Foreign and Independent Film Series
The Foreign and Independent Film Series is a monthly library program run by Scarsdale Librarian Dan Glauber. One film is shown each month on a Friday at 1:45pm. Admission is free, along with snacks and soda. No registration is necessary. Just show up and enjoy a movie on our high definition wide screen projector. See a list of all the films we’ve shown here.
January 26th – The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Based on the internationally best-selling novel by Jonas Jonasson, the unlikely story of a 100-year-old man who decides it’s not too late to start over. For most people it would be the adventure of a lifetime, but Allan Karlsson’s unexpected journey is not his first. For a century he’s made the world uncertain, and now he is on the loose again.
February 16th – Hunt for the Wilderpeople
From acclaimed New Zealand director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, What We Do in the Shadows) comes an award-winning new comedy. Julian Dennison stars as Ricky, a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle (Sam Neil) in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together. Winner of Best Narrative Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Winner of an Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Winner of Best Film at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards.
December 2017 – Lore
Australia and Germany Left to fend for themselves after their SS officer father and mother, staunch Nazi believers, are interred by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II, five German children undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parents’ actions. Based on the book “Lore” by Rachel Seiffert.
November 2017 – The Beguiled
United States “The Beguiled” is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola. The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.
October 2017 – After the Storm
Japan Drawing deeper than ever on his personal memories and experiences, award-winning filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (Our Listtle Sister, Still Walking, Nobody Knows) returns with a powerful story of family ties and expectations. When a typhoon strikes, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), a failed writer and third-rate detective, unexpectedly spends the night together with his son, ex-wife (Yoko Maki) and aging mother (legendary actress Kirin Kiki), allowing the estranged family the opportunity to believe in each other once again.
July 2017 – La La Land
United States La La Land is the story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. Their romance is documented through musical numbers and beautiful scenery as the two try to stay connected while their careers pull them apart. A modern musical in the vein of golden age classics like Singin’ In the Rain, West Side Story, and The Umbrella’s of Cherbourgh, La La Land is truly a glorious experience. Winner of 6 Oscars at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Director (Damien Chazelle) and Best Actress (Emma Stone).
April 2017 – Chico & Rita
United Kingdom Cuba, 1948. Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey – in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero – brings heartache and torment. From Havana to New York, Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas, two passionate individuals battle impossible odds to unite in music and love. 2012 Academy Award Nominee: Best Animated Featured Film.
March 2017 – Her
United States Set in the Los Angeles of the slight future, the story follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. 2014 Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay.
February 2017 – Waltz With Bashir
Israel One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there’s a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can’t remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images …
“‘Waltz With Bashir’ is a memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film.” – New York Times. Read the complete review.
January 2017 – Neither Heaven Nor Earth
France French Army Captain Antares Bonassieu (Jeremie Renier) and his squad are assigned to monitor the remote Wakhan valley in Afghanistan on the border of Pakistan. Occupied by local shepherds and Taliban sympathizers, this so-called “calm sector” quickly turns volatile when men from both sides of the conflict start to disappear one by one. Desperate to rescue their missing comrades, the soldiers soon find themselves trapped in an existential nightmare, unable to expian who or what is behind the disappearances.
“On the most fundamental level, “Neither Heaven Nor Earth” is an impressive stunt, a horror movie masquerading as a film about the horrors of war. But its gravity and intelligence — the unassuming authority of Mr. Renier’s performance and the sly self-confidence of Mr. Cogitore’s direction — make it something more. It’s not just spooky; it’s genuinely haunting.” New York Times. Read the complete review.
December 2016 – The Young Girls of Rochefort
November 2016 – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
October 2016 – The Mermaid
China Highest grossing Chinese film of all time! From Stephen Chow, Director of Kung Fu Hustle. A beautiful mermaid (Jelly Lin) falls for a developer (Deng Chao) who threatens the ecosystem of her species.
July 2016 – 600 Miles
Mexico America’s Second Amendment inadvertently serves to keep Mexican drug cartels stocked with U.S.-made, military-grade artillery in “600 Miles,” an understated, astutely gauged look at the way weapons flow south to arm Latin American infighting, as seen through the eyes of two characters on opposing sides of the law: a low-level Mexican weapons smuggler (Kristyan Ferrer) and the American ATF agent (Tim Roth) he kidnaps after a bust goes bad.
