In the theater before each screening at AFIFest 2018 Presented by Audi, there are slides about AFI that show sponsors and donors. Those are all very important. Those are the reasons AFIFest is free to the public. But there are also those not listed because there are so many of them—the volunteers. It takes lots of volunteers to make a festival work. Some of their work is behind the scene, or they may be on their feet for hours wrangling the lines or collecting tickets and queue cards. Each screening gives the volunteers a round of applause (which they probably never hear.) If there is a festival near you, consider volunteering. At least you’ll get a t-shirt out of it—and you’ll help people see some wonderful films.
Dogman is Italy’s official entry for Oscar consideration. Directed by Matteo Garone, it is the story of Marcello (Marcello Fonte), of a dog groomer who gets caught up in the criminal underworld. Marcello is meek and caring, but the local thug Simone (Edoardo Pesce) terrorizes him and pushes him into crime. In time Marcello loses everything important to him and must find a way out of Simone’s grip. But at what cost?
The secrets of the past come out in Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben) from director Asghar Farhadi. When Laura (Penélope Cruz) returns home to Spain for her sister’s wedding, there is great celebration. But when her daughter is kidnapped, the story turns dark and suspenseful. Her childhood love, Paco (Javier Bardem), becomes highly invested in trying to help, putting both of their marriages at risk. As the days go on, questions arise of old relationships and old resentments. Is it the work of outsiders, or is it someone close to the family? Will the old sparks bring new love or destroy everyone involved? Everybody Knows is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters in February.
Yorgos Lanthimos has created some bizarre societies for his films, but perhaps nothing quite like the British royal household during Queen Anne’s reign in The Favourite. Lady Sarah (Rachel Weiss) is Queen Anne’s (Olivia Colman) confidant and advisor. She is also the éminence grise, controlling the kingdom through her influence with the queen (who needs all the help she can get because she is a twit). When her down-on-her-luck cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) turns up seeking a post, she is sent to work as a scullery maid but, bit by bit, Abigail works her way around Sarah and into the Queen’s service. Abigail becomes allied with the parliamentary opposition, thwarting Sarah’s work with the prime minister. This is a Machiavellian comedy about deception and power. Lanthimos fans will surely appreciate his humor. The Favourite opens in theaters later this month.