Ahedino koleno /
Directed by: Nadav Lapid
France, Israel, Germany, 2021, 109 min
A renowned director is preparing to shoot a film about the celebrated Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi. But his work is suddenly interrupted by an invitation to a small town in the middle of the Arava desert, where they’re showing one of the filmmaker’s movies. The routine courtesy visit, however, develops into an angry confrontation and indictment of the hypocritical system. This controversial and formally radical film won the Jury Prize (ex aequo) at the recent festival in Cannes.
All Eyes Off Me
Ve skrytu /
Mishehu Yohav Mishehu
Directed by: Hadas Ben Aroya
Israel, 2021, 90 min
At a party Danny can't bring herself to tell Max that she is pregnant with his child since, in the meantime, he's got together with his new girlfriend, Avishag. Max tries to satisfy his new partner’s masochistic sexual fantasies, but their experimentation doesn't go as Avishag had imagined, and so she seeks refuge with the older Dror, for whom she dog-sits.
Directed by: Simón Mesa Soto
Colombia, Sweden, Qatar, 2021, 95 min
In this tense social drama, the title character races against time after her son is drafted during an army raid on the streets. A single mother for whom her children are everything, Amparo finds herself at the mercy of a corrupt system as the search for bribe money tests her personal boundaries and the strength of social ties that are already wearing thin. Shown this year as part of Critics’ Week in Cannes.
Directed by: Stefano Deffenu
Italy, 2020, 60 min
In this film, Ananda doesn't denote the Hindu state of sublime delight, but instead refers to a tribe of eternally joyful children who have decided to live freely. The search for this elusive tribe forms the apparent axis of this skilfully edited video diary charting a journey through India. The filmmaker has chosen a personal perspective that allows him to rise above the stereotypical travelogue.
Directed by: Christos Nikou
Greece, Poland, Slovenia, 2020, 90 min
The world has been gripped by a pandemic which causes sudden amnesia. Aris becomes part of a special programme designed to help him build a new identity. This beguilingly melancholic debut from Christos Nikou opened last year’s Orrizonti in Venice, where it justifiably earned unanimous praise from the critics and won viewers’ hearts.
Babi Yar. Context
Babij Jar. Kontext /
Babi Yar. Context
Directed by: Sergei Loznitsa
Netherlands, Ukraine, 2021, 121 min
In his latest documentary, Sergei Loznitsa takes viewers to Nazi-occupied Ukraine and, working exclusively with uniquely restored archive materials, shows us the background of the tragic events that took place just outside occupied Kyiv in September 1941 – the massacre of more than 33,000 Jewish residents. Loznitsa’s seventh film at Cannes offers a chilling report on these events and places them into a broader context.
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Smolný pich aneb Pitomý porno /
Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc
Directed by: Radu Jude
Romania, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Croatia, 2021, 108 min
Emi is a respected teacher at a prestigious secondary school, but when a home video showing her having sex with her husband appears on the internet, her reputation is threatened. Her career will be decided at a meeting of the parent-teacher association. Radu Jude’s caustic three-part satire explores the everyday frustrations, prejudices, and boundless hypocrisy of contemporary society.
Ballad of a White Cow
Balada o bílé krávě /
Ghasideyeh gave sefid
Directed by: Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam
Iran, France, 2021, 102 min
Mina’s life is turned upside down when she learns that her husband Babak was innocent of the crime for which he was condemned and executed. The authorities express their regret for the mistake, offer her financial compensation and consider the matter closed. But it isn’t closed for Mina. A drama about the price of forgiveness, if such a cost can be calculated at all.
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
France, Netherlands, 2020, 127 min
Even as a young girl, Benedetta felt that she was closer to God than other people. Several years later, her father sends her to a monastery, where the young novice quickly realizes that one can feel passion for more than just Jesus… Virginie Efira, Daphne Patakia, and Charlotte Rampling star in Verhoven’s erotic drama infused with dark humor and various kinds of miracles.
Directed by: Lina Roessler
Canada, United Kingdom, 2020, 100 min
Lucy Stanbridge is an energetic young woman, the heir to a once celebrated publishing house which, at this point in time, is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. What happened to that golden age, when the firm made it big with Harris Shaw’s bestseller Atomic Autumn? Now fifty years older, the cranky author prefers to shut himself off from the world, but Lucy is prepared to do anything to save the family business. The phenomenal Michael Caine takes one of the leads in the dramedy which premiered in Berlin this year.
