Films Programs

World Cinema Now

A breathtaking journey across the landscape of contemporary film, the 76 films presented in our World Cinema Now panorama defy easy categorization. Offerings range from epic sagas to beautifully observed, quiet dramas, to raucous comedies. Films featuring internationally established stars rub shoulders with first-time features by directors working with non-actors. These carefully curated highlights of the past illuminate our current social and political preoccupations as much as they bring into focus new trends and innovations in the craft of filmmaking itself.

Despite the international scope of the program and wide range of perspectives and budgets at play, it isn’t difficult to identify themes that feel immediate and relevant. Financial hardship and the risks we take in times of economic instability are explored in The Girl, Papadoupolous & Sons, Crawl, Margarita, The Fifth Season, and Here and There. Political upheaval and uncertainty are examined in Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy, Inch’allah, The Sleeping Voice and The Passion of Michelangelo. Reality is a scathing comment on society’s obsession with reality television, and Time Of My Life is an affecting study of the heartbreaking choices involved in euthanasia.

But while these films reflect the anxieties and struggles of our times, they are also a celebration of film as a unique art-form. The much-lauded Tabu employs classic film traditions and an aesthetic drawn in part from silent cinema in a sophisticated, subversive exploration of colonialism. Joshua Tree: 1951: A Portrait of James Dean is a poetic ode to one of the greatest cinematic icons of all time. And in Filmistaan, a common love of cinema eases distrust and prejudice between Indians and Pakistanis in a small border village, underscoring the power of film to break down cultural barriers, improve cross-cultural understanding and remind us of our shared histories.


4Some   

4Some
Czech Republic, 2012, 78 min.
Directed by Jan Hrebejk (Divided We Fall, Kawasaki’s Rose), this light-hearted sex comedy takes two middle-aged couples who agree to a foursome, plops them down on a tropical island and chronicles the fallout with a sly wit and a sunny disposition.... more



Allez, Eddy!   

Allez, Eddy!
Belgium, 2012, 97 min.
A heartwarming, brightly stylized, comic coming-of-age tale about 11-year-old cycling whiz Freddy and the arrival of the first supermarket in his small Belgian village. Change brings disruption, but also opportunity.... more



Beyond the Walls   

Beyond the Walls
Belgium, 2012, 98 min.
David Lambert’s pitch-perfect Brussels-set romance between piano player Paulo (Matila Malliarakis) and bass player Ilir (Guillaume Gouix) follows in the footsteps of Ira Sachs’s Keep the Lights On in pushing the boundaries of contemporary gay cinema.... more



Breakaway   

Breakaway
Philippines, 2012, 88 min.
This powerful drama is all about the love of a father for his young son and his heart-wrenching desperation when the child is lost to human traffickers in the backstreets of Manila.... more



Camion   

Camion
Canada, 2012, 96 min.
Refreshingly honest and precisely observed, this Quebecois drama examines the lives of a trucker and his two estranged sons after the former is involved in a terrible crash. Winner: Best Director, Karlovy Vary Film Festival.... more



The Color of the Chameleon   

The Color of the Chameleon
Bulgaria, 2012, 114 min.
This ultra-stylish spy movie pastiche follows a charismatic schemer in an authoritarian police state, who, fired from his job as a secret police informant, conjures up his own imaginary spy network that he turns against his former masters.... more



Crawl   

Crawl
France, 2012, 95 min.
Martin, a petty crook struggling to make ends meet, falls hopelessly for Gwen, a young woman with a passion for swimming, but circumstances quickly becomes complicated. Life in a windswept seaside town in Brittany is explored with compassion in this impressive, atmospheric debut feature.... more



The Dandelions   

The Dandelions
France, 2012, 89 min.
Nine-year-old Rachel Gladstein is burdened by her overbearing yet extremely loving parents. When the rambunctious Valérie befriends Rachel at school, the Gladstein’s lives are turned upside-down. A carefree and humorous film with a charming cameo from Isabella Rossellini.... more



