A Report From the Miami Film Festival
by John Bernstein
The 14th annual Miami Film Festival kicked off on Friday night with the
U.S. premiere of the Australian comedy, "Cosi". The film, directed by Mark
Joffe and starring Toni Collette ("Muriel's Wedding"), is one of 11 U.S.
premieres that will be showcased at the festival. The 10-day
non-competitive event is scheduled to show 32 films from 14 countries,
as well as 3 retrospective screenings.
Over the past 13 years, the festival has also earned a reputation for
introducing the best in Spanish-language cinema. In 1983, Pedro
Almodovar debuted at the Miami Film Fest with the film, "Dark Habits".
This year the festival will feature 9 films from Argentina, Peru, Spain,
and Venezuela, including Francisco Lombardi's horrific thriller, "Under the
Skin" ("Bajo la Piel"), and Eliseo Subiela's first romantic comedy,
"Wake up Love" ("Despabilate Amor").
The festival's Centerpiece Premiere will be director Bob Rafelson's
Miami-made film noir "Blood & Wine", starring Jack Nicholson.
Oscar-winner Estelle Parsons, co-author David Newman, and director
Arthur Penn will present the 30th anniversary screening of their classic
"Bonnie & Clyde", and "Robert Altman's Jazz '34: Rememberances
of Kansas City Swing" will debut at the festival.
This year's program also includes a full slate of seminars and panel
discussions. Topics will include "Sex and the Cinema", "The United Staes of Video",
"Crisis in American Independent Film: Where's the Audience?", and
"Whose Miami", a look at Hollywood's often inaccurate portrayal of the
festival's host city.
The festival runs through February 9 at downtown Miami's Gusman Center
for the Performing Arts, a beautifully restored 1,700 seat movie palace
built in 1926. For more information, call the Film Society of Miami at