The M.V. International Film Festival, which began on Tuesday, continues through the weekend with some of the best films of the series. Most of the upcoming films are available both at the Film Center and online.
Thursday, Sept. 9, brings “Wife of a Spy,” a complex Japanese thriller, set in Kobe, Japan, just before the outbreak of WWII. This opening night film is directed and co-written by Kiyosi Kurosawa. Sakoko (Yû Ao), after her husband returns from Manchuria, begins to suspect him of betraying his nation by spying for the U.S. This is especially true since he plans to bring back another woman, who gets murdered.
“Identifying Features,” from Mexico, one of the most compelling and powerful films of the festival, screens on Friday, Sept. 10. In it, Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) is a mother seeking her missing son, who crossed the border looking for work and has gone missing. Magdalena hasn’t heard from him, and fears the worst. “Identifying Features” describes an aspect of immigration that has not been explored. This Mexican film won the Audience award at Sundance, as well as Best Screenplay there.
Not to be missed are the International Shorts, a juried competition that plays Saturday, Sept. 11. This series consists of the top 10 films, selected from 250 entries, from which the festival’s jury will pick a winner. The winner will also be shown before the closing night feature, “The Macaluso Sisters.”
Playing on Sunday, Sept. 12, “The Macaluso Sisters,” from Italy, is not available online. Co-written and directed by Emma Dante from her acclaimed 2014 play, “The Macaluso Sisters,” narrates how these five girls, whose ages range from 20 to 7, make their living by renting out doves for special occasions. The doves fly back to the sisters’ home on the outskirts of Palermo. The doves’ roosts make for a lively aviary in the girls’ apartment. The film establishes the individuality of each girl. The oldest is Maria, who hopes to be a dancer; Pinuccia is most interested in boys; Lia likes to be alone and read; Katia cares most about keeping her objects to herself; and the youngest, 7-year-old Antonella, looks forward to spending the day at the beach. The five girls respond with heartbreaking grief to their sibling’s sudden death. The film does not reveal what happened until much later.
Finally comes “My Donkey, My Lover and I,” available online through Sunday, Sept. 12. As could only happen in a French comedy, it involves Antoinette (Laure Calamy), a schoolteacher who thought she would have a holiday with her married lover Vladimir (Benjamin Lavernhe), the father of one of her students. But he decides to take his family on a hike instead, so Antoinette saddles up her stubborn donkey, Patrick, to follow. It’s shades of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes.”
For information and tickets for these International Film Festival movies, go to mvfilmsociety.com.