Film Programs

Contemporary World Cinema

3 Faces
Iran 2018 100 min.

When actress Behnaz Jafari receives a video of a teenage girl begging for her help before appearing to commit suicide, she and director Jafar Panahi (both playing themselves) embark on a road trip across Iran in hopes of locating the girl unharmed. The result: an enchanting meditation on freedom.

Iran 2018 106 min.

Amir’s adult sister is determined to to break away from their parents, who are desperate to keep her home. His friend’s ex-wife is threatening to leave with their son. And somehow, Amir has become embroiled in both conflicts. But he faces his own problems in this slice-of-life drama from Iran.

The Angel
Argentina 2018 119 min.

As unabashedly stylish as its subject purportedly was, this dramatization of the life and crimes of Argentinian robber and serial killer Carlos Robledo Puch (who remains in prison today) examines the perverse sway beauty can hold over our sense of morality. Pedro Almodóvar co-produced.

Another Day of Life
Poland 2018 85 min.

Mixing documentary footage and animation to startling effect, this account of late Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski’s days on the front lines of the Angolan civil war in the 1970s is as enlightening with respect to a conflict few Americans today understand as it is heart-poundingly engrossing.

The Ark of Disperata
Italy 2017 110 min.

A crumbling village in southern Italy sets the stage for bumbling redemption in this comedy about a woebegone, poetry-loving mayor seeking to revitalize his community with the unlikely help of two would-be mobsters. Waking Ned Devine meets We Bought a Zoo.

As Needed
Italy 2018 92 min.

This feel-good foodie flick from Italy sustains to the last bite. A kitchen maestro with a bad-boy past emerges from prison hoping to resume his career—but first he must complete his community service by chaperoning a cook with Asperger’s en route to the finals of a top competition.

Ash Is Purest White
China 2018 136 min.

Qiao is in love with Bin, a local mobster. During a fight between rival gangs, she fires a gun to protect him, which earns her five years in prison. Upon her release, she goes looking for Bin to pick up where they left off in this provocative tale of love in a rapidly changing China.

At War
France 2018 113 min.

Despite record profits on the backs of their already-struggling labor pool, the managers of Perrin Industries plan to shut down a French factory that employs 1,100. This fiery portrayal of workers on strike puts viewers in the thick of the battle between the little guy and the powers that be.

Aurora Borealis
Hungary 2017 105 min.

In this thought-provoking drama from Hungary, Mária hovers between life and death when her daughter Olga discovers that her mother has a secret—a secret that takes them all the way back to the war. And we discover that—for families and nations alike—the future depends on our reckoning with the past.

Back Home
Poland 2018 106 min.

20-year-old Urszula has managed to escape from her pimp and return, beaten and bruised, to her home. But everyone in her conservative community—including her parents, siblings, and priest—seem determined to punish her sins both real and imagined in this grim study of a pious Polish town.

Becoming Astrid
Sweden 2018 123 min.

This charming biopic acquaints viewers with Swedish author Astrid Ericsson as a young adult—before she became Astrid Lindgren and created the flame-haired, supernaturally strong, and internationally beloved children's-book character Pippi Longstocking.

Bet on Revenge
Hungary 2017 122 min.

Which is sweeter—love or revenge? That’s the rub in this ripping Hungarian period drama about a dashing rake named Erno whose nemesis—a baron who killed Erno’s father and usurped the family estate—is now his rival in a horse race. But will humiliating his foe mean losing the baron’s daughter?

Birds of Passage
Colombia 2018 125 min.

This epic follow-up to Embrace of the Serpent (DFF38) depicts the origins of the Colombian drug trade. When an indigenous family begins selling marijuana to Americans in the 1970s, greed and passion collide and a fratricidal war breaks out, risking ancestral ways of life, and actual lives.

Blossom Valley
Hungary 2018 83 min.

In this audacious, genre-bending road movie from Hungary, bored 20-year-old Bianka decides to steal a baby. Now she only needs a getaway plan and a willing father figure—whom she finds in Laci, a mentally disabled but gentle soul who’s determined to protect his newfound family on the run.

Budapest Noir
Hungary 2017 95 min.

