Seventeen-year-old Ilmari has spent most of his young life looking after his mother, Leila, a renowned actress who loves to be the center of attention, and his younger brother. After a recent scandal, Leila takes all three of them to a distant island for a quiet weekend but soon grows bored and invites all of her friends over for a party. There, she falls for scriptwriter Aimo, and soon Ilmari’s resentment explodes in this tragic portrait of a dysfunctional family.
Finnish with subtitles 87 min
What is happiness? How do we grasp it? Six characters fumble desperately as their lives intersect over the course of one day and night in Brussels’ luxurious Hotel Swooni. A couple must face the truth about their marriage, while a mother and daughter seek to repair their fractured relationship and a young African boy urgently searches for his missing father. Emotions run high in this hotel in which no one checks out quite the same as they checked in.
Dutch, French with subtitles 90 min
In a secluded area of Brazil’s Mato Grosso region, an impossible land dispute rages between Indians evicted from their homeland, squatters, land-grabbers, the Landless Workers Movement, and the ranchers who own property. With no resolution in sight and violence threatening to erupt at any moment, the film looks closely at each group’s perspective, offering a meditation on the concept of private property across social and cultural boundaries.
Portugese with subtitles 72 min
Money: the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. Well, not exactly. But when the circus comes to a small Indian village, Ghumroo and his sister Panni learn adult sized lessons about greed and corruption. Wanting nothing more than a ticket to the big show, the youngsters take a special interest in a cash payment Dad has received from the local politicians to secure his vote. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones interested in their father’s sudden small windfall.
Hindi with subtitles 103 min
Best-selling novelist Kosaku Igami has made a career out of using his family as fodder for his novels, much to their dismay. When his mother, the spirited family matriarch, is diagnosed with dementia, Igami must come to terms with the toll his own behavior has taken on his increasingly distant family and resolve his own long-simmering resentments. Evocative of classic Ozu, this gorgeously wrought epic family portrait explores the tenderness and trappings of familial bonds.
Japanese with subtitles 119 min
Daniel loves Lina, but Lina wants rock star Niklas Ravn. Terese wants to give up her virginity to Stefan but Stefan wants to come out and declare his intentions to Daniel who, by now, is into Terese. Unable to express their dreams and passion with mere words, these four young souls break into song and dance over the course of one incredible night, in this color saturated, delightfully romantic musical.
Danish with subtitles 93 min
In this charming youth drama shot American-indie style from China, three friends have given up on their future, spending their time partying and working odd jobs. When their apartment complex is marked for demolition, they end up renting a room from a former Peking Opera singer who is still grieving over her son’s death. Their two worlds collide at first, but the four, each broken in their own way, discover a family of sorts united by their differences.
Mandarin with subtitles 101 min
A young Arab Israeli finds his political voice in this genial comedy about Israel-Palestine tensions. Jawat loves to endlessly call girls on his cell phone, even though his heart belongs to another. His father, Saleh, is causing a ruckus over a newly constructed cell phone tower near his olive grove, going so far as to attempt its destruction. When Jawat’s calls to the West Bank draw the attention of Israeli authorities, the young slacker finally takes a stand.
Arabic with subtitles 83 min
Violeta, a dentist in Rio de Janeiro, is happily married and still engages in passionate morning lovemaking with her husband. Then he leaves on business and calls to tell her he never plans to return. Confused, she begins to wander the streets, trying to figure out what happened and why. Rio is as much a protagonist as Violeta, its energetic and melancholic landscapes a reflection of her changing moods in this ode to resilience in the face of heartbreaking loss from Gold Hugo winner Karim Aïnouz (Madame Sãta).
Portugese with subtitles 82 min
If there was ever a case for designating a person a National Treasure, Winfred Rembert is that person. Though he lived through segregation and the civil rights era in the Deep South, Rembert didn’t begin his life as an artist until the 1990s. Working on cured leather canvases that are later painted, Rembert depicts a personalized form of US history that you can’t find in books, or anywhere else for that matter.
Based on real cases of bullying in Sweden, Play incisively delves into a children’s world ruled by intimidation and manipulation while delivering a nuanced commentary on race relations. When three boys are falsely accused of stealing a cell phone by older boys from immigrant African families, the latter assert their dominance through elaborate role play and gang rhetoric. What follows is an alarmingly tense game that no adult could dare to win.
Swedish with subtitles 118 min
Burdened by guilt over his mother's death, 23-year-old Payel moves into an old stable turned into an apartment. Through the thin walls and a high window he can hear his neighbors' lovemaking and arguments, inspiring sexual fantasies that lead him into an emotional encounter with death and redemption. Structured like a jigsaw puzzle, Karma invites audiences to piece together these characters' lives while immersing them in a truly sensorial experience.
Sinhalese with subtitles 88 min
David Robinson, director of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, will be presenting a compilation of exceptional silent films from past editions of the festival. A film critic and scholar, Robinson is best known for the book Chaplin: His Life and Times, a primary source for Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin starring Robert Downey, Jr., and is considered the leading authority on the life and career of the legendary filmmaker and comedian. Celebrated every October in the Italian town of Pordenone, the festival features all types of silent films, often accompanied by original scores from some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras and composers.
