Miami Dade College’s (MDC) renowned Miami Film Festival today unveiled the line-up for the ninth annual Miami Film Festival GEMS. Taking place at MDC’s Tower Theater, the festival will, for the second year, expand to eight days from its traditional four-day format, running from November 3-10. Featuring films from thirteen countries, the most ever in a GEMS lineup, the 2022 festival will open with Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Two Centerpiece Screenings – the ensemble drama Women Talking and redemption-driven Brendan Fraser drama The Whale – will lead to the closing night feature, Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans.
“Over the years, Miami Film Festival GEMS has evolved into one of the country’s premiere fall festivals, where Miami cinephiles can come to the historic Tower Theater Miami and, in the course of a week, see all of the most acclaimed films of the year and surefire Oscar contenders before anyone else has had a chance to see them,” said Interim Executive Director Nicolas Calzada. “This year’s extraordinary lineup is no exception. We are so proud of this collection of gems from a dozen different countries. Miami’s film-loving community is in for a huge treat.”
“This year’s Miami Film Festival GEMS lineup is a true celebration of international cinema. We’re so proud to be showcasing films from over 12 different countries – the most ever in GEMS lineup,” said Director of Programming Lauren Cohen. “This year, our audience can expect a full week of film from some of cinema’s greatest auteurs and most promising newcomers alike. This is an opportunity for Miami moviegoers to be the first to see the most significant films of the year the way they were meant to be seen at our beloved home Tower Theater Miami.”
Opening GEMS on November 3 is the Netflix murder mystery Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, to be released this Christmas. In the follow-up to Rian Johnson’s Oscar-nominated Knives Out, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) travels to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of colorful suspects. Miami Film Festival is honoring the ensemble cast with the inaugural Ensemble Award. The cast includes Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom, Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista.
Two Centerpiece Screenings will take place over the weekend. Director Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, based on the novel by Miriam Toews, follows the women of an isolated religious community who grapple with reconciling their reality with their faith. The film’s ensemble cast includes Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand. The Whale directed by Darren Aronofsky, already sweeping four awards at the recent Venice Film Festival, tells the story of a reclusive English teacher (Brendan Fraser) who is living with severe obesity, seeks to reconnect with his teenage daughter (Sadie Sink) for one last chance at redemption.
Closing out the 2022 GEMS festival on November 10 is Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, which stars Gabriel LaBelle as 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker Sammy Fabelman; four-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams as his artistic mother, Mitzi; Paul Dano as his successful, scientific father, Burt; Seth Rogen as Bennie Loewy, Burt’s best friend and honorary “uncle” to the Fabelman children, and Academy Award nominee Judd Hirsch as Mitzi’s Uncle Boris. Paul Dano will virtually receive the Precious Gem Award, which honors those one-of-a-kind artists whose contributions to cinema are lasting and unforgettable. Dano’s credits include There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine, 12 Years a Slave, The Prisoners, Love and Mercy, and Wildlife which he also co-wrote and directed. Last year’s recipients include Penélope Cruz, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and Ramin Bahrani.
Among the personal honorees at GEMS 2022 is Raúl Castillo (The Same Storm, Cha Cha Real Smooth, We the Animals), who will receive the Art of Light Award and will attend a screening of The Inspection, where he stars as the sympathetic superior, Drill Sergeant Rosales, a deeply moving film inspired by writer/director Elegance Bratton’s personal story about a young gay Black man, rejected by his mother and with few options, who decides to join the Marines. The Art of Light Award is presented to cinematic artists whose exemplary work shines new wonders on the continuing evolution of motion pictures. Past acting recipients include Andra Day and Aldis Hodge.
The festival will hold two special screenings. White Noise, written, directed and produced by Noah Baumbach, at once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic, White Noise dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world. She Said, from director Maria Schrader. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who broke one of the most important stories in a generation – one that helped propel the #MeToo movement, shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood, and altered American culture forever.
Five films being presented as Special Presentations in the GEMS 2022 selection are official submissions to the 95th Academy Awards in the International Feature Film category, having received acclaim at Cannes, Berlin and other world film festivals:
- Alcarràs – Written and directed by Carla Simón, a drama about a family of peach farmers in a small Catalonia village whose lives change when the owner of their estate dies and the sale of the land suddenly threatens their livelihood.
- Close – Written and directed by Lukas Dhont, centered on an intense friendship between two thirteen-year old boys that suddenly gets disrupted, offering an emotionally bold portrait of friendship and love, identity and independence, and heartbreak and healing.
- Corsage – Written and directed by Marie Kreutzer, a fictional account of a year in the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, idolized for her beauty and her inspiring fashion trends, who must fight to maintain her public image in the wake of her 40th birthday.
- Decision to Leave – Written, directed and produced by Park Chan-wook, a tragedy and mystery woven into a film where a detective digs deeper into the investigation and finds himself trapped in a web of deception and desire.
- Holy Spider – Written and directed by Ali Abbasi, the story of a female journalist who descends into the dark underbelly of the Iranian holy city of Mashhad to investigate the serial killings of sex workers by a man who believes he is cleansing the streets of sinners.
- The Quiet Girl – Written and directed by Colm Bairéad, the story of a quiet, neglected girl who is sent away from her dysfunctional family to live with foster parents for the summer. She blossoms in their care, but in this house where there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one.
- Saint Omer – Written and directed by Alice Diop, the story of a young novelist who attends the trial of Laurence Coly, a young woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France. But as the trial continues, the words of the accused and witness testimonies will shake Rama’s convictions and call into question our own judgement.
Other notable films screening at the 2022 GEMS festival will include:
- Alice, Darling (directed by Mary Nighy), competing for the Jordan Ressler First Feature Award is a taut thriller about a woman (Anna Kendrick) trapped in an abusive relationship who becomes the unwitting participant in an intervention staged by her two closest friends.
- All That Breathes (directed and produced by Shaunak Sen), a documentary set against the city of Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating violence, where two brothers devote their lives to protect one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as the Black Kite.
- All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (directed by Laura Poitras), winner of the Golden Lion at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, a documentary about photographer Nan Goldin’s battle against the notorious big-pharma Sackler family.
- Broker (written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda), spotlighting two brokers who sell orphaned infants to affluent couples who can’t have children of their own, circumventing the bureaucracy of legal adoption.
- Living (directed by Oliver Hermanus), an English-language adaptation of Ikiru, set in 1950s London, centered on an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who finally decides to turn his dull life into something wonderful.
- Look at Me + Orlando, a double-feature offering a modern short film written and directed by Sally Potter about the struggle between two men, a charity gala director (Chris Rock) and a failing rock drummer (Javier Bardem); and a 1992 historical fantasy about a nobleman (Tilda Swinton) who struggles with love and his place in the world after Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp) commands him not to grow old. Orlando is a retrospective screening presented in partnership with Sony Pictures Classics in celebration of their 30th anniversary.
- Of Medicine and Miracles (directed by Ross Kauffman), a documentary chronicling the quest to cure cancer, as seen through the harrowing experiences of one young girl, her family, and a doctor on a mission.
- One Fine Morning (written and directed by Mia Hansen-Løve), a romantic drama about a young woman, whose father is suffering from neurodegenerative disease, who runs into a friend that, despite being in a relationship, embarks on an affair.
- R.M.N. (written, directed and produced by Cristian Mungiu), a non-judgmental analysis of the driving forces of human behavior when confronted with the unknown, of the way we perceive the other and on how we relate to an unsettling future.
- The Son (written and directed by Florian Zeller), a dramatic exploration of Peter, whose busy life with new partner and their baby is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife turns up with their teenage son.
Photo: John Wilson/Netflix