The Dead Man and Being Happy   

The Dead Man and Being Happy
Spain, 2012, 92 min.
A hit man with terminal cancer picks up a much younger woman with family problems. He leaves Buenos Aires for a road trip to offbeat locales across Argentina. Both characters’ stories come full circle during a dramatic showdown with the woman’s family.... more



Eagles   

Eagles
Israel, 2012, 104 min.
Two senior war vets teach Israel’s young generation a lesson. “Part Notebook, part Death Wish, Eagles seems a surefire crowd-pleaser. Providing a large-caliber allegory for contemporary discontent, the provocative content and director Sabo's dry sensibility should spell art-house gold.... more



Electrick Children   

Electrick Children
USA, 2012, 96 min.
A Mormon teenager (Julia Garner) discovers a forbidden cassette of rock music on her 15th birthday. She’s never heard anything like it – but is it enough to have caused an immaculate conception, as she believes? “Irresistibly fizzy as a sachet of Pop Rocks.” Variety... more



Emperor   

Emperor
Japan, 2012, 98 min.
Army General Fellers (Matthew Fox, Lost) investigates Japan’s Emperor Hirohito for war crimes while searching for his love, with a stellar performance from Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur.... more



The End   

The End
Spain, 2012, 90 min.
A group of friends reunites at a cabin – all except one, the victim of a practical joke years before. Suddenly all electronics and machinery stop dead; they seek help but one by one they disappear. From the writers of The Orphanage and Cell 211.... more



English Vinglish   

English Vinglish
India, 2012, 133 min.
An Indian wife and mother rediscovers her self-worth when she secretly enrolls in an accelerated English class during a stay in New York. This sweet, funny audience-pleaser proves a winning comeback vehicle for Indian megastar Sridevi after a lengthy hiatus.... more



The Fifth Season   

The Fifth Season
Belgium, 2012, 93 min.
An apocalyptic story of a rural Belgian village stuck in perpetual winter. Teenagers Alice and Thomas struggle to make sense of this new world as ancient mysticism blends with modern fears.... more



Filmistaan   

Filmistaan
India, 2012, 117 min.
In this engagingly optimistic comedy, Sunny, an irrepressible Indian wannabe-actor, is mistaken for an American and kidnapped by Pakistani terrorists. Discovering his captors share his love for Bollywood movies, Sunny finds that cinema is his best escape route.... more



Flying Blind   

Flying Blind
United Kingdom, 2012, 93 min.
In this smart, slow-burn mystery, lauded stage actor Helen McCrory commands the screen as a confident, 40-ish aerospace engineer working on secret government projects whose passionate affair with a young Muslim student may not be as innocent as first thought.... more



The Foster Boy   

The Foster Boy
Switzerland, 2011, 108 min.
As harrowing as it is beautiful, this poignant drama is Switzerland’s biggest domestic box-office hit. It tells the story of an orphan boy named Max who is contracted to work on a local farm where he is exploited and abused.... more



The Girl   

The Girl
USA, 2012, 94 min.
Abbie Cornish gives a superb performance, at once contained and emotionally raw, as a troubled young working class Texan woman who loses custody of her child and sees an opportunity to make quick cash transporting Mexicans across the border.... more



Here and There   

Here and There
Spain, 2012, 110 min.
A family man returns home to his village in Mexico after years as a migrant worker in the United States. But his dreams are tested when his pregnant wife falls ill. Winner: Critics Week Grand Prize, Cannes Film Festival.... more



I Do   

I Do
USA, 2012, 91 min.
Jack has dedicated himself to raising his niece since the tragic death of his brother seven years earlier – so when his work visa runs out, a “green card” marriage seems like an easy option. Until he falls in love with another man… Winner: Audience Award, Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival... more



I, Anna   

I, Anna
United Kingdom, 2012, 93 min.
Charlotte Rampling’s lonely divorcée is a murder suspect in this twisty psychological thriller, a London neo-noir costarring Gabriel Byrne and directed by the actress’s son, Barnaby Southcombe.... more



