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Exploring the Fall of Democracy, Romantic Affairs and Shameful History

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By Roger Costa

PRESIDENT

Depicting the tempestuous 2018 Presidential election in Zimbabwe, director Camilla Nielsson gets total access to the campaign of a young candidate, Nelson Chamisa, a 40-year old politician who seems to fit the people’s need for democracy after decades of a negligent dictatorial regime. Following him through his journey as a front rival of the current party leader, his tour around the country and determined quest to prove the competitor’s history of corruption, and shameful involvement of drastic actions that killed hundreds of civilians and other attacks against democracy such as trying to shut down a press conference with worldwide consequences, the director makes a powerful, engaging documentary that echoes our relentless times. Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Award at Sundance and nominated for the Gotham 2021 for Best Documentary, Nielsson brilliantly exposes one of the world’s most ridiculous and disrespectful political regimes, but most specially, she captures with impactful humanitarian lenses the hopes and expectations of a man fighting for his dream and his nation, and the people who long for better days.

(Greenwich Entertainment. 12/17. Film Forum NYC.)

THE ONLY ONE

As she approaches 30, Tom, a young musician comes to terms with herself and decides to give “settlement” a chance. After wandering the world in unfulfilling romantic adventures, she feels it’s time to secure a future. Out of the blue, she travels all the way to the south of France to surprise her former lover, David, one who might be just the one. But is he available and willing to form a bond? She will have to find out for herself while exploring the place, his new hobbies (he is running a vineyard and has just lost his horse), the memories from a special time that won’t return, the consequences of their lonely hearts, and the conflicts surging among them and his brother, who initially opposes to the fact of having her around. An upbeat, well-spirited and touching portrait of youth in distress, of a generation longing for understanding and fulfillment, as well as an affecting look at second chances, first time filmmaker Noah Gilbert demonstrates incredible sensibility and control of the material, crafting a transparent, funny and engaging modern rom-com.

(Vertical Entertainment. 12/10. Kent Theatre NYC and On Demand.)

WHITE ON WHITE

The great Alfredo Castro gives another stunning performance in this dark and atmospheric drama that exposes the genocide of the Selknam Indigenous people and the violent attempts of white men’s colonialism. Winner of the Best Director Award at Venice Film Festival and officially selected as Chile’s entry for the 2022 Oscars, Theo Court’s sophomore project is an exquisite, uniquely shot and structured psychological thriller with searing social, ethnic and moral commentaries. Set in the hostile area of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina in the beginning of the twentieth century, Castro plays a mysterious photographer, who arrives there to photograph a teenager who is soon to be married to a powerful landowner. As he awaits instructions to complete his work, he is lured into the community’s habits and culture, becoming dangerously involved in a net of seduction, betrayal and murder. Provocative and hypnotic, Court scores an efficient slow burn historical drama with masterful cinematography and a superb turn by Castro, proving to be one of Latin America’s most versatile and committed players.

(Outsider Pictures. 12/10. Cinema Village NYC.)

BETRAYED

A triumphant look at family perseverance and determination, director Eirik Svensson’s WWII’s drama centers on a Jewish family in Norway as they face the horrors of the concentration camps, humiliations and the constant risk of death. Based on the real experiences of the Braude family, following their talented sons, including one who is a promising boxer and their romantic investments before everything turned upside down, the film is an involving and highly efficient historical drama, gorgeously crafted and executed, precisely shot and convincingly acted about one of humanity’s most deadly mistakes. But above all it is a film about the power of family strength and faith, and the reasons to hold on firm to hope.

(Samuel Goldwyn Films. 12/10. In Theaters and On Digital Platforms.)


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