Welcome to Hollywood and the AFIFest Presented by Audi. This is an amzing festival that brings together some of the world best filmmakers and new talent bringing fresh voices to the cinema. To be sure, there are more movies than anyone can get to, which makes me appreciate the programmers’ job of finding the best of the best.
I started the festival with what is actually the first episode of a limited TV series. The opening episode of I Am the Night introduced us to two main stories that will come together as the series moves forward. In one, Pat (India Eisley), a light-skinned African-American girl, discovers that she is actually the granddaughter of a rich white doctor in L.A. After a confrontation with the woman who raised her, she sets off to L.A. to find who she really is. Meanwhile in L.A., Jay Singletary (Chris Pine) is a washed-up photojournalist who will do anything to get a picture he can sell. I have no doubt that we’ll discover that what he’s really searching for is redemption. At the end of episode one, things just begin to turn dark and ominous. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of this six-hour series based in a true story. One of the reasons is that it is executive produced and the first episodes are directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). It will play on TNT in January.
In the evening I took in a French film, Non-Fiction (Double Vies), a comedy of relationships from director Olivier Assayas. It is the story of a husband and wife (Guillaume Canet and Juliette Binoche). He runs a publishing house; she is a TV actress on a successful police procedural show. We learn that all the characters are cheating on their partners, all suspect their partners are cheating on them, but does it matter. This is a very talky film, mostly taking place at dinner parties. The main discussion is the shift from old media to new and how that affects our idea of truth. More importantly, it questions how, in a post-truth world, we might think our subjective desire of reality may be more important than reality itself. There is a great deal of cynicism as the film plays out. I can’t find a North American release date for this, but I’m sure we’ll get a chance to see it in theaters.