Films Now Showing

Sam Mendes, the Oscar®-winning director of SKYFALL, SPECTRE and AMERICAN BEAUTY, brings his singular vision to his World War I epic, 1917. At the height of the first World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman, GAME OF THRONES) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers — Blake's own brother among them. Co-starring Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott and Richard Madden. DIR/SCR/PROD Sam Mendes; SCR Krysty Wilson-Cairns; PROD Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall, Brian Oliver. UK/U.S., 2019, color, 119 min. RATED R

No AFI Member passes accepted.

Set in the near future and mostly in outer space, the latest film from James Gray (THE IMMIGRANT, THE LOST CITY OF Z) ultimately explores the inner space of the human mind and our relationships to those around us. Brad Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride, sent to investigate the source of mysterious power surges emanating from the far reaches of our solar system and threatening life on earth. Could this unexplained extraterrestrial phenomenon somehow be connected to the top-secret, exploratory "Lima Project," which Roy's astronaut father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones) worked on, and failed to return home from, after successfully reaching Neptune 16 years prior? The stellar cast includes Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, Natasha Lyonne, Kimberly Elise and Lisa Gay Hamilton. DIR/SCR/PROD James Gray; SCR Ethan Gross; PROD Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Arnon Milchan, Yariv Milchan, Brad Pitt, Rodrigo Teixeira. U.S./China, 2019, color, 123 min. RATED PG-13

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In January 1972, Aretha Franklin gave two days of gospel performances at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, recording what would become her bestselling album, "Amazing Grace." The sessions were captured by a film crew led by Sydney Pollack, but the footage wound up shelved in a vault and has remained one of the lost cinematic treasures of 20th-century music. Before Pollack's death in 2008, he expressed a wish for the film to be completed, and producer Alan Elliott took it up with a team of supporters as a passion project. To paraphrase the title song: what once was lost, now is found. (Note courtesy of DOC NYC.) DIR/PROD Alan Elliott; DIR Sydney Pollack; PROD Joe Boyd, Rob Johnson, Chiemi Karasawa, Spike Lee, Sabrina V. Owens, Angie Seegers, Tirrell D. Whittley, Joseph Woolf. U.S., 2018/1972, color/b&w, 87 min. RATED G

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In 1990, the Koker region where Abbas Kiarostami filmed WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOUSE? in 1987 was devastated by a massive earthquake. In this meta-fictional investigation of truth and representation, actors playing Kiarostami and his son return to Koker to track down the boys who starred in the previous film. Mixing fiction and reality, AND LIFE GOES ON is both a moving documentation of an area's recovery from natural disaster and a powerful meditation on the nature of storytelling. (Note courtesy of Freer|Sackler.) DIR/SCR Abbas Kiarostami; PROD Ali Reza Zarrin. Iran, 1992, color, 95 min. In Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

[JIANG HU ER NÜ] [江湖儿女]

Zhao Tao (MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART, STILL LIFE, A TOUCH OF SIN) gives a commanding performance as the tough-as-nails Qiao, the girlfriend of provincial gangster Bin (Liao Fan, BLACK COAL, THIN ICE; THE WILD GOOSE LAKE) and doyenne of the neighborhood mahjong parlor. After Bin's boss gets whacked, Qiao suggests they leave their dreary town and get married. Bin refuses, and after he's targeted by a rival gang, it's Qiao who defends him, firing a warning shot from his handgun. For that action, Qiao is sent to jail for five years. Once out, she goes in search of Bin, who has not once visited the woman to whom he owes his freedom. DIR/SCR/PROD Jia Zhangke; PROD Shôzô Ichiyama. China/France/Japan, 2019, color, 136 min. In Mandarin with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

French actress-turned-director Mati Diop (35 SHOTS OF RUM) blends pointed social commentary, folklore and fantasy to create one of the most startling feature debuts of the year, a social-realist ghost story which made history as the first work directed by a black woman selected to compete in the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. Set in Dakar, Senegal, ATLANTICS ostensibly centers on a secret, star-crossed romance between the newly betrothed Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) and construction worker Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré). When, after weeks without pay, Souleiman and his coworkers abandon their work and head out to sea in hopes of finding a better life in Spain, Ada and the other women left behind mourn the men's absence, drowning their sorrows at the local bar and suffering from bouts of an inexplicable illness. After a mysterious arson attempt on Ada's wedding day, young investigator Issa (Amadou Mbow) becomes convinced that Souleiman has returned and is somehow responsible. ATLANTICS was among the 10 films shortlisted for this year's Academy Award® for Best International Feature Film. DIR/SCR Mati Diop; SCR Olivier Demangel; PROD Judith Lou Lévy, Eve Robin. France/Senegal/Belgium, 2019, color, 104 min. In English, Wolof, French and Arabic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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Exquisitely directed by Marielle Heller (CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL), A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is the story of an embittered New York City magazine journalist, Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), who learns an invaluable life lesson from an unexpected teacher: children's television mainstay Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks). Vogel comes to realize that Rogers sincerely practices what he preaches, on camera and off, and that he, an adult, jaded print journalist, could learn a lot from this TV kid show host's plainspoken engagement with difficult emotional terrain — especially as it relates to the strained relationship he has with his father (Chris Cooper). DIR Marielle Heller; SCR Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster, inspired by the article "Can You Say... Hero?" by Tom Junod; PROD Youree Henley, Leah Holzer, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub. China/U.S., 2019, color, 109 min. RATED PG

