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FLIFF: 1945 and Black Panther opens, MIFF announces iconic guests

Posted on 15 February 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Two new films open this weekend, one full of sound and fury from the Walt Disney marketing machine, the other quietly garnering awards on the film festival circuit. There will be no contest as to who the box office champion will be this weekend. Through contrasting filmmaking, there is no mistaking the variety of good films opening this weekend.

1945 opens when a train drops off an Orthodox Jew and his full grown son at a Hungarian village in August in 1945. The United States has dropped the atomic bomb in Japan and battles of World War II have subsided. It is the wedding day for the town clerk, but his focus seems distracted by the two visitors. Could these two men be heirs to the Jews who were deported during the Holocaust?

In the Hungarian language with English subtitles and clocking in at 90 minutes, 1945 is the most unique epic on the big screen. Shot in black & white film stock, 1945 echoes many great American Westerns, most notably 3:10 to Yuma and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. It is a story about the Holocaust, but with an emphasis upon living with the consequences of surviving this horrible time.

Black Panther is the 18th film in the Marvel Comic Universe, the penultimate film before Avengers: Infinity War opens this May 4. While this information provides subtext and an appreciation for the vast tapestry of these Marvel movies, Black Panther is a stand-alone movie whose lead character was introduced two years ago in Captain America: Civil War.

With the demise of his father and king, Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the heir to the throne of Wakanda, a legendary country in the hidden jungles of Africa. Isolated for thousands of years, Wakanda is considered a third-world country. In fact, it is a country with hidden technical and medical superiority. Through ritual and tradition, Prince T’Challa is proclaimed King and is given the additional title of “Black Panther” — protector of the kingdom.

As the Black Panther, King T’Challa’s first job is to bring Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) to justice. Besides being implicated with the death of Black Panther’s father, Klaue has been selling Wakanda weapons to terrorist organizations throughout the world. One customer — Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) — has had a grudge with the Wakanda leadership since the Rodney King riots of 1992. This conflict leads to a satisfying climax that works as a big comic book epic, while focusing on a human story about two men who qualify as the modern day version of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper.

1945 and Black Panther create contrasting forms of escapism this weekend.

After the Olympics, South Florida’s longest standing film festival, The Miami International Film Festival, kicks off its 35th year. Writer/Director Jason Reitman will be presenting Tully, starring Charlize Theron, and Isabelle Huppert will be receiving the Precious Gem – Icon Award for her body of work. For a list of films and times, visit www.miamifilmfestival.com.

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