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The 35th Torino Film Festival will kick off with the world premiere of Finding Your Feet by Richard Loncraine, and close with The Florida Project by Sean Baker. 

Finding Your Feet is a brilliant and bitter-sweet “it’s never too late” comedy by the director of Richard III and Wimbledon, Richard Loncraine, written and produced by Nick Moorcroft and Meg Leonard. The title Finding Your Feet is and expression for “finding oneself,” which is what Sandra (Imelda Staunton) has to do. She is a bourgeois woman who walks out on her forty-year marriage after discovering that her husband was having affair with her best friend. Sandra seeks refuge with her bohemian sister Bif (Celia Imrie), who lives in an impoverished inner-city council estate. Thanks to her, Sandra finds a bizarre dance class and meets Charlie (Timothy Spall), an eccentric furniture restorer who lives on a boat. After being hurled into this new and unfamiliar environment, Sandra will finally begin her new life. 

As the producers put it, Imelda Staunton is “the most versatile and talented actress in all of the United Kingdom.” Richard Loncraine, the director, emphasized that “her transformation from a nasty snob to a kind, warm-hearted woman is convincing and almost indiscernible.” Timothy Spall, a favorite of Mike Leigh’s, returns to the screen after playing two “bad guy” roles: as the Protestant minister Ian Paisley in The Journey, and as the famous Holocaust denier David Irving in Denial. “I am happy I can finally play a character my own age,” said Spall, “someone who talks and dresses like me, and who is also fairly nice.” Loncraine, as well as the actors, fell in love with the screenplay. “When you have an excellent script and a cast of their grandeur,” he stated, “the movie makes itself.” The director Richard Loncraine, and the actors Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie will present the feature at the 35th Torino Film Festival. 

The Florida Project was directed by Sean Baker (Prince of Broadway, Starlet and Tangerine, all of which were presented at the Torino Film Festival) and co-written with Chris Bergoch. The film was well-received at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes and it will close the curtain on this year’s TFF edition. Set in a run-down neighborhood in Florida, so close to Disneyworld and yet so far from its happy, carefree wealth, presented without a drop of condescension and with a healthy dose of joy. The story revolves around a bright six-year-old called Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince), her group of friends, and her twenty-two-year-old mother Halley (Bria Vinaite). They all live in the Magic Castle Motel, which, despite its Disney-like name, is inhabited by people far below the poverty line. Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the motel manager, is the only adult who lovingly takes care of Moonee and the others, trying to keep things under control. Sean Barker will present the screening of his movie at the 35th Torino Film Festival.

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