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Starring Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron, Academy Award® winner Nicole Kidman, Academy Award® nominee John Lithgow and Academy Award® nominee Margot Robbie, based on the real scandal, BOMBSHELL is a revealing look inside the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time: Fox News, and the explosive story of the women who brought down the infamous man who created it. Directed by Emmy® Award winner Jay Roach and written by Academy Award® winner Charles Randolph; also starring Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell, Allison Janney, Richard Kind and Stephen Root. DIR/PROD Jay Roach; SCR/PROD Charles Randolph; PROD A.J. Dix, Aaron L. Gilbert, Robert Graf, Beth Kono, Margaret Riley, Charlize Theron. U.S./Canada, 2019, color, 108 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

Under the war-torn streets of Ghouta, Syria, is a hospital known as "The Cave," where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballour and her female colleagues attend to countless wounded civilians and victims of battle. In the confines of their subterranean hospital, they are not only equals with their male colleagues; they run the show. This unflinching and intimate film captures the resilience of the doctors, hospital workers and the Syrian people as they live through the unimaginable. Oscar®-nominated director Feras Fayyad (LAST MEN IN ALEPPO) shows us every raw and precious moment, from airstrikes in real time to meals shared among friends. DIR/SCR Feras Fayyad; SCR Alisar Hasan; PROD Kirstine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjær. Syria/Denmark/Germany/Qatar/U.S., 2019, color, 107 min. In English and Arabic with English subtitles. RATED PG-13

AFI Member passes accepted.

Abbas Kiarostami's first feature film made outside of Iran playfully asks questions about art, life and love; originality and imitation; and the alchemy of cross-cultural understanding (or misunderstanding). British intellectual James (opera singer and first-time actor William Shimell) meets French shopkeeper Elle (Juliette Binoche, who won the Best Actress award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for this performance) after he gives a reading in a Tuscan town. Walking and talking their way through the beautiful surroundings, the pair begin to playact as lovers, a charade they carry to surprisingly great lengths. The fact that the movie explicitly recalls Roberto Rossellini's JOURNEY TO ITALY is entirely intentional, as may be the dramatic and cinematic resemblances to IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, BRIEF ENCOUNTER, BEFORE SUNSET, Kiarostami's own films and any number of other antecedents. This fun and thought-provoking romp speaks to the promise of renewal and reinvention, even as it claims to have nothing new to say. DIR/SCR/PROD Abbas Kiarostami, PROD Angelo Barbagallo, Charles Gillibert, Marin Karmitz, Nathanaël Karmitz. France/Italy/Belgium/Iran, 2010, color, 106 min. In English, French and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Chinonye Chukwu's (ALASKALAND) acclaimed drama centers on an astonishing, heartbreaking performance by Alfre Woodard (12 YEARS A SLAVE, PASSION FISH, Oscar®-nominated for CROSS CREEK) as prison warden Bernadine Williams, a woman quietly struggling with her role as an overseer of death-row inmates, charged with maintaining a constant outward calm in the face of the unspeakably difficult task at hand. Following a botched lethal injection procedure, Bernadine prepares to execute the next prisoner in line, Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge, HIDDEN FIGURES, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON), a man determined to prove his innocence before time runs out. As the psychological and emotional tolls of her work begin to catch up with Bernadine, the strain threatens to upend her years of stoic professionalism, her relationship with her husband (Wendell Pierce, THE WIRE) and the very core of her identity. DIR/SCR Chinonye Chukwu; PROD Timur Bekbosunov, Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius, Peter Wong. U.S., 2019, color, 113 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

Based on a true story, the latest film from Academy Award® nominee Todd Haynes (CAROL, FAR FROM HEAVEN, I'M NOT THERE) follows the journey of West Virginia-raised, Cincinnati-based corporate attorney Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) from his work as a legal defender of DuPont's chemical business to representing plaintiffs in their complaints against the company's decades-long history of dangerous negligence regarding workplace safety and environmental pollution. The fine supporting cast includes Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, William Jackson Harper, Mare Winningham, Victor Garber and Bill Camp. DIR Todd Haynes; SCR Mario Correa, Matthew Michael Carnahan, inspired by the article "The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare" by Nathaniel Rich; PROD Pamela Koffler, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Skoll, Christine Vachon. U.S., 2019, color, 126 min. RATED PG-13

AFI Member passes accepted.

Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter-ego, "Dolemite," became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon. The outstanding cast includes Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess and Da'Vine Joy Randolph, with featured cameo appearances by Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock and Bob Odenkirk. DIR Craig Brewer; SCR Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski; PROD Eddie Murphy, John Davis, John Fox. U.S., 2019, color, 118 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

Awkwafina won the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for her performance as Billi, a woman born in China, but raised in New York City, who returns to Changchun along with her extended family to visit grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao), who has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rather than trouble their beloved matriarch, the family keeps the diagnosis a secret from her, instead gathering under the guise of a hastily planned wedding between one of the grandchildren and his Japanese girlfriend. After premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, writer/director Lulu Wang's dramedy, "based on an actual lie," became one of the year's most heartwarming sleeper hits. DIR/SCR Lulu Wang; PROD Anita Gou, Daniele Tate Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng. U.S., 2019, color, 98 min. In English and Mandarin with English subtitles. RATED PG

AFI Member passes accepted.

Before the 1979 revolution, Iran was home to a thriving, popular film industry packed with violence and melodrama, and populated with sexy starlets and macho action stars. Most of these films are now lost, except for a few surviving, underground VHS tapes. Taking as its starting point the 1978 arson attack on the Cinema Rex movie theater in Abadan, which killed more than 400 people, Ehsan Khoshbakht's exhaustively researched documentary reconstructs this lively era of Iranian cinema history — one which few outside of Iran have been aware of until now. DIR/SCR/PROD Ehsan Khoshbakht. Iran/UK, 2019, color, 84 min. In English and Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

After winning the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, FOR SAMA took the festival circuit by storm, winning the Golden Eye for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival, the Special Jury Prize at Canada's Hot Docs festival and Best Documentary at the European Film Awards. It is now nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature, and for four BAFTA Awards — the most nominations for a documentary in BAFTA history. Simultaneously heartbreaking, horrific, hopeful and humane, FOR SAMA tells the story of now-26-year-old director Waad al-Kateab's experience as a woman, mother, wife and survivor living through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria. Starting in 2011, as devastating conflict arises around her, Waad refuses to put down her camera. It captures her falling in love, getting married and giving birth to her beloved daughter, Sama, all while documenting incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival around her. But Waad and her husband Hamza, a doctor leading a makeshift hospital, face an impossible choice — whether to flee in order to protect their daughter's life, or continue the struggle for freedom for which they have sacrificed so much. DIR/SCR/PROD Waad al-Kateab; DIR Edward Watts. UK/Syria, 2019, color, 100 min. In English and Arabic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

Set in London's Iranian exile community during the 2011 Arab Spring, GHOLAM features a mesmerizing performance by Shahab Hosseini (star of Asghar Farhadi's THE SALESMAN) as a taxi driver with a mysterious past. He is drawn into Iran's political turmoil, no matter how hard he tries to resist. DIR/SCR Mitra Tabrizian; SCR Cyrus Massoudi; PROD Zadoc Nava. UK/Iran, 2018, color, 94 min. In English and Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Preceded by:
THE INSIDER
A poetic contemplation on Albert Camus' "The Outsider," with text by Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri. DIR/SCR Mitra Tabrizian. UK, 2018, color, 6 min. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

In 2018, Beyoncé became the first black woman to headline Coachella, dating back to the music festival's debut in 1999. After spending eight months preparing, she delivered the pop spectacle of a lifetime, crafting an epic two-hour visual and aural feast which incorporated more than 200 backing musicians and dancers, brought the iconography and traditions of historically black colleges and universities to the world and enshrined the term "Beychella" into the pop music lexicon. Luckily for anyone who missed this generation-defining moment – and for members of the Beyhive wishing to relive its glory – Beyoncé also found time to direct HOMECOMING, an intimate look at the landmark Coachella performance from concept to realization, which recently nabbed the International Documentary Association's 2019 Award for Best Music Documentary. Featuring both behind-the-scenes excerpts and extended concert footage, which demands to be seen (and heard) on the big screen, HOMECOMING confirms Beyoncé as an artist at the height of her powers. "If HOMECOMING doesn't convince you of Beyoncé's greatness, nothing will […] you're in for one of the greatest concert films ever made," wrote Chris Richards in The Washington Post. DIR/SCR Beyoncé Knowles-Carter; DIR Ed Burke; PROD Steve Pamon, Erinn Williams. U.S., 2019, color/b&w, 137 min. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

