Narrative Features Capsule Reviews From the 2018 Florida Film Festival

By Leslie C. Halpern

The 27th Annual Florida Film Festival, produced by Enzian Theater and held throughout Central Florida from April 6-15, 2018, offers nearly 200 narrative features and documentary short films from countries around the world, in addition to celebrity guests, special events, film forums, film sidebars, parties, and the American Independent Competition. A sampling of narrative features capsule reviews appears below.

Back to Burgundy. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Back to Burgundy

In the Food Films Sidebar. In French, Spanish, and English with English subtitles. Narrative Feature. Screens April 7, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village.

This heartfelt narrative drama captures the intoxicating ambiance of the French vineyard where most of the film was shot. Jean’s father drove him away from home with his cold criticism, and now 10 years later his father draws him back. The return visit has far more significance than the departure, because his father is dying. As his father’s life ends, Jean’s new life begins. The oldest of three children – all bequeathed the house and vineyard equally – Jean must decide if he wants to stay, rent, or sell his stake in the long-time family business. Using this time to sort out his feelings for his siblings, his relationship to his father, and the separation from his wife and their child, Jean is faced with important decisions, and this time he can’t just run away. Lush, rich, and layered, this film features beautiful cinematography, delightful performances, and a story worth telling. Enjoy it with a glass of wine.

  • Directed by Cedric Klapisch
  • Stars Pio Marmai, Ana Girardot, Francois Civil, Jean-March Roulot, Maria Valverde
  • Run time: 113 minutes
  • MPAA rating: Not Rated
  • 4 / 5

Borg McEnroe. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Borg McEnroe

In Spotlight Films. Narrative Feature. In English and Swedish. Screens April 8, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. and April 15, 2018 at 3:00 p.m., both at Regal Winter Park Village.

This sports drama begins as a character study of Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason), the cool controlled tennis phenomenon from Sweden. Flashbacks reveal how he learned to suppress his emotions, which now threaten to undermine his 1980 attempt to maintain his place as the top-ranked tennis player in the world. Ultimately pitted against the hot-tempered American tennis sensation, John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf), both men need to keep their emotions in check to master their opponent. The two actors seem perfectly suited for their roles – both emotionally and physically, they fully embody their volatile and athletic characters. The background story on Borg is interesting, as is his troubled relationship with his girlfriend, and McEnroe’s explosive temper tantrums establish his personality. However, by far the most engrossing part of this film is the Wimbledon championship as Borg attempts to achieve a record-breaking fifth-straight win.

  • Directed by Janus Metz
  • Stars Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason, Stellan Skarsgard
  • Run time: 107 minutes
  • MPAA Rating R
  • 3.5 / 5

The Feels. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

The Feels

In the American Independent Competition. Narrative Feature. Screens April 9, 2018 at 8:45 p.m. and April 13, 2018 at 1:30 p.m., both at Regal Winter Park Village.

Although sexual feelings – particularly same-sex feelings – are the obvious focus of this film, deeper problems surface as the story slowly progresses. Set in a secluded house for a weekend-long bachelorette party, this film starts out as a low-budget lesbian version of Bridesmaids, (complete with the coarse Melissa McCarthy character, only this time played by Ever Mainard). There’s jealousy, tension, doubt, lies, and hurt feelings among the entire wedding party, including the token male (Josh Fadem), a platonic friend who longs for more. Brief “interviews” with each character shed some light on the early sexual experiences that shaped their current status. Several improvised scenes combined with a slow-moving script delay the important discussions until the final third of the movie. Until then, it’s mostly scenes of sexual innuendo, alcohol consumption, and drugs intended to be comical, but not quite hitting the mark.

  • Directed by Jenee LaMarque
  • Stars  Constance Wu, Josh Fadem, Jenee LaMarque, Angela Trimbur, Ever Mainard
  • Run time: 90 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Not Rated
  • 2.5 / 5

For a complete list of films and to learn more about the Florida Film Festival, visit the official website.

 

2018 Florida Film Festival Food Sidebar and Tasting Events

By Leslie C. Halpern

The 27th Annual Florida Film Festival, produced by Enzian Theater and running from April 6 through April 15 throughout Central Florida, includes 10 days of films, parties, forums, and food. There’s also a Food Sidebar with two appetizing feature films and food-oriented events hosted by Enzian Theater, Eden Bar, and other Central Florida eateries.

