."

    National Museum of Natural History
    On November 4 at 2:30pm is A Weave of Time (Susan Fanshel, 1986), about four generations of change in a Navajo family. On November 11 at 2:30pm is Dancing with the Incas (John Cohen, 1992) about Huayno music of the Andes. Both are part of the NMNH's Ethnographic Film Series.

    On November 15 at 6:30pm is Spillover: Zika, Ebola and Beyond, a documentary about "spillover" diseases, diseases that have spilled over from animals to humans. A discussion follows the documentary.

    On November 29 at 6:30pm is Death By Design (Sue Williams, 2016), about the notion of electronics as a "clean" industry. Discussion follows the documentary.

    The Avalon
    On November 2 at 8:00pm is Olympic Pride, American Prejudice (Deborah Riley Draper, 2016), a documentary about the 18 African American Olympians who took part in the 1936 Games in Berlin. The film's producer, Michael Draper and cast member Wolfie Fraser will participate in a Q&A after the film. Part of the "Programmer's Choice" series.

    On November 9 at 8:00pm is Theo Who Lived (David Schisgall, 2016) about journalist Theo Padnos who went to Syria and was kidnapped by Al Qaeda. The filmmaker will be present for Q&A. Part of the "Films in Focus" series.

    On November 16 at 8:00pm is Made in France (Nicolas Boukhrief, 2015), a thriller about French home-grown radicals. Part of the "French Cinematheque" series.

    On November 23 at 8:00pm is Tikkun (Avishai Sivan, 2015), part of the Reel Israel series.

    On November 30 at 8:00pm is Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994), the third and final film of Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy.

    Library of Congress
    The Mary Pickford Theater at the Library of Congress starts a new series of films showcasing the Library's collection and including newly preserved films. On November 17 at 6:30pm is a film noir double feature: Chicago Calling (John Reinhardt, 1952) starring Dan Duryea, shown with The Big Steal (Don Diegel, 1949) starring Robert Mitchum.

    "Film Nights with Pat Padua" is a series of music-related films. The theme for November is "Shooting Stars: Bowie and Prince on Film." On November 4 at 7:00pm is Just a Gigolo (David Hemmings, 1978); on November 10 at 7:00pm is Absolute Beginners (Julien Temple, 1986); on November 18 at 7:00pm is Graffiti Bridge (1990). One more in December.

    For National American Indian Heritage Month, on November 3 at 2:00pm is We Still Live Here (Anne Makepeace, 2010), a documentary about cultural revival by the Wampanoag of southeastern Massachusetts.

    Anacostia Community Museum
    On November 16 at 11:00am is Detropia (2012), a documentary about Detroit's economic degradation following the collapse of the auto industry.

    Kennedy Center
    On November 25 at 8:00pm and November 26 at 2:00pm is Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra Terrestrial with John Williams' score performed live by the NSO Pops, Steven Reineke conducting.

    Hill Center
    "Political Nightmares" is a film series hosted by New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot and movie critic Nell Minow. On November 6 at 4:00pm is Pickup on South Street (Sam Fuller, 1953) starring Richard Widmark and Jean Peters; on November 13 at 4:00pm is Fail Safe (Sydney Lumet, 1964), starring Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau.

    Alden Theater
    On November 16 at 7:30pm is Chicago (1927), based on a real-life "crime of the century." Film historian Bruce Lawton will introduce the film and Ben Model provides musical accompaniment.

    Constellation Theatre
    Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) will be shown with an original score by Ton Teasley on November 16, 17, 18, and 19 at 8:00pm and November 19 at 3:00pm at Source Theater.

    Reel Affirmations XTra
    On November 18 at 7:00pm is Women Who Kill (Ingrid Jungermann, 2016).


    Dominican Film Showcase
    On November 3 at 6:00pm is La Familia Reyna (Tito Rodriguez) with special guest producer Danilo Reynoso; and on November 4 at 6:00pm is Los fabulosos ma'mejores (Carlos Manuel Plasencia) with special guest actress Celines Toribio and director Carlos Manuel Plasencia. Both are at the Art Museum of the Americas, 201 18th Street, NW.

