Guinea Bissau and Portugal
After years of European exile, Imatur returns to his native village of Tabatô to attend his daughter’s wedding, his head still saturated with horrific visions of a war he fought long ago. When tragedy strikes on the road to Tabatô, the entire village must come together in this entrancing, surreal film that blends music and magic with the lingering effects of Guinea-Bisseau’s history.
Mandinka with English Subtitles, 83 min
When a body washes up on a Cape Town beach, ambitious township cop Sizwe seizes the opportunity to prove himself and earn the promotion he desperately needs. But when the investigation leads him to a black market smuggling ring, Sizwe is caught in the middle of a deadly power play orchestrated by an old friend. With no one left to trust, Sizwe must take the law into his own hands in this gritty crime drama.
Sotho, Xhosa, Afrikaans with English Subtitles, 92 min
The quiet lives in a small logging town in northern Maine are irrevocably changed when a seemingly minor oversight leads to tragedy in the dead of winter. Lesley (Steppenwolf’s Amy Morton), a school bus driver, is overwhelmed with remorse, while her husband (Mad Men’s John Slattery) offers little solace. Another family grieves its own immeasurable loss and must deal with questions of culpability. Gorgeously shot in a severe, unforgiving landscape, Bluebird presents a moving meditation on family, responsibility, and redemption.
France / Ivory Coast
Shot on a miniscule budget but positively bursting with style and energy, this hugely inventive DIY crime thriller follows Tony, a young cigarette seller in an Abidjan ghetto. Ignoring the pleas of his policeman brother to stay on the right side of the law, Tony gets increasingly mixed up in local gambling and criminal activities until a moment of violence puts him on the run from the law.
French and Nouchi (Ivorian dialect) with English Subtitles, 70 min
Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi
Filmed in secret in defiance of director Jafar Panahi’s 20-year filmmaking ban, Closed Curtain tells the story of a writer whose plans of working in seclusion are disrupted when strangers break into his home. Just as the situation between the mysterious, inquisitive visitors and the paranoid writer reaches its apparent resolution, the film takes a step back with a surreal blend of fiction and autobiographical documentary, as Panahi himself finds the fiction film bleeding into his everyday life.
Farsi with English subtitles, 106 min
A lighter take on the Romanian New Wave, Adrian Sitaru's wry comedy presents the exploits of three families living in a single building. All share a love for (or malice towards) various domestic and/or edible animals, which somehow keep finding a way of bringing out strains within their families. Sitaru captures this all with a formal precision attuned to both the slyly hilarious comedic timing of each scene and the expressive potential of long-take aesthetics.
Romanian with English Subtitles, 85 min
A brilliantly-observed, hilarious sex farce from Czech New Wave master Jirí Menzel (Closely Watched Trains), The Don Juans looks at a small town opera company’s efforts to mount a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The eccentric director Vitek has unusual views on opera and uses the production as an excuse to bed every woman he meets. Passions flare onstage and behind the scenes as the small company prepares for a wholly unique adaptation of the Mozart classic.
Czech with subtitles, 98 min
When the self-assured Kuba, a promising swimmer who lives with his gorgeous girlfriend, meets shy young student Michal, he finds himself falling in love. But his family’s overwhelmingly negative response to his new relationship compounds his own deep-seated internal conflicts and insecurities. Kuba attempts to find peace and fulfillment while keeping one foot in the closet in this moving depiction of the psychic turmoil wrought by homophobia.
Polish with English Subtitles, 93 min
Argentina / France / Norway / Spain
In Patagonia, 1960, an Argentine family meets a German physician on the long road to Bariloche. The first guest at the family’s newly opened inn, the wealthy doctor ingratiates himself into their home life with his charisma and his scientific knowledge. Little do they know, however, that they are housing one of history’s most monstrous criminals, and that he might be continuing his experimental practice in their own community in this chilling, captivating story.
