MVFF drive-in film festival signs off until next summer


The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s popular pay-what-you-can drive-in series, offered in conjunction with the YMCA, is closing this fall with its last films the weekend of Friday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 10. On tap Friday, Oct. 8, is “Spencer,” about Princess Diana at the end of her marriage. A double feature plays on Saturday, Oct. 9, with “Becoming Cousteau,” which follows the life of the celebrated oceanographer and marine conservation pioneer, and the scary comedy “The Humans.” Sunday, Oct. 10, offers a daring documentary, “The Rescue.”


“Spencer” is Princess Diana’s family name, which changed when she joined the royal family. She is played by Kristen Stewart, with Jack Farthing playing her estranged husband Charles, Prince of Wales, in this film directed by Pablo Larain. Charles’ lover, Camilla Parker Bowles, is played by Emma Darwall Smith.

The plot addresses Diana’s decision to end her marriage after many years of agonizing over Charles’s longtime affair with Parker-Bowles. The film is set during the Christmas holidays, with the royal family at Sandringham in Norfolk, England. Dream sequences of the execution of Anne Boleyn (Amy Manson) by Diana occur as the princess struggles with her decision to leave her cheating husband.

‘Becoming Cousteau’ and ‘The Humans’

Oscar nominee and director Liz Garbus describes the life of marine explorer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau. Four decades of Cousteau’s science and natural world passions are covered in this National Geographic documentary examination. Cousteau was among the first to call attention to the dangers of the ocean’s warming. He is responsible for the development of the AquaLung, and for many discussions of changes in the ocean. An auto accident early in his life nearly killed him, and it encouraged his commitment to the sea. He became a cinematographer, creating dramatic images of underwater life.

Vincent Cassel reads Cousteau’s words, and the director describes Cousteau’s development as an activist concerned about pollution. Some of the footage is shown for the first time, and the film includes materials from the Cousteau Society archives. Cousteau saw himself as a filmmaker, and aspired to be on a level with John Huston or John Ford.

The second film on Saturday, Oct. 9, is “The Humans,” a scary comedy about a family celebrating Thanksgiving together. Directed by Stephen Karam, this comedy is based on the Tony-awardwinning stage play, also by Karam. The two youngest members of the Blake extended family, Brigid (Sarah Steele) and her boyfriend Rich (Aram Moayed), host the dinner for their Pennsylvania relatives. The setting for the film is Brigid and Rich’s two-floor apartment in Chinatown. Both floors get creepier and darker as the family stories are revealed.

‘The Rescue’

The drive-in season closes on Sunday, Oct. 10, with a gripping National Geographic documentary, “The Rescue.” The film describes how in 2018, 12 teenage boys and their soccer team coach were trapped inside the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand. The Thai Royal Navy Seals and U.S. Special Forces were enlisted for the perilous underwater rescue of the boys.

With monsoons threatening to bring more floods, it took eight days to retrieve the boys. The issue was how to extricate them, which took over an hour, under treacherous conditions. Oxygen levels were so low in the water-free sections of the cave that one Thai Navy Seal died.

Information and tickets for films in the drive-in series are available at