Catherine Deneuve owns the screen in her seventh collaboration with André Téchiné (Scene of the Crime, Thieves). She plays real-life casino owner Renée Le Roux, who went up against the mob in 1970s Nice and whose daughter Agnès (rising star Adèle Haenel, also in Love at First Fight) subsequently disappeared. Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) is the shady lawyer—Agnès’ lover—who may (or may not) be involved in the disappearance.
Provocateur Bruno Dumont (Humanité) delivers arguably his biggest shocker yet with this outrageous comedy. An absurdist police procedural, it follows a Clouseau-like, tic-infested inspector as he investigates a macabre murder spree (dead cows are being stuffed with human remains) and contends with mischievous interference courtesy of a pack of juvenile scoundrels led by the impish Quinquin. “Wonderfully weird and unexpectedly hilarious…”—Variety
Two very different pediatrician brothers (Cédric Kahn, Laurent Stocker) fall for the same barmaid (the luminous Louise Bourgoin) in Axelle Ropert’s (The Wolberg Family) intelligent romance. "Reminiscent of… [the] cleverly scripted adult dramas of François Truffaut’s late period. It’s at once astutely observed and deeply, though subtly, passionate… The direction and performances are spot-on throughout."—Hollywood Reporter
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
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.
“A government without a sense of humour isn’t democratic.” This caption from a Venezuelan cartoon speaks volumes about satire’s power to test the establishment in political hotspots. Stéphanie Valloatto’s stirring, funny documentary profiles a dissident profession’s leading practitioners. “Just like the best political cartoons, the documentary… manages to synthesize a vast subject in ways both insightful and, at times, frightfully funny.”—Hollywood Reporter
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.
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.
Alain Resnais’ swan song is a wry, deliberately heightened adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn’s play. The unseen Riley is dying, but he still possesses the power to disrupt the marriages of his friends (Sabine Azéma, Sandrine Kiberlain, André Dussollier, Hippolyte Girardot). "This joyous yet melancholic effort… charts the woes of middle-class couples coping with problematic love lives, solitude and death…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, Alfred Bauer Prize, Berlin 2014.
An unflappable free spirit (Kevin Azaïs, casually charismatic) and driven survivalist (Adèle Haenel, intense and alluring) make for unlikely lovers in Thomas Cailley’s wonderfully oddball comedy. When the couple enlists in boot camp, paintball pellets stand in for Cupid’s arrows and their fledgling romance is put through the paces. "Overflowing with relentlessly acerbic humour…"—Hollywood Reporter. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2014.
France, Hong Kong
Tsang Tsui Shan brings the past to life in this beautiful, bittersweet documentary that shares the story of a Hong Kong family and recounts their fortunes over the span of decades, replete with home videos and photos. The culture the film sketches is unique but the emotions it evokes are immediately familiar. "There’s much nostalgia to feel for, and much beauty to behold…"—Hollywood Reporter
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.
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.
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.
A mentally unstable woman and a low-rent con artist embark on a gruesome killing spree in this sinister, spellbinding update of cult classic The Honeymoon Killers. Director Fabrice Du Welz (Calvaire) keeps us constantly off-balance as he sends his outrageous film careening from macabre psychodrama to unsettling musical numbers. "Alleluia is all attempted repression, bursting carnal appetites and escalating craziness… A dose of some real midnight madness.”—Screen
France, Turkey, Germany
Passionate and utterly compelling, Hüseyin Karabey’s beautifully crafted film is founded in political absurdity. When the Turkish military surrounds a Kurdish village, takes alleged rebels into custody and demands the return of nonexistent guns, a little girl and her grandmother set off in search of a weapon—any weapon—that might earn her father’s freedom. Breathtaking vistas and nerve-wracking suspense await. Winner, Audience Award, Istanbul 2014.
A small miracle of a movie, Tsai Ming-liang’s insanely slow, magnificently gorgeous film is his most beautiful in years. For 56 minutes we watch Tsai’s actor fetiche Lee Kang-sheng, accompanied by French art-house icon Denis Lavant, walk ever-so-slowly through a series of urban spaces in Marseilles. Hilarious visual puzzles; plays of light and space; pure cinema magic. Shelly Kraicer
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