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"Daughter of Rage" And More Art House Hits at the '23 Miami Film Fest

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The Miami Film Festival is more than a regional event for movie buffs taking shelter from the hot Caribbean sun for a couple of hours in an air-conditioned theater. On its 40th edition, it remains a crucial entry point to the US market for Spanish-language films. You will find your share of high-profile films coming off other film festivals - like Patricia Ortega’s Mamacruz, fresh off Sundance. Plenty of Spanish-speaking films premiere at Miami Fest for its historic commitment to el cine en español.

The program embraces multicultural identity, with over 140 films from 30 countries. This year, star power comes from Nicolas Cage, who will get the Variety Legends and Groundbreakers Award. Mexican actor Diego Luna will also be around to receive the Variety Virtuoso Award.

And there are the movies, too! Check out some of the titles we are most looking forward to.


Laura Baumeister's hard-hitting drama premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. It now arrives in Miami for its U.S. debut. Maria (Ara Alejandra Medal) is an 11-year-old girl devoted to her mother, Lilibeth (Virginia Sevilla). They do grueling work in Nicaragua's largest landfill to survive. They may be poor, but at least they have each other until unexpected circumstances force them apart. The movie competes for the Jonathan Ressler First Feature Award. You can see Baumeister's short film Ombligo de Agua on Popflick.


An ex-convict tries to rejoin civilian life as he competes for his daughter's affection against her stepfather. But there is a catch. The other man has an advantage, with respectability and money to spare, as an influential evangelical pastor in a conservative society. The movie won the Best Screenplay Award at the International Narrative Competition at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.


Mikel (Jose Usabiaga) is a young basque man who impulsively moves to Argentina. He gets more than he bargained for when his distant relatives force him to participate in an elaborate ruse to make Grandma believe she lives in the '50s. Wackiness ensues.


Adam (Tawfeek Barhom) is a young and innocent student of Islam who gets mixed up in a deadly conspiracy around the election of a new Grand Iman. Faith and politics collide in a volatile plot. Tarek Saleh's movie was in the running for the Palme d'Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and earned the Best Screenplay Award. "Cairo Conspiracy" is an outstanding follow-up to his international breakthrough, The Nile Hilton Incident (2017). Check out our review. 


Director-Screenwriter Santiago Mitre is the favorite to snatch the Best Foreign Film Oscar with Argentina in 1985. The overachieving filmmaker has another 2022 title rolling around the film festivals festival. José (Daniel Handler) and Lucie (Vimala Ponds) are Argentinian expats living in France, going through a midlife crisis made even worse by the demands of raising a baby. When José loses his job, he finds an outlet for his simmering rage in a testy friendship with his snotty French neighbor Jean-Claude (Melvil Poupaud). It is distributed in France as Petite Fleur (Little Flower) for reasons I would like someone to explain.


A high-concept romantic comedy gets twisted through the dark sensibility of Spain’s prime cult filmmaker, Alex de la Iglesia. Alberto San Juan, Blanca Suárez, Ernesto Alterio, and Rubén Cortada use an application to share a car ride to Madrid, with an unexpected detour through chaos and mayhem.


Martinez is a lonely, mature Chilean bachelor living in Mexico City. As he faces impending retirement, he gets obsessed with his downstairs neighbor, a romantically-minded, equally lonely woman. Alas, there is one caveat: she died a few weeks before. The whole relationship develops post-mortem, with the man rummaging through her discarded belongings. It sounds dark, but Lorena Padilla’s debut film is an understated comedy with large reserves of compassion for her eccentric characters. Check out our interview with director Lorena Padilla.


Leila (Taraneh Alidoosti) cares for her elderly father and four spineless brothers. Such is life for many women in conservative Iran, but Leila is no wallflower. When her father comes up with an unexpected inheritance, she plans to push the family upwards on the social scale, but her efforts might just as well doom them. Saeed Roustayi’s film was in the run for the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and got the FIPRESCI Award.


Maryna Er Gorbach’s film follows a family living on the frontier between Russia and Ukraine as the war between the two countries begins. A civilian airplane crashes nearby and pushes the conflict to the extreme. The movie won the Best Directing Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, the Panorama Prize, and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival. Check out our review. 


A French couple, played by Denis Menochet and Marina Fois, move to an idyllic small town in Galicia, Spain. He may be pursuing a lifelong dream, but it becomes a real-life nightmare when they get on the wrong side of their new neighbors. The trailer triggers memories of Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971) and Canoa (Felipe Cazals, 1976). The Beasts was the biggest winner at the Goya Awards, gathering nine prizes, including Best Film and Best Director. It also won the César Award for Best International Film. Read our review. 


A group of young anti-oil activists is about to discover that one person’s cause is another one’s terrorist threat. After making the gimmicky horror Cam (2018), Daniel Goldhaber serves an incendiary drama about idealist youth playing with fire. The cast includes Sasha Lane, discovered by Andrea Arnold in the outstanding American Honey (2016), and Lukas Gage, who played a hapless cabana boy in the first season of HBOMax's breakthrough hit series The White Lotus. Check out our full review. 


Chilean director Matías Bizé put marital strife inside a pressure cooker. Antonia Zegers and Néstor Cantillana play a couple who punish their kid by dropping him in a forest during a family outing. They return for him a few minutes later, but he is nowhere to be found. Did he get lost, or did he hide away to torment them and get even? Catalina Saavedra (The Maid) plays a policewoman who must find the truth. Think Bunny Lake is Missing (Otto Prmeinger, 1965) meets Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009).

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