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1945

On a hot summer day in 1945, the villagers in a Hungarian town prepare for the wedding of the clerk’s son. It’s a chance for celebration and a welcomed return to normalcy following the trauma of WWII. On that same summer day in 1945, two Orthodox men arrive. Soon this previously bright occasion is shadowed with a sense of foreboding as their presence springboards unwelcome tension and fear. Who are these men? What do they carry? Do they know the town’s dark secrets and, if so, what are they planning to do about them? Using mesmerizing simplicity, this official selection of the prestigious Berlinale tells a beautifully nuanced and strangely uplifting story that reveals the inescapable moral costs of doing wrong, or of doing nothing. IN PERSON: Director Ferenc Török.
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9 to 5

Radical at the time, and sadly still all too relevant today, this cult screwball comedy takes aim at sexism in outrageous and inspiring fashion. Starring a holy trinity of badass ladies (Dolly Parton, TCFF 2018 Lifetime Achievement Honoree Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin) and conceived by Fonda herself, the genius of 9 to 5 is how it so shrewdly manages to use hilarity to confront the painful reality of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Sassy and savage, exuberant and euphoric, the satisfying wish fulfillment of getting revenge on their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" of a sleazy boss (Dabney Coleman) has become a feminist rallying cry and its infectious theme song remains the anthem of working girls everywhere. So pour yourself a cup of ambition and come smash the patriarchy with us at this special Jane Fonda Tribute screening because TIME’S UP!
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Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes

Sports, politics, and entertainment collide in this captivating documentary that centers on the relationship between two legends who struck up an unlikely friendship and deep admiration for each other. Over the course of the 13 years that The Dick Cavett Show was on the air, boxer and activist Muhammad Ali made over a dozen appearances, sparring with the host about his career, his decision to join the Nation of Islam, his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War, and his often controversial statements on race relations in America. Co-written by Cavett himself, the film delves into a time when late night talk shows were more than monologues and viral videos, but built around insightful conversations. Part biography, part nostalgic tribute, and part history lesson on social and political issues that are still relevant today (see the NFL’s taking a knee), this superb film is also an important reminder of what progress can be made when respect dominates the discourse.
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Amateurs (Amatörer)

Times are tough in the quaint Swedish hamlet of Lafors. The main industries of the once prosperous town are barely hanging on and in need of a serious economic boost. Enter the Wal-Mart-esque chain Superbilly and their plans to open a new location, maybe in Lafors. The cash-strapped town council’s big idea to set them apart? Inviting local high schoolers armed with selfie sticks to make a promotional video. When they realize the teens may not be quite up to the task, plans are scrapped. But two participants from very different immigrant families, Aida and Dana, take the mission to heart and continue to capture the reality of their changing multicultural community and its underrepresented voices to hilarious and poignant effect. With an effortless charm and infectious DIY spirit, this irresistible social comedy is a warm reminder of the wonderful things that happen when people tell their own stories.
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And Breathe Normally (Andið eðlilega)

For Lara, life on a small peninsula in Iceland is a constant struggle: she’s unemployed, in debt, she abuses drugs—yet she’s determined to be a loving and responsible mother to her son, Eldar. Aiming to get her life back on track, she takes a seemingly simple job as a border patrol agent at the regional airport. While still in training, Lara flags a suspicious passport, leading to the arrest of Adja, a refugee from Guinea-Bissau traveling on forged documents. For days Adja lingers in limbo awaiting her trial, causing the two women to continually cross paths in the small town. A stunning debut from writer/director Ísold Uggadóttir, and winner of a Sundance directing award, And Breathe Normally confronts issues of immigration and human rights through the intimate story of two seemingly dissimilar women destined to change each other’s lives forever. IN PERSON: Director Ísgold Uggadóttir.
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Anna and the Apocalypse

There have been hundreds of musicals over the years,and it feels like just as many zombie flicks. But how many musical zombie films can you count? Anna and the Apocalypse is not only blazing that new trail, it's also got the hilarious, clever, and compelling chops to make it stick. With songs as catchy as the violence is gory, join Anna and her angsty friends as they fight, sing, and dance their way through the descending hordes of the undead and try to make it out of high school alive (there's a metaphor in there, I'm sure). If you loved Shaun of the Dead but thought it needed more showtunes (and weapons made out of giant candy canes), this fellow British import is the entertaining mayhem you seek. IN PERSON: Director John McPhail.
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Arthur Miller: Writer