Here’s a taste of the Festival’s food-related programming that is open to the public.

Food Film Sidebar

Back to Burgundy. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Back to Burgundy

In the Food Films Sidebar. In French, Spanish, and English with English subtitles. Narrative Feature. Florida Premiere. Screens April 7, 1:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village.

This heartfelt narrative drama captures the intoxicating ambiance of the French vineyard where most of the film was shot. Jean’s father drove him away from home with his cold criticism, and now ten years later his father draws him back. The return visit has far more significance than the departure, because his father is dying. As his father’s life end, Jean’s new life begins. The oldest of three children – all bequeathed the house and vineyard equally – Jean must decide if he wants to stay, rent, or sell his stake in the long-time family business. Using this time to sort out his feelings for his siblings, his relationship to his father, and the separation from his wife and their child, Jean is faced with important decisions, and this time he can’t just run away. Lush, rich, and layered, this film features beautiful cinematography, delightful performances, and a story worth telling. Enjoy with a glass of wine.

  • Directed by Cedric Klapisch
  • Stars Pio Marmai, Ana Girardot, Francois Civil, Jean-March Roulot, Maria Valverde
  • Run time: 113 minutes
  • MPAA rating: Not Rated
  • 4 / 5

Ramen Heads. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Ramen Heads

In the Food Films Sidebar; In Japanese with English subtitles. Documentary Feature. Florida Premiere. Screens April 8, 1:45 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village.

This mouth-watering documentary presents ramen noodles in an entirely new way for those not living in Japan, where a fanatical culture exists for the slurpable noodles found in this everyday treat. The story centers mainly on Tomito Osamu, a chef who keeps winning Best Ramen awards for his unique broth that stews for three full days before serving. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of his tiny restaurant, he enlists the aid of two other well-known ramen chefs to help him prepare something special for that day. Just as his ramen combines a “witch’s brew” of ingredients, the doc includes a little bit of this and that. In addition to Tomito’s professional and personal life, the film peeks inside other ramen restaurant for tips from their chefs, provides an animated history of ramen noodles, visits a ramen festival, and then returns to the 10-year restaurant anniversary party. It’s a strange brew of ideas that ultimately satisfies.

  • Directed by Koki Shigeno
  • Stars Tomito Osamu
  • Run time: 93 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Not Rated
  • 3.5 / 5

Food Events

Block Party. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Festival Block Party

  • Sponsored by Winter Park Village
  • Saturday, April 7, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village
  • 510 North Orlando Avenue
  • Winter Park, FL 32789
  • Free for all Festival ticket and pass holders

There’s a block party celebration with live entertainment that meets at the Winter Park Village fountain across from the Regal Cinema. Individual ticket holders and pass holders receive free drinks and appetizers from select Winter Park Village restaurants. Space is limited.

Locally Fresh! Scrumptious Cinema

  • Sponsored by Orlando Weekly
  • Sunday, April 8, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Enzian Theater
  • 1300 South Orlando Avenue
  • Maitland, FL 32751
  • $12

Central Florida foodies partner with local filmmakers at this unique event. Watch their documentaries, accompanied by cooking demonstrations and food samples.

Locally Fresh! Farmers Market

  • Sponsored by Orlando Weekly
  • Sunday, April 8, Noon – 2:30 p.m. on the lawn at Eden Bar
  • 1300 South Orlando Avenue
  • Maitland, FL 32751
  • Free

After Locally Fresh! Scrumptious Cinema, the lawn at Eden Bar becomes a Farmers Market filled with fresh local products for purchase.

Sunday Brunch. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Sunday Brunch Buffet

  • Sunday, April 8, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Enzian Theater and Eden Bar
  • Sunday, April 15, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Enzian Theater and Eden Bar
  • 1300 South Orlando Avenue
  • Maitland, FL 32751
  • $13.99

This pre-movie brunch requires no advance ticket purchase.

Sip and Savor: Cocktail Tasting

  • Sponsored by Diageo
  • Wednesday, April 11, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Eden Bar
  • 1300 South Orlando Avenue
  • Maitland, FL 32751
  • Free and open to the public

Sample a selection of craft cocktails provided by Diageo.

Visit the Florida Film Festival website for full movie listings, a full schedule of events, and ticket information.