Bermuda International Film Festival (BIFF) announced the full line-up and schedule for the 14th annual Bermuda International Film Festival taking place this month, March 18 – 24, 2011. This year’s event will centred in Hamilton, with screenings taking place at Speciality Cinema & Grill and Liberty Theatre.
BIFF 2011 promises something for everyone with more than 70 films across 8 categories. Programme highlights include:
World Cinema – In a Better World. Winner of the Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Feature Film.
World Cinema – The Illusionist. Winner of Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globes and a nomination in the same category at the Oscars.
World Cinema – Another Year. 2011 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
World Cinema – Biutiful. Nominated at the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and for which Javier Bardem received a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar nomination.
Competition Shorts – 32 entries. BIFF is recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as a qualifying festival for films to be considered for shortlisting for the Oscar®.
Documentary Short – Mr. Happy Man. Tells the tale of Bermuda’s very own Johnny Barnes.
BIFF Kids – The Crocodiles. Winner the Outstanding Children’s Film at the 2010 German Film Awards.
Competition Feature – Trust. The second feature to be directed by David Schwimmer of “Friends” fame.
The Netherlands Showcase – Antonia. Winner of the 1996 Oscar for Best Foreign Feature Film.
BIFF 2011 – FULL PROGRAMME:
Richard J Lewis Canada / USA / 2010 / 134 minutes / Colour / R
Director Richard J. Lewis’ picaresque portrait of TV producer Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) — a blunt, irascible grouch — is a freewheeling journey through Barney’s memories of a life that took in two disastrous marriages before he met the love of his life, elegant radio presenter Miriam (Rosamund Pike). Giamatti and Pike excel, with more than able support from Dustin Hoffman (as Barney’s dad, Izzy) and Minnie Driver as the second Mrs. P. Barney’s journey runs the gamut of moods from broad humour to real tragedy, the plot’s twists and turns add up to a beguiling, touching, grown-up piece of filmmaking.
Mike Leigh UK / 2010 / 129 minutes / Colour / PG-13
This is the kind of film that makes you want to go out and hug old people. Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) are that rare happy couple in their twilight years who routinely have less fortunate friends and family over for dinner, tea and occasionally a lot of wine. As the conflicted friend who might make life’s cycle fall off its spokes, veteran Lesley Manville delivers an awards-calibre performance masking pain and vulnerability with drunken eccentricity. Some are declaring this melancholic and affectionate film Leigh’s finest work.
Janus Metz Denmark / 2010 / 100 minutes / Colour / Danish with English subtitles
In February 2009, Danish soldiers, accompanied by documentary filmmaker Janus Metz, arrived at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz and cameraman Lars Skree spent six months following the lives of young soldiers situated less than a kilometre from Taliban positions. The filmmakers repeatedly risked their lives shooting this tense, brilliantly edited, and visually sophisticated probe into the psychology of young men in the midst of a senseless war whose victims are primarily local villagers. This gripping and authentic drama provoked furious debate in Denmark.
d.Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu Spain, Mexico / 2010 / 148 minutes / Colour / R Spanish with English subtitles
Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams, Amores Perros) describes Uxbal, played by Javier Bardem, as “devoted father, tormented lover, mystified son, underground businessman, ghost seeker, spiritual sensitive, consumer-goods pirate, guilty conscience and urban survivor.” Uxbal wanders the mean streets of Barcelona trying to put his life in order, evading the law while caring for his two kids since their bipolar mother is incapable. Biutiful is relentless but digs out beauty in the rubble and is as riveting as the world a remarkable actor lets us see through Uxbal’s eyes.
Denis Villeneuve Canada / 2010 / 130 minutes / Colour / R French and Arabic with English subtitles
Incendies merges dark drama with mystery as it delves into the past of the distant Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal) through the journey of her twin children Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) from Canada to the Middle East in search of answers to questions in their family history. Blessed with the help of a strong cast, the country’s best cinematographer (Andre Turpin) and his own leaned-out screenplay, Villeneuve has crafted a work of searing intensity, terrible beauty and great emotional power.
