Mar 2, 2007

Miami Film Fest, March 2-11

Every night, the latest films from world renowned directors and emerging filmmakers are showcased at the historic Gusman Theater: Award-winning dramas, crowd-pleasing comedies, wondrous historical dramas and tense thrillers premiere in this gala section.

Click on film title for film details and long synopsis

Alatriste (Alatriste)
(Spain,147 min.)
Director: Agustín Díaz Yanes
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Elena Anaya, Javier Cámara, Antonio Dechent, Juan Echanove, Eduardo Noriega, Ariadna Gil, Unax Ugalde, Eduard Fernández, Enrico Lo Verso, Blanca Portillo

Courageous and unassuming, Diego Alatriste is a 17th century swordsman determined to honor his commitments and maintain his integrity in the turbulent declining years of the Spanish empire. Viggo Mortensen leads an all-star cast in this swashbuckling period drama—the most expensive Spanish-language film ever made—about the incomparable silent warrior of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s wildly popular novel series.

Alatriste (Alatriste)
Antonia (Antônia)
(Brazil,90 min.)
Director: Tata Amaral
Cast: Leilah Moreno, Cindy, Quelynah, Negra Li, Sandra de Sá, Thaíde, Thobias de Vai Vai, Maionezi, Nathalye Cris, DJ Hadji, Ezequiel da Silva, Max B.O., Z'Africa Brasil, Black Gero, DJ Negro Rico, Chico Santo, Marcus Vinicius Kamau, Fernando Macário

Part Dreamgirls, part 8 Mile, Antonia is the rousing story of the members of an all-girl hip hop group who learn to discover themselves as they make their way on the mean streets of São Paulo. The film’s uniquely Brazilian ambience offers a distinctly and pleasantly Latin spin on "Girl Power."
Antonia (Antônia)
Beauty in Trouble (Kráska v nesnázích)
(Czech Republic,110 min.)
Director: Jan Hrebejk
Cast: Ana Geislerová, Jana Brejchová, Emília Vášáryová, Josef Abrhám, Roman Luknár, Jirí Schmitzer, Jan Hrušínský, Jirí Machácek, Andrei Toader, Nikolay Penev, Jaromíra Mílová, Adam Mišík, Michaela Mrvíková, Raduza.

The Czech team behind such festival gems as Divided We Fall and Up and Down delivers this multi-character tale of a beauty in trouble, her car-thief husband, and a wealthy ex-patriot who is reminded that things are more complicated in the homeland. This masterful film is sexy, funny, and sharp as a knife.
Beauty in Trouble (Kráska v nesnázích)
Black Book (Zwartboek)
(Netherlands/UK/Germany/Belgium,145 min.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, Waldemar Kobus, Derek de Lint, Christian Berkel, Dolf de Vries, Peter Blok

Paul Verhoeven helms this engrossing, yet violent, tale of espionage, intrigue and betrayal set in Nazi-occupied Holland. Carice van Houten gives a remarkable performance as a beautiful Jewish torch singer who joins the Dutch resistance in the final days of World War II.
Black Book (Zwartboek)
Dark Blue Almost Black (Azul Oscuro Casi Negro)
(Spain,105 min.)
Director: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
Cast: Quim Gutiérrez, Marta Etura, Antonio de la Torre, Héctor Colomé, Raúl Arévalo, Eva Pallarés, Manuel Morón, Ana Wagener, Roberto Enríquez

Jorge dreamed of being a businessman. But, his father’s debilitating stroke and a brother’s prison sentence made him a caretaker and part-time janitor instead. When his childhood crush returns from a stint studying abroad, Jorge begins to yearn for something better. Youthful romance clashes with familial pressure in a stirring drama of lost opportunities and second chances.
Dark Blue Almost Black (Azul Oscuro Casi Negro)
First Snow
(USA,101 min.)
Director: Mark Fergus
Cast: Guy Pearce, Piper Perabo, William Fichtner, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Burroughs, Shea Whigham, Adam Scott

Beware the first snow. A roadside psychic warns a stranded motorist of his impending doom in this powerful parable about the struggle between fate and will. Guy Pearce exudes feverish intensity as af man who revisits his demons (among them a recently sprung felon) in the hope of escaping destiny.
First Snow
Heart of the Earth, The (El Corazón de la Tierra)
(Spain/UK/Portugal,115 min.)
Director: Antonio Cuadri
Cast: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Sienna Guillory, Philip Winchester, Bernard Hill, Joaquim de Almeida, Jorge Perugorría, Ana Fernández, Fernando Ramallo, Juan Fernández

Antonio Cuadri directs this spectacular production based on actual historical events. Set in 1888 against the backdrop of Huelva, Spain’s Riotinto mines, this epic saga of love and power centers on the deep friendship between two women caught up in the first “environmental” protest in history. The film’s stellar cast includes Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace), Sienna Guillory and Joaquim de Almeida.
Heart of the Earth, The (El Corazón de la Tierra)
I Am the Other Woman (Ich bin die andere)
(Germany,104 min.)
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Cast: Katja Riemann, August Diehl, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Kari Dor, Barbara Auer, Bernadette Herwagen, Dieter Laser, Peter Lerchbaumer

