Cinephiles, plan to beat the heat and the traffic on Sunrise for 10 days. The Stony Brook Film Festival returns for its 21st year Thursday, bringing the best in new indies to the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University. Festival goers can expect an eclectic mix of films, from emotionally-driven dramas to the world premiere of Nathan Lane’s new comedy. Make room on your calendar for these five film screenings.
The festival begins with a flair for the dramatic, a powerhouse performance from Brian Cox (Red, X-Men 2, Braveheart) and a winning debut from Coco König. The Carer, set to make its East Coast debut, tells the tale of Sir Michael Gifford (Cox), a legendary actor who falls into poor health and isolates himself until a young Hungarian refugee (König) steps in as his caregiver. Screening: Thursday, July 21, 8pm
No Pay, Nudity
No Pay, Nudity, which will make its world premiere at the Staller Center, is about hanging out, hanging in and hanging on. Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, Miller’s Crossing) stars alongside a hilarious Nathan Lane (The Producers, The Birdcage), Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under, The Aviator) and Boyd Gaines as thespians waiting for their big breaks in a film that, when not cracking you up, will remind you that not everything in life comes with instant gratification. Lane is expected to attend the post-flick Q&A. Screening: Tuesday, July 26, 7pm
A Man Called Ove
Closing night showcases the East Coast premiere of A Man Called Ove, a warmhearted dramedy based on Fredrik Backman’s novel with the same name. When a pregnant Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and her family move next-door to neighborhood grump Ove (Rolf Lassgård), an accident involving his mailbox turns into an unexpected friendship. Screening: Saturday, July 30, 8pm
The Father and the Bear
Director John Putch (Pursuit of Happiness, Mojave Phone Booth, Route 30) returns to the Stony Brook Film Festival for a fourth time for the world premiere of his bittersweet movie The Father and the Bear. A retired character actor diagnosed with dementia (Will Love, Route 30) longs to perform at his beloved summer theatre one last time. Against his daughter’s wishes (Dendrite Taylor, The Fighter), he accepts a role from the new artistic director (David DeLuise, Route 30, Mojave Phone Booth), who is unaware of his condition.
Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Volver) turns in one of the best performances of her career as Magda, a single mother suffering from breast cancer. In the midst of her heartbreak and uncertainty, Magda meets a devoted husband and father suffering through his own unspeakable loss and shines with a brilliance that inspires those around her. Screening: Friday, July 22, 9:15pm