In a Better World
Susanne Bier Denmark, Sweden / 2010 / 113 minutes / Colour / R Danish with English subtitles
Two families cope with issues of morality and vengeance. Christian, full of fury after his mother dies, turns to revenge as a means of getting control over his life. He begins a friendship with Elias, whose father is away practicing medicine in Africa and who is the school bully’s prime target. After he takes care of Elias’s nemesis, Christian looks for bigger fish to fry. Mikael Persbrandt is superb as the good doctor trying to resist violence and director Susanne Bier expertly ramps up the tension in this intelligent meditation on masculinity, family and accountability.
Life During Wartime
Todd Solondz USA/2009/98minutes/Colour/R
The latest film from celebrated director Todd Solondz assembles an amazing ensemble cast including Allison Janney, Shirley Henderson, Paul Reubens, Michael Kenneth Williams, Ally Sheedy, Charlotte Rampling, and Ciáran Hinds in an hilarious exploration of the boundaries of forgiveness, family, and love. Ten years have passed since shocking revelations shattered the world of the Jordan family, and now sisters Joy, Trish, and Helen, each embroiled in their own unique dilemmas, struggle to find their place in an unpredictable and volatile world. The past now haunts their family both literally and otherwise, and jeopardizes the future. Alternately hilarious and tragic, outrageous and poignant, Life During Wartime is an audacious comedy with unexpected resonance.
Of Gods and Men
Xavier Beauvois France / 2010 / 122 minutes / Colour / PG-13 Arabic and French with English subtitles
The 1996 kidnapping and murder of seven French monks from an Algerian monastery is the basis for this profoundly moving drama. With random attacks of violence by an Islamic fundamentalist group on the rise, the monks — led by brother superior Christian (Lambert Wilson) — realise it’s only a matter of time before they are targeted. However, they are reluctant to desert the village for which they provide medical care and have become part of the community. An intense and thoughtful film about the all-conquering strength of faith.
Lee Chang-dong South Korea / 2011 / 139 minutes / Colour Korean with English subtitles This crackling multi-layered policier gains most of its power from an unsentimental performance by the divine Yun as a dutiful grandmother still vibrant in her 60s who takes up writing poetry to fend off the early stages of dementia. She’s more than capable of finding true beauty in everyday life, but it’s only as she comes to understand her grandson’s connection to a young woman’s mysterious suicide that poetic inspiration touches her. Lee cleverly plays up the character study while keeping the criminal case in the background. Good and evil deeds share the screen with lofty dialogue and cinematic imagery. It’s uncommonly effective and subtly executed.
Position Among the Stars
Leonard Retel Helmrich Netherlands / 2010 / 111 minutes / Colour Indonesian with English subtitles
Twelve years ago, Dutch filmmaker Retel Helmrich decided to visit Indonesia, the birthplace of his Dutch father and Indonesian mother, looking for inspiration. The trip ignited his fascination with the country and he started filming the Shamshudin family living in a Jakarta slum. He followed them as the country shook off the rule of President Suharto (The Eye of the Day), experienced a rise of Islamic power (Shape of the Moon) and eventually nascent democracy, corruption and a widening income gap.
Sylvain Chomet France, UK / 2010 / 80 minutes / Colour / PG French and Gaelic with English subtitles
The Illusionist is based on an unproduced screenplay by French screen legend Jacques Tati, creator of M. Hulot’s Holiday and Playtime. It’s a gentle pas de deux between a paternal old stage magician and a wide-eyed girl as they navigate a changing world. Playing in a tiny Scottish village the magician befriends a chambermaid who’s still young enough to be dazzled by his sleight of hand. When he leaves for a city gig she follows him and the two end up travelling together. A marvellously dry and rewardingly subtle comedy.
by Sofia Coppola USA/2010/97minutes/Colour/R
Somewhere is a film that is along the same lines as Lost in Translation, in that it is an intimate portrait, this time of a somewhat absent father (Stephen Dorff) who has missed out on much of his daughter Cleo’s (Elle Fanning) childhood and now has an opportunity to make up some lost time. Johnny is a big time movie star who is living ‘the life’ and staying at the infamous Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. His life seems to be charmed with fast cars and women throwing themselves at him, but he is empty and sad and missing something.