June 2016 – Man Up
UK Nancy, 34 and single, is hung-over again, exhausted by the endless fruitless set ups by her friends, traveling across London to toast another 10 years of her parent’s successful happy magical marriage. On the way she runs into Jack, a 40 year old divorcee, who mistakes her for his 24 year old blind date. Nancy decides to go with it, but her ruse can only last so long. ‘Man Up’ is a romantic comedy about taking chances, self-discovery, making decisions and rolling with the consequences.
May 2016 – All Is Lost
USA During a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, a veteran mariner (Robert Redford) awakes to find his vessel taking on water after a collision with a stray shipping container. With his radio and navigation equipment disabled, he sails unknowingly into a violent storm and barely escapes with his life. With any luck, the ocean currents may carry him into a shipping lane — but, with supplies dwindling and the sharks circling, the sailor is forced to face his own mortality.
April 2016 – Theeb
Jordan 1916. While war rages in the Ottoman Empire, Hussein raises his younger brother Theeb (“Wolf”) in a traditional Bedouin community that is isolated by the vast, unforgiving desert. The brothers’ quiet existence is suddenly interrupted when a British Army officer and his guide ask Hussein to escort them to a water well located along the old pilgrimage route to Mecca. So as not to dishonor his recently deceased father, Hussein agrees to lead them on the long and treacherous journey. The young, mischievous Theeb secretly chases after his brother, but the group soon find themselves trapped amidst threatening terrain riddled with Ottoman mercenaries, Arab revolutionaries, and outcast Bedouin raiders. Naji Abu Nowar’s powerful and assured directorial debut, set in the land of Lawrence of Arabia, is a wondrous “Bedouin Western” about a boy who, in order to survive, must become a man and live up to the name his father gave him.
March 2016 – Bride and Prejudice
USA & India A clash of cultures in the spirit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this modern musical retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Pride And Prejuice is a hilariously entertaining tale of one girl’s unlikely search for love! Sparks immediately fly as a love/hate relationship ignites between a small-town beauty and a wealthy American who’s visiting her modest Indian village! In a swirl of music, dance and comic misunderstandings, these opposites continue to attract and repel one another in a riotous romance, that spans three continents! Featuring Naveen Adrews and a memorable performance from top recording artist Ashanti- love will eventually conquer all in this acclaimed treat from the director of Bend It Like Beckham
February 2016 – Breathe
France A taught, nuanced story of the depths of female friendships and the dark side of teenage infatuations, Breathe, the sophomore directorial effort from Melanie Laurent, is an assured adaptation of the sensational French young adult novel of the same name. Charlie is seventeen and bored. Her estranged parents are too caught up in their own drama to pay her much attention. School holds no surprises either, and Charlie grows tired of her staid friends. Enter Sarah, a confident and charismatic new transfer student who brings with her an alluring air of boldness and danger. The two form an instant connection, and through shared secrets, love interests and holiday getaways their relationship deepens to levels of unspoken intimacy. But with this intimacy comes jealousy and unrealistic expectations, and soon the teens find themselves on a dangerous trajectory toward an inevitable and unforeseen collapse.
January 2016 – Second Coming
United Kingdom As busy, working parents, Jackie and Mark haven’t been intimate in quite some time. However, Jackie abruptly discovers that she is pregnant. She knows it’s not her husband Mark’s, but claims she hasn’t been with anyone else either. The unnerving side effects of her pregnancy begin to affect her mental state, creating turmoil within the family that is only made worse by Mark’s fury. SECOND COMING follows the close knit family over the course of a year as they navigate their way through family life and cope with an unexplainable pregnancy.
December 2015 – Amour Fou
Austria Inspired by the real-life double suicide of renowned German author Heinrich von Kleist and Henriette Vogel in 1811, this exquisite period piece is a darkly humorous postmodern take on love, life, and death. Desperately melancholy poet Heinrich is in search of a woman to join him in a suicide pact. Met by constant refusals, he finally finds a willing participant in well-to-do Henriette who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The resultant negotiation between the pair degenerates into a wry comedy of manners. Spring-boarding off the actual events, auteur Jessica Hausner deconstructs traditional notions of romance while offering a cleverly layered chamber piece that is at once ironic and uniquely profound.
