Dogs

One of the most acclaimed directorial debuts of recent years, and the winner of the coveted FIPRESCI Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Bogdan Mirică’s Dogs is the most haunting and gruesome Western to come out of Europe in decades.

Dogs begins with an elegant tracking shot through a marshland near the Black Sea, eventually landing on a severed foot, bobbing in the swampy water. Soon after, we meet Roman (Dragoș Bucur, star of the classic Romanian noir Police, Adjective), who has just arrived on a vast plot of vacant land bequeathed to him by his late grandfather, known locally as Uncle Alecu. 

While selling off Uncle Alecu’s property, Roman learns that the land came into his family under murky circumstances. Then, after coming upon mysterious midnight meetings on the land, Roman discovers exactly what happened on Uncle Alecu’s watch, and why it will be both difficult and dangerous to sell his land: The squatters, led by the fearsome Samir (Snowpiercer’s Vlad Ivanov), are a gang of criminals so dangerous that the local police captain (Romanian cinema legend Gheorghe Visu) is powerless to protect him. After his friend disappears and the detached, chewed-up foot washes up, Roman must either cut his losses or stay and fight.

With gorgeous, sunbaked widescreen cinematography by Andrei Butica and masterful performances by three of Romania’s finest actors, Dogs is a terrifying allegory about class and corruption that builds towards a grim and bloody showdown. With Dogs, Mirică places himself squarely in the Western tradition exemplified by Sam Peckinpah and Anthony Mann. 

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Director: Bogdan Mirică
Cast: Dragoș Bucur, Gheorghe Visu, Vlad Ivanov
Language: Romanian
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Final Set

Once described as a young professional tennis prodigy, Thomas (Cesar-winner Alex Lutz) never had the career in the game he had hoped for. At 37, he decides to return to the French Open at Rolland Garros, in spite of his declining physical fitness and shattered knee. Although his wife Eve (Ana Girardot) and mother Judith (Oscar-nominee Kirstin Scott Thomas) advise him to give up on his unlikely ambition, Thomas obsessively perseveres. He will have to face his own demons as well as the intense competitive qualifying rounds to reach the tournament and eventually face a young tennis genius who disturbingly reminds him of his younger self.

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Director: Quentin Reynaud
Cast: Alex Lutz, Ana Girardot, Kristin Scott Thomas
Language: French
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Wildland

Following a car accident, which kills her mother, 17-year old Ida moves in with her estranged aunt and her aunt’s grown sons. The home is filled with physical tenderness and love, but outside of the home, the family leads a violent and criminal life. When an unforeseen murder pressures the family and their loyalty to each other, tension builds as love and violence become impossible to separate. Ida is faced with the same question her mother faced before her: What are you willing to sacrifice for your family?

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Director: Jeanette Nordahl
Cast: Sandra Guldberg Kampp, Sidse Babett Knudsen
Language: Danish
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 28 minutes

What We Left Unfinished

Utterly unique in film history, Mariam Ghani’s archival marvel WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED is a probing and engrossing case study in censorship, authoritarianism, and political art. Thirty years after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent civil war, during a new era of political uncertainty for the embattled nation, WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED looks closely at the era of state-funded Afghan filmmaking during the country’s Communist era, bringing together dozens of writers, actors, and filmmakers to discuss five unfinished, unedited projects produced between 1978 and 1991.

After each regime change, leaders always saw propagandistic potential in Kabul’s rich filmgoing culture and the high quality of Afghan filmmaking. Scenes from the five never-before-seen films, beautifully restored, testify to the immense resources provided to filmmakers willing to play by certain rules. The studio politics and mishaps that accompany any film’s production here rise to the level of life-and-death conflict, as filmmakers recall coming up against the censorship of an authoritarian government, as well as unceasing threats of violence. Depicting the censorship process with astounding detail, WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED raises potent, eternally relevant questions about art and politics, the freedom of speech, and what happens when the truth becomes a bargaining chip.