Stefanie Sycholt Germany, South Africa / 2010 / 108 minutes / Colour
Set predominantly in the spectacular Eastern Cape of South Africa, Themba is the moving story of a young Xhosa boy who dreams of being a soccer star and longs for his absent father to return home. His non-idyllic childhood in the rural Eastern Cape comes to an abrupt end when his mother is forced to look for work in Cape Town after losing her job, and he and his sister are left in the care of her lover. After Themba is raped, he and his sister go to look for their mother in Cape Town even though his soccer team stands to win the Eastern Cape Junior championships. They find her dying of AIDS and Themba has to face the fact that he, too, is infected.
Family Portrait in Black and White
Julia Ivanova Canada / 105 minutes / Colour Russian, Italian, Ukrainian with English subtitles
Olga Nenya is a foster mother to sixteen black orphans in Ukraine — where 99.9% of the population is white and where race does matter. Forced to constantly defend themselves from racist neighbours and skinheads, the children have to be on guard against the world that surrounds them. Olga is a loving mother but she is not Mother Teresa and she bears a closer resemblance to a platoon leader. What Olga can’t control is how the modern world is interconnected. The kids spend summers with host families in France and Italy, but when the European families offer to adopt her kids, Olga refuses, despite being aware of what awaits a black Ukrainian beyond the protective shield of her family.
The Eagleman Stag
Mikey Please UK/2010/9minutes/ Black & White
Peter’s life has been spent in both fascination and fear of his quickening perception of time with age. As he nears the end of his days, his interest turns to obsession. His answers lie in the brain of a beetle.
Marleen Gorris Holland / 1995 / 102 minutes / Colour / R Dutch with English subtitles
Marleen Gorris’ idealised perspective on an independent-minded woman who comes to live in a small Dutch farming community, Antonia, is a feel-good fairy tale that will appeal to all. Antonia (Willeke van Ammelrooy) is a very old lady when the film opens, and she knows it is the last day of her life through ‘magic realism’ that pops up throughout the film. A long flashback begins at the end of the war, when she and her teenage daughter, Danielle (Els Dottermans), return to the farm town where Antonia was born. In Antonia’s magical kingdom, no woman ever makes a false step. Winner of the 1996 Oscar for Best Foreign Feature Film.
The Happy Housewife
Antoinette Beumer Netherlands / 2010 / 100 minutes / Colour / R Dutch with English subtitles
Lea is an immaculate 30-something wife whose husband’s job in real estate allows her an enviably glossy lifestyle. The word ’emancipation’ simply isn’t in her vocabulary and as long as the money rolls in, all is rosy. So, when Harry Jr. arrives, she is a little traumatised at having to swap canapés for nappies. The result is a brave but darkly hilarious story about a woman who fights to get her past — and her present — firmly back on track. This film features a powerhouse performance from Carice van Houten as a housewife who seemingly lives a blissful life until a complicated pregnancy and delivery throws her completely off kilter.
Winter in Wartime
Martin Kolhaven Netherlands / 2008 / 103 minutes / Colour / R Dutch / English / German with English subtitles
Voted the best Dutch Film of 2008 by the Netherlands press, Winter in Wartime is set in January 1945 in Nazi-occupied Holland. In a German-occupied village, the local mayor Johan tries to keep order. His 14-year-old son Michiel (Martijin Lakemeir) thinks his father is a Nazi lap dog and doesn’t give him the time of day. Instead he worships his uncle Ben, a member of the resistance who is keeping a low profile living with the family. Circumstances force Michiel to rope in his nurse sister to help. What follows is a life and death struggle as the two siblings attempt to get Jack to a safe port before the Nazis close in. The film features breathtaking photography, a gripping story — expect some surprising twists — and mature performances from a mainly young cast.
Gilles Marchand France / 2010 / 105 minutes / Colour French with English subtitles
A breakout selection of the midnight section of Cannes in 2010, Black Heaven is directed by an exciting new French filmmaker, Gilles Marchand. The story follows an innocent young kid, Gaspar (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), who becomes enamoured with a beautiful, enigmatic girl named Audrey (Louise Bourgoin) and is lured into Black Hole, a dark, dangerously addictive video game world of avatars with deadly serious intentions in the real world.
Greg Araki USA / 2010 / 86 minutes / Colour
Provocative director Gregg Araki has assembled his trademark ensemble cast for an amalgam of teens and dreams that explores identity, sexuality and the spaces in between. Thomas Dekker as Smith guides us through a college experience far removed from the usual fare as he struggles with the social side of his tertiary studies, and is plagued by potentially prophetic, possibly psychotic dreams of black doors, red dumpsters and girls he hasn’t yet met. With the insanity filtered through a combination of horror, comedy and sci-fi genres, Kaboom is borderline absurd, yet wickedly offbeat, strikingly self-aware, and truly, devilishly funny.
Letter for the King
Pieter Verhoeff Netherlands / 2008 / 110 minutes / Colour / PG13 Dutch with English subtitles
This delightful story set in mediaeval times is a coming of age tale of 16-year-old Tiuri who risks his future in becoming a full fledged knight in order to fulfill a promise. Tiuri has one last test to complete in becoming a knight when he gets interrupted by a dying knight who asks him to deliver an important letter to the king of Unauwen. Tiuri takes on this mission, which leads him into a great adventure of honour, valour and of course love! Beautifully shot, this tale captures the imagination of all ages.
Christian Ditter Germany / 2010 / 98 minutes / Colour / PG German with English subtitles
Based on a well-known German novel, Vorstadtkrokodile, The Crocodiles won the Outstanding Children’s Film at the 2010 German Film Awards. Ten-year-old Hannes, growing up with his young, single mother, wants to join the coolest gang in town, the Vorstadtkrokodile. But the initiation goes awry and his life is saved by Kai, who is also desperate to join the gang, but is wheelchair-bound and unable to even run away when things get hot. When Kai is the only witness to a break-in, he suddenly becomes of great interest to the gang but will talk only if he can join. With his help, youthful imagination and courage, the group sets off to solve the case and take on the apparently unbeatable criminal gang.
Brownstones to Red Dirt
Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker USA, Sierra Leone / 2010 / 85 minutes
A touching documentary about a simple pen pal programme, Brownstones to Red Dirt captures the growth of sixth graders from housing projects in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and civil war orphans from Freetown, Sierra Leone. We see the kids getting to know each other through their letters and realising that while their environments are vastly different, the struggles they face make them more alike than they would have thought. After learning of their extreme hardship, the Brooklyn students organise a fundraiser to help buy necessities for their pen pals — an act of generosity that changes lives.
Michael Moore USA / 2010 / 7 minutes / Colour
A quirky group of earthworms wake up one morning only to find that they are trapped in a young boy’s bait bucket. The spineless friends must devise a plan to escape and prove that they are more than just fish snacks.
Verena Fels Germany / 2010 / 6.24 minutes / Colour
At the edge of society, a cow tips the balance of destiny with unexpected impact.
The Moon Bird
Greg and Myles McLeoad UK / 2010 / 14 minutes / Black & White
An orphan girl must outwit a terrible sorceress with the help of a magical lunar.