November 2015 – Marie’s Story
France Based on true events, Marie’s Story recounts the inspiring life of a young girl born deaf and blind and the courageous journey of the nun who helps her learn to communicate with the world around her. At the turn of the 19th century, a humble artisan and his wife send Marie, their deaf and blind fourteen-year-old daughter, to the Larnay Institute in central France where an order of Catholic nuns manage a school for the deaf. There, the idealistic Sister Marguerite sees in Marie a unique potential, and vows to bring the wild girl out of the darkness.
October 2015 – The Lesson
Bulgaria Loosely based on a real-life incident employed effectively by the filmmakers as a last-act plot twist, Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s “The Lesson” is a spare, stripped-to-essentials drama about economic stress and mounting desperation that should resonate with a wide range of international audiences. The naturalistic style of the storytelling is steathily enthrallling, as is the lead performance by Margita Gosheva as a provincial Bulgarian schoolteacher who is slowly, inexorably driven to the edge by crushing debt. – Joe Leydon, Variety
July 2015 – Human Capital
Italy Human Capital begins at the end, as a cyclist is run off the road by a careening SUV the night before Christmas Eve. As details emerge of the events leading up to the accident, the lives of the well-to-do Bernaschi family, privileged and detached, will intertwine with the Ossolas, struggling to keep their comfortable middle-class life, in ways neither could have expected. Dino Ossola (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), in dire financial straits, anticipates the birth of twins with his second wife (Valeria Golino). Meanwhile, Dino’s teenage daughter’s relationship with hedge-fund manager Giovanni Bernaschi’s playboy son complicates an already tricky social dance of status, money and ambition. Paolo Virzi’s taut character study deconstructs the typical linear narrative, observing transformative events from each character’s perspective. The result is a nuanced account of desire, greed and the value of human life in an age of rampant capitalism and financial manipulation.
June 2015 – Traitors
Morocco Malika, leader of Traitors, an all-female punk rock band, has a sgrong vision of the world, her hometown of Tangier, and her place in it. When she needs money to save her family from eviction and to realize her dreams for the band, Malika agrees to a fast cash proposition: a smuggling run over the mountains for a dangerous drug dealer. But her companion on the road is Amal, a burnt-out young drug mule who Malika decides to free from her enslavement to the dangerous drug dealers. The challenge will put Malika’s rebel ethos to the test, and to survive she will have to call on all her instincts and nerve.
May 2015 – God’s Slave
Venezuela Based on the actual events of a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires, God’s Slave follows Ahmed, trained since childhood as an Islamic terrorist now assigned to execute a suicide bombing at a synagogue, and David, the cold-blooded Israeli special agent who will stop at nothing to prevent the attack. Ahmed, posing as a doctor, lives happily with his wife and young son; though David’s marriage is on the rocks, he remains devoted to his wife and daughter. With time running out before the attack, David zeroes in on Ahmed as a suspect, his investigation culminating in violent, if unexpected, consequences.
April 2015 – If You Don’t, I Will
France Pomme and Pierre have been together a long time. Passion and spontaneity have given way to predictability and cold shoulders. But there’s a lingering optimism, a hope they can return to the couple they used to be, attending chic art openings and sharing a laugh like young lovers. On a hike together one afternoon, Pomme declares her independence by deciding to stay in the woods rather than return to an underwhelming life with Pierre. Pierre tries to get back to normal, despite his worry over her whereabouts and the indelible sense that he’s missing his better half. Meanwhile, Pomme begins an extended meditation in the forest on where her own life should go next, with or without Pierre. In the end, both are left to contemplate the strength and meaning of each other’s commitment.
March 2015 – Ida
Poland 18-year-old Anna, a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to become a nun when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naïve, innocent Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her aunt Wanda, a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelations triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past, evoking the haunting legacy of the of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism.
February 2015 – The Auction
Canada A man of few words, Gaby manages his family’s farm alone, despite his age. With no sons to speak of and two grown daughters far away in the big city, he spends his days tending to the farm, eschewing most social interactions. When his eldest daughter, Marie, appears at the family homestead to share news that she’s in desperate need of money in order to keep her own home, Gaby’s quiet life begins to unravel. In an effort to tend to his children much the way he steadfastly tends to his farm, he’ll be forced to make sacrifices he never intended for the sake of those closest to him.
