Everyone wants “The Irishman,” but now the people who go to the Hamptons Film Festival are getting it.
HIFF has just announced the Martin Scorsese film as their centerpiece showing on October 11th. That’s big news. They’re going to have add screenings all day and all night!
The HIFF screenings will follow the film’s debut at the New York Film Festival on September 27th. If you don’t know already, “The Irishman” from Netflix is three hours plus and stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, among others. It’s a maybe-true story about what might have happened to labor chief Jimmy Hoffa, still not found. He’s known in the Meadowlands as “the cornerstone of the organization.”
Other big films for HIFF this year include Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” plus Jojo Rabbit, Two Popes, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Here’s the HIFF rundown:
A HIDDEN LIFE
Director: Terrence Malick
At the dawn of the second World War, the Edenic life of peasant farmer Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl) and his family is disrupted by the intrusion of violence and hatred developing throughout their Austrian countryside village. As their town becomes further immersed in the Third Reich’s ideologies, Franz is called in for military training, where his refusal to swear allegiance to Hitler will force him into imprisonment and away from his family back home. Telling the true story of one of the many conscientious objectors who quietly pushed back against their countries’ advances toward extremism, filmmaker Terrence Malick (THE TREE OF LIFE, THE THIN RED LINE) returns to the vast canvas of his most celebrated work in this immensely powerful rumination on the call for a higher purpose in times of unimaginable turbulence.
Director: Taika Waititi
Growing up during the Second World War with his single mother (Scarlett Johansson), a young German boy spends his days idolizing his country’s tyrannical regime and taking comfort in the presence of his imaginary best-friend: Adolf Hitler (writer-director Taika Waititi). But the boy’s understanding of the world around him is rattled when he discovers a secret within his home. In Waititi’s outrageous “anti-hate satire,” the director weaponizes the irreverent, off-beat charms he previously lent to both independent comedies (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS) and blockbuster superhero epics (THOR: RAGNAROK) in a wonderfully unexpected new direction. JOJO RABBIT is a deeply funny and surprisingly touching depiction of our capacity for both hate and love.
Director: Noah Baumbach
MARRIAGE STORY is Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta co-star.
THE TWO POPES
East Coast Premiere
Director: Fernando Meirelles
From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award-nominated director of CITY OF GOD, and three-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.
*Inspired by true events
WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
Director: Céline Sciamma
As the 18th century draws to a close, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a young painter, is sent to an isolated island off the coast of Brittany to paint the wedding portrait of Héloise (Adèle Haenel), a young woman counting her last days of freedom before her arranged marriage to a man she has never met. As Marianne portrays herself as a companion to Héloise during the day and secretly paints the portrait meant to secure Héloise’s marriage at night, the two women slowly begin to find the tenderness in each other that their society has denied them. Visually rich and intellectually provocative, director Céline Sciamma’s Cannes Best Screenplay winner is a delicate and beautifully realized period piece.
Director: Mati Diop
Along the shores of Dakar, Senegal, Ada (Mama Sané), soon to be forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man, falls in love with construction worker Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré). Looking for a better future and incapable of seeing a life with Ada, Souleiman boards a small vessel with his co-workers and attempts the perilous sail to Spain, where he soon disappears and is presumed dead. In her Cannes Grand Prix-winning debut feature, French-Senegalese actress and filmmaker Mati Diop translates the collective drama of sea departures into a dazzlingly beautiful ghost story of unfulfilled love and lives lost in the search for a better future.
THE BEST OF DORIEN B.
New York Premiere
Director: Anke Blonde
To almost everyone around her, the life of 37-year-old Dorien (Kim Snauwaert) seems to be picture perfect – with two children, a loving husband, and a thriving veterinary practice to her name. But just as the local press tell ominous news of a “black hole” on the horizon, Dorien’s life is hit with a series of devastating setbacks in the form of her own news of a recent affair, her parent’s breakup, and unexpected results from a trip to the hospital. A sympathetic portrait of a life in crisis, director Anke Blondé’s THE BEST OF DORIEN B. is a warmly funny and bittersweet look at one woman’s attempts to let go from the coping mechanisms that have defined her life for so long.
Director: Jan Ole Gerster
Waking up on the morning of both the most important piano concert of her son’s career and her own 60th birthday, Lara (Corinna Harfouch) steps out of her living room window and contemplates jumping to her death. From this startling, unnerving beginning, director Jan-Ole Gerster creates a stunningly precise psychological portrait of a woman on the verge. As Lara prepares for her estranged son’s concert, she attempts to forge connections with a varied group of friends, family, and acquaintances from her past and present. Anchored by Harfouch’s masterful lead performance, Gerster’s second feature is a perfectly calibrated look at familial discord and attempts at redemption in contemporary Berlin.