A young engineer’s one-night stand with a mysterious, slatternly woman in his Frankfurt hotel room sends him down a rabbit hole of erotic obsession and domestic dysfunction in a striking artistic departure from one of the icons of German feminist cinema, Margarethe von Trotta.
I Am the Other  Woman (Ich bin die andere)
Ira & Abby
(USA,104 min.)
Director: Robert Cary
Cast: Chris Messina, Jennifer Westfeldt, Frances Conroy, Judith Light, Jason Alexander, Robert Klein, Fred Willard

Neurotic Ira and free-spirited Abby are a mismatched Manhattan couple who impulsively get engaged just six hours after first meeting. Bliss is short-lived, however, when meddlesome parents and ineffectual therapists become involved. This warm, witty relationship comedy penned by actress-screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein) took home the Audience Award for best narrative feature at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Ira & Abby
(Australia,123 min.)
Director: Ray Lawrence
Cast: Laura Linney, Gabriel Byrne, Deborra-lee Furness, John Howard, Leah Purcell, Stelios Yiakmis, Alice Garner, Simon Stone, Betty Lucas, Chris Haywood, Eva Lazzaro, Sean Rees-Wemyss, Tatea Reilly

Based on a short story by Raymond Carver, Jindabyne is an allegorical tale of four men who discover a woman’s body on a fishing trip, yet fail to report it until their excursion ends. Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney star in this haunting story of morality, marriage and murder set in the Australian countryside. The film won Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2006 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.
Page Turner, The (La Tourneuse de pages)
(France,85 min.)
Director: Denis Dercourt
Cast: Catherine Frot, Déborah François, Pascal Greggory, Clotilde Mollet, Xavier De Guillebon

A young girl who yearns to be a concert pianist finds her big recital sabotaged by the dismissive egotism of a famed musician. Humiliated, the girl bids farewell to her aspirations. Years later she methodically insinuates herself into the life of the woman who destroyed her dream. Vengeance is patient but devastating in this tense, simmering thriller.
Page Turner, The (La Tourneuse de pages)
Red Like the Sky (Rosso come il cielo)
(Italy,96 min.)
Director: Cristiano Bortone
Cast: Luca Capriotti, Francesca Maturanza, Simone Gulli', Paolo Sassanelli, Marco Cocci, Simone Colombari, Norman Mozzato

Set in Tuscany in the 1970s, this inspiring tale recounts a blind youth's personal battle to overcome not only his handicap, but also the doubts and preconceived notions of society. The film is based on the life of renowned sound editor Mirco Mencacci and his struggle to develop as an artist and affirm his talent. Audience award winner at the São Paulo International Film Festival.
Red Like the Sky (Rosso come il cielo)
(Spain/UK,138 min.)
Director: Manuel Huerga
Cast: Daniel Brühl, Tristán Ulloa, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Leonor Watling, Ingrid Rubio, Celso Bugallo, Joaquim Climent, Antonio Dechent, Carlos Fuentes, Joel Joan, Bea Segura, Olalla Escribano, Carlota Olcina, Andrea Ros, Biel Durán, Aida Folch

A selection of Un Certain Regard at Cannes, Salvador is the gripping retelling of the life of Spaniard Salvador Puig Antich (passionately portrayed by Daniel Brühl), a young revolutionary who was the last political prisoner to fall victim to Franco's garrote.
Sounds of Sand (Si le vent soulève les sables)
(Belgium/France,96 min.)
Director: Marion Hänsel
Cast: Issaka Sawadogo, Carole Karemera, Asma Nouman Aden, Saïd Abdallah Mohamed, Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed

Water is life. And for one African villager, his wife, and three children, the need for it means having to leave their parched home–risking mercenaries, land mines and the vicious desert sun–to reach the nearest productive wells. Set against the harsh and unforgiving landscape of sub-Saharan Africa, this is a story about sacrifice and courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
Sounds of Sand  (Si le vent soulève les sables)
Ton of Luck, A (Soñar no cuesta nada)
(Colombia/Argentina,96 min.)
Director: Rodrigo Triana
Cast: Diego Cadavid, Juan Sebastián Aragón, Carlos Manuel Vesga, Manuel José Chaves, Marlon Moreno, Verónica Orozco, Carolina Ramirez

When the members of an anti-guerrilla unit, on patrol in the jungles of Colombia, stumble on $46 million in drug money, they decide to give in to temptation and divvy up the treasure. This tale of moral choices and their consequences is based on actual events.
Ton of Luck, A (Soñar no cuesta nada)
Wonderful World, A (Un Mundo Maravilloso)
(Mexico,118 min.)
Director: Luis Estrada
Cast: Damián Alcázar, Cecilia Suárez, Ernesto Gómez Cruz, Jesús Ochoa, Silverio Palacios, Antonio Serrano, Jorge Zárate, José María Yazpik, Plutarco Haza, Raúl Méndez, Guillermo Gil, Carmen Beato, Rodrigo Murray, Pedro Armendáriz

When a homeless man is accidentally left out on the ledge of the World Financial Center his presence there is misinterpreted as a suicide protest. As a media firestorm ensues, the erstwhile bum is exploited by a government scrambling to protect its interests. Deliciously grim, this dark satire offers a wry commentary on the social and economic inequities of Mexico.

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