Every year when AFI FEST rolls around, I have a massive anxiety attack for fear that I will not be able to watch everything that I possibly can! Good thing this time, my little fit only lasted about 30 minutes while I scrambled to plan out my schedule for this year! Once again, the line-up is stack with breathtaking international gems hailed from Cannes or Locarno, refreshing and hip American Independents, and high profile Gala films! It'll be a packed 8 day festival that will test the endurance down to the very fiber of my bones! There are so many great films playing but I really had to buckle down and make a schedule that will eventually benefit me as a film critic that'll quench my palette for international and independent cinema! Here are all the films I am watching at the festival!
Nov. 6 - Opening Night
In the crime-ridden winter of New York City in 1981, a couple’s attempts to capitalize on the American Dream are mired in corruption and violence.
The Tribe (Plemya) (Dir. Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy)
This daring film, acted entirely in sign language without the aid of subtitles or voiceover, follows a new student at a corrupt Ukrainian school for the deaf.
Eden (Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve)
Mia Hansen-Løve’s 20-year journey through the electronic dance music scene follows DJ Paul, whose love for the turntables stays strong even after the craze has ended.
When an elderly man loses his isolated cabin, deep in the Mexican woods, he also loses his grip on reality.
It Follows (Dir. David Robert Mitchell)
A group of friends is plagued by a nightmarish supernatural threat in this coming-of-age horror film from AFI FEST alum David Robert Mitchell.
On Acting: A Conversation with Michael Keaton & Edward Norton
The Midnight Swim (Dir. Sarah Adina Smith)
Three half-sisters try to unlock the mystery of their mother’s deep-water disappearance in this unsettling tale, part ghost story and part family drama.
Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit) (Dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne)
The Cannes Palme d'Or-winning Dardenne brothers return with this tale of a young Belgian mother (Marion Cotillard) who must convince her co-workers to forego their much-needed bonuses in order to keep her job.
Merchant of Doubt (Dir. Robert Kenner)
Oscar nominee Robert Kenner’s (FOOD, INC.) latest documentary focuses on the PR masterminds and spin doctors who are paid to shift blame and delay governmental action on climate change.
Inherent Vice (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Joaquin Phoenix stars in this psychedelic surf noir from Paul Thomas Anderson, adapting the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon.
Thou Wast Mild & Lovely (Dir. Josephine Decker)
In this psychosexual drama, a young farm worker’s attraction to his boss’s daughter unearths dark secrets.
Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg) (Dir.Dietrich Brüggemann)
Fourteen masterfully composed single-shot scenes tell the story of adolescent Maria, a girl caught between a secular world and the strict religious teachings of her church.
Haemoo (Dir. Shim Sung-bo)
Amid a shroud of sea fog, the voyage of a South Korean boat smuggling a group of illegal immigrants turns into a catastrophe.
Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) (Dir. Damián Szifrón)
Characters are pushed to delightfully deranged savagery in this anthology of six sublimely absurd short films.
Happy Valley (Dir. Amir Bar-Lev)
The Penn State child sex-abuse scandal, and subsequent downfall of local heroes Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, is examined in this insightful documentary.
Girlhood (Bande De Filles) (Dir. Céline Sciamma)
Teenager Marieme drops out of school and finds acceptance with a gang of free-spirited girls, while taking on a new feminine identity.
May Allah Bless France! (Qu'Allah Benisse La France!) (Dir. Abd Al Malik)
French rapper Abd Al Malik adapts his raw memoir chronicling how religion and hip-hop saved him from the streets.
Saint Laurent (Dir. Bertrand Bonello)
Selected as France’s official Oscar® entry, this stylish biopic follows the life and career of iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel), from 1967 through 1976.
The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland)
An amateur butterfly collector and her housekeeper can’t get enough of their sadomasochistic games in this phantasmic tale.
Mommy (Dir. Xavier Dolan)
Xavier Dolan’s latest film, selected as Canada’s official Oscar entry, centers on a mother’s tumultuous relationship with her teenage son after he returns home from a correctional facility.
Foxcatcher (Dir. Bennett Miller)
This true story follows two Olympic wrestler brothers (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) who form a dark protégé-benefactor relationship with an unhinged millionaire (Steve Carell).
So there you have it folks! It's going to be a long and tiring week nonetheless but I'll be there everyday with my trusty camera and notepad in hand scribbling my madness from the fest away! Also look out for my orange hair! AFI FEST will be from Nov. 6 - 13th! So see y'all there!