The best new films from around the globe.
Afterschool and Beirut Open City
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Antonio Campos; Writer: Antonio Campos; Stars: Ezra Miller, Addison Timlin, Jeremy Allen White, Emory Cohen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Rosemarie Dewitt, Lee Wilkof, Paul Sparks, Bill Raymond, Gary Wilmes Christopher Mccann)
A boy at an exclusive American private school becomes increasingly obsessed with watching video clips on his computer.
All Around Us (Gururi no koto)
(Country: Japan; Year: 2008; Director: Ryosuke Hashiguchi; Writer: Ryosuke Hashiguchi, Ryosuke Hashiguchi; Stars: Lily Franky, Tae Kimura, Tamae Ando, Hirofumi Arai, Mitsuko Baisho, Akira Emoto, Ryo Kase, Reiko Kataoka, Yuichi Kimura, Rie Minemura)
Witty drama about eight years in a marriage.
Beirut Open City
(Country: Lebanon; Year: 2008; Director: Samir Habchi; Writer: Khaled El Nabawi, Rodney Haddad; Stars: Khaled El Nabawi, Rodney Haddad)
An Egyptian filmmaker based in Beirut tries to make an expose of the Lebanese security agencies, but finds that he, too, is under scrutiny.
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath; Writer: Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasava)
The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the US during the Vietnam War.
Colours Of Passion (Rang rasiya)
(Country: India; Year: 2008; Director: Ketan Mehta; Writer: Ketan Mehta; Stars: Rachna, Jim Boeven, Nandana Sen, Vipin Sharma)
A sensuous story about the trials and loves of revolutionary Indian artist Raja Ravi Verma.
Goodbye Solo and Tony Manero
The Desert Within (Desierto adentro)
(Country: Mexico; Year: 2008; Director: Rodrigo Plá; Writer: Rodrigo Plá, Laura Santullo; Stars: Mario Zaragoza, Diego Cataño, Memo Dorantes)
Paternal affection takes a twisted turn in this epic take on devotion and indoctrination set during the religious purges that followed the 1928 Mexican Revolution.
(Country: Uganda, South Africa; Year: 2007; Director: Yes! That's Us; Writer: Donald Mugisha, James Tayler, Baguma Eunice, Kyagulanyi 'Bobi Wine' Ssentamu; Stars: Kyagulanyi 'Bobi Wine' Ssentamu, Mark 'Buchaman' Bugembe, Catherine 'Scarlet' Nakyanzi, Olem 'Lot' Bonny)
An authentic portrayal of life in Kampala's inner city, in which four friends set out to make it as hip hop musicians. Definitely winning the award for best directorial collective moniker.
(Country: Korea, France; Year: 2008; Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun; Writer: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun; Stars: Youssouf Djaoro, Mata Gabin, Assane Kheiro)
A poignant story of a man shamed by his inability to escape his impoverished dry country for the greener pastures of Europe.
Eye Of The Sun (Ein Shams)
(Country: Egypt, Morocco; Year: 2007; Director: Ibrahim El-Batout; Writer: Ibrahim El-Batout, Tamer El Said; Stars: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Ramadan Khater, Hanan Youssef)
A hypnotising journey through modern day Egypt and Iraq that veers between documentary and fiction. Won the Best Film prize at the Taormina film festival.
(Country: India; Year: 2008; Director: Nandita Das; Writer: Nandita Das, Shuchi Kothari; Stars: Tisca Chopra, Shahana Goswami, Deepti Naval, Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah, Sanjay Suri, Raghuvir Yadav)
The story of how the Hindu-Muslim riots that ravaged Gujarat in 2002 altered the lives of a number of different characters.
Momma's Man and Firaaq
German + Rain
(Country: Japan; Year: 2007; Director: Satoko Yokohama; Writer: Satoko Yokohama; Stars: Suzune Fujioka, Michio Hisauchi, Tatsunori Honda, Peter Hyman, Shûji Iijima, Yoshimi Nozaki, Daisuke Tajiri, Junji Tamura, Yûki Tokunaga)
An indomitable 16-year-old grapples with an unsympathetic boss, a small boy who wants to be a girl, a singing contest - and her dying father.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Ramin Bahrani; Writer: Bahareh Azimi, Ramin Bahrani; Stars: Souléymane Sy Savané, Red West, Diane Franco Galindo, Carmen Leyva, Lane "Roc" Williams, Mamadou Lam)
An unlikely relationship between a grumbling old-timer and a Senegalese taxi driver.
