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Foreign Affairs
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DATE  February 1
DIRECTOR  Michael R. Roskam
CAST  Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Barbara Sarafian, Jeanne Dandoy

FUN FACT  The film's dialogue is largely in Limburgish, a sort of Dutch/German cross spoken in parts of Germany, Holland and Belgium.

SYNOPSIS  A young farmer is approached by a vet working with the "hormone mafia underworld" to dose his cows for sale to a beef trader. But a dangerous train of events is sparked by the murder of a policeman and events in the farmer's past.

WHAT TO EXPECT  This was Oscar nominated in the Foreign Language section, and has generally had rave reviews for its performances, falling down only on an overreliance on flashbacks. Still, if you're keen to see more from Rust & Bone's Schoenaerts (and who isn't?), this is the film for you.
• Watch the trailer below



DATE  February 8
DIRECTOR  Pablo Larraín
CAST  Gael Garcia Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers, Néstor Cantillana

FUN FACT  The film was shot on lo-def video so that the new footage would match with archive material.

SYNOPSIS  The story of ad man Rene Saavedra, who designed the campaign to persuade the Chilean people to vote no in a referendum that General Pinochet has arranged to legitimise his regime. The country was too scared to vote at all, but Saavedra aimed to mobilise them.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Bernal nails the Chilean accent, and the performance for good measure. The film screened at Cannes in the Director's Fortnight and won the top prize in that section of the festival, which is a good sign. Expect gripping period drama.
• Watch the trailer below



DATE  February 15
DIRECTOR  Matthieu Kassovitz
CAST  Matthieu Kassovitz

BASED ON  This is a loose adaptation of the events of the Ouvéa cave hostage incident in 1988.

SYNOPSIS  Kassovitz plays Captain Philippe Legorjus, a man sent to the French territory of New Caledonia in the Pacific after a local group takes French hostages and demands independence. Legorjus is there as a hostage negotiator, but with his government refusing to accede to the hostage takers' demands, and an assault planned, his job looks set to fail.

WHAT TO EXPECT  After a few big-budget action movie misfires, this looks like it's Kassovitz back on form.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube



DATE  February 22
DIRECTOR  Cate Shortland
CAST  Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, Nele Trebs, Ursina Lardi

FUN FACT  Shortland's previous effort, Somersault, made a clean sweep of the Australian Film Institute awards in 2004, wining in all 13 categories - the first time this has ever happened.

SYNOPSIS  At the end of World War II, four children have to travel across war-torn Germany to reach their grandmother's home after their parents are arrested by the Allies as Nazis. You'd think the Allies would arrange a babysitter or something, but apparently not. The siblings are joined by a young Jewish man recently released from a liberated concentration camp.

WHAT TO EXPECT  It's Shortland's first film since the universally praised Somersault in 2004, and we have to hope that she'll keep up at that level. This is Australia's official entry for Best Foreign Language film as this year's Oscars (it's an Australian production), which is promising.
• Watch the trailer below

Caesar Must Die

Caesar Must Die

DATE  March 1
DIRECTOR  Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
CAST  Salvatore Striano, Cosimo Rega, Giovanni Arcuri, Antonio Frasca

FUN FACT  The actors here were really inmates in a high-security prison.

SYNOPSIS  In the Rebibbia Prison outside Rome, a group of inmates stage a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

WHAT TO EXPECT  This won the Golden Bear at last year's Berlin Film Festival and is Italy's Best Foreign Film Oscar submission, both good signs.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Beyond The Hills

Beyond The Hills

DATE  March 15
DIRECTOR  Cristian Mungiu
CAST  Cosmina Stratan, Cristina Flutur, Valeriu Andriu??, Dana Tapalag?

BASED ON  The non-fiction novels by Tatiana Niculescu Bran, chronicling a real-life case of exorcism.

SYNOPSIS  The story follows two young women who grew up in the same orphanage. One has now joined an orthodox convent and refuses to leave it, despite her friend's urging. Their story is complicated by the irrationality of those around her, culminating in an attempted exorcism.

WHAT TO EXPECT  It will be like an arthouse The Exorcism Of Emily Rose. Or a more arthouse, Romanian version of Requiem. And judging by Mungiu's previous films, it will not be a laugh barrel.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

In The House

In The House

DATE  March 29
DIRECTOR  François Ozon
CAST  Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigneur, Fabrice Luchini, Ersnt Umhauer

BASED ON  A play by Juan Mayorga.

SYNOPSIS  A gifted 16-year-old insinuates himself into a classmate's home and writes about his family for a language assignment - but his intrusion, and his writing, sparks a dangerous turn of events.

WHAT TO EXPECT  This one looks much darker than Ozon's last, the comic Potiche, with an edge of tragedy and violence. And for those keeping score, Kristin Scott Thomas is now only one French film away from a free beret.
• Watch the trailer on

Love Is All You Need

Love Is All You Need

DATE  April 19
DIRECTOR  Susanne Bier
CAST  Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrholm, Kim Bodnia

FUN FACT  Brosnan speaks a few words of Danish in this trailer.

SYNOPSIS  Dyrholm plays Ida, a hairdresser undergoing chemotherapy who has just discovered her husband cheating on her. Heading to Italy for her daughter's wedding she makes a bad impression on Philip (Brosnan), the father of the groom, and faces tension between the happy couple. Still, we're betting Philip gives her another chance, on the evidence here.

WHAT TO EXPECT  It looks a good bit fluffier than Bier's typical output (Brothers, In A Better World) but it's hard to judge the trailer without speaking Danish.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube



DATE  April 19
DIRECTOR  Haifaa Al-Mansour
CAST  Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd, Sultan Al Assaf

FILM FACT  Al-Mansour is the first Saudi Arabian woman to direct a film.

SYNOPSIS  Wadjda (Mohammed) is a 10 year-old girl living in Riyadh who decides she wants a bike. Her mother won't allow it, but Wadjda is determined...

WHAT TO EXPECT  The festival reception has been warm for this one, and just think how much it will irritate the Saudi Arabian regime if we all go see it!
• Watch a clip on YouTube

Watch Trailers

Quick Poll   Which of these films are you looking forward to most?

Caesar Must Die
Beyond The Hills
In The House
Love Is All You Need


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