Spanish, German, Hebrew with English Subtitles, 93 min
Despite a paralyzed leg that keeps him on the fringes of society, Grigris comes alive at the local nightclub, tearing up the dance floor every night. When a relative’s hospital bills start piling up, Grigris must turn to the black market for work. After double-crossing his new boss in a desperate attempt at fast money, Grigris finds himself on the run in this sensitive depiction of a desperate, marginalized man by one of Africa’s most celebrated directors.
French and Arabic with English Subtitles, 101 min
Touted as the first Shakespeare adaptation to deal with contemporary African American issues, H4 re-imagines Henry IV Part I and Part II in the context of modern-day Los Angeles, performed by a top-notch cast of black actors led by Harry Lennix (Man of Steel). As Henry’s unreliable son Hal comes of age, events compel him to increase power and responsibility as he becomes the face of a new nation and prepares to succeed his father.
France / Germany / Kazakhstan
Writer-director Emir Baigazin announces himself as a major new voice with this startling, ecstatically received debut feature. 13-year-old Aslan lives with his grandmother in rural Kazakhstan, where young thugs run the local schoolyard like an extortion racket, systematically bullying children for their money. After a humiliating incident during a medical examination, Aslan becomes a social outcast, growing increasingly isolated until he decides to take grim revenge on his tormentors. Warning: contains scenes of animal violence.
Kazakh / Russian with English Subtitles, 115 min
Factory worker Heli lives a modest life with his father and his sister Estela in rural Mexico. In a misguided attempt to finance his elopement with the 12-year-old Estela, police cadet Beto steals two large packages of cocaine, setting off a string of increasingly bloody, painful, and even fatal consequences. Awarded the prize for Best Director at Cannes, Heli takes an unflinching look at the cycle of drugs and violence in contemporary Mexico, depicting immense brutality with shocking frankness. Warning: this film contains extreme violence.
Spanish with English Subtitles, 95 min
Daniel Patrick Carbone
The death of a 9-year-old boy sends ripples through a bucolic town, jarring his friend Tommy and Tommy’s older brother Eric out of their routines and forcing them to stare their own mortality straight in the face. Battling chronic unhappiness and implacable restlessness, the boys look to escape their drab reality by retreating further into their natural surroundings - a lush, densely-wooded expanse that seems to represent both a sought-after freedom and an inexorable mortal peril in this patient and beautifully melancholic film.
Best friends Manzi and Karemera find themselves on opposing sides in Rwanda’s ethnic civil war, with Tutsi Karemera’s family paying a horrific price for Manzi’s allegiance to his Hutu heritage. When Manzi is released from prison fifteen years later, his return re-opens old wounds. Filmmaker Joel Karekezi draws from his own experience as a survivor of Rwanda’s violence in creating this moving account of two former friends who must contend with the unimaginable horrors in their past.
Catholic priest Adam works at a home for troubled boys in the isolated Polish countryside. Deeply committed to the Church, Adam’s convictions are thrown into turmoil when his close bond with a young teen named Łukasz forces his repressed homosexuality to the surface. Desperate to keep his secret but increasingly confronted by his desires, Adam must face who he is and who he has chosen to be in this humane, non-judgmental portrait of an earnest priest in conflict.
Polish with English Subtitles, 102 min
After a tragedy throws his life into turmoil, the self-absorbed young Beto ventures deep into the Brazilian countryside in search of a collection of rare prints his absent father had sold to a wealthy plantation owner decades earlier. When he locates the plantation, he finds it devastated and its inhabitants staunchly resistant to visitors. A sophisticated, engrossing thriller, the film follows Beto’s efforts to uncover the mystery of the prints and the family keeping them hidden from the world.
Portuguese with English Subtitles, 89 min
Germany / Netherlands
Stifled by his ailing father’s oppressive presence, Helmer moves him to the second floor of their isolated rural farmhouse. Free from his father’s judgmental gaze, Helmer finds himself developing increasingly warm relationships with the milk truck driver and an attractive young farmhand who moves into the house. Helmer quietly develops a newfound self-confidence and openness towards his own sexuality in this gorgeously acted, intricately plotted film.
