HIFF 2016: World Cinema Narrative

World Cinema Narrative

The heart of cinema: this extraordinary section encompasses 18 features, ranging from award-winning festival favorites to one-of-a-kind World Premieres, curated for our audience from around the globe.

Presented by

all-the-beauty-650ALL THE BEAUTY
“Alt det vakre”

North American Premiere | Norway
Director: Aasne Vaa Greibrokk
Ten years after their breakup, Sarah agrees to visit bestselling author David at his cabin on the Norwegian coast and help with his latest opus, a raw and graphic play exploring their years as a couple. Four pairs of fantastic Scandinavian actors portray Sarah and David at various ages in this play-within-a-movie, framing a uniquely theatrical four acts. Though Sarah is now married to another man, old feelings linger and spark. Sarah and David’s is a love story for the ages—full of passion, discontent, sensual pleasure and regret.
Presented with support from the Norwegian Film Institute and Norwegian Consulate.

blue-jay-650BLUE JAY

US Premiere | USA
Director: Alex Lehmann
Two former high school sweethearts unintentionally reunite in a small California town after 20 years apart in Alex Lehmann’s charming and heartfelt debut, BLUE JAY. Jim and Amanda, played by the multi-talented Mark Duplass and the superb Sarah Paulson (recently seen as Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), spend the day together as they dig through old letters, mix tapes, and memories. With undoubtable chemistry, they reconnect as if they had never parted, but the stark reality of the present soon catches up with them. Shot in gorgeous black-and-white, BLUE JAY captures the melancholy and nostalgia of returning home and struggling to recognize who you’ve become with humor and grace.

dont-call-me-son-650DON’T CALL ME SON
“Mae So Ha Uma”

East Coast Premiere | Brazil
Director: Anna Muylaert
Anna Muylaert delivers a knockout coming-of-age drama about personal identity, family loyalty, and class tensions in her powerful film DON’T CALL ME SON. With wit and compassion, Muylaert effortlessly follows seventeen-year-old Pierre (Naomi Nero) as he receives the shocking news that his loving, working-class mother kidnapped him at birth. ‬Adding to the confusion, Pierre likes to wear eyeliner and women’s clothing, and is experimenting with his sexuality. When forced to move in with his bourgeois biological parents, who surround him with a well-intentioned but stifling embrace, Pierre must navigate between figuring out who he is and where he belongs.

donald-cried-650DONALD CRIED

USA | 2016
Director: Kris Avedisian
A classic buddy comedy with a hilarious twist, DONALD CRIED marks the debut of a bold new voice. Peter (Jesse Wakeman), a successful Wall Street financier, returns to his childhood home after fifteen years to settle his grandmother’s affairs. In a rush to get in and out, he loses his wallet and finds himself stranded in Warwick, Rhode Island. Reluctantly, he reunites with his childhood friend Donald (Kris Avedisian), who never grew up or realized that their friendship ended. Avedisian, who also wrote, directed, and produced, is a breakout talent as the obnoxious Donald.


US Premiere | France/Germany
Director: François Ozon
In a small German town after World War I, Anna (Paula Beer) mourns daily at the grave of her fiancé Frantz, killed in battle in France.
 One day, a young Frenchman, Adrien (Pierre Niney), also lays flowers at the grave. His presence so soon after the German defeat ignites passions in acclaimed filmmaker’s François Ozon’s tragic and tender romance. Elegantly lensed and acted, FRANTZ is a rich period piece filled with love and remembrance while dealing with a devastating loss in surprising ways.


