After revealing the deplorable intimidation tactics used to build a Scottish golf course in You’ve Been Trumped (VIFF 11), documentarian Anthony Baxter returns with this globetrotting condemnation of the sport’s environmental impact and culture of entitlement. Plus: He’s finally granted an audience with The Donald, resulting in a smug sermon from Trump Tower that has to be seen to be believed. “Fascinating…”—Scotsman
Kaouther Ben Hania
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
Ester Martin Bergsmark
While identities and genders are alluringly fluid in Ester Martin Bergsmark’s narrative debut, the desire for connection is unrelenting. Initially trepidatious to explore a feminine side, Sebastian—who sometimes prefers to be called Ellie—falls hard for Andreas, a straight man. But when Andreas proves a fast friend but reluctant lover, Ellie rushes to the fore. Winner, Hivos Tiger Award, Rotterdam 2014.
Julie Georgia Bernard
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.
Holding their hardline substitute teacher (Igor Samobor) responsible for the suicide of an emotionally vulnerable classmate, a Slovenian secondary class stages a revolt. Rok Bicek orchestrates the ensuing chaos masterfully, crafting an engrossing cautionary tale concerning herd mentalities and the exploitation of tragedy. "Group dynamics are dissected with chilling precision…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Best Film (International Film Critics Week), Venice 2013.
An eminent psychiatrist disappears from his office. The last person to have seen him is Michael, a handsome and seemingly innocuous patient, played here by Xavier Dolan in a tour-de-force performance. The director of the hospital, Dr. Green (Bruce Greenwood), investigates the disappearance but instead uncovers Michael’s dark secrets. Charles Binamé directs this taut psychological drama with a sure and subtle hand.
Can a road trip to an unexpected place be a miraculous healing experience?
Given reactions to the recent exposé of cruelty at a Fraser Valley dairy farm, this revealing, unsentimental account of where cattle stand in our world is bound to strike a chord. But this is not just a journey into a charnel house. It’s an unforgettable, globetrotting (from the Algerian Sahara to the Amazon to the Alps), ravishingly cinematic study of man’s relationship with his bovine brother.
John Boorman’s (Point Blank, The General) gently comic follow-up to the Oscar-nominated Hope and Glory chronicles the travails of the director’s alter-ego, Bill (Callum Turner), a young man conscripted into the army with the prospect of the Korean War hanging over him. That he never gets further than a Home Counties barracks is just one of the ironies sprinkled over this richly allusive career-capper.
Jake Henson (Dakota Daulby) is a troubled teen haunted by the deaths of his parents—his father in a hunting accident and mother by suicide—who escapes an abusive uncle to reconnect with his older brother (Matthew MacCaull). In director Jason Bourque’s thriller, their reunion on an isolated island shows that blood may be thicker than water but it’s still blood. And it’s messy as hell.
Believing that he’s been racially profiled, a young black man blows off steam. Then, things get personal.
Maureen Bradley’s debut feature is a bittersweet romantic comedy with a transgender hero in an unimaginable predicament. Oddball couple Miriam and Adam have an ill-advised and pivotal one night stand that sees them both wind up pregnant. Engagingly shot by Amy Belling, the film features standout performances from Gavin Crawford (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Naomi Snieckus (Mr. D) and Gabrielle Rose.
Dubliner Christina Noble (Deirdre O’Kane) travels to Ho Chi Minh City to better the lot of street children and war orphans. Is the fighting spirit coursing through her Irish veins a match for widespread corruption and indifference? Stephen Bradley offers "a joyful and rousing affirmation of the human spirit that will resound widely."—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Audience Award: Best World Narrative Feature, Nashville 2014.
A boy follows his girlfriend to Hope, an ironically named town where his dreams die a slow death. However, his settled lifestyle is disrupted by a trip back to the city for a medical appointment, where he and a friend become stranded for 24 hours. René Brar tells the story of two troubled kids who never really grew up while examining the complex nature of relationships.
When a series of grisly murders plague a low-rent film production, a former master-editor turned whipping boy becomes the prime suspect. Astron-6 (Manborg) film collective members Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy write, direct and star in this deranged, debauched ode to ’70s Italian giallo fare. Gore, gratuitous nudity and an inspired guest appearance by Udo Kier make for the perfect late night out.
Dietrich Brüggemann’s conceptually daring story of a devout teenager’s trials is eloquently told in 14 chapters, each a masterful single take. As Maria becomes a “warrior of Christ,” the film proves itself both a condemnation of fundamentalist religion and a testament to faith. “While stark, it’s far from chilly—Brüggemann has a sense of humor about his subject matter.”—Village Voice. Winner, Best Screenplay, Berlin 2014.
Acclaimed filmmaker Thomas Burstyn (This Way of Life) turns his inquisitive camera on his aunt and uncle: Yolanda Sonnabend, a London artist who resides in decaying splendor, and Joseph Sonnabend, an esteemed AIDS physician who’s returned to a house he hates and sister he can’t relate to. The enthralling result is a film about family relations, fractured sibling love, gender, art, science, diaspora and legacy—and the uncomfortable role of the filmmaker as voyeur, confidant, family.
Dima (Artem Bystrov), an honest plumber, discovers a fissure in the foundation of an apartment building that could bring the whole thing down upon the 800 residents—within 24 hours. Yuri Bykov’s electrically paced work has Dima fighting the clock—and a plethora of corrupt officials—to avert disaster. "A distressing moral drama, gripping thriller and scathing sociopolitical portrait of Russia rolled into one."—Hollywood Reporter