The 25th annual event today announced a new program focusing on Canadian cinema and also announced the films in its Awards Buzz and Modern Masters lineups. The Palm Springs International Film Festival will screen 45 of the 76 official submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Additional film programs will be announced in the coming weeks.
Spotlight on Canada Cinema “receives the spotlight for this year’s special focus on a country or region of the world making extraordinary strides in cinema”. The Awards Buzz section is selected by Festival programmers as the strongest entries in this year’s Academy Awards race. A special jury of international film critics will review these films to award the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Best Actor and Best Actress. And the Modern Masters section features 10 films from international directors who “set the standards for contemporary cinema.”
Here’s the full list of Awards Buzz, Spotlight on Canadian Cinema and Modern Masters films:
The German Doctor (Argentina), Director Lucía Puenzo
The Rocket (Australia), Director Kim Mordaunt
The Wall (Austria), Director Julian Pölsler
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium/Netherlands), Director Felix van Groeningen
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia), Director Danis Tanovic
The Missing Picture (Cambodia/France), Director Rithy Panh
Gabrielle (Canada), Director Louise Archambault
Gloria (Chile/Spain), Director Sebastián Lelio
Back to 1942 (China), Director Feng Xiaogang
Halima’s Path (Croatia/Slovenia/Bosnia-Herzegovina), Director Arsen Anton Ostojic
The Hunt (Denmark), Director Thomas Vinterberg
Winter of Discontent (Egypt), Director Ibrahim El Batout
Disciple (Finland), Director Ulrika Bengts
Renoir (France), Director Gilles Bourdos
In Bloom (Georgia/Germany/France), Directors Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross
Two Lives (Germany/Norway), Director Georg Maas
Le Grand Cahier (Hungary/Germany/Austria/France), Director János Szász
Of Horses and Men (Iceland), Director Benedikt Erlingsson
The Good Road (India), Director Gyan Correa
The Past (Iran/Italy/France), Director Asghar Farhadi
Bethlehem (Israel), Director Yuval Adler
The Great Beauty (Italy/France), Director Paolo Sorrentino
The Great Passage (Japan), Director Yûya Ishii
The Old Man (Shal) (Kazakhstan), Director Yermek Tursunov
Mother, I Love You (Latvia), Director Janis Nords
Heli (Mexico/Germany/Netherlands/France), Director Amat Escalante
Horses of God (Morocco/France/Belgium), Director Nabil Ayouch
Borgman (Netherlands), Director Alex van Warmerdam
White Lies (New Zealand), Director Dana Rotberg
I Am Yours (Norway), Director Iram Haq
Omar (Palestinian Territory), Director Hany Abu-Assad
Transit (Philippines), Director Hannah Espia
Walesa. Man of Hope (Poland), Director Andrzej Wajda
Child’s Pose (Romania), Director Calin Peter Netzer
Stalingrad (Russia), Director Fedor Bondarchuk
Wadjda (Saudi Arabia/Germany), Director Haifaa Al Mansour
Circles (Serbia/Germany/France/Croatia/Slovenia), Director Srdan Golubovic
Ilo Ilo (Singapore), Director Anthony Chen
Class Enemy (Slovenia), Director Rok Bicek
Juvenile Offender (South Korea), Director Kang Yi-kwan
15 Years and One Day (Spain), Director Gracia Querejeta
More Than Honey (Switzerland), Director Markus Imhoof
The Butterfly’s Dream (Turkey), Director Yilmaz Erdogan
Metro Manila (United Kingdom/Philippines), Director Sean Ellis
Anina (Uruguay/Colombia), Director Alfredo Soderguit
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADIAN CINEMA
The Auction – In this honest portrait of a family in the midst of change, Sébastien Pilote gives us a pastoral tale of love and quiet sacrifice in rural Quebec, featuring a powerful performance by Gabriel Arcand. Director: Sébastien Pilote. Cast: Gabriel Arcand, Gilles Renaud, Lucie Laurier, Sophie Desmarais, Johanne-Marie Tremblay, Gabriel Tremblay.
Empire of Dirt – An affecting portrait of three generations of Cree women caught up in a cycle of teenage pregnancy and mistrust finally beginning to put their past behind them and figure out a way forward together. Director: Peter Stebbings. Cast: Cara Gee, Shay Eyre, Jennifer Podemski, Luke Kirby, Jordan Prentice, Lawrence Bayne, Michael Cram.
Enemy – In a dual role, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a professor who frantically seeks out his doppelganger, a struggling actor he spots in a film. The Oscar®-nominated director of Incendies and Prisoners puts a masterful spin on this mind-bending Kafkaesque mystery. Director: Denis Villeneuve. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini.
Gabrielle – Gabrielle Marion-Rivard gives an extraordinarily expressive, moving performance as a developmentally challenged young woman who falls in love with a boy she sings with in the choir – to the dismay of the young man’s overly protective mother. Director: Louise Archambault. Cast: Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, Alexandre Landry, Melissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Vincent-Guillaume Otis, Benoit Gouin, Sébastien Ricard, Isabelle Vincent, Marie Gignac.
Gerontophilia – An 18-year-old lad with a penchant for pensioners takes a job in a care home and falls for an 81-year-old man. Shocking? The big shock here is that director LaBruce eschews his usual hardcore style for a film that is positively gentle and pleasing. Director: Bruce LaBruce. Cast: Pier-Gabriel Lajoie, Walter Border, Katie Boland, Marie-Hélène Thibault.
