As the American Film Institute’s AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi heads into the last few days of its second week, the below are five films worth seeking.
“Son of Saul”
As the winner of the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and Hungary’s Official Selection for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards, “Son of Saul” is certain to play well to festival attendees. Set in Auschwitz-Birkenau in October 1944, Saul Auslander (Geza Rohrig) is part of the camp’s Sonderkommando, a group of Jewish prisoners who are forced to assist in the exterminations. When Saul discovers a dead boy believed to be his son, he begins his obsessive quest to give the boy a proper Jewish burial. Director Laszlo Nemes presents a brutal look at one man’s journey through Hell.
Also submitted as a potential nominee for Oscar’s Best Foreign Film by Argentina is director Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan.” Setting the record for the best opening ever for an Argentine film, “The Clan” explores the violence surrounding the Puccio crime “clan” who kidnap Argentina’s upper class citizens. The film stars Guillermo Francella as Arquimedes Puccio.
Screening in the New Auteurs selection, “The Gulls” represents the debut feature of writer/director Ella Manzheeva who hails from the Russian republic of Kalmykia (Europe’s only Buddhist republic). Filmed near the Caspian Sea, “The Gulls” stars Evgeniya Mandzhieva as a fisherman’s wife who finds freedom from her suppressed life after an incident at sea involving her husband.
French filmmaker Jacques Audiard returns to AFI FEST (“Rust And Bone” screened in 2012) with his latest, “Dheepan.” Another Cannes winner (the coveted Palme d’Or), “Dheepan” follows a refugee (Jesuthasan Antonythasan) who creates a fake family in order to seek passage to France. But Dheepan learns that a violent past never truly stays in the past.
AFI Conservatory Showcase
As part of AFI FEST, the AFI Conservatory Showcase celebrates up-and-coming filmmakers who are already making their mark in cinema. The four films screening in the showcase are from the 2014 class at AFI, and all were finalists in the Narrative category at this year’s Student Academy Awards. The films screening are: Gold Medal winner “Day One” directed by Henry Hughes; Silver Medal winner “This Way Up,” directed by Jeremy Cloe; Bronze Medal Winner “Stealth,” directed by Bennett Lasseter; and finalist “Against Night” directed by Stefan Kubicki.”
For more information regarding AFI FEST 2015 including ticket information, schedules, and theater venues, visit the AFI FEST website.