Two new films opening this weekend to add to your to-see list – if you live in New York or Miami anyway:
First, Kino Lorber opens The Trials of Muhammad Ali, the feature documentary from Kartemquin Films, at IFCCenter, in NYC.
Directed by Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground) and executive produced by Leon Gast (When We Were Kings) for Kartemquin Films, the film made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.
As a recap… here’s a summary:
As befitting its extraordinary and often complex subject, the film examines Ali’s life outside the boxing ring, beginning with the announcement of his deeply held Islamic religious beliefs which were a source of controversy, and his decision to change his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. It explores his refusal to serve in the Vietnam war (after his conscientious objector status was denied) on the grounds of protesting the racial injustice at home, and captures his passion and anger in interviews and TV appearances culled from a rich variety of archival sources.
The acclaimed documentary world premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, interweaves the political threads of Ali’s controversial stance on Vietnam, legal challenges as a conscientious objector, his relationship to the Nation of Islam and ongoing fight for racial justice, all but sacrificing a celebrated boxing career to sustain his principles. The film opens in New York at the IFC Center on August 23rd with a national rollout planned through the summer and fall.
The story is told through archival footage of Ali’s supporters and spiritual leaders including Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, as well as opponents of his views such as Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. The documentary also features new interviews with those who know and have worked with Ali, including his brother Rahman, his wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali, sports journalist Robert Lipsyte and Louis Farrakhan.
The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, and honored as Official Selections at AFI Docs, Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Festival Do Rio, and Montclair Film Festival, all in 2013.
I unfortunately still haven’t had the time to see it yet, but I will this weekend, and then will share my thoughts on it afterward.
Here’s the film’s first full trailer; underneath you’ll find its poster:
And second – Sundance Selects debuts Lucy Mulloy‘s feature film debut Una Noche today, in three theaters: at the Koubek Theater, Lincoln Plaza in Miami, FL, the IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza, both in New York City. The film will expand to more cities soon afterward, so look out for announcements on future playdates soon.
Although it will also be released on iTunes on August 26. So you have that option as well.
You might recall last year when two of its Cuban stars – Anailin De La Rua De La Torre and Javier Nunez Florian – decided to stay in the USA instead of returning to Cuba, after the film premiered at Tribeca in New York.
Una Noche – which most recently screened at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa – centers on two Cuban teens – Raul and Elio – who consider escaping the communist and broken-down country to flee to Miami, FL. Conflict arises when Raul has no choice to escape after being accused of assaulting a foreigner, and now Elio must make a choice between freedom and leaving his twin sister behind.
Here’s the full synopsis:
Fed up with living in poverty while catering to a privileged
tourist class, Cuban teens Raul and Elio are tantalized by the idea of
fleeing the confines of their broken-down country for a new life in
Miami. When Raul is accused of assaulting a foreigner, he has no choice
but to escape, but Elio must decide whether his desire for freedom and
helping Raul are worth abandoning his beloved twin sister, Lila.
Brimming with the nervous energy of Havana’s restless youth and the
evocative cinematography of the sun-bleached capital, Una Noche follows one sweltering day, full of hope and fraught with tension, that burns to a shocking climax.
Watch the theatrical release trailer for the film below, and check out its poster underneath.