Mariam Ghani, the accomplished visual artist and a longtime advocate for film conservation, makes a passionate and personal feature directorial debut. Selected by the Berlin Film Festival, DOC NYC, and Il Cinema Ritrovato, WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED is an unsettling and brilliantly researched exposé which will prove disquieting to filmmakers and audiences alike.

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Director: Mariam Ghani
Cast: Latif Ahmadi, Jawanshir Haidari, Asadollah Aram
Language: English, Dari
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Usedom: A Clear View of the Sea

For Berliners, the Baltic island of Usedom was once the most luxurious destination for excursions within striking distance of the city. This is where imperial Germany’s grand health resorts of Bansin, Heringsdorf and Ahlbeck were built. Heinz Brinkmann, who was born in Heringsdorf, traces the eventful history of his island. He talks about the magnificent villas on Europe’s longest beach promenade, about the expulsion of Jewish citizens by the Nazis and about Usedom being split into a German and a Polish half after the Second World War. During the GDR era, most of the spa architecture remained intact because of the lack of means to build something new. Since the fall of the Wall, however, investors have been trying to replace it with indistinguishable luxury residences.

Brinkmann also asks people about conservation and change. We hear from the mayor infuriated by the architectural eyesores of recent years, a farmer who bought an island in the Achterwasser lagoon for his organic cattle, a Polish hotel manageress and other bridge-builders between the two countries. Brinkmann also quotes from his own 1992 Usedom film and compares the plans of his former protagonists with today’s reality. A discursive tour through a fractured paradise.

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Director: Heinz Brinkmann
Cast: Hans-Uwe Bauer, Lars Petersen, Fritz Spalink
Language: German
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes

All the Streets are Silent

In the late 80s and early 90s, the streets of downtown Manhattan were the site of a collision between two vibrant subcultures: skateboarding and hip hop. Narrated by Zoo York co-founder Eli Gesner with an original score by legendary hip-hop producer Large Professor (Nas, A Tribe Called Quest), All the Streets Are Silent brings to life the magic of the time period and the convergence that created a style and visual language that would have an outsized and enduring cultural effect. From the DJ booths and dance floors of the Mars nightclub to the founding of brands like Supreme, this convergence would lay the foundation for modern street style. Paris Is Burning meets Larry Clark’s KIDS, All the Streets Are Silent is a love letter to New York—examining race, society, fashion, and street culture.

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Director: Jeremy Elkin
Cast: Rosario Dawson, Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over

Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over by Beth B is the first career-spanning documentary retrospective of Lydia Lunch’s confrontational, acerbic and always electric artistry. As New York City’s preeminent No Wave icon from the late 70’s, Lunch has forged a lifetime of music and spoken word performance devoted to the utter right of any woman to indulge, seek pleasure, and to raise voice in a rage as loud as any man. The film frames Lunch’s work through the lens of the various philosophical themes that have obsessed her for years to enlighten and empower women to voice the unheard and to break the cycle of violence toward women throughout the world. Lydia Lunch is the psycho sexual transgressive who revoked patriarchal expectations of what a female performer might mean, while forging a vocabulary of rare emotional honesty, philosophy and humor.

Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over includes interviews with Lydia Lunch and longtime collaborators and colleagues including: Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth; performance artist Kembra Pfahler; Teenage Jesus bass player, Jim Sclavunos; Donita Sparks from L7; famed DJ and musician Nicolas Jaar; Art Critic Carlo McCormick; Filmmaker Richard Kern and a long list of other groundbreaking artists connected to Lunch’s past and present. Filming in rehearsal and on tour with her band Retrovirus, the behind-the-scenes footage reveals a side of Lunch’s personality that has been unseen. Her warmth and generosity in private interactions along with hilarious banter in the rehearsal studio with band members contrasts wonderfully with her brash, assaultive style of performance. The film is not only about Lunch, but about the scene that she helped spawn, continues to grow and influence, and the creative people who join her in creating a new vision of woman.