This highly personal and lovingly crafted film shines new light on the celebrated American playwright and U-M alumnus Arthur Miller from someone who knew him best—his daughter, Rebecca Miller (Maggie's Plan, TCFF 2016). Assembled from over twenty years of archival footage and interviews, Miller delivers an engaging portrait of a complicated man who used his personal struggles to create timeless works of art, and yet found himself suddenly out of favor in the last years of his career. Weaving in interviews from famed writers including director Mike Nichols and playwright Tony Kushner, Millers serves up in-depth perspectives on the importance of Miller's seminal works Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, while also exploring the vulnerabilities of the man she knew as her father—a man with plenty of regrets, including the institutionalization of his youngest son who was born with Down syndrome. This rich and heartfelt documentary will captivate you from start to fini
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The Atomic Cafe

Ah, the 1950s: a simpler time, when children dressed up nicely for school and the nuclear family was king. But then FLASH. What’s that in the sky? An atomic explosion? A catchy tune begins and cartoon character Bert the Turtle waddles on screen to remind us all to “Duck and Cover.” The children duck under their school desks, the family of four dive underneath a picnic blanket, and magically they all survive the fallout in time for the baseball game. This clever and satirical documentary edited entirely from original material to recreate the fear and insanity of Cold War culture is as relevant now as when it was released amid the Reagan-era nuclear tensions of 1982. Skillfully weaving together military propaganda, historical footage, and pop culture iconography to give a startling and darkly humorous look back on the Atomic Age, it was the film and the filmmakers who taught our founder and president Michael Moore how to make a movie, showing him how a doc about a deadly serious subject
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Back to Burgundy (Ce qui nous lie)

Wine lovers will raise their glass to this delicious and full-bodied French drama about a struggling vineyard and the family that must come together to nurture it back to life. When prodigal son Jean returns home to the picturesque landscape of Burgundy, he’s met with some sour notes from his two estranged siblings, who’ve been taking care of the vineyard while Jean was away. As the three come to face the imminent death of their father, they begin to realize that saving the legacy of their vineyard will mean not only hard labor but also hard truths, and they’ll have to cultivate more than just grapes in order to get past the pain they all have buried. With its striking cinematography, this tender film vividly captures the authentic experience of harvesting wine (director Cédric Klapisch worked a season as research) and will remind you of the important connection to the earth that feeds both body and soul.
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Bathtubs Over Broadway

While researching unusual vinyl albums for David Letterman, comedy writer Steve Young never expected to stumble across anything quite like the long-forgotten world of industrial musicals. And little did he know this quirky discovery would yield such a nerdy and fascinating documentary. An obscure corner of show business that was meant to entertain and energize the sales forces of corporate America, these musicals were full-scale productions with budgets often toppling their Broadway counterparts. Sure, the featured songs with titles like “Everything’s coming Up Citgo” (for Citgo Petroleum Corporation) and “Detroit Diesel Dazzle” (for Detroit Diesel) are easy to laugh at, but there’s also something truly beautiful at work. Young’s giddy enthusiasm for these oddities turns meaningful, forming a community of collectors who uncover not only the well-known people who got their start in the field (the film features interviews with the likes of Mart
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Bisbee '17

In 1917, the border town of Bisbee, Arizona, did something absolutely horrific: 1,200 striking copper miners—many of them immigrant migrant workers—were rounded up at gun point, forced onto cattle cars, driven out to the middle of the desert, and left to die. A century later, current Bisbee residents prepare to commemorate the anniversary of the now infamous “Bisbee’s Deportation” by staging dramatic reenactments of the strike and its aftermath. These dramatizations, crafted by the area's locals with conflicting accounts handed down as family lore for generations, reveal a town in firm denial of its dark past. In Bisbee '17, innovative nonfiction artist Robert Greene perfects his signature style of blending documentary and drama, artfully examining the complex issues of immigration, corporate corruption, and environmental protection. It's a cautionary tale for modern America that in light of recent ICE policies involving children and families, makes what happened in Bisbee 100 y
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Black Panther

This isn't just another superhero movie. This is an important watershed moment. This is a powerful work of cinema that is as joyously entertaining as it is revolutionary. This is escapism as art. This is a beautiful celebration of pride and identity unlike anything you've ever seen. This is the movies at their most delightful and meaningful. This is the film that changed everything. Thirty one-year-old filmmaking prodigy Ryan Coogler (Creed) and an outstanding cast of Oscar winners and actors extraordinaire (Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Forrest Whitaker) lead a Shakespearean epic about a king coming into his own that is not just the best Marvel movie ever, but one of the best movies of the year. Wakanda Forever!
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Blaze