Imagine   

Imagine
Poland, 2012, 105 min.
A spatial orientation instructor arrives at a Lisbon school to help blind children and young adults become more confident and self-reliant. However, his unusual teaching methods are not without risk. An engrossing and original drama. Audience Award, Best Director, Warsaw Film Festival.... more



In The Fog   

In The Fog
Germany, 2012, 127 min.
From the director of My Joy, “a mysterious, compelling and grim story from the Nazi-Occupied Soviet Union in 1942, shrouded in the fog of war, the fog of fear and the fathomless fog of European history.” The Guardian Winner: Fipresci Prize, Cannes Film Festival... more



Inch’ Allah   

Inch’ Allah
Canada, 2012, 101 min.
Every day young Canadian obstetrician Chloe crosses the checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, fraternizing with locals on both sides of the border but increasingly pushed towards taking a stand of her own. A thoughtful, humane take on the Israel/Palestine divide.... more



Inescapable   

Inescapable
Canada, 2012, 91 min.
Rubba Nadda follows her hit Cairo Time with this timely thriller about a father returning to Syria to try to find his missing daughter. Starring Alexander Siddig, Marisa Tomie and Joshua Jackson.... more



Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean   

Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean
USA, 2012, 93 min.
Influenced by the New Queer Cinema of the ’90s, Joshua Tree, 1951 imagines the pre-fame days of cinematic icon James Dean in all his bisexual glory. Inspired by facts, and maybe some fictions, about Dean’s short, tragic life, the movie is a poetic rumination on the dream of being a star and i... more



Jump   

Jump
Ireland, 2012, 84 min.
A fateful New Year’s Eve throws half a dozen characters into cross-purposes in this complex, wildly inventive and occasionally giddy mix of crime caper, romance and moral tale from Northern Ireland.... more



Key of Life   

Key of Life
Japan, 2012, 128 min.
Japan's master of screwball comedy Kenji Uchida returns with this cynical and hilarious tale about a failed actor who switches identities with a stranger at a bath house — only to find himself filling the shoes of an elite assassin.... more



Kid   

Kid
Belgium, 2012, 90 min.
Reminiscent of the Dardenne brothers' recent Kid with a Bike, this is a pared down, minimalist heartbreaker – a portrait of an alienated seven-year-old child whose father has long since abandoned him and his brother, and who then attempts to help his mother as she deals with the impending los... more



La Playa D.C.   

La Playa D.C.
Colombia, 2012, 90 min.
A 13-year-old Afro-Colombian boy, Tomas, lands on the tough streets of Bogotá with his two brothers in this gritty but exuberant debut. After some tough knocks he goes his own way, finding work in a barbershop creating his own elaborate “tropas”.... more



Laurence Anyways   

Laurence Anyways
Canada, 2012, 168 min.
Xavier Dolan’s terrifically stylish love story is set in 1990s Montreal and stars Melvil Poupaud as a transgender man whose decade-long relationship with his lover Frédérique (the wonderful Jennifer Clément) makes for a dazzling and entertaining mini-epic.... more



Magnificent Presence   

Magnificent Presence
Italy, 2012, 105 min.
A penurious aspiring actor (Elio Germano) takes an apartment already occupied by the ghosts of an old theatrical troupe in this light, engaging entertainment from Italy’s leading gay filmmaker, Ferzan Ozpetek (Loose Cannons; Facing Windows). Audience Award. Moscow Film Festival... more



Mental   

Mental
Australia, 2012, 116 min.
PJ Hogan reteams with Muriel’s Wedding star Toni Collette in this raucous and uproarious Australian comedy about an unconventional, bong-smoking nanny plucked off the street to care for the five daughters of an ambitious small town politician.... more



Modest Reception   

Modest Reception
Iran, 2012, 100 min.
This perversely fascinating, blackly comic drama follows a man and a woman making their way through a war-torn, mountainous region, dispensing large sums of money in plastic bags from the back of their SUV while attaching sadistic conditions to their largesse.... more



