Returning for the 31st round, AFI Fest continues to have some of the most striking, innovative, and exciting filmmaking in national and international cinema.
From around the world, there’s work from the likes of Michael Haneke, Guillermo del Toro, Luca Guadagnino, and Denis Côté, many of whom are retuning to the festival with their latest exercises in love, hate, desire, ambivalence, and transformative storytelling. Galas for the festival include special showcases of the new Errol Morris work, Guadagnino’s hit romance Call Me By Your Name, the behind the scenes drama of The Disaster Artist, and Hostiles.
This year’s AFI Fest also boasts a retrospective of Robert Altman’s cinema defining work, with 12 of his films, as well as an opening night stunner in Dee Rees’ Mudbound, from Netflix.
Lane Kneedler, the Director of Programming for AFI Fest, is undoubtedly one of the most enthusiastic cinephiles. You have to be in order to have locked down such great programming, right? Rhapsodizing about Isabelle Huppert, Timothy Chalamet, Altman, and others, Kneedler gives a little insight into the best of what the festival has to offer. Here are 10 films (and filmmakers) you should keep your eye on and snatch up tickets for when you’re at AFI Fest.
Call Me By Your Name
The ravishing romance from I Am Love director Luca Guadagnino features an impressive screenplay from James Ivory, whose adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel of queer desire realized is brought to live with the aid of Timothy Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Chalamet plays Elio, a 17 year old whose sense of longing is batted back and forth between his summer love Marzia and the charming grad student, Oliver (Hammer), who comes to stay with his family in their Italian villa. Call Me By Your Name has had an almost ceaseless momentum in its reception, and Kneedler says it’s the “best love story of the year”. Kneedler continues, “Considering this, hundreds of years after we are dead, who cares who you loved or how you lived? You might as well try and find happiness since everything else will eventually crumble to dust.”