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
“Films that truly surprise are the rarest of the rare… Marianne Pistone and Gilles Deroo have crafted a prose poem on the randomness of life itself, at first focusing on a young man working as a prep chef and then, quite suddenly, introducing a freak event that changes the course of the picture and steers it down unexpected paths…"—Variety Winner, Best First Film, Special Jury Prize, Filmmakers of the Present, Locarno 2013.
Twenty retirees from Marseille, aged 60 to 87 and without any dance experience, spent seven years working with choreographer Thierry Thieû Niang on a performance of Stravisnky’s The Rite of Spring. It became a hit throughout France and Denis Sneguirev and Philippe Chevallier’s delightful film shows the culmination of this extraordinary journey.
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.
Art-house titans (and mutual admirers) Ben Rivers and Ben Russell conspire on this uncompromising, three-part sensory experience that commences in a bucolic Estonian commune and culminates with a black metal concert. "[A] tapestry of beautifully rendered concepts [that’s] impressively committed to its poetic design… Rivers and Russell have certainly cast a spell that sticks."—Indiewire
Two of France’s hottest young stars, Léa Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Colour) and Tahar Rahim (A Prophet), play workers at a nuclear power station who fall in love in Rebecca Zlotowski’s powerful drama. Offers a rare and fascinating look inside the everyday workings of a nuclear power plant. "Engrossing, superbly acted."—Variety
Peru, France, Mexico
Was it a stray bullet or botched assassination attempt that left Constantino mute? Fernando Bacilio delivers a towering performance as an obsessed magistrate exceeding the bounds of his powers to get answers. Diego and Daniel Vega’s deadpan crime procedural conjures Beckett with its distinct and compelling mix of atmosphere and plot. Winner, Best Actor, Locarno 2013.
France, Israel, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg
Waltz with Bashir’s Ari Folman again pushes the boundaries of animation with this audacious reinvention of Stanislaw Lem’s The Futurological Congress. When Robin Wright (playing herself) consents to being digitally preserved, she’s inadvertently plunged into a dystopian "animation zone." A mind-bending "ode to the wonders of cinematic invention."—Indiewire
"An enticing first fiction feature by accomplished Chilean documentarian Marcela Said. Set in what should be a vacation paradise, it charts the coming to consciousness of a teenage girl, who, in a single summer, has her first love affair and discovers another world—that of the Mapuche Indians, who are being displaced from their land by men like her wealthy, brutish, arrogant father…"—Film Comment
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.
India, France, Germany
When a lunchbox painstakingly prepared and intended for Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) husband is mistakenly delivered to Saajan (the wonderful Irrfan Khan, Life of Pi), the under-appreciated Mumbai housewife and lonely accountant strike up an intimate correspondence, sharing their inner thoughts and life stories. Ritesh Batra’s soulful debut is "a wistful, elegant love story."—Screen
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…
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.
A small-time criminal kidnaps his estranged daughter and takes off on a road trip with ideas of starting a new life in Canada. Staring Dominic Fumusa (Kevin in Nurse Jackie).
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.
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.
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.
France, Belgium, Morocco
Just as bright young Sarah is learning to negotiate life in a Belgian Catholic orphanage she is wisked away to a remote Moroccan village. Director Kadija Leclere draws from her own abduction experiences to craft a remarkably immersive film. "Piercingly bittersweet… Beautifully low-key… [A] valiant first feature…"—Hollywood Reporter
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