Innovative in form and revealing in content, Lynne Sachs’ tenderly poetic "hybrid documentary" uses scripted monologues, improvised scenes and vérité footage to paint a vivid portrait of contemporary immigrant life in "shift-bed" rooming houses in New York’s Chinatown.
"An enticing first fiction feature by accomplished Chilean documentarian Marcela Said. Set in what should be a vacation paradise, it charts the coming to consciousness of a teenage girl, who, in a single summer, has her first love affair and discovers another world—that of the Mapuche Indians, who are being displaced from their land by men like her wealthy, brutish, arrogant father…"—Film Comment
Taking us around the globe to examine national and ethnic attitudes, Vic Sarin’s documentary shines a light on skin colour—not race in itself—as a factor in shame and bigotry. The film starts from a personal position—Sarin’s insecurity about his colour—and becomes an act of catharsis for himself, for his subjects and, hopefully, for many in the audience.
On the eve of departing overseas, Ellen makes the fateful decision to gift her boyfriend to another girl—but it’s often difficult to move on from someone you once loved.
Roberto Bolaño’s writing is finally adapted for the silver screen in the form of fellow Chilean Alicia Scherson’s surreal, moody, Rome-set drama. Following the death of their parents, two school-age siblings fend for themselves in the family home. A nuanced Rutger Hauer is superb as an ex-Mr. Universe who changes their lives.
Adventurous and irreverent, Alexander Carver and Daniel Schmidt’s speculative satire explores the concept of utopia and tests the bounds of visual art with an exhilarating sense of daring. "A bizarre, gentle and lyrical meld of sci-fi, incest, and pantheism… [Unity] demonstrates how irrationally beautiful something can be when shot and scored well…"—Slant
In this Kafkaesque parable, a bored, devoted housewife thinks her new appendages are the sure end of her marriage. They’re anything but!
Felippe Schultz Mussel
The favelas of Brazil have long fascinated foreigners. But what happens when these impoverished slums become a thriving tourist attraction? Felippe Schultz Mussel’s probing documentary not only explores Rio’s Favela da Rocinha but also the perspectives of the tour guides who navigate its corridors and the residents whose squalid homes have somehow been deemed postcard perfect.
How to get your video-addict friends to go camping.
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.
As befits its title, the conclusion of Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy is far more upbeat than the others. His story of chubby 13-year-old Melanie (Melanie Lenz), sent to weight-loss camp, still makes acerbic fun of the bourgeois, but his treatment of Melanie and her campmates is positively tender and affectionate.
Images of Korean aid-volunteers in Southeast Asia + a seemingly unrelated text = a witty, provocative experimental film that raises questions inside and beyond the frame.
Albert Serra’s (Honor de Cavelleria) dreamy period piece finds an aging Giacomo Casanova (Vicenç Altaió) coming face to face with the new age, as embodied in the form of Dracula… “Serra’s most accessible work… Casanova is a vivid character rich with metaphor… [Serra] turns the characters into symbols of history in flux.”—Indiewire. Winner, Golden Leopard, Locarno 2013.
Parviz Shahbazi’s engrossing moral thriller hinges on the bristling relationship between two young women in contemporary Tehran. Forced to share an apartment with party-loving Sahar, determined med-student Nazanin feels like a prisoner in her own home. But when Sahar is wrongfully arrested, Nazanin campaigns for her release. Winner, Best Director, Fajr 2013.
Shim Hyunseok explores an end-of-the-world dilemma.
Remember high-school drop-outs Masaru (the yakuza) and Shinji (the boxer) in Kitano Takeshi’s 1996 film? Here’s what happened next, as imagined by Kitano and directed by his former assistant Shimizu Hiroshi. The key issue—how to succeed?—is played out vividly by an excellent young cast.
“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
While waiting anxiously for his “I Saw You” ad to be answered, a lovelorn guy stumbles across an unlikely community in his neighbourhood park.
An accident that can’t wait to happen, Natalia displays an arsonist’s flair for burning bridges. Even after her downward spiral lands her in a men’s shelter, Nathan Silver’s engrossing character study continues to knock us for a loop. Winner, Best Actress, Brooklyn 2013.
While caring for an elderly woman, a young nursing assistant is deemed the miracle cure for an entire family’s multiple dysfunctions. Employing improvisation and invention in this accomplished film, Nathan Silver "locates the ordinary madness bubbling just beneath the surface of his own life, and flickers of lunacy abound…"—Village Voice