Yi wan nian yi hou
Set in a spectacular post-apocalyptic world many thousands of years in the future, this riotously inventive, action-packed 3D animation epic from YiLi Studios in China is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
Decades after it was deemed too deviant to release, 54: The Director’s Cut delivers the full decadent glory of legendary Manhattan disco Studio 54 as its makers intended. With Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek and Mike Myers.
Andrew Garfield makes a deal with the devil in Ramin Bahrani’s searing moral thriller – a bitter examination of One Percent corruption, personified by Michael Shannon’s duplicitous real estate shark. Co-stars Laura Dern.
This year’s big-screen celebration of the latest and best animated shorts is a dazzler, including Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at Sundance.
Three brothers with markedly different approaches to their family’s drug-trade dynasty are drawn back to their Calabrian origins in this darkly elegant gangster drama. “Souls is set to be this year’s mafia pic.” — Variety
Le Tout nouveau testament
There’s the Old Testament, the New Testament and now this surreal and funny Brand New one in which God’s ten-year-old daughter leaves home on a mission to liberate humanity from the bored old man’s destructive whims.
Actresses Juliet Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz bring ample personal history to this engrossing drama of theatre-world affinities and rivalries from the director of Summer Hours and Irma Vep.
A group of exiled priests find their clandestine existence rudely interrupted in this stunning and dark allegory of the abuses of the Catholic Church from Chilean writer-director Pablo Larraín.
The 27-year partnership of master director Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern) and radiant muse Gong Li continues with this tragic domestic drama about historic amnesia in the wake of China’s Cultural Revolution.
This provocative legal drama from Mumbai puts a singer on trial for inciting suicide. “A startlingly clear-eyed and multifaceted vision of a society that remains damagingly mired in outmoded traditions.” — Slant
Sex, violence and scabrous visions of human infamy rule in this international panorama of R-rated animated shorts, including acclaimed new work from several masters of the art.
El 5 de Talleres
In this droll, romantic portrait of a young marriage, a hunky soccer pro reaches the end of his career and has to reinvent himself at 35 – with the discreet support and good-humoured indulgence of his lively wife.
Led by an arresting, coolly clinical performance from Peter Sarsgaard, this potent examination of one of the most controversial figures in social psychology is as indelibly stylised as it is intellectually stimulating.
Loin des hommes
This gripping existential Western – North African style – sees Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb play two men battling to survive in 50s Algeria. Based on a story by Albert Camus and scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
Writer-director-editor-composer Yury Bykov’s electrically paced, flawlessly performed suspense drama is both a brutal metaphor for the corruption of post-Soviet Russia and a furiously entertaining thriller.
Lily Tomlin is perfectly cast as a sharp-tongued, taboo-breaking granny who comes out fighting for her pregnant teenage granddaughter in this constantly surprising comedy-drama from About a Boy director Paul Weitz.
This tense, lavishly staged high-seas drama was produced by Bong Joon-ho and marks a spectacular directorial debut for his Memories of Murder collaborator Shim Sung-bo.
Prolific South Korean writer-director Hong Sang-soo’s funniest work, Hill of Freedom is a wry, mostly English-language comedy about a Japanese man who pursues a Korean woman to Seoul, hoping to pop the question.
Guatemala’s active Pacaya volcano is a symbol of both ancient traditions and modern threats in this absorbing, beautifully shot film about the consequences of a peasant girl’s strategy to avoid an arranged marriage.
The first Ethiopian film ever to play at Cannes is a lovingly crafted tale of a small boy sent with his beloved pet lamb to live with relations in the country – and discovering a culturally inappropriate talent for cooking.
The five daughters of a womanising Italian movie star gather to officially commemorate his greatness – and privately sift through the family trash – in this fizzy ensemble comedy, which wittily references Italy’s movie past.
La mafia uccide solo d’estate
In this bold debut, popular Italian TV satirist Pierfrancesco Diliberto mixes rights-of-passage comedy with a fearless send-up of the historic underworld murders that have devastated his native Sicily.
Education and divine mission drive this 19th-century French pastoral drama: the true story of deaf-blind Marie Heurtin. Her life transforms with the discovery of language, due to the incredible persistence of a Catholic nun.
La Loi du marché
In a compelling performance that won him the Best Actor Award at Cannes, Vincent Lindon plays a laid-off factory worker battling to fend for his family and retain compassion and integrity at the bottom of the heap.
In Nanni Moretti’s mix of wry comedy and sombre family drama, a woman strives to balance life and art as her mother’s health fails – and the actor in the film she’s directing (John Turturro) proves to be a handful.
In J.C. Chandor’s intense, 80s-set thriller an ambitious wheeler-dealer on New York’s contested waterfront (Oscar Isaac) tries to detoxify his business, but his Mob daughter wife (Jessica Chastain) has other ideas.
Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse
An engagingly eccentric and engrossingly literate coming-of-age film from French writer-director Arnaud Desplechin (My Sex Life), featuring Mathieu Amalric and a cast of brilliant young newcomers.
Three sisters in their 20s get to know their teenage half-sister in this charming family drama, beautifully accentuated with flavours and sensations of its unmistakably Japanese setting. From the director of I Wish.
The director and riveting star of Barbara reunite for another moving film noir-inflected tale of love and profound suspicion, this time set amidst the reconstruction of Berlin in the immediate aftermath of WWII.
Belye nochi pochtalona Alekseya Tryapitsyna
Russian director Konchalovsky follows a rural postman on rounds that cover tiny lakeside villages in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia in this affectionate, unvarnished, ravishingly shot portrait of a vanishing culture.
Director John Boorman’s comic memoir of postwar days as an unwilling conscript in the British Army is steeped in bittersweet nostalgia for misspent youth, first love and a Britain that faced the future by clinging to the past.
Handsomely shot for the giant screen, this story of feuding brothers in a remote valley in Iceland begins as an oddball comedy about sheep farming and grows into a moving tale about a priceless rural heritage under threat.
An elderly woman is haunted by the sacrifices she made for her family in this tense, moving and beautifully acted drama that highlights historic amnesia and the growing generation gap in contemporary China.
Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders, personal trainers in an Austin gym, and their new New York schlub client, Kevin Corrigan, embark on colliding paths to self-improvement in Andrew Bujalski’s wry rom com.
The latest French biopic of the iconic fashion designer is a heady experience, stunningly realised without official YSL approval, and concentrating on the decade that culminated with a triumphant collection in 1976.
Que horas ela volta?
Brazilian actresses Regina Casé and Camila Márdila shared a Special Jury Prize at Sundance for their performances as a good-hearted housemaid at odds with her progressive teenage daughter in this keenly observed family drama.
Pretending to be a taxi driver negotiating the streets of Tehran, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi makes a fascinating, surprisingly entertaining movie about his own role as a forbidden storyteller and life in Iran today.
Suraj Sharma, the star of Life of Pi, makes a moving Indian indie debut in this bittersweet 80s-set drama about a young man from a mountain village who sets off to find the older brother who’s filled his head with dreams of America.
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are a middle-aged couple seduced by the attention of super-hip young Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried in this pointed and funny New York comedy about acting your age.
The subject of old age gets the kind of attention it deserves but is too rarely afforded in this funny, affecting and sugar-free animated tale of the survival strategies devised by two old men in a nursing home.