By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Thursday, November 1st, sees the start of the biggest film festival in Rio’s calendar, ‘Festival do Rio’ (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival). The eleven-day festival (November 1st to Sunday, November 11th) will open with a midnight screening of British director Steve McQueen’s latest film, ‘The Widows’.
Th 20th edition of Festival do Rio will screen 84 Brazilian productions across its various sections during the celebration of the cinematographic arts. The wealth and depth of the Brazilian films screening reinforces the festival’s place as the main global showcase for Brazilian productions.
There are 64 full-length features – including co-productions – and twenty shorts will also give Rio’s cinema-going crowd the chance to meet and talk with the biggest names and talents working in Brazil’s cinema industry – and from both sides of the camera – at gala screenings and discussions that will be open to the public.
Première Brasil is the main competitive section of the festival, will screen 48 features and twenty shorts by new and established directors. A winner will be announced for the best film in the categories of fiction, documentary and short, while an official jury will award the festival’s Redentor trophy.
With 200 films from over sixty countries on show, there is certainly going to be something for everyone. Of particular note are the four classics of Brazilian cinema that will be presented in their newly restored versions: 1998’s ‘Central do Brasil’ (Center of Brazil) by Walter Salles, Hector Babenco’s 1981 film, ‘Pixote, a Lei do Mais Fraco’ (Pixote, the Law of the Weakest).
Also, in a special tribute to the recently deceased Brazilian director Nelson Pereira dos Santos, they will also be showing his two classic carioca films, 1955’s ‘Rio, 40 Graus’ (Rio, 40 Degrees) and 1957’s ‘Rio, Zona Norte’ (Rio, North Zone).
Closing the festival on Sunday, November 11th at Kinoplex São Luiz in Flamengo will be ‘O Grande Circo Místico’ (The Great Mystic Circus) directed by Carlos Diegues and starring Jesuíta Barbosa, Bruna Linzmeyer, and Vincent Cassel, among others.
Given the truly international nature of the festival, it’s not surprising that plenty of the films are either American or English productions. Lars Von Trier’s new film, ‘The House that Jack Built,’ starring Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman and Bruno Ganz, will be playing throughout the festival. Other notable films include ‘Colette,’ starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West; and ‘The Front Runner,’ starring Hugh Jackman.
‘Zimna Wojna’ (Cold War) by Pawel Pawlikowski, director of 2013’s ‘Ida,’ will also be showing at the festival. Other films featured are 1972’s ‘Imagine,’ a surreal journey through the life of John Lennon, featuring Fred Astaire, Andy Warhol and George Harrison, among others. This festival will also be a great opportunity to see Spike Lee’s acclaimed ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, and Laura Harrier.
Legendary French ‘Nouvelle Vague’ director Jean-Luc Godard will also be showing his latest film, ‘Le livre d’image’ (The Image Book). There will also be a chance to see the documentary, ‘Maria by Callas’ which is all about the Greek-American singer Maria Callas, in her own words. Other documentaries include ‘Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.’ a study of British-Sri Lankan singer and activist Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam.
If that isn’t enough, there is also a chance to see the film ‘At Eternity’s Gate,’ starring Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh, and directed by Julian Schnabel, who also made ‘Basquiat,’ the 1996 biopic of New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose works are currently being exhibited at Rio’s CCBB.
What: 20th Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival (Festival do Rio)
When: Thursday, November 1st, to Sunday, November 11th; see program for showtimes
Where: Venues vary; see program for details
Entrance: Prices vary; see program for details