LEFFest List: Thirteen Films in Competition

leffest_2016_posterIf you’re a movie buff, November in Lisbon can’t come fast enough. When the annual Lisbon Estoril Film Festival opens its doors in cinemas and theaters around the city, celebrities and common folk alike flock to catch some of the world’s recent bests. As usual, this year’s lineup is varied and exciting — take a look at the pdf here.

Aside from films both in and out of competition, the festival offers expositions, retrospectives, discussions, and debates. And each will only cost you two to seven euros.

Atlas has made a comprehensive list of all the films in competition along with their trailers to make your selection process a little easier.

There’s a lot more to see than these, of course, but it’s up to you to do your homework.

Her (Elle)

Saturday, Nov. 5, 15h30: Casino Estoril
Saturday, Nov. 5, 22h: Cinema Monumental (a Q&A with Isabelle Huppert following)
Watch the trailer here.
Paul Verhoeven returns to direct his first film since 2006 and it’s a French thriller. Michèle (played by Isabelle Huppert) is a no-nonsense businesswoman who is raped in her home by an unknown assailant. What happens next is out of the ordinary — she stalks him back but not for the reasons you might expect. Elle has been selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards.
Language: FR; Subtitles: PT

American Honey

Saturday, Nov. 5, 18h45: Cinema Monumental
Saturday, Nov. 5, 21h: Casino Estoril
Monday, Nov. 7, 21h30: Cinemas NOS CascaiShopping

British writer/director Andrea Arnold brings us her first film to be set in the United States. It follows a teenage girl with nothing to lose who gets recruited to join a traveling magazine sales crew. Watch Sasha Lane ‘s award-winning breakout role as Star, the girl who gets swept away on a whirlwind road trip across Midwest America making pitstops to party, get into trouble, and find her way out when things go a little too far. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Language: EN; Subtitles: PT

Sand Storm (Sufat Chol)

Sunday, Nov. 6, 15h15: Casino Estoril (a Q&A with actress Lamis Ammar following)
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 17h: Cinema Monumental
Watch the trailer here.

Set in a Bedouin village in southern Israel, the film focuses on female characters who are atypically rebellious. It’s framed by two weddings: a second wife’s marriage to an iron-willed matriarch’s husband, and the arranged marriage of the first wife’s unruly daughter. Despite the celebrations, these are not especially joyous unions, at least for the brides. It was selected as the Israeli entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.
Language: AR; Subtitles: PT

Bangkok Nites

Sunday, Nov. 6, 21h: Casino Estoril (a presentation by Katsuya Tomita following)
Monday, Nov. 7: 18h: Cinema Monumental (a Q&A with writers Tomita & Osanai following)

Co-writer/director Katsuya Tomita’s Bangkok sheds light on a red-light district in this three-hour film. Luck (Subenja Pongkorn), who seems to be the top dog on Thaniya Street, lives alone in a luxury apartment, a far cry from her roots near the Laotian border. One day she meets the Japanese client she had fallen for five years ago who hardly has a penny to his name. Together, they go to Laos where she introduces him to her family and friends, coming face to face with the scars of colonialism they pass along the way.
Language: TH, EN, JA; Subtitles: PT

The Future Perfect (El Futuro Perfecto)

Sunday, Nov. 6, 17h: Cinema Monumental (a Q&A with Nele Wohlatz following)
Monday, Nov. 7, 15h30: Casino Estoril
Watch the trailer here.

This 65-minute documentary/fiction comedy by Nele Wohlatz follows Xiaobin, a 17-year-old Chinese immigrant to Argentina who doesn’t speak a word of Spanish. She secretly enrolls in a class and once she can make plans in Spanish, she arranges to meet Vijay, an Indian immigrant who visits her parent’s supermarket. Through their unlikely secret courtship and her process of learning the conditional tense, she contemplates her role in her own future which resembles less and less the vision her parents have for her.
Language: SP, CH (Mandarin); Subtitles: PT

Big Big World (Koca dunya)

Sunday, Nov. 6, 18h45: Cinema Munimenta; (a Q&A with Reha Erdem following)
Monday, Nov. 7, 18h: Casino Estoril (presentation by Reha Erdem following)

