Honoring Victor Nunez:
RUBY IN PARADISE
directed by Victor Nunez
USA, 1993, English, 114 minutes
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 7:00 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium
Ashley Judd makes her film debut as Ruby, who moves to a Florida beach town and tries as best she can to earn a living. She begins working in a clothing store and starts dating men, but after some hard choices realizes she must first figure out who she is and what she wants out of life before she settles for something less than she deserves. Writer-director Victor Nunez tells his tale as an amiable slice of life story without forcing any of the emotion. Judd gives an astounding performance as a young woman whose quiet inner strength allows her to grow and gain confidence in the person she wants to be. Avoiding all the possible clichés and presenting a positive, realistic, and touching character portrait, “Ruby in Paradise” is a rare and worthwhile discovery.
“Ruby in Paradise” won the Dramatic Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. It was also nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards, winning one for Best Female Lead (Ashley Judd).
Renowned for his moving character portraits set under the blazing Florida sun, Victor Nunez is considered among very first of the Atlanta Film Festival’s auteur alumni. “Gal Young ‘Un,” his feature debut, played the 3rd annual ATLFF in 1979. “Ulee's Gold,” perhaps his best known work, was the closing night presentation of the 21st edition of ATLFF in 1997. The film went on to earn a score of nominations and awards, including an Academy Award nod for Peter Fonda and two Independent Spirit Award nominations for Nunez. His films have won Jury Prizes all over the world and have been selected three times for Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. Hailing from Peru and Tallahassee, Florida, Nunez holds an MFA in Film Directing from UCLA and is currently on faculty at Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts.