Films Programs

Awards Buzz : Best Foreign Language Film

Once again the Palm Springs International Film Festival presents the largest selection of foreign language Oscar submissions of any film festival in the world. This year 65 countries have submitted films to the Academy in hopes of taking home the Oscar. We have selected what we feel are 40 of the strongest films for presentation at the Festival.* Watching the films along with the audience will be the FIPRESCI jury of international film critics who will award one film top prize.


Abu, Son of Adam   

Abu, Son of Adam
India, 2011, 101 min.
In this gentle tale of irrepressible hope, an aging South Indian Muslim couple decides to sacrifice everything to make a once in a lifetime religious pilgrimage to Mecca. Winner: Gold Lotus (Best Film), Indian National Film Awards.... more



Alois Nebel   

Alois Nebel
Czech Republic, 2011, 84 min.
This moody Czech gem about a train dispatcher haunted by memories at the close of the Cold War uses black and white rotoscope animation to look back on resonant moments in history. Destined to become a classic.... more



Attenberg   

Attenberg
Greece, 2010, 95 min.
Influenced by everything from Monty Python to Bresson to contemporary performance art, Tsangari’s minimalist chronicle of a sexually naïve young woman, her dying father, and her uninhibited female friend is strange, funny, moving, and altogether unique.... more



Back to your Arms   

Back to your Arms
Lithuania, 2010, 90 min.
In 1961 Berlin, just prior to the construction of the Wall, a Soviet Lithuanian father and his American-raised daughter, separated since WWII, try to out maneuver his KGB minders in order finally reunite….... more



Beyond   

Beyond
Sweden, 2010, 94 min.
Acclaimed actress Pernilla August makes her directing/writing debut with this compassionate look at a woman who fought all her life to let go of her grief over her dark childhood as the daughter of bitter, hard-drinking Finnish immigrants. Winner, Audience Award, Critic’s Week Venice Film Festival; ... more



Black Bread   

Black Bread
Spain, 2010, 108 min.
A ten-year-old boy confronts an adult world of lies, myths, wicked crimes and painful revelations in post-Civil War Catalonia. Be advised the film contains a scene that may offend those with a heightened sensitivity regarding cruelty to animals, though no animals were harmed during the shooting of t... more



Breathing   

Breathing
Austria, 2011, 90 min.
A juvenile prisoner toils at day-release work that could help win him parole. That this employment happens to be in Vienna's morgue gives the film its highly individual flavor, while the morbid setting neatly coaxes catharsis from the impassive protagonist. ... more



Bullhead   

Bullhead
Belgium, 2011, 124 min.
As astoundingly muscular in style as it is in subject, this assured debut drama is anchored by a mesmerizing performance from Matthias Schoenaerts as a steroid-addicted Belgian cattle farmer tangled up in the illegal trade in growth-hormone-laced beef.... more



Declaration of War   

Declaration of War
France, 2011, 100 min.
Taking a serious story about a couple whose baby is diagnosed with cancer, Donzelli turns expectations upside-down by using the jump cuts, musical numbers, bright color palette, and low-budget enthusiasm of the New Wave to fashion a delightful and moving gem.... more



Elite Squad: The Enemy Within   

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Brazil, 2010, 115 min.
A top cop’s spectacular war on Rio drug gangs uncovers a web of corruption. The highest-grossing Brazilian film ever, this sequel to Padilha’s 2007 hit offers the heart-pounding adrenalin rush of the best action films without sacrificing complexity and realism.... more



The Flowers of War   

The Flowers of War
China, 2011, 141 min.
As the Nanking Massacre unfolds in 1937, a missionary (Christian Bale) fights valiantly on behalf of the schoolgirls and prostitutes who are being victimized by the invading Japanese forces. The visual impact of Zhang Yimou's latest spectacle is only surpassed by its emotional punch.... more



Footnote   

Footnote
Israel, 2011, 103 min.
A brilliant, acerbic suspense film with an unusual subject:academic standing. When Professor Shkolnik is finally accorded the Israel Prize that has eluded him so long, he still can’t quite bring himself to forgive his son for being too popular. Winner of 9 Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Pict... more



