by Dwight Casimere
Alimony Alarcon (center-left)
by Dwight Casimere
The 35th Miami Film Festival March 9-18 plays host to a dazzling array of international stars and directors and features films that tackle such issues as racial identity among women who are both black and Latina, the struggles of suburban mothers on the brink of mental breakdown and the tribulations of a young Mexican American couple coping with the changing landscape of US immigration laws while trying to preserve their fledgling marriage. Four-time Oscar nominated writer, director and producer Jason Reitman premiered his newest film Tully on Opening Night, with Oscar winners actress Charlize Theron and screenwriter Diablo Cody. France's Oscar-winning national treasure Isabelle Huppert, is the subject of a Tribute Screening of her latest film Souvenir, at which she will receive the festival's Precious Gem-Icon Award and Spain's greatest living filmmaker Carlos Saura will receive the Precious Gem-Master Award at a screening of the new documentary on his career and family life, Saura(s).
Also featured was the directorial debut from two-time Academy Award-nominated Beninese-American actor Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) which takes us on a personal journey of spiritual reclamation. Demonized by Christianity, scarred by colonialism and crudely misrepresented in Hollywood movies, we in the West know nothing about voodoo. It is time to tell the story from an African perspective.
With In Search of Voodoo, Hounsou returns to his West African birthplace to visit sacred sites, witness rituals and interview scholars, adepts and politicians, who provide an accessible survey of voodoo’s rich history and reliance on nature as a guiding force in the lives of its practitioners.
The festival features 148 films of all genres from 50 countries including three for the first time in the festival's Official Selection category from Benin, Georgia and Swaziland. The festival wraps up with the Award's Night screening of Curro Velázquez’s smash hit Spanish comedy Holy Goalie (Que baje Dios y lo vea), with star Alain Hernández in attendance. The Miami Dade College 35th Miami Film Festival continues through March 18.
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