Actress Caitríona Balfe as Ma in Belfast
BIG HOLLYWOOD DRAMAS CAUSE A SPLASH AT THE INDUSTRY’S MOST GLAMOROUS FILM FESTIVALS LIKE CANNES AND VENICE. HOWEVER, ANY PROPER CINEPHILE KNOWS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO KEEP AN EYE ON THE BUZZY MOVIES COMING FROM ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WORLD. AS AWARD SEASON APPROACHES, HERE ARE THE 10 BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM CONTENDERS TO WATCH.
BELFAST A black-and-white, semi-autobiographical film from Kenneth Branagh, Belfast scopes in on the life of a working-class family during the tumultuous 1960s. The story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood in the Northern Ireland capital first captivated audiences at Telluride Film Festival. It stars Jamie Dornan, Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Morgan and Jude Hill.
A scene from the award-winning film A Hero.
A HERO Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, A Hero centers on Rahim, who is in prison because of a debt he could not repay. He tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint while on a two-day leave, but things don’t go as planned. From writer-director Asghar Farhadi, it stars Amir Jadidi and Mohsen Tanabandeh.
IL BUCO Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Venice Film Festival, Michelangelo Frammartino’s drama chronicles the adventure of the Piedmont Speleological Group who, in 1961, explore caves unknown to man. It stars Paolo Cossi, Jacopo Elia, Denise Trombin and Nicola Lanza.
Jamie Dornan and Jude Hill star in Belfast
PARALLEL MOTHERS Pedro Almodóvar’s newest drama stops on the intersecting paths of two expectant single mothers who meet in a hospital room. While the middle-aged woman does not regret her pregnancy, the younger of the two is scared. Together they form a strong bond as they prepare to confront motherhood. It stars Penélope Cruz and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón.
PETITE MAMAM Nelly recently lost her grandmother, so she must help her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. Ditching her duties, Nelly explores the house and the surrounding woods and meets a girl her same age building a treehouse. Written and directed by Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Céline Sciamma, it stars Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Stéphane Varupenne, Nina Meurisse and Margot Abascal.
THE HAND OF GOD From Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino, this Italian drama centers on a young man in 1980s Naples and his experiences with heartbreak and liberation after being saved from a freak accident by soccer legend Diego Maradona. It stars Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Luisa Ranieri and Teresa Saponangelo.
TITANE Writer-director Julia Ducournau’s body horror thriller was called the most shocking film of 2021 by BBC. Living up to its reputation, Titane is about a mentally disturbed woman who becomes pregnant after having sex with a car. It premiered at Cannes Film Festival, where Ducournau became the second female director to win the coveted Palme d’Or. The film stars Agathe Rousselle, Vincent Lindon, Garance Marillier and Laïs Salameh.
Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielsen Lie star in dark rom-com The Worst Person in the World
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD Set over the course of four years, The Worst Person in the World follows Julie, a young woman struggling to find her career path and navigate her love life, who is forced to take a realistic look at who she really is. The dark rom-com comes from writer-director Joachim Trier and stars Renate Reinsve, who won an acting award at Cannes for her performance, and Anders Danielsen Lie.
Lou de Laâge and Mélanie Laurent in The Mad Women’s Ball
THE MAD WOMEN’S BALL Actor-director Mélanie Laurent’s portrait of women enmeshed in a medical system that misunderstands and fears them takes place in 19th century France. It follows Eugénie Cléry, a free-spirited young woman whose wit and independence will not be tolerated by her father, not to mention she is visited by spirits of the dead. He forces her into a neurological clinic run by Professor Jean-Martin Charcot, a man more showman than scientist who is orchestrating a grand ball that preys upon his patients’ fantasies. It stars Laurent, Lou de Laâge, Grégoire Bonnet, Benjamin Voisin and Emmanuelle Bercot.
A scene from French film L’Événement
L’ÉVÉNEMENT (HAPPENING) Winner of the Golden Lion Prize at Venice Film Festival, this adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel tells one woman’s journey to get an abortion when it was still illegal in 1960s France. A bright young student with a promising future, Anne resolves to overcome shame, pain and the possibility of prison to finish her studies. Directed by Audrey Diwan, it stars Anamaria Vartolomei, Luàna Bajrami, Louise Orry-Diquéro, Kacey Mottet Klein, Louise Chevillotte, Pio Marmaï and Sandrine Bonnaire.
Louise Orry-Diquéro, Luàna Bajrami and Anamaria Vartolomei star in L’Événement.
Photography by: BELFAST PHOTO BY ROB YOUNGSON / FOCUS FEATURES
A HERO PHOTO COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD PHOTO BY KASPER TUXEN, © OSLO PICTURES DIGITAL
THE MAD WOMEN’S BALL PHOTO BY THIBAULT GRABHERR AND CHRISTINE TAMALET
L’ÉVÉNEMENT PHOTOS BY MANUEL MOUTIER, © 2021 RECTANGLE PRODUCTIONS/FRANCE 3 CINÉMA/WILD BUNCH/SRAB FILMS