Posted by Larry Gleeson
The Nashville Film Festival, celebrating its 50th Anniversary October 3-12, 2019, unveiled the selections for its Special Presentations category. This year’s special presentations take viewers into the World War II-era perspective of a young German boy who is forced to reconsider the nationalism in which he was raised, a searing behind-the-scenes look at the dissolution of a marriage, and a darkly comedic dive into the life of a struggling comedian and his unlikely friendship with his eccentric dermatologist.
Selections include the dark and clever Hitler comedy Jojo Rabbit, fresh off of its run at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Marriage Story, a raw and honest dive into love and relationships that was a favorite in Toronto as well as the Venice Film Festival. Also featured is the powerful narrative Clemency, winner of the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, starring Alfre Woodard, a prison warden overseeing death row executions, as she struggles with the justification and morality of the job at hand.
The Special Presentations category will also include Bacurau; By the Grace of God; Foster Boy; A Hidden Life; The Kill Team; and Standing Up, Falling Down. Selections for the Narrative Features program include Alice, The Best of Dorien B., The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Burning Cane, Dirty God, Eternal Winter, Retrospekt, Saint Frances, Watch List, and This World Won’t Break.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS PROGRAM
BACURAU, directed by Juliano Dornelles & Kleber Mendonça Filho. Bacurau, a small village in the Brazilian sertão, mourns the loss of its matriarch, Carmelita. Days later, its inhabitants notice that their village has literally vanished from most maps and a UFO-shaped drone starts flying overhead. In a genre-bending twist, a band of armed mercenaries arrive in town picking off the inhabitants one by one. A fierce confrontation takes place when the townspeople turn the tables on the villainous outsiders, banding together by any means necessary to protect and maintain their remote community.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD, directed by François Ozon. Based on real events, Francois Ozon’s By the Grace of God is a gripping and urgent story of the survivors who band together to expose and dismantle the French Catholic Church’s code of silence surrounding pastoral abuse.
CLEMENCY, directed by Chinonye Chukwu. Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard). As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.
FOSTER BOY, directed by Youssef Delara. Foster Boy is the truth-based legal drama about a high-powered litigator who takes on the case of disadvantaged African-American young man, starring Matthew Modine and newcomer Shane Paul McGhie. Overcoming their differences and mutual distrust, Modine’s Michael Trainer and McGhie’s Jamal Randolph uncover the abuses of the for-profit foster care system – a real-world reality that inspired the film. Co-Presented in association with the International Black Film Festival.
A HIDDEN LIFE, directed by Terrence Malick. Based on real events, A Hidden Life is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani and children that keeps his spirit alive.
HONEY BOY, directed by Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach, LoveTrue). From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf based on his own experiences brings to life a young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. Fictionalizing his ascent to stardom, and subsequent crash-landing into rehab and recovery, Har’el casts Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased, Manchester by the Sea) as Otis Lort, navigating different stages in a frenetic career.
JOJO RABBIT, directed by Taika Waititi. Writer director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnorok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, Jojo Rabbit, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.
THE KILL TEAM, directed by Dan Krauss. When Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff), a young soldier in the US invasion of Afghanistan, witnesses other recruits killing innocent civilians under the direction of a sadistic leader, Sergeant Deeks (Alexander Skarsgård), he considers reporting them to higher-ups — but the heavily-armed, increasingly violent platoon becomes suspicious that someone in their ranks has turned on them, and Andrew begins to fear that he’ll be the next target.
MARRIAGE STORY, directed by Noah Baumbach. An incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.
THE SONG OF NAMES, directed by François Girard. Martin Simmonds (Tim Roth) has been haunted throughout his life by the mysterious disappearance of his “brother” and extraordinary best friend, a Polish Jewish virtuoso violinist, Dovidl Rapaport, who vanished shortly before the 1951 London debut concert that would have launched his brilliant career. Thirty-five years later, Martin discovers that Dovidl (Clive Owen) may still be alive, and sets out on an obsessive intercontinental search to find him and learn why he left. Co-presented with the Nashville Jewish Film Festival.
STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN, directed by Matt Ratner. A struggling stand-up comedian at a crossroads in his life returns to his hometown and finds an unlikely kindred spirit in his pot-smoking dermatologist.
THE TROUBLE WITH YOU, directed by Pierre Salvadori. In a town on the French Riviera, detective Yvonne (Adèle Haenel) is the widow of police chief Santi, a local hero idolized by their young son. When she realizes her husband was not the model of virtue she believed him to be and that an innocent man, Antoine, has spent eight years in prison as Santi’s scapegoat, her world is thrown into turmoil. Yvonne wants to do everything she can to help the young man get back to his life and his wife (Audrey Tautou). Everything, that is, except, exposing the truth. But Antoine is having trouble adjusting to life after prison and soon blows a fuse, leading to a spectacular sequence of events.
The Nashville Film Festival previously announced official program selections for its Narrative Features Competition Program for the 50th edition of the festival. Selections include Alice, The Best of Dorien B., The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Burning Cane, Dirty God, Eternal Winter, Retrospekt, Saint Frances, Watch List and This World Won’t Break. Other films include: Ernie & Joe, Bedlam, Rewind, Dark Suns, Seahorse, Gay Chorus: Deep South, Changing the Game, Baracoa, 17 Blocks, Red Dog, What We Left Unfinished, Stuffed, Homemade, The Hot August, I Pastafari: A Flying Spaghetti Monster Story and Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story in the Documentary Competition category. International Falls, the world premiere of the civil rights era coming-of-age story Tuscaloosa, Speed of Life, Babysplitters, Barbie’s Kenny, Working Man, Inside The Rain, and Hudson as films selected for the U.S. Independents category. Music documentaries include the world premiere of Chuck Berry by filmmaker Jon Brewer; Born Into the Gig by filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner; Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore from filmmakers Imogen Putler and Monika Baran; and The Sheriff of Mars from filmmakers Jason Ressler and Matthew Woolf for the music documentary. Additional programming announcements for Nashville Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary will continue through the end of September.
Passes and Tickets for the 2019 Nashville Film Festival:
VIP Festival badges are now on sale beginning at $295 at www.nashfilm.org. VIP Badges provide priority access to films, panels and exclusive parties. Single ticket sales for most films and panels are on sale now and available at www.nashfilm.org.
ABOUT NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL: The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally-recognized non-profit organization and cultural event presenting the best in world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. With Academy Award® qualifying status, the Nashville Film Festival celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary October 3-12, 2019. For more information, visit nashfilm.org.
(Source: NashFilm blog)