Film, Foreign

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Yuma

4 Sep 20123 stars

Scarface-style story set in the dying days of communist Poland

Zyga (Jakub Gierszal) is a Polish teenager, yearning to establish himself in the adult world while his country breaks free from communism in the late 1980s. He finds his opportunity in the practise of ‘yuma’ – shoplifting from West German stores and…

About Elly

3 Sep 20124 stars

A rigorous, deeply felt drama from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi

Much admired at its Berlin premiere back in 2009, this elegant, edgy and touching Iranian drama has finally been granted a UK cinema release, presumably thanks to its gifted director's worldwide statuette sweep for 2011's peerless A Separation. While…

[REC]³ Génesis

28 Aug 20123 stars

Dark laughs and outrageous violence feature in the third film in the [REC] series

Where the first two [REC] films relied on claustrophobic tension and shaky camera to impress, the third film goes for a more conventional format that's backed by dark laughs and in-your-face violence. Directed with over the top relish by Paco Plaza…

Circumstance

28 Aug 20123 stars

A timely and worthwhile Iranian film somewhat let down by 2D storytelling

Developed with the help of the Sundance programme, writer/director Maryam Keshavarz’s debut feature exemplifies the strengths and weaknesses of recent Iranian cinema. A romance between two well-heeled young women set against an oppressive backdrop of…

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

19 Aug 20124 stars

Provocative drama from the French Ken Loach, Robert Guédiguian

Not to be confused with the 1952 Hollywood film of the same name, this is the latest slice of social realism from France’s answer to Ken Loach, Robert Guédiguian. Guédiguian’s The Snows of Kilimanjiro takes it name from the 1966 sugary French pop hit…

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The Forgiveness of Blood

8 Aug 20124 stars

Compelling Albanian drama from the director of Maria Full of Grace

Los Angelino filmmaker Joshua Marston repeats the success of his first film, the award-winning Maria Full of Grace, with a second compelling foreign language drama that unfolds beyond the borders of the First World. Marston’s follow-up to Maria, which…

Profile: Magnus Martens, director of Jackpot

6 Aug 2012

The Norwegian director on the comedy and violence in his Jo Nesbo adaptation

Born 1973, Stord, Norway Background Oslo-based writer and director Martens has worked in film and television for over a decade, notably on 2003’s football–based United. He was writing his own crime comedy screenplay when he was offered the chance…

Jackpot

1 Aug 20124 stars

Second Jo Nesbo adaptation once again gleefully mixes comedy and gory violence

The Jo Nesbo phenomenon shifted from publishing to cinema with the unexpected box-office and critical success of this year’s art-crime drama Headhunters. Following quickly on its heels, director Magnus Martens has adapted an original story by Nesbo to…

In Your Hands

17 Jul 20124 stars

Kristin Scott Thomas and Pio Marmaï star in this claustrophobic French drama

Virtually a two-hander, and physically confined enough that it might have been written for the stage, this film is a risky proposition even before the plot asks you to believe that a woman might find more than just sympathy for her violent kidnapper.

King of Devil's Island

17 Jul 20123 stars

Slow-burning but satisfying prison drama starring Stellan Skarsgård

There is a steely Dickensian sweep to King Of Devil’s Island, a grimly compelling dramatisation of true events from 1915. The notorious correctional facility for ‘maladjusted’ boys on Bastoy Island belongs to the pages of Oliver Twist. The desolate…

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The Fairy

17 Jul 20123 stars

A knowing yet innocent absurdist love story from Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy

Directed by the Belgian-based mime artist trio Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy (the people behind 2008’s Rumba), this whimsical, Tati-esque fairytale plays like a live-action cartoon, albeit one filled with gawkily acrobatic human actors.

Nostalgia for the Light

17 Jul 20124 stars

Docu-drama focusing on the astrologers and Pinochet refugees occupying the Atacama desert

Still best known for the monumental 70s work The Battle of Chile, Patricio Guzman returns to the subject of his masterpiece. As the earlier film concentrated on the government of Allende and the Pinochet coup, so here Guzman goes to the Atacama desert…

The Players

11 Jul 20123 stars

Perky French comedy drama that brings together a series of short films about male infidelity

This perky French portmanteau sees Gilles Lellouche (Point Blank) and recent Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) tackle the subject of male infidelity, as they assume a variety of predatory and buffoonish guises. The Players brings together short…

Demain?