THE VAST OF NIGHT
New York Premiere
Director: Andrew Patterson
With a summer night descending over 1950s New Mexico, the residents of a small town congregate for a high school basketball game. Amidst the action, the local radio DJ’s planned interviews with attendees are halted by the discovery of a strange frequency over the town’s airwaves by a local switchboard operator, leading the pair on an investigation deep into the darkness of their sleepy hometown. Paying loving homage to THE TWILIGHT ZONE and early Spielberg in equal parts, Andrew Patterson’s imaginative debut is a singular piece of original sci-fi, traveling through the unknown corners of our collective history.
A WHITE, WHITE DAY
Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Retired from his job as a local policeman and grieving the recent death of his wife, Ingimundur (an excellent Ingvar E. Sigurðsson) channels his quietly brewing grief into the renovation of a secluded house in the remote Icelandic community they called home. But while going through a box of his wife’s old possessions, Ingimundur finds an unexpected memento that directs his detective instincts into increasingly unstable paranoia. With a tone perfectly matching its remote, isolated Icelandic setting, director Hlynur Pálmason’s remarkably confident second feature is a spellbinding, oft-kilter tale of the obsessive ends of unconditional love.
Director: Alexander Nanau
In the aftermath of a deadly fire in a Bucharest nightclub that left dozens dead, Romania’s government pledged that the over 100 citizens left injured would receive immediate and substantial treatment. But in the weeks and months that followed, what seemed like treatable injuries continued to lead to further unexplainable deaths, prompting an unlikely group of investigative journalists at the Sports Gazette to launch an investigation into what went wrong. Uncovering a scandal reaching into the highest levels of government, the team soon discovers that their story is larger than they ever imagined, leading to mass protests across Romania and the toppling of the Prime Minister. Following the investigation as it progresses, Alexandre Nanau’s revelatory documentary is a powerful indictment of governmental corruption and a tribute to those working tirelessly to uncover the truth.
Director: Alla Kovgan
In the past century of choreography, Merce Cunningham is perhaps the most iconic name of his medium, with an ever-evolving body of work that forever changed the world of contemporary dance. Bringing together the last generation of dancers trained under the choreographer at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company to perform his most celebrated and ambitious pieces, filmmaker Alla Kovgan presents his work in stunning 3D photography, bringing the audience as close as possible to the movements and actions of the dancers on screen. For both viewers intimately aware and new to his work, CUNNINGHAM is a stunning profile of one of contemporary dance’s most important bodies of work.
New York Premiere
Director: Sung-a Yoon
In one of many training centers of its kind in the Philippines, a group of women gather to prepare themselves for the life awaiting them overseas as domestic workers in the West. Training under teachers who have returned from similar work abroad, the women learn to enact the cleaning and maidly duties their positions will require of them, while also learning to prepare for the likelihood of mistreatment and abuse that may await them. In her revealing look at the personal sacrifices and abandoned lives of a small group of Filipina workers, director Sung-a Yoon sheds necessary light on the struggle of those risking alienation, heartbreak, and abuse for the means through which to find a better life thousands of miles from home.
New York Premiere
Directors: Patrick Bresnan & Ivete Lucas
In their striking feature film debut, HIFF alums Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan immerse themselves in the rural town of Pahokee—a small, close-knit community nestled within the Florida Everglades—to observe four high-school students about to embark on their senior year. Finding themselves on the precipice of adulthood in a community where older generations have placed all of their hopes for opportunity on the youth, these students navigate the often celebratory, sometimes bittersweet rites-of-passage that accompany this hopeful and uncertain time of transition. Imbued with warmth and intimacy, PAHOKEE is a remarkable piece of verité filmmaking that captures both the joy and heartbreak of the teenage experience.
TALKING ABOUT TREES
Director: Suhaib Gasmelbari
Reunited after years in exile, Ibrahim, Soliman, Manar, and Altayeb, the members of the “Sudanese Film Club,” come together with a single mission: to bring back the now decaying grand cinema in the center of their city. Each a filmmaker in their own right after receiving their film education abroad, the four members now tirelessly work to try to overcome the overwhelming persecution and oppression facing the country’s artists to return a culture of cinema, and art, to Sudan. Intimately exploring the history of Sudanese cinema alongside the Film Club’s struggle against the many blockades in their way, TALKING ABOUT TREES looks beyond the headlines of the country’s ongoing crisis to shed light on the struggle for personal expression within it.