January 2015 – To Kill a Man
Chile Hardworking family man Jorge is just barely making ends meet. When he gets mugged by Kalule, a neighborhood delinquent, Jorge’s son decides to confront Kalule, only to get himself shot in the process. Sentences to a scant two years in prison for the offense, Kalule, released and now intent on revenge, goes on the warpath, terrorizing Jorge’s family. With his wife, son and daughter at the mercy of a thug, Jorge has no choice but to take justice into his own hands, and live with the emotional and psychological consequences.
December 2014 – Ilo Ilo
Singapore Set in Singapore during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Ilo Ilo chronicles the day-to-day of the Lim family – troublesome grade-schooler Jiale and his overstressed parents, Teck and Hwee Leng. Comfortably middle class and with another baby on the way, they hire Teresa, a Filipino immigrant, as a live-in maid and nanny. An outsider in the family and Singapore itself, Teresa initially struggles to manage Jiale’s antics and find her footing in her new community. The two eventually form a unique bond, but just as Teresa becomes an unspoken part of the family, the financial crisis hits home, challenging the relationships among all of them.
November 2014 – For a Woman
France In her mid-thirties, Anne still knows practically nothing of her family’s past. After her mother’s death, Anne discovers old photos and letters that convince her to take a closer look at her parents’ life after the concentration camps of World War II. Her research reveals the existence of a mysterious uncle everyone seems intent on forgetting entirely. As she closes in on a discover she didn’t expect, her father grows ever more ill, and may take the family secret to his grave. In a journey that stretches from post-war France to the 1980s, Anne’s destiny intertwines with her father’s past until they form a single, unforgettable story.
July 2014 – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
Taiwan In this comedy, introverted optometrist Weichung begins to question his marriage with his wife Feng upon learning of her desire to have another baby. When he meets attractive flight attendant Thomas dormant emotions are awakened, setting him on a course that will shatter the delicate life he has built with Feng. Meanwhile Weichung’s sister calls off her wedding to the likable but nebbish San-San because she is afraid their relationship lacks romance.
While there are many funny and amusing moments, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” is ultimately a bittersweet story that examines several different kinds of love in a gentle, engaging tale of two couples, each struggling at a crucial point in their relationship.
June 2014 – The Flat
Israel In the gripping documentary THE FLAT, filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger travels to Tel Aviv to clean out the apartment of his recenthly deceased German-born Jewish grandmother. While going through her belongings, Goldfinger finds evidence suggesting that she and her husband were good friends with Leopold von Mildenstein, a leading official in the Nazi propaganda ministry – and remained friends with him following World War II. Disturbed that his grandparents could have continued a close relationship with an influential Nazi after the Holocaust, Goldfinger begins an unsettling journey into his family’s history, visiting a peaceful town in Germany to interview von Mildenstein’s elderly daughter about what really went on with their ancestors 75 years earlier – and discovers that knowing the truth can be a terrible burden. Both arresting and heartbreaking, THE FLAT is a real-life suspense story about how the past can return to haunt the present.
May 2014 – In the Name Of
Poland Adam is a Catholic priest who discovered his calling as a servant of God at the relatively late age of 21. He now lives in a rural Polish village where he works with troubled teens. He declines the advances of a young blonde named Ewa, saying he is already spoken for by God. However, celibacy is not the only reason for his rejection. Adam knows that he desires men and that his embrace of the priesthood has been a flight from his own sexuality. When he meets Lukasz, the strange and taciturn son of a simple rural family, Adam’s self-imposed abstinence becomes a heavy burden. In the Name Of is a film about confused emotions, repression and loneliness – and the possibility of perhaps finding oneself after all.
March 2014 – The Iran Job
United States In this moving documentary, American basketball player Kevin Sheppard accepts a job to play in one of the world’s most feared countries – Iran. He finds a country brimming with generosity, acceptance, and sensuality. With a charismatic personality that charms everyone he meets, Kevin forms an unlikely friendship with three outspoken Iranian women who share with him their strong opinions on everything, from politics to religion to gender roles. Kevin’s season in Iran eventually culminates in something much bigger than basketball: the uprising and subsequent suppression of Iran’s reformist Green Movement – a powerful prelude to the sweeping changes currently unfolding across the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring.
February 2014 – Kon-Tiki
United Kingdom Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific ocean in a balsa wood raft in 1947, together with five men, to prove that South Americans back in pre-Columbian times could have crossed the sea and settle on Polynesian islands. After gathering financing for the trip with loans and donations, they set off on an epic 101 day-long journey across 8,000 kilometers, all while the world was watching. KON-TIKI tells about the origin of Heyerdahl’s idea and the events surrounding the group’s voyage.
