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November 2015 Film Preview

November 2015 Film Preview

Awards season is getting closer, and so several of the much-talked-about contenders — many of them grand romantic dramas — will open in theaters this November. 

The always glorious Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in Todd Haynes’ critics’ favorite “Carol” — a story of a great but forbidden love affair between two women in the repressive ’50s.

In another acclaimed Eisenhower-era romantic drama, “Brooklyn,” Saoirse Ronan — who was nominated for an Oscar for “Atonement” at age 12 and definitely lives up to her potential — plays a young Irish immigrant coming to America in search for a brighter future.

The Danish Girl” sees Eddie Redmayne transform into a transgender woman — pioneering in the early 1900s — with the support of his wife, played by Alicia Vikander. With amazing performances in “Ex Machina” and “Testament of Youth,” the Swedish actress has enjoyed quite the international breakthrough this year.

Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli’s “Frame by Frame,” about photojournalists in Afghanistan; Lesley Chilcott’s “CodeGirl,” about high-school girls developing apps; Amy Berg’s Janis Joplin portrait “Janis: Little Girl Blue”; Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken’s “Song of Lahore,” about Pakistani musicians and Mor Loushy’s “Censored Voices,” about the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War are all among the documentary features submitted for the Oscar race.

Other notable docs include Camilla Nielsson’s “Democracy,” about the writing of a constitution in Zimbabwe, and “Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words,” a look at the life of the Swedish star.

Finally, Katniss Everdeen, in the body of one of our favorite feminists, Jennifer Lawrence, will lead the revolution in the final chapter of the “Hunger Games” series, “Mockingjay – Part 2.”

All descriptions are from press releases, unless stated otherwise.

November 1

CodeGirl (Documentary) – Directed by Lesley Chilcott 

Join high school-aged girls from around the world as they try to better their community through technology and collaboration in this thrilling, heartfelt documentary. By 2017, the app market will be valued at $77 Billion. Over 80% of these developers are male. The Technovation Challenge aims to change that by empowering girls worldwide to develop apps for an international competition. From rural Moldova to urban Brazil to suburban Massachusetts, “CodeGirl” follows teams who dream of holding their own in the world’s fastest-growing industry. The winning team gets $10K to complete and release their app, but every girl discovers something valuable along the way.

November 4


“Brooklyn” tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

November 6

Miss You Already – Directed by Catherine Hardwicke; Written by Morwenna Banks 

An honest and powerful story following two best friends, Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore), as they navigate life’s highs and lows. Inseparable since they were young girls, they can’t remember a time they didn’t share everything -secrets, clothes, even boyfriends — but nothing prepares them for the day Milly is hit with life-altering news.

Sand Dollars – Co-Written and Co-Directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán

An older European woman (Geraldine Chaplin) becomes enchanted with a young Dominican woman (Yanet Mojica) who must struggle to make ends meet. Love brings a flow of entanglements in a drama which unfolds like palm trees in an irresistible storm.

Frame by Frame (Documentary) – Directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerged and a photography revolution was born. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, Afghanistan is left to stand on its own, and so are its journalists. Set in a modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, “Frame by Frame” follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves. Through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with four humans in the pursuit of the truth.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Documentary) – Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

A colorful character who was not only ahead of her time but helped to define it, Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to her family fortune who became a central figure in the modern art movement. As she moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century, she collected not only art, but artists. Her colorful personal history included such figures as Samuel Beckett, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp as well as countless others. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo.


Best friends Emily (Anna Hutchison) and Lesley (Andrea Whitburn) go on a road trip to the desert. When Emily decides to get off the highway and take a “short cut,” they become the target of a relentless and psychotic trucker who forces them to play a deadly game of cat and mouse.

November 13

By the Sea – Written and Directed by Angelina Jolie 

Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa (Angelina Jolie), a former dancer, and her husband Roland (Brad Pitt), an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner.

