International Outlooks

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The best international independent films of this year really captured the sense of doom and foreboding at this moment in time.

Interestingly, the themes they explore – such as poverty, injury and totalitarianism – are all viewed through the lens of family, lending each tale a timeless, universal quality.

 

Roma

A love letter to the ‘muchacha’ who raised him, Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron tells the harrowing yet life-affirming tale of Cleo, a live-in maid to a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City. It’s a film so real you can practically taste the tacos, and it pulverizes you with natural disasters, human cruelty, feats of bravery, and truly transformative love.

Cold War

Love wasn’t easy in Soviet-era Poland. A composer and his beguiling muse share a passion that spans decades, and criss-crosses the Iron Curtain several times over. Bathed in black and white, with poetry and music and profound looks of longing, theirs is a dangerous romance for a dangerous time.

Rider

This ain’t his first rodeo, and that’s kind of the problem. Soulful cowboy Brady wrestles with a life-changing head injury, but the thrill of the ride still calls out to him.  A complex and heartbreaking meditation on purpose, pride and what it means to be a man.

Shoplifters

What if you could choose your family? A mysterious ragtag group of grifters, thieves and children battle poverty and the elements on the seedy streets of Tokyo.  In adopting a desperate young girl, this makeshift family risks everything for what they believe is right.

Capernaum

A Lebanese adolescent, brutally beaten by extreme hardships, sues his parents for giving him life. This Cannes-favourite, an urgent exploration of justice and suffering in a deeply indifferent world, boasts some of the best child performances out there.

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