Between Two Worlds
Directed by: Emmanuel Carrère
France, 2021, 100 min
A renowned author, played by the inimitable Juliette Binoche, plans to dedicate her new book to the socially disadvantaged and, in order to produce as authentic a work as possible, she secretly takes a job as a cleaner. This working-class drama confronts viewers with several moral questions and lets us feel what it's like to be socially invisible.
Directed by: Semih Kaplanoğlu
Turkey, 2021, 147 min
Hasan is proud of his farm and would never allow anything bad to happen to it. And so he fights the company that wants to build a high voltage power line across his fields with the same stubbornness he exerts when faced with his own past later on. Hasan and his wife undertake to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, however, before they leave, he needs to receive forgiveness from all those he has wronged in the past…
Compartment No. 6
Kupé č. 6 /
Hytti nro 6
Directed by: Juho Kuosmanen
Finland, Germany, Estonia, Russia, 2021, 107 min
A Finnish student and a sullen, vodka-swilling Russian miner share a compartment on a train journey to Murmansk. In his highly unusual romantic comedy, Juho Kuosmanen shows profound understanding as he tells of our inherent need for closeness. The film enjoyed an enthusiastic reception at this year’s festival in Cannes, where it won the Grand Prix (ex aequo).
Directed by: Ivan I. Tverdovskiy
Russia, Estonia, United Kingdom, Italy, 2020, 135 min
In October 2002 around nine hundred people were taken hostage by terrorists as they were watching a musical. Seventeen years later Natasha, a nun, attempts to organise a memorial evening in that same Moscow theatre, which would help her and other survivors overcome their enduring trauma. A conceptual psychological drama about repressed memory that subtly interweaves documentary events with their fictional depiction.
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Hrnec zlaťáků: Pár drinků s Shanem MacGowanem /
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Directed by: Julien Temple
United Kingdom, Ireland, 2020, 124 min
Irish music icon Shane MacGowan is the protagonist of the new film from Julien Temple, who conveys to the viewer the musician's take on the world and his quirky humour, and reveals something of the inward sensitivity of this punk poet. Spotlighting the frontman of the legendary band The Pogues, Crock of Gold was coproduced by MacGowan’s friend of many years, Johnny Depp, who also makes an appearance in the film.
Directed by: Dalibor Matanić
Croatia, 2020, 126 min
Not only must Matje and his family deal with an unresolved trauma from the past, but they are also faced with the dilemma of whether to flee the city or remain in a radicalizing society in which the chasm between the chosen elite and those considered inferior continues to grow relentlessly. Dalibor Matanić’s dystopian film shows that sometimes faith alone is not enough to fight the evil around us and the demons within.
Drive My Car
Drajv maj kár /
Doraibu mai kâ
Directed by: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Japan, 2021, 179 min
When a sudden tragedy shakes your world, you welcome any kind of anchor. For Kafuku, a theater director, this is being able to drive his car every day, but then the theater assigns him a personal driver against his will. Even so, there is a positive side to this unexpected companion. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s gentle, obliquely told story rightly earned him the Best Screenplay award at Cannes.
The Employer and the Employee
Šéf a podřízený /
El empleado y el patrón
Directed by: Manuel Nieto Zas
Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, France, 2021, 106 min
Rodrigo, a young father from a middle-class family, is slowly taking over the family business. His search for employees leads him to Carlos, the son of an acquaintance, who is also a young father, though he is struggling financially. The dynamic of their reserved friendship forms the basis for this character study reflecting the economic and social contrasts of contemporary Uruguay.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Myši patří do nebe /
Myši patří do nebe
Directed by: Denisa Grimmová, Jan Bubeníček
Czech Republic, France, Poland, Slovak Republic, 2021, 87 min
A little mouse called Whizzy and a fox cub called Whitebelly, considered eccentric by their furry friends, find themselves in animal heaven after a freak accident. Although they were sworn enemies in the past, they develop a mutual trust during their shared journey across the celestial sphere and, along the way, they discover the essence of true friendship. A puppet film that will enchant viewers particularly for its beguiling artistic design and precise animation.
Directed by: Omar El-Zohairy
France, Egypt, Netherlands, Greece, 2021, 112 min
An authoritative father tries to give his family the best, and so he invites a magician to perform at his older son’s birthday party. But something goes wrong during a trick with a magic box, and the wife and three sons watch as the head of the household is transformed into a chicken… The film won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize in Cannes this year.
Zoufalství a naděje /
Directed by: Paul Schrader
USA, 2017, 108 min
Pastor Ernst Toller was led into the arms of the church by his turbulent past. Now, at a church somewhere in upstate New York, he looks after a small congregation, offering them spiritual advice and a kind word. Although he is a source of strength for others, his encounter with the agitated Mary and her mercurial husband Michael shakes his own apparent stability. Ethan Hawke masterfully tackles the difficult role of the doubting priest.
Directed by: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway, 2021, 90 min
While he looks ahead to a shared future with his partner, 36-year-old Amin cannot escape the past he has concealed for the last twenty years. Through animation and via a series of interviews, Flee documents the exceptionally profound testimony of a man who, confronted with his traumatic recollections as an Afghan immigrant, finds out who he really is and discovers the true meaning of home.
Directed by: Roderick MacKay
Australia, 2020, 116 min
With a nod to the Western, this stirring, big screen drama is set in the 1890s gold rush of Western Australia. The story tells of a little known community of Afghan, Indian and Persian cameleers who frequently sought the assistance of the local Aboriginal people when transporting goods across the country. The same is true of young Muslim Hanif, but his encounter with an Australian bandit called Mal changes his life forever.
Directed by: Azra Deniz Okyay
Turkey, France, Qatar, 2020, 87 min
The award-winning film from last year’s Venice festival worked its way with graceful verve to become one of the season’s most remarkable debuts. It’s Istanbul, not far in the future, and the city has been plunged into darkness, yet this has little to do with the sudden power surge. Four characters and four fascinating aspects of an unsettling metropolis are rendered in this punkishly brutal pamphlet about the cost of personal freedom and the dignity of the neglected.
A Glitch in the Matrix
Chyba v Matrixu /
A Glitch in the Matrix
Directed by: Rodney Ascher
USA, 2020, 108 min
The notion that life is an illusion can be traced back to antiquity, and with the development of information technologies it now appears in sci-fi literature and cyberpunk movies. For some, this is the subject of academic debate, but others believe in it so much that they no longer recognize the boundaries of the real world…
Hit the Road
Na cestě /
Directed by: Panah Panahi
Iran, 2021, 93 min
A four-member family is driving through a picturesque, mountainous Iranian landscape. But it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary family outing… In his remarkably mature debut, Panah Panahi shows an uncommon sense for capturing the dynamics of familial relationships and offers a vibrant portrait of one family in a road movie where laughter blends with tears and loud music. Hit the Road was a success during Directors' Fortnight at this year’s festival in Cannes.
Directed by: Blerta Basholli
Kosovo, Switzerland, North Macedonia, Albania, 2021, 84 min
Like many women in Kosovo, Fahrije is hoping for any news that would shed light on what happened to her husband. Widows aren’t supposed to work, yet times are hard and she is forced to defy the judgement of her community. She starts up a successful business producing ajvar with other widows and, despite initial opposition from their families, as working women they are now able to appreciate their sense of self-worth. The film won the hearts of both the audience and the jury at this year’s Sundance festival.
The House Arrest
Domácí vězení /
Directed by: Alexey German Jr.
Russia, 2021, 106 min
When David, a university professor, accuses the local mayor of corruption via social media, the response isn’t long in coming. David is sentenced on trumped-up charges and finds himself under house arrest. This meticulously paced film offers an uncompromising criticism of the political situation in Russia and holds a mirror up to the Covid era. Merab Ninidze excels in the lead role of this biting political satire.
Všechno nejlepší, Chiaro! /
Directed by: Jonas Carpignano
Italy, France, 2021, 121 min
The Guerrasio family are celebrating the 18th birthday of the oldest daughter, yet the supreme talent of Italian cinema focuses his gaze more often on her fifteen-year-old sister Chiara, on the girls' affectionate sibling rivalry, and ultimately on Chiara’s shock at the sudden disappearance of the father she adores. For his third film Carpignano also remained in Southern Italy, a region of harrowing contrasts, absolute love, unsettling gazes and its own rules.
Directed by: Hong Sangsoo
South Korea, 2020, 66 min
In his latest look at ordinary life situations, Hong Sangsoo touches lightly on the line separating reality from acting and dream. Between cigarette breaks and polite formalities, this winner of the Best Screenplay award in Berlin slowly piles on the weight of ambiguity where even an innocent embrace between a man and a woman can prove fateful.
Directed by: Natalia Meta
Argentina, Mexico, 2020, 95 min
Can the things from our nightmares enter our waking life? Inés is struggling to recover from a tragic loss, but the terrors she is experiencing threaten her work as a dubbing artist. Something seems to be creeping closer, and she is no longer sure if the people who want to help her are truly on her side. The film had its world premiere at the Berlinale in the main competition.
Directed by: Valdimar Jóhannsson
Iceland, Sweden, Poland, 2021, 106 min
A childless couple live on a farm with a flock of sheep as their only company. María and Ingvar’s peaceful life changes the moment a mysterious newborn appears in their barn. A folk tale and an unsettling, horror-like visual poem all in one, Lamb was shown in competition in the Un Certain Regard section, where it won the Prize of Originality.
Laurent Garnier: Off the Record
Laurent Garnier: Off the Record /
Laurent Garnier: Off the Record
Directed by: Gabin Rivoire
United Kingdom, Belgium, 2021, 93 min
How does the famous DJ and music producer see his own story and the history of techno, rave, and house music? The film follows Garnier around the globe, taking us to Chicago, Detroit and elsewhere, accompanied by the obligatory bass drop.
Milostné historky /
Les choses qu’on dit, les choses qu’on fait
Directed by: Emmanuel Mouret
France, 2020, 122 min
If you’re prepared to embrace it, love will enter your life without knocking. How will that heady, sweet passion affect you? What if it’s evasive and fickle as well? Emmanuel Mouret pays tribute to the French tradition of unassailable romance and proves that, when it comes to treating romantic subject matter, the French are way out in front.
Directed by: Alex Camilleri
Malta, 2021, 95 min
Filmed with a documentary-like realism, Luzzu is an exceptionally mature and authentic debut drama about European poverty, tradition, and human dignity. Maltese-American director, producer, screenwriter, and editor Alex Camilleri set his film among a group of fishermen fighting for their future.
Mariner of the Mountains
Na vlnách hor /
O Marinheiro das Montanhas
Directed by: Karim Aïnouz
Brazil, France, Germany, 2021, 98 min
In January 2019, Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz boards a boat in Marseille in order to make his first ever visit to his father’s homeland, Algeria. His journey takes him to a small village high in the Atlas Mountains… This deeply personal documentary is part colorful travelogue, part loving letter to his mother Iracema, part socio-anthropological essay, and part meditation on the consequences of colonialization.
Directed by: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Colombia, Thailand, France, Germany, Mexico, Qatar, 2021, 136 min
Few auteurs stray as far from the mainstream as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and yet his works are regularly screened in competition at the world’s most prestigious festivals. For his tale of the magic realist travels of Englishwoman Jessica (Tilda Swinton), who every now and then hears a bang coming from the unknown, he chose the perfect setting: the landscape of Colombia.
Krabice vzpomínek /
Directed by: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
France, Lebanon, Canada, Qatar, 2021, 102 min
The adolescent Alex lives with her mother Maia in Montreal. When a large box is delivered to their home during the Christmas holidays, Maia is unexpectedly confronted with her past. Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige masterfully traverse multiple timelines between Beirut and Montreal to show Maia's teenage years in Lebanon during the civil war, while finding a formally highly inventive way to convey her memories and her momentary flashes from the past.
Directed by: Andrew Levitas
United Kingdom, USA, 2020, 115 min
New York, 1971. Eugene Smith (Johnny Depp), once a highly sought-after photographer, now lives as a recluse who prefers to stare into the bottom of his liquor bottle. But then an unexpected trip to the Japanese city of Minamata, where an unscrupulous corporation has been releasing untreated wastewater into the bay, brings new meaning to his life. Produced by Depp himself and finding firm ground in his persuasive performance, this drama speaks of the courage required to fight injustice, while considering the boundaries of journalistic ethics and much else besides.