The Front Line   

The Front Line
Korea, South, 2011, 133 min.
A superbly realized Korean War drama that subverts traditional “war is hell” expectations, Jang’s surprising work focuses on a young commander sent to the front to investigate an officer’s suspicious death. What he finds both disturbs and fascinates him….... more



Gypsy   

Gypsy
Slovak Republic, 2011, 107 min.
The bruising life of a Roma teen takes on shades of Hamlet in this poignant and beautifully rendered humanist drama, spliced with moments of magical realism. Winner: Special Jury Prize, Karlovy Vary Film Festival.... more



Happy, Happy   

Happy, Happy
Norway, 2010, 85 min.
In a snowy small town in northern Norway, new neighbors change the life of determinedly happy Kaja. An offbeat comedy of infidelity, moose meat, church choirs, board games and embarrassing showdowns. Winner: World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival.... more



In Darkness   

In Darkness
Poland, 2011, 145 min.
Acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa) offers a compelling look at the complex reasons a man might risk his life for others with this true story of a Polish sewer worker who saved many Jewish lives. ... more



Jose and Pilar   

Jose and Pilar
Portugal, 2010, 117 min.
A touching, intimate look at genuine soul-mates: Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago—in his 80s at the time of filming—navigates an incredible around-the-world itinerary of high-profile events, with his firebrand Spanish wife Pilar always by his side.... more



Le Havre   

Le Havre
Finland, 2011, 93 min.
Aki Kaurismaki strikes the perfect balance between deadpan and charm in this political fairytale tale of underdog solidarity. Shoe shiner Marcel Max takes on the government as he hides an African refugee from the police dragnet pursuing him. ... more



Miss Bala   

Miss Bala
Mexico, 2011, 113 min.
Gerardo Naranjo’s gritty and stylish thriller tells the story of Laura, a young Tijuana woman who enters a local beauty contest but ends up being forced to work for the local crime syndicate by the quietly menacing druglord Lino.... more



Monsieur Lazhar   

Monsieur Lazhar
Canada, 2011, 94 min.
Algerian illegal immigrant jumps at the opportunity to take over the class of an elementary school teacher who tragically died. This is a luminous and tender tale about the lessons we learn from one another, regardless of age... more



Montevideo - Taste of a Dream   

Montevideo - Taste of a Dream
Serbia, 2010, 140 min.
Inspired by real events, this period drama centers on rival Belgrade soccer players, part of a scrappy national team at the inaugural World Cup in Uruguay in 1930. With locker room tensions, bedroom dalliances, boardroom strategizing and plenty of well-staged game action.... more



Morgen   

Morgen
Romania, 2010, 100 min.
A smalltown Romanian security guard tries to help a loquacious Turk illegally cross into Hungary. This poignant comic drama highlights the unexpected kindness of average people and the utter absurdity of borders. Winner: Best Director, Best Actor, Thessaloniki Film Festival.... more



Omar Killed Me   

Omar Killed Me
Morocco, 2011, 85 min.
An Arab worker becomes the scapegoat for a brutal murder in this gripping thriller based on one of the most shocking miscarriages of French justice in the last 20 years. Zem’s film shines a revealing light on racism, class problems and prejudice.... more



Once Upon a Time in Anatolia   

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Turkey, 2011, 157 min.
If Samuel Beckett has written a crime movie, it might have resembled this somber, subtle comedy, a morbid, melancholy road trip in which a confessed killer searches for the body he buried. Winner: Grand Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival.... more



The Orator   

The Orator
New Zealand, 2011, 110 min.
When a diminutive Samoan outsider discovers that his wife's family plans to steal her away, he must fight for her through the ancient tradition of oration. This war of words becomes akin to gladiatorial combat. Samoa’s first ever feature film is a movie to remember.... more



Patagonia   

Patagonia
United Kingdom, 2010, 118 min.
Young Welsh couple Gwen and Rhys are traveling to Patagonia in hopes of mending their troubled marriage. Elderly Cerys and her nephew are on a reverse course, traveling from Patagonia to Wales in search of her mother's homeland. Their stories blend in intimate moments set against sweeping panoramic ... more