Inspired by his own experiences as a child actor with a strained relationship with his parents, Shia LaBeouf wrote this gripping screenplay that cross-cuts in time between young Hollywood action star Otis Lort (Lucas Hedges), now in court-ordered drug rehab following a car crash and other offenses, and Otis's early years in the business as a '90s child television actor (here played by Noah Jupe, A QUIET PLACE) who employs his ex-rodeo clown, ex-felon father, James (LaBoeuf), as his on-set minder. Sensitively directed by documentary veteran Alma Har'el (BOMBAY BEACH), the excellent cast includes FKA Twigs, Maika Monroe, Martin Starr, Byron Bowers, Laura San Giacomo and Clifton Collins, Jr. DIR/PROD Alma Har'el; SCR Shia LaBeouf; PROD Anita Gou, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Chris Leggett, Daniela Taplin Lundberg. U.S., 2019, color, 94 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

[J'AI PERDU MON CORPS]

French writer-director-animator Jérémy Clapin's boundlessly inventive mediation on loss, love and the (quite literal) desire for reconnection became the first animated winner of the Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prize last year, and has since racked up a slew of international awards, including the Audience Award and Cristal Award for Best Feature at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Based on the novel "Happy Hand" by Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Guillaume Laurant (AMÉLIE), I LOST MY BODY follows the fortunes of a plucky severed hand, which escapes from a Parisian medical lab on a mission to find its body. Embarking on a journey across the city, complete with some nail-biting escapes from pigeons and rats, the hand makes its way toward pizza delivery boy Naoufel, all the while uncovering the young man's distant memories of his late parents, his first love and the events that led to the hand's untimely severing. DIR/SCR Jérémy Clapin; SCR Guillaume Laurant, from his novel "Happy Hand"; PROD Marc Du Pontavice. France, 2019, color/b&w, 81 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese's THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics. Co-starring Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale and Ray Romano. DIR/PROD Martin Scorsese; SCR Steven Zaillian, from the book "I Heard You Paint Houses" by Charles Brandt; PROD Troy Allen, Gerald Chamales, Robert De Niro, Randall Emmett, Gastón Pavlovich, Jane Rosenthal, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Irwin Winkler. U.S., 2019, color, 209 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

Written and directed by Taika Waititi (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE; THOR: RAGNAROK; WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS), JOJO RABBIT combines blackly comic satire with surprising sentimentality in its story of a dedicated 10-year-old member of the Hitler Youth (promising newcomer Roman Griffin Davis) who has his eyes opened to the hateful lies that have shaped his worldview up to now, many of them spouted by his imaginary friend, "Adolf" (Waititi). The outstanding cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen and Stephen Merchant. DIR/SCR/PROD Taika Waititi, from the novel "Caging Skies" by Christine Leunens; PROD Carthew Neal, Chelsea Winstanley. Czech Republic/New Zealand, 2019, color, 108 min. In English and German with English subtitles. RATED PG-13

AFI Member passes accepted.

Renée Zellweger won the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her highly praised performance as screen icon Judy Garland in this stylish, sensitive biopic centered on Garland's final years performing at London's Talk of the Town nightclub. The excellent supporting cast includes Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon and Finn Wittrock as Garland's fifth and final husband, Mickey Deans. Directed by Rupert Goold (THE HOLLOW CROWN: "Richard II;" KING CHARLES III). DIR Rupert Goold; SCR Tom Edge, from the play "End of the Rainbow" by Peter Quilter; PROD David Livingstone. UK, 2019, color, 118 min. RATED PG-13

AFI Member passes accepted.

A SEPARATION star Payman Maadi plays a detective determined to nab a notorious drug kingpin in this caper that dominated Iran's box office and won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran. It's easy to see why: from its fast-paced opening scenes, in which addicts are rounded up for arrest, to its devastating finale, JUST 6.5 is a nonstop thrill ride with a sincere social message at its heart. "More than a thrilling watch. It is a sobering reflection on the inability of the law to stem the tide of drug addiction through round-ups, arrests and executions," writes Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter. DIR/SCR Saeed Roustayi; PROD Mohammad Sadegh Ranjkeshan, Jamal Sadatian. Iran, 2019, color, 135 min. In Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

Winner of the Audience Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Rachel Lears' incisive, intimate and inspiring documentary follows the 2018 campaigns of four first-time Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives: Cori Bush in Missouri, Amy Vilela in Nevada, Paula Jean Swearengin in West Virginia and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York. DIR/SCR/PROD Rachel Lears; SCR/PROD Robin Blotnick; PROD Sarah Olson. U.S., 2019, color, 87 min. RATED PG

AFI Member passes accepted.

