Opening / Closing Films
Birds of Passage
Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra • Colombia • 125min
Fri. Oct. 26 • 7:30pm
In 1970s La Guaira, Colombia, an indigenous Wayuu family gets swept up in the newly-booming marijuana trade. When greed and passion overtake their tribe’s honor, their lives and ancestral traditions are forever fractured. This is the original story of the inception of the drug trade between US and Colombia that led to the socio-political turmoil Colombia and South America at large face now.
A Cannes audience was lucky to first experience the brilliant return of Gallego and Guerra—and now it’s our turn. Making 180° turns in both visual style and narrative form, Birds of Passage feels almost like a reimagining of Scarface by Scorcese instead of DePalma: Less rage, more characters, and an authentic, more grounded-in-reality view of a drug cartel’s destruction of ancestral culture. It avoids the nauseating tendency to glamorize the subject matter (we’re looking at you, Netflix’s Narcos). Once again, Gallego and Guerra transcend their subject matter to tell a story that resonates well beyond the story itself, with some of the most powerful visuals we’ve seen this year.
Birds of Passage
Victor Danell • Sweden • 129min
Sun. Nov. 4 • 8:00pm
While Alex attempts to reconnect with the long lost love of his youth, a series of strange events unfold—each bizarre occurrence leading to the next until it culminates in a declaration of war by a belligerent foreign country. Carried on by his quest for love, Alex must also find his family and save them from the war. This epic adventure pushes him to overcome each obstacle and face the deepest, darkest corner of his past.
Scandinavia has produced some of recent years’ most impressive action films with a healthy dose of heart—from The Wave (2015) to The Quake (2018)—redefining what it means to be a blockbuster in the global market. Following in this grand tradition, Crazy Pictures takes us by storm with this genre blurring piece of cinema. It expertly navigates the arthouse drama landscape while using a backdrop of a war, as metaphorical elements enhance the frustration of the protagonist. THE UNTHINKABLE will make you think, cringe, laugh out loud, and cry, all in the span of a second. You’ll be talking about this perfect IF8 closing film for months to come.
Daniel Goldhaber • USA • 94min
Sat. Nov. 3 • 8:00pm
Alice’s (Madeline Brewer) career as “Lola” the cam girl is red hot, and her public can’t seem to get enough! But when a mysterious clone of her web persona surfaces, Alice is left questioning where she ends and her online presence begins.
Daniel Goldhaber’s first feature, CAM delivers an unvarnished and brutal reflection on a culture of obsession and vice. This 2018 Fantasia Film Festival New Flesh Award winner is not to be missed.
Q&A with special guest: actor Patch Darragh (The First Purge, Everything Sucks!)
Samuel Benchetrit • 2017 • France • 90min
Sat. Nov. 3 • 2:00pm
After losing his wife, home and job, Jacques spirals into depression, closing himself off to the world around him. That is, until he meets the owner of a pet shop. He seems to find redemption in giving his free will over to the most random person he’s met: A dog trainer.
Multi-talented artist Samuel Benchetrit adapts his eponymous book with a style and voice reminiscent of another french perturbateur: Quentin Dupieux. Taking a literal route to define modern alienation, Benchetrit creates a surreal piece of cinema, which, despite its straightforward approach to the problematic, shocks at every turn.
Knife + Heart
Yann Gonzales • France • 110min
Fri. Nov. 1 • 8:00pm
After producer Anne breaks up with her editor girlfriend, the 70s low-budget gay French porno they were shooting begins to take an... artistic turn. The sensual film becomes a real-life erotic thriller when one of the stars is brutally murdered. Anne can’t seem to out-maneuver the chaos that ensues.
This sophomore film from Yann Gonzales is a fresh yet highly referential take on Giallo. The setting brings a new twist to the Italian crime genre while allowing Gonzales to express his deep love for an industry France never shied away from. This Cannes 2018 official selection is a hidden gem.
Knife + Heart
Love Me Not
Alexandros Avranas • Greece, France • 99min
Sun. Nov. 4 • 4:00pm
An infertile, upper-middle-class couple hires a young woman as a surrogate and all three move into a remote villa. The ladies start to bond, the husband becomes envious, and an unfortunate chain of events turns the tables on the already dysfunctional new family dynamic.
With a similar approach to his compatriot Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), but without the absurd twist, Avranas’s blunt but spot-on view of a more and more selfish society creates an unsettling piece that resonates far beyond its countries of origin.
Love Me Not
My Name is Myeisha
Gus Krieger • USA • 85min
Sat. Nov. 3 • 6:00pm
At the moment of Myeisha's (Rhaechyl Walker) death at the hands of police, she guides us inside her mind and muses over the life she’ll be leaving behind. Told uniquely through hip-hop, spoken word poetry, and dance—and inspired by the 1998 police shooting of California teen Tyisha Miller—the mix of style and social message allows the narrative to explore territories rarely tackled in film. We connect with Myeisha as we see into both her past and a possible future she will never have.
Highly acclaimed on the festival circuit, this is one of the most important films of 2018.
My Name is Myeisha
Nicolas Pesce • USA • 81min
Sat. Nov. 3 • 10:00pm
Reed (Christopher Abbott) takes off from his wife, baby, and idyllic life for a very important business trip. But the business he has in mind is murder! All set with his plan to commit the perfect crime, Reed finds his victim in mysterious call girl Jackie (Mia Wasikowska).
Director Nicolas Pesce takes a 180° turn in style from The Eyes of My Mother (2016) to tackle a dark comedy pervaded with colorful art deco visuals. An adaptation of Murakami’s eponymous novel, PIERCING goes from laughter to shock in a second while remaining pleasing to the eyes—a tour de force few directors can achieve.
Christopher Caldwell • USA • 98min
Sat. Oct. 27 • 8:00pm
In a working-class future (in space!), a father and daughter mining team (Jay Duplass and Sophie Thatcher) struggle to make a living on an alien moon with worn out space suits and a barely functional spacecraft. When they learn about a large haul of the rare, valuable crystals they’ve been tracking, they decide to risk confrontations with their lawless competition.
Adapted from a short film of the same name, PROSPECT has a blue collar sci-fi atmosphere that evokes the highlights of the genre and follows the lead of films like Alien (1979) and Silent Running (1972).
Perry Blackshear • USA • 88min
Sun. Nov. 4 • 2:00pm
A perfectly twisted balance of folklore and modern cinema, THE RUSALKA reinvents “the lady of the lake” into “the girl next door.” Mina is chained to water by demons that possess her. The man who pines for her is traumatized and left speechless by a childhood swimming accident. This love story is only rendered more eerie by the haunting beauty of the setting and the slavic songs that set the dark and atmospheric tone of this tale.
Q&A with special guest: director Perry Blackshear
Ujicha • Japan • 83min
Sat. Oct. 27 • 10:00pm
Bobby and Akkun set out for an end-of-school celebration in the mountains where they discover an abandoned amusement park. Surprise! The owner greets them and offers them free tickets. Against their better judgement, they accept.
Ujicha is back! After impressing us with The Burning Buddha Man (2013), the rad insanity of his animation and storytelling reach a peak with this opus. As always, Ujicha includes some important hidden messages about the world in which we live. Like a sinfully delicious cake, the layers are what make this film a Fantastik winner of our hearts.