Dutch with English Subtitles, 93 min
Returning home to Buenos Aires following a stint at a psychiatric clinic, sensitive, reserved teen Liso must work to rebuild his life. Struggling to reconnect with family and friends, he drifts from one experience to the next, while those around him unsuccessfully try to understand him. A quiet but impactful drama about one young man’s search for peace, La Paz explores the depths of unyielding loneliness with subtle yet intricate imagery, drawing the viewer into its complex emotional universe.
Spanish with English Subtitles, 73 min
After the death of his father, young and sensitive Tom sees his life devolve into chaos. Getting into trouble with the law, Tom is assigned to work in the service of avuncular park ranger Al Thorpe. Initially resistant to the compulsory service, Tom eventually finds a father figure and a friend in Al and a sense of place in the Yorkshire countryside. A lyrical, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story, Lad delicately captures a pivotal moment in a troubled young life.
Poland and Spain
Love-struck college students who meet on a working summer holiday in the idyllic Spanish countryside, Michal and Karina’s blissful moment of first love is cut short when Michal has a fateful - and shocking - encounter with a stranger. When Michal reveals his secret to Karina, their lives are thrown into chaos. With gorgeous, award-winning cinematography, the film sensitively explores the devastating fallout of Michal’s actions as their relationship is put to the test and the future grows increasingly unpredictable.
Polish and Spanish with English Subtitles, 93 min
Hard-working architect Ryota spends his days meticulously planning his family’s future. His plans are turned upside down when he and his wife discover that, due to a hospital mix-up six years earlier, their young son Keita is not their own. The foundations of their identities as loving parents begin to crumble as they must negotiate their newly complicated circumstances, as they meet their biological child and send Keita to live with his new family.
Japanese with English Subtitles, 130 min
When 16-year-old Malak discovers that she’s pregnant, she quickly finds herself alone in a community that marginalizes and mistreats single mothers. Abandoned by the baby’s father, shunned by her family, and in dire need of cash, Malak is forced to take desperate measures. An elegantly-photographed portrait of a young woman’s struggles, Malak garnered major awards at Morocco’s National Film Festival, including the Jury Prize, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress for its young star Chaimae Ben Acha.
Moroccan Arabic with English Subtitles, 97 min
Cuba / France / Panama
With the closure of the local sugar mill, the picturesque Cuban town of Melaza has become desolate and lifeless. School teacher Aldo and now-unemployed Monica eke out a meager living, going as far as renting out their tiny home to the local prostitute for extra cash. When they get in trouble with the authorities, resulting fines lead to more desperate measures. This funny, heartfelt romantic drama explores the limits of love and trust in the face of hardship.
Spanish with English Subtitles, 80 min
Old friends, all onetime members of Brazil's radical resistance, come together around Ana, the charismatic, fearless heart of their circle, now on her deathbed. As they think back on their choices and the paths they have tread, Ana’s spirit is a constant presence, reminding them of their failed utopia and their shared, mythologized past. This Brazilian Big Chill passionately reflects on revolution and terrorism, love and sex, and the compromises that time exacts.
Portuguese with English Subtitles, 95 min
As heavy monsoon rains lash the badlands of Mumbai, Adi, a rookie cop out on his first assignment, raises his gun in the face of a criminal and is suddenly faced with the most vital decision of his life: to shoot or not to shoot? Monsoon Shootout presents three alternate scenarios, each sending Adi on a on a spiraling journey downward that pits him against fate and a system mired in moral ambiguity.
Hindi with English subtitles, 88 min
Alan and Gabe Polsky
This haunting melodrama from Chicago filmmakers Gabe and Alan Polsky follows Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee Flannigan, brothers who scrape out a paltry living, working odd jobs and drinking hard while living in a motel. Everything changes after a hit-and-run accident sends them on the lam, making their way to the home of Frank’s old flame Annie (Dakota Fanning). Although they seem to be safe from the law, Jerry Lee’s instability and all-consuming guilt renders their future increasingly uncertain.
