Finland, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Czech Republic
Thirty years after achieving the zenith of his career in grease paint, an acclaimed actor returns from self-imposed exile for one last show in Prague. Reunited with his former partners, he and his colleagues attempt to restage their greatest performance, stave off old rivalries and ensure that time doesn’t have the last laugh. Viktor Tauš’ poignant film reminds us that tragicomedy is the lifeblood of clowning.
USA, Sweden, Denmark, Finland
Assembling striking archival material of African liberation efforts and scoring it with passages from Frantz Fanon’s vital treatise on colonialism, The Wretched of the Earth, acclaimed director Göran Hugo Olsson fashions one of the most impressively structured and incredibly intense found-footage films in recent memory. Lauren Hill narrates this “prickly, passionate call to arms.”—Time Out. Winner, Cinema Fairbindet Prize, Berlin 2014.
Brazil, France, Mexico, Denmark, Germany, Argentina
Lisandro Alonso returns with a gorgeous, 19th century-set existential exploration. Viggo Mortensen is a Danish engineer who heads into the Patagonian wilderness in search of his missing daughter. "This hallucinatory head-trip Western remains unmistakably Alonso’s film… a metaphysical road movie in which origin and destination are markedly less important than the journey itself."—Variety. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2014.
Alain Resnais’ swan song is a wry, deliberately heightened adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn’s play. The unseen Riley is dying, but he still possesses the power to disrupt the marriages of his friends (Sabine Azéma, Sandrine Kiberlain, André Dussollier, Hippolyte Girardot). "This joyous yet melancholic effort… charts the woes of middle-class couples coping with problematic love lives, solitude and death…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Alfred Bauer Prize, Berlin 2014.
The French title—time suspended—perfectly captures this affectionate celebration of the artisans who create fabulous haute-couture outfits for Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent: a third-generation specialist in pleat-making; a designer of perfect artificial flowers whose atelier opened in 1880; and one of three remaining sculptors of wooden forms for hat-making. A delightful look at a vanishing breed.
“A government without a sense of humour isn’t democratic.” This caption from a Venezuelan cartoon speaks volumes about satire’s power to test the establishment in political hotspots. Stéphanie Valloatto’s stirring, funny documentary profiles a dissident profession’s leading practitioners. “Just like the best political cartoons, the documentary… manages to synthesize a vast subject in ways both insightful and, at times, frightfully funny.”—Hollywood Reporter
Acclaimed and controversial French author Michel Houellebecq is the centre of this hilarious and strange mélange of real life and fiction. When the notorious curmudgeon (playing himself) is kidnapped and anesthetized with alcohol, a caustic (and occasionally inebriated) game of cat and mouse commences and the barriers between captor and captive slowly dissolve… Winner, Best Screenplay, Tribeca 2014.
Two very different pediatrician brothers (Cédric Kahn, Laurent Stocker) fall for the same barmaid (the luminous Louise Bourgoin) in Axelle Ropert’s (The Wolberg Family) intelligent romance. "Reminiscent of… [the] cleverly scripted adult dramas of François Truffaut’s late period. It’s at once astutely observed and deeply, though subtly, passionate… The direction and performances are spot-on throughout."—Hollywood Reporter
Incisively and with great compassion, Jaime Rosales sketches the lives of Spain’s lost generation through the relationship of Carlos (Carlos Rodríguez) and Natalia (Ingrid García Jonsson). "An intelligent, bracing study of Spanish twentysomethings doomed to unemployment and disillusion… Brilliant, challenging… [The] whole film is an audacious leap into real lives and real experiences… A powerful and heartfelt film."—Guardian
A small miracle of a movie, Tsai Ming-liang’s insanely slow, magnificently gorgeous film is his most beautiful in years. For 56 minutes we watch Tsai’s actor fetiche Lee Kang-sheng, accompanied by French art-house icon Denis Lavant, walk ever-so-slowly through a series of urban spaces in Marseilles. Hilarious visual puzzles; plays of light and space; pure cinema magic. Shelly Kraicer
Canada, France, Tunisia
Writer-director Kaouther Ben Hania turns her caustically funny eye to the sexist practices and antediluvian views she finds endemic in her country. "An audacious mockumentary… Hilarious and acerbic… Ostensibly about the director’s search for a man who slashed 11 women from his motorbike back in 2003, the pic shines a discomfiting light on Tunisia’s attitudes toward women, using a fake-documentary approach…"—Variety
UK, USA, France
Bizarre circumstances makes reluctant bedfellows out of American con artist Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and Athens hustler Rydal (Oscar Isaac) in Hossein Amini’s absorbing 60s-set adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel. As they evade the authorities, Chester’s wife (Kirsten Dunst) finds herself torn between these seductive charlatans. “An elegantly pleasurable period thriller, a film of tidy precision and class.”—Telegraph
Beautifully wrought and meticulously controlled, Alejandro Fernández Almendras’ taut drama follows a bullied man as he wrestles with the moral implications of revenge… "A terrifically tense first half culminates in a truly brilliant scene… [and it] all ends with a dramatic pop as sharp as the first of only two gunshots in this menacing, morally agnostic film."—Guardian. Winner, World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic, Sundance 2014.
In this remarkable documentary, the storied ring road that encircles Rome doubles as a grand stage for the everyday dramas of the eccentrics who reside along it. Gianfranco Rosi “brings humor and sensitivity to his filming… The recurring characters, almost all of them funny in an absurd, gentle way, make this intelligent film a curious outsider…”—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Golden Lion, Venice 2013.
France, Hungary, South Korea
Hungarian director/ringmaster György Pálfi (Hukkle) turns an apartment building into seven rings of carnivalesque hell in this stunner. Pálfi essays the grotesqueries of modern life through stories that run the gamut from social realism to sci-fi. “It’s thrilling to see a director in such clear command of the cinematic medium operating in such a playfully stylized way.”—Variety. Winner, Best Director, Karlovy Vary 2014.
France, Georgia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic
Eloquent and engrossing, George Ovashvili’s fable-like drama unfolds on a tiny island that emerges each summer from a river between warring Georgia and Abkhazia. For the skillful elderly peasant who plants its amazing corn crop and his nubile granddaughter, it’s soon the site of a desperate struggle for survival. "A master class in emotionally charged minimalism…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Crystal Globe, Karlovy Vary 2014.
France, Hong Kong
Tsang Tsui Shan brings the past to life in this beautiful, bittersweet documentary that shares the story of a Hong Kong family and recounts their fortunes over the span of decades, replete with home videos and photos. The culture the film sketches is unique but the emotions it evokes are immediately familiar. "There’s much nostalgia to feel for, and much beauty to behold…"—Hollywood Reporter
Sturla Gunnarsson’s latest is a personal reflection on chaos, creation and faith in a land of believers. He explores the incomparably vast seasonal weather system that permeates and unifies the immense and varied cultures of India. As the huge system gradually engulfs every region of the country, we meet a remarkable array of individuals whose lives are fundamentally affected by the phenomenon.
Five neighbourhoods, five different rooftops, five tragic stories. With these tales, veteran director Merzak Allouache takes the pulse of Algiers, a city rife with crime, teeming with intrigue and reeling from the clash of cultures. Allouache’s view is at once panoramic and intimate: he reaches across the city and pulls us close to its people. “Confident, composed and full of contemporary relevance.”—Filmmaker