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The most interesting, renowned as well as some of the most controversial movies of the past season presented at the major film festivals in the world.

 

Alps (Alpeis), director: Giorgos Lanthimos, Greece, 2011, 93 mins

Venice IFF – the Best Script, Nomination for the Main Competition

The most recent film of the author of “Dogtooth” – one of the most controversial pictures of the last few years. A group of four people start an exceptional business. They impersonate for money the recently deceased in order to help their clients through the grieving process. Helping others they find themselves in situations that are not entirely possible to predict.

 

Beasts of the Southern Wild, director: Benh Zeitlin, USA, 2012, 93 mins

2013 Academy Awards – 4 Nominations

2013 Cannes IFF – 4 Awards

2013 Sundance Film Festival – Grand Jury Prize, Cinematography Award

The film was announced the best American debut of the lat decade. Fascinating combination of fantasy and fairy tale. A group of survivals is trying to organize their life after a truly apocalyptic flood. They must prepare themselves to fight against beasts that have been awoken as a result of the catastrophe.

 

Café de flore, director: Jean-Marc Vallée, France/ Canada, 2011, 120 mins

2012 Transatlantyk Festival – Nomination for the Audience Award

The story about love and people separated by time and place but connected in some deep and mysterious way. Fantastic and tragic, a film that gives hope. The story of Jacqueline, set in 1960s Paris – a single mother of Laurent, a child who has a Down syndrome. Antoine, another protagonist, is a divorced club DJ living in present-day Montreal. What connects the two seemingly unrelated stories is love – euphoric, obsessive, tragic, adolescent and timeless.

 

Traffic Departament (Drogówka), director: Wojciech Smarzowski, Poland, 2013, 118 mins

„Orły 2013” Polish Film Awards  – Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor

Expressive and strong picture of Warsaw shown in a way that has always distinguished Smarzowski’s films. It tells the story of seven police officers who are friends also outside work, all interested in parties, cars and doing business together. Everything changes when one of them dies. Sergeant Ryszard Król is accused of the murder. While he tries to clear himself of all the charges he discovers the truth about the connections between the underworld and high-rank officials.

 

Holy motors, director: Leos Carax, France/ Germany, 2012, 115 mins

2012 Cannes – Award of the Youth, Best Film

2012 César Awards – 9 Nominations

24 hours out of a man’s life. In Carax’s film the greatest absurdities become the driving force behind a real roller-coaster ride. Surrealistic journey through Paris, intoxicated with fantasies and a white limousine that is hiding a mystery of some agency. 11 incarnations of Oscar make it impossible to distinguish fiction from reality to the very end.

 

Imagine, director:  Andrzej Jakimowski, France/Poland/Portugal/Great Britain, 2012, 105 mins

2012 Toronto IFF – Official Selection

2012 Rio de Janeiro IFF – Official Selection

2012 Warsaw Film Festival – Award for the Director, Audience Award

Long awaited, third film of the director of “Squint your eyes” (Zmruż oczy) and “Tricks” (Sztuczki), one of the most highly regarded Polish filmmakers in the world. Touching and charming story of Ian, a charismatic blind teacher who arrives to a prestigious centre in Lisbon in order to teach young students to have a better sense of direction. His methods are seen as controversial at the beginning but gradually the students are more and more enthusiastic and he gains their trust.

 

Juan, director: Kasper Holten, Denmark, 2010, 105 mins

DanishFilmAcademy – 4 Nominations

Film adaptation of Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”. It tells the story of a man whose main pleasure is to seduce a woman and then throw her away. The director focuses on showing how a man’s unbridled sexual instinct can lead him to destruction. In the story Don Juan is a self-confident, modern man with a permanent need for experiencing extreme emotions.

 

Moonrise Kingdom, director: Wes Anderson, USA, 2012, 94 mins

2013 Academy Award – Nomination for the Best Original Writing

2012 Cannes IFF – Participation in the Main Competition

For his picture Wes Anderson got two nominations for the Academy Awards. He tells a moving story of a teenage couple’s love. They make a secret pact and run away so that they could experience the greatest adventure of their life together. The authorities begin their search and the local community’s life turns upside down. Bruce Willis stars as the local sheriff, Edward Norton is the Scouts’ Master, whereas Bill Murray and Frances McDormand play the girl’s parents.

