France / Mexico
Teenager Alé (short for “Alejandra”) is mourning her mother and lonely in a new school. When a video emerges of her drunkenly having sex in a bathroom, she immediately becomes a target for the popular kids. Their torments grow in intensity and cruelty, wearing down the weary Alé’s resistance. After Lucia’s intense, shocking exploration of the violent effects of bullying earned it the prestigious Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Spanish with subtitles, 102 min
Belgium / France / Luxembourg
A tight, atmospheric thriller starring real-life father and son Charles (Summer Hours) and Émile Berling (A Christmas Tale) as a high school principal and his troubled son, Bad Seeds follows teenager Louis as he and his friend Greg kidnap their English teacher. Much to Louis’ horror, this act of naïve rebellion deteriorates into horrible violence as Greg’s cruel sadism manifests itself. As the crime progresses, Louis’ troubled family history comes to light.
French with subtitles, 95 min
Mungiu, who took Cannes’ top prize in 2007 with 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, returns to feature filmmaking with another gripping existential drama. Inspired by the real-life horror of a modern-day exorcism-gone-wrong, Mungiu follows two friends, Voichita and Alina, whose lives have taken them down drastically different paths. When the pair reconnects, Voichita’s stern, oppressive monastery proves to be a harsh, claustrophobic and ultimately tragic environment for Alina.
Romanian with subtitles, 150 min
A playfully inventive jigsaw puzzle of a movie, Boys Are Us follows heartbroken teenager Mia, whose older sister Laura persuades her to take revenge on the male sex. Their plan involves Mia seducing a boy and making him fall in love with her before cruelly discarding him, although the predatory Laura can’t help but complicate matters by toying with the boys herself. Can Mia follow through on their plan? Does she want to?
Swiss-German with subtitles, 73 min
Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are skilled and ambitious graffiti-writers. When a rival gang destroys their latest masterpiece, the pair hatches a plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark. Their spectacular scheme, however, comes with a $500 price tag. The capers - heists, petty thefts, swindles - they devise to raise money bring more setbacks than they do dollars, but their enthusiasm and energy never wane in this prize-winning debut from director Adam Leon.
English, 81 min
France / Germany
Several lifetimes pass in the span of a few hours for Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who effortlessly transitions from one realm to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. This mysterious, hallucinatory epic has ignited passions around the world for its bold, exuberant style and the euphoric virtuosity with which it presents its surreal, impressionistic narrative.
French with subtitles, 115 min
Japan / UK
In the fictional Nagashima prefecture, a cataclysmic earthquake and the subsequent explosion of a nuclear power plant devastates the region. With the Fukushima disaster and the resulting permanent evacuations at the front of their minds, Yoichi, his wife Izumi, and his parents must make a difficult choice. Staying means that their lives may be in danger, but leaving means they could lose - possibly forever - the home that has been in their family for generations.
Japanese with subtitles, 133 min
Based on a true story, The Last Sentence follows celebrated Swedish journalist Torgny Segerstedt, who conducted his own campaign against the Nazis while navigating a fraught personal life. Officially neutral, Sweden’s leaders did their best to silence Segerstedt, fearing German reprisal, especially as the journalist began inciting the ire of top Nazi officials. Illustrious director Jan Troell (The Emigrants) brings a Swedish hero to life in this gripping, lyrical epic.
Swedish with subtitles, 120 min
France / Japan
Iran’s greatest living filmmaker travels to Tokyo for this understated, enigmatic romantic drama. Unbeknownst to her boyfriend, the enchanting university student Akiko secretly moonlights as an escort. An encounter with a client - a shy, elderly academic - leads to an unconventional, unexpectedly intimate relationship in which nothing is quite as it seems.
Japanese with subtitles, 109 min
Married to one of Denmark’s most celebrated 19th century painters, Marie Krøyer’s life is both privileged and fraught. With artistic aspirations of her own, Marie struggles to discover her identity while managing her husband’s increasingly erratic behavior and begins to look outside of her marriage for affirmation and autonomy. But at what cost? This beautifully crafted period drama presents a compelling portrait of a woman ahead of her time.
