Here are our carefully curated top picks from this week's films. Theaters and showtimes are listed after each description. For a full listing, visit FLIFF.com.
As Luck Would Have It
A bitingly funny and often perverse satire on reality television and the personal effect of today's economy. There were good and promising times for creative advertising guru Roberto... but it has been awhile since his big success launching new jingles and slogans. Now out of work for an extended time, he swallows his pride and returns to the company where he once was employed, ready (in his mind) to accept any position he can wrangle. But things do not go as planned. However, where one door shuts, another is opened, and opportunity walks in. Spanish comedian Jose Mota stars as Roberto in a chillingly funny performance that illustrates his comic timing and his ability to command the screen with minimal movement and draw upon our sympathies. Oscar nominee Salma Hayek as his wife gives a powerful performance, walking a tightrope demanding respect amid the moral decay of the situation. And director Inglesia keeps the film marching forward with a keen eye for pacing.
Muvico Pompano, 2315 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach. Thursday, October 25, 6:15 p.m.
In this Sundance 2012's Special Jury Award Winner, Kate and Charlie are a young married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of music, laughter, and drinking — especially the drinking. When Kate's drinking leads her to dangerous places and her job as a schoolteacher is put into jeopardy, she decides to join AA and get sober. With the help of her friend and sponsor, Jenny, and the vice principal at her school, the awkward but well-intentioned Mr. Davies, Kate takes steps toward improving her health and life. Sobriety isn't as easy as Kate had anticipated. Her new lifestyle brings to the surface a troubling relationship with her mother, the lies she's told her employer, and the question of whether her relationship with Charlie is built on love or is just boozy diversion from adulthood.
Muvico Pompano, Thursday, October 25, 8 p.m.
Shadow Dancer is a gripping, emotional thriller about a woman forced to betray all she believes in for the sake of her son. It is 1993, and single mother Collette McVeigh is a Republican living in Belfast with her mother and hardliner IRA brothers. When she is arrested in London following an aborted IRA bomb plot, an MI5 officer offers her a choice: lose everything and go to prison for 25 years or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. With her son's life in her hands, Collette chooses to return home, but when her brothers' secret operation is ambushed, suspicions of an informer are raised within the IRA, and Collette finds herself and her family in grave danger.
Shadow Dancer is a provocative thriller about one woman's incredible fight to protect her son while being forced to betray those she loves. Starring Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough, the film is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh.
Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale. Friday, October 26, 8 p.m.
Sunrise Civic Theatre, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise. Saturday, October 27, 3:30 p.m.
Sharon Bar-Ziv's drama surrounding an Israeli military investigator is disturbing on many levels. Its rawness lends an aura of total believability, and that perhaps fuels the unsettling nature of the work. Anna, an officer in the Israeli army, is placed as lead investigator of a war crime involving the leader of a commando unit charged with brutalizing a Palestinian man in the occupied territories. Questions pervade on both sides. Loyalty, nationalism, duty to country, and basic issues of right and wrong collide in an intense confrontation as Anna seeks the truth at any cost. Bar-Ziv's direction is as precise as a watchmaker. His small yet powerful ensemble, led by Asia Naifeld as the determined Anna, brings such force to the performances that the collisions are explosive. In Hebrew, with English subtitles.
Muvico Pompano, Saturday, October 27, 3 p.m.
Sunrise Civic Theatre, Sunday, October 28, 6 p.m.
Cinema Paradiso, Tuesday, October 30, 6:15 p.m.
South Florida Shorts
These five short films produced by local filmmakers are each less than 20 minutes long:
A falsely accused former high school football star has his dreams put on hold. Written by Joe Pisciotta. Produced by madridSTREETfilms. Starring Bertrand E. Boyd II, Lisagaye Tomlinson, Regina Gonzalez, Louis Scarano, and Michael Pavlov. Nine minutes.
The Occupation of Miami
The Occupation of Miami is a documentary short about a group of protesters that called Miami's Government Center home for more than three months. Following the protest of Occupy Wall Street, a group of South Floridians decided to bring the protest to Miami to voice their opinions about numerous issues plaguing our society. Produced by the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Filmed by Jonathan Delgado, Michael Glier, and Chris Davidson. Featuring Isis Miller. 14 minutes.
A jogger is stalked by a gang of ducks. Produced by Shar K. Fromhoff, Jason Martin, and Rick Santese. Screenplay by Jason Martin and Rick Santese. Starring Jason Martin, Jonathan Whittaker, Giana Gorka, Ava Norton, Armando B. Santese, and Elizabeth Norton. Six minutes.
A new heart should mean a new beginning. For Megan, is it the beginning of the end? Produced by Beaumont Films in association with Indelible Works, Executive Producer Jaime A. Figarola, Producer Cristina Figarola, and Coproducer Gisselle Legere. Written by Gisselle Legere. Starring Cristina Figarola, Elizabeth Lazo. and Eric Aragon. 17 minutes.
La Pageant Diva
Valeria Consuelo Montenegro Martinez de la Paz is the undisputed beauty-queen maker north of Havana, or so she believes. With the help of her devoted sidekick, Valentino, the torture and torment her hopeful disciples endure is just a glimpse of how far she will go to relive the memory of holding that crown up high. Produced by Franco Parente and Jonathan David Kane. Written by Franco Parente. Starring Elika Crespo, Giovanni Profera, Ashley Armenteros, Meghan Perkins, Kathryn Lee, Joe Kimble, and Valeria Orsini. 14 minutes. English and Spanish, with English subtitles.
Cinema Paradiso, Saturday, October 27, 8 p.m.
Muvico Pompano, Tuesday, October 30, 2 p.m. and Wednesday, October 31, 4 p.m.
Set in a stunning background of colorful landscapes, Go Ganges! captures the danger, joy, and significance of the mighty Ganges River when two explorers attempt to travel its length by any means possible. The adventurers provide a colorful testimony to the distress the river endures and why it merits reprieve as an irreplaceable emblem. Josh Thomas and J.J. Kelley, the comic pair of Dudes on Media and the makers of the Emmy-nominated documentary Paddle to Seattle, team once again. Will their Alaskan wilderness skills save them on the most populated river in the world? Journey to India on the heels of the expedition; there, you'll encounter the unspeakable and the divine.
Cinema Paradiso, Sunday, October 28, 12:30 p.m.
Daniel Schechter penned The Big Bad Swim, which won FLIFF's Best American Indie in 2006. Daniel directs his new film, Supporting Characters, which he cowrote with lead actor Tarick Lowe. The heroes are best buds, Darryl and Nick. They are a film editing team and have passion for what they do, yet still realize they are in an unappreciated and often unsung field. The boys work in the NY indie scene working on low-budget films. They are collaborating on an elixir to cure a lousy film and have their hands full. As art imitates life, Nick and Darryl find the reverse can be perverse as well when their personal relationships and their chemistry could benefit from some self-editing. Clever, real, and at times comically surreal, Supporting Characters is a pizza pie with slices of New York, lovers, friends, and the film industry as toppings.
Sunrise Civic Theatre, Sunday, October 28, 7:45 p.m.