In this brooding, sharply written drama, long estranged brothers Marten and Volker reunite at their abandoned childhood home. Hoping to convince his still angry younger brother to reconcile with their imprisoned mother, Marten finds his efforts to reunite the family thwarted by Volker’s deep-rooted resentments. Steadily paced and saturated with intriguing twists, Nordstrand tracks the troubled history and painful present of a family torn apart.
German with English Subtitles, 89 min
A gritty gangster film set in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Northwest follows small-time thief Casper. Still only 18, Casper’s self-serving ambition leads him to abandon the neighborhood boss, Jamal, for his rival Björn, who promises him more - more money and more responsibility. Tensions are high between the two gangs, however, and Casper soon finds himself and his family at the center of a conflict that threatens to destroy them.
Danish with English Subtitles, 91 min
Belgium / France / Germany
Forced to join a convent against her will at 16, Suzanne describes, in a series of letters written in secret, her yearnings for freedom and her persecution and mistreatment at the hands of her fellow nuns - including Isabelle Huppert in an electrifying performance as her Mother Superior. Her tragic life of suffering and her confrontations with hypocritical church authorities are chronicled with raw, powerful emotion in this moving adaptation of Denis Diderot’s treasured novel.
French with English Subtitles, 114 min
Germany and France
A dark psychological thriller, A Pact tells the twisted story of a contentious love triangle. As teenagers, Paul tricked Georg into handing over his girlfriend Anna to him. Georg agrees, on the condition that he can have her back whenever he wishes. After decades of silence, when Anna and Paul have a family together, Georg suddenly re-appears. Strange things start happening to Paul, and it soon becomes clear that Georg has not forgotten the pact.
German with English Subtitles, 83 min
Joanna Kos-Krauze and Joanne Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze
From the celebrated directors of My Nikifor comes a stunning account of the life of Papusza, Poland’s first celebrated Roma poet. Jowita Budnik gives a masterful lead performance, fully inhabiting the poetess over five decades as she finds and refines her voice against the backdrop of the Nazi invasion, subsequent Communist persecution, and eventual excommunication from her Roma community. Exquisitely filmed with painterly precision, this ravishing biopic pays tribute to a beloved but under-recognized literary figure.
Roma Language and Polish with English Subtitles, 131 min
Teenager Erell (Blue Is The Warmest Color’s Adèle Exarchopolous) connects with the people in her life from behind her camera, documenting her friends and family, including her ailing mother and moody father. After years in which Erell had been left alone to run the household and care for her mother, her older sister Sarah suddenly returns. With her sister around, Erell begins to find her own voice without the safety of her camera in this refreshingly honest coming-of-age drama.
French with English Subtitles, 89 min
Stephen Lloyd Jackson
The lives of several couples intertwine through a complex web of love and infidelity in this intimate exploration of race and contemporary relationships. At the center of this romantic network is blogger Dark Mark, whose profile as a writer is growing as his penetrating essays on race relations earn him a regular magazine column and a book contract. When he leaves his girlfriend Vanessa for his white editor, a twisted, tragic fate awaits him and those he loves.
Argentina / Italy / United Kingdom (England)
Thrown in jail for a violent crime of passion, dwarf and former circus performer Sadourní finds re-assimilation difficult upon his release. Quickly realizing that society holds his height against him, Sadourní goes to tortuous extremes for a “treatment” that will alter his physical appearance, allowing him to fit in and to gain the attention of the woman he loves. A surrealistic melodrama reminiscent of Fellini and Jodorowsky, Sadourní’s Butterflies endows its strange, magical subject with hallucinatory beauty.
Spanish with English Subtitles, 94 min
Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza
Mafia hitman Salvo is solitary, callous, and ruthless. His deep-rooted cold-bloodedness is tested, however, when, on a job, he comes across his target’s sister, a blind woman named Rita. Disturbed by her unseeing stare, Salvo cannot bring himself to silence the potential witness. In choosing to spare her, he must become her protector. The once amoral Salvo must risk his life to save hers in this masterfully executed story of love and redemption.
