The Hamptons International Film Festival said today that First Man will be its Saturday centerpiece film, Roma will screen Sunday in the Spotlight section and Alan Alda is the recipient of its 2018 Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award.
First Man, which just had its world premiere in Venice, stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the first human being to set foot on the moon. Claire Foy and Corey Stoll co-star in the film helmed by Damien Chazelle from Josh Singer’s script; the latter two will be in attendance, festival organizers said.
Roma is Alfonso Cuarón’s first feature since 2013’s Gravity, for which he earned the Academy Award for directing. Inspired by the early 1970s Mexico City, it’s a semi-autobiographical look at a middle-class family making a life for itself amongst political turbulence and patriarchal rule. Producer Gabriela Rodriguez will be in attendance.
Alda is a seven-time Emmy winner who played Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H and went on to recur on or have arcs in such classic series as The West Wing, 30 Rock and ER. On the big screen he had an Oscar-nominated turn in The Aviator and also appeared in such films as The Four Seasons, California Suite, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Bridge of Spies and Same Time Next Year. Alda’s Broadway career is highlighted Tony noms for Glengarry Glen Ross, Jake’s Women and The Apple Tree.
Here is the fest’s lineup for its World Cinema Narrative and Documentary sections:
WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE SECTION
ASK FOR JANE
Director: Rachel Carey
Between 1969 and 1973, The Jane Collective operated underground in Chicago, helping over 11,000 women receive safe, illegal abortions throughout the metropolitan area, learning and performing the procedure on their own in an era that refused to make them legally available. Before disbanding in the wake of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the group operated like a spy network throughout the city and provided a necessary public service to the women of Chicago. Exploring the story of Jane’s founding with a ensemble cast including Emmy® nominee Alison Wright, Tony® nominee Saycon Sengbloh, and Ben Rappaport, ASK FOR JANE is a timely reminder of the necessity of reproductive healthcare in the modern day.
BIRDS OF PASSAGE
New York Premiere
Director: Christina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
In the follow-up to his visually stunning foreign language Oscar®-nominated EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (HIFF 2015), director Ciro Guerra depicts a single Colombian family who find themselves increasingly forced into the violence and capitalist pull of the country’s burgeoning drug trade. Co-directed alongside his longtime collaborator Cristina Gallego, BIRDS OF PASSAGE provides a visceral and multi-faceted look at the two-decade rise of the Colombian drug trade through the eyes of the indigenous communities who both helped to shape it and were subsequently devastated by it. Sprawling in scope and filled with a sense of surreal beauty, Guerra and Gallego deliver an unparalleled crime saga. Selected as Colombia’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®.
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Years after leaving his small northern hometown for Seoul, an aspiring writer (Yoo Ah-in) unexpectedly runs into a childhood acquaintance (Jeon Jong-seo). Their chance encounter soon blossoms into a tentative relationship, until her return from an impromptu trip with a mysterious new companion (Steven Yeun, The Walking Dead) sets in motion an accidental love triangle that soon morphs into something much more sinister. Based on Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning, director Lee Chang-dong’s masterful film became one of the most celebrated titles of the last decade upon its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival—an exhilarating thriller that is as precise as it is undefinable.
Director: Nadine Labaki
Scraping by on the chaotic streets of Beirut, 12-year-old Zain (Zain al Rafeea) is one of many children born into an uncertain future in the city’s slum. Living a deeply troubled home life and branded the sole caretaker of an abandoned toddler, Zain makes the desperate move of suing his negligent parents for giving him life and trapping him in a hostile world. Utilizing a cast of non-professional actors (including two revelatory performances from its child leads), Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s Cannes Jury Prize winner is a stirring slice of social-realist protest cinema, driven equally by righteous anger and enduring empathy, and sure to be one of the most talked about films of the year.
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
In the midst of tremendous political upheaval, two folk musicians meet in post-war Poland, where one attempts to escape a troubled past while the other increasingly questions the pair’s role in the country’s propaganda machine. Soon they fall in love and find fame in the smoke-lit bars of Eastern Europe, setting in motion a relationship that will span decades and cross borders. Sumptuously shot in beautiful black and white, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski (in the follow-up to his Foreign Language Academy Award® winner IDA) returns to his home country with an achingly seductive tale of love and loss.
