By Sean Boelman
Although the main Miami Film Festival happens every spring, the fall brings with it the Miami Film Festival GEMS program, an eight-day showcase of some of the films that have been taking the fall festival season by storm and which festival-goers can expect to be hearing a lot about this awards season.
We at disappointment media have gotten the opportunity to attend a few screenings at the festival, but we wanted to make sure you knew what you should check out yourself. Here are some of our favorite films playing at the fest that we have been able to see earlier in their festival runs.
Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont’s directorial debut Girl was relatively acclaimed, even if it was somewhat controversial, but his sophomore feature, Close, has been much more universally beloved. It’s understandable why, as it’s a thoroughly impressive film. Although it might have some characteristics typical of a tear-jerker, the script — written by Dhont and Angel Tijssens — is enormously sensitive, and young actor Eden Dambrine gives what is the child performance of the year.
One of the major awards given out by the Miami Film Festival is the Art of Light Award, and Raúl Castillo will be in attendance at the festival to receive the honor for acting alongside a screening of Elegance Bratton’s The Inspection, in which he co-stars. Inspired by Bratton’s experience as a young gay man dealing with discrimination and homophobia when he enlists in the Marines, the film is a deeply moving and unexpectedly unconventional experience. Bratton has made a film that not only feels enormously personal, but also extraordinarily artistic. It is certainly one of the indie gems of the season.
Jafar Panahi’s film No Bears could not come at a better time given that the Iranian filmmaker was recently arrested in his country (again) for speaking out against the government. Like the rest of his recent films, Panahi made this film in secret, and it’s virtually a miracle we are getting to see it. A late addition to the lineup, cinephiles won’t want to miss this fascinating exploration of Iranian society. It is perhaps one of the best works of metafiction in the history of metafiction, and something that only Panahi could do.
Florian Zeller’s first film, The Father, took the cinema world by storm and won two Academy Awards — one for Zeller’s screenplay and another for Anthony Hopkins’s performance. While the prequel, The Son, has been met with much more of a mixed reception, it is still a fascinating, moving film. It might not be particularly subtle with its themes, but Zeller’s exploration of depression and mental illness nonetheless resonates thanks to a slew of great performances, especially a knockout turn by Hugh Jackman in the leading role.
The 2022 edition of Miami Film Festival GEMS runs November 3-10.
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