ACTION U.S.A.

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When you think of the broad panorama of VHS-era action, your mind detonates with fast cars, helicopter chases, profanity, nudity, stolen diamonds, FBI agents, men on fire and Casio soundtracks. But what if we told you there’s one single movie that impossibly squeezes all of the above into 89 minutes, not to mention sunroof gunfights, a car jumping over a school bus packed with screaming children, honkytonk brawlin’, bathroom kissin’, plus exploding cars, houses AND recreational vehicles? In the late ‘80s, against all known laws of reality, daredevil-turned-filmmaker John Stewart took to the cities, highways and saloons of Texas and accomplished that very feat in ACTION U.S.A.

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THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

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Toronto, 1899. Aspiring young politician Mackenzie King (Dan Beirne) dreams of becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. But his romantic vacillation between a British soldier and a French nurse, exacerbated by a fetishistic obsession, may well bring about his downfall. In his quest for power, King must gratify the expectations of his imperious Mother, the hawkish fantasies of a war-mongering Governor-General, and the utopian idealism of a Québécois mystic before facing one, final test of leadership. Culminating in an epic battle between good and evil, King learns that disappointment may be the defining characteristic of the twentieth century!

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BORN TO BE

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BORN TO BE follows the work of Dr. Jess Ting (he/him) at the groundbreaking Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. There, for the first time ever in New York City, transgender and gender non-conforming people have access to quality transition-related care. With extraordinary access, this remarkable documentary offers an intimate look at how one doctor’s work impacts the lives of his patients as well as how his journey from renowned plastic surgeon to pioneering gender-affirming specialist has led to his own transformation.

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MONSOON

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Kit (Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians) returns to Ho Chi Minh City for the first time since he was six years old when his family fled the country in the aftermath of the Vietnam-American war. There he meets Lee, his estranged second cousin, Linh, a young Vietnamese student, and arranges an online date that turns into something more with Lewis (Parker Sawyers, Southside With You), an American clothing designer. Struggling to make sense of himself in a city he’s no longer familiar with, he embarks on a personal journey across the country that opens up the possibility for friendship, love and happiness.

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DIVINE LOVE

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It’s the year 2027 in this dystopian, fluorescent Sci Fi story of Joana (Brazilian star Dira Paes), who uses her bureaucratic job to convince divorcing couples to stay together. Her secret weapon is Divine Love, an evangelical cult she belongs to that mixes in a little swinging and group fun into its more traditional prayers and services. Joana herself can’t seem to get pregnant by her own husband, but in an attempt to save her own marriage, she prays regularly at a very unusual religious drive-in, looking for a miracle to help her conceive. Divine Love is an amped up, sexy and witty take on a future full of dance parties, ritualistic orgies, cults and fundamentalist Christianity, and a critique of today’s right-wing led Brazil.

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FIRE WILL COME

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Amador Coro has been condemned for having provoked a fire. When he gets out of prison, nobody is waiting for him. He returns to his home town, a small village hidden in the mountains of rural Galicia, to live with his mother, Benedicta, and their three cows. Life goes by, following the rhythm of nature. Until one night when a fire starts to devastate the region.

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THE DONUT KING

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The Donut King, Ted’s story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. It’s the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut.

Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet teaching them the ways of the donut business. By 1979 he was living the American Dream. But, in life, great rise can come with great falls.

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 LA STRADA

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There has never been a face quite like that of Giulietta Masina. Her husband, the legendary Federico Fellini, directs her as Gelsomina in La Strada, the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Richard Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With La Strada Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide.

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NATIONTIME

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Best known for his avant-garde meta-documentary Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, William Greaves (1926–2014) was also the director of over 100 documentary films, the majority focused on African American history, politics, and culture. Nationtime is a report on the National Black Political Convention held in Gary, Indiana, in 1972, a historic event that gathered black voices from across the political spectrum, among them Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Coretta Scott King, Richard Hatcher, Amiri Baraka, Charles Diggs, and H. Carl McCall. Narrated by Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, the film was considered too militant for television broadcast at the time and has since circulated only in an edited 58-minute version. This new 4K restoration from IndieCollect, with funding from Jane Fonda and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, returns the film to its original 80-minute length and visual quality.

