Miami Film Festival 2015: Five Movies to See in the Final Week

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As the curtains prepare to close on the 32nd-annual Miami Dade College's Miami International Film Festival, there are still plenty of films left to see. From foreign dramas to locally made documentaries, the last few days of MIFF offer cinephiles a bevy of diverse and interesting choices. We've rounded up a few of our favorites to guide you until the very end. You have until only Sunday, so make it count.

See also: Three Movies to Catch at MIFF 2015: Les Combattants, Guidance, and Sangue Azul

Love at First Fight

As always with MIFF, it helps to like foreign films. Love at First Fight comes from France and swept through Directors' Fortnight at Cannes last year, where it won all three prizes. If that wasn't impressive enough, the film went on to win major awards at the Césars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, including best first film for director Thomas Cailley. Love at First Fight tells the story of a young woman's (Adèle Haenel, who also won a best acting César) quest to prove she's tough enough to join the special forces in France and the man who follows her into training.

The film screens Saturday, March 14, at 7 p.m. at O Cinema Miami Beach, 500 71st St., Miami Beach.

The Price of Fame

French actor/director Xavier Beauvois, previously nominated for an Oscar for Gods and Monsters, returns with a tonal shift in The Price of Fame. Based on a true story, the film follows two bumbling crooks who dig up comedian Charlie Chaplin's remains for ransom money. Sure, it sounds like a big joke, but Beauvois shows great empathy for his characters, who act out of desperation.

The film shows Friday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas South Beach, 1120 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach.

Architecture of Color

Architecture of Color is a pleasant documentary about Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, likely one of the most important women artists currently working -- and the subject of a recent Pérez Art Museum Miami exhibition. Her captivating and colorful work makes this documentary zip by. The filmmakers spend a lot of time watching her work, capturing moments of her waffling between color choices for her fantastic, kaleidoscopic large-scale paintings. There's even a marvelous time-lapse sequence of her completing a piece.

The 47-minute documentary is preceded by two outstanding short films by local filmmakers that premiered at the Borscht Film Festival and then traveled to Sundance: the poetic documentary about an elderly Haitian machete master, Papa Machete, directed by Jonathan David Kane, and the computer-animated existential short, Sun Like a Big Dark Animal, by filmmaking collective Bleeding Palm.

The films show Saturday, March 14, at 1 p.m. at MDC Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St., Miami.

Dawg Fight

Local filmmaking hero Billy Corben returns to MIFF with Dawg Fight, a documentary that offers an up-close look at the dark underside of South Florida. It's what Corben, who made his feature debut at the festival with Cocaine Cowboys, has always done best. His latest covers the bare-knuckle street-fight culture in the South Miami-Dade area of Perrine. It's disturbingly brutal yet offers a complicated look at the relationship between violence and hopelessness, particularly in destitute communities defined by desperation.

The film screens Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at O Cinema Miami Beach and will continue for a weeklong run at the indie art house.

The Salt of the Earth

For artsy documentaries, you can't beat The Salt of the Earth, a collaboration between German filmmaking master Wim Wenders and relative newcomer Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. Salgado is the son of noted Brazilian war and nature photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, whose socially conscious work is the film's subject.

The documentary screens Sunday, March 15, at 9 p.m. at Regal Cinemas South Beach.

Despite some heavy subject matter at this year's fest, MIFF organizers have always known how to throw a party. Closing night begins Saturday, March 14, with an awards ceremony at the lavish Olympia Theater at Gusman Center (174 E. Flagler St., Miami). Five juried awards will be given out: the Park Grove Shorts Competition, the Lexus Opera Prima Iberoamerican Competition, the Knight Competition, the Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award, and the audience-voted Knight Documentary Achievement Award.

The festival will cap off its 165 screenings with a March 14 closing party at 9 p.m. at the historic Alfred I. DuPont Building (169 E. Flagler St., Miami). There, the festival's favorite awards -- the audience's picks for best feature and best short -- will be handed out amid drinks, culinary delights, and plenty of entertainment.

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