The most interesting and renowned movies of the past season that have been presented at the world’s major film festivals like Cannes, Berlinale, Venice and Toronto.
The best films in this section will be chosen by the festival goers.
THE SWIMMING POOL
(La Piscina), dir. Carlos Quintela, 2011, Cuba, Venezuela, 65 min
Sopot Film Festival 2013 – Best Film
Berlin IFF 2013 – Official Selection
During summer in Havana four disabled adolescents while in vacation from school spend a day in a swimming pool with their instructor Esteban, an introverted ex-professional swimmer. The five outcasts inevitably struggle, clash, separate, and in the end reunite thanks to their imperfections.
dir. Noah Baumbach, USA, 2012, 86 min
Golden Globes 2014 – Nomination: Best American Film
British Independent Film Awards 2013 – Best International Independent Film
A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
dir. Wes Anderson, USA, Niemcy, 2014, 101 min
Berlin IFF 2014 – Silver Berlin Bear
The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
dir. Paweł Pawlikowski, Denmark, Poland, 2013, 80 min
London Film Festival 2013 – Grand Prix
Toronto IFF 2013 – International Critics’Award (FIPRESCI)
Gdynia Film Festival 2013 – Best Film, Best Leading Actress, Best Cinematography,
Best Scenography, Journalists’ Award
Warsaw Film Festival 2013 – Grand Prix in International Competition, Ecumenical
Polish Film Awards: Eagles 2014 – Best Film, Best Leading Actress, Best
Director, Best Director’s Cut
Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation.
dir. Steven Knight, USA, Great Britain, 2013, 82 min
Venice IFF 2013 – Official Selection
London Film Festival 2013 – Official Selection
British Independent Film Awards 2013 – Best Screenplay
Ivan Locke, a dedicated family man and successful construction manager, receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his careful cultivated existence.
(Uroki garmonii), dir. Emir Baigazin, Kazakhstan, Germany, 2013, 115 min
Berlin IFF 2013 – Silver Berlin Bear
São Paulo International Film Festival 2013 – Best Film, Critics Special Award
(Mandariinid), dir. Zaza Urushadze, Georgia, Estonia, 2013, 87 min
War in Abkhazia 1990. An Estonian man Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines. In a bloody conflict at his door, a wounded man is left behind, and Ivo is forced to take him in.
STRANGER BY THE LAKE
(L’Inconnu du Lac), dir. Alain Guiraudie, France, 2013, 92 min
Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel. An attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this, but wants to live out his passion anyway.
NYMPHOMANIAC: Vol. I and II
dir. Lars von Trier, Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, 2013, 110 min (vol. I) + 130 min (vol. II)
A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.
A COFFEE IN BERLIN
(Oh Boy!), dir. Jan Ole Gerster, Germany, 2012, 85 min
European Film Award 2013 – European discovery of the year: Jan Ole Gerster
This tragicomedy is a self-ironic portrait of a young man who drops out of university and ends up wandering the streets of the city he lives: Berlin. The film deals with the desire to participate in life and the difficulty to find one’s place.
dir. Krzysztof Krauze, Joanna Kos-Krauze, Poland, 2013, 131 min
Gdynia Film Festival 2013 – Best Film Music, Best Supporting Actor
Karlovy Vary IFF 2013 – Special Mention
The rise and fall of the most distinguished Polish-Gypsy poetess Bronislawa Wajs, widely known as Papusza, and her relationship with her discoverer, writer Jerzy Ficowski.
UNDER THE MIGHTY ANGEL
(Pod Mocnym Aniołem), dir. Wojciech Smarzowski, Poland, 2014, 109 min
Jerzy is a writer and a chronic alcoholic. We meet him at the point when he believes that he can beat his addiction. Him and her in bed. It seems that there is a reason and someone to live for… But when once she’s gone and he’s alone in a taxi, Jerzy can’t stop himself any longer. He has a quick one at The Mighty Angel and then goes to an all-night shop and starts drinking heavily. Jerzy ends up in intensive care. We meet the hospital staff and other alcoholics in the isolated ward. There’s an array of characters here: a lorry driver, a director, a pharmacist, some dossers too, a student and a policeman… There are many amusing and authentic life stories (who has never laughed at a drunkard?) but there are also some terrifying ones…
(Poziţia Copilului), dir. Călin Peter Netzer, Romania, 2013, 112 min
Berlin IFF 2013 – Golden Berlin Bear
Seeing a way to reassert control over her adult son’s life when he faces manslaughter charges, an affluent Romanian woman sets out on a campaign of emotional and social manipulation to keep him out of prison, navigating the waters of power, corruption and influence. Child’s Pose is based on the sense of loss of parents who have to send their children away-physically and psychologically. The parent-child relationship is re-assessed through a son in his 30s that wants to escape from his mother, who in turn wants to keep her adult son by her side.
dir. Richard Linklater, USA, 2013, 108 min
Academy Awards 2014 – Nomination: Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA – Best Screenplay
We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.