Written and directed by Ethan Hawke, Blaze is inspired by the legend of Blaze Foley, a Texas outlaw country singer who tragically died in 1989 before ever hittin’ the big time. Moving seamlessly between three different periods, the film explores his love affair with Sybil Rosen (who co-wrote the screenplay), the days leading up to his death, and the reminiscences of his closest friends after he is gone. Featuring an incredible acting and musical performance by Benjamin Dickey (remember his name) and a star-studded supporting cast (Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Kris Kristofferson, and more), Blaze is a profoundly bittersweet and beautiful country music tragedy that will leave tears in your eyes and hope in your heart.
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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

File this under "stories so fascinating Hollywood couldn’t have even made it up." Remembered for her sizzling screen presence and stunning looks that inspired Snow White’s face, there was so much more to Austrian born actress Hedy Lamarr than meets the eye. Being “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World” meant that she wasn’t always taken seriously, even though behind the ravishing beauty was an incredibly inventive mind that left an indelible mark on the world, eventually changing the course of history. A Jewish immigrant who escaped a marriage to a munitions tycoon with ties to Mussolini and Hitler, Lamarr was so eager to join the war effort she helped invent a wireless form of communication designed to aid allies during WWII. Although Lamarr’s contributions were dismissed, and she was never compensated, her concepts eventually became the basis for Wifi, GPS, and Bluetooth technology. Using interviews from her children, friends, colleagues, and newly discovered audio tapes of Lamarr he
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Brewmaster

Grains, water, hops, yeast. It takes just four ingredients to make beer, a commodity as old as human history and, more recently, the center of a booming craft industry. In 1998, there were just 1,500 breweries in the United States; today, over 7,000. Creativity and innovation are at the heart of this industry, and for many, brewing has become an unshakable passion. Peeking behind the grain mill, Brewmaster takes the audience to the center of America’s new favorite business venture as we get behindthe scenes with the men and women who engulf themselves in this suds-soaked world. From amateur brewers taking their first sips to the most notable names in beer, crack open a cold one and enjoy. This film’s for you.
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Burden

We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring you Sundance 2018’s US Dramatic Audience Award winner, joining such esteemed company as all-time TCFFfaves The Sessions and Fruitvale Station. This unbelievably powerful true story stars Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound, TRON: Legacy) as Mike Burden, a man raised within the disgusting indoctrination of the South Carolina KKK, but moved to purge the hatred from his life when he falls in love with a single mom (Andrea Riseborough, also at TCFF 2018 with Nancy). The incredible supporting cast features Tom Wilkinson as the menacing father figure of the local Klan group, Forest Whitaker as the preacher that takes Mike in, and Usher—yes, that Usher—as one of Mike’s coworkers. Burden is not only one of the best acted films you’ll see this year, but it’s a film that looks straight into the heart of our darkness and offers a beacon of hope and inspiration at a time we sorely need it.
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The Captain (Der Hauptmann)

They say the clothes make the man, but is that really true? An unlikely answer comes in the form of Herold, a young German soldier wanted for desertion during the final days of the Third Reich. But when he finds and dons a Nazi Captain’s uniform, everything changes. Suddenly Herold is ordering—and performing—sadistic acts of cruelty, and he finds a perverse attraction to the authoritarian power. Hollywood veteran Robert Schwentke (Red, The Time Traveler’s Wife) revisits his German roots with this true story, which is stunningly shot, darkly evocative, and universally resonant. We won’t lie to you, The Captain can be a rough watch, but also a rewarding one, finding a haunting way into the Nazi psyche without asking us for any sympathies.
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Chef Flynn

You may not think a celebrity chef documentary could also be a classic coming-of-age tale, but Chef Flynn is no ordinary movie. Like so many of us, Flynn McGarry grew up with dreams that might have seemed a tad outsized. But Flynn started a hot-ticket dining club when he was 12, appeared on the cover of New York Times Magazine at 15, and virtually defined the word “prodigy.” Things weren’t, however, as easy as they looked. Flynn had to weather enormous backlash (“Chef Doogie Howser”), the weight of expectation, and living with his helicopter mom (the horror!) on his climb to respect. You may come to Chef Flynn ready to salivate over the beautiful culinary creations—and believe us, you will—but you’ll leave talking about the immensely talented and charismatic kid that you can’t stop rooting for.
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Coco

