Joachim Trier’s “Louder Than Bombs,” which played at Cannes in May, will open the 19th Sonoma International Film Festival, taking place March 30-April 3 in the wine country destination in Northern California. The film, the Norwegian helmer’s first English-language feature, about the residual effect of a war photographer’s death on her family, stars Amy Ryan, Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne and Isabelle Huppert.
The fest closes with “The Sense of Wonder,” a romantic comedy directed by French director Éric Besnard that originally surfaced at Toronto.
The festival, which bills itself as “the best in film, food, wine and spirits” is presenting more than 100 films shown at six venues within walking distance of Sonoma’s central plaza, and will host nearly 200 filmmakers from around the world. Competitive categories include American indies, documentary features and narrative and documentary shorts. There will also be offerings that fall under such rubrics as food & wine, LGBT, extreme sports and cinema en español, among others.
Among the fest highlights this year include a tribute to Meg Ryan, who’s receiving the Sonoma Salute Award, while the festival will screen the actress’s directorial feature film debut, “Ithaca,” based on a novel by William Saroyan and starring Tom Hanks, Ryan, Jack Quaid and Sam Shepard.
Also of note are a trio of films with literary themes: the documentary “Jack London,” from director Chris Million, and the narrative features “Papa,” which centers around young Miami Herald journalist who is befriended by Ernest and Mary Hemingway against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution directed by Bob Yari; and James Sadwith’s “Coming Through the Rye,” about a boarding school student who runs away with a local girl to the mountains of New Hampshire in search of J.D. Salinger.
In addition, Gillian Armstrong, one of the leading voices of the Australian New Wave (“My Brilliant Career,” “Oscar and Lucinda”) resurfaces with the feature doc “Women He’s Undressed,” about the legendary Hollywood costume designer Orry-Kelly, who hailed from Australia. Another non-fiction offering, Marketa Tomanova’s “André Villers: A Lifetime in Images,” chronicles the French photographer and visual artist who photographed some of the most famous European artists of the 20th century.