The King of the Island
Raimondo Della Calce France / 2009 / 16 minutes / Colour French with English subtitles Gioannin is a 6-year-old kid who lives in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century. He always dreams of his strong and wonderful father whom he’s never met after he went missing at sea. He is going to discover that a dream is not worth as much as real life, which despite its difficulties and disappointments, can give naturally.
An Act of Love
Edward Dick UK / 2010 / 15 minutes / Colour
Drew begrudgingly agrees to donate sperm to his wife’s broody sister, but gets a rude awakening when he realises they plan to use traditional insemination techniques.
A Piece of Sound Advice
Gilles Charmant France / 2009 / 19 minutes / Colour French with English subtitles Marie and Pierre are a young couple in love but Marie wants Pierre to understand that love doesn’t last forever. Pierre doesn’t want to listen — until Marie decides to sing her thoughts and the world around them starts to sing and dance too.
Coffee & Pie
Douglas Horn USA / 2010 / 15 minutes / Colour
A couple must come to terms with the fact that theirs is a love that can never be.
Pedro Loro Avis Spain / 2010 / 5 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles
After many years together, Ana and Antonio have a lot of things to say to each other. They are about to tell the truth but fear stifles their intentions and their words are drowned in silence.
Deeper Than Yesterday
Ariel Kleiman Australia / 2009 / 20 minutes / Colour Russian with English subtitles After three months submerged underwater, a submarine crew have become savages. Oleg fears that losing perspective may mean losing himself.
Rob Sorrenti UK / 2010 / 20 minutes / Colour
Young lovers Alice and Marcus keep trying and failing to get over their heroin addiction until they find out Alice is pregnant. Now it’s not just about getting clean, it’s about staying clean. But can they do it?
United We Stand
Alejandro Pedregal Finland / 2009 / 19 minutes / Colour Finnish with English subtitles
An outsider threatens the peace of an upper-class Finnish family. The stranger is not taken seriously until he proves that he knows more than he should. The family realises that they must stay united or their life together might collapse.
The Blonde from Pinos Puente
Vicente Villaneuva Spain 2010 / 17 minutes / Colour
A comedy about Nona Gil, a young singer who decides to try out for a TV talent show that sweeps audience ratings. The castings are so pathetic that the show is posted on the internet for the world to see.
Albertto Dorado Spain 2010 / 4 minutes / Colour
Set in Somalia, 10-year-old Sallif is talking to a UN soldier but nothing is as it initially appears.
Daniel Dalimonte USA / 2010 / 24 minutes / Colour
Davis Tucker is an inner-city youth whose ideals fade and die in the face of adversity. He spends his days stealing run-down cars until one of his targets, George, catches him after a night’s work at the local boxing gym.
Alexis Morante Spain / 2010 / 13 minutes 50 sec/ Colour Spanish with English subtitles
Lolo is a 10-year-old Andalusian kid who moves to New York City with his family. Today Lolo and his grandma decide to go to their communal swimming pool. But something unexpected will make Lolo confront all his fears.
Julius Amedume UK / 2010 / 14 minutes / Colour
Mr. Graham is an empathic look at a young man with a dark secret struggling with his inner demons and naturally becoming who his father was.
Scott Graham Scotland / 2010 / 20 minutes / Colour
Set in a border town in rural Scotland, the story follows a troubled farm labourer struggling with loneliness and the need for human contact.
Ruben Prieto Fernandez Spain / 2010 / 11 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles
Every family has problems. However, not all problems are solved the same way because a house is not always a home.
Jakob Rorvik UK / 2009 / 35 minutes / Colour
Lena, a young art student, becomes fascinated with Sol, charismatic stranger she sees at art galleries and parties and begins to follow him taking pictures. A delicate, haunting romance ensues as Sol and Lena gradually expose each other’s dreams, fears and lies.
By Julius Amedume UK / 2009 / 14 minutes / Colour
Lorraine is the new girl at school. Faced by the issues of peer pressure she is lured into the world of a girl gang.
