The 39th Mill Valley Film Festival is set to kick off on October 6, and as we get closer to its arrival, festival organizers have steadily trickled out another lineup of films we’ll likely be rooting for when the 89th Academy Awards are handed out at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017.

​In addition to Jeff Nichols’ “Loving,” the tale of an interracial couple that fought for the right to marry, a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1967, MVFF39 will feature a number of movies that are already generating Oscar buzz, long before they hit the big screen. They include:

“I, Daniel Blake”

​Acclaimed British filmmaker Ken Loach’s latest film tells the story of a man who needs help from the government for the first time after working most of his life as a joiner in Newcastle and find himself caught in a barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy, joined by a single mother he meets along the way. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

“Paterson” & “Gimme Danger”

Jim Jarmusch has two films at MVFF39. The first, “Paterson,” stars Adam Driver as a guy named Paterson who lives with his wife Laura and drives a bus in his native Paterson, New Jersey. The Telegraph said Paterson’s “aloneness – even within this happy relationship – is his choice. And what’s consoling for us, and will honestly make this a film a treasure for years to come, is getting to partake in it. In a culture of manic oversharing, Paterson undershares – he doesn’t even have a mobile phone, let alone social media.”
Jarmusch’s other film at MVFF39 is a documentary about iconic punk pioneer Iggy Pop, who starting in the late 1960s, “was the rock & roll id fully exposed for the first time — not just wild but naked, an imp of fury, truly and defiantly out of control, leaping and stage-diving and crawling and prostrating himself, a rock god who looked like he’d slithered out of the gutter and was now going to sacrifice himself on the altar of anarchy,” according to Variety.


​Pablo Larrain’s feature film about the famed poet Pablo Neruda is “part fact, part glorious fantasy,” opening in 1948 just before Neruda, played by “a magnificent Luis Gnecco,” is forced to go into hiding. “A Communist and senator, Neruda has become an enemy of the state, having violently and very publicly condemned the Chilean President Gabriel González Videla. Chased from the Senate and his home, Neruda flees with his artist-wife, Delia (Mercedes Moran), the two slipping underground while chased by a vainglorious cop (played by Gael García Bernal, the star of “No”),” according to the New York Times.

“The Handmaiden”

South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook’s Korean interpretation of Sarah Waters’ “Fingersmith” about a pickpocket who poses as a maid to swindle a sequestered heiress got rave reviews coming out of the Canned Film Festival with Variety calling it “clever, heady and sensually lavish to a fault” and saying it boasts “more tangled plots and bodies than an octopus has tentacles.

“Manchester by the Sea”

Starring Casey Affleck, director Kenneth Lonergan’s film tells the story of Lee Chandler, who is shocked to learn after the death of his brother Joe that he has made him the sole guardian of his nephew Patrick. Taking leave of his job, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea to care for Patrick, a spirited 15-year- old. Bonded by the man who held their family together, Lee and Patrick struggle to adjust to a world without him.

“Maya Angelou and Still I Rise”

Filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburns dive into the iconic career of Dr. Maya Angelou, celebrating her multiple talents including her brilliant writing and poetry but also lesser known singing, dancing, filmmaking, academia and civil rights activism. The film seamlessly weaves the key messages of her poetry into the narrative of her life with rare archival footage, interviews and of course, recitals of her original works. The Guardian wrote that “what Coburn Whack and Hercules do so well is capture Angelou’s power and elegance…it paints a portrait of a life lived to the full and dedicated to being true to oneself.”
The 411: The 39th Mill Valley Film Festival is set for October 6–16 in downtown Mill Valley and venues around Marin. MORE INFO.

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!