Claudio Giovannesi’s award-winning second dramatic feature captures one week in the life of sixteen-year-old troublemaker Nader, who, despite his mother’s threats and family’s insistence that he respect his Muslim roots, fights, steals and pursues an Italian girlfriend. A stunning example of contemporary Italian neo-realism, Alì Blue Eyes is an engrossing coming-of-age story about an immigrant who will stop at nothing to fit in.
How far would you go to restore your family’s honor? As the oldest man in his household, Siyar confronts that question with a vengeance after his older sister, Nermin, flees an arranged marriage, and he must atone for the slight. Siyar tracks her from their small village in Kurdistan to the dramatic cultural melting pot of Istanbul. His fateful introduction to Evin, a young girl living on the streets, leads to the first cracks in his resolve. Then Nermin escapes into Europe, and Siyar has no choice but to continue a search that will forever change his notions of loyalty, dignity, honor and love. With dazzling imagery and fast-paced storytelling, Before Snowfall is a thought-provoking look at honor killing, at the intricate web of connections that sustain the brutal tradition and the unbelievable lengths to which some will go to see it through. Director Hisham Zaman focuses on the male antagonist, deftly portrayed by newcomer Abdullah Taher, to bring Siyar’s moral crisis front and center. As he ventures farther away from home and his relationship with Evin deepens, does Siyar want to end the violent cycle? Is escape even possible?
A vigilante cop and a vengeful father capture and interrogate an accused serial killer. Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s brutal follow-up to Rabies (TFF 2011) examines a horror that most would not want to imagine: what would you do if someone hurt the one you loved most? A revenge thriller with teeth, Big Bad Wolves delivers on its raw tension with bursts of operatic drama.
Elise runs a tattoo shop. Didier plays in a bluegrass band. When their daughter Maybelle is born, their happiness is complete, until a tangle of complications forces these two very different lovers to fight to save their marriage. Belgian director Felix van Groeningen follows his acclaimed Cannes entry The Misfortunates with this powerhouse melodrama of star-crossed lovers laced with emotional bluegrass performances.
Once-great actor Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini) now spends his days alone, cycling through the windblown landscape of France’s Île de Ré. Even an offer from his old friend Gauthier (Lambert Wilson) to return to the stage in Molière’s The Misanthrope fails to draw his interest. At least, at first. Phillippe Le Guay’s charming comedy of egos colliding on the French seaside turns into a neatly crafted, wonderfully performed search for the creative spark.
Kuba attends an art opening with his girlfriend of two years and bumps into Mikal. The connection between these two young men is instantaneous and intoxicating, and despite opposition from all sides, he allows Mikal into his life. The results go beyond anything he could have imagined. This intimate and bold second feature from Polish director Tomasz Wasilewski captures the often-complicated consequences of finding love where others do not want it.
Symbolism and striking cinematography help us navigate the complicated landscape of a teenager’s mind in this insightful Kazakh film about violence among children. After enduring frequent humiliation at the hands of the class bully, thirteen-year-old Aslan snaps, triggering an intense psychological reaction. Emir Baigazin artfully explores the strength of the survival instinct when public life pushes us beyond our limits.
Chef Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot) is plucked from relative obscurity to whip up classic French dishes for the most powerful man in the nation. Based on the real-life story of the personal chef to former French president François Mitterrand, Haute Cuisine uses the politically charged kitchen and corridors of the Élysée Palace as an exquisite backdrop for a nonstop parade of mouthwatering dishes in this deliciously French comedy.
Reha Erdem relays in radiant detail the effects of the decades-long Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Seventeen-year-old rebel Jîn abandons her post and crosses between the opposing forces, navigating a beautiful mountain range made brutal by gunfire and random bombings. Her courage is repeatedly tested, until she finds comfort among unexpected allies. Erdem creates a soul-stirring odyssey that reflects on the permanent damage to humanity and the natural world caused by unremitting war.
In the short break between performances in Calais, stage actress Alix (the stunning Emmanuelle Devos) makes a quick escape to Paris. On the train she meets a mysterious English stranger (Gabriel Byrne) and, for the most fleeting of afternoons, imagines what the future could hold down a different road. With masterful performances by its two acclaimed stars, Just a Sigh is an imaginative, lushly filmed Parisian romance from young and versatile director Jérôme Bonnell.