Peter Cattaneo U.K. / 2010 / 11 minutes 47 sec / Colour
Young Chris O’Dowd is taken to meet Santa at the supermarket. Unsettled by stories of Santa coming down the chimney and resentful of always receiving hand-me-down gifts, he pees on Santa’s lap and goes home to set a trap for Santa.
Alex Montoya Spain / 2009 / 13 minutes 30 sec/ Colour Spanish with English subtitles
Marina, a young woman in a little fishing village on Spain’s Cantabrian coast is crying when a middle aged man tries to start a conversation. Marina ignores him until he asks: ‘How much?’ He has mistaken her for a prostitute, but Marina, for unknown reasons, plays along.
Cameron — A Portrait
Lara D Smith Bermuda / 2011 / 18 minutes / Colour
Raising a son is never easy. A moving portrait of a young man searching for a father and/or a father figure.
Belen Gomez Sanz Spain / 2010 / 12 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles Cecelia is turning 30 tomorrow and her five life plans are not yet done. What is she able to do about them in the next 24 hours?
The Story of My Life
Pierre Ferriere France / 2009 / 6 minutes / Colour French with English subtitles Alessandra is walking in the city when she is hailed by a man she doesn’t recognise. Even though he keeps telling her about important moments of her life, his face remains totally unknown to her.
Christopher Frith USA, Bermuda / 2011 / 6 minutes / Colour
A divorced couple argue in the hospital over the circumstances of their daughter’s road collision with a drunk driver. The mother leaves the room to try and get more medical information. Sitting alone with his daughter the father overhears a conversation that forces him to make a serious decision.
My Other Half
Beatriz Sanchis Spain / 2010 / 18 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles Adrian and Andrea have been linked from the very moment they were born. A weird optical deformity makes them see the world in an incomplete but complementary way. They both know of each other’s existence, since they are treated by the same ophthalmologist, Sophie, and have been fantasising since their early days about finding ’their other half’.
Ignacio Blasco Corvinos Spain / 2010 / 17 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles
Jacobo is a good guy, but he is unhappy. Girls blow him off and his godfather is a bastard. He has only one option left to be loved — become one of the bad guys, just like his godfather.
Marina Seresesky Spain / 2010 / 14 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles
Capi is the oldest gravedigger in the cemetery, used to working amidst the suffering of others and the jokes of his colleagues. Marta, who brings flowers to the grave of her husband, is his last hope.
Ainhoa Menendez Spain / 2010 / 11 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles Anna works in a doll factory. Her whole life revolves around performing mechanical motions to put on the dolls’ eyes — but a small change at her work changes her life forever.
Regan Hall UK / 2010 / 14 minutes / Colour Arabic with English subtitles
When militants indiscriminately murder his younger brother, Akram is determined to exact revenge. The true story of one day in Baghdad.
The Order of Things
Cesar & Jose Esteban Alenda Spain / 2010 / 19 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles
Julia’s life takes place in the bath tub. Drop by drop she will gather the courage to change the order of things.
Carlos Montero Castineira Spain / 2010 / 15 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles A gay escort gets way more than he bargains for after knocking on this hotel-room door!
Massimo Cappelli Italy / 2010 / 18 minutes / Colour Italian with English subtitles
A man visiting an art museum is insensitive to the beauty of the works on display. The voice of the audio guide gradually becomes the voice of fate. What is his fate is now?
Michael Mohan USA / 2011 / 9 minutes / Colour
Two former lovers navigate their fizzled relationship by confusing their emotional needs with their physical desires.
Denis Rovira van Boekholt Spain / 2010 / 15 minutes / Colour Spanish with English subtitles A family leaves for an overdue trip, leaving the Old Man behind, alone in their modern home. An everyday, common situation that will end in a complete nightmare.