US Premiere | Australia
Director: Ivan Sen
Australian director Ivan Sen (MYSTERY ROAD, HIFF 2012) returns with another Outback thriller about indigenous detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) and his search for a missing migrant worker. As he digs deeper into the case, Swan discovers a complex web of crime and corruption, implicating myriad characters, including the local mining company and the town’s brassy mayor, played by the Oscar®-nominated Jacki Weaver. Set in a picturesque terrain, GOLDSTONE boldly plays with Western genre tropes while addressing Aboriginal relations in this socially conscious and highly entertaining crime procedural.

halal-love-and-sex-650HALAL LOVE (AND SEX)
“Bil Halal”

East Coast Premiere | Lebanon/Germany/United Arab Emirates
Director: Assad Fouladkar
Popular Lebanese filmmaker Assad Fouladkar returns to the big screen with HALAL LOVE (AND SEX), a delightful ensemble comedy examining the often precarious line between romantic desire and religious devotion. Set in contemporary Beirut, the film follows three very different couples as they navigate the trials and tribulations of love, marriage, jealousy, and faith. With a deft hand, Fouladkar seamlessly interweaves their amusing stories, and imbues the collection with both humor and pathos. Featuring a cast of wonderfully colorful characters, HALAL LOVE (AND SEX) is an endearing satire full of heart and spirit.

handmaiden-650THE HANDMAIDEN

East Coast Premiere | South Korea
Director: Park Chan-wook
Inspired by Sarah Waters’ bestselling Victorian novel “Fingersmith,” celebrated filmmaker Park Chan-wook (OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE, STOKER) weaves an engrossing crime drama and enchanting romance with his latest masterpiece, THE HANDMAIDEN. A young Korean woman is recruited by a con man to pose as the maid of a Japanese heiress living on a secluded estate, as part of his elaborate plot to seduce and defraud her. In an intoxicating and sensual turn of events, his plans fall apart as the two women become entangled. This spellbinding film proves to be an unforgettable viewing experience.

i-daniel-blake-650I, DANIEL BLAKE

Director: Ken Loach
Ken Loach returns with the social-realist drama I, DANIEL BLAKE, winning the legendary filmmaker his 2nd Palme d’Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival. At 59 years old, widower Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) suffers a severe heart attack and abruptly finds himself out of work. Blake must now rely on welfare from the British state in order to get by. When his benefits are unceremoniously revoked, Blake finds himself trapped by an unsympathetic system. With a career spanning almost fifty years, Loach’s latest offering is a heartbreakingly compassionate look at the hardships facing the working class in the midst of unforgiving bureaucracy.

lost-in-paris-650LOST IN PARIS
“Paris Pieds Nus”

East Coast Premiere | France
Directors: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon
After winning the Grand Jury Award in 2011 with their hit THE FAIRY, husband and wife comedy duo Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon return to HIFF with LOST IN PARIS, a charming ode to the physical comedy of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. When Fiona leaves her tiny arctic town in Canada to visit Paris for the first time, she gets the adventure she always wanted, but under some catastrophic circumstances. Stranded and lost, she relies on the eccentric Dom to guide her through the most romantic city in the world. With storybook visuals and classic slapstick gags, Fiona’s journey is not to be missed.


New York Premiere | USA
Director: So Yong Kim
Longtime friends Sarah (Riley Keough) and Mindy (Jena Malone) reunite for a spontaneous road trip in So Yong Kim’s tender and heartwarming drama, LOVESONG. Sarah, who is escaping a loveless marriage, quickly finds comfort in Mindy’s free-spirited and warm nature. After an abrupt incident sends them in separate directions, it’s only years later that they are able to finally confront their feelings. With beautifully understated performances and an evocative embrace of things left unsaid, Kim explores the intimacy at the heart of their relationship and the unique bond pulling them together. Presented in partnership with NewFest.

original-bliss-650ORIGINAL BLISS
“Gleißendes Glück”

US Premiere | Germany
Director: Sven Taddicken
In ORIGINAL BLISS, award-winning German filmmaker Sven Taddicken delivers an electrifying adaptation of A.L. Kennedy’s short story collection. Trapped in a loveless marriage with an abusive husband, the once spiritual Helene (Martina Gedeck) has lost all hope and faith in God. Suffering from chronic insomnia and depression, she seeks guidance from famed psychologist Eduard E. Gluck (Ulrich Tukur). The charismatic, secretly flawed doctor awakens her curiosity and sexuality, and the pair embark on a dangerous romance. With thrilling performances, ORIGINAL BLISS is a powerful story of two lost souls indulging in the darkest manifestations of love and passion.


