By Megan McDonald October 31, 2012

By Megan McDonald

The 23rd annual CineWorld Film Festival is upon us, kicking off November 9 and running through November 18. The 2012 festival features films from all over the world—including the USA, Israel, Germany, Australia, South Korea, France, the United Kingdom, Chile, Brazil, and more—and screenings will be held primarily at Burns Court Cinemas in downtown Sarasota, with some at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas; single tickets are $8.50 but packages are available for those who want to experience more movie magic.

Here, Sarasota Film Society artistic director Mike Kayatta shares his three must-sees picks for this year’s festival, from a lineup that he calls “one of the strongest in our history”; you can view the complete line-up and all ticket information right here.

1. Quartet

“Opening this year’s festival is the wonderful Quartet, a film by Dustin Hoffman starring the indomitable Maggie Smith—a delight here, as always. Often, when trying to make powerful pieces, filmmakers can forget the strength of comedy when juxtaposed against drama. Hoffman neglects neither in this charming story of an aging opera star joining a home for retired performers.”

2. The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

“Actor/director Edward Burns puts another notch in his filmography belt with The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, working once more with Connie Britton and Mike McGlone of The Brothers McMullen fame. After his recent success in exploring themes of family in Newlyweds, Burns has moved into familiar territory with this wonderfully constructed ensemble story that follows the rocky reunification of a family who’s been long apart.”

3. Amour

“As this year’s official submission from Austria to the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Amour is a beautiful yet devastating film about two people growing old together who are confronted with the unchangeable cruelties of life. Thought often difficult—and willfully lacking in sentiment—Amour is an absolute must-see film at this year’s festival.”

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