Petra Costa examines Brazil’s recent political history, focusing on the careers of Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, in “a mournful but clear-eyed look at one of the many governments on the planet currently either going to or simmering in hell” (Variety).
An introverted hotel housekeeper finds herself drawn into the lives of her coworkers and guests in this poignant drama, “a quiet movie [that] never loses its focus on its central character study, while allowing points about economic and social inequalities to sound out loud and clear” (Eye for Film).
A driver for hire for the Serbian government finds himself in unexpected territory—both physical and ethical—in this tense drama about moral responsibility in times of conflict. “An exceptional war film that never once shows the atrocities of war” (Cinema Scope).
A beach holiday turns into a wry romantic roundelay as an Argentinian couple and their kids are taken under the wing of a Brazilian man who offers to rent them his family’s home. At Karlovy Vary, the film won the FIPRESCI Prize, a Special Jury Prize, and the Best Actress Award for Mercedes Morán.
This year’s Mel Novikoff Award program features a conversation with Anthony Wall, series editor and executive producer of the BBC series Arena, and a screening of the Arena film Wisconsin Death Trip, “a litany of nearly exultant disasters that may embrace all of America” (David Thomson).
Legendary author Toni Morrison tells her own story in this “eloquent nonfiction biopic that travels creatively through the past . . . enlivened both by its own storytelling dexterity and by the participation of its subject, who at eighty-eight years old remains as warm, vibrant, and insightful as ever” (Variety).
This visually stunning portrait of a beekeeper in the mountains of Macedonia was a buzzworthy hit at Sundance, where it won three awards, including the World Cinema Documentary Grand Prize.
Witness environmental artist Christo at work on a project in Italy. “The artist’s forceful character does battle with technology, bureaucracy, corruption, and the elements, resulting in an installation of stunning beauty and a documentary that delights in capturing the act of creation” (Variety).
When the Taliban forced Hassan Fazili and his family to flee Afghanistan, they began filming their experiences on the road. The resulting documentary—shot entirely on cell phones—is an immersion in the refugee crisis and a portrait of one family’s struggle to regain control of their lives.
The travails of a duty-bound husband and father who works in an economically struggling print shop are conveyed with humor and pathos in this beautifully performed film, winner of Best Film at the Istanbul Film Festival.
Three Tehran residents, unlucky in love, make attempts to change their solo status in this wistful and poignant film that also provides a pointed take on contemporary Iranian society.
Set in 1950 Estonia as the Soviets attempt to suppress a fledgling resistance movement, this debut film achieves a deft balance of humor, tension, and empathy in depicting the perils of authoritarianism from a young girl’s point of view.
Depicting Berlin’s decommissioned Tempelhof Airport—once a showplace of Nazi grandeur, now used as a refugee center—Karim Aïnouz evokes both a distinctive space and the lives of the people within it. Winner of the Amnesty International Film Prize at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival.
This noirish drama from Benjamín Naishtat (History of Fear) follows a morally compromised lawyer in 1975 Argentina. “The complacency and corruption of pre-coup Argentina is laid bare in chilling, absurd style” (Variety).
This chilling and complex documentary explores the lasting consequences of China’s one-child policy, which ended in 2015. “Balancing its investigative interests with its emotional outrage, the expansive story offers a nonetheless concise picture of this ‘population war’” (RogerEbert.com).
Unearthing buried treasures from the Afghan Film Archive, this astute, entertaining, and illuminating documentary reveals a part of Afghan cinema history through the lens of the country’s complicated political history.
Stranded overnight in a remote Korean temple town, a middle-aged couple are cast adrift with strangers in a mysterious, evocatively rendered environment. “A bittersweet rumination on love, marriage, and midlife disillusionment” (Hollywood Reporter).
As journalism comes under attack with cries of “fake news,” this documentary about the fierce and fearless writer and social commentator Molly Ivins reminds us how wit and well-channeled vitriol can speak truth to power.
A tantalizing textile overload, experimental animator Jodie Mack’s feature debut vibrates with color, texture, and sound. With short Accidence, by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, and Galen Johnson.
This tale of a young Wayuú woman who dreams of a reunion with her deceased cousin is an eerie, dreamlike, and beautifully framed examination of tradition, ritual, and superstition.
What if the apocalypse happens not with a bang but with a whimper? And what if the only survivor had no affinity for life in the first place? These are some of the questions explored with droll humor in this tale of a man who awakens to find that everyone around him has vanished.
A mild-mannered vet is caught between a group of animal rights protesters and the proprietors of the dog-training farm where he works in this complex naturalistic drama, “a parable about the fragility of human empathy under pressure” (Screen Daily).
From the director of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, this profile of the great Miles Davis is “a tantalizing portrait: rich, probing, mournful, romantic, triumphant, tragic, exhilarating, and blisteringly honest” (Variety).
The deep-seated effects of decades of conflict in Afghanistan are memorably revealed through the lives of three Kabul residents in this mesmerizing observational documentary. Winner, Special Jury Award, IDFA.
Festival favorite Stanley Kwan’s latest features Cantopop queen Sammi Cheng and Gigi Leung as actresses vying for the spotlight. “Diva-licious. . . . Kwan has crafted a movie that’s nearly Almodóvarian in the appreciation and respect it showers upon ladies of all classes” (Variety).