By Robin E. Simmons
This great series features ten films selected from international directors who have set the standards for current cinema. The “Modern Masters” section features films from directors Vinko Bresan, François Dupeyron, Agnieszka Holland, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Claude Lanzmann, Hayao Miyazaki, Errol Morris, Avi Nesher, and François Ozon. The films include:
Burning Bush (Czech Republic) – An emotional and epic docudrama that examines the political and societal fallout from Czech student Jan Palach’s 1969 self-immolation. Director: Agnieszka Holland. Cast: Tatiana Pauhofovå, Jaroslava Pokomå, Petr Stach, Jan Budar, Martin Huba, and Ivan Trojan.
The Last of the Unjust (France) – Claude Lanzmann returns to one of the interview subjects from his epic, landmark SHOAH to unravel the tale of the “model” concentration camp, Theresienstadt, and the ambiguous leader of its Jewish Council, Benjamin Murmelstein — a former rabbi who spent the war years negotiating on a day-to-day basis with Adolf Eichmann. Director: Claude Lanzmann. Cast: Benjamin Murmelstein and Claude Lanzmann.
Like Father, Like Son (Japan) – Two couples are devastated to learn that their children were swapped at birth six years ago. This precisely crafted drama won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda. Cast: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, Lily Franky, Keita Ninomiya, Hwang Sho-gen.
One of a Kind (France) – This memorable, soul-stirring tale about a depressed middle-aged man who hesitatingly embraces his gift for healing features an absolutely riveting performance from Grégory Gadebois in the lead. This deeply inspiring and satisfying chronicle of personal redemption is timeless and transcendent. Director: François Dupeyron. Cast: Grégory Gadebois, Céline Sallette, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Marie Payen, and Philippe Rebbot.
The Priest’s Children (Croatia) – In this acerbic satire, a naïve Catholic clergyman tries to boost the birth rate among his Dalmatian island flock, but his plan sparks a host of unintended consequences – to put it mildly. Don’t miss this comedy from Croatia. It’s a rare treat indeed. Director: Vinko Bresan. Cast: Kresimir Mikic, Niksa Butijer, Marija Skaricic, Drazen Kuhn, Jadranka Dokic, Lazar Ristovski.
The Unknown Known (USA) – Acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris takes on the enigma that is Donald Rumsfeld. Or is it Rumsfeld taking on the enigma that is Errol Morris? Either way, it is a fascinating pas de deux that’s a must see if you care at all about the mind of the men who make the big decisions for the rest of us – and in our name. Director: Errol Morris. Cast: Donald Rumfeld and Errol Morris.
The Wind Rises (Japan) Anime sensei Hayao Miyazaki has always been fascinated by flight. In what he says will be his swansong, he has conjured an extraordinarily lyrical biopic of sorts, inspired by the experiences of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the famous Japanese Zero fighter plane. The beauty of this sublimely disquieting adult film that raises more questions than it answers transported me to a place of dreams. Director: Hayao Miyazaki. Cast: Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura, Jun Kunimura, Mirai Shida.
The Wonders (Israel) – In this sly and unexpected comedy/drama, a laid back slacker, a private investigator and a femme fatale join forces to rescue a kidnapped holy man. Director: Avi Nesher. Cast: Ori Hizkiah, Efrat Gosh, Adir Miller, Yehuda Levi, Yuval Scharf.
Young & Beautiful (France) –Model-turned-actor Marine Vacth is uncanny and confident as a well-bred 17-year-old Parisienne who chooses to work as an expensive call girl. This controversial provocation from Ozon has a rich visual finesse and a nonjudgmental tone that makes it unsettling and more than a little disturbing. Director: François Ozon. Cast: Martine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot, Johan Leysen and Charlotte Rampling.
For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.