The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is right around the corner. Kicking off Friday, the event will screen over 160 films from around the globe, from wartime dramas to comedic heist movies. In particular, the fest has put together an impressive slate of documentaries. There’s almost too much to choose from, which is why New Times is shining a spotlight on some of the most interesting selections in the lineup. Here are our five most anticipated films at FLIFF.
1. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. You might not have heard of Link Wray, but you’ve definitely heard his song “Rumble.” So did Iggy Pop, Steven Van Zandt, and nearly every other rock icon. You might also not have known that Wray, as well as many other talented musicians in rock bands, was Native American. Opening FLIFF, the documentary Rumble tells the story of these indigenous rockers, illustrating their talents and the struggle to work in a difficult industry in an unkind country. The film will screen at Hard Rock Live, which, as a rock 'n' roll-themed venue located on the Seminole Tribe's land, is the best possible place. 5 p.m. Friday, November 3, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood.
2. The Thin Yellow Line. Film fans know the true mark of an expert storyteller is the ability to weave drama from the most mundane events. Case in point: This film, which counts Guillermo del Toro as a producer, is about a crew of guys painting lines on a highway, and it’s probably the most exciting thing you’ll see at FLIFF. Of course, it isn’t just any highway: It’s a 124-mile stretch of desert road in the sweltering heart of Mexico. They have less than 15 days to finish the task. You would never do such an job. Watch what happens to the guys who did. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, November 11, at Savor Cinema Fort Lauderdale, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, November 12, at Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.
3. Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait. Who is Julian Schnabel? Director of visionary films such as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Basquiat, and Before Night Falls? Celebrated painter, leading light of the neoexpressionist art movement, and toast of the New York scene of the 1980s? Just a guy who likes to paint and got lucky? He could be all of those things and more. In Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait, viewers will get an idea of just who he is, thanks in part by illustrious talking heads such as Laurie Anderson, Al Pacino, and Willem Dafoe. 2 and 6 p.m. Thursday, November 16, at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.
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4. Darkest Hour. Gary Oldman is not exactly the subtlest of actors. Luckily, Winston Churchill was not the subtlest of people. This is potentially a match made in heaven, and you’ll get to see it in action when Oldman suits up as the prime minister in Darkest Hour. But what’s most exciting about the film is the director, Joe Wright. You probably know him best as the hand behind the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” (the one in which everyone rates one another on a five-star scale), but he has also helmed the action film Hanna and period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice and the excellent Atonement. 4 p.m. Saturday, November 4, at Savor Cinema Fort Lauderdale, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, and 1 p.m. Sunday, November 5, at Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.
5. Cries From Syria. Much ink has been spilled over the devastating conflict in Syria over the past six years, but not enough of it has been from the people in the thick of it, the Syrians themselves. In Cries From Syria, director Evgeny Afineevsky takes the same approach he took in his last film, the Ukrainian Revolution-focused Winter on Fire, and lets the people control the story. He speaks to citizens from every niche of Syrian society, from journalists, activists, and ordinary folks to defected generals and government personnel. He’ll also speak to the audience at FLIFF about the film. 3 p.m. Sunday, October 29, and 6:15 p.m. Friday, November 10, at Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 954-342-9137.
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. October 27 through November 19 at various venues. Tickets cost $8 to $12 via fliff.com or $15 at the box office.