Motorcycle mechanic Ali (Berke Karaer) refuses to accept his separation from Zuhal (Ecem Uzun), his beloved younger sister with whom he grew up in an orphanage. He follows her from one foster family to the next, despite the obvious obstacles, until things take a turn for the worse. This film by Turkish writer/director Reha Erdem takes a cue from the classic fairy tale plotline: the orphans escape the clutches of a ferocious ogre and run away into the shelter of the forest. This is a modern spin with stunning visuals.
Language: TK; Subtitles: PT


Monday, Nov. 7, 22h: Cinema Monumental (a Q&A with Bertrand Bonello following)
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 18h: Casino Estoril (a presentation by Bertrand Bonello following)

The Guardian describes this film, “What if John Hughes made an Isis recruitment video?” Set in Paris, a group of youngsters plan and execute terrorist attacks, seemingly unaffected (or unaware) of the damage they have done. This grab-bag of nationalities and ages isn’t your average extremist sort, which makes the film at times quite provocative. Director Bertrand Bonello leaves the motives for their attacks somewhat of a mystery.
Language: FR; Subtitles: PT


Tuesday, Nov. 8, 17h: Cinema Monumental 
Friday, Nov. 11, 15h30: Casino Estoril

First-time Romanian director Bogdan Mirica tells the story of Roman, a young city-slicker who goes to rural Romania to sell land bequeathed to him by his grandfather. Eventually he discovers his grandfather’s former life as a local crime lord. In order to sell the land, he must face characters from his grandfather’s past, including a Tartar and a vengeful police officer.
Language: RO; Subtitles: PT

Harmonium (Fuchi ni Tatsu)

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 19h15: Cinema Monumental

The family life of Toshio, Akie, and their young daughter is largely uneventful until a man appears at the family machinery shop. It turns out to be a newly-released inmate and old friend of Toshio’s. While he seems gentle, he is somehow strange and sets the tone for this dramatic thriller. Tiff.com describes director Kôji Fukada’s film as, “a powerful tale of crime and punishment that renders deep sorrows and passions with quiet cinematic precision.”
Language: JA; Subtitles: PT

The Last of Us

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 19h: Cinema Monumental
Thursday, Nov. 10, 15h30: Casino Estoril

The film by Ala Eddine Slim doesn’t have any dialogue, nor does it need it. The viewer comes along for a journey with an unnamed man through the Sub-Saharan desert all the way to North Africa. Upon arrival, he steals a boat and, when it finally falls apart, continues on a surreal journey. He meets an older man, who might or might not exist, and based on the need to survive, he rediscovers the way he interacts with nature.
Language: None

Little Men (Homenzinhos)

Thursday, Nov. 10, 21h: Casino Estoril
Saturday, Nov. 12, 19h30: Cinema Monumental
Watch the trailer here.

Ira Sachs’ drama is set on one block in Brooklyn where two families live and work, each from different backgrounds and circumstances. When tragedy strikes, they are brought together through the friendship of their sons, Jake and Tony, and the rental arrangement of the brownstone apartment. Roger Ebert notes, “The script, co-written by Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, doesn’t stack the deck one way or the other. [It’s] like … a prism: what you perceive depends on the angle.”
Language: EN; Subtitles: PT

The Last Family (Ostatnia Rodzina)

Thursday, Nov. 10, 18h30: Cinema Monumental
Friday, Nov. 11, 18h: Casino Estoril

Polish director Jan P. Matuszynski tackles the stranger-than-fiction life of surrealist Zdzislaw Beksinski, his borderline crazy son, and his troubled wife. The setting is mainly inside their high-rise apartment complex, and the film is shot to have a look of airlessness and dread from one frame to the next. This sets the tone for hopelessness experienced by each character as they figure out how to put their best foot forward, usually with little success.
Language: PO; Subtitles: PT


Friday, Nov. 11, 21h45: Cinema Monumental
Saturday, Nov. 12, 15h30: Casino Estoril
Watch the trailer here.

This chilling drama by director Antonio Campos is based on the true story of the 1970s TV reporter Christine Chubbuck: the face that changed television. Sensationalism takes center stage alongside a spot-on performance by Rebecca Hall who struggles between being true to her values and boosting the network’s ratings. This is a look at how far she decides to go.
Language: EN; Subtitles: PT

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