Legend of Cinema and Spectacular Film Premieres Unveil at Cinequest 25
Dear Sebastian Tambutto,
From the very inception of Cinequest, our team commits to provide Festival attendees with powerful cinematic experiences; first-rate examples of the art form that travel the unconventional path into the very heart of our world and the human condition. Our 25th edition dives deeply into that same territory, with offerings that are profound, playful, hilarious, challenging, uplifting, innovative, and inspiring. Tonight marks the first of our Maverick Spirit Award events, with what will certainly be a scintillating conversation with incomparable master filmmaker John Boorman, following a screening of his Queen and Country.
Thursday's Exciting Must-sees
In Beast of Cardo, money not only does not buy happiness, its weight can crush a young life before it has a chance to blossom. Forced to return to her Latin America homeland from her studies in the U.S., young Moira quickly finds herself suffocating under the pall of her parents' wealth and manipulations and plans an escape. Director Virginia Sanchez Navarro creates an unforgettable dreamscape, reminiscent of the best of Latin America's magical realism tradition.
John Boorman's Queen and Country is a superb complement to his masterful Hope and Glory. The setting this time is 1950s Britain, where Bill Rohan, performing his national service, fears his army unit will be shipped off to fight in the Korean war. After landing a desk job, his relief soon turns to dread under the thumb of a harsh and vindictive Sergeant Major. Complicating matters even more, he falls for a leggy blonde far out of his league, but for the time being, tantalizingly available. Post screening and Maverick Spirit Award presentation, Mr. Boorman will be on hand for an onstage conversation. An event not to be missed.
Malady spins and twists a tale of love, sacrifice, and compassion and sends it into surprising places. A young couple finds love amidst mutual grief, but their love is soon thereafter challenged by a roiling tsunami of guilt, shame, and long-buried secrets. Entrancing and hypnotic.
Elsewhere, NY takes a trenchant look at a love triangle possessed of a very skewed geometry. Brand new to the city, Jen has a one-night stand with Todd, the morning after which Todd is nowhere to be found. Two years on, Jen has a boyfriend and a steady life, but Todd reappears and rekindled old feelings erupt into an inferno of disruptive complications. Can Jen trust her heart even when she's not certain of truly lies inside it? A thoroughly beguiling tale of love's ineffable messiness and complexity.
While many films claim to be inspiring, Zemene calmly achieves that lofty status with its incomparable story telling and unforgettable characters. Shot in some of Ethiopia's stunning beauty, this extraordinary look at an extraordinary young woman underscores the indomitable nature of the human spirit, especially when odds are heavily stacked against it. Zemene's triumph over a physical deformity is just the beginning of her journey. Her return to her remote village uncovers a quiet yet persistent force that enables her to change lives and infuse her people with compassion, hope, and new-found strength.
Dysfunctional family dramas are a dime a dozen, but The Hamsters provides a golden spin that will have you re-thinking the genre. Teen sibs Juan and Jessica think they're special; consistently and creatively getting away with bad behavior. But their claim on secret misdeeds is nothing compared to their parents, who have longer histories of deceit and more egregious examples. Despite appearances, Dad is unemployed and unemployable and Mom harbors salacious thoughts to compensate for her rapidly declining beauty. Very real and often downright funny, The Hamsters pulls us into the warped glass of a fun house mirror.
In a wry and hilarious commentary on the American obsession with youth and looks, Miss India Americadives into the rabbit hole of beauty pageants and finds a world even more bizarre than one would expect. Lily is a shining star in almost everything she does, but panics when her boyfriend dumps her for a hot, but utterly clueless beauty queen. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, Lily reasons and to get her beau back, sets out to become Miss India America, which, in Lily's mind, should be a snap. Well, not so fast, girl; better fasten your seat belt for a very bumpy ride. Join film stars Tiya Sircar (The Internship) and Hannah Simone (New Girl) for this exciting world premiere.
More on Queen and Country: In Queen and Country, Boorman continues the story of Bill Rohan, nine years after the Blitz and the youthful exploits of Hope and Glory. But this tale is no mere sequel. War again is at hand, but this time it's distant Korea and grown-up Rohan, performing his National Service in the Army, is at risk of being sent to this new, far from home, front. Though he escapes deployment, he ends up in the clutches of nasty Sergeant Major and almost worse, in the throes of head over heels love with a gorgeous blonde. As in all of Mr. Boorman's work, the fine art is in the details, and he captures perfectly the travails of a nation not yet recovered from war and the beautiful, yet awkward blossoming of a young man amidst the roiling chaos.
Halfdan (hallf' dun) Hussey Director and Co-Founder, Cinequest