(Le passe), dir. Asghar Farhadi, France, Italy, 130 min
Cannes FF 2013 – Special Jury Award, Prze of the Ecumenical Jury
César Awards 2014 – 5 nominations
Golden Globes 2014 – Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
An Iranian man deserts his French wife and her two children to return to his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband confronts upon his wife’s request for a divorce.
dir. Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza, Italy, France, 2013, 104 min
Cannes FF 2013 – Critics Week Grand Prize
London Film Festival 2013 – Official Selection
CPH PIX 2014 – Official Selection
Salvo is a body guard and hit man for a mafioso. After foiling an attack on his employer, Salvo hunts down the man who organised it and encounters the man’s blind sister. She causes Salvo to question himself and his existence.
(Stacja Warszawa), dir. Maciej Cuske, Kacper Lisowski, Nenad Miković, Mateusz Rakowicz, Tymon Wyciszkiewicz, Poland, 2013, 90 min
Gdynia Film Festival 2013
Film & Art. Festival Two Riversides 2013
(Skytten), dir. Annette K. Olesen, Denmark, 2013, 90 min
Denmark’s political scene is a public riot with ecologists and pro-nature activists demonstrating on the streets. The actual government legislature is far from keeping the promises of not to planting oil-rigs in the Arctic See sanctuaries. The potential ecological consequences are incalculable and journalist Julie takes up the battle through a debate with those responsible in the administration. Rasmus is a hotheaded geophysicist, who upon return from the Arctic believes the only valid methods to convince the money-minded government officials are violence and intimidation. Equipped with a gun, he not only takes the journalist as hostage, but the whole of Copenhagen as well. His demand is that the drilling agenda must stop or he will start killing people.
TOM AT THE FRAM
(Tom a la Ferme), dir. Xavier Dolan, France, Canada, 95 min
Venice FF 2013 – FIPRESCI Prize
Toronto IFF 2013 – Official Selection
London Film Festival 2013 – Official Selection
A grieving man meets his lover’s family, who were not aware of their son’s sexual orientation.
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
dir. Steven Soderbergh, USA, 2013, 118 min
Golden Globes 2014 – Best Actor, Best Mini-Series or Morion Picture for Television
Emmy Awards 2014 – Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Make-up, Outstanding Directing, Outstanding Costumes, Outstanding Art Direction
Cannes FF 2013 – Main Competition
Based on the autobiographical novel, the tempestuous 6-year relationship between Liberace and his (much younger) lover, Scott Thorson, is recounted.
THE GREAT BEAUTY
(La grande bellezza), dir. Paolo Sorrentino, France, Italy, 2013, 142 min
Academy Awards 2014 – Best Foreign Language Film
European Film Awards 2013 – Best European Film of the Year
Golden Globes 2014 – Best Foreign Language Film
BAFTA Awards 2014 – Best Film not in the English Language
Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
(Feuchtgebiete), dir. David Wnendt, Germany 2013, 109 min
Locarno IFF 2013 – Official Selection
Off Plus Camera 2014 – Audience Award
Sundance IFF 2014 – Official Selection
The adventures of an eccentric girl who has strange attitudes towards hygiene and sexuality longs for the reunion of her divorced parents.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
dir. Jean-Marc Vallee, USA, 117 min
Academy Awards 2014 – Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor
In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.
FILL THE VOID
(Fill the Void), dir. Rama Burshtein, Israel, 2012, 87 min
Venice FF 2012 – Main Competition, Best Actress
Toronto IFF 2012 – Discovery Award
A young Hasidic Jewish woman is pressured into an arranged levirate marriage to an older widower.
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
(La vied’Adèle), dir. Abdellatif Kechiche, Belgium, France, Spain, Tunisia, 2013, 179 min
Cannes FF 2013 – Palme d’Or
Adele’s life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.