Pina   

Pina
Germany, 2011, 103 min.
A stunning tribute to the late Pina Bausch, the most innovative choreographer in modern dance. Her genius shines in visceral, imaginatively filmed performances by the choreographer’s own ensemble. Wim Wenders crafts a timeless tribute to the ecstatic power of dance–in 3D.... more



The Postcard   

The Postcard
South Korea, 2007, 15 min.
At the post office, a handsome customer has everyone's attention. When he starts to mail mysterious postcards, the two girls behind the counter battle over what they mean and who they are meant for. But the battle is misplaced, as one of the girls is soon to discover.... more



Rumble of the Stones   

Rumble of the Stones
Venezuela, 2011, 101 min.
A family that survived a natural disaster in rural Venezuela faces poverty and the lure of gangs and crime in Caracas. A heartfelt and compelling portrait of the enduring power of a mother’s love against the backdrop of real social problems.... more



A Separation   

A Separation
Iran, 2011, 123 min.
A secular middle class family in the midst of upheaval winds up in conflict with an impoverished religious one. Formally dense and morally challenging, this Berlin Golden Bear winner casts a revealing light on contemporary Iranian society, taking on issues of gender, class, justice and honor. ... more



A Simple Life   

A Simple Life
Hong Kong, 2011, 119 min.
When Ah Tao (Venice prize winner Deannie Yip), lifelong maid to film producer Roger (Andy Lau), has a stroke, she moves to a care home where a new life awaits. A deeply moving film from Asia’s most important female director.... more



Sonny Boy   

Sonny Boy
Netherlands, 2011, 132 min.
Offering a sweeping epic encompassing the years 1911–1945, this eagerly anticipated screen version of the bestselling novel by Annejet van der Zijl tells the real-life love story of a mixed-race couple and their struggle in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands.... more



Summer Games   

Summer Games
Switzerland, 2011, 101 min.
A beach holiday in Tuscany draws families and their children together. The youngsters join into a little gang and the two eldest find themselves attracted to each. As time goes on their childish games take on a more adult tone…... more



SuperClasico   

SuperClasico
Denmark, 2011, 99 min.
An unsuccessful Danish businessman pursues his estranged wife to Argentina in this sparky tale of marital discord. Part wry romantic comedy and part love letter to Buenos Aires, it offers cheerfully non-PC entertainment for those who appreciate fine wine, fanatical soccer fans, steamy Latin lovers... more



Tatsumi   

Tatsumi
Singapore, 2011, 96 min.
An animated tribute to Japanese gekiga (adult manga) artist Tatsumi Hoshihiro, Singaporean Khoo’s episodic tale combines aspects of Tasumi’s life with five of the master’s bizarre stories. Sex and violence play a big part in this vivid and unforgettable work.... more



Terraferma   

Terraferma
Italy, 2011, 88 min.
When an elderly Sicilian fisherman rescues a boatload of African immigrants, he must decide whether to do what the law demands or what he knows to be right. A political powder keg sparks intense drama in Emanuele Crialese's compelling piece of humanist filmmaking. ... more



Tilt   

Tilt
Bulgaria, 2011, 97 min.
A Romeo and Juliet style love story set against the backdrop of the huge political and social changes of the late 80s and early 90s, Tilt takes a critical look at Bulgaria’s post-revolution changes.... more



The Turin Horse   

The Turin Horse
Hungary, 2011, 146 min.
Tarr’s swan song is an unforgettable end-of-days parable largely confined to an ascetic shack shared by an old man and his daughter as a terrible blight takes hold outside. A melancholy masterpiece, stunningly photographed in black and white by Fred Kelemen... more



Volcano   

Volcano
Iceland, 2011, 99 min.
A gruff working class retiree relearns what makes life precious in this heartrending realist drama, which strikes grace notes that feel both universal and uniquely Icelandic. Winner: Best Film, Montreal Festival of New Cinema; Best Actor, Sao Paolo.... more



Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale   

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
Taiwan, 2011, 276 min.
A panoramic, morally complex, and occasionally brutal re-telling of the 1930 rebellion of the Seediq mountain tribe of Taiwan against the occupying Japanese army, this is epic filmmaking at its most emotionally stirring and visually arresting.... more



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