Italian with English Subtitles, 104 min
The true story of an unlikely friendship between a radical libertarian and a hedonistic capitalist, this unconventional biopic follows two outsiders who bond despite antithetical worldviews. Simon Spies was one of Denmark’s most powerful tycoons whose enormous appetite for sex and drugs was legendary. Mogens Glistrup was a right-wing provocateur who built a political career on anti-tax activism. Director Christoffer Boe (Allegro) traces their remarkably colorful, volatile history together in this hugely entertaining story of two larger-than-life figures.
Danish with English Subtitles, 110 min
David Robinson, director of the famed Pordenone Silent Film Festival, presents a program of silent short films, including rediscovered rarities that have emerged in his relentless search for the lost treasures of film history. This year’s program includes 21st century silent films made in the wake of The Artist, and films featuring the glorious Anny Ondra, known in her native Czechoslovakia as “Buster Keaton in skirts.”
In the summer of 1989, beautiful yet melancholy linguistics student Boaz finds his quiet life with his devoted girlfriend Noa derailed when he begins receiving amorous letters from a closeted secret male admirer. Both flattered and troubled, Boaz is thrown into a profound internal conflict, questioning his own sexuality and alienating Noa in this tender, affecting drama.
Hebrew with English subtitles, 85 min
Kenya and Germany
Anne struggles to rebuild her life after Kenya’s civil unrest has killed her husband, gravely injured her son, and left her isolated farm in ruins. Joseph, a quiet and troubled young gang member who took part in the countrywide violence, is drawn to Anne and her farm, seemingly in search of connection and redemption. This powerful story of forgiveness and reconciliation presents an intimate look at the aftermath of violence on both perpetrators and victims.
Swahili with English Subtitles, 85 min
In this deeply unsettling psychological thriller, A-Chuan, a quiet young chef, unexpectedly collapses one night and becomes catatonic. When he finally awakens in his childhood mountain home, he doesn’t seem quite like himself, as if he is possessed. As he evinces unstable and even dangerous tendencies, his father grows more and more wary until A-Chuan’s strange, violent behavior sets off a sequence of chilling events in the remote, hazy alpine locale.
Mandarin with English Subtitles, 112 min
In a secluded cruising spot tucked away on a picturesque lake, Franck notices the muscular Michel and quickly falls for him. Franck’s desire continues to grow even as he witnesses Michel commit a terrible, violent act. Aware of the potential danger, possibly even excited by it, Franck ignores the advice of his wary friend Henri and indulges his passion in this brilliantly observed, sharply insightful meditation on sex and desire that was awarded a directing prize at Cannes.
French with English Subtitles, 97 min
Mexico / Netherlands / Uruguay
Ana Guevara Pose and Leticia Jorge
Since his divorce, Alberto has not spent much time with his children, Lucia and Federico. A trip to the hot springs seems like an ideal getaway, but an unrelenting storm traps the three of them inside their tiny rented cabin. Alberto’s sunny optimism begins to drain as floodwaters and close quarters bring out the worst in everyone. By turns achingly funny and poignant, this all-too-familiar drama is an affectionately drawn portrait of the classically fraught family vacation.
Spanish with English Subtitles, 90 min
Italy / France
After a series of devastating events, the beautiful young Augusta leaves Italy for Brazil to work as a missionary among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. When her dissatisfaction with the Church reaches a breaking point, she settles with a family in a port favela hoping to lead a more authentic life, far removed from her painful past. Filled with astonishing imagery, this gorgeous, meditative film follows Augusta’s spiritual quest in search of meaning and solace.
