By Sean Boelman
As is the case with so many film festivals these days, the Miami Film Festival is having to change its approach this year, adopting a hybrid model with virtual and select in-person screenings. This year’s lineup contains a wide variety of films, with a particular emphasis on international films. Viewers can expect to see some great flicks from around the world, including some phenomenal Ibero-American pictures. We at disappointment media have gotten the chance to see some of the film’s playing this year’s festival, and here are some of our favorites that you should be looking forward to:
Prolific filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s newest film Charlatan is representing the Czech Republic on the shortlist for the Academy Award for Best International Feature, and it is absolutely wonderful. Part unorthodox biopic about a natural healer and part gay romance, this is a beautiful film, both narratively and visually. It’s a shame that this film won’t be able to screen as part of the in-person activities of this year’s hybrid festival, but it’s still worth checking out virtually as it is simply such a powerful watch.
The Boy From Medellín
Reggaeton superstar J Balvin makes for an interesting music documentary subject in Matthew Heineman’s The Boy from Medellín. However, even though this does feature plenty of excellent performance footage and backstage access, it is the political implications of the film that will really stick with viewers. The film says a lot about what it means to be a Latino in today's society and explores how violence is a fundamental part of Latin American history whether we like it or not. It’s a fascinating and surprisingly thought-provoking documentary.
The Pink Cloud
Brazilian filmmaker Iuli Gerbase’s quarantine-themed romance The Pink Cloud was filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic was even a threat, but its themes obviously ring very true given what we have experienced in the past year. Following two people who just met and find themselves stuck together when a toxic pink cloud appears, this is an eerie but surprisingly sweet and romantic drama, combined with what is perhaps one of the most effective examples of worldbuilding you will see this year.
Tracy Deer’s film Beans may fall victim to a few coming-of-age cliches in its runtime, but that doesn’t make its story any less resonant. Set against the backdrop of the Oka Crisis is 1990, the film tells the story of a young girl who struggles to come to terms with her Indigenous identity. It’s the type of film that sneaks up on you and packs a phenomenal emotional punch by the end. And young actress Kiawentiio’s lead performance as the eponymous teen is absolutely excellent.
Ludi is this year’s Opening Night Selection for the festival, and it is not surprising given the film’s local connection. This story of a Haitian-American nurse struggling to make ends meet starts out very strong, and even though it turns into something a bit more conventional in the second half, it still has a wonderful message. Shein Mompremier’s performance as the protagonist is very nuanced, bringing out the emotion in the script. Despite its flaws, it’s a mostly moving film that is sure to connect with viewers locally and nationally.
The 2021 Miami Film Festival runs in person and online from March 5-14, 2021.
The Snake Hole
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