Miami Int'l Film Festival

Miami Int'l Film Festival

In ‘The Lobster,’ falling in love is difficult – and mandatory

In his movies, Greek writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos sets up surreal, outlandish premises and then pulls you inside, so the nonsensical takes on weighty, emotional import. In 2007’s Oscar-nominated Dogtooth, the lives of the members of a screwed-up family served as an exploration of misbegotten parenting and the perils of strict idealism. In 2011’s Alps, a group of eccentrics hired themselves out to people mourning the recent death of a loved one, examining the ways in which we all sometimes role-play or take on different personas when we think that is what is expected of us.

Miami Int'l Film Festival

In ‘Presenting Princess Shaw,’ an unlikely star is born on YouTube

Samantha Montgomery was a 38-year-old single woman living in New Orleans, working at a nursing facility for the elderly during the day and pouring her heart out on YouTube at night in candid video diary postings that hinted at the emotional darkness she was trying to stave away. She spoke about the physical and sexual abuse she suffered as a child. She talked about the biography she was planning to write, to be titled Flying on Broken Wings.

Miami Int'l Film Festival

The Miami Heat Wheels wheelchair basketball team takes the court in ‘The Rebound’

The Rebound is nominally a documentary about the non-profit Miami Heat Wheels wheelchair basketball team and their attempt to win the league’s national championship in 2013. But the real theme of this lively, emotionally engrossing movie is how we react after we suffer a crushing, life-altering blow. Some of us never recover. Others, like the extraordinary athletes you get to know in this documentary, figure out a way to find meaning out of tragedy: They are down, but they refuse to be counted out.

Miami Int'l Film Festival

Documentary “Queen of Thursdays” is story of famed Cuban ballerina Rosario “Charin” Suárez

Rosario “Charin” Suárez, the titular subject of Queen of Thursdays, got her nickname during her glory days as a ballerina at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, whose famous director Alicia Alonso was so jealous of Suarez’s talent that she didn’t let her perform on weekends. After years of struggle in Cuba, Suárez fled to Miami in 1995, seeking, like so many exile artists before and since, artistic fulfillment and a better life.

Miami Int'l Film Festival

‘My Big Night’ kicks off the 33rd Miami Film International Festival in madcap style

Although he’s made several movies in English — including Perdita Durango, the unofficial sequel to Wild at Heart, starring Javier Bardem and Rosie Perez as a pair of Satan worshipers and human-fetus traffickers — Spanish wildman Álex de la Iglesia has never broken through to the U.S. mainstream. Perhaps his sense of humor is too dark and outrageous (Perdita Durango, for example, was only released here on DVD in a heavily edited version retitled Dance With the Devil). Or perhaps de la Iglesia’s brand of comedy hinges too heavily on Spain’s pop culture to work outside his home turf. A lot of the jokes are simply lost in translation.

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