Jimmie (newcomer Jimmie Fails, who co-wrote the script and conceived of the semi-autobiographical story) dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation. A wistful odyssey populated by skaters, squatters, street preachers, playwrights and other locals on the margins, THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO is a poignant and sweeping story of hometowns and how they're made — and kept alive — by the people who love them. With Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, Mike Epps, Finn Wittrock and Danny Glover. DIR/SCR/PROD Joe Talbot; SCR Rob Richert, Jimmie Fails; PROD Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Khaliah Neal, Christina Oh. U.S., 2019, color, 121 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

Abbas Kiarostami's second feature made outside of Iran takes place in Tokyo. Akiko (Rin Takanashi), a college student moonlighting as a prostitute, is sent to the apartment of Takashi (Tadashi Okuno), an elderly gentleman who just wants to spend the night talking. The next morning, when he drops her off at her university, Akiko's boyfriend mistakes Takashi for her grandfather, and the old man elects not to correct him. Like its Italian-set predecessor CERTIFIED COPY, LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE is about people who reinvent their identities for mysterious reasons. And as in the ballad from which it takes its title, each character is suffused with a longing that seeks fulfillment in the other but with possibly dire consequences. "Every shot — everything you see, and everything you don't — imparts a disturbing and thrilling sense of discovery," writes A.O. Scott of The New York Times. (Note courtesy of Freer|Sackler.) DIR/SCR/PROD Abbas Kiarostami. Japan/France, 2012, color, 109 min. In Japanese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

Writer-director Greta Gerwig (LADY BIRD) has crafted a LITTLE WOMEN that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author's alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In Gerwig's take, the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on her own terms – is both timeless and timely. Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen star as Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth March, with Timothée Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee and Meryl Streep as Aunt March. DIR/SCR Greta Gerwig, from the novel by Louisa May Alcott; PROD Denise Di Novi, Amy Pascal, Robin Swicord. U.S., 2019, color, 135 min. RATED PG

AFI Member passes accepted.

Edward Norton wrote, produced, directed and starred in this inventive adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's celebrated novel, transposing the novel's noir-in-the-'90s setting and hard-boiled stylization back to a more synchronistic setting of 1957. Norton stars as Lionel Essrog, a private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, who works for Frank Minna (Bruce Willis), as much of a father to Lionel as a boss. Frank brings in a mysterious case that involves a big business deal for real estate developer William Lieberman (Josh Pais), who's busy cleaning up on the controversial slum clearance policies of city planner Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin). Lionel soon realizes he's onto something big, untangling a web of murder, blackmail and betrayal that stretches from Harlem jazz clubs to the city government and beyond. The outstanding cast includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann and Fisher Stevens. DIR/SCR/PROD Edward Norton, from the novel by Jonathan Lethem; PROD Michael Bederman, Bill Migliore, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane. U.S., 2019, color, 144 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

From director Jennifer Kent (THE BABADOOK) comes a different kind of horror film — a dark and powerful revenge story. In 1825 Tasmania, Irish convict Clare (Aisling Franciosi) is hellbent on vengeance after an act of animalistic brutality against her family by a British officer. In the wake of the atrocity, she enlists the help of an aboriginal tracker to guide her through the bush, hunting those who wronged her with steely determination and an overflowing rage. Despite its graphic depictions of violence, sexism and racism, the film's primary concern is (in the words of its director) "the need for love, compassion and kindness in dark times," and features a fearless, breakthrough performance from Franciosi. DIR/SCR/PROD Jennifer Kent; PROD Kristina Ceyton, Steve Hutensky, Bruna Papandrea. Australia, 2018, color, 136 min. In English, Irish and Aboriginal with English subtitles. RATED R
Viewer advisory: features potentially triggering acts of sexual violence toward women, violence toward children and violence motivated by racism.

AFI Member passes accepted.

This dark, comic fable takes place in a rugged mountain village where, for 45 years, no one has died — but not for lack of trying. Crotchety old men, some more than a century old, spend their days smoking, bickering, soaking in the bathhouse and trying to figure out how to commit suicide without being stopped by the detachment of exasperated soldiers in charge of keeping them alive. Director Reza Jamali's feature-length debut takes full advantage of the film's picturesque setting and cast of charmingly grumpy old coots. DIR/SCR/PROD Reza Jamali; PROD Salman Abbasi. Iran, 2019, color, 85 min. In Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.

