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
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
Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) stars in Arnaud des Pallières’ atmospheric adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s classic novella about principles, law and revenge. In 16th-century Cévennes, a horse-dealer is wronged by a local lord. His search for justice will ravage the countryside.
France, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands
Cannes 2013’s Steven Spielberg-led jury awarded Best Director to Amat Escalante for this tale ripped from blood-soaked headlines. "New Wave Mexican style: raw, gritty, and force fed… A film about supporting others as you yourself are written out of the picture. A damning indictment of contemporary Mexico, capturing its institutionalised corruption, its endemic cruelty."—Guardian Winner, Best Director, Cannes 2013.
Iran’s Asghar Farhadi (A Separation), now working in France, directs the brilliant Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, Grand Central) and Ali Mosaffa in a tense domestic relationship triangle. "An intricate and often brilliant drama, with restrained and intelligent performances… Farhadi’s filmmaking is compelling."—Guardian. Winner, Best Actress, Cannes 2013.
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (A Screaming Man) follows the exploits of a disabled young man (Souleymane Démé) who still manages to wow them on the dance floor. When he gets involved with gangsters, however, the music stops… "A calm, lucid drama… the director’s compassion shines out, and so does the charisma of Souleymane Démé."—Guardian
A tour de force of unbridled intimacy and graphic sexuality, Abdellatif Kechiche’s acclaimed drama features superb performances from Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos as young women finding their love for each other. "A shattering masterpiece about sexual awakening, heartbreak and self-discovery…"—Atlantic. Winner, Palme d’Or (for film and lead actors), Cannes 2013.
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.
“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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
"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.
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…
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