2011-2020

Danielle Arbid – Beyrouth hôtel aka Beirut Hotel (2011)

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The story revolves around a young Lebanese singer Zoha, trying to break free from her ex-husband’s influence. She meets Mathieu, a French lawyer on business, who is tracked down and suspected of spying. Over ten days, they experience an affair made up of fear and desire, intrigue and violence. Beirut Hotel is described as “a romance on the edge, mirroring a country wavering between war and peace, where at any moment everything could be turned upside down…” Read More »

Asghar Farhadi – Jodaeiye Nader az Simin aka A Separation (2011)

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THE GUARDIAN review (contains plot details):

An unhappily married couple break up in this complex, painful, fascinating Iranian drama by writer-director Asghar Farhadi, with explosive results that expose a network of personal and social faultlines. A Separation is a portrait of a fractured relationship and an examination of theocracy, domestic rule and the politics of sex and class – and it reveals a terrible, pervasive sadness that seems to well up through the asphalt and the brickwork. In its depiction of national alienation in Iran, it’s comparable to the work of Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. But there is a distinct western strand. The film shows a middle-class household under siege from an angry outsider; there are semi-unsolved mysteries, angry confrontations and family burdens: an ageing parent and two children from warring camps appearing to make friends. All these things surely show the influence of Michael Haneke’s 2005 film Hidden. Farhadi, like Haneke, takes a scalpel to his bourgeois homeland. Read More »

Jean-Marc Vallée – Café de Flore (2011)

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From IMDb :

A love story between a man and woman. And between a mother and her son. A mystical and fantastical odyssey on love.

From Toronto International Film Festival official website :

*** This description contains spoilers ***

Jean-Marc Vallée returns to French-language filmmaking with this powerful and unconventional love story that weaves together two disparate narratives to create a tale of emotion and destiny. The stories center on a devoted mother (Vanessa Paradis) of a young boy with Down syndrome in 1969 Paris, and a successful DJ (Kevin Parent) who is going through an emotional divorce in present-day Montreal. Read More »

Aki Kaurismäki – Le Havre (2011)

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Synopsis
When an African boy arrives by cargo ship in the port city of Le Havre, an aging shoe shiner takes pity on the child and welcomes him into his home… Read More »

Jaume Balagueró – Mientras duermes aka. Sleep Tight (2011)

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Quote:
SYNOPSIS:
Caesar is the keeper of an apartment building and would not trade this job for no other, because it allows insight into the movements, the most intimate habits, weaknesses and secrets of all tenants. If you want you can even control their lives, influencing them as God, open wounds and delve into them. And all without raising any suspicion. Because Caesar has a secret peculiar: he likes to hurt, move the pieces needed to produce pain around. And the new neighbor of 5 º B keeps smiling. In and out every day bright and happy, full of light. So soon become the new goal of the game of Caesar. This is a personal challenge of an obsession. (Translated from Spanish) Read More »

Jens Lien – Sønner av Norge (2011)

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It’s 1978 and 14-year-old Nikolas is living an idyllic existence with his young brother and his archetypal, politicized hippie parents, the energetic Magnus (Sven Nordin) and the angelic Lone (Sonja Richter). When Lone is killed in a car accident, Magnus falls into a deep depression. Nikolas has nowhere to turn until his best friend proudly slaps his latest purchase on the turntable: The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks…. (The film was executive produced by former Pistols leader John Lydon, who plays a pivotal role in the movie.) Soon enough, Nikolas finds a new use for safety pins and buys a guitar. The real rub – and much of the comedy – comes when his father partially snaps out of his depression. Instead of disciplining Nikolas, Magnus encourages him. It may be hard to rebel, but it’s even tougher when your father is listening to the same records as you. Lively, entertaining and insightful, Jens Lien’s Sons of Norway is one of the funniest and most charming coming-of-age stories to come out of the Nordic region since Fucking Amal. Read More »

Maïwenn – Polisse (2011)

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The daily grind for the cops of the Police Department’s Juvenile Protection Unit – taking in child molesters, busting underage pickpockets and chewing over relationship issues at lunch; interrogating abusive parents, taking statements from children, confronting the excesses of teen sexuality, enjoying solidarity with colleagues and laughing uncontrollably at the most unthinkable moments. Knowing the worst exists and living with it. How do these cops balance their private lives and the reality they confront every working day? Fred, the group’s hypersensitive wild card, is going to have a hard time facing the scrutiny of Melissa, a photographer on a Ministry of the Interior assignment to document the unit. (~IMDb)
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