January 2014 – The Band’s Visit
Israel This is a simple tale involving a group of Egyptian musicians, the Alexandria Police Ceremonial Orchestra, who arrive in Israel for a concert. Things don’t go well; there’s no one to meet them at the airport, and they mistakenly end up in a small, drab desert town called Bet Hatikva, a place whose own residents refer to it as “bloody nowhere.” But the people, especially cafe owner Dina, are friendly and welcoming, and when they urge the band members to stay overnight before heading to their proper destination the next day, strait-laced leader Tewfiq finally relents. What follows is a series of plain but lovely scenes, as the Egyptians and Israelis tentatively search for common ground. The Band’s Visit is filled with moments of humor, tenderness, tension, sadness, regret, and, as one character puts it, “tons of loneliness,” every one of them delivered without the slightest bit of pretension or manipulation. And when, at the end, we finally hear the Orchestra perform, we only wish we could spend more time with all of these delightful characters.
December 2013 – Broken
United Kingdom The summer holidays have just begun and 11 year-old Skunk’s afternoons are full of day dreams and curious wanderings around her neighborhood—with the exception that she must regularly check her blood sugar to control her type 1 diabetes. One day, Skunk witnesses her angry neighbor, Mr. Oswald savagely beat Rick, a psychologically-troubled young man who lives across the street. Skunk is unwittingly drawn into her neighbors’ unfolding melodrama. Her home, her neighborhood and her school all become treacherous environments where the happy certainties of childhood give way to a fear-filled doubt. When events take a tragic turn, Skunk is drawn into an ethereal chaos from which she may only return through the intense love of those closest to her.
November 2013 – Aliyah
France Alex, 27, lives in a working-class Paris neighborhood and sells drugs for a living, continuously paying off the debts of his brother Isaac, who’s becoming a real burden. When his cousin, who has just returned from completing his military service in Israel, tells him he’s opening a restaurant in Tel Aviv, Alex thinks that joining him might be the life-changing opportunity he was waiting for. But in order to leave, Alex must quickly find enough money and accomplish his “aliyah” which involves, among other things, Hebrew lessons and connecting with his Jewish roots. He also has to leave behind his beloved city of Paris, his former lover Esther, his lifelong friend Mathias, and Jeanne, a woman whom he’s just met but has the potential of becoming someone important in his life. Torn between making his aliyah, his drug selling, his complicated love life and a destructive brother, Alex will have to find his own way and make a final decision.
October 2013 – The Kid with a Bike
Belgium Eleven-year-old Cyril, all coiled anger and furious motion, is living in a group home but refuses to believe that he has been rejected by his single father. He spends his days frantically trying to reach the man, over the phone or on his beloved bicycle. It is only the patience and compassion of Samantha , the stranger who agrees to care for him, that offers the boy the chance to move on. Spare and unsentimental but imbued with a heart-rending tenderness, The Kid with a Bike is an arresting work from the great Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, masters of the empathetic action film.
June 2013 – Foreign Letters
United States Ellie, a 12-year-old immigrant girl from Israel, is lonely and homesick. Life brightens when she meets Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee her age. Trust slowly builds as they teach each other about life in America. As Ellie and Thuy become inseparable, they eventually hurt and betray each other. Ellie must give up her most prized possession in order to save their friendship. Based on the filmmaker’s own experience, Foreign Letters is a story about prejudice, poverty, shame, and the power of friendship to heal us.
May 2013 – The Desert of Forbidden Art
United States How does art survive in a time of oppression? During the Soviet rule artists who stay true to their vision are executed, sent to mental hospitals or Gulags. Their plight inspires young Igor Savitsky. He pretends to buy state-approved art but instead daringly rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist’s works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Though a penniless artist himself, he cajoles the cash to pay for the art from the same authorities who are banning it. Savitsky amasses an eclectic mix of Russian Avant-Garde art. But his greatest discovery is an unknown school of artists who settle in Uzbekistan after the revolution, encountering a unique Islamic culture, as exotic to them as Tahiti was for Gauguin. They develop a startlingly original style, fusing European modernism with centuries-old Eastern traditions. Ben Kingsley, Sally Field and Ed Asner voice the diaries and letters of Savitsky and the artists. Intercut with recollections of the artists’ children and rare archival footage, the film takes us on a dramatic journey of sacrifice for the sake of creative freedom. Today these paintings are worth millions, a lucrative target for Islamic fundamentalists, corrupt bureaucrats and art profiteers.