Mold   

Mold
Turkey, 2012, 94 min.
In Anatolia, a lonely father petitions authorities for information on the son who disappeared 18 years earlier. This prime example of Turkish art-house cinema won the Lion of the Future for Best First Film, Venice Film Festival.... more



Molly Maxwell   

Molly Maxwell
Canada, 2012, 91 min.
Molly Maxwell is a precocious 16-year-old who attends an alternative school where every student is perceived to be a prodigy. Molly develops a close relationship with a young teacher who opens her world but the relationship potentially threatens her future.... more



Papadopoulos & Sons   

Papadopoulos & Sons
United Kingdom, 2012, 105 min.
No one does crisis like the Greeks. This feel-good comedy follows a London Greek family who lose it all in the latest economic crash – everything except a derelict fish and chip shop. Audience Award, Thessaloniki Film Festival.... more



The Passion of Michelangelo   

The Passion of Michelangelo
Chile, 2012, 99 min.
As street protests increased in 1983, Pinochet’s regime in Chile was only too happy to promote the story of a 14-year-old Miguel Angel’s sighting of the Virgin Mary atop a hill in Peñablanca. Esteban Larraín’s drama tells Angel’s ultimately tragic tale.... more



Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy   

Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy
Italy, 2012, 129 min.
Marco Tullio Giordana’s (The Best of Youth) meticulous and engrossing conspiracy thriller dissects the real-life 1969 bombing of a bank in Milan’s Piazza Fontana that killed 17 people. The excellent Valerio Mastandrea is a cop whose investigation leads down the corridors of power.... more



Reality   

Reality
Italy, 2012, 116 min.
Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone shifts gears for this Fellini-esque satire about a Neopolitan fish merchant who becomes obsessed with the idea of appearing on a Big Brother reality TV show. Winner, Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival.... more



Renoir   

Renoir
France, 2012, 111 min.
Set on the Côte d’Azur, Gilles Bourdos’s lyrical, visually gorgeous period piece examines the effects teenaged model Andrée (Christa Theret) has on the lives of Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet) and his soon-to-be filmmaker-son Jean (Vincent Rottiers).... more



The Repentant   

The Repentant
Algeria, 2012, 87 min.
A young Algerian Jihadist takes advantage of a national amnesty to leave the mountains and rejoin civil society. But the past is not so easily put aside. A beautifully made, deeply emotional drama from veteran Allouache.... more



Rust and Bone   

Rust and Bone
France, 2011, 120 min.
Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts star in this overwhelming, intensely physical and surprisingly erotic melodrama from the director of A Prophet – a love story between a bouncer turned bare knuckle fighter and a woman coming to terms with life after a terrible injury.... more



The Sapphires   

The Sapphires
Australia, 2012, 99 min.
Sparkling soul music and raucous humor anchor Wayne Blair’s irresistible tale, based on the real-life story of an all-female Aboriginal singing group in 1960s Australia that went from folk to soul with unexpected success. The feel-good film of the year.... more



Shameless   

Shameless
Poland, 2012, 86 min.
A passionate, taboo-testing drama about a lonely youth’s single-minded adoration of his troubled half-sister as well as her desperate need for love and affection, something that ultimately outweighs her better judgment.... more



Sharqiya   

Sharqiya
Israel, 2012, 82 min.
A young Bedouin man fights an uphill battle for respect and recognition in contemporary Israel in this eloquent, affecting drama. Best Film, Jerusalem Film Festival.... more



The Shine of Day   

The Shine of Day
Austria, 2012, 90 min.
In this low-key charmer, unexpected connections prove the spice of life. From the directors of La Pivellina, another gritty, semi-improvised drama about inter-generational bonding as a young stage actor befriends his father’s black sheep brother. Best Actor, Locarno Film Festival.... more



Shores of Hope   

Shores of Hope
Germany, 2012, 116 min.
Reminiscent of Lives of Others, this compelling drama follows two young dockworkers Conny and Andreas whose quest to escape East Germany in the early 80s runs foul of the Stasi.... more