Winner of three Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt, Quentin Tarantino's vision of 1969 Hollywood sees a town and an entertainment industry on the cusp of seismic change. TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) worries that impending middle age, changing tastes and limited acting ability may consign him to yesterday's news; his longtime stunt double and loyal friend Cliff Booth (Pitt) takes things as they come, his unflappable exterior perhaps concealing a dark secret from his past. With Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Margaret Qualley, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Bruce Dern, Lena Dunham and Kurt Russell. DIR/SCR/PROD Quentin Tarantino; PROD David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh. U.S./UK, 2019, color, 161 min. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

[DOLOR Y GLORIA]

Antonio Banderas won Best Actor at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for what is perhaps the performance of his career in his seventh film with master filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar. Banderas portrays filmmaker Salvador Mallo, an '80s enfant terrible now mired in a period of inactivity due to ills both physical (back surgery, drug addiction) and spiritual (the loss of his beloved mother, played by Penélope Cruz in flashbacks to his youth, and Julieta Serrano in latter days). At the urging of his assistant Zulema (Cecilia Roth), Salvador visits actor Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia) for the first time in 30 years, having had a falling out after their early collaboration on a film called SABOR, now slated for a re-release. The two men rekindle their friendship, along with some bad habits, which leads Salvador down a winding path of memory, desire, heartache and ultimately new inspiration. DIR/SCR Pedro Almodóvar; PROD Agustín Almodóvar, Ricardo Marco Budé, Esther García, Ignacio Salazar-Simpson. Spain, 2019, color, 113 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

Bong Joon-ho brings his singular mastery home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale.
Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks. By turns darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching, PARASITE showcases a modern master at the top of his game. DIR/SCR/PROD Bong Joon-ho; SCR Han Jin-won; PROD Jang Young-Hwan, Moon Yang-kwon, Kwak Sin-ae. South Korea, 2019, color, 132 min. In English and Korean with English subtitles. RATED R

AFI Member passes accepted.

After starting the year with a Grand Jury Prize win at the Sundance Film Festival, Joanna Hogg's (ARCHIPELAGO, EXHIBITION) exquisite, heart-wrenching, 1980s-set melodrama ended 2019 by beating out Bong Joon-ho, Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodóvar and Quentin Tarantino to nab the number one spot on Sight and Sound's list of the year's top films. Hogg's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale centers on aspiring London filmmaker Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne, in a breakout performance), an ambitious young woman searching for her creative voice, while simultaneously navigating a turbulent, obsessive relationship with an untrustworthy older man (Tom Burke, ONLY GOD FORGIVES). Despite the concerns of her mother (Tilda Swinton, Swinton Byrne's real-life mother and a lifelong friend of Hogg) and her friends, as well as her own misgivings, Julie falls ever deeper into a dangerous cycle of creativity and destruction. If Hogg's enigmatic characters etch themselves onto your psyche and leave you wanting more (they will), fear not. THE SOUVENIR: PART II is expected later this year. DIR/SCR/PROD Joanna Hogg; PROD Luke Schiller. UK/U.S., 2019, color, 120 min. RATED R

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[SYNONYMES]

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid (THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, POLICEMAN) won the 2019 Berlinale Golden Bear and FIPRESCI prize for this quirky, semi-autobiographical story about a young Israeli man, Yoav (Tom Mercier), who runs away to Paris, in flight from his Israeli identity and embracing all things French, despite his shaky command of the language. Comic misadventures ensue, and with them Yoav gains a better sense of self and his place in the world. DIR/SCR Nadav Lapid; SCR Haim Lapid; PROD Saïd Ben Saïd, Michel Merkt. France/Israel/Germany, 2019, color, 123 min. In English, French and Hebrew with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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Abbas Kiarostami's "greatest film," according to The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, won the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. As with many other Kiarostami films, its deceptively simple plot belies the depths it plumbs in its characters and its audience. Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi), a middle-aged man, drives through a barren landscape, looking for someone to agree to bury him after he commits suicide the following morning. Badii is eerily calm about his decision to end his life, despite the entreaties of each of the three candidates he tries to persuade. Their conversations become an evolving philosophical argument about the value of life in the face of death. Featuring a conclusion that is one of the most argued-over, analyzed and discussed moments in the history of cinema, TASTE OF CHERRY is perhaps Kiarostami's most haunting, enduring masterpiece. (Note courtesy of Freer|Sackler.) DIR/SCR/PROD Abbas Kiarostami; PROD Alain Depardieu. Iran, 1997, color, 95 min. In Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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The final film in Abbas Kiarostami's Koker Trilogy is an investigation of the complex relationship between cinema and real life, which evolved from an incident in the earlier film AND LIFE GOES ON. THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES features an actor playing Kiarostami, who is looking for amateur actors to star in a film called AND LIFE GOES ON. The couple he chooses, however, has a history that repeatedly and humorously thwarts the filmmaker's ambitions: the woman recently spurned the man's marriage proposal and is forbidden by family and tradition from speaking to him, except within the fictional world of the film. This brilliant cinematic allegory earned raves around the world and paved the way for such later masterpieces as TASTE OF CHERRY and THE WIND WILL CARRY US. (Note courtesy of Freer|Sackler.) DIR/SCR/PROD Abbas Kiarostami; PROD Alain Depardieu. France/Iran, 1994, color, 103 min. In Persian with English subtitles. RATED G