April 2013 – Seven Minutes in Heaven
Israel Galia, a young woman from Jerusalem, and her boyfriend Oren board a local bus. The bus explodes, leaving Oren in a coma and Galia with severe burns and memory loss; she has no recollection of the day of the terrorist attack and the days leading up to it. The film begins one year after the attack, upon Oren’s death. As Galia undergoes phyiscal and mental therapy, she attempts to stitch together the shattered fragments of her life and soul. A necklace sent to her from an unidentified source sets her off on a journey to find the missing pieces of the puzzle from that fateful day.
March 2013 – Beasts of the Southern Wild
United States Teeming with magic, beauty and pure joy, this crowd-pleasing winner at Sundance Film Festival has emerged as one of the year’s most acclaimed films. Newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis is spectacular as Hushpuppy, the tenacious six-year-old force of nature in an isolated community. When her tough but loving father Wink succumbs to a mysterious malady, the fierce and determined girl bravely sets out on a journey to save him. But Hushpuppy’s quest is hindered by a “busted” universe that melts the ice caps and unleashes an army of prehistoric beasts.
February 2013 – Monsieur Lazhar
Canada Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Monsieur Lazhar tells the moving and poignant story of a Montreal middle school class shaken by the death of their well-liked teacher, and the 55-year-old Algerian immigrant who offers his services as a substitute teacher and aids the process of collective healing. As he helps the children heal, he also learns to accept his own painful past.
January 2013 – A Better Life
United States Carlos Galindo always dreamed of a better life for his wife and newborn son when he crossed the border in the U.S. But when his wife left him, Carlos’s only goal became to make sure his son Luis was given the opportunities he never had. Together they embark on a physical and spiritual journey where they discover that family is the most important part of the American Dream. Directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy), A Better Life is a touching and poignant story.
November 2012 – A Separation
Iran Set in Contemporary Iran, A Separation is a compelling drama about the dissolution of a marriage. Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. Simin sues for divorce when Nader refuses to leave behind his Alzheimer’s-suffering father. Her request having failed, Simin returns to her parents’ home, but Termeh decides to stay with Nader. When Nader hires a young woman to assist with his father in his wife’s absence, he hopes that his life will return to a normal state. However, when he discovers that the new maid has been lying to him, he realizes that there is more on the line than just his marriage.
October 2012 – Footnote
Israel Footnote is the tale of a great rivalry between a father and son, two eccentric professors, who have both dedicated their lives to work in Talmudic Studies. When the father, Eliezer, learns that he is to be awared the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, his vanity and desperate need for validation are exposed. His son, Uriel, is thrilled to see his father’s achievements finally recognized but, in a darkly funny twist, is forced to choose between the advancement of his own career and his father’s. Will he sabotage his father’s glory?
July 2012 – Micmacs
France The visually stunning fantasy film from critically acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Jenuet (Amelie) follows an unusual group of friends as they attempt to topple France’s two biggest arms dealers. Dany Boon stars as Bazil, a simple video shop assistant who survives taking a bullet to the head in a freak drive-by shooting accident. He finds himself jobless and homeless, but his luck changes when he meets a new group of industrious friends. Encouraged by their spirit and enthusiasm, Bazil embarks on a crazy operation to quash the rival weapons manufacturers that maimed him and killed his father.
June 2012 – Potiche
France Set in 1977 in a provincial French town, Potiche is a witty and charming comedy starring Catherine Deneuve as Suzanne Pujol, a housebound ‘trophy housewife’ (or ‘potiche’) who steps in to manage the umbrella factory run by her tyrannical husband (Fabrice Luchini) after the workers go on strike. To everyone’s surprise, Suzanne proves herself a competent and assertive woman of action. Gérard Depardieu plays a union leader and Suzanne’s ex-beau who still holds a flame for her. With Potiche, acclaimed writer-director François Ozon has created a satirical and hilarious take on the war between the sexes and classes.
