Happy birthday to Miami Film Festival! In its 35th year, the fest will show 148 films on movie screens around Miami, as well as host parties, dinners, panel discussions, and other celebrations of cinema in South Florida. Even the most devoted moviegoer couldn't see and do it all. But if you're looking for a place to start, check out New Times' best bets.
Opening Night: Tully. When Jason Reitman's first film, 2005's Thank You for Smoking, premiered at Miami Film Festival, audiences hoped he would continue delivering great work. In the years since, he hasn't disappointed, especially when paired with screenwriter Diablo Cody. As we saw in Juno and Young Adult, the two are a match made in heaven, and Tully is no exception. Reitman's latest centers on Marlo, an overwhelmed mother played by Charlize Theron (who also starred in Young Adult). When Marlo's brother gifts her a nanny for her baby, the titular character, played by Mackenzie Davis, changes everything about Marlo's life.
Miami Film Festival opens March 9 with a screening of Tully, which Reitman himself will attend. Audiences can choose to simply watch the film, enjoy an opening-night party in the Design District's Jungle Plaza, or dig into a post-show feast at East, Miami. — Juan Barquin
Tully screening. 7 p.m. Friday, March 9, at the Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444; olympiatheater.org. Tickets cost $30 via miamifilmfestival.com.
Opening-night dinner. 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 9, at East, Miami, 788 Brickell Plaza, Miami; 305-712-7000; east-miami.com. Tickets cost $250 via miamifilmfestival.com and include admission to the opening-night screening of Tully.
Into the Jungle Opening-Night Party. 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 9, in Jungle Plaza, 3801 NE First Ave., Miami; miamifilmfestival.com. Tickets cost $95 via miamifilmfestival.com.
A Conversation With Michel Hazanavicius. With The Artist (2011), Parisian director Michel Hazanavicius showed his profound conviction in cinema's charms. He expressed an uncynical love for silent film that was infectious, earning the picture multiple awards at Cannes, where Jean Dujardin won for best actor, and several Oscars. Now the real test for his passion arrives with a bold take on French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard.
Described by festival organizers as a “warts-and-all portrait of the artist as a young man,” Godard Mon Amour (Le Redoubtable) takes place in 1967, the year before a near-revolution almost changed the fabric of the political system in France. Godard, who is still making movies at age 87, is known as much for his socialist political views as for his love affairs with collaborators such as actress Anna Karina. Louis Garrel, French actor and son of the later-period New Wave filmmaker Philippe Garrel, plays the iconic director after his divorce from Karina, when he's involved with a new muse, student activist Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin).
Hazanavicius reached a high point early in his career when The Artist won both the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars in addition to three other Academy Awards. This is his second feature since, so during an extended conversation before the screening at Miami Film Festival, it will be interesting to hear what life is like for a director after such a pinnacle. 7:45 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Regal South Beach, 1120 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 844-462-7342; regmovies.com. Tickets cost $25 via miamifilmfestival.com. — Hans Morgenstern
A Conversation With Paul Schrader. The guy who wrote the script for Taxi Driver is coming to Miami. That’s probably all most people need to know about Miami Film Festival’s Paul Schrader “Marquee Series” event March 14. However, to cinephiles, Schrader is so much more than the writer of Martin Scorsese’s most startling film. Schrader has since gone on to direct 21 feature films, including Cat People (1982), Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), and Affliction (1997). He’s also written incredible essays on film such as a recent series in Film Comment called “Game Changers” that examined influential moments in moviemaking that created techniques and tools such as the closeup, montage, and steadicam.
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At this year’s festival, Schrader will present the Florida premiere of his latest directorial effort, First Reformed, starring Amanda Seyfried and Ethan Hawke. The film sees Hawke playing a church minister whose perspective on faith is tested when a pregnant woman (Seyfried) and her environmental activist husband visit him for counseling. Before the screening, Schrader will be present for an in-depth conversation about his career and the future of cinema. 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at Regal South Beach, 1120 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 844-462-7342; regmovies.com. Tickets cost $25 via miamifilmfestival.com. — Hans Morgenstern
Isabelle Huppert Tribute and Screening of Souvenir. Isabelle Huppert is the greatest actress alive. That statement isn’t an exaggeration. With more than 100 films in her oeuvre and rarely a subpar performance, Huppert has won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival twice, as well as two César Awards, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe. With three films releasing early this year and others to come, Huppert will attend Miami Film Festival's tribute to her greatness and participate in an extended conversation following a screening of her film Souvenir. The ticket comes with not only the screening and the discussion but also a "behind the curtain" party at the Olympia Theater. 7 p.m. Friday, March 16, at the Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444; olympiatheater.org. Tickets cost $85 via miamifilmfestival.com. — Juan Barquin
Miami Film Festival 2018. Friday, March 9, through Sunday, March 18, at various Miami venues; 305-237-FILM; miamifilmfestival.com. Tickets cost $10 to $13 for single screenings and $30 to $250 for special events.