One of the most colorful, stunning, and touching films yet from Pixar, Coco will delight everyone with its sublime storytelling. Earnest, one-dimpled chatterbox Miguel yearns above all else to become a musician, but he comes from a music-hating family that has banned anyone playing it. After a family quarrel, he finds himself in limbo in the Land of the Dead, and must work with a goofy hairless dog and a streetwise trickster (Gael García Bernal) to get an ancestor's blessing in order to return to the Land of the Living. While it may be set in the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead, it’s altogether rare to find a film teeming with this much life. So imaginative, so heartrending, there’s so much to love here—the vibrant culture, the dazzling animation, the splendid music, the reverence for la familia—and it all works together to remind us that when it comes to the cinema, no walls can separate us. Make no bones about it, you’re gonna
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The Cold Blue / The Memphis Belle

Shortly after America joined WWII, one of the greatest Hollywood filmmakers, William Wyler (Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, Funny Girl), put his career on hold to join the army and make war documentaries. His 1944 effort The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress was described by no less than Steven Spielberg as “one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.” TCFF is tremendously excited to share the world premiere of a sparkling, just-completed 4K restoration of Memphis Belle paired with a new documentary—The Cold Blue. Constructed from stunning, newly discovered color footage Wyler and his crew shot in the skies over Germany in 1943, The Cold Blue also includes penetrating narration from nine surviving veterans. This once-in-a-lifetime, breathtaking experience demands the big screen, and it will take you back through history as only great cinema truly can.
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Coming Home

Jane Fonda conceived this shattering film about anation and a marriage splitting apart after working with veterans and serviceman, shepherding the project through development and finding a director she knew would do the story justice (the incredible Hal Ashby, see also TCFF 2018's Hal). The result is a quiet masterpiece filled with moments so tender and uncompromising, it’s the kind of moving work that is the most precious of cinematic miracles. Fonda received an Oscar for her performance as Sally Hyde, a military wife who embarks on a transformative affair with a war-weary paraplegic vet (Jon Voight) while her Marine captain husband (Bruce Dern) is deployed overseas. One of the first Hollywood films to openly and honestly confront the aftermath of the Vietnam War, we revisit this landmark work on the occasion of its 40th Anniversary.
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Cracked Up: The Darrell Hammond Story

You probably know Darrell Hammond as Saturday Night Live’s man of impeccable impressions. From Bill Clinton to Donald Trump to a raunchy Sean Connery, Hammond’s seemingly limitless range of impersonations made him SNL’s go-to opener for a record 14 seasons. What you probably don’t know is that Darrell was suffering behind closed doors with debilitating flashbacks that could only be quelled by self injury. Darrell was misdiagnosed for over 40 years with mental illnesses and put on a long list of soul numbing drugs. After an attempted suicide, Darrell was finally brought to the doctor who would finally give him the proper diagnosis he had been longing for. Thankfully, as compassionately captured by director Michelle Esrick (Saint Misbehavin’, TCFF 2009), this doctor was able to isolate the key to un- locking Hammond’s past, which put him on a path of real healing. Cracked Up is an incredibly courageous and intimate portrait of a man learning to heal from the long te
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Crime + Punishment

Absolutely essential and completely daring, this sprawling look at corruption in the NYPD, with remarkable access to whistleblowers, will flood you with the kind of righteous anger you didn't think possible. While the state of New York officially banned policing quotas in 2010, the corrupt practice endures at the NYPD as a cash-grabbing method helping pad its annual budget. These quotas are met by cops patrolling “high crime” areas (read: communities of color), making arrests that only seem to get dismissed in court. It’s only due to the courage of whistleblowers like the NYPD12, a group of minority officers who’ve filed a class-action lawsuit against the force, and the hard-nose investigations of private detectives like ex-cop Manual Gomez, that light is shed on the continued injustice and its dehumanizing practices. Up-close and unnerving, Stephen Maing’s explosive documentary masterfully weaves firsthand accounts, private documents, and secret recordings to give unparalleled insight
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The Death of Stalin

In HBO’s hit show Veep, writer/creator Armando Iannucci brilliantly skewered our present-day American political system by spotlighting the absurd inanities inherent in it. With The Death of Stalin, Iannucci turns his talents to one of the 20th century’s defining geopolitical moments. When Stalin died in 1953, the Soviet Union’s other highest ranking officials all tried to seize total control for themselves, setting off a ludicrous chain of desperate power grabs and backstabbing schemes, many of which had lethal consequences. Using an all-star cast of beloved character actors—including Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, and Michael Palin—Iannucci hilariously reveals the depraved stupidity of these infamous political “strategists.” And if you look closely enough, you just might find some parallels to another, more current regime of incompetent authoritarians.
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Diane

