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
Taiwan, Hong Kong
In Chienn Hsiang’s subtle urban drama, the great Chen Shiang-chyi plays Lingzi, whose romantic imagination strains against the boundaries of a downwardly mobile working woman’s life. When she encounters an almost comatose man lying next to her mother-in-law in hospital, she seizes the opportunity to transform her life, one tender, anonymous touch at a time. Winner, Best Feature, Best Actress, Taipei Film Awards 2014. Shelly Kraicer
Made in Japan by a Taiwanese woman director, this sets a high benchmark for films about female solidarity. A woman returns to the remote peninsula where she grew up; she wants to "find" her father, lost at sea, but instead bonds with a single mother living nearby. Piercing emotional depth and wonderful performances, plus great visual beauty. Tony Rayns
Canada, France, Tunisia
Writer-director Kaouther Ben Hania turns her caustically funny eye to the sexist practices and antediluvian views she finds endemic in her country. "An audacious mockumentary… Hilarious and acerbic… Ostensibly about the director’s search for a man who slashed 11 women from his motorbike back in 2003, the pic shines a discomfiting light on Tunisia’s attitudes toward women, using a fake-documentary approach…"—Variety
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.
"Nuri Bilge Ceylan [Once Upon a Time in Anatolia] is at the peak of his powers with [this] richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus… [The film] tunnels into the everyday existence of a middle-aged former actor turned comfortably situated hotel owner—and emerges with a multifaceted study of human frailty whose moral implications resonate far beyond its remote Turkish setting."—Variety. Winner, Palme d’Or, Cannes 2014.