 

Amour, director: Michael Haneke, Austria/France/Germany, 2012, 106 mins

2013 Academy Award – Best Foreign Language Film

2012 Cannes IFF – Golden Palm

One of the greatest masterpiece of the cinema today. The film shows the power of love, affection and sacrifice. Georges and Anne are a coupe of retired music teachers enjoying life in their eighties.  One day, Anne has a stroke. That incident begins Anne’s harrowingly steep physical and mental decline as Georges attempts to care for her at home as she wishes. The couple’s bond of love is severely tested.

 

Laurence Anyways, director: Xavier Dolan, France/Canada, 2012, 159 mins

2012 Cannes IFF – Special Award

2012 Toronto FF – Best Canadian Film

Another film by Xavier Dolan, author of famous “Heartbeats” and “I killed my mother”. In 1990s Laurence told his girlfriend Fred that he wants to be a woman. In spite of all the difficulties, they face their friends prejudices, their relatives’ advice and society’s phobias. The story spans a decade, chronicling the doomed love of Fred and Laurence, as well as the trials and tribulations that they face.

 

Lasting (Nieulotne), director: Jacek Borcuch, Poland/ Spain, 2013, 90 mins

2013 Sundance IFF – Cinematography Award (World Cinema – Dramatic), Nomination for the Grand Jury Prize

An emotional love story about Michał (Jakub Gierszał) and Karina (Magdalena Berus), a pair of Polish students who meet and fall in love with each other while working summer jobs in Spain. An unexpected nightmare brutally breaks into their carefree time in the heavenly landscape and throws their lives into chaos.

 

Manhunt (Obława), director: Marcin Kryształowicz, Poland, 2012, 88 mins

„Orły 2013” Polish Film Awards – Best Film, Best Cinematography

Gdynia Film Festival – „The Silver Lions” Award for Marcin Krzyształowicz

The film is set in Poland during the Second World War. It is a sort of a ballad about partisans on the one hand and a terrifying war thriller that shows the real face of occupation on the other. In those dark times the lives of two men and two women get muddled together unpredictably. In this intrigue each of them hides some dark secret and treason shows all its possible natures…

 

Found memories (Histórias que só existem quando lembradas), director: Júlia Murat, Argentina/Brazil/France, 2011, 98 mins

2011 San Sebastian IFF – Special Mention

2011 Venice FF – Venice Days Section

Inspired by a local poetic legend. A story of a Brazilian village, where the time stopped. One day a young photographer Rita arrives looking for a place to stay. She is fascinated with the aura of the place. The young woman breathes a new life into the dormant village. However, when she begins asking about the locked cemetery, the citizens start to find her presence worrisome.

 

The Hunt (Jagten), director: Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark, 2012, 115 mins

2012 Cannes IFF – Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

2012 European Film Award – Best Screenplay

An innocent lie of a little girl changes a life of a teacher in a small village into hell. The man becomes a target of mass hysteria of the local community who readily believes the story of him sexually assaulting a child and wants to punish him on their own. Brilliant thriller by Thomas Vinterberg was a sensation at 2012 Cannes Film Festival where Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award for his role.

 

Lost in Africa (Kidnappet), director: Vibeke Muasya, Denmark, 2010, 90 mins

DanishFilmAcademy – 4 Nominations

Simon is an eleven-year-old black child who travels together with his Danish mother to Kenya, where he comes from. After they arrive the boy loses his favourite ball. When he starts looking for it he finds himself in one of the largest slums in Africa. His life is threatened when his mother announces in the media that there is a reward for finding him.

 

Practical Guide to Belgrade with Singing and Crying, director: Bojan Vuletic, Croatia/France/Germany/Hungary/Serbia, 2011, 146 mins

2012 Warsaw Film Festival – Nomination for the Free Spirit Award

2012 Karlovy Vary Film Festival – Nomination for the Best Director

Balkan satire on a romantic comedy. After many years of hard isolation Belgrade has opened again, ready to accept numerous tourists, businessmen and curious people from all over the world. What happens when foreigners and local people meet? “Practical Guide to Belgrade with Singing and Crying” is a contemporary love story about four couples from different nations that meet in present Belgrade and experience the small impossibilities of big love.

