What to do when your single father sticks you with his date’s teenaged daughter at the amusement park? An evening full of suspicion, awkward relations and sexual tension.
Representative of the best new face of eco-tourism, Jessica Oreck’s (Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo) exquisite documentary examines the skilled humble lives and rugged routines of one enterprising Finnish family, celebrating the uncommon relationship they’ve forged with nature. "A work of ethereal beauty… utterly engrossing…"—Variety
Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother), one of Canada’s most provocative and boundary pushing filmmakers, dips his toes into the mainstream with this gripping psychological thriller. Dolan plays the grief-stricken Tom, who ventures into the bucolic Quebec countryside for his lover’s funeral, only to become a pawn in a savage, sadistic game perpetrated by members of the grieving family. Winner, FIPRESCI International Critics Award, Venice 2013.
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 Juliette Binoche gives a stirring performance as the sculptress and lover of Rodin who was unjustly confined to a benevolent asylum in Provence for 30 years. A gorgeously filmed and deeply disturbing portrait from iconoclastic master Bruno Dumont (L’humanité).
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.
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.
Japan, France, Hong Kong
Wang Bing is one of the greatest documentary filmmakers working today: his new film explores the patients/inmates of a run down mental institution somewhere in China. Wang’s astonishingly observant camera reveals these patients’ inner beings, their loves and their sometime madness with absolute respect and limitless compassion.
France, Belgium, Estonia
Jeanne Moreau gives another in a lifetime’s worth of great performances as Frida, an Estonian woman long settled in Paris who must accept a fellow Estonian caregiver (Laine Mägi) into her upscale home. Ilmar Raag’s moving observational tale is "a story of gradual transformation, slight, graceful and incidental."—Sydney Morning Herald
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.
The Amazon, gorgeously photographed in all its splendour, is a major character in Giorgio Diritti’s (The Man Who Will Come) heartfelt, piercingly beautiful tale. After losing her unborn child, Augusta (Jasmine Trinca) flees Italy for Brazil to do aid work. Her spiritual and physical journey leaves her—and the audience—profoundly changed.
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.
A wonderful film about listening, and about the value of great public institutions. Nicolas Philibert (To Be and To Have) turns his probing, sensitive camera on the inner workings of public broadcaster Radio France to enchanting, enlightening and frequently surprising effect. "A terrific documentary… humorous as well as continually insightful."—Variety
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.
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.
France, Georgia, Germany
"Nana Ekvtimishvili [with Simon Gross] marks her filmmaking debut in an impressive coming-of-age feature about female friendship, fatal feuds and family friction in post-Soviet Georgia… With superb performances and high technical polish… In Bloom has the texture of authentic experience."—Hollywood Reporter
USA, Haiti, France, Belgium
Raoul Peck gets to the heart of the problem in this cogent and powerful look at why post-earthquake Haiti is worse off than ever. "Shines a damning light on the damage done by international aid agencies whose well-meaning but ignorant assumptions turned a nightmare into an unsolvable tragedy."—Variety
France, Turkey, Germany
Araf means purgatory and that’s where the longings of the spirit and body will take young Zehra. With stunningly directed scenes using seductive music and striking winter vistas, Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s potently soulful drama "creates resonant images that blend countryside, village and landscape into rich visual emotions…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Best Film, 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
In 2009, French security van driver Toni Musulin disappeared with 11.6 million euros (hence the film’s title), instantly propelling himself to celebrity status in France. François Cluzet (Intouchables) stars in Philippe Godeau’s noirish, psychological take on the heist and its aftermath. "Fascinates from beginning to end."—Hollywood Reporter