Films Programs

Awards Buzz : Best Foreign Language Film

Every year the Palm Springs International Film Festival brings you the world’s largest lineup of Oscar® submissions for Best Foreign Language film. Forty-five films will be presented, including five titles that played in PSIFF13 that we are delighted to welcome back this year.

Please note that six more previous PSIFF selections have subsequently been honored to represent their countries this year: Soongava: Dance of the Orchids (Nepal); Color of the Chameleon (Bulgaria); Eat Sleep Die (Sweden); Neighboring Sounds (Brazil), The Cleaner (Peru) and La Playa D.C. (Colombia). We’re proud to have helped launch these films and wish them continued success.

This year, leading contenders include Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, the follow up to his lauded 2012 Oscar® winner A Separation; Calin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose, which was awarded the Golden Bear and FIPRESCI Jury Prize at the 2013 Berlinale; Srdan Golubovic’s Circles which took a Special Jury Prize at Sundance; and János Szász’s Le Grand Cahier, the winner at Karlovy Vary.

In addition, there are a number of accomplished and strikingly original first features, including The Wall, from Austria; Wadjda, from Saudi Arabia; Of Horses and Men from Iceland; and Ilo Ilo from Singapore. While most of the submissions are narratives, there are also powerful documentaries, including Rithy Panh’s outstanding The Missing Picture (Cambodia) and Markus Imhoof’s More Than Honey, from Switzerland.

A jury of international film critics will attend the festival to view and consider this diverse showcase of films and bestow the festival’s FIPRESCI awards for best film, actor and actress. Many of our previous year’s FIPRESCI winners have gone on to garner Oscar success, so you may indeed receive a sneak preview of some of the 2014 Academy Award winners. But you will also have the opportunity to see films that you may not be able to see elsewhere, and some which may not be released theatrically in the USA.

Please note: PSIFF 2013 presented the following films:
The Hunt (Denmark)
More then Honey (Switzerland)
Renoir (France)
Two Lives (Germany)
The Wall (Austria)


15 Years and One Day   

15 Years and One Day
Spain, 2013, 100 min.
A struggling actress sends her troubled teenage son to live with his grandfather, a strict disciplinarian. As he starts to adapt to his new environment, a shocking act of violence turns the boy’s world upside down.... more



Anina   

Anina
Uruguay, 2013, 80 min.
In this charming animated family film, Uruguay’s Academy Awards® entry, a young girl gets caught fighting in school and has to wait a week to open a black envelope and find out what her punishment will be.... more



Back to 1942   

Back to 1942
China, 2012, 145 min.
This large scale historical epic tells stories of human suffering during the devastating drought in Henan, China, which killed three million refugees during the Japanese invasion. Time journalist Theodore White (Adrien Brody) brought the tragedy to international attention.... more



Bethlehem   

Bethlehem
Israel, 2013, 99 min.
Shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian points of view, Bethlehem reveals the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant. Winner, 6 Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film, Best Director.... more



Borgman   

Borgman
Netherlands, 2013, 115 min.
Vagrant trickster Borgman’s arrival in an exclusive residential area sets off a series of unsettling events that penetrate the carefully constructed façade of a wealthy couple in this sinister adult fable. "Sly, insidious and intermittently hilarious." - Variety... more



The Broken Circle Breakdown   

The Broken Circle Breakdown
Belgium, 2013, 110 min.
An intensely moving chronicle of a relationship, propelled by a soundtrack of foot-stomping bluegrass, The Broken Circle Breakdown is romantic melodrama of the highest order. "A vital, electrifying film." - The Telegraph... more



The Butterfly’s Dream   

The Butterfly’s Dream
Turkey, 2013, 123 min.
Ugliness and beauty contend in this lavish tragi-comic melodrama, Turkey’s submission to the Academy Awards®. Two friends vye for the hand of the same beautiful girl. May the best poet win!... more



Child’s Pose   

Child’s Pose
Romania, 2013, 112 min.
How far will a mother go to protect her grown son from charges of reckless driving? This sharply crafted blend of social commentary and psychological realism provides a caustic look into the corrupt heart of the Eastern European bourgeoisie. Golden Bear winner, Berlin Film Festival.... more



Circles   

Circles
Serbia, 2012, 113 min.
Five people are affected by a heroic act. 12 years later, each of them will have to confront the past. "An unorthodox morality tale about Serb-on-Serb crime in which concentric narratives make for considerable resonance. Viewers will be rewarded." Variety... more



