Five international films to be released now

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This charming documentary from Polish director Pawel Lozinski turns the simple act of striking up a conversation with a stranger into a deceptively in-depth study of what people discover when they ask to play. Every season for two years, Lozinski, who lives in Warsaw, has stationed himself on his patio, dangling both camera and microphone over a gray concrete strip, trying to tempt passers-by. life

When he tells these people that they have to be filmed, some give in, some shy away, and some begin to philosophize about what it means to live a movie-worthy life. Some characters are recurring, so we get to know them over time – like a middle-aged man we meet for the first time after being released from prison, combined with a gut portrait of a former character’s grim prospects as seen over several months throughout the film. convicts.

Lozinski is never seen on screen (only heard), and his camera is always looking down, giving him a divine perspective. So people perceive his filmmaking as revealing secrets with a confessional, intimate disavowal, reveling in an intimacy sometimes only found in public spaces.

Ghostly, vengeful hands emerge from the mirrored reflection of an ornate display case; a corpse hangs from a tree like a chandelier above a flawless landscape of glistening snow; a mother bathed in golden light bends over a moaning child, but smothers the screen with a pillow. Set in 1930s colonial India, Gala is a gothic drama where beauty meets terror: the film’s titular hero (Triptii Dimri), a descendant of a long line of classical musicians, strives for artistic excellence. .

Anvitaa Dutt’s film is sought after by all the top filmmakers amid Gala’s current era as the country’s top singer; As the daughter of a gruff single mother desperate for a boy child, she takes in the orphaned singer and alienates the distraught Gala. While the film slowly reveals the dark story behind Gala’s success, inviting and then emboldening us, the proceedings are a little predictable, the broad strokes of the characters evident. But the allure of “The Castle” is not in its plot, but in its form and feel: its captivating, beautifully composed, period-perfect tableau lingers long after the film is over.

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This first feature film by Juan Pablo González is a non-fiction portrait marvel that unfolds as a shared secret between the director and his subjects. This sense of intimacy is partly due to the location being Gonzalez’s hometown, the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The central element of “Caballerango” is the suicide of the director’s childhood friend. His story reveals a range of urban dwellers’ thoughts on life in a place ravaged by drug violence, immigration and economic hardship.

As people quietly open their hearts to Gonzalez, he keeps his camera close but treats it with the respect of a listening friend; he captures their private lives without ever seeming voyeuristic or exploitative. Their stories lie not only in words, but also in the rhythms of their daily lives, which González illuminates in striking compositions: A cow slaughter is captured in three economical and elliptical scenes; a race between two young men is enlivened by kinetic camera work; The drive, in which a man tells a tragic story, becomes a kind of visual poem as Gonzalez’s lens is fixed on the rearview mirror, capturing only the driver’s eyes.

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Two lonely, hurting souls take solace in each other’s misery in this Icelandic drama, though the relationship at the heart of Marteinn Thorsson’s film isn’t a refreshing romance; “The Backyard” is one of the rare films about adult friendship. Fresh out of a naturopathic retreat—the locals more aptly call it “the asylum”—middle-aged Brynja (Laufey Eliasdottir) temporarily moves into a nearby guest house to reclaim her home. In this icy little paddock dotted with spare little cottages, Brynja crosses paths with Mark (Tim Plester), a kindly Briton struggling with his own demons.

The film unfolds their backstories in stages as we discover the two characters through awkward exchanges and endearing comedy as they discover each other. (When they first meet, Mark tries to impress Brynja by cooking local food, only to discover to her embarrassment that she is both a local and a professional chef). What we learn about their reasons for taking refuge in this snowy, snowy Limbo is ultimately devastating, but The Backyard maintains a warm, open fantasy theme throughout, concluding with a Covid-themed coda that expands on humble life lessons to affirmations. existential hope.

Directed by Marta Sousa Ribeiro, this exciting and life-changing drama about a Portuguese boy struggling with the consequences of his parents’ divorce, starring his lead actor (Simon Langlois), was filmed in three stages: 2015, 2017 and 2019. As the film unfolds, we watch her grow and mature before our eyes—think “Childhood,” but in miniature.

This time, the capsule structure is just one of the many twists Ribeiro has added to the future model of the wet genre. The film includes grainy, handheld vignettes interspersed with scenes of runaways and homeless children from various documentaries, taking us in and out of Simon’s home life with minimal impact. The two threads intertwine in a kind of puzzle—a thriller, even—that relies on the natural unpredictability of the impressionable teenage mind. The stakes of Simon’s Calls seem both urgent and utterly mundane, and by moving between these two emotional poles, Ribeiro accurately captures the microcosmic inner worlds of teenagers, where even the most familiar and everyday problems can seem like apocalyptic catastrophes.

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