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Director: Beth B
Cast: Lydia Lunch
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 17 minutes

The Boys in Red Hats

It was the smirk heard round the world, igniting a social and mainstream media shitstorm. But what really happened at the 2019 March for Life when MAGA-hat-wearing school boys from Kentucky appeared to mock a Native American elder on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial? In this feature documentary, filmmaker Jonathan Schroder investigates how the now infamous confrontation became one of the most polarizing viral moments in history while chronicling his own journey at his former high school, Covington Catholic.

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Director: Jonathan Schroder
Cast: Jonathan Schroder
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Platform

A ROCKY-esque tale of determination and grit, PLATFORM follows of three Iranian sisters as they compete to become international champions of Wushu, a Chinese martial art. The sisters thrilling underdog story explores not only their dedicated training, but also their surprising place in society as they challenge traditional gender roles on the path to success.

“Iranian cinema has a rich, varied, and self-aware texture. While one might expect the strictures of a theocratic state to impinge creative output, these very restrictions push filmmakers to extraordinary lengths to tell stories with unique, even revolutionary methods. PLATFORM explores the unique and extraordinary tale of three sisters rejecting the assumptions placed upon them to become masters of Wushu, a Chinese martial art. They are not free from the conservatism of their country – they are forced to cover themselves entirely, unlike their opponents – but they do not shy from these problems, and succeed in spite of them.

While compelling in content, Sahar Mosayebi also proves herself very much a daughter of Iran’s history of engaging, well-crafted cinema. The editing is especially impressive, cutting together fights and training as though part of a choreographed action sequence. These scenes provide the documentary with a spark and the spirit of these fighters seems to infect the film itself – a welcome meeting of content and form. PLATFORM is more than a simple telling of a sporting success story, it is an inspirational, motivational film about what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.”—Milo Garner.

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Director: Sahar Mosayebi
Cast: Shahrbanou Mansourian; Elaheh Mansourian; Soheila Mansourian
Language: Persian, Mandarin
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Dead Pigs

The fates of an unlucky pig farmer, a feisty home-owner defending her property, a lovestruck busboy, a disenchanted rich girl, and an American expat pursuing the Chinese Dream converge and collide as thousands of dead pigs are found floating down the Huangpu River, towards a modernizing Shanghai in Cathy Yan’s (BIRDS OF PREY) debut feature.

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Director: Cathy Yan
Cast: Zazie Beetz, Mason Lee, Meng Li
Language: Chinese, English
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Monuments

A young widower sidesteps grief, loss, and familial dysfunction when he steals his wife’s ashes and sets off on an impulsive odyssey through America’s heartland in the charming new road trip comedy, MONUMENTS.

Ted (David Sullivan) encounters a cast of eccentric characters, including his rival Howl (Javier Muñoz), who direct and misdirect him on his mission to find something he’d lost long before the death his wife Laura (Marguerite Moreau).

MONUMENTS infuses humor and hope into a story of mourning, loss, and marriage to create one of the best feel-good indie films of 2021.

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Director: Jack C. Newell
Cast: Marguerite Moreau, David Sullivan, Joel Murray
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 35 minutes

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya

In Stip, a small town in Macedonia, every January the local priest throws a wooden cross into the river and hundreds of men dive after it. Good fortune and prosperity are guaranteed to the man who retrieves it. This time, Petrunya dives into the water on a whim and manages to grab the cross before the others. Her competitors are furious – how dare a woman take part in their ritual? All hell breaks loose, but Petrunya holds her ground. She won her cross and will not give it up.

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Director: Teona Strugar Mitevska
Cast: Zorica Nusheva, Labina Mitevska, Simeon Moni Damevski
Language: Macedonian
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Drunk Bus

Michael (Charlie Tahan, OZARK) is a recent graduate whose post-college plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. When the bus service hires a security guard to watch over the night shift, Michael comes face to tattooed face with Pineapple, a 300-pound punk rock Samoan.

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Director: Brandon LaGanke & John Carlucci
Cast: Charlie Tahan, Pineapple Tangaroa, Kara Hayward
Language: English
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Take Me Somewhere Nice

It’s one debacle after another for Alma (newcomer Sara Luna Zorić). When her long-estranged father is hospitalized in his native Bosnia, a not-quite-headstrong young woman leaves her home in The Netherlands to visit him. When she lands at the airport with a few Bosnian phrases and a new dress, her distracted older cousin Emir neglects to drive her to the hospital, preferring to hang out with his buddy Denis, “who has a girlfriend, so don’t even think about it.” 

