Luc Jacquet (March of the Penguins) and pioneering botanist and ecologist Francis Hallé fly us to the very top of the Amazon rainforest canopy and chronicle seven centuries in the life of this "green lung" of the world. A glorious celebration of trees and a call to arms for the protection of this wondrous tropical ecosystem.
François Ozon’s controversial drama follows 17-year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth), from a comfortable Parisian background, who chooses to become a high-class prostitute. Ozon’s refusal to judge coupled with Vacth’s amazing performance make for a disturbing and deeply affecting work.
All of the fairytale archetypes—be they wolves or fairy godmothers—are present in Agnès Jaoui’s (The Taste of Others) delightful comedy. However, as a beguiling ensemble of lovelorn Parisians navigate their romantic entanglements, the playful narrative skirts conventional happily-ever-afters and steers itself into far more realistic and rewarding territory.
Paris, at night. This is where Jeni, Wenceslas, Christine, Pascal and the others live. Homeless, they haunt the streets and bridges, and the corridors of the metro, on the edge of a world where society no longer offers protection. They face us and they talk… Claus Drexel’s luminously shot film contrasts the beauty of the city with the plight of the homeless to deeply moving effect.
The great Alain Resnais brings together a fantastic cast—Piccoli, Azéma, Arditi, Amalric and others—for a roundelay of theatre and passion in a country house. "Digital technology meets lyrical drama… in this puckishly daring, intricately original work."—New Yorker. Dedicated to the memory of film critic, professor and VIFF friend Mark Harris.
Isabelle Huppert and Toni Servillo (Il Divo) are superb in Italian master Marco Bellocchio’s caustic political critique and keenly observed social drama centring on the hot-button issue of euthanasia. A powerful and supremely intelligent work, showing Bellocchio at the peak of his powers.
Reminiscent of Fellini at his most symphonic, Paolo Sorrentino’s (Il Divo) story of a high-flying journalist (Toni Servillo, superb) brought low by the death of his first love is both visually dazzling and emotionally rich. “Sorrentino’s magnificent return to form… A lush, classical tale of middle-age hedonism and lost love.”—Guardian
UK, France, Portugal
"The [Cannes] festival’s most brilliant movie was Jean-Luc Godard’s The Three Disasters… 3D as you have never seen it before… A masterpiece, the first movie of the cinematic future.”—Film Comment. Peter Greenaway’s and Edgar Pêra’s parts of this trilogy are pretty eye-popping too! Special 3D Presentations.
Corneliu Porumboiu follows up on Police, Adjective with this film within a film about a director whose affair with one of his supporting actresses threatens to cross over into—and change the shape of—the film he is making. A clever and intimate look at the easily crossed fine line between art and life.
Spain, France, Romania
Albert Serra’s (Honor de Cavelleria) dreamy period piece finds an aging Giacomo Casanova (Vicenç Altaió) coming face to face with the new age, as embodied in the form of Dracula… “Serra’s most accessible work… Casanova is a vivid character rich with metaphor… [Serra] turns the characters into symbols of history in flux.”—Indiewire. Winner, Golden Leopard, Locarno 2013.
Michael Lonsdale and Claudia Cardinale are superb in Manoel de Oliveira’s gorgeous period piece about the return of a prodigal son bent on destroying his family. "An exquisite yet anguished spectacle, a grand piece of cinematic chamber music for a cast of mighty soloists…"—New Yorker
In this piercing masterpiece, Rithy Panh grapples with the horrors Cambodia faced under the Khmer Rouge. "A series of painstakingly crafted dioramas… at once extremely fragile and necessarily distanced… A dam constructed to control the flow of an ocean of sorrow."—Film Comment. Winner, Best Film, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2013.
UK, USA, France, Mexico
Gliding with the grace of a boomerang, Juan Carlos Martín’s documentary circles back through artist Gabriel Orozco’s career, tracing how the Mexican modernist’s drawings, photographs and sculptures became so influential. And every time the camera returns to Orozco, we see an artist wrestling with precisely what a career retrospective signifies.
France, Germany, Kazakhstan
With its culture of intimidation, the playground has always resembled a prison yard. Lyrical and jarring, Emir Baigazin’s commanding debut centres on a teenager trapped in a cycle of mind games and bullying. "Poetic, formally disciplined and psychologically gripping…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Best New Director, Seattle 2013; Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Berlin 2013.
The rules were: one day, one wheel, one shot (no editing). Valérie Massadian’s (Nana) hypnotic short was made for Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum.
Tsai Ming-liang’s first feature in four years is a masterpiece: a blackly funny and unexpectedly warm comic tale of a father—Tsai’s usual brilliant actor Lee Kang-sheng—and two children adrift amongst the urban decay of Taipei. Part Buster Keaton, part rigorous art film, always enthralling.
UK, France, Germany, Afghanistan
Holding vigil at her husband’s side, a devoted Muslim (famous Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani) discovers unexpected empowerment. As she expresses her frustrations and desires, new possibilities present themselves in her war-torn city. Atiq Rahimi’s adaptation of his novel proves a "poetic and politically charged allegory."—Screen. Winner, Best Actress, Abu Dhabi 2012.
Spanning the totality of Michael Haneke’s career and featuring interviews with him, as well as footage of Haneke working on the films Amour (Oscar winner for best foreign language film), Code Unknown and The White Ribbon, Yves Montmayeur’s documentary portrait is "a must-see for anyone who admires this director."—Guardian
France, Austria, Germany
As befits its title, the conclusion of Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy is far more upbeat than the others. His story of chubby 13-year-old Melanie (Melanie Lenz), sent to weight-loss camp, still makes acerbic fun of the bourgeois, but his treatment of Melanie and her campmates is positively tender and affectionate.
Italy, France, Germay, Germany, Portugal
In the first of these brilliant films from Portugal, Miguel Gomes’ (Tabu) found-footage collage examines human fallibility in its many forms. + The King’s Body (30 min.) Taking into account the first Portuguese king’s myth-like status, João Pedro Rodrigues’ ruminates on just what the body of Dom Afonso Henriques might have looked like…+ Mahjong (33 min.): João Rui Guerra da Mata and João Pedro Rodrigues enact a mysterious mahjong-like game between East and West, a man and a missing woman…