Danish with subtitles, 103 min
Tasked with giving away huge sums of money by whatever means possible, Kaveh and Layla drive through the remote, war-torn mountains of Iran with a trunkful of cash. What begins as a seemingly harmless game soon reveals itself to be a twisted bout of charity as the power, humiliation, and shame inherent in their act plays out between the privileged couple and the impoverished villagers.Modest Reception is co-presented by the Global Film Initiative and is part of the Global Lens 2013 film series. For more information, visit www.globalfilm.org.
Farsi with subtitles, 100 min
Austria / Germany
Teresa, a middle-aged mother, vacations alone on the picturesque beaches of Kenya, one of many “Sugar Mamas” looking for love, sex, and companionship among the local gigolos, known as “Beach Boys.” Teresa goes from one disappointing relationship to the next until she is forced to confront the limitations of her attempts to purchase love. The first film of a projected trilogy, Paradise: Love is a controversial, provocative work from acclaimed filmmaker Ulrich Seidl (Dog Days).
English, German, and Swahili with subtitles, 120 min
Algeria / France
Repentant terrorist Rashid uses the declaration of national amnesty as an opportunity to reform and re-enter productive civilian life. Settling back into his hometown, however, proves dangerous as he is menaced by angry neighbors whose families have been torn apart by terrorist attacks. Rashid must navigate these treacherous waters while trying to start a new life in this thriller that confronts the moral and practical complications of reconciliation.
Arabic with subtitles, 87 min
Iraqi Kurdistan / Turkey
Based on a true story, Rhino Season follows Sahel, a poet who was unjustly incarcerated during Iran’s Islamic Revolution (and a friend of director Ghobadi). After being released into a world that is, three decades later, greatly changed, Sahel searches for the wife and children he left behind. Rhino Season is, at base, a tragic romance, strikingly told with an impressionistic, dreamlike blending of past and present.
Farsi, 103 min
Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal sisters who form a dazzling girl group. After The Sapphires are discovered by Dave (Chris O’Dowd), a good-humored talent scout with a kind heart and very little rhythm, but a great knowledge of soul music, the sisters get their first true gig and their first taste of stardom before Dave brings them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops.
English, 103 min
Set in 1952 as England prepares for a coronation, The Scapegoat tells the story of two very different men with the exact same face. Almost identical replicas of each other, they meet by chance in a station bar. Each is at a crossroads in his life: one setting out on a walking tour after losing his job as a teacher; the other avoiding home after a disastrous business venture.
English, 108 min
The latest film from celebrated French master Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours, Demonlover), Something in the Air is a sweeping, evocative coming-of-age story that beautifully captures the passionate political and social climate of Paris in the 1970s. Young Gilles is swept up in the era’s political fever, but he dreams of painting and making films, much to the dismay of his uncomprehending friends - activists and aspiring revolutionaries - and even his girlfriend.
French with subtitles, 122 min
What would you do if you knew today was your last day on earth? A joyous, impressionistic celebration of life and death, Tey follows Satché (played by musician Saül Williams) from the moment he wakes, with full knowledge of his imminent passing. Wandering through the streets of his hometown, Satché reminisces about his friends and family, reflecting on the choices he has made and their consequences.
French, Wolof, and Mandinka with subtitles, 89 min
Based on a novel by Bernard Schlink (The Reader), The Weekend follows Jens as he leaves prison 18 years after being arrested as an RAF terrorist in Germany. Back with his family, friends, and ex-comrades, including his former lover Inga, Jens’ unexpected arrival disrupts their lives, forcing them to re-examine the violent idealism of their youth, especially as he insists on learning who had betrayed him to the police years before in this intense, gripping drama.
German with subtitles, 97 min
The World Is Funny follows the wanderings of a loose network of characters. Told with meticulous precision, the connections between the characters and the profound implications of their stories grow in richness and complexity as the film progresses. A sharp, ironic sense of humor enriches a melancholy yet inspiring film that has been a gigantic hit in Israel, earning a record-setting 15 Ophir nominations (the Israeli Academy Awards®).
Hebrew with subtitles, 122 min
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