Film, Foreign

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Rust and Bone

3 Oct 20124 stars

Thought-provoking drama from the director of A Prophet, starring Marion Cotillard

Expectations are high when it comes to a new Jacques Audiard film, for the simple reason that on the building evidence of his last three films Read My Lips, The Beat That My Heart Skipped and A Prophet, he might be the best writer/director currently…

Thaandavam

2 Oct 20122 stars

Overlong masala movie starring Vikram, Amy Jackson and Santhanam

Kenny Thomas (Tamil superstar Vikram) is a blind man leading a double existence: by day he plays the organ at a rural Kentish church; by night he uses echolocation to assassinate targets in London. His life becomes more complicated with the intrusion of…

You Are God

1 Oct 20122 stars

Bleak Polish drama about hip hop group Paktofonika

You Are God follows the career trajectory of Magik, Fokus and Rahim, aka Polish hip hop group Paktofonika. Trudging through their various dead-end existences in the bleak region of Silesia, the trio banded together to create something representative of…

Call Me Kuchu

18 Sep 20124 stars

Insightful documentary about the struggle for gay rights in Uganda

Call Me Kuchu is an even-handed documentary tackling the topic of gay rights in Africa. Taking its title from a slang word used with pride to describe the country’s LGBT community, Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worral’s film explores…

Untouchable

6 Sep 20123 stars

French box office hit about an unlikely relationship between a man and his carer

A colossal hit in its native France, this story, inspired by real events, looks on paper to be the kind of tactless three-hanky issue movie that Hollywood never misses an opportunity to churn out. Philippe (Francois Cluzet) is a filthy-rich…

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Barbara

6 Sep 20124 stars

Slow burning drama set in East Germany with real dramatic weight

Germany’s Best Foreign Language Film contender for next year’s Academy Awards recalls the country’s 2007 winner The Lives of Others inasmuch as it dramatises life lived under the watchful eye of the authorities in East Germany before the wall came down.

Miguel Gomes, director of Tabu - interview

4 Sep 2012

The film has marked the director out as a major new voice in international cinema

A senile woman in contemporary Lisbon who runs away to the casino whenever she gets the chance; a secret, destructive love affair that unravels in 60s colonial Africa; and a pet crocodile that keeps on escaping from its enclosure: these are the unusual…

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…

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…

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[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…

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…

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…

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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.

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.

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…