Director: Jim Jarmusch
Paterson (Adam Driver) is a poet and New Jersey bus driver living a simple life with his loving wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) in this absorbing new drama from acclaimed filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (STRANGER THAN PARADISE, BROKEN FLOWERS). Returning with his trademark contemplative style, the film follows Paterson over the course of a week while he quietly observes the city from the driver’s seat—capturing each detail in touching, personal poems. With humor and nuance, Jarmusch sets his lens on the triumphs and defeats of daily life, finding beauty in the smallest details, and illuminating the inner world of an artist striving to express himself.

red-turtle-650THE RED TURTLE
“La Tortue Rouge”

US Premiere | Japan/France/Belgium
Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
From the acclaimed Studio Ghibli, perhaps one of the world’s most respected animation houses, comes THE RED TURTLE, a quiet and mesmerizing masterpiece about one man’s journey to overcome loneliness on a deserted tropical island. Stranded among turtles, crabs, and birds, the simple characters are surrounded by a rich ecosystem, where the textures and symbolism offer a deeper understanding of the milestones in the life of a human being. Academy award-winner Dudok de Wit (FATHER AND DAUGHTER) makes his feature debut with this must-see tale that is both meditative and mysterious.

salesman-650THE SALESMAN

East Coast Premiere | Iran/France
Director/Screenwriter: Asghar Farhadi
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (A SEPARATION) returns with another expertly crafted and multilayered drama about Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young married couple forced to move into a new apartment in the center of Tehran, where the previous tenant still lingers. When Rana mistakenly buzzes the door open, thinking it’s her husband coming home, she lets in a stranger. The incident threatens the marriage as tensions arise between husband and wife. Mastering suspense and naturalism, THE SALESMAN digs into the complex psychology of vengeance while continuing to explore the condition of women in Iran and the male psyche.

teacher-650THE TEACHER

North American Premiere | Slovak Republic/Czech Republic
Director: Jan Hřebejk
A witty satire set in communist Czechoslovakia, THE TEACHER explores the veiled corruption and power plays that were all too common during the Communist era. Since the arrival of the new teacher at their school, students and parents alike slowly discover that a few well-timed favors can greatly increase the students’ chances of getting a good grade. The parents are asked to sign a petition to remove the teacher from the school, but she has powerful connections within the Communist Party, and doing the right thing might prove to be more difficult than they had originally anticipated.

toni-erdmann-650TONI ERDMANN

Director: Maren Ade
Ines and her aging father Winfried don’t see each other much. On a whim, he decides to pay her a visit in Bucharest, where she is working as a corporate strategist. Worried that his daughter’s life lacks joy and humor, Winfried takes it upon himself to lighten things up, resulting in a series of hilarious pranks that only seem to push Ines further away. A father-daughter comedy unlike anything you’ve seen before, Marin Ade’s TONI ERDMANN is a beautifully observed and singular vision that firmly confirms her brilliance as a humanist storyteller. An undeniable hit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; TONI ERDMANN is Germany’s entry for Best Foreign Language film.

under-the-shadow-650UNDER THE SHADOW

Director: Babak Anvari
Iranian newcomer Babak Anvari’s UNDER THE SHADOW is a brilliantly layered story of psychological terror and political turmoil. Set in wartorn Tehran, married couple Shideh (the scene-stealing Narges Rashidi) and Iraj (Bobby Naderi) are forced to separate when he is assigned to medical work on the front lines. In addition to taking care of their sick young daughter, Dorsa, Shideh is also nursing her own pride after being rejected from medical school as punishment for her activism. As the war escalates around them and evil spirits are unleashed, UNDER THE SHADOW tackles life under political turmoil and female oppression in this haunting and atmospheric debut, UK’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film.