The title says it all in this crime story from Hungary set in 1936, replete with dead ingenues, dead politicans, nefarious politicians, and a cynical reporter forced to navigate the seedy underbelly of the city to find out who’s standing between him and the truth—and why.

The Butler
Poland 2018 150 min.

In this romantic epic from Polish director Filip Bajon, the shifting fortunes and steadfast passions of the von Krauss family unfold against a backdrop of world wars spanning five decades.

Turkey 2018 117 min.

From the chrysalis of a wacky road comedy emerges a butterfly of a family drama—beautifully fragile and strange—as three siblings return to the dusty Turkish village of their youth to reunite with a father they haven’t seen in decades. (These days their family nest contains some rare chickens.)

Lebanon 2018 123 min.

After struggling to survive on the streets of Beirut, 12-year-old Zain sues his parents for giving birth to him in this blistering drama from Nadine Labaki (Caramel, DFF30), which explores poverty, abuse, and abandonment through the eyes of a distinctly un-childlike child.

The Charmer
Denmark 2017 101 min.

A dashing Iranian man proves willing to use all the tools at his disposal to secure permanent residence in Denmark. As his visa nears expiration, he desperately searches for a Danish wife in this intense and chilling drama.

Daughter of Mine
Italy 2018 97 min.

In this study of a familial rather than romantic love triangle set on the Italian island of Sardinia, 10-year-old Vittoria falls under the thrall of a charismatic but troubled young woman to whom she bears a striking resemblance—far more than she does to the mother who has so lovingly raised her.

Dead Pigs
China 2018 131 min.

Pork is the unifying force in modern China—at least according to this now-dark, now-off-the-wall comedy from writer/director Cathy Yan, in which five characters (including a rural pig farmer and a dubious American developer) collide in a contemporary Shanghai showdown.

France 2017 90 min.

In this sharp-fanged French/Belgian tragicomedy, Jacques is stripped of everything: his job, his family, his home, and his new pet. Having already paid for training sessions and at a loss for answers, he decides to attend them himself—as the dog. You can’t help but sympathize as you squirm.

Italy 2018 102 min.

In this dark crime drama from Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, DFF31), gentle pet groomer and petty criminal Marcello has the wide, wet eyes of a spaniel, and like a dog, he’s eager for everyone to love him—from his teenage daughter to the local thug Simone. But how far will he go to keep the peace?

An Elephant Sitting Still
China 2018 230 min.

Three troubled souls in a small Chinese town are united by the rumor of a nihilistic circus elephant in a city not far away. Over the course of a single day, they seek to escape their woes by making a pilgrimage to see their existential hero in this crushing indictment of contemporary society.

Italy 2017 115 min.

In this bittersweet Italian romance, ad man Teo is a womanizing workaholic who has zero intention of getting serious with Emma, the blind divorcée he’s nevertheless seducing. But the road to true love and heartbreak alike is paved with zero intentions.

Eternal Winter
Hungary 2018 110 min.

In this Hungarian retelling of a true story, the lives of the prisoners in a 1940s Soviet labor camp have been reduced to coal mining and trying not to freeze to death, if only for the sake of their families. Admittedly, anguished Irén is finding warmth in a fellow internee’s arms for her own sake.

Italy 2018 115 min.

Two brothers—one a flashy, drug-fueled marketing hot shot, the other a humble schoolteacher—come to terms with illness, death and one another amid the timeless splendor of Rome in director Valeria Golino’s moving and often funny family drama.

The Fireflies Are Gone
Canada 2018 96 min.

In this sweet coming-of-age story from Quebec, Léo defiantly refuses to think about her future—or at least to talk to the adults in her life about it. Between her prickly mother and mythic yet absent father, the only bright spot in her life is Steve—her underachieving, reclusive guitar teacher.

Hungary 2018 120 min.

Inhumanity on the one hand, redemption on the other: That’s what’s at stake in this visually stunning Hungarian drama about the young Roma victim of a hate crime as well as the lawyer and the girlfriend of one of the suspects—both of whom have their own tragedies to contend with.

The Image Book
Switzerland 2018 84 min.

Living film legend Jean-Luc Godard celebrates and deconstructs the moving image—in every sense of the phrase—with this montage of found footage, which he alternately manipulates and comments on both as such and as it relates to the real world, plumbing the paradoxical depths of surfaces.