Making his narrative feature debut, legendary film critic and cinephile Kent Jones delivers a richly atmospheric drama you won’t soon forget. Diane is the story of a widowed baby-boomer who faithfully devotes her life to serving the needs of others. She spends her days serving soup at a food kitchen, consoling her ailing friends, and desperately attempting to forge a meaningful relationship with her opioid-addicted son (Jake Lacy). As her friends pass away, Diane’s altruistic world begins to crumble, forcing her to reconcile her current life with past regrets, and ultimately come to grips with her own mortality. Taking home Tribeca's top prize for US Narrative Feature, Diane is filled with warmth and humanity, anchored by a quietly phenomenal performance from Mary Kay Place that makes Diane's struggles all the more relatable and profound.
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Disobedience

A gorgeously acted, tenderly written tale of forbidden love, Disobedience is elegantly old-fashioned melodrama with a few key updates. Ronit (Rachel Weisz) is a New York photographer who has long since left her conservative Orthodox community. But when her estranged father, a revered rabbi, passes away, Ronit reluctantly returns to London to pay her respects and liquidate his inheritance. Though the stiff greeting from the community is expected, Ronit is genuinely surprised when she finds her childhood friend Dovid has married Esti (Rachel McAdams), her best friend and old flame. The two reconnect and hidden desires come back to the surface. Sebastian Lelio's follow-up to his Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman cements him as a complexly empathetic filmmaker in this beautifully directed film of love, faith, and freedom.
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Doug Benson Movie Interruption: Twister

This 90s to the x-treme disasterpiece from action master Jan de Bont (Speed, a previous Benson interruption) is the perfect storm of a choice for Doug Benson (Super High Me, Doug Loves Movies) and buddies to watch while they hail their pellets of comedic genius at the screen. You know the film—a ragtag team led by Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt risk their lives in the pursuit of science with a cyclone (and an equally stormy romance) at their heels—and you love its over-the-top windblown adventure. But you've never experienced it like this. So strap in for the next best thing to actual storm chasing, and ride out the tornado of jokes that will descend upon Traverse City Friday night at the State. We’re gonna laugh until the flying cows come home.
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Doug Loves Movies Podcast

Join TCFF fixture Doug Benson ("Super High Me", "You're the Worst"), visiting comedian friends including Samm Levine ("Freaks and Geeks"), and surprise guests as they record a nationally-renowned podcast featuring imaginatively titled games and spirited discussion, all about movies. Perhaps against our better judgment, we're welcoming back Traverse City's adopted son for an evening of outrageous hilarity and uproarious riffing. What exactly can you expect? You never really know, and that's the best part.
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The Eyes of Orson Welles

If you thought there was nothing else to add to the Orson Welles mythos, prepare to be astonished by TCFF Board Member Mark Cousins' (Stockholm My Love, TCFF 2016; I Am Belfast, TCFF 2015) latest work. Granted unlimited access to the entirety of Welles ' little known collection of personal artwork—a daily practice of sketching and painting that began in childhood and followed him throughout his life—Cousins turns his own visionary cinematic eye to exploring the film legend from this untapped perspective of Orson Welles himself. Part love-letter, part feast of visual art, Cousins traces Welles’ path across continents and throughout time, examining how these sketches were anessential part of his artistic process and even help to illuminate how he saw the world. At once a look back on Welles' ongoing filmmaking legacy as well as a lyrical musing on his work's hyper-relevance in today’s political climate. Meditative and poetic, The Eyes of Orson Welles premiered at Can
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Faces Places (Visages Villages)

What do you get when you take a French filmmaking legend in her 80s and a secretive graffiti artist in his 30s, then have them drive around France and engage villages in making street art? The answer is unforgettably unique, and the team-up of Agnès Varda and JR turns out to be more joyful than anyone could have guessed. As they explore the back roads of France, they find beauty in the everyday faces of the people (and goats!) that inhabit the countryside. This unlikely pairing could have easily devolved to schtick, but Faces Places—which was nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars—somehow goes in the other direction; it’s simply one of the most beautiful stories of art, collaboration, and community that you’ll ever see.
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