Hamptons International Film Festival Takes Center Stage in the East End
The 29th annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) has taken over the East End. Since 1992, the festivities have celebrated the art of film while creating a unique and varied presentation of international films and filmmakers. Audiences are always as captivated by the annual film festival each October as they are by the stunning surroundings of the environment.
Leading the festival with great anticipation in 2021 is Belfast, which is gaining worthy Oscar buzz. Director Kenneth Branagh’s film is set amidst the sociopolitical turmoil of late-1960s Northern Ireland. Following Buddy (Jude Hill), a nine-year-old boy, the script focuses on the lives of his Ma and Pa (Jamie Dornan and Caitríona Balfe) and doting grandparents (Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds) as they raise him. Buddy dreams of a life of glamour, but social discontent suddenly erupts, and life is suddenly turned upside down.
C’mon, C’mon has Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix starring in writer-director Mike Mills’ latest project. Johnny (Phoenix) is a well-respected radio journalist who finds his life topsy-turvy with unexpected circumstances that lead his sister Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) to leave her nine-year-old son Jesse (Woody Norman) in his care. The uncle and nephew form a special bond as they travel across America together for Johnny’s work. Critics are raving about soulful performances from the entire cast in this deeply moving piece of art.
Another grand spotlight selection is the narrative feature Parallel Mothers. Auteur filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar takes the audience on another fantastic journey with his latest melodrama. Following the lives of successful, middle-aged photographer Janis (Penélope Cruz) and a young Ana (Milena Smit), their existence mixes when they meet in a maternity ward in Madrid. As two mothers going on a life-changing odyssey they together question what it truly means to be a family.
Also, creating industry talk is The Lost Daughter. Adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novel, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut follows Leda (Olivia Colman), whose vacation takes a turn when a mysterious family shows up next door. Leda develops a fascination with Nina (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter—unearthing long-buried memories and forcing Leda to face the consequences of her own unconventional choices.
Cyrano is a charming film that will have its east coast premiere during the festival. A man ahead of his time, Cyrano de Bergerac (Peter Dinklage) is convinced that his appearance renders him unworthy of the love of Roxanne (Haley Bennett). The classic tale is helmed by Award-winning director Joe Wright.
After taking in all the films, there are plenty of options to enjoy the best that the Hamptons has to offer. Take time to kick back and discuss cinema at Union Sushi Steak. The restaurant has delectable sushi selections and sublime USDA prime steaks. There is also a new cocktail program to sample as you listen to great music all week long. In the same neighborhood T-Bar Southampton also highlights a spectacular establishment. Exquisite menu selections such as Crispy Long Island Duck, Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Black Angus Porterhouse are simply divine.
For more casual dining check out The Coop in its new permanent home at Union Burger Bar. Restaurateurs Ian Duke and David Hilty scrumptious chicken pop-up has customers raving over their kitchen creations. And, while there sip some amazing Union Burger Bar frozen drinks, elixirs and craft beer selections.
Southampton Social Club offers another great setting to enjoy discussions about cinema over late-night drinks. Enjoy an al fresco menu under the stars with food by Executive Chef Scott Kampf. Cabanas on the backyard lawn will have service highlighting a cocktail program with new tasty concoctions.
And for the perfect stay at the film festival, start at Southampton Inn. The classically charming establishment has 90 guest rooms with unique décor, individual temperature control, sparkling tiled bathrooms, refrigerators, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The grounds consist of several acres of manicured lawns and gardens, with amenities that everyone can enjoy, including a 50-foot heated outdoor pool, an all-weather tennis court, croquet and volleyball, a game room for all ages, and one of Southampton’s favorite eateries – Claude’s Restaurant.
Here is to another wonderful year at Hamptons International Film Festival.