Director: Cathy Yan
Against the backdrop of urban development, gentrification, and thousands of discarded pigs mysteriously floating down the Yangtze River, a brassy salon owner, lonely busboy, trust-fund princess, expat architect, and bumbling farmer find their lives unexpectedly converging in Cathy Yan’s sprawling directorial debut. Yan, a participant in the 2016 HIFF Screenwriters Lab and the recipient of support from the inaugural Melissa Mathison Fund, effortlessly weaves together the individual narratives of five Shanghai residents in her biting satire. Based on true events, DEAD PIGS is a wicked and whimsical examination of contemporary China’s ongoing clash between traditionalism and modernization.
Director: Gustav Möller
Following a suspension, police officer Asger Holm (a hypnotic Jakob Cedergren) is re-assigned as an emergency dispatcher. During one seemingly typical night he receives a unusually distressing call, and slowly realizes that the woman on the other end of the line has been kidnapped. Confined to his desk with only his direct line of communication to aid him, Holm must act without delay in order to save her. Winner of audience awards at Sundance, Rotterdam, Montclair and more, first-time director Gustav Möller experiments with the boundaries of traditional narrative to create one of the year’s most suspenseful thrillers.
HAPPY AS LAZZARO
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Within an impoverished Italian countryside estate, a group of sharecroppers spend their days harvesting tobacco for their overbearing Marchesa, while the wide-eyed, innocent local Lazzaro (first-time actor Adriano Tradiolo) is at once beloved and taken advantage of by his fellow workers. This life continues on in the town, until Lazzaro’s involvement in a kidnapping scheme at the hands of the Marchesa’s entitled son sets in motion a string of events that will push him towards a place and time far from his rustic home. Blending the lines between Italy’s history of neo-realism and bucolic fables into a transfixing parable of the country’s modern day society, director Alice Rohrwacher’s (CORPO CELESTE, HIFF 2011) third feature is a stunning achievement of contemporary European cinema.
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
As the political repression of the USSR enters its final decade, Mike Naumenko (Roman Bilyk), frontman of the early 1980s Leningrad band Zoopark, welcomes a new singer that will soon break out far past the reach of their comparatively underground rock scene. Looking back at the music landscape of his youth, director Kirill Serebrennikov has crafted a sprawling portrait of a vibrant scene alive with the riotous, uncontrollable energy of the era. Filled with an electrifying soundtrack, LETO provides a nostalgic, yet un-romanticized look at a period that seemed to exist almost entirely outside of both what had come before and was yet to come in its native country.
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
The winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, prolific Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda (LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, HIFF 2013) returns to the festival with a nuanced, heartbreaking look at a family of misfits living in the margins of contemporary Tokyo. Making a life for themselves by shoplifting from local grocery stores and finding food where they can, the film’s central family find their impoverished but tranquil life threatened when they take a young girl under their wing, and her abusive parents fight back for custody. An impassioned plea for those struggling to stay afloat, this is another must-see from one of international cinema’s greatest filmmakers. Selected as Japan’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®.
Director: Wolfgang Fischer
Rike (Susanne Wolff), a forty-year-old woman working contentedly as a successful doctor in the city, finally fulfills a lifelong dream when she uses an annual holiday to set sail on a solo voyage from Gibraltar to Ascension, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Following an intense storm, Rike’s holiday is interrupted by the discovery of a badly damaged and overloaded refugee boat, with over one hundred passengers’ lives threatened and her calls for help unanswered. Director Wolfgang Fischer crafts a stunning story of survival, as well as a striking allegory for the sometimes impossible task of acting to save those imperiled by an impassive system.
WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY
Director: Madeleine Olnek
Literary icon Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon) breaks free from her public persona as a famously prudish spinster and claims her status as a vibrant lesbian hero. Balancing raucous humor with tender romance, Shannon establishes Dickinson as a spirited artist who drew inspiration from her passionate, lifelong affair with her secret lover, Susan Dickinson (Susan Ziegler). In the delightfully irreverent WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY, writer/director Madeleine Olnek refreshingly upends the false narratives that have historically dominated the poet’s life and work, and examines the way we as a society choose to write and remember our powerful women.