After dyeing her hair and outlasting her patience, she hits the road on her own, quickly losing her luggage, her money, and her mooring. Along a bizarre chain of events and interactions with a cast of road-weary characters, Alma faces disappointment after disappointment with devil-may-care detachment and a newfound maturity. 

In its breathless series of hotels, cars, buses, and waiting rooms, Take Me Somewhere Nice captures the dreary, fish-out-of-water isolation of the unfamiliar highway. An endearing update of Chantal Akerman’s Les Rendez-Vous d’Anna, fused with the jazzy cynicism of Wim Wenders’ and Jim Jarmusch’s 70’s road movies, and the stark, sunlit despair of a David Hockney painting. 

Recipient of the Special Jury Prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Take Me Somewhere Nice is the unpredictable, neon-tinted feature debut for Ena Sendijarević, a Bosnian-born refugee raised in Holland who is now one of Dutch cinema’s fastest rising talents. Her film’s breezy wit and pastel color palette disguise dark truths about national identity, gender, and coming-of-age, making it the first essential road movie about the TikTok generation.

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Director: Ena Sendijarevic
Cast: Sara Luna Zoric, Ernad Prnjavorac, Lazar Dragojevic
Language: Bosnian, Dutch, English
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 30 minutes

One Ocean Film Tour 2021

Written and directed by Suzanne Lindon (Vincent Lindon’s daughter and 20 years-old at the time of production), SPRING BLOSSOM is charmingly refreshing, and oh so French coming of age story that heralds Lindon as a rising international filmmaker to be reckoned with.
Suzanne (Suzanne Lindon) is sixteen. She is bored with people her own age. From the outside, everything appears lovely in her charmed world, but the everyday monotony of school and her relationships with friends and family feels completely uninspired. Every day on her way to high school, she passes a theater. There, she meets a 35-year-old actor named Raphaël (Arnaud Valois, BPM (Beats Per Minute). Despite their age difference they find in each other an answer to their ennui and develop a strong connection. Immersed in the world of grown-ups and adult choices, Suzanne begins questioning the pitfalls of blossoming too quickly and missing out on life – the life of a 16-year-old, which she had struggled so much to enjoy in the same way as her peers.
SPRING BLOSSOM is a refreshing tale of young teen’s sense of curiosity and wonderment at first-love replete with freewheeling musical numbers that echo the song-and-dance routines of Jacques Demy’s beloved The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

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Director: Suzanne Lindon
Cast: N/A
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time:

Spring Blossom

Written and directed by Suzanne Lindon (Vincent Lindon’s daughter and 20 years-old at the time of production), SPRING BLOSSOM is charmingly refreshing, and oh so French coming of age story that heralds Lindon as a rising international filmmaker to be reckoned with.
Suzanne (Suzanne Lindon) is sixteen. She is bored with people her own age. From the outside, everything appears lovely in her charmed world, but the everyday monotony of school and her relationships with friends and family feels completely uninspired. Every day on her way to high school, she passes a theater. There, she meets a 35-year-old actor named Raphaël (Arnaud Valois, BPM (Beats Per Minute). Despite their age difference they find in each other an answer to their ennui and develop a strong connection. Immersed in the world of grown-ups and adult choices, Suzanne begins questioning the pitfalls of blossoming too quickly and missing out on life – the life of a 16-year-old, which she had struggled so much to enjoy in the same way as her peers.
SPRING BLOSSOM is a refreshing tale of young teen’s sense of curiosity and wonderment at first-love replete with freewheeling musical numbers that echo the song-and-dance routines of Jacques Demy’s beloved The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

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Rental fee is $12.00

Director: Suzanne Lindon
Cast: Suzanne Lindon, Arnaud Valois
Language: In French with English subtitles
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Two Lottery Tickets

The next generation of Romanian filmmaking talent finally arrives in the U.S. with Paul Negoescu and Two Lottery Tickets. A buddy comedy produced on a shoestring budget, starring three of the most recognizable faces in Romanian movies, Two Lottery Tickets suggests Pineapple Express by way of Abbas Kiarostami

A winsome, riotous comedy of errors, Negoescu’s second feature is an audience-friendly social satire which merges a stoner’s shaggy-dog story with the sophisticated, intensely realistic style that has made the Romania cinema one of the most popular national film movements in the world.