In the Aisles
Germany 2018 125 min.

In the Aisles unfolds as both a poignant romance and a deft sketch of modern-day, working-class Germany, where shy loner Christian yearns for the affection of the lovely but married Marion against the less-than-seductive backdrop of the warehouse supermarket in which they work.

The Invisibles
Germany 2017 110 min.

In 1943, Goebbels infamously declared Berlin “free of Jews.” He was off by about 1,700. This riveting docudrama weaves together the stories of four real-life survivors whose young lives depended on the paradox of hiding in plain sight—from posing as Aryans to joining the resistance.

Jan Palach
Czech Republic 2018 124 min.

On January 16, 1969, in Prague’s Wenceslas Square, student activist Jan Palach set himself on fire to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. This trenchant biopic covers the months of tumult leading up to his final, revolutionary cri de coeur.

Russia 2018 90 min.

Due to a rare illness, abandoned child Denis is immune to physical pain—even the torments his fellow orphans inflict—until, that is, his mother turns up to “save” him from his plight. It’s out of the frying pan, into the fire in this tense drama from rising Russian talent Ivan Tverdovsky.

Jupiter's Moon
Hungary 2017 129 min.

When refugee Aryan is gravely injured in an attempt to flee his homeland, he inexplicably rises into the air, escaping the bloody chaos below to become an object of exploitation—and renewed faith—in this metaphysical Hungarian thriller.

Russia 2018 126 min.

This loose biopic of two Soviet rockers—Zoopark’s Mike Naumenko and Kino’s Viktor Tsoi—is a moody black-and-white meditation on the Leningrad music scene in the early 1980s, whose rebels struggled to channel the mutinous spirit of Western punk under an acutely repressive system.

Brazil 2018 97 min.

A mother’s love knows no bounds—and neither does her anxiety—in this heartfelt and humorous family drama about the oldest son of a close-knit but sometimes chaotic Brazilian family leaving the nest for opportunities overseas.

Naples in Veils
Italy 2017 113 min.

After her lover is murdered, Adriana starts to see him everywhere among the living—and this thriller, like the decadent and mysterious streets of Naples in which it’s set, begins to take unexpected turns. As the police investigation advances, Adriana’s own secrets can no longer be ignored.

Number 37
South Africa 2018 110 min.

Randall has got it rough in this South African thriller inspired by Rear Window: The recently crippled small-time criminal is confined to a wheelchair in his Cape Town apartment, and the violent loan shark he owes knows it. A pair of binoculars may prove to be his salvation—or his undoing.

Oh! What A Lovely War
United Kingdom 1969 144 min.

Richard Attenborough’s 1969 screen adaptation of playwright Charles Chilton’s 1963 World War I musical satire stars a who’s who of British thespians, including Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Susannah York, and Dirk Bogarde.

Old Boys
United Kingdom 2017 96 min.

Cyrano de Bergerac goes to British boarding school in this charming update of the classic French comedy set in the 1980s, starring The End of the F***cking World’s Alex Lawther as an egghead who’s helping the handsome but dim-bulbed school hero to pursue a beautiful girl. Or is he?

One Day
Hungary 2018 99 min.

Anna spends her time working, ferrying her kids around, and suspecting her husband of having an affair. There’s also a broken sink pipe and that letter from the mortgage company… This unrelenting, blisteringly realistic drama from Hungary spans 36 hours in a day of her life.

Panic Attack
Poland 2017 100 min.

A woman encounters two exes in one night, a couple gets the worst seats on an airplane, a bride gives birth at her own wedding, and a teenager gets stoned for the first time in this Polish social satire disguised as a darkly humorous, multipart character study.

Iran 2018 107 min.

Who’s Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? becomes Who’s Killing the Great Directors of Iran? in this outré comedy about a filmmaker beset, in his view, by treachery: His leading lady has strayed, his family’s patience with him has worn thin, and—worst of all—he hasn’t been murdered.

Greece 2018 99 min.

The protagonist of this black-as-tar comedy from Greece is a man who feels happy only when he is unhappy—a man with a need for pity so bottomless that he’s willing to do anything to elicit it from others. Such is the absurd life of the Lawyer, for whom the world is not quite cruel enough.

The Place
Italy 2017 105 min.