May 2012 – Biutiful
Mexico Biutiful is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal, a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. His livelihood is earned out of bounds, his sacrifices for his children know no bounds. Like life itself, this is a circular tale that ends where it begins. As fate encircles him and thresholds are crossed, a dim, redemptive road brightens, illuminating the inheritances bestowed from father to child, and the paternal guiding hand that navigates life’s corridors, whether bright, bad—or biutiful.
April 2012 – Margin Call
United States Set in the high-stakes world of the financial industry, Margin Call is an entangling thriller involving the key players at an investment firm during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. When an entry-level analyst unlocks information that could prove to be the downfall of the firm, a roller-coaster ride ensues as decisions both financial and moral catapult the lives of all involved to the brink of disaster.
March 2012 – Incendies
Canada In the highly acclaimed suspense thriller Incendies, a mothers dying wish creates a painful puzzle her children are forced to solve. At the reading of their mother’s will, twins Jeanne and Simon are given instructions to locate the father they believed was dead and the brother neither knew existed. They travel to the middle east to piece together the story of the woman who brought them into the world, only to make a shocking discovery.
February 2012 – Ajami
Israel A powerful crime drama set on the streets of Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood–a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians–and told through the eyes of a cross-section of the city’s inhabitants: a young Israeli fighting a criminal vendetta against his family, a Palestinian refugee working illegally to finance a life-saving surgery, a Jewish police detective obsessed with finding his missing brother, and an affluent Palestinian dreaming of a future with his Jewish girlfriend. As their stories intersect–and the film’s narrative shifts back and forth in time–we witness a dramatic collision of different worlds and the tragic consequences of enemies living as neighbors.
January 2012 – Protektor
Czech Republic Set in Prague at the outbreak of WWII, Protektor centers on the story of radio reporter Emil, and his wife Hana, a famous film star who is initially oblivious to the Nazi threat. Hana’s Jewish heritage precipitates her fall from the height of her career to the bottom of the social ladder. In order to protect her, Emil compromises himself, collaborating with the new Nazi-controlled state radio station. Conditions worsen as restrictions on Jews are systematically increased. The assassination of the Third Reich Deputy Protector and a chance encounter on a bicycle bring their malingering marriage to a crisis.
December 2011 – The Colors of the Mountain
Colombia A modern-day portrayal of daily life in a remote part of the mountainous Colombian countryside, set around the friendship between Manuel and Julián. One day, while playing a game of football, they kick the ball into a minefield. Accompanied by Poca Luz, they do everything they can to recover their prized belonging, an essential part of their everyday lives and dreams.
November 2011 – The Human Resources Manager
Israel The Human Resources Manager of Jerusalem’s largest bakery is in trouble. He is separated from his wife, distanced from his daughter and stuck in a job he hates. When one of his employees, a foreign worker, is killed in a suicide bombing, the bakery is accused of indifference, and the HR Manager is sent to the victim’s hometown in Romania to make amends. Far from home, on a mission to honor a woman he didn’t even know but has somehow grown to admire, the HR Manager discovers his own humanity and his ability to truly care for human resources.
October 2011 – A Screaming Man
Chad, France, Belgium Adam, a 60–something former swimming champion, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile the country is in the throes of civil war. Rebel forces attack the government while the authorities demand the population to contribute to the “war effort,” with money or volunteers old enough to fight. The district chief constantly harasses Adam for his contribution. But Adam is penniless; he only has his son. In a moment of weakness, Adam makes a decision that he will forever regret.
July 2011 – Illegal
Belgium Tania is a former teacher from Russia, living illegally in Belgium with her 14-year-old son, Ivan. One day, they are stopped on the street for a routine check by the police; Tania is arrested and placed in an immigration detention center for women, while Ivan manages to escape. Threatened with imminent deportation and fearful for Ivan’s fate, Tania embarks on a harrowing journey, determined to preserve her dignity and find her son.
June 2011 – Helena from the Wedding
United States Newlyweds Alex (Lee Tergesen) and Alice (Melanie Lynskey) are hosting a New Year’s Eve party for their closest friends at a remote cabin in the mountains. But when the other couples arrive in various states of discord, their hopes for a relaxing weekend are quickly thrown out the window. The tensions in the cabin are compounded when Alice’s friends bring along a surprise guest—the very young and beautiful Helena (Gillian Jacobs). As the New Year creeps closer and closer, Alex and Alice must keep the evening from spiraling out of control…and their own marriage from coming unglued.
