1921, the beginning of the Golden Twenties. Not far from Paris. It is party day at Marguerite Dumont’s castle. Like every year, an array of music lovers gathers around a great cause at the owner’s place. Nobody knows much about this woman except that she is rich and that her whole life is devoted to her passion: music. Marguerite sings. She sings wholeheartedly, but she sings terribly out of tune. In ways quite similar to the Castafiore, Marguerite has been living her passion in her own bubble, and the hypocrite audience, always coming in for a good laugh, acts as if she was the diva she believes she is. When a young, provocative journalist decides to write a rave article on her latest performance, Marguerite starts to believe even further in her talent. This gives her the courage she needs to follow her dream. Despite her husband’s reluctance, and with the help of a has-been divo, both funny and mean, she decides to train for her first recital in front of a crowd of complete strangers.
October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish, and offer the boy a proper burial.
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST FORIEGN LANGUAGE FILM: At once blistering and poetic, the ravages of colonialism cast a dark shadow over the South American landscape in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, the third feature by Ciro Guerra. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, SERPENT centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant.