Festival winners

A Separation (2011)
Asghar Farhadi
Iran
123′
Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. She has already made all the necessary arrangements. Nader, however, is having second thoughts. He is worried about leaving behind his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. For this reason he decides to call off the trip altogether. As a result of Nader’s decision, Simin decides to sue for divorce at the family court. When her request is rejected, however, she refuses to live with Nader, moving instead into her parents’ home. Termeh decides to stay with her father, hoping that her mother will soon come back to live with them.Nader finds it difficult to cope with the new situation - not least because it turns out to be so time-consuming. And so he hires a young woman named Razieh to look after his father. This young woman is pregnant and has accepted the job without her husband’s knowledge. One day, Nader arrives home to find that not only has his father been left alone, he has also been tied to a table! When Razieh returns, a blazing row ensues, the tragic consequences of which not only shatter Nader’s life, but also the image his daughter Termeh has of her father.
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An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (2013)
Danis Tanović
Bosnia and Herzegovina
74′
A Roma family living far away from the urban centres of Bosnia- Herzegovina. The father Nazif salvages metal from old cars and sells it to a scrap-dealer. The mother Senada keeps the house tidy, cooks, bakes and cares for their two small daughters. One day, she feels a sharp pain in her abdomen. At the clinic she is told there is something wrong with the baby she is carrying: "They say it’s dead." She is at risk of septicaemia and they must operate immediately. But Senada has no medical insurance; since the operation will cost much more than the family can afford the hospital’s head refuses to treat her. A race against time and Senada’s mounting sense of hopelessness begins ... Danis Tanović weaves these dramatic events, his protagonists’ economic hardship and fear of death into a wintery tale. The fact that the non-professional cast are re-enacting an episode from their own lives contributes greatly to the film’s sense of authenticity and social realism. At the same time, the film demonstrates one Roma family’s extraordinary courage and unerring will to survive.
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Bal - honey (2010)
Semih Kaplanoglu
Turkey
100′
Six-year-old Yusuf has just begun attending primary school where he is learning how to read and write. His father, Yakup, is a beekeeper. He goes about his trade deep inside the woods where he hangs up his bee hives in the treetops of the highest trees. The mountain forest is a place of deep mystery to Yusuf and he derives great pleasure from accompanying his father there. One morning Yusuf tells his father about a dream he had the night before. Yakup turns on him curtly telling him never to share his dreams with others. The same day, Yusuf is asked to read out a text in front of the class. He suddenly begins to stutter and he is laughed at by the rest of the class. One day the bees suddenly disappear, throwing into question the family’s means of earning a living. Yakup decides to set off for the remote mountains. But no sooner has he left, than Yusuf stops speaking. His mother Zehra, who works on a tea plantation, suffers a great deal on ac count of her son’s sudden loss of speech, but is unable to persuade him to speak. The days pass - and still Yakup does not return. Mother and son begin to worry. Yusuf goes to his grandmother’s place in a neighbouring village where he spends the magical night during which the prophet’s arrival is celebrated. When he hears the story of the prophet he is convinced that his father, with whom he identifies the holy man, will come home again. Yusuf and his mother set off on a fruitless search for signs of his father’s whereabouts after which Yusuf decides to continue the search for his father on his own. His is a journey into the unknown. Will the dream he had be - come reality?
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Capharnaüm (2018)
Nadine Labaki
Lebanon
126′
In Lebanon, many parents can simply not afford to have their children officially registered. As a result, these undocumented kids do not exist in the eyes of the state and have no rights. That is the fate of young Zain. But Zain is a fighter: even at his young age, he is already supporting his family with various odd jobs. When Zain's parents plan to marry off his eleven-year-old sister Sahar, Zain does everything in his power to stop them.
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Closely Watched Trains (1966)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
93′
The young Miloš Hrma, who speaks with misplaced pride of his family of misfits and malingerers, is engaged as a newly trained station guard in a small railway station during the Second World War and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He admires himself in his new uniform, and looks forward, like his prematurely-retired railwayman father, to avoiding real work. The sometimes pompous stationmaster is an enthusiastic pigeon-breeder with a kind wife, but is envious of the train dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš holds an as-yet platonic love for the pretty, young conductor Máša. The experienced Hubička presses for details of their relationship and realizes that Miloš is still a virgin. The idyll of the railway station is periodically disturbed by the arrival of the councillor, Zednicek, a Nazi collaborator, who spouts propaganda at the staff without success. At her initiative, Máša spends the night with Miloš, but in his youthful excitability he ejaculates prematurely before achieving penetration and then is unable to perform sexually; and the next day, despairing, he attempts suicide. He is saved, and a young doctor explains to him that ejaculatio praecox is normal at Miloš's age. The doctor recommends Miloš to "think of something else" (at which point Miloš volunteers an interest in football), and to seek the assistance of an experienced woman. During the nightshift, Hubička flirts with the young telegraphist, Zdenička, and imprints her thighs and buttocks with the office's rubber stamps. Her mother sees the stamps and complains to Hubička's superiors, and the ensuing scandal helps to frustrate the stationmaster's ambition of being promoted to inspector. The Germans and their collaborators are on edge, since their trains are being attacked by the partisans. A glamorous Resistance agent (a circus artist in peacetime), code-named Viktoria Freie, delivers a time bomb to Hubička for use in blowing up a large ammunition train. At Hubička's request, the "experienced" Viktoria also helps Miloš to resolve his sexual problem. The next day, at the crucial moment when the ammunition train is approaching, Hubička is caught up in a farcical disciplinary hearing, overseen by Zednicek, over his rubber stamping of Zdenička's backside. In Hubička's place, Miloš, liberated by his experience with Viktoria from his former passivity, takes the time bomb and drops it from a semaphore gantry, that extends transversely above the tracks, onto the train. A machine-gunner on the train, spotting Miloš, sprays him with bullets, and his body falls onto the train. With the Nazi collaborator Zednicek, winding up the disciplinary hearing, dismissing the Czech people as "nothing but laughing hyenas" (a phrase actually employed by the senior Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich, the implicit retort to his jibe comes in the form of a huge series of explosions that destroys the train. Now Hubička and the other railwaymen are indeed laughing - to express their joy at the blow to the Nazi occupiers - and it is left to a wistful Máša to pick up Miloš's uniform cap, hurled across the station by the power of the blast. (wp)
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Dersu Uzala (1975)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
144′
A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods. The film won the 1976 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Prize and the Prix FIPRESCI at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival and a number of other awards.