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Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' (AFI Class of 1975) exquisite documentary about the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, essayist, editor and educator Toni Morrison (1931–2019), famous for "Beloved," "Song of Solomon" and "The Bluest Eye," has only become more poignant with the author's passing in August of 2019. The film features intimate interviews with Morrison as well as a range of others inspired by her work, including Oprah Winfrey, Russell Banks, Angela Davis, Hilton Als, Walter Mosley, Fran Lebowitz and Barack Obama. DIR/SCR/PROD Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; PROD Johanna Giebelhaus, Chad Thompson, Tommy Walker. U.S., 2019, color, 120 min. RATED PG-13

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This exquisite adaptation of Anna Seghers' 1942 novel about German refugees trying to escape Nazi-occupied France gains additional resonance from director Christian Petzold's (BARBARA, PHOENIX) daring decision to eschew any '40s period trappings, instead telling the tale in contemporary settings and dress. Modern-day Marseille becomes a compelling stage for history: 70-odd years ago, against a backdrop of apartment buildings and commercial centers, a refugee crisis was taking place, one with eerie reverberations with today's resurgent ethno-nationalism. The excellent cast includes Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Godehard Giese, Barbara Auer and Alex Brendemühl. DIR/SCR Christian Petzold, from the novel by Anna Seghers; PROD Antonin Dedet, Florian Koerner von Gustorf. Germany/France, 2018, color, 101 min. In German, French and French Sign Language with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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Josh and Benny Safdie's (GOOD TIME) relentlessly paced, gritty New York City neo-noir stars Adam Sandler as a diamond dealer and gambling addict in way over his head, in a performance that has been praised as the best of his career. Featuring an excellent, eclectic supporting cast that includes Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch, Mike Francesa, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, John Amos and The Weeknd. DIR/SCR Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie; SCR Ronald Bronstein; PROD Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson, Eli Bush, Scott Rudin. U.S., 2019, color, 135 min. RATED R

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Academy Award®-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o (12 YEARS A SLAVE, BLACK PANTHER) won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her incredible dual role in US, Jordan Peele's mind-bending follow-up to his Academy Award®-winning GET OUT. Described by The Guardian's Mark Kermode as, "a TWILIGHT ZONE mashup of Dostoevsky's 'The Double' and Jack Finney's 'The Body Snatchers,' US broadens the social commentary behind GET OUT to explore the implications of an all-American family pitted against their horrifying, forgotten, subterranean-dwelling doppelgängers. Haunted by a mysterious trauma from her past, Adelaide Wilson (Nyong'o) is hesitant to return to her childhood home for a family vacation with her husband, Gabe (Winston Duke, BLACK PANTHER), and their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex). After a tense day at the beach with their friends the Tylers (Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon and Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to the safety of their lakeside holiday home. But when darkness falls, the Wilsons find themselves face-to-face with four eerily familiar, shadowy figures determined to infiltrate their house, their psyches and their lives. DIR/SCR/PROD Jordan Peele; PROD Jason Blum, Ian Cooper, Sean McKittrick. U.S./Japan, 2019, color, 116 min. RATED R

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Trey Edward Shults (IT COMES AT NIGHT, KRISHA) sets his structurally daring third feature in South Florida, where a middle-class African-American family — led by a well-meaning but hard-driving father (Sterling K. Brown, BLACK PANTHER, THIS IS US) — is forced to deal with the fallout of a life-changing tragedy. Tyler (Kelvin Harrison, Jr., who collaborated with Shults on the film's conception) is a promising young athlete with the world at his feet. As the pressure of perfection mounts, cracks begin to appear in his well-adjusted façade, culminating in a horrific turn of events. But life must go on for the family, including Trey's younger sister Emily (Taylor Russell, who won the Breakthrough Actor Award at the 2019 Gotham Independent Film Awards), as they navigate a deeply complex web on their way toward healing. Shults employs stunning visuals, a visceral, pulsating soundtrack and constantly shifting perspectives to convey the nuances of his characters' experiences, tracing their individual journeys, maneuvering between hope and despair, all while maintaining a cohesion that constantly drives the narrative forward into the unexpected. DIR/SCR/PROD Trey Edward Shults; PROD Kevin Turen, James Wilson. U.S., 2019, color, 135 min. RATED R