Hassan And Morcos
(Country: Egypt; Year: 2008; Director: Ramy Imam; Writer: Youseff Maaty; Stars: Omar Sharif, Adel Imam, Mohammed Imam)
Egyptian screen icons Omar Sharif and Adel Imam team up for the first-time in this razor sharp satire about religious intolerance.
(Country: Philippines; Year: 2008; Director: Francis X Pasion; Writer: Francis X Pasion; Stars: Baron Geisler, Coco Martin, Flor Salanga)
Pasion's prize-winning feature combines a lacerating satire of 'reality TV' ethics with a cautionary account of the marketability of certain images of 'Third World' poverty.
Laila's Birthday (Eid milad Laila)
(Country: Palestine, Tunisia, Netherlands; Year: 2008; Director: Rashid Masharawi; Writer: Rashid Masharawi; Stars: Mohamed Bakri, Areen Omari, Nour Zoubi)
A moving, often funny tale of a Palestinian taxi driver trying to get home in time for his daughter's birthday.
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! and All Around Us
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Mark Flanagan, Andrew van Baal )
A fond and fitting tribute to the LA club which has played host to a strong community of musicians and comedians from Fiona Apple to John C Reilly.
The Last Thakur
(Country: UK, Bangladesh; Year: 2008; Director: Sadik Ahmed; Writer: Sadik Ahmed, Heather Taylor; Stars: Tariq Anam Khan, Ahmed Rubel, Tanveer Hassan, Anisur Rahman Milon, Tanju Miah, Jayanto Chattopadhyay), Official Site
As a Muslim politician and a Hindu landlord compete for power in an isolated Bangladeshi village, a stranger with a rifle pursues his own deadly agenda.
(Country: Argentina, France, Netherlands, Germany, Spain; Year: 2008; Director: Lisandro Alonso; Writer: Lisandro Alonso, Salvador Roselli; Stars: Nieves Cabrera, Juan Fernandez, Giselle Irrazabal)
We were thinking Scouse-a-go-go when we saw the title... but apparently this "brilliantly paced story of one man's journey into his past" is "set in the isolated interior of Tierra del Fuego".
Loose Rope (Rismane Baz)
(Country: Iran; Year: 2008; Director: Mehrshad Karkhani; Writer: Mehrshad Karkhani, Babak Panahi; Stars: Pejman Bazeghi, Babak Hamidian)
Two friends from the countryside set off to the big city with an injured cow for company.
Medicine for Melancholy
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Barry Jenkins; Writer: Barry Jenkins; Stars: Wyatt Cenac, Tracey Heggins, Elizabeth Acker, Melissa Bisagni, DeMorge Brown, Powell DeGrange, Chida Emeka, John Friedberg, Dana Julius, Erin Klenow)
A couple have a one-night stand and later wander the city in a conversation which reveals their very differing attitudes to issues of class and identity.
Wonderful Town and The Secret
(Country: USA; Year: 2008; Director: Azazel Jacobs; Writer: Azazel Jacobs; Stars: Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs, Dana Varon)
A man in mid-life crisis retreats to his parents' loft.
Nights And Weekends
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Greta Gerwig, Joe Swanberg; Writer: Greta Gerwig, Joe Swanberg; Stars: Greta Gerwig, Joe Swanberg, Jay Duplass, Elizabeth Donius, Lynn Shelton, Kent Osborne)
A twenty-something couple struggle with a long-distance relationship.
Night And Day (Bam gua nat)
(Country: South Korea; Year: 2008; Director: Hong Sang-soo; Writer: Hong Sang-soo; Stars: Sabine Crossen, Ju-bong Gi, Cyril Hutteau, Su-jeong Hwang, Yeong-ho Kim, Seon-gyun Lee, Eun-hye Park, Min-jung Seo)
A fortysomething married man goes on the lam to Paris.