Mattias Low Sweden / 2010 / 29 minutes / Colour Swedish with English subtitles
Swedish soccer referee Martin Hansson is on a journey towards his big dream: refereeing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Then, one night in Paris, events take a dramatic turn. Filmmaker Mattias Low follows Hansson in the year up to his World Cup bid. What begins as a documentary about the day-to-day life of Sweden’s best referee becomes the story of the man who oversaw one of the biggest botched calls in recent football history: Thierry Henry’s handball.
Mr. Happy Man
Matt Morris USA, Bermuda / 2010 / 11 minutes / Colour
Every morning, rain or shine, Johnny Barnes wakes up at 3am and heads to the Crow Lane roundabout to wave and greet all those who are passing by. Director Matt Morris captures Mr. Barnes in action, and in touching and at times humorous interviews explores why Mr. Barnes has dedicated his life to making Bermuda a happier place.
Dragomir Sholev Bulgaria / 2010 / 88 minutes / Colour Bulgarian with English subtitles While they have been changing TV channels, making pickles or discussing politics, the parents of 12-year-old Rado have missed their son’s growing up. Now they cannot understand why, after disappearing for two days, he isn’t sorry for the nightmare he has caused them and why is he ready to run away from home with the first junkies he has met on the street.
Who Am I?
Klim Shipenko / Russia / 2010 / 98 minutes / Black & White Russian with English subtitles
An intriguing mystery of identity lost and found and based on true events, the story begins at Sevastopol train station when police find a young man without documents, who has lost his memory. The psychiatrist diagnoses this as dissociative amnesia: when a person forgets the facts of his private life but remembers the details of external events. The personal belongings of the young man should be helpful but are startling instead. Meanwhile, a dead man is found and this crime is no less confusing: no documents have been found on this body either. As the police investigation unfolds, is there a connection between these two men?
David Schwimmer USA / 2010 / 104 minutes / Colour
A suburban family is torn apart when fourteen-year- old Annie meets her first boyfriend online. After months of communicating via online chat and phone, Annie discovers her friend is not who he originally claimed to be. Shocked into disbelief, her parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) are shattered by their daughter’s actions and struggle to support her as she comes to terms with what has happened to her once innocent life. Trust is a potent drama that cuts to the core of contemporary family life. Although the subject of online child predators is something audiences have grown familiar with, Trust consistently rises above expectations.
Hassein Keshavarz Iran / 2010 / 90 minutes / Colour Persian with English subtitles
Using the subversive urgency of cinema verité, the lives of six young people unfold in present day Iran. Misunderstood by their families and oppressed by conservative Islamic society, they act out their personal desires behind closed doors. A feminist finds herself in an affair with a married man; new lovers search for a place to be physically intimate; a gay man is faced with an arranged marriage; a female pop singer risks exposure; and a grief-stricken son lashes out at fundamentalists. Nominated for a 2011 Someone to Watch, Independent Spirit Award.
Gabi on the Roof in July
Lawrence Michael Levine USA / 2010 / 99 minutes / Colour
Gabi on the Roof in July is an ensemble comedy about ex- girlfriends, sibling rivalry and whipped cream in a city that’s constantly in flux. Gabi, a rambunctious Oberlin undergrad, heads to New York City to spend the summer with her older brother, Sam, seeking solidarity in the wake of her parents’ divorce. When she gets there, she finds Sam too busy juggling women and too irked by her provocative antics and almost constant nudity to give her the guidance she needs. In an effort to get Sam’s attention, Gabi seduces his free-loving, freeloading college buddy, only to find she’s in over her head.
Richard Ayoade UK / 2010 / 94 minutes / Colour
Submarine is a captivating coming-of-age story with an offbeat edge. Fifteen-year-old Oliver Tate is a consummate anti-hero with two big ambitions: to save his parents’ marriage via a carefully plotted intervention and to lose his virginity before his next birthday. Worried that his mother (Sally Hawkins) is having an affair with the new age neighbour (Paddy Considine), Oliver monitors his parents’ sex life by charting the dimmer switch in their bedroom. He also forges suggestive love letters from Mom to Dad. Adapted from Joe Dunthorne’s acclaimed wry novel and bolstered by aesthetic wit, fabulous performances, and a clever score by Andrew Hewitt (with songs by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys), Submarine evokes the spontaneity and breezy cinematic cool of the French New Wave.