    New films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland are shown November 3-6 at Landmark's E Street Cinema. The Opening Night film is Me and Kaminski (Wolfgang Becker, 2015) and the Closing Night film is B-Movie List and Sound in West Berlin 1979-1989 (Jorg Hoppe, Klaus Maeck and Heiko Lange, 2015). Other titles are Fukushima, Mon Amore (Doris Dorrie, 2016), A Heavy Heart (Thomas Stuber, 2015), 24 Weeks (Anne Zohra Berrached, 2016), All of a Sudden (Asli Ozge, 2016), Chucks (Sabine Hiebler and Gerhard Erti, 2015), Heidi (Alain Gsponer, 2015), Wonderland (Michael Krummenacher and Jan Gassmann, 2015), plus a program of short films. See the website for more information.

    Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival
    This festival, begun in 1998, will be held November 4-12. American and international films will be shown, including features, documentaries and shorts. See the website for schedule, tickets and passes.

    Alexandria Film Festival
    The 10th Annual Alexandria Film Festival will be held November 10-13, presenting feature-length films, documentaries, animation and short films. Films are shown at Hoffman 22 and the Beatley Library. See the website for films, tickets and passes.

    Kids Euro Festival
    The Kids Euro Festival takes place October 26-November 7. Films and performing arts events are part of the festival. Locations vary; see the website for more information. Check the website, not all are open to the public.

    The Virginia Film Festival
    The 27th annual Virginia Film Festival takes place November 3-6 at the University of Virginia. See the website for film titles, schedule and locations.


    Cinema Art Bethesda
    A monthly Sunday morning film series "Cinema Art Bethesda" is held at Landmark's Bethesda Row Cinema. On November 20 at 10:00am is Behavior (Ernesto Daranas, 2014) from Cuba. Breakfast is at 9:30pm, the film is at 10:00am and discussion follows, moderated by Adam Spector, host of the DC Film Society's Cinema Lounge and author of the column "Adam's Rib."


    Smithsonian Associates
    Library of Congress
    "Books-into-Films" Lectures
    Lectures on October 13 and November 14 focus on the adaptation of books into films. On November 14 at noon is "The Not-So-Great Gatsby: How Hollywood Misinterprets America's Greatest Novel" presented by Maureen Corrigan, a critic for NPR's cultural program Fresh Air. Film and television directors have produced adaptations of "The Great Gatsby" for seemingly each generation—from the 1926 silent film (now lost), to "G," the 2002 hip-hop rendering, and the 2013 opulent version by Baz Luhrmann. In many critics’ opinions, the results have not always been great. Illustrated with film clips to compare various versions, Corrigan will discuss some of the disappointments in adapting Fitzgerald’s novel into film.

    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress hosts three film talks on Jewish Themes. On November 9 at noon is "Forgotten Transports." Czech filmmaker Lukas Pribyl discusses his four documentary films, each describing one destination of Nazi transports and one unique mode of survival in extreme conditions. On November 10 at noon is "The Judische Kulturbund Project." This tells the story of Jewish musicans and performing artists who organized in 1933 Nazi Germany and performed until 1941. With live music performances by Sarah Baumgarten and Patrick O'Donnell. On November 17 at noon is "Girl: My Childhood and the Second World War." Author and illustrator Alona Frankel discusses her newly translated memoirs about growing up as a hidden child during the Holocaust.

    Avalon Theater
    On November 17 at 10:30am is a "Film Studies" (screening and discussion) program on Chantal Akerman. Her autobiographical documentary News From Home, letters from Akerman's mother in Brussels, will be shown.


    The Documentary Center at George Washington University
    "What's Up? Docs!" is a crash course in non-fiction film making. Feature-length and short documentaries are hosted by The Documentary Center at George Washington University. Each screening is followed by a Q&A with a noted author, scholar, film critic, or film director. The Fall season theme is "Roots: Films that Defined the Documentary Form." The topic for November is "Music" with a screening of Gimme Shelter (David and Albert Maysles, 1960) on November 10 at 7:00pm, a documentary about the Rolling Stones with special guest Mark Jenkins, music and film critic.

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