Police, Adjective star Dragoș Bucur plays against type as Sile, an irresponsible carpenter who spends most afternoons at the pub, placing small bets, racking up a huge tab, and buying lottery tickets. He convinces his drinking buddy Dinel (Dorian Boguță), whose wife has just left him for an Italian, to play the lottery one hot afternoon. Borrowing a few Euro from Pompiliu (Alexandru Papadopol), the local conspiracy theorist, Dinel plays the numbers on the off chance that a win would bring back his wife. 

After two petty criminals jack his fanny-pack and the winning ticket, the three guys spend what little money they have tracking down the thieves. Although all three guys are easy marks with zero talent for sleuthing, their wild goose chase around Dinel’s apartment complex precedes a road trip to Bucharest, where the two thugs might be about to cash in on the €6 million jackpot.

Unpretentious, well-acted, and consistently hilarious, Two Lottery Tickets is a breezy reminder of the eternal essentials for good comedy: smart performances, a clever and intuitive style, and an irresistibly, unpredictable yarn.

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Director: Paul Negoescu
Cast: Dorian Boguta, Dragos Bucur, Alexandru Papadopol
Language: Romanian
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 26 minutes

Edge of the World

Edge of the World is an upcoming adventure drama film directed by Michael Haussman and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the British soldier and adventurer James Brooke. The film also features Dominic Monaghan, Hannah New, and Josie Ho. The script was written by Rob Allyn, who also produced the film.

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Director: Michael Haussman
Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dominic Monaghan, Hannah New
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Tomorrow’s Hope

Tomorrow’s Hope brings us into the journey of passionate educators and tenacious kids and their families on the South Side of Chicago, determined to carve out the future despite a sea of incredible challenges. The film follows three present-day high school seniors who had started out in the Educare preschool’s first-ever class, exploring how they’ve navigated foreboding realities past and present, while also delving into the lingering ripple effects from their early childhood education.

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Director: Thomas Morgan
Cast: N/A
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Emily @ the Edge of Chaos

EMILY @ THE EDGE OF CHAOS interweaves Emily Levine’s live performance with animation, appearances by scientists, and animated characters (John Lithgow as Sir Isaac Newton, Lily Tomlin as Ayn Rand, Leonard Nimoy as Sigmund Freud, Richard Lewis as Aristotle, Matt Groening as Aldo Leopold). The film uses physics, which explains how the universe works, to explain our metaphysics – the story of our values, our institutions, our interactions. Using her own experience and a custom blend of insight and humor, provocation and inspiration, personal story and social commentary, Emily takes her audience through its own paradigm shift: from the Fear of Change to the Edge of Chaos.

Emily Levine, like her film, was one-of-a-kind. She was a television writer, a stand-up performer, and an out-of-the box-thinker, whose brilliant TED Talks have been watched by millions. She made this film with Wendy Apple, who produced and directed it. Wendy died in 2017 and Emily continued working on the film until she also passed away in 2019

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Director: Wendy Apple
Cast: Emily Levine, John Lithgow, Lily Tomlin, Leonard Nimoy, Richard Lewis, Matt Groening
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour

Queen Marie

Devastated by the First World War and plunged into political controversy, Romania’s every hope accompanies its queen on her mission to Paris to lobby for international recognition of its great unification at the 1919 peace talks.