The Grand Seduction – Rollicking humor and quiet moments of whimsy anchor this droll comedy about some Newfoundland villagers, led by the great Brendan Gleeson’s wily fisherman, who use any means necessary to convince a big-city doctor (Taylor Kitsch) to save their community by settling in it. Director: Don McKellar. Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, Mark Critch, Mary Walsh.
The Manor – A documentary about your typical Jewish suburban family: mom, dad, two kids and the family business – a strip club in a place called Guelph. Director: Shawney Cohen.
Patch Town – Inspired by his award-winning short film that screened at Palm Springs ShortFest in 2012. Craig Goodwill’s wildly creative feature debut is a wacky, satirical musical fantasy about a grown-up toy who must battle a villainous corporation to reunite with his long-lost mother, protect his newfound family, and finally find freedom. Director: Craig Goodwill. Cast: Rob Ramsay, Zoie Palmer, Julian Richings, Suresh John, Scott Thompson, Ken Hall.
Sarah Prefers to Run – Chloé Robichaud’s debut feature is a highly assured, subtle, observational film about a young middle-distance runner making the leap to a big city university team, but stumbling in the adult world of relationships and responsibilities. Director: Chloé Robichaud. Cast: Sophie Desmarais, Jean-Sébastien Courchesne, Geneviève Boivin-Roussy, Helene Florent, Eve Duranceau, Micheline Lanctot, Pierre-Luc Lafontaine, Benoit Gouin.
Siddharth – A street merchant regrets sending away his 12-year-old son to work in a factory when the boy fails to return home for Diwali. Thus begins a desperate search, hindered by the man’s poverty, illiteracy, and the challenge of locating anyone in a country of a billion souls. Director: Richie Mehta. Cast: Mahendra Saini, Suman Saini, Ranjit Gahlot, Meena Gahlot, Roshni.
Stay – An appealing romantic drama, about a young woman ¬– living in Ireland with an ex-professor – whose unplanned pregnancy causes her to question her future. Director: Wiebke von Carolsfeld. Cast: Taylor Schilling, Aidan Quinn, Barry Keoghan, Nika McGuigan, Chris McHallem, Brian Gleeson, Michael Ironside.
Vic + Flo Saw a Bear – Victoria, an ex-convict in her sixties, wants to start a new life in a remote sugar shack. Under the supervision of Guillaume, a young, sympathetic parole officer, she tries to get her life back on track along with Florence, her former cellmate with whom she shared years of intimacy in prison. Stalked by ghosts of the past, their new life together is unexpectedly jeopardized. Director: Denis Côté. Cast: Pierrette Robitaille, Romane Bohringer, Marc-André Grondin.
Burning Bush (Czech Republic) – An epic docudrama examining the emotional, political and societal fallout from Czech student Jan Palach’s 1969 self-immolation. Director: Agnieszka Holland. Cast: Tatiana Pauhofovå, Jaroslava Pokomå, Petr Stach, Jan Budar, Martin Huba, Ivan Trojan.
The Last of the Unjust (France) – Claude Lanzmann, whose epic, landmark film Shoah is certainly the definitive film about the Holocaust – returns to one of the interview subjects from that film to unravel the tale of the ‘model’ concentration camp, Theresienstadt, and the ambiguous leader of its Jewish Council, Benjamin Murmelstein, a former rabbi who spent the war years negotiating on a day-to-day basis with Adolf Eichmann. Director: Claude Lanzmann. Cast: Benjamin Murmelstein and Claude Lanzmann.
Like Father, Like Son (Japan) – Two couples are devastated to learn that their children were swapped at birth six years ago. This masterly, very moving drama won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda. Cast: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, Lily Franky, Keita Ninomiya, Hwang Sho-gen.
One of a Kind (France) – This soul-stirring tale – about a depressed middle-aged man who hesitatingly embraces his gift for healing – features a riveting turn from Grégory Gadebois (so effective in the cult TV fave The Returned) in the lead. A deeply satisfying chronicle of personal redemption. Director: François Dupeyron. Cast: Grégory Gadebois, Céline Sallette, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Marie Payen, Philippe Rebbot.
The Priest’s Children (Croatia) – In this acerbic satire, a naïve Catholic clergyman tries to boost the birth rate among his Dalmatian island flock, but his plan sparks a host of unintended consequences. Director: Vinko Bresan. Cast: Kresimir Mikic, Niksa Butijer, Marija Skaricic, Drazen Kuhn, Jadranka Dokic, Lazar Ristovski.
The Unknown Known (USA) – In his new documentary, Errol Morris takes on the enigma that is Donald Rumsfeld. Or is it Rumsfeld taking on the enigma that is Errol Morris? Either way, it is a fascinating pas de deux not to be missed. Director: Errol Morris. Cast: Donald Rumfeld and Errol Morris.
The Wind Rises (Japan) Anime sensei Hayao Miyazaki has always been fascinated by flight. In what he says will be his swansong, he has conjured an extraordinarily lyrical biopic of sorts, inspired by the experiences of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the famous Japanese Zero fighter plane. Director: Hayao Miyazaki. Cast: Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura, Jun Kunimura, Mirai Shida.
The Wonders (Israel) – A genial slacker, a private investigator and a femme fatale join forces to rescue a kidnapped holy man in this unusual dramedy. Director: Avi Nesher. Cast: Ori Hizkiah, Efrat Gosh, Adir Miller, Yehuda Levi, Yuval Scharf.
Young & Beautiful (France) – Model-turned-actor Marine Vacth is uncanny as a well-bred 17-year-old Parisienne who chooses to work as an expensive call girl. A controversial provocation from Ozon, with a visual finesse and a nonjudgmental tone that makes it genuinely disturbing. Director: François Ozon. Cast: Martine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot, Johan Leysen, Charlotte Rampling.