Drawing on a huge cache of personal documents, photos and letters found in Heinrich Himmler’s home after his 1945 suicide, Vanessa Lapa crafts a compulsively watchable archival inquiry into the personal side of one of the biggest mass murderers in history. "Engrossing… Quite how [Himmler] made the journey from an ordinary middle-class man to Hitler’s henchman is a fascinating story."—Screen
The story of an idealistic teacher who becomes convinced that one of her five-year old charges is a prodigious poet, Nadav Lapid’s second feature (Policeman was in VIFF 11) invites myriad questions about life and art, words and meaning, and the perceptual boundaries between adults and children. Elusive, haunting and ultimately disturbing, this is a drama you’ll be replaying in your mind long afterwards.
"Two young women serving out their military service as office workers on a remote desert army base play out the inanity and insanity of military bureaucracy in… Talya Lavie’s aptly titled black comedy… [The film], full of unexpected twists and turns, inventively recasts conflict in decidedly non-heroic, absurdist white-collar terms…"—Variety. Winner, Best Narrative Feature, Nora Ephron Prize, Tribeca 2014.
The director of Western Movie and Two Boys and a Sheep returns with a sardonic tale of "funeral training" and a girl whose favourite colour is blue. Tony Rayns
Acclaimed director Mike Leigh and perennially unsung actor Timothy Spall are at the heights of their considerable powers in this enthralling account of visionary J.M.W. Turner’s final years. "As successful in its tiny details as it is in its epic amplitude [it works] as a warts-and-all portrait of the painter and his circle, and as a large-scale evocation of Victorian England."—Screen. Winner, Best Actor, Cannes 2014.
Yves Saint Laurent receives a suitably stylish, well-tailored biopic courtesy of director Jalil Lespert, who delves into the iconic designer’s meteoric rise, relationship with Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne) and creative crises. Pierre Niney "doesn’t play Saint Laurent so much as embody him… [and] Ibrahim Maalouf’s score occasionally dares to go for baroque or broke, lending an operatic quality to the proceedings that suits the material.”—Hollywood Reporter
Beginning as a cellphone-shot record of his mother’s losing battle with Alzheimer’s, Jean-Albert Lièvre’s documentary retains its incredible intimacy but grows into a universal testament to dignity. “An unexpectedly hopeful exploration of a terribly sad situation… A portrait of love, patience and the pursuit of a more humane, holistic approach…”—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Best Documentary, COLCOA 2014.
Liew Seng Tat
Pak Awang wants to give his daughter a wedding gift: a house he finds in the jungle. He enlists fellow villagers to literally move it, on their shoulders, to their Malaysian village. But when an illegal African immigrant sheltering there is mistaken for a ghost, a madcap series of hilarious misunderstandings ensues. Black humour with a serious political/allegorical twist. Shelly Kraicer
Jody Lee Lipes
Cinematographer/director Jody Lee Lipes slips us inside The New York City Ballet’s storied confines and observes Justin Peck’s creation of the company’s 422nd original piece. Punctuated by instances of divine inspiration and profound frustration, the film celebrates movement while illustrating how arduous creativity can sometimes be. “A delight for balletophiles, the film [represents] a beautifully crafted entree into the intricacies of collective endeavor.”—Variety
It’s Christmas in Bogotá and 10-year-old Eric has been sent to live with his impoverished handyman father. When a wealthy client takes pity on them, and invites them to stay at her family’s country villa over the holidays, tensions and discomfort soon begin to crackle, exposing the gap between Christian charity and the starker realities of the class structure. "An engrossing, sensitive and admirably nuanced social drama."—Hollywood Reporter
Based on Bi Feiyu’s best-selling novel, Lou Ye’s sensual drama explores a Nanjing massage parlour and the desires of the sightless masseurs and masseuses employed there. As the camera and actors (including the extraordinary Guo Xiaodong and Qin Hao) grow as intimate as lovers and Lou artfully conveys how his characters experience the world, the film becomes "entirely engrossing…”—Variety. Winner, Best Cinematography, Berlin 2014.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine makes Sergei Loznitsa’s (My Joy) achievement here doubly relevant and engaging. His chronicle of the revolution that overthrew Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt regime has the kinds of urgency and artistry rarely seen in documentaries. "This stunning, epic-scaled film harkens back to the heroic, journalistic roots of documentary-making and yet feels ineffably modern and formally daring."—Hollywood Reporter
A reggae-rhythmed feminist protest against men who idle while women do all the work. Featuring a woman whose face has been erased and a man who rules with his nose. Award for Excellence, Image Forum Festival 2014. Tony Rayns
Mixing awe and irreverence, this cinephile’s delight explores the legendary Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman’s home, life, films and legacy through interviews with luminaries like Michael Haneke, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, John Landis, Claire Denis, Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou and Lars von Trier (as quotable as ever). Their insights will inspire an intense desire to view (or re-view) Bergman’s classics.
Lech Majewski’s follow-up to The Mill and the Cross is another visually ravishing tale, this one about a poet coping with the car-accident deaths of his beloved and best friend. "[Like The Mill…], the visuals are again striking and the theme of death deeply examined… Again there is a strong feeling that the stakes are high—a dialogue with God, a struggle for the soul…"—Hollywood Reporter
Nil Malmros draws on an incident from his own life—due an array of tragic circumstances, his wife killed their baby—to forge an intense, empathetic and bracingly intelligent drama. "The images have a sober, self-effacing beauty, the acting is subdued, and the fatal deed itself is never shown… Sorrow and Joy is a… melodrama about grace—a small miracle in today’s cinema."—Film Comment
In a dystopian future, a resistance fighter clutches on to his past by writing one last love letter.