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“Some experiences resist narrative. The eight days in which Sham, a single mother, and her two children cross eight borders to make it from Syria to Germany do not come neatly packaged in a way that makes it easy for Western audiences to consume. Instead, the viewer is invited along for the ride—not as an analyst, not as a film buff, but as… Continued

Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (Gone Girl, Birdman) delivers a stunningly true performance in the second film by writer-director Angus MacLachlan, the North Carolina-based playwright whose previous screenplays include Junebug, Goodbye to All That and Stone.  Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Abundant Acreage Available takes place entirely on a North Carolina farm and its surrounding area, and the land—besides Ryan!—is the film’s real star.… Continued

Watching Axolotl Overkill is not unlike watching Godard’s Breathless in 1960, or Scorsese’s Mean Streets in 1973. An instant adrenaline immersion in a new way of making movies, a different way of being in the world. Only this time, one of those differences is gender. Director Helene Hegemann was 17 when she wrote the novel Axolotl Overkill is based on, which became a… Continued

A Bollywood film with a female writer/director and a female central character that’s NOT mostly a romance, has a serious life lesson or two to impart and yet is still firmly in the Bollywood tradition of entertaining fun? Yup, that would be Dear Zindagi, Gauri Shinde’s winning film about young Indian cinematographer Kaira (Alia Bhatt) who returns to her family’s home in gorgeous,… Continued

Jazz and Nature. WHAT?! Jazz has always been associated exclusively with an urban landscape, a city environment of dark nights and excitement. But in The Ecology of Jazz, Rob Whitehair (True Wolf) makes us realize how much the natural world and the world of jazz have in common. Both are improvisational, fluid, dynamic—and beautiful! And we see, feel, and hear that intensely in… Continued

“Sprawling, immediate, and complex, Peter Nicks’s vérité documentary moves like a pulsing, timely thriller. In 2014, after over a decade of federal monitoring for misconduct and civil rights abuses, the Oakland, California Police Department hires Chief Sean Whent—a young, clear-eyed idealist—in hopes of bridging an historically tense divide between its officers and the community they serve. Whent’s intentions and calls for transparency are… Continued

Rob Tregenza’s uncompromising cinematic vision and devotion has, among other things, led him to direct such celebrated Independent films as Talking to Strangers, The Arc and Inside Out and to work with Jean-Luc Godard and, as a cinematographer with particular belief in long takes, for Alex Cox and Bela Tarr. Gavagai is his wonderful new film. “In this innovative and moving project, Director… Continued

Ten lost souls slip in and out of one another’s arms, other and same sex, in a musical exploration of love’s bittersweet hold, connected by the embrace of their last liaison. Hello Again is adapted from Michael John LaChiusa’s musical originally commissioned by Lincoln Center in 1994. Michael John’s musical was inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s play, Der Reigen (which has a long history… Continued

From award-winning Maine filmmaker Huey (Wilderness & Spirit: A Mountain Called Katahdin) comes a portrait of Thoreau, emphasizing how the writer’s voice and spirit have echoed throughout history and still resound today. Thoreau’s call for preservation of the wilderness was far ahead of its time and forms the philosophical basis for many environmental organizations today. He almost single-handedly established the basic principles for… Continued

A truly haunting dream of a film that’s directly out of the haunted present and seeming future of Turkey, but that can also seem very close at hand here in 2017, too. “There is no crime of such enormity society cannot be manipulated into forgetting. Just ask Hasret. The news editor ought to know, but she too has also forgotten, even though the… Continued

It’s Criminal highlights the economic and social inequities that divide the United States and offers a vision of how separated communities can learn to speak to each other. Poignant and personal, the film shares the life-changing journeys of incarcerated women and Dartmouth College students working together to write and perform an original play that explores the often painful and troubled paths that landed… Continued

Winner of the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, this is a smart, funny, incisive new film from Hungary. “An unexpected visit from the in-laws quickly turns sour in the Magyar indie production. With his seventh feature, versatile Hungarian helmer Szabolcs Hajdu (Mirage, Bibliotheque Pascal, White Palms) orchestrates a fresh and funny chamber piece about midlife marital crises that will strike… Continued

