A Long and Happy Life (Dolgaya schastlivaya zhizn)
directed by Boris Khlebnikov
You just know that a Russian film with a title like A Long and Happy Life is going to be about anything but. In a brief 77 minutes, Khlebnikov roughly sketches a bleak portrait of life and group dynamics in contemporary Russia.
directed by Hoon-jung Park
A big budget Korea gangster flick that doesn't stray from the formula, with all the intricate twists and ultra violence that one would expect. Worth a watch if you are a fan of this kind of film.
directed by Amat Escalante
Winner of Best Director at Cannes, Escalante keeps things cold and deliberate in this unflinchingly brutal political statement about life in contemporary Mexico. A raw, terrifying, and sometimes extremely difficult to watch tale about an innocent working family suddenly caught up in the drug war.
directed by Anthony Chen
Winner of the Camera d'Or for best first feature at Cannes, this was a surprisingly heartwarming film directed with a remarkably keen eye. Anyone who was or had to raise a terrible brat will be able to relate with this personal tale about a Singaporean family unit caught in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. A genuinely touching slice of life.
directed by Asgar Farhadi
Felt like a close cousin to A Separation but without the cultural nuances that enabled that film to take the world by storm. What remains is an impressively sculpted scenario about how all the little lies, mistakes, and regrets in our past accumulate and affect our present lives. Farhadi handles the story with surefooted direction that turns its intricately complex soap-opera style revelations into believable and powerful dramatic moments. Berenice Bejo won the Best Actress award at Cannes, and she does give an outstanding performance, but it's the overall brilliant acting from the entire ensemble cast that elevates this film to essential viewing status.