MILK
2008, Focus Features, 128 min, USA, Dir: Gus Van Sant

Director Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed biopic of one of America’s first openly gay public officials, Harvey Milk, brings both the man and his 1970s San Francisco milieu back to life. Sean Penn is perfectly cast as Milk, whose fearlessness in the face of prejudice brought him from a Castro St. camera shop to City Hall - where he was assassinated in 1978, along with Mayor George Moscone, by former Supervisor Dan White (superbly played by Josh Brolin). MILK was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two of them for Penn’s lead performance and Dustin Lance Black’s original screenplay. With James Franco and Emile Hirsch.


PROMISED LAND
2012, Focus Features, 106 min, USA, Dir: Gus Van Sant

Matt Damon and “The Office”’s John Krasinski penned the screenplay (based on a story by Dave Eggers) and star as two men on opposite sides of a hot button issue when big business comes to a small town. Damon and Frances McDormand represent a natural gas company and see their offer for drilling rights as an economic lifeline to a rural community in decline, but locals Krasinski, Hal Holbrook and Rosemarie DeWitt object to the plan. While the topic of “fracking” gives PROMISED LAND an up-to-the-minute urgency, the drama of people whose best intentions nonetheless put them at odds is timeless.


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