AFI Film Fest 2013: A video guide

The AFI Fest, running Nov. 7-14, has in the last few years refashioned itself into a truly invaluable part of the annual moviegoing calendar in Los Angeles. With a slate that includes upcoming awards-hopefuls and the cream of international festivals, AFI Fest presents a broad selection to local audiences. Also, the screenings are free. Roll over each square to view a trailer.

By Mark Olsen


'Saving Mr. Banks'

The fest opens with the fact-based telling of the behind-the-scenes intrigues in making the now-classic “Mary Poppins.” Emma Thompson stars as author P.L. Travers, who is reluctant to give in to the machinery of Hollywood, while Tom Hanks turns the gears as the iconic Walt Disney himself.

Play »

'Lone Survivor'

In a striking combination of action film, survival story and deeply felt drama, filmmaker Peter Berg adapts Marcus Luttrell’s memoir of a covert mission deep into the mountains of Afghanistan. Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster are the cadre of hard-fighting Navy SEALS.

Play »

'Out of the Furnace'

Following up his country-music laced “Crazy Heart,” filmmaker Scott Cooper again explores dark corners of Americana with this blue-collar crime saga. Christian Bale plays a man who finds his workaday stability turned upside-down when his wayward war-vet brother (Casey Affleck) disappears.

Play »

'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Leave it to the reliably unpredictable Joel and Ethan Coen to explore the origin story not of great success but obscurity. Setting their latest against the backdrop of the early 1960s folk-music scene, "Llewyn Davis" follows a musician (Oscar Isaac) struggling with his talents and himself.

Play »

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

With this retelling of James Thurber’s classic story, director and star Ben Stiller combines the personal and commercial strains of his previous films. Stiller plays a man who seeks refuge in a vibrant fantasy life, with Kristen Wiig as the woman who might make his reality more worthwhile.

Play »

Special Screenings


Writer-director Spike Jonze presents this tender study of romance, technology, relationships and intimacy in the age of disconnection. In a near-future Los Angeles, a man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls for the artificial intelligence of an advanced operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).

Play »

'Jodorowsky's Dune'

A documentary of a movie that never existed, Frank Pavich’s film nevertheless chronicles what might have been. The film brings to life the ill-fated story of when eccentric visionary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky nearly made a screen version of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel.

Play »

'The Past'

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi follows up his Oscar-winning "A Separation" with this Paris-set tale of family dynamics in transition. "The Artist" star Berenice Bejo appears as a woman who is finalizing her divorce after a long separation while on the brink of marrying another man.

Play »

'Cleo From 5 to 7'

Guest artistic director Agnes Varda will sit for a conversation along with a screening of one of her best known films, a time capsule of 1962 Paris. "Cleo" follows a young singer (Corinne Marchand) as she nervously awaits a doctor’s results following a distressing visit with a fortune teller.

Play »

'The Unknown Known'

Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris continues his ongoing exploration of our times with this look at former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Working from a vast archive of memos, Morris probed Rumsfeld with some 33 hours of interviews to create this portrait of power and process.

Play »

World Cinema


Chile's submission for the foreign langauge Oscar, with a quietly powerful performance by Paulina Garcia, Sebastian Lelio’s film brings to mind American films of the 1970s with its study of a divorced middle-aged woman who finds she is not yet done discovering herself.

Play »

'Grand Central'

It is hard to imagine a film with a sexier, hipper pairing than Léa Seydoux and Tahar Rahim, brought together by the fresh French writer-director Rebecca Zlotowski. Set against the working life of a nuclear power plant, the energy of this romantic drama itself could light up a small town.

Play »

'The Great Beauty'

Italy's foreign language Oscar submission, "The Great Beauty" finds filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino telling the story of a spiritually jaundiced author (the fantastically deadpan Toni Sorvillo) set against the lush grandeur and comic frivolity of Rome’s modern smart set.

Play »

'The Wind Rises'

Acclaimed Japanese animator Hayo Miyazaki has recently declared his retirement from feature films, making his latest even more of a bittersweet elegy. Rather than set amid a fantasy world, here he tells a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the WWII Zero fighter airplane.

Play »

'We Are The Best!'

Swedish filmmaker Lukas Moodysson returns with an infectiously rambunctious film that explores adolescent rebellion in the 1982 Stockholm punk rock scene. A trio of young girls creates a space for themselves where losers are winners, enthusiasm can trump talent and the worst can still be the best.

Play »


'Breathe In'

Filmmaker Drake Doremus pushes to deeper maturity after the breakthrough success of his “Like Crazy” with a story of crisis in mid-life and earlier. Guy Pearce plays a music teacher whose quite stability is broken by the foreign exchange student (Felicity Jones) who comes to stay with his family.

Play »

'Big Bad Wolves'

No less than Quentin Tarantino recently declared this Israeli horror film his favorite movie of the year. Filmmakers Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales create an atmospheric and morally complex tale of revenge as a cop and a victim's father take justice in their own hands against a child killer.

Play »


Regardless of where one is on the political spectrum, director AJ Schnack’s look at the 2012 Republican presidential primaries in Iowa is an eye-opening examination of modern politics in action. Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney all work the campaign trail.

Play »

'The Sacrament'

A fearsome study of the horrors we inflict on one another, the latest from filmmaker Ti West is all the more frightening for its plausible realism. A documentary film crew arrives in the jungle to explore a utopian community and instead find themselves racing against a Jonestown-style death cult.

Play »

'We Are Mari Pepa'

The debut feature by Mexican filmmaker Samuel Kishi Leopo shows the ideals of independent filmmaking crossing borders with this fresh, freewheeling look at the mutual mysteries of teenage boys and girls. Shot on the streets of Guadalajara with untrained actors, the film surges with youthful spirit.

Play »

Produced by Christy Khoshaba.