Ramping up to its 33rd edition next March, the Miami International Film Festival has set its annual GEMS lineup for October 22 through 25, screening breakouts from Cannes, Sundance and Berlin, and several of this year’s major Oscar contenders.
GEMS will open with John Crowley’s Sundance favorite “Brooklyn,” which Fox Searchlight is rolling out to the fall fests including Toronto. The Nick Hornby-scripted period romance starring Saoirse Ronan is among Searchlight’s awards entrants this year alongside “Youth,” also a GEMS entry. The fest closes with “The 33,” starring Antonio Banderas as one of the Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days in 2010.
Miami will also host a Master Class Tribute to the late James Horner, Oscar-winning composer who died unexpectedly this year. One of his final scores can be heard in “The 33,” which Miami-based composer Carlos Rafael Rivera will use to launch a discussion of Horner’s work.
Ahead of the fest, Stephen Daldry’s beleaguered Brazilian-British adventure “Trash,” starring Rooney Mara, will screen as a special preview on October 5.
Here’s the full GEMS lineup:
1. Brooklyn (USA / Ireland), directed by John Crowley *OPENING NIGHT FILM
Adapted by Nick Hornby (An Education) from the Colm Toibin bestselling novel,
this 1950s story follows the life of a young Irish woman caught between tradition and
passion, between two countries and two futures. Starring Oscar nominee for
Atonement, Saoirse Ronan, the cast also includes Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters,
Emory Cohen, and Domhnall Gleason.
2. The 33 (USA / Chile), directed by Patricia Riggen *CLOSING NIGHT FILM
An international rescue effort to save 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,300 foot
underground for 69 days in the Copiapó mine riveted over a billion people in 2010,
and now a superb international film adaptation recreates the details of that
unprecedented event. The epic list of cast names includes Antonio Banderas,
Juliette Binoche and Rodrigo Santoro.
3. The Assassin (Taiwan), directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien *WINNER OF BEST
DIRECTOR AT CANNES 2015
In 9th century China, 10-year-old Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who transforms
her into an impressive warrior. One day, she is sent back to the land of her birth, with
orders to kill the man whom she was promised, and Nie Yinniang must choose:
assassinate the man she loves or break forever from the scared honor of her
4. The Club (El club) (Chile), directed by Pablo Larraín
Director Pablo Larraín’s follow-up to his global success and Oscar-nominated No,
(starring Gael Garcia Bernal), is a tough, scathing and psychologically sobering
indictment on the Catholic Church’s handling of moral failings within the institution.
5. Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente) (Colombia), directed by Ciro
Guerra *WINNER OF TOP DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT AWARD AT CANNES 2015
Guerra’s previous film, The Wind Journeys (2009), was an international hit and one
of the 2010 Festival’s most popular films in Miami. For his new film, Guerra travels
deep into the wilds of the Amazon jungle, and into the dangerous territory of the
historical past. This is an epic and thrilling journey, capped with velvety, rich black &
white cinematography, confirming Guerra’s status as one of Latin America’s most
6. Havana Motor Club (USA / Cuba), directed by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt
One of the most fascinating events of Miami International Film Festival in 2014 was
filmmaker Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt’s special presentation on his creative process in
constructing his portrait of Cuba’s top underground drag racers of classic American
cars. A year later, the film is now complete, and GEMS is delighted to bring Perlmutt
back to Miami to share the finished work.
7. It’s Now or Never (Ahora o nunca) (Spain), directed by Maria Ripoll
This summer’s biggest homegrown box office hit in Spain, It’s Now or Never pairs
Spain’s newest film star, Dani Rovira, whose charms help propel Spanish Affair
(Ocho apellidos vascos) to become Spain’s all-time box office champion, with the
luminous Goya winner María Valverde, who gets a rare opportunity to demonstrate
her comedic gifts. The result is a frothy, frisky comedy of first-class creative power,
expertly timed and filled with joyous performances, from the leads to the delightful
character actors found in even the smallest roles. Clara Largo and Alicia Rubio co-
star in this comedy that once again proves no one does inspired silliness quite like
8. Krisha (USA), directed by Trey Edward Shults
Winner of both the Grand Jury Price and the Audience Award at SXSW earlier this
year, Trey Edward Shults’ highly personal and compelling hypnotic drama was also
selected at this year’s Critics Week in Cannes. Shults has already drawn
comparisons to the work of legendary American independent director John
Cassavetes for their use of family members in the cast and also their maverick avant-
garde style of shooting favoring characters and scenes that envelop the viewer in
both observation and emotion.
9. Mia Madre (Italy), directed by Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre is possibly his most personal film, and a master class on
autobiographical cinema. It displays without question why Moretti is considered one
of the most skilled living filmmakers to create powerful universal drama out of our
smallest little big tragedies. John Turturro co-stars.
10. My Golden Days (France), directed by Arnaud Desplechin *WINNER OF
DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT AWARD AT CANNES 2015
After years working abroad, anthropologist Paul Dedalus (Mathieu Amalric) returns
to France to find an explosive emotional time bomb awaits him. This epic coming of
age tale portrays first love as a candid, sensual and unique experience that his alter-
ego discovers could leave a mark that will last as long as life itself.
11. A Perfect Day (Spain), directed by Fernando León de Aranoa.
Spanish director Fernando León de Aranoa makes his first English language film with
this Cannes-debuting tale of 24 hours in the lives of two veteran humanitarian aid
workers in the waning days of the 1995 Balkan War. Veteran Hollywood stars
Benicio del Toro and Tim Robbins are in fine form as the leads, who hold on to
their boyish charms even as they age with graceful wisdom.
12. Trash (U.K. / Brazil), directed by Stephen Daldry. *SPECIAL GEMS PREVIEW
NIGHT ON OCTOBER 5, 2015.
Three-time Best Director Oscar nominee Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours,
The Reader) delivers the soaring triumphs of his earlier successes, while shining a
spotlight on the sobering challenges facing one of the world’s most closely-watched
cities, Rio de Janeiro. The high-powered cast includes Brazilian superstars Wagner
Moura (Elite Squad) and Selton Mello (Jean Charles, The Clown), as well as Martin
Sheen and Rooney Mara.
13. Yona (Israel), directed by Nir Bergman
Like a “living thunderbolt”, the bold and nonconformist Yona Wallach stormed
through Tel-Aviv’s male-dominated political and poetry circles in the 1960s. Yona’s
work eventually became recognized in the most prominent literary books and
magazines of her time, and she was honored with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Literary
Award in 1978. Director Nir Bergman’s biopic vividly captures Yona’s highs, lows and
her brave rebellion against a chauvinistic society with her unique voice.
14. Youth (Italy), directed by Paolo Sorrentino
The space (and communion) between the generations is the subject of Paolo
Sorrentino’s newest Fellini-tinged masterpiece. Coming off his 2014 Oscar win for
Best Foreign-Language Film for The Great Beauty, the Italian auteur is on a roll,
orchestrating grand themes around life’s wisdom with a phenomenal cast of actors
including Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Jane Fonda.