Mr Bachmann and His Class
Pan učitel Bachmann a jeho třída /
Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse
Directed by: Maria Speth
Germany, 2021, 217 min
The main protagonist of this 217-minute observational documentary, winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Berlinale, is Dieter Bachmann, a 65-year-old nonconformist teacher in the German town of Stadtallendorf. The film takes a detailed and highly positive look at the need to reinvent the sense underlying not only education but also public institutions in general and coexistence in contemporary Western society.
Nadia, motýlek /
Directed by: Pascal Plante
Canada, 2020, 106 min
Top-flight competitive sports only recognise winners and losers. Nonetheless, does the decision to leave a world of constant grind automatically suggest capitulation? This intimate film depicts a young swimmer participating at the Olympic Games in what is the last competition of her career, yet what goes on around her becomes the backdrop for a much bigger battle.
Directed by: Thomas Imbach
Switzerland, 2020, 131 min
Director Thomas Imbach spent seven years observing the demolition of an old freight station from his window, followed by the construction of an immense prison that will house a large number of foreigners. With time, this simple view out the window becomes not just a portrait of random visitors to the construction site, but also a carefully composed contribution to the debate regarding the future path of modern Switzerland.
Directed by: Sean Durkin
United Kingdom, Canada, 2020, 107 min
Commercial opportunities in the United States are gradually drying up for Rory (Jude Law), a commodity broker, so he moves with his family to his native England with its promise of a lucrative new beginning. Could the sumptuous but secluded mansion outside London become a real home for them? This unsettling, aesthetically precise drama is significantly set in the era of the thriving economic liberalism of Reagan’s America.
Directed by: Ivan Ikić
Serbia, Slovenia, Netherlands, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2020, 123 min
When Marija is placed in an institution for mentally disabled youth, she bonds with the independent-minded Dragana. But their friendship is threatened when they both fall in love with the introverted Robert. Filled with emotional twists and turns, the film tells the story of an unusual love triangle and the desperate yearning for freedom and intimacy.
Directed by: Elie Grappe
Switzerland, Ukraine, France, 2021, 87 min
Ukraine, autumn 2013. Olga, a fifteen-year-old top-flight gymnast, has some hard training ahead of her in Switzerland, which will bring about a primary shift in her career. The political situation in Kyiv intensifies, however, and Olga’s mother, a journalist and activist, joins the thousands of people demonstrating in Independence Square. This riveting film about fundamental dilemmas on the cusp of adulthood enchanted audiences at this year’s Cannes film festival.
Onoda - 10 000 Nights in the Jungle
Directed by: Arthur Harari
France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Cambodia, 2021, 167 min
Japan, 1944. 22-year-old Hiroo Onoda completes his special military training. Unlike the kamikaze pilots who were being recruited around the same time in order to sacrifice their lives for Japan, Onoda is not allowed to die – at any price. This unexpected hit at Cannes explores the ethics of war, forms of patriotism, male friendship, and solitude.
The Painted Bird
Nabarvené ptáče /
Directed by: Václav Marhoul
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Ukraine, 2019, 169 min
Arguably the darkest of wartime odysseys, undertaken not by a mythical hero, however, but by a defenceless Jewish boy roaming the countryside, at every step exposed to pure Evil in a Poland plundered by the Nazis. Although Jerzy Kosiński’s novel and Marhoul’s adaptation can scarcely bear comparison as to the extent and intensity of the barbarity portrayed, one cannot ignore the perspectives of the young war victims in Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (1962) and Klimov’s Come and See (1985).
Paris, 13th District
Paříž, 13. obvod /
Directed by: Jacques Audiard
France, 2021, 105 min
Emilie works at a call center and is attracted to her new roommate Camille. But he is more interested in Nora, whom he joins on the staff of a real estate company. For her part, Nora spends her evenings video chatting with cam girl Amber… Jacques Audiard’s energetically shot black-and-white film takes a fresh look at today’s thirtysomethings as they fumble through life and seek out sexual flings instead of more serious relationships.
Directed by: Céline Sciamma
France, 2021, 72 min
This discreet little gem from the Berlin competition may have missed out on the awards yet, for many, it was simply the best film of the entire selection. Which comes as no surprise. A work so fragile that it defies adequate description, the film deftly escapes to a curious landscape, where an observant eye will take in not only all things distant, but also everything that is far removed in all other respects.