In this touching mix of road movie and coming-of-age story, a 13-year-old boy takes to the roads of Venezuela alone in search of the mother he never knew. As he makes his way amid the wreckage left behind by mudslides that hit a coastal town 10 years ago, the boy shares stories of the tragedy with the people he meets, as he tries to come to terms with what happened to his family.
Spanish with subtitles 100 min
What do those who make people laugh for a living think is funny? Benjamin, a clown traveling with the Circus Esperanza, tackles this question and more when he decides to leave the circus he grew up in and pursue his own dreams. With only a copy of his birth certificate in hand, Benjamin looks for answers, and for his identity, away from the bright lights of the big top.
Portugese with subtitles 88 min
First rule of Club Zeus: women feel what they want to feel. This Shanghai male host club caters to the emotional (and sexual) needs of its professional clientele and Leonardo, its youngest host, understands those needs perfectly. But his mentor and “big brother” Sly wants a better future for Leonardo and is willing to pay any price to free him from his duties. Shot in just ten days, Club Zeus is a visually striking exploration of the need for companionship in this digital age.
Mandarin with subtitles 75 min
When a recently retired Japanese businessman is diagnosed with incurable cancer, he reacts to the news with the same pragmatic approach that made him a successful salesman. In her directorial debut, Mami Sunada combines non-fiction film form with the growing trend of “end of life journals” among the elderly in Japan. By channeling her thoughts and feelings through her father’s “ending note”, Sunada abstracts the weight of a life and the pain of loss into a surprisingly hopeful and life-affirming message.
Japanese with subtitles 90 min
With only eight days before he’s put to death, Michael Perry’s interview while on Death Row in Texas is not intended as a plea to abolish the death penalty, but rather as an entry into the philosophical underpinnings of death and violence in a country that has not yet done away with state sanctioned executions. Perennial fan favorite and patron saint of daring cinema, Werner Herzog’s latest documentary takes us once again into realms far removed from everyday experience to bring back the extraordinary.
Cartography and passion come together in the first American film made in Armenia. Will, a satellite mapping engineer hired to map Armenia, arrives solo but soon meets Gadarine, a photographer and Armenian expatriate returning home for the first time. An unlikely pair, the two are inexplicably connected from their first encounter and together explore new terrain both literally and figuratively. With a striking visual design, this international road-movie romance premiered at this year’s Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals.
The year is 2020. The place, Russia. Four members of the country’s elite go out in search of the fountain of youth in this sci-fi take on Anna Karenina. Their goal is a secret military science facility that guards and administers the secret to eternal life which happens to also include an amped up sex drive. Throw in goggles that measure the good and evil in a person and this lurid, highly stylized, near giddy Russian production is sure to become a cult hit.
Russian with subtitles 154 min
Marcela’s pregnancy couldn’t have come at a worse time. A Latin American immigrant living in the outskirts of Madrid, Marcela is stuck in a stagnant relationship with a man who works a dead-end job selling flowers. Things begin to improve when she’s hired to care for a friend’s ailing father, Amador. When Amador suddenly dies, leaving her jobless, Marcela is faced with an unusual moral dilemma in this heartfelt drama about life and death.
Spanish with subtitles 112 min
Muse, mother, wife, and lover, Carolyn Cassady was the great woman behind two of the Beat Generation's greatest men: Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac. As the model for Kerouac's Dean Moriarty in On The Road, Neal was a living legend who often left Carolyn and the kids behind for grand adventures in the beatnik universe. This endearing portrait celebrates the wit, beauty, grace, and normalcy of an overlooked figure from one of American literature's most popular moments.
Prepare to be taken over by this delightfully enigmatic storyline that traverses centuries, continents and cultures. The “double steps” in question refer to advice left by French artist François Augiéras, who claimed the best way to escape one’s enemies is to walk backwards over your own footprints. Using one of Augiéras’ lost works as the catalyst for the story, filmmaker Isaki Lacuesta and painter Miquel Barceló weave together the structure and iconography of the road movie with African griot storytelling.
Spanish with subtitles 86 min
Forget everything you thought you knew about Sleeping Beauty. In Julia Leigh’s unsettling take on the classic tale, the beauty is Lucy (Emily Browning), a young woman who begins working at a niche job in the sex industry in order to pay for her education. Drugged and placed in a “sleeping beauty chamber”, Lucy becomes the play thing of paying customers, where almost anything is permissible. With so much beyond her control, will Lucy ever wake up to the world around her?
The thin veneer of youth, money, good looks and love are shattered when David is diagnosed with HIV. With his pregnant fiancée kept in the dark, David confronts the realization that he may have infected them as well. Sessions with a therapist become a narrative device that filmmaker Stephen Lloyd Jackson uses to document David’s descent into hedonistic despair.
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