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More cinema from Mill Valley

by David Lamble

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in director Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story." Photo: Courtesy MVFF
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in director Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story." Photo: Courtesy MVFF  

The 2019 Mill Valley Film Festival more than fulfills its duty of showcasing the best of the year's award-worthy films. The last four days (Oct. 10-13) place a special emphasis on films examining family issues, including the expanding definitions of family pioneered by LGBTQ communities. The films play in venues across the North Bay: the Sequoia, Smith San Rafael Film Center, the Lark, Larkspur Landing and BAM/PFA.

"Marriage Story" Writer-director Noah Baumbach expands his canvas as a couple splitting up (Adam Driver & Scarlett Johansson) fight their domestic civil war from New York to California and back. Driver is compelling as a man who experiences the breakup as both an emotional and a physical gut-punch. Baumbach will receive the MVFF Award 10/12 at the Smith Rafael Film Center. The film will also play the Sequoia 10/13.

"Frankie" Openly gay director Ira Sachs returns with a poignant family reunion on Portugal's sublime Atlantic coast. French diva Isabelle Huppert is the emotionally seductive TV/film star who lures the important people in her life to an operatic farewell. With Marisa Tomei, Jeremie Renier and Brendan Gleeson. US premiere. (Sequoia, 10/10)

"Fourteen" New York indie film director Dan Sallitt follows the up-and-down friendship of teen friends Mara and Jo. (Larkspur, 10/11, 13)

"A Hidden Life" Pioneering writer-director Terrence Malick presents the tale of a young WWII-era conscientious objector (a riveting August Diehl) who chose prison over service in the Nazi Army. (Sequoia, 10/12; Lark, 10/13)

"Les Miserables" Director Ladj Ly uses metaphors in Victor Hugo's classic tale of resistance to capture the class and racial tensions at work in a Paris suburb when a trio of police officers returns a kidnapped lion cub to its owner. (Rafael, 10/11; Sequoia, 10/12)

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