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Director: Alexis Sweet Cahill
Cast: Roxana Lupu, Daniel Plier, Richard Elfyn
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Nina Wu

After toiling for years in bit-parts, aspiring actress Nina Wu (Ke-Xi Wu, who also co-wrote the script based on her own personal experiences) finally gets her big break with a leading role in a spy thriller set in the 1960s. The part, which calls for nudity and explicit sex scenes, is made all the more challenging thanks to the director’s unending belittlements. While seemingly on the brink of professional triumph, Nina’s psychological resolve begins to crack under the pressure. As she rushes to her childhood home following a family emergency, Nina begins suffering paranoid fantasies that a mysterious woman is stalking and attacking her. As Nina clings to memories of happier times, it seems that there is one crucial memory that she is repressing…

This sumptuous, stylized thriller, reminiscent of Mulholland Drive, Black Swan and other poison pen letters to the entertainment industry, is a “a vividly disorientating #metoo themed drama” (Screen Daily) anchored by Wu’s “ferocious, driven performance” (The Hollywood Reporter).

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Director: Midi Z
Cast: Wu Ke-Xi, Sung Yu-Hua, Hsia Yu-Chiao, Shih Ming-Shuai, Chang Li-Ang
Language: Chinese with English subtitles
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 43 minutes

Hope

Based on filmmaker’s, Maria Sødah, own experiences — Hope is the story of Anja and Tomas, longtime romantic partners whose large, blended family is upended when Anja receives a grave medical diagnosis.

ANJA (43) lives with TOMAS (59) in a large family of biological children and stepchildren. For a number of years the two adults have grown independent of each other, with creative jobs in parallel worlds. When Anja gets a terminal cancer diagnosis, their modern life breaks down and exposes neglected love. Alone with her grief and her fears, Anja realizes that she needs Tomas’ full help and support. It’s their only chance. How else will their children find the strength once she is gone, if their parents are unable to weather the storm together? Anja and Tomas are thrown into a crash course in mutual trust, and eventually a joint struggle, to deal with this unexpected and premature death. By getting to know each other anew, they unconsciously become the principal characters in a love story where they finally learn to truly love each other after a long life together.

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Director: Maria Sødahl
Cast: Andrea Bræin Hovig, Stellan Skarsgård
Language: Norwegian with English subtitles
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 2 hours 5 minutes

The Man Who Sold His Skin

Sam Ali, a young sensitive and impulsive Syrian, left his country for Lebanon to escape the war. To be able to travel to Europe and live with the love of his life, he accepts to have his back tattooed by one of the World’s most sulfurous contemporary artist. Turning his own body into a prestigious piece of art, Sam will however come to realize that his decision might actually mean anything but freedom.

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Director: Kaouther Ben Hania
Cast: Yahya Mahayni, Dea Liane, Koen De Bouw
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 44 minutes

Looking For A Lady With Fangs And A Moustache

Amidst the bustling maze of life in present day Kathmandu, a worldly, young Tibetan man TENZIN brazenly enters an abandoned, sacred temple of the Goddess Kali declaring this to be the ideal place to house his new business venture. Having borrowed his mother’s life savings as funding for the venture Tenzin is fully immersed in his plans to create Nepal’s best cafe. But when Tenzin is struck by a dream like vision of a girl moving through a vast ocean of red flowers Tenzin’s friend JACHUNG fears it’s a sign of impending death. On the advice of a great sage a skeptical Tenzin must seek out a very special woman – a “dakini” who may have a moustache, fangs and a third eye.

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Director: Khyentse Norbu
Cast: Tsering Tashi Gyalthang, Tulku Kunzang, Orgen Tobgyal Rinpoche
Language: Tibetan and Nepali with English Subtitles
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 53 minutes

Every Breath You Take

Every Breath You Take is a searing psychological thriller about a psychiatrist (Casey Affleck), whose career is thrown into jeopardy when his patient takes her own life. When he invites his patient’s surviving brother (Sam Claflin) into his home to meet his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and daughter, his family life is suddenly torn apart.