Directed by: Amalia Ulman
Spain, 2021, 82 min
Lea leaves her student life behind her in London and returns to her native city of Gijón, where her mother still lives. Her mum doesn’t have any money but she refuses to give up her sophisticated lifestyle. Enjoying its world premiere at this year’s Sundance, this tragicomedy tells of personal and social crisis and excels both for its authenticity and its sense of detail.
Directed by: Ninja Thyberg
Sweden, Netherlands, France, 2021, 109 min
In Sweden she was called Linnea, but now her stage name is Bella Cherry. She left her hometown when she was nineteen and moved to Los Angeles in order to make it in the world of adult movies… But the road to the top is paved not only with pleasure but also with failure and disappointment. An unbiased look at the porn industry – that is Ninja Thyberg’s feature film debut. Suitable for viewers aged 18 years and over.
Prayers for the Stolen
Noc ohňů /
Noche de Fuego
Directed by: Tatiana Huezo
Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Qatar, 2021, 110 min
If there's one thing mothers in an isolated mountain village don't want, it's to give birth to a daughter – the cartel that rules this region just takes the girls for themselves. In her feature debut, documentary filmmaker Tatiana Huezo offers a harrowing tale of women and children, whose lives are threatened from a very young age.
Quo vadis, Aida?
Quo vadis, Aida? /
Quo vadis, Aida?
Directed by: Jasmila Žbanić
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Romania, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, France, Norway, Turkey, 2020, 101 min
Twenty-five years ago more than eight thousand fathers, husbands and sons disappeared forever from the lives of Bosniak women. One of Europe’s most prominent filmmakers surveys the massacre carried out in Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serbs, and this through the eyes of her charismatic titular heroine, an interpreter for Dutch soldiers sent by the UN to war-ravaged former Yugoslavia. A highly evocative drama, Quo vadis, Aida was nominated for an Academy Award as Best International Feature.
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
Roadrunner: Film o Anthonym Bourdainovi /
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
Directed by: Morgan Neville
USA, 2021, 118 min
A portrait of American chef, author, and television moderator Anthony Bourdain, whose travel show was watched by just about everyone. Whether he was exploring the culinary arts of Rome, Melbourne, Kinshasa, or Beirut, Bourdain’s distinctive style allowed people all over the world to discover the endlessly diverse flavors of local cultures and cuisines.
The Sea Ahead
Město duchů /
Directed by: Ely Dagher
France, Lebanon, Belgium, USA, Qatar, 2021, 115 min
Submitting his feature film debut, Ely Dagher (2015 Palme d’Or for the short film Waves ’98) returned to Cannes this year with a compelling, darkly dreamlike portrait of his native Beirut. Jana, a woman shrouded in mysterious melancholy, travels back home from her years spent in Paris, perhaps to re-establish contact with the past, and perhaps to try to understand what caused the transformation of the magical Lebanese metropolis into a city of ghosts.
The Sparks Brothers
The Sparks Brothers /
The Sparks Brothers
Directed by: Edgar Wright
United Kingdom, USA, 2021, 141 min
How can a rock band be both successful and underappreciated, highly influential and overlooked? Sparks – brothers Ron and Russell Mael – have always loved pop and also rule over it with a sense of perspective. A film for cultural historians and fans of camp: a celebration of fifty years of existence in a manic cinematic extravagance.
Zem je láva /
Directed by: Kateryna Gornostai
Ukraine, 2021, 122 min
Sixteen-year-old introvert Masha only feels truly confident in the company of school friends Yana and Senia; outside the classroom she contemplates life and reflects upon herself, and daydreams about a guy in her class who she's in love with… Kateryna Gornostai draws the viewer into the microworld of pupils in their pre-graduation year and provides an authentic insight into one of the emotionally most intense periods of our lives. Stop-Zemlia won Best Feature Film in the Generation category at this year’s Berlinale.
Directed by: Magnus von Horn
Poland, Sweden, 2020, 105 min
The career prospects of Sylwia, a fitness motivator, couldn’t be more promising. Her tour is going brilliantly, famous brands are knocking at the door, and the number of Instagram followers keeps on growing. Yet it takes just three days for the young influencer to realise that social media bring not only fame but also a distressing loss of privacy.
