During a series of open auditions, Tinatin Gurchiani turns her camera on young Georgians, discovering both aspiring stars and disenfranchised strugglers eager to share their stories. Self-deprecating humour and heartrending accounts of war and domestic strife conspire in highly cinematic vignettes. Winner, World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary, Sundance 2013.
France, Georgia, Germany
"Nana Ekvtimishvili [with Simon Gross] marks her filmmaking debut in an impressive coming-of-age feature about female friendship, fatal feuds and family friction in post-Soviet Georgia… With superb performances and high technical polish… In Bloom has the texture of authentic experience."—Hollywood Reporter
As polyphonic as a great orchestra at its peak, Angelo Bozzolini’s behind-the-scenes chronicle of Rome’s famous Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is a stirring, fascinating and insightful portrait. Enhanced by archival material of famous conductors and soloists who’ve played with the orchestra, it is a grand trip, indeed.
Time is one of the most intriguing things to think about. (Of course, it’s not a thing at all—we call it a dimension.) Director Philipp Hartmann puts his chronophobia to fascinating and occasionally funny use in this philosophical, psychological and very German investigation into the phenomenology of time.
Making glorious use of both its BC locations and luminous lead Nina Hoss (Barbara), Thomas Arslan’s revisionist Western follows a band of German immigrants traversing the wilds on the Klondike Gold Rush trail of the 1890s. Betrayal, romance, the unforgiving wilderness and Arslan’s cool style make this a unique filmic odyssey.
Exciting and poetic by turns, Thomas Stellmach and Maja Oschmann animation uses the music of Louis Spohr’s opera The Alchymist to fuel a colourful fantasia of sight and sound.
Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) stars in Arnaud des Pallières’ atmospheric adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s classic novella about principles, law and revenge. In 16th-century Cévennes, a horse-dealer is wronged by a local lord. His search for justice will ravage the countryside.
The great Alain Resnais brings together a fantastic cast—Piccoli, Azéma, Arditi, Amalric and others—for a roundelay of theatre and passion in a country house. "Digital technology meets lyrical drama… in this puckishly daring, intricately original work."—New Yorker. Dedicated to the memory of film critic, professor and VIFF friend Mark Harris.
France, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands
Cannes 2013’s Steven Spielberg-led jury awarded Best Director to Amat Escalante for this tale ripped from blood-soaked headlines. "New Wave Mexican style: raw, gritty, and force fed… A film about supporting others as you yourself are written out of the picture. A damning indictment of contemporary Mexico, capturing its institutionalised corruption, its endemic cruelty."—Guardian Winner, Best Director, Cannes 2013.
France, Israel, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg
Waltz with Bashir’s Ari Folman again pushes the boundaries of animation with this audacious reinvention of Stanislaw Lem’s The Futurological Congress. When Robin Wright (playing herself) consents to being digitally preserved, she’s inadvertently plunged into a dystopian "animation zone." A mind-bending "ode to the wonders of cinematic invention."—Indiewire
India, France, Germany
When a lunchbox painstakingly prepared and intended for Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) husband is mistakenly delivered to Saajan (the wonderful Irrfan Khan, Life of Pi), the under-appreciated Mumbai housewife and lonely accountant strike up an intimate correspondence, sharing their inner thoughts and life stories. Ritesh Batra’s soulful debut is "a wistful, elegant love story."—Screen
Ecuador, Germany, Switzerland
Long a German resident, filmmaker Dario Aguirre gets called home to Ecuador to help save his father’s grill from bankruptcy. As the vegetarian son and meat-loving father circle each other warily amidst talk of spreadsheets and the advantages of wholesale, a humorous and deeply touching family odyssey emerges.
Italy, Austria, Germany
Venice is sinking—under the weight of more than 21 million tourists per year. Andreas Pichler’s revelatory and compassionate documentary is squarely on the side of the locals as they use humour and heart to cope with unconcerned governments, oblivious day-tourists and the disastrous crumbling of a way of life.
Gorgeously designed and photographed, Peter Sehr and Marie Noëlle’s epic life of "Mad King" Ludwig of Bavaria (Sabin Tambrea) paints a humanizing picture of a young monarch brought low by his belief that culture—exemplified by the music of Richard Wagner—could change society for the better. Winner, Best Young Actor, Bavarian Film Awards 2013.
Bosnia, Sweden, Germany
On a barnstorming tour of the former Yugoslavia, graphic novelists Max Andersson (who directs, with Helena Ahonen) and Lars Sjunneson bring a macabre "mummy" of Marshal Tito along for the ride. Astonishing stop-motion animation sequences render their journey all the more surreal while a Balkan new wave soundtrack affirms this doc’s punk rock spirit.
Italy, France, Germay, Germany, Portugal
In the first of these brilliant films from Portugal, Miguel Gomes’ (Tabu) found-footage collage examines human fallibility in its many forms. + The King’s Body (30 min.) Taking into account the first Portuguese king’s myth-like status, João Pedro Rodrigues’ ruminates on just what the body of Dom Afonso Henriques might have looked like…+ Mahjong (33 min.): João Rui Guerra da Mata and João Pedro Rodrigues enact a mysterious mahjong-like game between East and West, a man and a missing woman…
“An amateur kidnapping plotted by two teenage brothers goes wrong in Tom Shoval’s quirky first feature… A fetching addition to the Israeli panorama, an offbeat but not completely downbeat dramedy and coming-of-age tale that incidentally portrays the suburban class struggle and decline of the country’s middle class.”—Hollywood Reporter
UK, France, Germany, Afghanistan
Holding vigil at her husband’s side, a devoted Muslim (famous Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani) discovers unexpected empowerment. As she expresses her frustrations and desires, new possibilities present themselves in her war-torn city. Atiq Rahimi’s adaptation of his novel proves a "poetic and politically charged allegory."—Screen. Winner, Best Actress, Abu Dhabi 2012.
Artist and architect Susumu Shingu has had a lifelong “dialogue with the wind and with water.” Now he wants to create wind-powered communities. Thomas Riedelsheimer (Rivers and Tides) documents this combination of passionate environmental story and moving exploration of creativity with characteristic eloquence and lustrous imagery.
Germany, Saudi Arabia
The first feature film made entirely within Saudi Arabia, female director Haifaa Al Mansour’s drama follows 10-year-old Wadjda as she asserts her independence and negotiates the realities of growing up a woman in that nation. "One of 2013’s best films so far… a massively endearing tale…"—Guardian. Winner, Best Film, Dubai 2012; Audience Award, Los Angeles 2013.