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!
(Country: Australia; Year: 2008; Director: Mark Hartley; Writer: Mark Hartley; Stars: Phillip Adams, Christine Amor, Glory Annen, Victoria Anoux, Ian Barry, Briony Behets, Steve Bisley, Jamie Blanks, Graeme Blundell, Russell Boyd)
Documentary charting a key moment in Aussie cinema.
(Country: Mexico; Year: 2008; Director: Enrique Rivero; Writer: Enrique Rivero; Stars: Nolberto Coria, Nancy Orozco, Tesalia Huerta, Celina Altamirano, Oscar Daniel Cabrera, Ericka Castillo, José Luis Córdova, Liliana Judith Cortés, Gerardo Cuevas, Eduardo de la Vega)
A Mexican caretaker faces the challenge of leaving the security of the only home he has known for decades.
The Betrayal and Nights And Weekends
Quick Gun Murugan
(Country: India; Year: 2008; Director: Shashanka Ghosh; Writer: Rajesh Devraj; Stars: Gaurav Kapoor, Anu Menon, Sandhya Mridul, Ashwin Mushran, Naseer, Nasser, Vinay Pathak, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Shanmugha Rajan, Rajendraprasad)
Comedy about a Bollywood gunslinger on a mission to save vegetarians and the world!
(Country: Argentina; Year: 2008; Director: Albertina Carri; Writer: Albertina Carri; Stars: Nazarena Duarte, Gonzalo Pérez, Analía Couceyro)
A disturbing study of adultery, emotional isolation and domestic dysfunction in a remote town in the Argentine pampas.
(Country: Pakistan; Director: Mehreen Jabbar; Writer: Mohammad Ahmed), Official Site
Gorgeous colors enhance this tense tale, based on actual events, about a young Pakistani boy who, with his father, inadvertently crosses the border into India. Both wind up in jail for years, while mother (Nandita Das) is left bewildered and alone.
(Country: China; Year: 2008; Director: Li Hongqi ; Writer: Li Hongqi ; Stars: Yang Bo, Duo Yu, Xiao He)
Dreamlike exploration of the lives of six people who live in a suburban housing tenement.
Salt Of This Sea (Le Sel De La Mer)
(Country: Palestine, Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland; Year: 2008; Director: Annemarie Jacir; Writer: Annemarie Jacir; Stars: Suheir Hammad, Saleh Bakri, Riyad Ideis, Walid Abdul Salam, Jaber Abu Kaoud, Um Hussein Al Malhi, Iman Aoun, Yahya Barakat, Diana Buttu, Ismael Dabbag)
The odyssey of a US-born Palestinian woman who travels back to the land of her forebears.
The Last Thakur and Salt Of This Sea
The Secret (The Secret, Dead Time: Kala)
(Country: Indonesia; Year: 2007; Director: Joko Anwar; Writer: Joko Anwar; Stars: Fachri Albar, Ario Bayu, Shanty, Fahrani, Arswendi Nasution, Agust Melasz, Frans Tumbuan)
Film noir sees a journalist get wind of a location of "a secret" with the power to kill.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Daryl Wein; Stars: Don Adler, Richard Berkowitz, Susan Brown, Demetre Daskalakis, Richard Dworkin, William Haseltine, Larry Kramer, Ardele Lister, Michael Lucas, Francisco Roque)
A stimulating account of pioneering safe sex advocate Richard Berkowitz.
The Sky, The Earth And The Rain (El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia)
(Country: Chile; Year: 2008; Director: José Luis Torres Leiva; Writer: José Luis Torres Leiva; Stars: Julieta Figueroa, Angélica Riquelme, Mariana Muñoz)
Study of solitude and melancholy set in the beautiful, bleached landscape of south-central Chile.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Kelly Parker; Writer: Kelly Parker)
A fresh and clear sighted expose of inequality, told through the stories of three women evicted from their homes as part of a drive to clean up South Central LA.
