The Best of World Cinema

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Viva La Libertà

Language: Italian

Director: Roberto Andò

Cast: Toni Servillo, Valerio Mastandrea, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Michela Cescon. Il

Synopsis: Viva La Libertà takes a dig at Italy’s political system. The film, released just a week before the election, begins when the leader of Italy’s opposition party drops out of sight and is replaced by his bipolar identical twin, fresh from the madhouse. Anchored by Toni Servillo’s usual consummate performance(s), this winking critique of Italian politics offers several pleasurable digs at the establishment, though its staid craftsmanship and general lack of vitriol don’t provide the bite most politically-inclined auds will expect.

Night Train to Lisbon

Language: German and Portuguese

Director: Bille August

Cast: Jeremy Irons, Mélanie Laurent, Jack Huston

Synopsis: Night Train to Lisbon is about Raimund, a Latin teacher and an ancient languages expert. We see how his life changes when he saves a young woman on a bridge in the Swiss city of Bern, from jumping to her death. The woman disappears, but she leaves her coat behind. Raimund finds inside the coat a book by a Portuguese doctor, which contains a train ticket. He then sets off on a journey to Lisbon. While looking for the author, Raimund revisits a dark chapter in the country’s history and unveils a tragic love triangle.

Venus in Fur

Language: French

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric

Synopsis: The film is based on the eponymous American play. The play itself was based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel Venus in Furs.  Venus in Fur is about a playwright Thomas. Thomas mourns the poor performances of the actresses who auditioned for his play. Once he has given up and is about to leave the theatre, a woman who claims to be actress Vanda arrives and convinces him to let her read for the part. Thomas’s surprised how Vanda is sensitive to the character and knows every line by heart. As the audition progresses, the intensity is doubled and the attraction Thomas feels for Vanda turns into obsession.

La Grande Bellezza

Language: Italian

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Cast: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso,

Synopsis: The film is about an elderly socialite, Jep Gambardella. He used to be a famous novelist in his twenties. Now, he only happens to write cultural columns and throw parties in Rome. After his 65th birthday party, he takes a walk through the ruins and city streets, and reflects upon his life, his first love and sense of unfulfillment. So will he be able to get back to his writing?

Vis À Vis

Language: Croatian

Director: Nevio Marasovic

Cast: Rakan Rushaidat, Janko Volaric Popovic, Kresimir Mikic

Synopsis: It centers on a film director and his lead actor trying to bond on an isolated island in winter.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Language: French

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux

Synopsis: It is romantic story about a lesbian couple Adèle and Emma. The film is an adaptation of a graphic novel by Julie Maroh. The emotions are intense, cataclysmic and unforgettable.

The Golden Cage

Language: Spanish

Director: Diego Quemada-Diez

Cast: Karen Martínez, Brandon Lopez, Rodolfo Dominguez

Synopsis: The film is about three Guatemalan teenagers and their attempts to cross the Mexico-US border. The name of the film has been taken from the Mexican ballad, Jaula de Oro, which is about the despair of Mexicans who have actually made it to the US.

Paradise: Hope

Language: Austrian

Director: Ulrich Seidl

Cast: Melanie Lenz, Joseph Lorenz, Michael Thomas, Vivian Bartsch, Johanna Schmid

Synopsis: This is the final film in Seidl’s Paradise trilogy. The film is about Hope – Melanie, the 13-year-old daughter of the first film’s protagonist and niece of the second film’s subject.

Borgman

Language: Dutch

Director: Alex van Warmerdam

Cast: Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe

Synopsis: It narrates the tale of Borgman. Her arrival in the tree-lined avenues of an exclusive residential area marks the beginning of a series of bizarre events centred around a wealthy couple, their three children and their nanny.

Child’s Pose

Language: Romanian

Director: Călin Peter Netzer

Cast: Vlad Ivanov

Synopsis: It is about a 60-year-old woman Cornelia and her 34-year-old son, Barbu. Barbu tries to lead an independent life. However, he lands up in trouble and is saved by his mother. From then on  Cornelia expects Barbu to once again become the dependent child he was before. A still traumatized Barbu just does that. The film explores this grey area between motherly love and self-serving manipulation.

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