Class Enemy   

Class Enemy
Slovenia, 2013, 112 min.
In this compelling Slovenian drama, a group of teens blame their demanding new German teacher and his demeaning methods when one of their classmates commits suicide, and a colossal battle of wills ensues. Winner, Critics Week, Venice Film Festival.... more



The Disciple   

The Disciple
Finland, 2013, 93 min.
A newcomer exposes and eventually implodes a lighthouse keeper’s tyrannical rule over his wife and children in this tense island drama, Finland’s Academy Award® entry.... more



An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker   

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker
Bosnia, 2013, 74 min.
This touching social-realist drama offers a modest, low-key glimpse into the struggles of an impoverished Roma family by recreating a shocking instance of discrimination they suffered. Winner, Best Actor, Berlin Film Festival.... more



Gabrielle   

Gabrielle
Canada, 2013, 104 min.
Gabrielle Marion-Rivard gives an extraordinarily expressive, moving performance as a developmentally challenged young woman who falls in love with a boy she sings with in the choir – to the dismay of the young man’s overly protective mother.... more



The German Doctor   

The German Doctor
Argentina, 2013, 93 min.
In 1960, an Argentine family befriends a charming German doctor on their way to a remote town and he takes a particular interest in their 12-year-old daughter. He turns out to be the Nazi war criminal Joseph Mengele in this chilling speculative fiction.... more



Gloria   

Gloria
Chile, 2013, 108 min.
Paulina Garcia gives one of the standout performances of the year as the middle-aged divorcee looking for love in the single bars of Santiago, Chile. This award-winning character piece doesn’t pull its punches but musters a refreshing defiant tone. Winner: Best Actress, Berlin.... more



The Good Road   

The Good Road
India, 2013, 92 min.
A middle class family loses their son, a truck driver is on his last ride and a little girl looks for her grandmother in an overlooked part of India in this gentle humanist road movie.... more



The Grandmaster   

The Grandmaster
Hong Kong, 2013, 108 min.
An epic martial arts film, acclaimed director Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster" is a riveting portrayal of kung fu master Ip Man's life. Three years in the making, Hong Kong's official Academy Awards® submission for the Foreign Language Oscar spans the era that followed the fall of China’s last dynas... more



The Great Beauty   

The Great Beauty
Italy, 2013, 142 min.
Paolo Sorrentino returns to Italy and concocts a grand, Fellini-esque Roman fresco, an electrifyingly cinematic satire on hedonism, decadence and spiritual emptiness with Tony Servillo as the jaded writer who is our tour guide. Winner, Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, European Film Awards.... more



The Great Passage   

The Great Passage
Japan, 2013, 133 min.
In this slow burning serio-comic romance – an homage to the power of words – Ishii shows us that beauty can be found in the meaning of words and a love story about editing a new dictionary can be captivating. Japan’s contender for the Academy Awards®.... more



Halima’s Path   

Halima’s Path
Croatia, 2012, 93 min.
Expertly weaving together three time frames over 30 years, this beautifully shot and marvelously acted drama traces the journey of a Bosnian Muslim mother (the mesmerizing Alma Prica) determined to reclaim the bones of her son, a casualty of the Balkan War.... more



Heli   

Heli
Mexico, 2013, 105 min.
This gripping, brutal film is a devastating reminder of the effects of the Mexican narcotics trade. Winner, Best Director, Cannes Film Festival.... more



Of Horses and Men   

Of Horses and Men
Iceland, 2013, 80 min.
This very dry, very Icelandic comedy is a north country romance about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human. Winner, New Director’s Award, San Sebastian Film Festival; Best Director, Tokyo Film Festival.... more



Horses of God   

Horses of God
Morocco, 2012, 115 min.
“An engrossing, realistic study of a Moroccan slum and how it becomes a breeding ground for young terrorists… Less a film about terrorists than an intimate portrait of boys growing up in a toxic environment.” The Hollywood Reporter... more



The Hunt   

The Hunt
Denmark, 2012, 115 min.
Accused of inappropriate behavior, a kindergarten teacher (Mads Mikkelsen) finds himself alone and ostracized in the community that has been his home. Innocence is no defense but it’s all he has to hold on to in this searing drama from the director of "The Celebration".... more



I Am Yours   

I Am Yours
Norway, 2013, 96 min.
A young and sexy single mother living with her six-year-old son Felix can’t help herself from running after love - despite one disastrous relationship after another. An affair with a Swedish filmmaker feels like the real thing - but is it?... more



Ilo Ilo   

Ilo Ilo
Singapore, 2013, 99 min.
Singapore’s Academy Award® entry is a deeply empathetic movie about an overstretched middle class family and the Filipino maid they bring into their home to take care of their troublesome ten-year-old. “A small gem.” Screen Daily... more