“I was born to dance. I would lay awake all night long, repeating the rhythms in my head until they became a part of me.” —La Chana. Antonia Santiago Amador, known as La Chana, is 67 years old. She is helped onto an empty stage and settles into her chair with difficulty. Then her feet begin to move. Her body and soul succumb… Continued

The Last Pig is a lyrical meditation on what it means to be a sentient creature with the power to kill. For over a decade, Bob Comis has provided a humane—even idyllic—life for the pigs he farms. But as he cares for the pigs, he develops a respect that begins to haunt him; weekly trips to the slaughterhouse become agonizing. With 250 pigs… Continued

Director Sky Bergman on her truly uplifting film: “My inspiration for the Lives Well Lived project was my 103 year old Italian grandmother who enjoyed exercise, making the best lasagna you’ve ever tasted, and being with family. She showed me by example that age is truly just a number. I started filming my grandmother cooking about five years ago, when she was 99… Continued

The Maribor Uprisings not only looks to a new world politically, but cinematically, offering democracy in subject and in form as the audience at MIFF will literally decide where the film will take them! In this new documentary by Central Mainers Maple Rasza and Milo Guillén, twice the people went into the streets. Twice the police drove them away. What began as protests… Continued

Some say that hair is a woman’s crowning glory. You are your hair. But what if you are a woman and don’t have any? Mop Cap: An Alopecia Story is a new film about one midcoast Maine woman’s experience with lifelong hair loss. This film delves into issues of femininity, sexuality and difference and explores how creativity, the natural world and self-care become… Continued

Who looks on the sea, sees it for the first time, Every time, with the wonder distilled From elementary things – from beautiful Evenings, the moon, the leap of a bonfire. Who is the sea, and who am I?  The day That follows my last agony shall say. —“El mar” by Jorge Luis Borges from El otro, el mismo, Translated by John Updike.… Continued

“Egypt’s 2011 revolution provides the backdrop for Tarik Saleh’s unforgiving political thriller, which incrementally shifts focus from the grimy back streets of Cairo to the highest levels of parliament in the course of a scandalous murder investigation…. The Nile Hilton Incident represents the type of penetrating filmmaking that only a writer-director intimately familiar with Egyptian culture but possessing an outsider’s perspective could convincingly… Continued

Nico, in his mid-30s, is a young Argentine actor fighting to build a career in the U.S. without assistance or connections, never too far from heartbreaking failure, but often blinded by the mirage of immediate success. Nico has left a promising acting career in Argentina, after a tumultuous break-up with Martin, his mentor/producer. He lands in New York, lured into believing that his… Continued

Zahira is a young woman from a Pakistani family in Belgium, leading a crazy but “normal” life, like that of her non-Pakistani friends. But with an unexpected pregnancy, Zahira turns to her best friend Aurore and her trusted elder brother Amir to help her figure out what to do. Though her family seems initially supportive, and clearly love her, they have their own… Continued

“Patricia Ramos grew up in a Havana neighborhood where she observed a host of people going on about their lives on the rooftops, almost akin to an alternate city. Her feature debut, El Techo (On the Roof) turns on three people in their early twenties, who pass the time on a rooftop telling stories and relating their dreams. One of them, despite his… Continued

Russia’s submission to the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film in this year’s awards also won the Best Director Prize at the Venice Film Festival for Andrei Konchalovskiy (Maria’s Lovers, Siberiade). Shot in truly stunning black-and-white, Paradise tells the compelling story of three individuals, Olga, Jules and Helmut, whose paths cross amidst the devastation of war. Olga, a Russian aristocratic immigrant and member… Continued

“There’s never been a rat problem in Baltimore, it’s always been a people problem.” Across walls, fences and alleys, rats not only expose our boundaries of separation but make homes in them. Rat Film is a feature length documentary that uses the rat—as well as the humans that love them, live with them, and kill them—to explore the history of Baltimore. “Before the… Continued

Well, yeah, there was that guy in The Village People who wore the headdress all the time. And there was Redbone, the Native American rock group who scored a massive hit with “Come and Get Your Love.” But the real role of Native Americans in the history of rock and roll is way bigger than that, including Jimi Hendrix, The Band’s Robbie Robertson… Continued