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Director: Vaughn Stein
Cast: Veronica Ferres, India Eisley, Emily Alyn Lind
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Rating: R for some violence and language, and brief sexuality
Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection

Berlin-based Mosotho filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s devastating and hypnotic This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection is already one of the most esteemed African films ever to hit the international festival circuit, earning the Special Jury Prize for Visionary Filmmaking at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, before taking home Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Cinematography at Africa’s Academy Awards. 

Deserving comparison with the work of Pedro Costa, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Souleymane Cissé, This Is Not a Burial marks the introduction of a major filmmaker and the final powerhouse performance of a remarkable actress. 

The late Mary Twala Mhlongo, recognizable from Beyoncé’s blockbuster musical Black Is King, gives a heartbreaking career-capping performance as Mantoa, an 80-year-old woman who has lived in a small Lesotho village for her entire life. While preparing for her own death, she receives word of an accident that has killed her only son, leaving her entirely alone, with only the respect of her community, the traditions of her ancestors, and the courage of her convictions. When her community must relocate to make way for a nearby dam which would flood her family’s burial ground, Mantoa draws a line in the sand and becomes an unlikely political and spiritual leader. 

Cryptic, impressionistic, and informed by magical realist literature, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection contains some of the most striking visual compositions in contemporary cinema, all the more impressive considering this is the first feature-length film for both cinematographer Pierre de Villiers and production designer Leila Walter. The cumulative power of Mantoa’s sacrificial crusade, Mhlongo’s earthy performance, and Mosese’s visionary artistry announce an unmistakable landmark in African cinema.

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Director: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Cast: Mary Twala Mhlongo, Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha
Language: Sesotho with English subtitles
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 57 minutes

Francesco

FRANCESCO takes an unsparing look at the most pressing issues of the 21st Century; economic stratification, race and gender inequality, the climate crisis, xenophobia and others; while shining a light on the challenges and consequences that have led us to this moment in time. As we embark on this journey, with Pope Francis as our guide, we discover a leader who demonstrates a tremendous amount of humility, wisdom and generosity towards all, and whose ideals can help us build a bridge to a better future and thrive as a global community.

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Rental fee is $12.00

Director: Evgeny Afineevsky
Cast: Pope Benedict XVI, José Ignacio Bergoglio, Juan Carlos Cruz
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 56 minutes

Brooklyn Castle

BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of their losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories. Ironically, the biggest obstacle thrust upon them arises not from other competitors but from recessionary budget cuts to all the extracurricular activities at their school. BROOKLYN CASTLE shows how these kids’ dedication to chess magnifies their belief in what is possible for their lives. After all, if they can master the world’s most difficult game, what can’t they do?

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Rental fee is $12.00

Director: Katie Dellamaggiore
Cast: Rochelle Ballantyne, Pobo Efekoro, Patrick Johnston, Alex Paredes, Justus Williams
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 42 minutes

Keep an Eye Out

The latest deranged delight by French absurdist Quentin Dupieux, Keep An Eye Out is a breakneck-paced cop comedy that packs more laughs into its 73 breezy minutes than some filmmakers manage in their entire careers.

Belgian funnyman Benoît Poelvoorde (Man Bites Dog) is Commissaire Buran, a good, bad cop interrogating Fugain, (Grégoire Ludig), an average Joe who discovered a dead body outside his apartment building. As the film begins, Fugain must, on an empty stomach, explain how and why he happened to leave home seven times in one night before coming across a corpse in a puddle of blood. Since he’s the investigation’s only suspect, Fugain’s anxiety is already sky-high when Buran leaves him alone with Philippe, a one-eyed rookie cop with bizarre speech patterns and a few minutes to live. Bloody, batshit hijinks ensue, and before long, we’re in Buñuel territory. 

Between the opening sequence, when a man in just red briefs conducts a philharmonic orchestra in the open air, and the triple-meta denouement, Dupieux’s whip-smart script disregards audience expectations, the fourth wall, and the laws of time and space. You’ll never look at a protractor or an oyster the same way again.

Click here to rent this film and support the Varsity Theatre!

Rental fee is $10.00

Director: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde, Grégoire Ludig, Marc Fraize, Anaïs Demoustier
Language: French
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 1 hour 13 minutes