Robin Hessman Russia / 2010 / 87 minutes / Colour Russian with English subtitles
My Perestroika is a documentary that adopts the idea of the ‘everyman story’, suggesting that the unheralded lives of the last generation of Soviets to grow up behind the Iron Curtain hold the key to understanding the contradictions of modern Russia. Crafted during five years of researching and shooting, and based on almost a decade of living in Russia in the 1990s, Robin Hessman’s film poetically interweaves an extraordinary trove of home movies, Soviet propaganda films, and intimate access to five schoolmates whose linked, but very different, histories offer a moving portrait of newly middle-class Russians living lives they could never have imagined when they were growing up.
Katherine Cecil USA / 2010 / 59 minutes / Colour
Race is a cautionary tale about how not to go about rebuilding a city post-disaster and challenges the mythology of post-racialism in the age of President Obama. But then Katrina hit. Against the backdrop of a devastated city, a largely displaced citizenry, and an increasingly divided community, this documentary charts the unlikely 2006 re-election of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin by a completely different electorate than had first put him in office. Race tracks what happened and why during a pivotal political moment for a city in crisis.
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion USA / 2010 / 84 minutes / Colour
Joshua Milton Blahyi is a brutal warlord who has reinvented himself as a Christian evangelist. Dubbed ‘General Butt Naked’ for fighting with nothing more than an AK-47 and a pair of leather shoes, Blahyi believed he possessed supernatural powers that made him impervious to bullets. The General and his army of child soldiers are said to have killed thousands during Liberia’s horrific 14-year civil war. Following a dramatic conversion to Christianity, the General abruptly laid down his weapons in 1996, leaving the war at the height of his power. Today, the General has renounced his violent past and reinvented himself as evangelist Joshua Milton Blahyi. In a riveting portrait that unfolds over the course of five years, the film follows Joshua’s crusade to redeem his past.
Violeta Ayala & Dan Fallshaw Australia / 2009 / 77 minutes / Colour English, Spanish, and Hassaniya with English subtitles
Filmmakers Ayala and Fallshaw follow Fetim Sellami, a Saharawi refugee, to Western Sahara for a reunion with her mother. Mother and child were separated when Sellami was a toddler. But the UN-sponsored reunion reveals a secret which spirals the film into a dark world the filmmakers could never have imagined. The black Saharawis start talking about a forbidden subject — their enslavement. The filmmakers recount moments of terror when their lives were in danger as well as the extreme hardships in getting the footage across borders. Stolen is a compelling, modern-day, real-life cloak-and-dagger thriller.
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone
Chris Metzler and Lev Anderson USA / 2010 / 107 minutes / Colour
Everyday Sunshine is a documentary about the band Fishbone, musical pioneers who have been rocking on the margins of pop culture for the past 25 years. From the streets of South Central Los Angeles and the competitive Hollywood music scene of the 1980s, the band rose to prominence, only to fall apart when on the verge of ‘making it’. Laurence Fishburne narrates this entertaining journey into the personal lives of a unique black rock band in their quest to reclaim their musical legacy while debunking the myths of young urban black men.
An African Election
Jarreth Merz Ghana / 2010 / 89 minutes / Colour English and Akan with English subtitles
The 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa, serve as a backdrop for this feature documentary that looks behind the scenes at the complex political machinery of a third world democracy struggling to legitimise itself. Director Jarreth Merz follows the key players for almost three months to provide an unprecedented insider’s view of the political, economic and social forces at work in Ghana. He builds suspense by taking the viewer down the back roads of the nation to capture each unexpected twist and turn in a contest that is always exciting and never predictable.