WOMEN AT WAR
Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
Fifty-year-old choir teacher Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) has, on the surface, an uneventful life in her Icelandic countryside home. By day a pillar of the local community, Halla leads a secret life as an eco-terrorist, devoting herself to a campaign against the aluminum industry by sabotaging local electric pylons and spearheading factory sieges. When the balance of her dual life is threatened by the approval of a longstanding adoption request, she is forced to decide whether to sacrifice the cause for the desire to settle down. Examining the nuanced relationship between the personal and the political with an unexpectedly offbeat, comic tone, WOMEN AT WAR is a stirring tale from emerging Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY SECTION
HENRI DAUMAN: LOOKING UP
Director: Peter Jones
As one of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century, self-taught Henri Dauman took the international photojournalism scene by storm with his cinematic images that redefined the methods of capturing historical icons. Leaving behind his past as an orphaned Holocaust survivor, Dauman created a new life for himself in New York City, where his timeless style quickly gained momentum amidst high society and celebrity culture. Exploring both the photographer’s traumatic past and the contrasting vibrancy of the city that would define his work, director Peter Jones’s film is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of the man behind the camera.
MAKING THE GRADE
East Coast Premiere
Director: Ken Wardrop
Across Ireland every year, 30,000 students prepare for the piano exams that will determine whether they proceed in their studies towards the coveted Grade Eight—considered the pinnacle of musical education. Spanning generations, proficiency levels, and a multitude of perspectives, documentarian Ken Wardrop provides a panoramic look at students working to define their relationship with both the piano and the teachers guiding them forward. MAKING THE GRADE is simultaneously a charming study of teacher-student relationships, an enduring tribute to the importance of perseverance, and a nostalgic look at the different ways people find fulfillment through the arts.
A MURDER IN MANSFIELD
Director: Barbara Kopple
Academy Award® winner Barbara Kopple’s latest documentary explores the ramifications of a horrific crime that shook the small town of Mansfield, Ohio. In 1990, 12-year-old Collier stepped onto the witness stand during the most explosive murder trial in the history of his hometown. Many locals still remember the boy’s dramatic testimony—blaming his father, a prominent doctor, for the murder of his mother Noreen. Twenty-six years later, Collier returns, seeking to heal the lingering trauma associated with the crime and confront his imprisoned father, who continues to withhold his admission of guilt in the events that changed so many lives.
Director: Jill Magid
Hidden away in a vault in Switzerland lies the professional archive of Mexico’s most renowned architect Luis Barragán, now fiercely protected by its sole owner, who has almost completely restricted access to the public over the last 20 years. Determined to relocate the archive back to Mexico City, American conceptual artist, writer, and filmmaker Jill Magid initiates a dialogue with the owner, and in the process, begins to construct her own piece ruminating on the dangers of cutting off accessibility to an artist’s work from the outside world. With this provocative and haunting film, Magid challenges the perception of who truly controls an artist’s legacy and how the world should engage with their work.
ROLL RED ROLL
Director: Nancy Schwartzman
In 2012, the sleepy town of Steubenville, Ohio made international news when a whistle-blowing blogger discovered a set of disturbing online evidence documenting the sexual assault of a teenage girl by star members of the high school football team. Examining the complicated motivations of the perpetrators, bystanders, and community leaders who actively denied and dismissed the event, documentarian Nancy Schwartzman attempts to unpack the harmful attitudes at the core of their unconscionably complicit behavior. Timely and undeniably affecting, ROLL RED ROLL goes behind the headlines to uncover the deeply entrenched, social media-fueled “boys will be boys” culture at the root of sexual assault in America.
Director: Sandi Tan
Spending her days seeking refuge in zines, bootlegs, and American independent cinema, teenager Sandi Tan found herself among the first generation of Singapore’s burgeoning counterculture movement when she began working on her DIY-labor of love film SHIRKERS in the early 90s. But Sandi and her co-conspirators’ dreams of beginning a new film movement were crushed when Georges, her mysterious American mentor, disappeared with the entirety of the footage without warning. Two decades later, Tan and her collaborators return to the footage they lost in order to grapple with the movement their optimism inspired—and the man who tore it away from them—in this singular look at one artist’s attempt to reckon with the past.
THE TRUTH ABOUT KILLER ROBOTS
New York Premiere
Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin
As defined by science fiction giant Isaac Asimov, the first law of robotics states, “A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” So what happens once we live in an era where the law has already been broken? Using three recent case studies of moments in which robots have caused the death of a human as a starting point, director Maxim Pozdorovkin creates an equally thought-provoking and wryly provocative survey of just how much we’ve allowed robots into our lives, and the extent to which our often unnoticed reliance on machines may have already defined our fate.