The Sleeping Voice   

The Sleeping Voice
Spain, 2011, 128 min.
In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Pepita, a naïve young woman, comes to Madrid to be near her pregnant sister, a political prisoner facing execution. Pepita gradually gets drawn into the underground struggle while working in a Nationalist household. Winner: Best Actress, San Sebastian FF... more



Soongava: Dance of the Orchids   

Soongava: Dance of the Orchids
Nepal, 2012, 85 min.
Beautiful Diya dreams of becoming a professional dancer but when she breaks off her engagement and moves in with the woman she loves, flying in the face of Napalese tradition, local morals and family honor, discrimination is only the start of her problems.... more



Stand Up Guys   

Stand Up Guys
USA, 2012, 94 min.
They don't make 'em like they used to! Pacino, Walken and Arkin play former gangsters who reunite for one last night on the town in this spicy, tongue-in-cheek, geriatric action comedy.... more



Süskind   

Süskind
Netherlands, 2012, 118 min.
A true World War II story from the producers of Black Book that merits comparison with Schindler's List. While working for the Jewish Council in Nazi-occupied Holland, Walter Suskind decides to double-cross the Germans at great danger to himself and his family.... more



Tabu   

Tabu
Portugal, 2012, 120 min.
Miguel Gomes conjures a bittersweet souvenir of an overwhelming physical passion in this inventive and wistful black and white melodrama, a two-parter that jumps 50 years into the past, and further, into the romance of silent cinema. FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin Film Festival... more



Time of My Life   

Time of My Life
Belgium, 2012, 120 min.
At 39 and suffering from MS, Mario Verstraete became the first Belgian to take advantage of the country’s legalization of euthanasia – a law that he himself helped to pass. Nic Balthazar’s deeply affecting drama chronicles Verstraete’s fight with passion, grace and humor.... more



Two Lives   

Two Lives
Germany, 2012, 97 min.
An East German spy in Norway has built a life around a fake identity. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, her happy existence is threatened in this story of trauma, intrigue and espionage.... more



Una Noche   

Una Noche
Cuba, 2012, 90 min.
Elio’s twin sister, Lila, begins to suspect that her brother is planning to take off with his sexy, volatile coworker Raul on a dangerous bid to escape Cuba on a makeshift raft. Lucy Molloy’s award-winning film is vibrant, sophisticated, and emotionally intense. ... more



Unfinished Song   

Unfinished Song
United Kingdom, 2011, 93 min.
A curmudgeonly pensioner takes his ailing wife’s place in their unconventional local choir, with hilarious results. A stellar cast including Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave lead this charming, tear-jerking tale about coming to terms with love and loss.... more



Valley of Saints   

Valley of Saints
India, 2012, 82 min.
Recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Award at Sundance for its “brave, poetic and visually arresting evocation of a beautiful but troubled region,” Musa Sayeed’s first feature is a vibrant, lyrical love story set in the spectacular Dal Lake, considered Kashmir’s crown jewel.... more



The Wall   

The Wall
Austria, 2011, 108 min.
In this Kafkaesque fantasy, a woman in the Alps is isolated by a near-invisible wall separating her from the (possibly uninhabited) outside world. An unsettling existential drama featuring a spectacular performance from Martina Gedeck (The Lives of Others).... more



White Elephant   

White Elephant
Argentina, 2012, 110 min.
Ricardo Darin and Jérémie Renier play activist priests in a Buenos Ares slum in this palpably authentic and powerful social realist melodrama from the director of Carancho and Lion’s Den.... more



The World is Funny   

The World is Funny
Israel, 2012, 127 min.
Reality and fantasy cleverly intertwine in this ambitious, multi-strand tale about storytelling and a fractured Israeli family. A charming comedy from the director of Palm Springs favorites Aviva My Love and Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi.... more



Yema   

Yema
Algeria, 2012, 93 min.
A Greek tragedy by way of Algeria, the film tells the tale of two brothers set at odds by their different religious and political convictions, and the mother who mourns both a real and a symbolic loss when tensions explode.... more



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