A nameless man sits in a diner each day, accepting visitors whose dreams he can make come true. To each, he assigns a task; upon its completion, he’ll grant their wishes. But to what lengths are they prepared to go? That’s the existential question at the heart of this Italian drama.

Kenya 2018 83 min.

Teenage girls Kena and Ziki long for something more than marriage and motherhood; their ambition and independence unites them as they navigate conservative Kenyan society. But when their friendship blossoms into love, they know they will have to make hard choices in this moving coming-of-age drama.

Brazil 2018 100 min.

The budding relationship of teenagers Tati and Renet is derailed when a video of Tati having sex with her ex-boyfriend is leaked to their classmates. The consequences are dire in this wrenching Brazilian disquisition on coming of age in the digital era.

The Saint Bernard Syndicate
Denmark 2018 100 min.

In this fresh Danish comedy, director Mads Brügger delivers cinematic riches to everyone but his protagonists—two bumbling entrepreneurs who aim to bring “canine capitalism” to China by building Saint Bernard breeding centers in Chongqing. They expect great fortune; their cookies say otherwise.

India 2018 96 min.

Widowed domestic worker Ratna inhabits a tiny room in her employer’s home in Mumbai. Despite her growing—and mutual—attraction to heir Ashwin, both know the barriers between them are insurmountable in this tale of forbidden romance from India.

France 2018 80 min.

Premarital sex is a crime in Morocco. Sofia, 20, has committed it. When, after nine months of pregnancy denial, she gives birth, she’s forced to reckon with a patriarchal system that protects the semblance of honor over the real thing—and reckon with it she does in this sociorealist drama.

Sorry Angel
France 2018 132 min.

Jacques is trying to maintain his sense of humor despite the turmoil that surrounds him. Enter Arthur, a much younger man eager to escape his provincial life, who becomes smitten with him in this poignant snapshot of intergenerational cruising, courtship, and courage in 1993 Paris.

Germany 2018 94 min.

Rike needs a vacation. So the big-city paramedic sets out for Ascension Island on her yacht—only to hit a storm that lands her at the watery doorstep of a sinking refugee boat. In this timely, seat-gripping drama, she must help where the powers that be—the coast guard and Mother Nature alike—won’t.

Swimming With Men
United Kingdom 2018 103 min.

In this heartfelt dramatic comedy based on a true story, bored and possibly cuckolded accountant Eric (Rob Brydon, The Trip) is circling the drain of life—until, that is, he’s thrown a most-unexpected rope in the form of a synchronized swimming team for middle-aged males.

There Is No Place Like Home
Italy 2018 105 min.

In this stormy Italian drama, what begins as a polite family reunion on the island of Ischia quickly becomes tense and then explosive as rough seas trap the guests under a single roof for the duration of the storm.

The Third Wife
Vietnam 2018 96 min.

May is just a child when she’s married to a wealthy man in this quiet, sensual, and beautiful drama set in 19th-century Vietnam. As her husband’s first two wives welcome her with open arms, she soon discovers the ties—and troubles—that bind women when their fertility determines their fortunes.

The Whiskey Bandit
Hungary 2017 126 min.

Take a wild ride with the antihero of this thriller, based on a true story, about Attila Ambrus—a pro hockey player in Budapest who lived a double life as “the Robin Hood of the Eastern Bloc,” holding up some 29 banks in six years and garnering the adoration of the Hungarian public in the process.

The Wild Pear Tree
Turkey 2018 188 min.

Returning home after college, a young man seeks to reconnect with his family and friends in this extended meditation of the inevitability of compromise and the shifting perspectives of age, Turkey’s selection for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Oscars.

Woman At War
Iceland 2018 100 min.

Complete with a Greek chorus of sorts, Icelandic filmmaker Benedikt Erlingsson’s supremely quirky follow-up to the acclaimed Of Horses and Men (DFF37) centers on an eco-saboteur whose mission to thwart the building of a new metal refinery is vexed by another quest: to become a mother.

Woman's Name
Italy 2018 98 min.

Single mother Nina is grateful to have secured a job at a local nursing home—until, that is, she becomes the victim of both her supervisor’s sexual advances and the resolute complicity of her co-workers, priest, and boyfriend in this intense and timely Italian drama.

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