AFI FEST’s Special Screenings – the most anticipated films of the fall, from established voices – are:
HER – From the singular perspective of Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH) comes HER, an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world. Set in Los Angeles in the near future, the film follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice (Scarlett Johansson) who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. DIR/SCR Spike Jonze. CAST Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde. USA.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN – Nelly (Felicity Jones), a happily married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. DIR Ralph Fiennes. SCR Abi Morgan. CAST Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas. United Kingdom.
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE – The story of legendary cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s staggeringly ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel DUNE. DIR Frank Pavich. USA.
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM – Based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. DIR Justin Chadwick. SCR William Nicholson. CAST Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Jamie Bartlett, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Terry Pheto, Deon Lotz. South Africa.
THE PAST (LE PASSÉ) – Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo)’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past. DIR/SCR Asghar Farhadi. CAST Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet. France, Iran, Italy.
PHILOMENA – Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee,” PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock, something her Irish-Catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of, and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow for any sort of inquiry into the son’s whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son. DIR Stephen Frears. SCR Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope. CAST Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Michelle Fairley, Barbara Jefford, Anna Maxwell Martin, Mare Winningham, Sophie Kennedy Clark. United Kingdom.
THE UNKNOWN KNOWN: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DONALD RUMSFELD –The latest from Errol Morris focuses on former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Probing and insightful, Morris is the unequalled master of unpacking and contextualizing our recent shared history. DIR Errol Morris. USA.