 

Neighbouring Sounds (O Som ao Redor), director: Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil, 2012, 131 mins

2012 Rotterdam IFF – FIPRESCI Prize

The lives of the residents of a Brazilian residential district seems to be well-organized. Most of the houses are owned by one family. Those who rent them live in a community and isolate themselves from the world outside. Their life takes an unexpected turn when an independent private security firm appears in the neighbourhood. Their offer their service. Who and against what should they protect? Will the firm’s presence guarantee the citizens safety?

 

Capital (Le Capital), director: Costa-Gavras, France, 2012, 114 mins

2012 San Sebastian FF – Special Award

Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh, “Midnight in Paris”) has just become a CEO of a giant European investment bank Phenix and he begins to take unilateral control in the bank, laying off many of the employees and making a corrupt deal with the head of an American hedge fund.

 

Take this Waltz, director:  Sarah Polley, Spain/Japan/Canada, 2011, 116 mins

2011 San Sebastian IFF – Nomination for the Main Competition

Twenty-eight-year-old Margot (Michelle Williams) is happy with her husband but she realizes that she is not completely satisfied with her marriage when she meets Daniel, an artist and rickshaw operator who lives across the street. As the film progresses Margot struggles with and examines her feelings for Lou, her husband, while exploring a new relationship with Daniel.

 

On the road, director: Walter Salles, Brazil/France/USA/Great Britain, 2012, 137 mins

2012 Cannes IFF – Nomination for the Main Competition

Adaptation of one of the most famous American 20th-century novels by Jack Kerouac. The film by the author of „The Motorcycle Diaries”. An ambitious writer from New York meets a handsome and charming Dean Moriarty and his wife, Marylou. Hungry for freedom, they leave everything behind and set out on a journey to discover the world and themselves.

 

In the Shadow (Ve Stinu), director: David Ondříček, Poland?Czech Republik/Slovakia, 2013, 105 mins

Remarkable Czech-Polish film production awarded with 9 Czech Lions including one for brilliant cinematography by Adam Sikora (,,Essential Killing”). Prague in 1953. The citizens are shocked after a series of brutal robberies and murders whereas the perpetrators remain elusive. Police Capitan Hackl investigates the case. He follows the track that leads him to high ranking officials of the communist authorities. Things get even more complicated when major Zemke, a former SS officer, is brought from Siberia and takes over the case.

 

The Angels’ share, director: Ken Loach, Belgium/France/Great Britain/Italy 2012, 101 mins

2012 Cannes IFF – Jury’s Award for the Best Picture, Nomination for the main Competition

2012 San Sebastian IFF – Audience Award

A puckish British comedy that makes one laugh from the very first scene. Robbie, Albert, Rhino and Moe are all in a difficult life situation. They are unemployed and broke but they can count on each other. One day they learn about a cask of priceless whisky, the Malt Mill, that is set to go on auction soon. That’s how their adventure begins…

 

Beyond the Hills (Dupǎ dealuri), director: Cristian Mungiu, Romania/France/Belgium, 2012, 150 mins

2012 Cannes IFF – Best Screenplay, Best Actress

A small church and a few wooden cottages in the middle of a glade – it seems that in this modest scenery nothing can shake the atmosphere of divine relief. However, this tight border set by nature turns out not to be enough. The danger slithers into the convent  unnoticed, together with Alina, a friend of a nun Voichita. The convent was unable to suppress Voichita’s feeling to her friend and now that she’s back in her life all the affection revived…

 

Another woman’s life (La Vie d’une autre), director: Sylvie Testud, Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2012, 97 mins 

2012 Transatlantyk Festival – Audience Award

In a short time there have been a lot of changes in Marie’s (Juliette Binoche) life: she got a new job and caught attention of Paul – a handsome son of her new boss. Her 29th birthday ends exactly the way she wanted: with a passionate night in his arms. But when she wakes up the next morning she doesn’t recognize anything. People pay in Euros, there is an exclusive BMW parked in a garage and a little boy sitting in the kitchen and calling his mum… As if that wasn’t enough, she has only 4 days to make the man of her dreams fall in love with her again and make everything run its normal course.