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"Cross-pollinating political drama, historical events, a love story and a horror movie into one edge-of-seat narrative, Narges Abyar confirms herself as one of Iran's most exciting new directing talents in WHEN THE MOON WAS FULL," writes Deborah Young in The Hollywood Reporter. Abyar weaves a spellbinding, harrowing drama based on the true story of a woman who unwittingly married into a family of terrorists. Winner of four major awards at Iran's Fajr Film Festival, including the Crystal Simorgh for Best Film. DIR/SCR Narges Abyar; SCR Morteza Esfahani; PROD Mohammad Hossein Ghasemi. Iran, 2019, color, 137 min. In Persian and Balochi with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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The first of Abbas Kiarostami's films to gain significant attention outside of his home country, WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOUSE? follows Ahmed, a young boy on a mission to return a notebook to his classmate after he takes it home by mistake. The students' fiery teacher has decreed that homework must always be done in the same book, and Ahmed is desperate to save his friend from being expelled. Escaping his mother's eagle eye, Ahmed sets out for the neighboring village, only remembering en route that he doesn't quite know where his classmate lives. Along with AND LIFE GOES ON and THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES, WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOUSE? became part of Kiarostami's Koker Trilogy, a Russian doll-like series of subtly intersecting narratives set in and around the rural village of Koker, before and after the colossal earthquake which hit northern Iran in 1990. DIR/SCR Abbas Kiarostami; PROD Ali Reza Zarrin. Iran, 1987, color, 83 min. In Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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The latest documentary from Matt Tyrnauer (CITIZEN JANE, STUDIO 54, VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR) charts the dark history of attorney Roy Cohn: Manhattan's Assistant U.S. Attorney during the 1951 trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for treason; chief counsel to red-baiting U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954; a political consultant and fixer for Presidents Nixon and Reagan, on whose 1980 presidential campaign he worked closely with dirty trickster Roger Stone; and longtime private attorney for wealthy and powerful scoundrels and scofflaws, including mafia figures Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante and John Gotti; New York Yankees baseball club owner George Steinbrenner; and real estate developer Donald Trump. The film's title, in fact, quotes Trump many years after Cohn's 1986 death from AIDS, now in his current role as the U.S. president, when he reportedly uttered these words in exasperation over the 2017 recusal of then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions from matters pertaining to the Mueller Investigation. DIR/SCR/PROD Matt Tyrnauer; PROD Marie Brenner, Joyce Deep, Andrea Lewis, Corey Reeser. U.S., 2019, color, 97 min. RATED PG-13

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[AHLAT AĞACI]

The latest masterpiece from Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Cannes Grand Prix winner for ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA; Palme d'Or winner for WINTER SLEEP) received an extremely limited U.S. release in early 2019, but this epic, bittersweet bildungsroman demands to be seen on the big screen. Recent college graduate Sinan Karasu (Aydın Doğu Demirkol) returns to his hometown and wrestles with what his next move in life should be: take the entrance exam to become a teacher, like his troubled, gambling addicted father, Idris (Murat Cemcir); get his military service out of the way; reconnect with his youthful crush Hatice (Hazar Ergüçlü); or scrape together the funds to publish his semi-autobiographical tribute to the local landscape, "The Wild Pear Tree." DIR/SCR Nuri Bilge Ceylan; SCR Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan; PROD Zeynep Ozbatur Atakan, Muzaffer Yildirim. Turkey/Republic of Macedonia/France/Germany/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Bulgaria/Sweden, 2019, color, 188 min. In Turkish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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This "witty, haunting, poetic film," according to Variety's Scott Foundas, takes its title from a famous poem by Forough Farrokhzad. A journalist (Behzad Dorani) posing as an engineer travels to a remote Kurdish village with a secret aim: to record an ancient mourning ritual for a dying, century-old woman. When the woman stubbornly refuses to die, the "engineer" is forced to slow down and interact with the town's inhabitants. "This ambiguous comic masterpiece," writes film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, "could be Abbas Kiarostami's greatest film to date; it's undoubtedly his richest and most challenging." (Note courtesy of Freer|Sackler.) DIR/SCR/PROD Abbas Kiarostami; PROD Marin Karmitz. Iran/France, 1999, color, 118 min. In Persian and Kurdish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Member passes accepted.