9 Jul 20124 stars

Elegiac story of the passionate life of Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini

Based not so much on the life of Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini so much as the moments where she faces crises of indecision, Christine Laurent’s fine film focuses almost exclusively on the emotions. Delmira (Laure de Clermont-Tonerre) is a woman who…

The Women on the 6th Floor

9 Jul 20123 stars

Light and frothy upstairs/downstairs French comedy

Several stalwarts of European cinema retread familiar territory in this light-as-a-feather upstairs/downstairs comedy set in 1960s Paris. The story exists in that broad and cartoonish realm that seems to be the exclusive domain of middle class French…

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Sleepless Night

9 Jul 20124 stars

Accomplished South Korean drama about a young, married couple

A minor but nuanced account of a couple moving forward in their lives. Two years into their marriage, struggling to get by financially, with the wife a yoga/pilates teacher and the husband working long hours in a factory and expected to do overtime for…

Niño

26 Jun 20124 stars

Idiosyncratic Philippine drama about an aristocratic family in decline

This portrait of an aristocratic Philippine family in decline combines the weighty thematic concerns of Chekhov with the heightened melodramatic performance style of daytime television soap operas. When Gaspar, the elderly family patriarch and former…

Gaspar Noe on 7 Days in Havana - interview

25 Jun 2012

The French provocateur is one of seven directors contributing to the film

One of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, 7 Days In Havana, is an anthology movie set around the Cuban capital, inspired by the likes of Paris je t’aime and New York, I Love You. As the title suggests, seven filmmakers…

Philippine New Wave: This is Not A Film Movement

22 Jun 20123 stars

An illustrated oral history of the vibrant Philippine independent filmmaking scene

If you’re looking for an introduction to the largest – and, arguably, the most exciting – of the several new sections introduced into the EIFF programme this year by debuting artistic director Chris Fujiwara, you could do no worse than take check out…

Fukushima: Memories of the Lost Landscape

22 Jun 20124 stars

Empathetic and beautiful documentary about those living in the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 tsunami

Opening with terrifying footage recorded in the filmmaker’s own flat during the 2011 Japanese tsunami, this thoughtful, softly empathetic film then tours the damaged lands around the Fukushima nuclear plant. Along the way it documents stoicism…

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Philippine New Wave

21 Jun 2012

A closer look at the spirited, ambitious and brilliantly diverse films emerging from the Philippines

The largest of several new sections introduced into the EIFF programme this year by new artistic director Chris Fujiwara, Philippine New Wave also looks like being by far the most exciting. Aside from their country of origin, what the 11 features (and…

Rent-a-Cat

21 Jun 20123 stars

Charming but occasionally repetitive comedy from Japan

Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa) has a knack for attracting cats. She has so many around her house that she starts renting them out to lonely fellow citizens in need of a little companionship. What nobody knows about Sayoko (except for her exceptionally blunt…

Mondomanila, or: How I Fixed My Hair After A Rather Long Journey

21 Jun 20124 stars

Wild and extreme pseudo-documentary about the Filipino capital’s underclass

Khavn De La Cruz’s Mondomanila, or: How I Fixed My Hair After A Rather Long Journey has got to be a contender for the wildest film of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. Based on the Norman Wilwayco’s cult novel, Mondomanila is, as its…

Silent Souls

14 Jun 20124 stars

A beautiful, beguiling, dreamy and mystifying drama from director Aleksei Fedorchenko

Following the death of the beloved wife of his friend Miron, Aist joins the bereaved man on a trip to transport the dead woman from their small town to the shore of Lake Nero in western Russia, where her body is to be cremated. This, along with several…

Where Do We Go Now?

14 Jun 20124 stars

A mix of drama, comedy and musical numbers from Lebanese auteur Nadine Labaki

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s debut Caramel was an excellent slice-of-life comedy that offered a human and humorous perspective on contemporary life in Beirut. For her second film she takes ambitious leaps on all fronts, mixing intense drama, broad…