Italian and Portuguese with English Subtitles, 109 min
Moving to Tehran for her studies and desperate for a place to live, quiet, studious Nazanin rents a room from vivacious shop girl Sahar. Although the two are unlikely companions, Sahar coerces Nazanin into joining her circle of friends. When Sahar ends up in trouble, Nazanin is drawn into the complex web of debt and deceit surrounding her roommate. With pitch-perfect performances by the two female leads, Trapped draws an intelligent portrait of the subtleties of inter-personal power dynamics.
Farsi with English Subtitles, 92 min
Agnès Jaoui (Look At Me) returns with a witty, charming modern-day mélange of familiar fairy tales. Jaoui populates her film with delightful variations on well-worn tropes - shoes lost at midnight, big bad wolves, evil stepmothers, fairy godmothers - in telling the story of Laura, who must choose between two Prince Charmings as they, and their families, deal with the tragicomic complications of romance.
French with English subtitles, 112 min
When Enrico (Tony Servillo), the leader of Italy’s opposition party, abandons politics and disappears without a trace, the party leadership finds itself at a loss - until they uncover his long-estranged mad genius lookalike brother, Giovanni, fresh out of a mental institution. Passing perfectly for Enrico, Giovanni quickly garners overwhelming public support with his bracingly candid political ravings. Equal parts absurdist and contemplative, Viva la Libertà offers a droll satire of contemporary Italian politics.
Italian with English subtitles, 94 min
Young psychiatrist Ryo attempts to find catharsis by ruminating on the stories of his patients who have taken their own lives. While on a lone voyage off the coast of Southeast Asia, he writes about each patient, the film staging each of these vignettes in a beautiful surrealist landscape. As Ryo tries to find solace, he realizes that life and death are both part of the same great journey in this surprisingly playful meditation on depression.
Netherlands and Tunisia
In the summer of 2011, Tunisia is finally free of its dictatorial shackles, but 23-year-old Abdallah is still a slave to his mundane life, dreaming of an escape to Europe - or “die Welt” - to fulfill his dormant ambitions. Following a chance encounter with Dutch tourist Anna, Abdallah’s passion to reach the other side of the Mediterranean burns brighter than ever before, prompting a desperate gamble for escape in this at turns comic and heartbreaking story.
English, Arabic and Dutch with English Subtitles, 80 min
Introvert Weichung’s measured life as a family man is shaken up when a chance encounter revives feelings from his long suppressed gay past, forcing him to choose between love and security. Meanwhile, his sister, engaged to the nicest of men, begins to question her own desire for conventional family life. Fantastical flourishes and a sunny musical score color this bittersweet romantic comedy that is at once wise and funny in its exploration of formal notions of family, sexuality, and friendship.
Korean, Mandarin with English Subtitles, 104 min
In this lushly photographed romance set just after the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war, Buddhist pawnbroker Sarathsiri falls in love with the beautiful, enigmatic Tamil refugee Selvi. The couple avoids discussing their pasts on opposite sides of the bloody conflict until a chance visit from an old friend reveals a terrible secret, opening old wounds that threaten to rend the couple and their still-healing community as it comes to grips with the war’s lasting trauma.
Sinhala and Tamil with English Subtitles, 90 min
Mexico and Germany
Jose Luis Valle
After decades of working in a Tijuana factory, Rafael finds that, due to a technicality, he won’t be receiving a pension. Lidia works as a maid whose demanding boss devotes all her attention to her dog Princess. When her boss dies and leaves her fortune entirely to Princess, Lidia finds herself working for a canine millionaire. Gorgeously observed with striking visuals, Workers tells the moving, often absurdly funny story of two employees who are pushed to the breaking point.
Spanish with English Subtitles, 120 min
Algeria / France
In an isolated house on a drought-stricken mountainside, Ouardia must bury the body of her son Tarik, a victim of the civil conflict waging between the government and the fundamentalists. She suspects her other son, Ali, a mujahedeen fighter, has had a hand in the killing. And their mutual distrust is evidenced in the young soldier that Ali has sent to guard her. Beautifully capturing the expansive Algerian countryside this minimalist tale of a single family’s tragedy takes on mythic proportions.
Arabic with English Subtitles, 90 min
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