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Félicité (2017)
Alain Gomis
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
123′
Félicité is a proud and independent woman who works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Whenever she goes on stage, she appears to leave the world and her everyday worries behind. Her audiences are quickly infected by the rhythm of her music and her powerful, melancholy melodies. But then one day Félicité’s son has a terrible accident. Whilst he is in hospital she desperately tries to raise the money needed for his operation. A breathless tour through the impoverished streets and the wealthier districts of the Congolese capital ensues. One of the bar’s regulars is a man named Tabu who has been known to get carried away in every sense of the term. Tabu offers to help Félicité. Reluctantly, she accepts. After his spell in hospital, Félicité’s son has a hard time picking up his old life, but it is lady’s man Tabu of all people who manages to coax him out of his shell. Félicité’s sparsely furnished flat with its permanently defunct fridge becomes a mini utopia in a country that holds no hope for most of its population. The trio forms an eccentric community thrown together by fate, each of whom is free to go their separate ways together.
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Lerchen am Faden (1969)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
94′
Larks on a String is a Czech film directed by Jiří Menzel. The movie was banned by the Czechoslovak government. It saw release in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime. Menzel tells the stories of various characters considered bourgeois by Czechoslovakia's communist government in the 1950s, who have been forced to work in a junkyard for the purposes of re-education.
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Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
151′
Life in a small town is akin to journeying in the middle of the steppes: the sense that "something new and different" will spring up behind every hill, but always unerringly similar, tapering, vanishing or lingering monotonous roads...
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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
Michail Kalatosow
Russia
94′
Veronika and Boris come together in Moscow shortly before World War II. Walking along the river, they watch cranes fly overhead, and promise to rendezvous before Boris leaves to fight. Boris misses the meeting and is off to the front lines, while Veronika waits patiently, sending letters faithfully. After her house is bombed, Veronika moves in with Boris’ family, into the company of a cousin with his own intentions.
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The Milk of Sorrow (2009)
Claudia Llosa
Peru
94′
When her mother dies, Fausta is forced to face her fears, that she got as ababy with the milk of her mother. Fausta now sets out on a journey - a journey that will lead her out of her fear and into freedom. Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s film addresses a dark era of her country’s history. It won the Golden Bear in Berlin and was nominated for the Oscars in 2010.
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Theeb (2014)
Naji Abu Nowar
Jordan
100′
In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination. In 1916, in the Hejaz Province of the Ottoman Empire, the young Bedouin Theeb (Jacir Eid) is learning from his elder brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh) the skills for everyday survival in their harsh environment. Immersed in a way of life that has endured for centuries, the brothers are unaware of the tremendous upheavals taking place at the fringes of their world: the First World War is raging in Europe, the Ottoman Empire is coming undone, the Great Arab Revolt is brewing, and the British officer T.E. Lawrence is plotting with the Arab Prince Faisal to establish an Arab kingdom. When British officer Edward (Jack Fox) and his Bedouin guide Marji (Marji Audeh) stumble wayward into their tribe's camp, the two brothers' destiny is forever changed. Abiding by the Bedouin custom that guests cannot be refused aid, Hussein is assigned to accompany the two strangers to their destination - with the uninvited Theeb, eager for adventure, following close behind. The ensuing journey, filled with danger and hardship, will result in Theeb's greatly hastened maturation in a culture where a man's honour and righteousness determines his inclusion or expulsion from the community.
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Winter Sleep (2014)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
195′
Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities...
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Wolf And Sheep (2016)
Shahrbanoo Sadat
Afghanistan
86′
In rural Afghanistan, people believe in the stories they invent to tell each other, explaining the mysteries of the world, they don’t understand. Shepherd children own the mountains. Even though there are no grown ups around, they know the rules very well; the main one is that boys and girls are not allowed to be together, they have to be separated. The boys practice with their slings to fight the wolves should they attack the flock. The girls smoke dried branches of wheat secretly and play wedding, dreaming of getting a husband soon. They gossip about every one and everything, but mostly about Sediqa, 11, an outsider among the shepherd children. They think she is cursed, as an evil ghost disguised as a snake bewitched her grandmother. Sediqa picks up her sheep and goats every morning and drops them in the owner’s house every evening. She dreams of having a sling and learn to swing it like the boys and hit a wolf. Qodrat, 11, becomes the gossip topic of everyone after his mother remarries with an old man with two wives. He prefers to be alone in the most isolated parts of the mountains. This is where he meets Sediqa and they become friends until Qodrat’s mother has to send him away.
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