May 2011 – How I Ended This Summer
Russia On a desolate island in the Arctic Circle, two men work at a small meteorological station, taking readings from their radioactive surroundings. Sergei, a gruff professional in his fifties, takes his job very seriously. His new partner, bright eyed college grad Pavel, retreats to his MP3 player and video games to avoid Sergei’s imposing presence. One day while Sergei is out, inexperienced Pavel receives terrible news for Sergei from HQ. Intimidated, Pavel can’t bring himself to disclose the information. When the truth is finally revealed, the consequences explode against a chilling backdrop of thick fog, sharp rocks, and the merciless Arctic Sea.
April 2011 – Bad Day to Go Fishing
Uruguay Jacob van Oppen – formerly “the strongest man on earth,” now a washed-up alcoholic – and his crafty manager, Orsini, make good money staging bogus wrestling matches in small South American towns. When this oddball duo arrives in the unassuming village of Santa Maria, business really takes off: the local newspaper sponsors the fight, and the quiet hamlet becomes plastered with posters announcing an open challenge to a worthy adversary. The ever-resourceful Orsini is sure he can find the right opponent to throw the fight, but fishing in Santa Maria yields a bigger catch than he’d hoped for.
March 2011 – For My Father
Israel Tarek, a Palestinian forced on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv to redeem his father’s honor, is given a second chance when the fuse on his explosive vest fails to detonate. Forced to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv awaiting its repair, Tarek must live amongst the people he was planning to kill. To his surprise he connects with several Israelis on the outskirts of society, including the beautiful Keren, who has cut off contact with her Orthodox family and upbringing. However, with the deadly load of explosives still strapped to him, he must spend 48 hours in the city, caught between the men that sent him—who can blow up his bomb remotely–, the Israeli police patrolling the streets and his new-found companions.
February 2011 – Nurse.Fighter.Boy
Canada Nurse.Fighter.Boy is an urban love story about the soul of a mother, the heart of a fighter, and the faith of a child. Jude is a single mother who descends from a long line of Jamaican caregivers. Silence (Clark Johnson of The Wire) is a ‘past his prime’ boxer who fights illegally to survive. Ciel is a boy who delves into music, conjuring dreams for his mother. During the last week of summer, a late-night brawl finds the fighter in the nurse’s care, causing their three fates to be forever entwined.
January 2011 – 1981
Canada This cheeky, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale tells the comedic story of eleven year-old Ricardo, who, struggling with his family’s move and a new school, decides to become a liar. With a flare for inventiveness and a desperate desire to impress his classmates who are all from wealthier backgrounds, Ricardo dismisses his family and weaves an elaborate web of untruths, inventing a new family history, which he must vigilantly maintain to keep up appearances for his new friends.
December 2010 – Bomber
United Kingdom Alistar and Valerie have been planning a special trip to Germany for a very long time. When their son Ross stops by the house to send them off, Happenstance turns into an impromptu family road trip of the most tortuous kind. Alistar berates Ross for all that he is not in life, while Valerie tries to keep the peace. It is soon discovered that Alistar’s reason for the often comic, sometimes painful trip is to shed a guilt he’s been carrying for years.
November 2010 – Alamar
Mexico Jorge and Roberta have been separated for several years. They simply come from opposite worlds: he likes an uncomplicated life in rural Mexico, while she prefers a more urban existence. He is Mexican and she is Italian, and she has decided to return to Rome with their five-year-old son, Natan. But before they leave, Jorge wishes to take young Natan on a trip, hoping to teach him about his Mayan origins in Mexico. At first the boy is physically and emotionally uncomfortable with the whole affair, and gets seasick on the boat taking them to their destination. But as father and son spend more time together, Natan begins a learning experience that will remain with him forever.
November 2010 – Jaffa
Israel In the heart of the Israeli city of Jaffa, Reuven’s garage is a family-run busi-ness. The garage workers consist of Reuven’s beautiful daughter Mali, his violent and distant son Meir, as well as a young Palestinian, Toufik. No one suspects that Mali and Toufik have been in love for years, and that Mali is pregnant with Toufik’s child. As the two lovers secretly make their wedding arrangements, tension steadily builds between Toufik and Meir, who openly voices his disdain and prejudices about Arabs. As these relationships con-tinue to intensify, emotions begin to boil, resulting in an astonishing conclusion.