YULI
2018, The Match Factory, 115 min, Spain/Cuba/UK/Germany, Dir: Icíar Bollaín

Ballet interludes punctuate a story of ascent in this biopic of Cuban danseur Carlos Acosta. From humble origins as the youngest of a truck driver’s 11 children to center stage at Britain’s Royal Ballet, filmmaker Icíar Bollaín sketches Acosta’s life with fire and honesty. Not to be overlooked are the film’s treatment of parental expectation and its effect on budding talent. “The genius in the film is in how each section feeds each other, and indeed needs each other (the dance comments on the drama, and vice versa), and produces a wholly original and deeply affecting movie.” - Kevin Maher, Times (U.K.).


GUNDERMANN
2019, Pandora Filmproduktion, 128 min, Germany, Dir: Andreas Dresen

With six wins at the prestigious German Film Awards, including Outstanding Feature, Best Direction and Best Performance by a lead actor, GUNDERMANN is a thoughtful biopic about the celebrated East German folk singer-songwriter. A man of wildly conflicting interests in music, blue-collar work and the politics of the GDR, Gerhard Gundermann (Alexander Scheer) mirrors an equally tumultuous East German regime in the 1970s. With a documentary-like style, director Andreas Dresen examines his main character impartially, giving equal attention to moments of beautiful musical inspiration and reprehensible acts of betrayal.


DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
2019, Netflix, 118 min, Dir: Craig Brewer

This exhilarating biopic about party-record king and self-made movie star Rudy Ray Moore boasts scene-stealing performances from Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Craig Robinson, Titus Burgess, Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock, Keegan-Michael Key and many others. Rudy Ray Moore (Murphy, in what might his most heartfelt performance ever) is an entertainer trying to carve out a career from nightclub gigs while working a day job at a record store in 1970s Los Angeles. Hoping to reinvigorate his act, Rudy comes up with a new persona named Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene stories who becomes an instant hit in black communities across America. The logical next step is the silver screen; Hollywood may not be ready for Dolemite, but Dolemite is ready to take on every sucker to prove that legends are not born, they are sculpted out of sweat, tears and a touch of luck.


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