Five neighbourhoods, five different rooftops, five tragic stories. With these tales, veteran director Merzak Allouache takes the pulse of Algiers, a city rife with crime, teeming with intrigue and reeling from the clash of cultures. Allouache’s view is at once panoramic and intimate: he reaches across the city and pulls us close to its people. “Confident, composed and full of contemporary relevance.”—Filmmaker
Qatar, France, Germany, Uruguay, Argentina
There are echoes of VIFF 12 standout Neighbouring Sounds in this anxiety-fuelled thriller. As increasingly odd events unfold in an affluent Buenos Aires suburb, anxiety escalates, setting the stage for an intoxicatingly tense climax. Benjamín Naishtat “invokes a sinister vibe [and] dramatizes the point at which desire for safety sublimates into paranoid acquiescence.”—Film Comment. Winner, Grand Prize, Jeonju 2014; New Directors Prize, San Francisco 2014.
For sheer entertainment value, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat this outrageous anthology film. One of Cannes’ most buzzed about discoveries, Damián Szifrón’s third feature plays like a calling card from a preposterously talented newcomer, it’s so chock-full of crazy ideas and verve. “Delicious, horrible, scary and scabrous… Szifrón brings off a very difficult trick: making something genuinely funny and genuinely scary at the same time."—Guardian
Brazil, France, Mexico, Denmark, Germany, Argentina
Lisandro Alonso returns with a gorgeous, 19th century-set existential exploration. Viggo Mortensen is a Danish engineer who heads into the Patagonian wilderness in search of his missing daughter. "This hallucinatory head-trip Western remains unmistakably Alonso’s film… a metaphysical road movie in which origin and destination are markedly less important than the journey itself."—Variety. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2014.
Forsaking a traditional honeymoon, newlyweds Peter (Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser) and Chloe (Olivia Thirlby) book passage on a research vessel bound for Antarctica. As seasickness sets in, romantic bliss sours and Scott Cohen’s astonishingly assured, elegantly shot debut sets course for troubled, Polanski-indebted waters. "A quiet stunner of a drama…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Grand Jury Prize: Best New American Cinema, Seattle 2014.
Chile, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands
One of the New Argentine Cinema’s mainstays, Martín Rejtman returns with this funny, deliberately episodic study of 18-year-old flute player Mariano (Rafael Federman) and his circle of friends and family. "A nearly uncategorizable seriocomedy whose string of non-sequiturs oddly mimics life’s implausibilities… There’s a great deal of humor built in to the characters, whose instability has a certain endearing quality."—Variety
Droll and seductive, Matías Piñeiro’s romantic drama revolves around young theatre director Victor (Julián Larquier Tellarini), working on a radio adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost in Buenos Aires, who gets caught up in the lives of the five actresses he’s directing… "The film underlines the fluidity of romantic attachments… bringing to mind the complexity of the amorous allegiances in the Bard’s work."—Hollywood Reporter
Argentina’s Mercedes Sosa (1935-2009) was one of the most talented and politically engaged singers of the 20th century. Known as "the voice of the voiceless ones," she was a mainstay of the nueva canción folk movement, dazzled audiences worldwide and won numerous Grammy awards. Rodgrigo H. Vila’s loving portrait melds archival concert footage and contemporary interviews to breathtaking effect. Winner, Audience Award, Panama 2013.
So much can happen in a year. For instance, your mom can transition from female to male. Such is the case in Sophie Hyde’s provocative, authentic and refreshingly modern coming-of-age tale. Handled with care and restraint, “(this) accessible narrative experiment boasts breakout talent in front of and behind the camera.”—Variety. Winner, Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic, Sundance 2014.
In a dystopian future, a resistance fighter clutches on to his past by writing one last love letter.
After botching a romantic weekend, a luckless inventor travels back in time to try again. Instead, he initiates an inescapable circuit of events and spawns a legion of romantic rivals: other misguided versions of himself. Hugh Sullivan’s absurd, antic debut is "an exemplary time travel comedy… [It] uses the constant pileup of future and past events to enhance its humor and intelligence at once."—Indiewire
A school music-room turf-war threatens to disrupt Ethan’s entire negative world view.
The magnificent David Gulpilil quietly dominates Rolf de Heer’s heartfelt portrait of contemporary Aboriginal life. Gulpilil drew on his own troubles while co-writing the story of down-on-his-luck Charlie, squeezed on all sides in his Arnhemland community. "The third film collaboration between Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil is a majestic work."—Sydney Morning Herald. Winner, Best Actor, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2014.
USA, France, Russia, Austria, Germany
Generally considered the most important living Russian artists, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov cooperated fully on this documentary by Amei Wallach (Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine). More than 20 years after fleeing Russia, the Kabakovs return to install six walk-through installations in venues throughout Moscow. "Dynamically shot… conveying the emotional urgency of the Kabakovs’ work."—The New York Times
Skipping across South Sudan in a plane he built himself, uncompromising Oscar-nominated documentarian Hubert Sauper (Darwin’s Nightmare) reveals how the world’s newest country is being carved up by foreign multinationals and missionaries. “A surreal, moving, infuriating and persuasive argument that in South Sudan there’s nothing ’post’ about colonialism.”—The New York Times. Winner, Special Jury Prize: Cinematic Bravery, Sundance 2014.
Guided by Dominik Graf’s skilled directorial hand and anchored by remarkable performances, the tale of writer Friedrich Schiller’s notorious love triangle with the Lengefeld sisters is woven into a sophisticated, sprawling costume drama full of fervour and resonance. “A work of unimposing power, Beloved Sisters renders its minimal story on the grand scale of a three-hour epic with quaint elegance.”—Film Comment
Norway, Austria, Denmark, Germany
Six stunning buildings, six auteurs and glorious 3D come together in this hymn to the art of architecture. The Berliner Philharmonie concert hall (Wim Wenders), California’s Salk Institute (Robert Redford), the National Library in St. Petersburg (Michael Glawogger), Denmark’s Halden prison (Michael Madsen), the Oslo Opera House (Margreth Olin) and the Pompidou in Paris (Karim Ainouz) are brought to life like never before.
Secreting us inside the storied Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Johannes Holzhausen’s unobtrusive documentary not only offers glimpses of works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Bruegel but also shares fascinating insights into the people and processes that ensure their preservation and continued cultural relevance. Thanks to Holzhausen, masterpieces are suddenly seen in a whole new light. “As all-enveloping and elegant as the establishment itself.”—Variety