Oscars Update: HIFF29 International Selections

A number of HIFF29 global selections have been submitted by their respective countries for the Best International Feature Film competition at the 94th Academy Awards, scheduled for March 27, 2022. How many did you see?

A HERO (Iran)

Directed by Asghar Farhadi
HIFF29 East Coast Premiere
Celebrated filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (A SEPARATION, THE SALESMAN) returns to HIFF with his latest film, the winner of the Cannes 2021 Grand Prix. Rahim (Amir Jadidi), separated from his wife and child, is imprisoned due to an unpaid debt. When he is granted two days of leave from prison, Rahim attempts to turn his life around, but instead spirals even deeper into despair, weaving a seemingly inescapable web of deceit. With A HERO, Farhadi has created another intricate tale of human morality, one that explores the fragility of justice, and how even the sincerest of intentions can somehow lead to even greater misunderstanding.
In theaters January 7, 2022
Streaming on Amazon Prime January 21, 2022
Distributor: Amazon Studios

TITANE (France)

Directed by Julia Ducournau
Not for the faint of heart, Julia Ducournau’s (RAW) dazzling and sinister psychosexual thriller TITANE smashed over this year’s Cannes Film Festival like a tidal wave. With its plot shrouded in mystery, viewers found themselves on an unforgettable ride that forced them to question assumptions about gender, identity and how the idea of what a family is remains fluid. Featuring stunning imagery and a blazing lead performance by newcomer Agathe Rousselle, Ducournau went on to become only the second woman ever to win the prestigious Palme d’Or for her startlingly creative vision.
Now playing in theaters and streaming
Distributor: Neon
> > Watch the trailer

CLARA SOLA (Costa Rica)

Directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén
HIFF29 New York Premiere
HIFF alum Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s debut feature is the riveting tale of Clara (played by the wonderful Wendy Chinchilla Araya, in her first role), who is believed to have special powers as a “healer.” She sustains a family and a village in need of hope, while she finds solace in her relationship with the natural world. After years of being controlled by her mother’s repressive care, Clara’s sexual desires are stirred by her attraction to her niece’s new boyfriend. This newly awakened force takes Clara to unexplored territory, allowing her to cross boundaries, both physical and mystical. Empowered by her self-discovery, Clara gradually frees herself from her repressive background and begins to heal.
Release date: early 2022
Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories
> > Watch the trailer


Directed by Sebastian Meise
HIFF29 North American Premiere
In postwar Germany, the Allies’ liberation does not mean freedom for everyone. Under Paragraph 175, Hans (Franz Rogowski, TRANSIT) is spied on and imprisoned again and again, solely because of his sexuality. Throughout the years, the one steady relationship in his life proves to be the combative one he has with his cellmate Viktor (Georg Friedrich), a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. What begins as revulsion blossoms into something far more tender, a salve to nourish their broken spirits. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Sebastian Meise’s film is a revelation, a poignant tour-de-force anchored by Rogowski’s mesmerizing performance.
Coming soon
Distributor: Mubi
> > Watch the trailer


Directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
While grieving the loss of his wife Oto (Reika Kirishima), aging thespian Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) develops an unexpected connection with Misaki (Toko Miura), the reticent young woman hired to be his chauffeur as he prepares for an upcoming production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. An engrossing tale of love and betrayal, loneliness and kinship, DRIVE MY CAR thoughtfully considers the ways in which artistic expression can unlock fundamental truths to understanding human nature. Crafted in his characteristically mesmerizing style, Japanese auteur Ryusuke Hamaguchi (HAPPY HOUR, ASAKO I & II) skillfully transforms Haruki Murakami’s short story into an entrancing epic that earned him Best Screenplay at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
In theaters November 24
Distributor: Janus Films / Sideshow
> > Watch the trailer

FLEE (Denmark)

Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Told through a mix of animation and archival footage in order to protect the anonymity of the protagonist, FLEE follows Amin, an Afghan refugee who recounts how he escaped his native country as a teen, his years-long perilous journey through multiple countries, and his constant pursuit of a place in which he could freely explore his identity and feel a sense of belonging. Now on the verge of marriage, Amin decides to reveal his hidden past for the first time—and the secret he has been hiding for over twenty years threatens to ruin the life he has built. A masterful reimagining of the medium, FLEE is a poetic and arresting tale of self-discovery that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
Now playing
Distributor: Neon
> > Watch the trailer


Directed by Joachim Trier
Julie (Renate Reinsve) is restlessly cycling through career paths, relationships and the taxing realities of existence. As she goes hurtling into her 30s, she’s left wondering: when will life really begin, and what is her true purpose? Framed around Julie’s delightful indecisiveness, we follow four years of ups and downs, featuring two important relationships and a handful of what ifs. This darkly comedic journey from director Joachim Trier (LOUDER THAN BOMBS, HIFF 2015) is a biting take on romantic comedy in the modern age, and earned Reinsve the Best Actress Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
In theaters February 4
Distributor: Neon
> > Watch the trailer


Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
HIFF29 East Coast Premiere
In his stunning new feature, Academy Award® winner Paolo Sorrentino (THE GREAT BEAUTY, YOUTH, and The Young Pope) returns to his hometown to tell his most personal story yet. Inspired by events of his youth, the film follows Fabietto Schisa (Filippo Scotti) as he comes of age in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s—a time of unexpected joy, including the arrival of soccer legend Diego Maradona, and of an equally unforeseen tragedy that changes the course of Fabietto’s life forever. Lusciously lensed and with excellent supporting performances by Toni Servillo and Teresa Saponangelo, THE HAND OF GOD is a sweeping tale of love, loss, self-discovery, and how one can find salvation in cinema.
In theaters December 3; on Netflix December 15
Distributor: Netflix
> > Watch the trailer