The age-old tribulations of adapting to a new place are explored with freshness and sympathy in this first feature from Kwak Eun-mi, about a defector from North Korea struggling to make a better life for herself in Seoul. Han-young (Sul Lee) has parlayed her ability to speak Chinese into a job as a tour guide, with a cynical remit to persuade her customers to spend lavishly on her company’s goods. And, like anyone, she needs the money, to aid her family, and just to get by. But she’s seen as an outsider by South Koreans and treated with suspicion, and in her own experience, there’s little she can rely on. The original Korean title translates as “Someone you can trust”, and trust is in short supply here, save for the compassionate, careful eye which Kwak brings to bear on the proceedings. This is a gentle, low-key movie with a wonderful performance from Sul Lee as the shy, determined Han-young at its centre.
Best Actor, Jeonju 2023
After graduating from Kookmin University’s Department of Business Administration, Kwak, Eun-Mi majored in film at the Korean Academy of Film Arts. Beneath The Wheel (2015), her graduation piece, won the Women’s Human Rights Film Festival’s Pium Audience Award. After graduation, she won the Sonjae Award at the Busan International Film Festival and the Blue Dragon Film Award for Short Film with A Hand-Written Poster (2017).
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Following a construction worker and a Belgian-Chinese biologist writing a dissertation on moss, this is a sensuous wonder and a luminous exploration of the visible world. A film about two strangers united by their mutual delight in their surroundings.
If Only I Could Hibernate
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Only the River Flows
Wei Shujun's unpredictable neo-noir pits a detective against a serial killer terrorizing a small hamlet. The cop is not only trying to outwit the murderer, but must also deal with uncooperative villagers, inept colleagues, and his own unraveling mind.
After the death of his mentor a professor of philosophy finds his professional standing is in jeopardy, and his own students are threatening to revolt. What use Rousseau, Hobbes et al when his life is spiraling out of control?
Kanae is reopening the bathhouse she shut down when her husband Satoru vanished without a trace. As someone shows up looking for work, an uneasy companionship forms, causing Kanae to handle two burdens, her lost husband and a secret she dare not reveal.
Let the River Flow
Ester, a young Sami woman, tries to conceal her ethnicity to avoid ostracism in 1970s Norway without betraying her family roots. Struggling to navigate her shifting cultural identity, she protests a local dam with Sami activists.
Set in a small village on the India/Bhutan border, this story depicts a group of women who live alongside and ultimately support each other. Wild Swans shares a glimpse into a culture and community that is rarely seen in cinema.
There's No Place Like Home
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In German-occupied Poland, a young woman, Irene Gut Opdyke (Sophie Nélisse) risks her life by hiding 12 Jews in the cellar of a villa where she serves as housekeeper for a Werhmacht officer. But one day, he discovers the truth... Based on a true story.
Living a solitary existence in Manhattan, Dog is tired of being alone, and builds his own friend: Robot. Their friendship blooms while exploring 1980s New York. This enchanting 2D animation brims with love, loss, and friendship.
A Tour Guide
The tribulations of adapting to a new place are explored with freshness and sympathy in this film about a defector from North Korea struggling to make a better life for herself in Seoul. A gentle, low-key movie with a touching performance from Sul Lee.
In this unsettling and enthralling drama from the director of Nadia, Butterfly, Kelly-Anne (Juliette Gariépy) becomes obsessed with the trial of Ludwig Chevalier (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos), a loner accused of the torture and murder of three teenage girls.
The Oceans Are the Real Continents
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Inside an unfinished apartment tower in Tblisi, Georgia, a legendary drag queen and teenage drifter live in purgatorial languor. Are they still inhabiting this plane of existence? A poetic fable that conjures a legitimately dreamlike milieu.
Tsugaru Lacquer Girl
Lacquerwork kitchenware is the Aoki family's legacy. When Seishiro wants to hand it down to his son Yu, he is faced with conflict, as his daughter Miyako cares far more for the craft, pushing a collision of gender politics and traditional domestic roles.
Leading up to South Sudan’s secession, a retired singer is wracked with guilt from her connection to a murder. To make amends, she hires the new widow as her maid. This artfully composed drama weaves friendship, deceit, and awakening to inequities.
Suellen, an unhappy toll booth attendant, prays everyday at a cliff-side shrine for one thing: that her teenage son will be “cured” of homosexuality. In order to pay for conversion therapy, she helps her boyfriend steal wristwatches from wealthy motorists.
One Day All This Will Be Yours
Lisa is lured to a rare gathering with her parents and two siblings at the family's forest home. The purpose is to decide which child may inherit the vast land and take over the family business. A sensitive and funny portrayal of a dysfunctional family.
In Broad Daylight
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In Cairo, a lonesome property guard tends to a run-down villa long-since vacated by its affluent owners. His peaceful little world is overturned when an ex-convict occupies the property, forcing the old man to confront his sorrows.
Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry
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In this nihilistic Chilean south western, notorious cattle rancher Menéndez dispatches a trio of hired guns (a Brit, an American cowboy and a local mestizo) to scout and scourge Tierra del Fuego. A searing critique of white supremacist foundational myths.
How do you want to be remembered after death? All Ears tackles this heavy subject with a lightness of touch and sense of humor. A failed scriptwriter leverages his knowledge of storytelling into a job writing obituaries.
In this riveting revenge thriller, winner of the Grand Jury Award at SXSW, Joy, an undocumented Filipino woman becomes a housekeeper for a terminally ill British aristocrat in his secluded home. But all is not what it seems...
The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed
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Days of Happiness
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Measures of Men
Germany's historical bigotry against Africans, and its servitude toward legitimizing mass slaughter is documented in this historical drama. Set in turn-of the century Berlin, demonstrating what has been called the 20th century's first genocide.