Allure

Giving perhaps their best film performances to date, Evan Rachel Wood (“Westwood”) and Denis O’Hare (“ American Horror Story are devastating in this searing portrait of broken families search for intimacy. Wood plays a troubled 30-year old searching for sexual and emotional fulfillment through a series of failed relationships. Her life changes when she befriends an unhappy 16-year-old girl, bringing her into her home under the guise of a confidante. Manipulation, denial and co-dependency fuel what soon becomes a fractured attempt at salvation. Recently selected by the Toronto International Film Festival as one of the 10 best Canadian films of 2017, this auspicious directing debut from noted fine art photographers (and brothers) Carlos and Jason Sanchez is sure to be one of the most provocative films of the year. Canada 2017 (105 minutes)

The Carer

The story of the unlikely bond between a cantankerous theatrical lion played by Brian Cox (“The Bourne Identity,” “Deadwood”) suffering from Parkinson’s and a young Hungarian woman who comes to care for him (Coco Konig making her film debut with this low-key but winning performance). An aspiring actress, she hopes to pick up some advice in the process. This May-December buddy movie is a glorious showcase for the great Brian Cox, who – in one of his best roles ever as the maddeningly self-absorbed but shrewdly observant thespian – deftly portrays a character considerably less vital than the actor himself. An added delight is to hear the co-stars banter in Shakespearian verse. UK 2016 (89 minutes)

The Young Offenders

Packed with warmth and wit, this outrageous charmer, inspired by the true story of Ireland’s largest cocaine seizure in 2007, is a riotous comic road movie about two clueless best friends — track-suited Irish teenagers who, though lazy, impulsive and ignorant remain endlessly lovable throughout. Making their way through the scenic Cork countryside on stolen bicycles in pursuit of one missing barrel of cocaine, our hapless heroes take us on a perfectly ludicrous adventure in this lively, dumb-but-smart comedy about big dreams and real friendship. Ireland 2016 (83 minutes)

A Fanatic Heart

In this winning documentary, Irish singer, songwriter and political activist Sir Bob Geldof traces W.B. Yeats’ life, from his earliest family trips to Sligo – which awakened a lifelong love of fairy tales and folklore – to international fame as the poet laureate of an emerging Ireland, to his Nobel Prize and role as Senator in the Irish Free State. Bringing his own infatuating passion to the subject, Sir Bob shows how Yeats led the way in imagining a new Ireland into being after the Famine and, after centuries of oppression, gave the people of Ireland back a story they could believe in – and fight for. A captivating tale of mythology, nation-building, insurgency and disillusion, the film is above all a story about how poetry and language can shape our world. Sting, Bono, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy and Colin Farrell are among those who perform Yeats’ poems. Ireland 2016 (100 minutes)

Onstage interview with filmmaker Sir Bob Geldof at 8:00 pm.

The Lodgers

This is a gothic ghost story about orphaned twins Edward and Rachel who share a crumbling manor in 1920s rural Ireland. Though isolated, they are not alone. They share the house with unseen entities that control them with three absolute rules: in bed with doors locked by midnight; never allow anyone across the threshold; never permanently leave the house. On the dawn of their 18th birthday, Rachel experiences a sexual awakening with a young Irishman returned from the war, and within him finds a kindred spirit – and the possibility of a life beyond the estate. As separate fates draw them apart, the twins must face the secrets they hold and the terrible truth about their ghostly tormentors. Ireland 2017 (92 minutes)

Darling

Introduced by Peter Robinson, movie reviewer for KALW 91.7 FM and editor of San Francisco’s Books & Travel.

Swinging 1960s Lomdon is enhanced by director John Schlesinger’s hallmark La Dolce Vita ambiance, satirical and at times seedy but always engaging. The young and indelibly beautiful Julie Christie won an Oscar as a meagerly talented girl, who progresses from an immature marriage into a series of shabby affairs. UK 1965 (128 minutes)

Ticket includes a tasting of Hendricks Gin – a British Classic 6:10-6:45pm
Compliments of Hendricks

Alfie

Michael Caine plays a true Cockney Casanova — a mischievous, funny and lovable anti-hero, who gets away with bad behavior. This is a romp through the ‘60s, in every sense a classic period movie expressing the best of the British New Wave. Prepare for an evening of sizzling seduction, roguish glamour and brilliant music set off by the popular theme song “What’s It All About, Alfie?’’ UK 1966 (104 minutes)

Ticket includes a tasting of Hendricks Gin – a British Classic 6:10-6:45pm
Compliments of Hendricks

A Taste of Honey

One of the first British movies to deal with the all but taboo subjects of sex, abortion, and homosexuality. A critical and commercial success, it brought a distinctly feminine sensibility to the gritty postwar British New Wave. Rita Tushingham is luminous as a teenager impregnated by a black sailor. She leaves her effete mother and moves in with a young gay man who looks after her as she faces a decidedly uncertain future. Tony Richardson (“Tom Jones”) directs from an original play by 18-year-old Shelagh Delaney. UK 1961 (101 minutes)

The Death and Life of Otto Bloom

The most intriguing and original festival entry, this pseudo -documentary (also known as a mockumentary) follows the fate of the title character who lives in a reverse timeframe. He has no recollection of past events but is able to remember future endeavors. The film’s narrator is a neuropsychologist who speaks into the camera about her relationship with the strange Otto Bloom, who appears out of nowhere in Melbourne with no memory of where he came from. The narrator is sufficiently intrigued to eventually become his lover. In a nice touch of casting she’s played as a young woman by Matilda Brown and as an older woman by Brown’s actual mother, Rachel Ward. (Dad is Bryan Brown, which means the whole family is featured in the Australian Spotlight.) The film, a first from Australian director Cris Jones, follows Otto through a passionate affair with a rock star. He then becomes a latter-day prophet, able to challenge notions of life, death and time. Australia 2016 (85 minutes)

Sweet Country

What do you do for an encore when your debut feature wins the Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival? For Warwick Thornton – the wunderkind director of the prize-winning “Samson and Delilah”- the answer is to again delve into the rich storytelling tradition of Australia’s Aboriginal people. This time Thornton reaches back to 1929 colonial Australia to create a Western set in the stark vistas of the country’s eerily underpopulated Outback. Based on a true story, this gritty film centers on an Aboriginal stockman working the land of a benevolent preacher (Sam Neill). When the laborer kills a drunken war veteran in self- defense and then goes on the lam, he is pursued by a posse led by a determined military sergeant (Bryan Brown). Stunning cinematography and sense of place pull you in as the director turns his lens on Australia’s mistreatment of its indigenous population. Winner Special Jury Prize at Venice Festival. Australia 2017 (113 minutes)