Still Walking (Aruitemo Aruitemo)
(Country: Japan; Year: 2008; Director: Hirokazu Koreeda; Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda, Hirokazu Koreeda; Stars: You, Hiroshi Abe, Yoshio Harada, Ryôga Hayashi, Haruko Kato, Kirin Kiki, Yui Natsukawa, Hotaru Nomoto, Kazuya Takahashi, Shohei Tanaka)
Drama chronicling the 24-hour reunion of a family.
Still Walking and Teza
(Country: Ethiopia, Germany, France; Year: 2008; Director: Haile Gerima; Writer: Haile Gerima; Stars: Aaron Arefe, Takelech Beyene, Abeye Tedla, Abiye Tedla, Veronika Avraham, Mengistu Zelalem, Araba Evelyn Johnson-Arthur, Nebiyu Baye, Teje Tesfahun)
Ethiopian idealist finds you can go home again, at a cost.
(Country: Chile, Brazil; Year: 2008; Director: Pablo Larraín; Writer: Pablo Larraín, Alfredo Castro, Mateo Iribarren; Stars: Alfredo Castro, Amparo Noguera, Héctor Morales, Paola Lattus, Elsa Poblete), Official Site
The story of a psychotic fiftysomething and his obssession with John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever.
Under The Tree (Dibawah pohon, Di Bawah Pohon)
(Country: Indonesia; Year: 2008; Director: Garin Nugroho; Writer: Aramantono; Stars: Ikranagara, Ayu Laksmi, Nadia Saphira, Dwi Sasono, Marcella Zalianty)
Three interlocking stories about women, births and deaths, all set in the distinctive (and sometimes mystical) culture of Bali.
United Red Army (Jitsuroku rengô sekigun: Asama sansô e no michi)
(Country: Japan; Year: 2007; Director: Kôji Wakamatsu; Writer: Kôji Wakamatsu, Masayuki Kakegawa, Masayuki Kakegawa; Stars: Maki Sakai, Arata, Akie Namiki, Go Jibiki, Maria Abe, Anri Ban, Kenji Date, Yuki Fujii, Yoshio Harada, Len Hisa)
Docu-drama brilliantly reconstructs the most troubling episode in the bloody history of Japanese student-radical extremism.
Victoire Terminus, Kinshasa
(Country: France, Democratic Republic of Congo; Year: 2008; Director: Renaud Barret, Florent de La Tullaye; Stars: Jeanette Mukendi)
Documentary portrait of female boxers.
Laila's Birthday and Colours Of Passion
A Week Alone (Unas Semana solos)
(Country: Argentina; Year: 2007; Director: Celina Murga; Writer: Celina Murga, Juan Villegas; Stars: Natalia Gomez Alarcon, Manuel Aparicio, Mateo Braun, Eleonora Capobianco, Magdalena Capobianco, Lucas Del Bo, Ignacio Giménez, Natalia Gómez Aarcón, Ignacio Jiménez, Gastón Luparo)
When the family's away, the kids will play.
Welcome To Sajjanpur
(Country: India; Year: 2008; Director: Shyam Benegal; Writer: Shyam Benegal, Ashok Mishra; Stars: Amrita Rao, Shreyas Talpade, Divya Dutta, Yashpal Sharma, Ila Arun, Ravi Kishan)
Comedy about a frustrated writer who pens letters for fellow villagers, getting everyone in trouble.
Witch Of The West Is Dead (Nishi no majo ga shinda)
(Country: Japan; Year: 2008; Director: Shunichi Nagasaki; Writer: Kaho Nashiki, Yumi Yazawa, Shunichi Nagasaki; Stars: Yuichi Kimura, Nao Omori, Sachi Parker, Ryô, Katsumi Takahashi, Mayu Takahashi)
A disturbed youngster is sent to live with her gran - the self-appointed "Witch Of The West" - and spends an idyllic summer... but all good things must come to an end.
(Country: Thailand; Year: 2007; Director: Aditya Assarat; Writer: Aditya Assarat; Stars: Supphasit Kansen, Anchalee Saisoontorn, Dul Yaambunying)
A local woman falls in love with an architect and unwittingly inspires jealousy in a small Thai town recovering from the 2006 tsunami.