Passion Play

When a jazz trumpeter is taken to the desert and a gun held to his head, we are at the beginning of a delightful fable about romance and dreams. When he meets a beautiful woman who works as the Bird Woman in a circus, he falls madly in love and persuades her to run away with him only to find that life is a little more complicated than simply living one’s fantasies. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

Rock the Kasbah

A has-been rock manager from Van Nuys, California stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime voice in a remote Afghan cave in Rock the Kasbah, a dramatic comedy inspired by stranger-than-fiction, real-life events and directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson. Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), dumped and stranded in war-torn Kabul by his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel), discovers Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the courageous dream of becoming the first woman to compete on national television in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol.” Richie partners with a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), a pair of hard-partying war profiteers (Danny McBride and Scott Caan) and a hair-trigger mercenary (Bruce Willis) and, braving dangerous cultural prejudices, manages his new protégée into becoming the “Afghan Star.”