Mill Valley Film Festival 38: Leonine Films Picks

Mustang (2015), dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven.

Mustang (2015), dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven.

MVFF 38 celebrates this year the women of film with many of its highlighted events and films: Suffragette, starring Carey Mulligan; spotlights on and tributes to Sarah Silverman, Brie Larson, Catherine Hardwicke; and, a very special exhibition honoring screen icon Ingrid Bergman on the centennial of her birth. In addition, the festival’s cleverly-named “Mind the Gap” focus this year highlights the gender gap in American filmmaking which the MVFF tries to fill with a significantly female-centric line-up. Women or not, our picks this year include Ain’t Misbehavin’ /Un Voyageur, a documentary/autobiography starring and directed by Marcel Ophuls; All Eyes and Ears, a personal-political documentary concerning US and China, by Vanessa Hope; Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s gorgeous The Assassin; Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl/Le Noir De…, which has lost none of its freshness and impact from when it premiered in 1966; Body, by the wonderful and unpredictable Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska; El Club, from one of our favorite cinema hotspots, Chile (is it the terrain? the pungent mix of the native and colonial cultures?); Dheepan, the much-acclaimed 2015 Palme D’Or winner (and highly relevant in today’s globally-turbulent times); The Dressmaker, a rollicking (and very Australian) romp from Jocelyn Moorhouse; Golden Kingdom, which carries us beautifully through Myanmar and its political and spiritual transitions; the entertaining Hitchcock/Truffaut, which we are certain will have die-hard cinéastes lining out the door; Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words; Ixcamul, the début of Guatelmalan director Jayro Bustamante; Love Between the Covers, which brings the art of the romance novel to the screen (you may know director Laurie Kahn’s TV/radio work, including on Eyes on the Prize, Frontline and All Things Considered); Mardan, a moody, surreal film from Iraqi Kurdistan and the début of director Batin Ghobadi; Mustang, about the uncertain fates of five young Turkish sisters; My Mother/Mia Madre, Nanni Moretti’s Fellini-esque tale where art and life collide; La Prenda, a documentary about the fight against kidnappings in Guatemala; Marcel Ophuls’ classic The Sorrow and The Pity; Taxi, by our very favorite Iranian director Jafar Panahi, and Under The Same Sun, where the innocent kindness of childhood and the complex world of adulthood collide. Finally, a long drought of Shakespeare films (well, for us, one year since Cymbeline feels like a long time), ends with the gloomy and misty Macbeth, which really should be seen if only for Marion Cotillard.

Mill Valley Film Festival 38, running through October 18, 2015. Full line-up and tickets at

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