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WHITE RIOT

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Britain, late-1970s. Punk is exploding. The country is deeply divided over immigration. The National Front, a far-right and fascist political party, is gaining strength as politicians like Enoch Powell push a xenophobic agenda. Outraged by a racist speech from Eric Clapton, music photographer Red Saunders writes a letter to the music press, calling for rock to be a force against racism. NME, Melody Maker, and Sounds all publish the letter. Flooded with responses, Red discovers many share his views. Teaming up with like-minded creatives Roger Huddle, Kate Webb, Syd Shelton and Australian graphic designer Ruth Gregory, the team bands together to create Rock Against Racism (RAR) and a fanzine, Temporary Hoarding. Speaking directly to the youth, Temporary Hoarding reports stories and issues that the mainstream British media ignores, like immigration, the Catholic side of the Northern Ireland conflict, and the police’s controversial “suspected persons” (sus) powers. They give a voice to the voiceless. The National Front begins to strike back, committing acts of violence against RAR supporters and petrol-bombing their HQ. Despite this, RAR spreads virally across the UK and into Europe, becoming a grassroots youth movement. The Clash, Steel Pulse, Tom Robinson and other top bands of the day jump on board. White Riot is a moment in time when music changed the world. When a generation challenged the status quo. It’s Woodstock meets the March on Washington, punk-style.

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MARTIN EDEN

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Adapted from a 1909 novel by Jack London yet set in a provocatively unspecified moment in Italy’s history, Martin Eden is a passionate and enthralling narrative fresco in the tradition of the great Italian classics. Martin (played by the marvelously committed Luca Marinelli) is a self-taught proletarian with artistic aspirations who hopes that his dreams of becoming a writer will help him rise above his station and marry a wealthy young university student (Jessica Cressy). The dissatisfactions of working-class toil and bourgeois success lead to political awakening and destructive anxiety in this enveloping, superbly mounted bildungsroman.

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THE MOUTH OF THE WOLF

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Winner of major prizes at the Berlin and Turin film festivals, the hauntingly beautiful debut feature from Pietro Marcello (Lost and BeautifulMartin Eden) interweaves two love stories: the 20-year romance between a Sicilian tough guy and a transsexual former junkie whom he met in prison, and a poetic reverie of the Italian port town of Genoa, depicted in all its mysterious, fading glory. Commissioned by the Fondazione San Marcellino, a Jesuit order dedicated to helping society’s poor and marginalized, The Mouth of the Wolf masterfullly combines documentary with fiction and melancholy home movies from the past century with poetic images, sounds, and music of the waterfront today.

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12 HOUR SHIFT

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Nurse Mandy (Angela Bettis) is desperate to make it through her double shift without incident. This is particularly hard to do when you’re an addict and are also involved in a black market organ-trading scheme. When her hapless but dangerous cousin Regina (Chloe Farnworth) messes up a kidney delivery, chaos descends on the Arkansas hospital as Mandy and Regina frantically try to secure a replacement organ through any means necessary. Things grow increasingly complicated when injured convict Jefferson (David Arquette) is brought in, and events spiral even further out of control.

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 ONCE UPON A RIVER

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Based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell, Once Upon A River is the story of Native American teenager Margo Crane in 1970s rural Michigan. After enduring a series of traumas and tragedies, Margo (newcomer Kenadi DelaCerna) sets out on an odyssey on the Stark River in search of her estranged mother. On the water, Margo encounters friends, foes, wonders, and dangers; navigating life on her own, she comes to understand her potential, all while healing the wounds of her past. Written and directed by Haroula Rose, this midwestern gothic Americana story is, in the words of Jane Smiley for The New York Times, “an excellent American parable about the consequences of our favorite ideal, freedom.”

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RBG

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In tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and unparalleled legacy upholding justice, Magnolia Pictures is proud to offer our documentary RBG for Virtual Cinema ($6.99 to own). Magnolia will be donating our net proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation in support of their Women’s Rights Project, which was co-founded by Ginsburg in 1972. While we’re all mourning the loss of an American hero, we hope that viewers will be re-introduced to her work, and take her passion and courage back out into the world.

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NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN

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Werner Herzog turns the camera on himself and his decades-long friendship with the late travel writer Bruce Chatwin, a kindred spirit whose quest for ecstatic truth carried him to all corners of the globe. Herzog’s deeply personal portrait of Chatwin, illustrated with archival discoveries, film clips, and a mound of “brontosaurus skin,” encompasses their shared interest in aboriginal cultures, ancient rituals, and the mysteries stitching together life on earth.

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