In Bloom   

In Bloom
Georgia, 2013, 102 min.
An impressive, absorbing, intelligently assembled coming-of-age story about female friendship, fatal feuds and family friction in post-Soviet Georgia. A prizewinner at AFI, Berlin, Hong Kong, Milan, Montreal, Paris, Sarajevo and Wiesbaden film festivals.... more



Juvenile Offender   

Juvenile Offender
South Korea, 2012, 107 min.
A troubled 16-year-old winds up in a detention center – until the authorities track down the mother he thought was dead. Korea’s Oscar® submission is a neo-realist, social conscience drama.... more



Le Grand Cahier   

Le Grand Cahier
Hungary, 2013, 110 min.
The chilling account of two teenage twins sent to live with their abusive grandmother during WWII. In order to adapt to the cruelty and horror they encounter, the boys train themselves to extinguish all human sentiment. Winner, Grand Prix, Karlovy Vary Film Festival.... more



Metro Manila   

Metro Manila
United Kingdom, 2013, 115 min.
A naive farming couple from the picturesque but impoverished northern Philippines come to grief in the crime-ridden capital in this polished mix of melodrama and heist thriller from UK director Sean Ellis. Winner, Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival.... more



The Missing Picture   

The Missing Picture
Cambodia, 2013, 92 min.
Rithy Panh returns to memorialize the killing fields where his family – and hundreds of thousands more – were worked to death by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Winner, Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival.... more



Mother, I love you   

Mother, I love you
Latvia, 2013, 83 min.
When 12-year-old Raimonds tries to cover up a bad behavior note from his school it sparks a spiral of lies that spins out of control. Latvia’s Oscar® hopeful is a striking,family-friendly coming-of-age drama that plays like a grandchild to "The 400 Blows".... more



The Old Man   

The Old Man
Kazakhstan, 2012, 102 min.
Inspired by Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea", this vivid, intense Kazakh drama chronicles an elderly shepherd’s attempts to save his sheep from wolves out in the frozen steppes.... more



Omar   

Omar
Palestinian Territories, 2013, 98 min.
A dynamic, action-packed drama about the insoluble moral dilemmas and tough choices facing those on the front lines of a conflict that shows no sign of letting up. Winner, Special Jury Prize, A Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival.... more



The Past   

The Past
Iran, 2013, 130 min.
Traveling from Tehran to Paris to finalize his divorce, an Iranian man finds himself drawn back into the lives of his ex-wife and her daughter. From the director of the Oscar®-winning A Separation. Winner, Best Actress, 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 Rocket   

The Rocket
Australia, 2013, 96 min.
A rapturous crowd-pleasing comedy and a surprisingly resonant, tough little movie from Laos about a ten-year-old Jonah who is ostracized by his tribe but falls in with a James Brown-lookalike and his urchin niece. An audience prizewinner at multiple festivals.... more



Stalingrad   

Stalingrad
Russia, 2013, 131 min.
Meticulously designed and shot in stunning 3D, Stalingrad is an unexpected love story set against one of the most hard-fought and pivotal battles of WWII. It’s one of the biggest and most successful Russian films in years.... more



Transit   

Transit
Philippines, 2013, 93 min.
This affecting drama deals with the struggle of an extended Filipino family working in Israel but faced with the prospect of separation when a new law threatens their children with deportation.... more



Two Lives   

Two Lives
Germany, 2012, 100 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



Wadjda   

Wadjda
Saudi Arabia, 2012, 98 min.
This tale about a 12-year-old tomboy who wants to buy a bike would be a small jewel of tone and story-telling in any country, but its Riyadh setting and unapologetic feminist intent throws open the closed doors of Saudi women’s lives.... more



Walesa. Man of Hope   

Walesa. Man of Hope
Poland, 2013, 127 min.
Master filmmaker Andrzej Wajda chronicles the extraordinary Solidarity movement led by shipyard electrician Lech Walesa, a quiet revolution that would topple the Communist dictatorship in Poland and bring down the Iron Curtain.... more



The Wall   

The Wall
Austria, 2012, 108 min.
In this dystopian 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 Lies   

White Lies
New Zealand, 2013, 96 min.
New Zealand’s submission for the Academy Awards® is a drama about women, discrimination and abortion in the early 1900s, based on a novel by Whale Rider author Witi Ihimaera and directed by Mexico’s Dana Rotberg.... more



Winter of Discontent   

Winter of Discontent
Egypt, 2013, 96 min.
A hard-hitting political thriller that delivers a searing account of the root causes of the Egyptian revolution. “A fascinating film.” The Guardian... more



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