The 33 – Directed by Patricia Riggen 

Disaster strikes on August 5, 2010, as a copper and gold mine collapses in Chile, trapping 33 men underground. With more than 2,000 feet of rock in their way, members of a rescue team work tirelessly for 69 days to save the seemingly doomed men. Beneath the rubble, the miners begin an epic quest to survive, contending with suffocating heat and the need for food and water. With family, friends and the rest of the world watching, it becomes a race against time and a test of the human spirit. Based on a true story. 

Love the Coopers – Directed by Jessie Nelson

“Love the Coopers” follows the Cooper clan as four generations of extended family come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. As the evening unfolds, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words (Documentary) – Co-Written by Dominika Daubenbüchel and Stina Gardell

A captivating look behind the scenes of the remarkable life of a young Swedish girl who became one of the most celebrated actresses of American and World cinema.

Song of Lahore (Documentary) – Co-Directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Song of Lahore follows several Pakistani musicians, and asks if there is still room for them in a society roiled by conflict. Featuring the music of the Sachal Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

Ayanda – Directed by Sara Blecher; Written by Trish Malone

In a community vibrant with migrants from across the African Continent, against the backdrop of unspoken love, a young woman (Fulu Moguvhani) tries to navigate a path for herself. But this is a world where everything keeps shifting — everything except the one thing that really does need to change. 

Man Up – Written by Tess Morris

Nancy (Lake Bell) is done with dating. 10 times bitten, 100 times shy, she’s exhausted by the circus. So when Jack (Simon Pegg) blindly mistakes her for his date, no one is more surprised than her when she does the unthinkable and just — goes with it.

November 18

Democrats (Documentary) – Directed by Camilla Nielsson 
In politically unstable Zimbabwe, a new constitution is being put together by the ruling party of strongman Robert Mugabe and the divided opposition. Various political, local and personal interests are bogging the process down.

November 20

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

After being symbolized as the “Mockingjay”, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol. 

Carol – Written by Phyllis Nagy

Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots the beautiful, elegant Carol (Cate Blanchett) perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department store. The two women develop a fast bond that becomes a love with complicated consequences.

Mustang – Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven; Written by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and Alice Winocour 
Early summer. In a village in northern Turkey, Lale (Günes Sensoy) and her four sisters are walking home from school, playing innocently with some boys. The immorality of their play sets off a scandal that has unexpected consequences. The family home is progressively transformed into a prison; instruction in homemaking replaces school and marriages start being arranged. The five sisters who share a common passion for freedom, find ways of getting around the constraints imposed on them.

Censored Voices (Documentary) – Directed by Mor Loushy 

The 1967 ‘Six-Day’ war ended with Israel’s decisive victory; conquering Jerusalem, Gaza, Sinai and the West Bank. It is a war portrayed, to this day, as a righteous undertaking – a radiant emblem of Jewish pride. One week after the war, a group of young kibbutzniks, led by renowned author Amos Oz, recorded intimate conversations with soldiers returning from the battlefield. The recording revealed an honest look at the moment Israel turned from David to Goliath. The Israeli army censored the recordings, allowing the kibbutzniks to publish only a fragment of the conversations. ‘Censored Voices’ reveals the original recordings for the first time.

#Horror – Written and Directed by Tara Subkoff 

Inspired by actual events, a group of 12 year old girls face a night of horror when the compulsive addiction of an online social media game turns a moment of cyber bullying into a night of insanity. (Starring Chloë Sevigny, Taryn Manning and Natasha Lyonne.)

November 25

The Good Dinosaur – Written by Meg LeFauve 
“The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

November 27

The Danish Girl – Written by Lucinda Coxon 
The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander). Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

Janis: Little Girl Blue (Documentary) – Directed by Amy Berg 
Janis Joplin is one of the most revered and iconic rock & roll singers of all time, a tragic and misunderstood figure who thrilled millions of listeners and blazed new creative trails before her death in 1970 at age 27. This in depth examination presents an intimate and insightful portrait of a complicated, driven, and often beleaguered artist. Joplin’s own words tell much of the film’s story through a series of letters she wrote to her parents over the years, many of them made public here for the first time. Joplin was a powerhouse when she sang, and her recordings have never left the radio or the hearts of rock fans worldwide. A new understanding of a bright, complex woman whose surprising rise and sudden demise changed music forever.

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