The Tale of King Crab
Král krabů /
Directed by: Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis
Italy, Argentina, France, 2021, 106 min
A story passed down among villagers for generations: The enchanting yet wild and gloomy Luciano returns to his hometown, but his rebellious nature brings him into conflict with the prince of the region. He is forced to flee Europe, and so the second part of this cinematic diptych finds him in Tierra del Fuego, where Luciano’s untamed energy infects him with gold fever.
Directed by: T. J. Martin, Daniel Lindsay
USA, 2021, 118 min
This retrospective of the career of 81-year-old Tina Turner is crammed with archival footage of her concerts. We follow her life from the late fifties to her peak in the late sixties and early seventies, and her later triumphant solo career. The film doesn't shy away from the darkest side of the singer's story, depicting her as a survivor of abuse at the hands of her husband Ike.
The Tsugua Diaries
Évonprs deníky /
Diários de Otsoga
Directed by: Maureen Fazendeiro, Miguel Gomes
Portugal, France, 2021, 102 min
Three close friends, Crista, Carloto, and João – along with the entire film crew – become the protagonists of a cinematic experiment shot during lockdown. Delve into the colorful world of one of the most playful films of the pandemic, for which personal restrictions provided a source of inspiration and pure joy in the creative process.
Directed by: Gaspar Noé
France, Belgium, Monaco, 2021, 142 min
A picture split in two, a married couple, two people slowly losing themselves – first in their home full of books and memories, and subsequently in their own minds. Dario Argento and Françoise Lebrun excel in Gaspar Noé’s latest outing, in which psychedelia is replaced by a psychological study of one person’s mental decline.
Directed by: Alice Diop
France, 2020, 115 min
Suburban landscapes and everything in between. The urge to document, to record, to give a voice to the mute, to the ostracised, to those who may soon vanish. Home, exile, memory. The filmmaker allows the “little people” to speak, those who are seemingly of little consequence; she asks her father about his first-hand experience as an immigrant, she listens to elderly widows, to youths hanging around the housing estates, and to participants of a traditional hunt.
What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
Co spatříme, když pohlédneme na nebe? /
Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt?
Directed by: Alexandre Koberidze
Germany, Georgia, 2021, 150 min
Lisa and Giorgi lose each other before they can even properly meet. Can they overcome the curse that has separated them? A love letter to one summer town, to cinema, and to football, written with infectious enthusiasm and playful exaggeration. Seasoned with dashes of self-deprecation, the film took the FIPRESCI Award at this year’s Berlinale.
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
Kolo štěstěny a fantazie /
Gûzen to sôzô
Directed by: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Japan, 2021, 121 min
A conscientious chronicler of the life of women in contemporary Japan, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi presents three loosely connected tales in which human relationships are influenced by unpredictable, fateful chance. Hamaguchi encloses the grand themes of love, revenge, and reconciliation into long, carefully written dialogues that subtly criticize the problems faced by Japanese society today.
Women Do Cry
Ženy pláčou /
Women Do Cry
Directed by: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
Bulgaria, France, 2021, 104 min
Several women are together confronted with hardship and trauma which typically stem from the way they are treated by men and, in turn, by the whole of society. This undeniably feminist work vigorously refutes the objectification of women and affords a powerful voice to their anger and frustration, giving rise to one of the most political and most pressing films of this year’s Un Certain Regard.
The Worst Person in the World
Nejhorší člověk na světě /
Verdens værste menneske
Directed by: Joachim Trier
Norway, France, Sweden, Denmark, 2021, 127 min
“Julie in 12 Chapters” is the subtitle of this film about a charming young woman who is still trying to find herself. But one day, Julie loses her youthful spirit and carefree attitude, and this just as her heart is fumbling blindly. Joachim Trier shows that the line between romantic comedy and complex drama is truly only in our minds.
Zanka Contact /
Directed by: Ismaël El Iraki
Morocco, France, Belgium, 2020, 120 min
The dark underbelly of Casablanca – a world of night clubs and brothels – is not a place for fateful love, and yet it sometimes flourishes here. The fallen woman Rajae and the devilish former rocker Larsen are brought together by a car crash, and their hearts can never be separated again… Director Ismaël El Iraki says that Zanka Contact is not a film but an all-consuming flame – and the viewer has to agree with him. Wild at Heart and True Romance with an oriental twist.