American Specials, one of our most successful film programs, comprises, year after year, films that stand out in the United States and worldwide, not only for their proposed topics and filming style, but also because of their highly skilled execution, which has often brought their directors and actors into the spotlight during the awards season.
Today we announce the film titles that we put forward as being an appealing outlook on 2018 American cinema, going from Wildlife, a magnificent directorial debut by acclaimed actor Paul Dano and starring Jake Gyllenhaal; American Animals, which successfully premiered at Sundance, directed by Bart Layton and starring the young Evan Peters; Widows, the most recent film by renowned director Steve McQueen, starring Viola Davis and Liam Neeson; and Destroyer, powerfully played by Nicole Kidman and directed by Karyn Kusama.
The films featured in American Specials, which have toured the most prestigious international film festivals and have been internationally acclaimed by critics and audiences, will be screened from Wednesday, November 7th to Sunday, November 11th at Cinemex Puerto Paraíso in Cabo San Lucas, in the context of the 7th Edition of the Los Cabos International Film Festival.
See the full details at: www.cabosfilmfestival.com
Dir. Steve McQueen
When she learns about her husband’s death at the hands of the police, Veronica (Viola Davis) finds out that her wealthy lifestyle is the result of her partner’s (Liam Neeson) criminal activities. While still mourning, political bigwigs request she pays off her late husband’s million-dollar debt. Veronica then decides to contact three women she has never met before (Michelle Rodríguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo), and who have only one thing in common with her—they all are widows of members of a criminal gang that no longer exists. Her plan is to carry out one last big robbery that would clear them of all debt and allow them to start anew, in a male- dominated world.
Steve McQueen’s fourth feature film is a compelling criminal drama rooted in the gender and racial tensions in modern-day Chicago. With his impeccable visual style, the director brings together one of the most powerful ensemble of actors in recent years, led by the interpretative strength of Viola Davis.
Dir. Karyn Kusama
Erin Bell (an unrecognizable Nicole Kidman), a Los Angeles police detective, approaches the scene of an intriguing crime—a man covered in blood lies facing down, and the only clue to finding the culprit is a one-dollar bill soaked in purple paint. Bell declares she knows the murderer’s identity thanks to an undercover mission she took part in a few years back, in which she infiltrated a violent criminal gang. The leader of the gang, who has presumably returned, destroyed Bell’s personal life back then, and this time she would not let him go unpunished.
This is the starting point for Karyn Kusama—whose expert storytelling is indisputable throughout the fascinating timeline games in this film—to unfold a contemporary film noir in a visceral and authentic L.A.. Kidman delivers a chameleonic and fierce interpretation of Bell, full of nuances, which makes her worthy of standing alongside the great male anti-hero of this genre.
Dir. Paul Dano
Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) is dismissed from his job in a humiliating way, in front of his teenage son Joe (Ed Oxenbould). Over the last few years, the family had been moving cities regularly, in the hopes of finding a better life, which they believed to have finally found in a small town of Montana. Faced with this new situation—and dismissing his wife Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and his son Joe’s pleads—Jerry decides to sign up to fight a devastating fire that is consuming the surrounding mountains. Left to their own devices, mother and son reconfigure their family, switching roles: Joe becomes the adult and Jeanette becomes the sole provider who ensures the family’s livelihood.
With Mexican DOP Diego García’s impeccable photography, acclaimed actor Paul Dano’s debut as a film is an elegant and detail-oriented intimate journey, full of nuances and complex characters; this has positioned him as a new strong voice in American cinema.
Dir. Bart Layton
Based on a true story, American Animals describes the misadventure of four bright students from well-off families who, wanting to break free from their mundane and insignificant lives in a Kentucky small town, sought media fame by planning the robbery of antique books safe kept at their university. Their greatest obstacle was their own childish naivety.
Through the performance of an impeccable cast and by working with the real authors of this robbery in a documentary research style, Bart Layton offers us, in his first fiction feature film, an unusual gangsters movie, which uses humor to catalyze the drama of some small-town teenagers and their dreams of greatness.