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18 Foreign Films We're Looking Forward To In 2011

by Christopher Bell
January 10, 2011 5:49 AM
21 Comments
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Alright, we've already done three Most Anticipated pieces, two Escapist and Popcorn fare pieces and here's more. Yes, it doesn't end, here's more for perhaps what you might call the more discerning reader.

Even if the majority of us won't see most of these in 2011, festivalgoers will, and a great review for an anticipated film is more than enough to briefly satiate hunger. Oddly enough, compiling the list brought attention to some trends, one being movies by big-time auteurs that appeared on last year's list -- such as "Faust" and "The Turin Horse" -- and never saw the light of day in 2010 but should, weather permitting, grace us with their presence in 2011. Another is the Asian art-film hero doing a martial arts movie, as the new year will see favorites Wong Kar-wai, Jia Zhang-ke, and Hou Hsaio-hsien dabbling in karate chops and hadoukens. Predictably, nearly every film listed here has got an eye on Cannes -- don't we all -- and we assume whatever doesn't make it will hit Venice or TIFF. Don't go looking for things like "Certified Copy" and "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," yes they come out in 2011 in the U.S. but we've already seen them which means (gulp), yet another feature. Yes, we like to keep ourselves busy.

Other than that it seems like it will be a powerhouse of a year, and if only a fraction of these make it to Cannes we should be in for a treat. After all, something's gotta make up for that middling Sundance roster.

18. "Little White Lies" - France - dir. Guillaume Canet
Synopsis: A group of friends go on their annual holiday despite the fact that one of their members recently died in a car crash.
What You Need To Know: Following up a taut crime thriller "Tell No One" with a comedy/drama in the vein of "The Big Chill" is a bit of a disappointment, but with the casting of Marion Cotillard and a trailer showcasing some pretty amusing moments (yes it's in French, but one includes an amusing parody of "The Shining"), this film just might be better than it sounds. Let's just hope it's more "A Christmas Tale" than "Dan In Real Life."
Release Date/Status: April 15, 2011 in U.K.

17. "Chicken with Plums" - France/Germany - dir. Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi
Synopsis: Based on the graphic novel by Satrapi, this live-action film details the last eight days of musician Nasser Ali Khan, uncle of Satrapi.
What You Need To Know: Not only was "Persepolis" a fun, touching, and beautiful animation, it was also nominated for an Oscar and won the Cannes Jury Prize. So why not attempt striking gold twice? The book has gotten positive reviews since it was released in 2006, with most reviewers noting its moving story, great sense of humor, and interesting POV changes which involve the main story told twice. Who knows what they'll keep and what they'll shed, though it should be noted that "Persepolis" was extremely faithful to its source material, aside from some chunks that were excised due to time restraints. Extreme bonus points for the casting, which teams Isabella Rossellini and Mathieu Amalric, who are (more often than not) marks of a fantastic movie.
Release Date/Status: Word has been quiet on this one but it's likely completed and eyeing a Cannes debut.

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21 Comments

  • joe | July 3, 2012 10:03 PMReply

    wow, two per page? No thanks, this isn't worth 9 clicks. Enough with the ad factory.

  • To BL | January 13, 2012 5:30 PMReply

    I wish i knew, that's a good question

  • siva | December 21, 2011 2:31 PMReply

    and finally this blog gives the top foreign movies in 2011
    mindsbeyond.blogspot.com

  • John M | November 15, 2011 2:16 AMReply

    I gotta be honest, this website is super-hard to read with the dark script.

  • Christopher Bell | October 8, 2011 10:27 AMReply

    Yeah, Hou Hsiao-hsien is such a white-boy.

  • Espana | September 29, 2011 2:20 AMReply

    What an amazing movie...AND a great ending to one of the best franchises ever made!

  • BL | September 11, 2011 8:40 AMReply

    All white, what about South American and African films?

  • anna | January 30, 2011 9:23 AMReply

    Tarr's “The Turin Horse” and Ulrich Köhler's "Sleeping Sickness" will premiere at the Berlinale in February, both have been chosen for the Competition.
    Also, did you know Köhler's girlfriend is none other than "Everyone Else" director Maren Ade?

  • stephen | January 12, 2011 9:48 AMReply

    here's a picture of the guy:

    http://www.filmportal.de/df/17/Uebersicht,,,,,,,,1E1F4B5DC86041CA93123B5440FFFEE7,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.html

  • Rosalie | January 11, 2011 10:04 AMReply

    I'm french, and I have to say that "Little white lies" has nothing to do with "A christmas tale". Desplechin is a master of french cinema, and I can't say the same for Canet with "Little white lies". "Tell no one" was a good thriller, "Mon Idole" was really personal and quite good, but "Little white lies" is far from being a great movie. "A Christmas Tale" is, for one, a beautiful piece of art.

    Love The Playlist.

  • Christopher Bell | January 11, 2011 9:08 AMReply

    Thanks for that, Stephen. It's quite hard to find a picture of the director, do you know what he looks like? Apparently there are plenty of doctors and physicians sharing the same name.

  • Thomas Schultze | January 11, 2011 7:54 AMReply

    I'm sure you mean "The Big Chill" - not "The Big Sleep". Although I would watch a French remake of that in a heartbeat.

    Interesting choice that you have Kohler's film on your list, because even in Germany there is no buzz whatsoever for that film. Why didn't you go for something like Andres Veiel's new film which will compete in Berlin?

  • Aaron Fowler | January 11, 2011 4:07 AMReply

    Killer piece, Chris! I am with KC on the inclusion of Joachim Trier. Norwegian cinema has been fantastic the last five years or so and continues to grow!

  • stephen | January 11, 2011 3:42 AMReply

    Koehler's film - produced by Berlin's KOMPLIZENFILM (Everyone Else) and co-produced by Paris-based WHY NOT PRODUCTIONS (White Material) - is acutally completed and will surface in a major festival soon.

    The image you use is from Christian Petzold's WOLFSBURG, not from Koehler's film!!

  • Yannick from FilmDeCulte | January 11, 2011 1:19 AMReply

    Les Impardonnables:

    Francis, the narrator of Unforgivable, is a successful writer battered by fate. Fifteen years before the beginning of the novel, he saw his wife and one of his two daughters died before her eyes, crushed by a truck mad. Now he lives in the Basque Country and remarried Judith realtor in the area. His daughter Alice is a young actress to success. Everything would be fine if Alice, Francis cherishes more than anything, do not suddenly disappear.

  • hmm... | January 10, 2011 10:47 AMReply

    awesome work on this. very informative.

  • Nick Duval | January 10, 2011 9:22 AMReply

    Ooh boy. THIS is why I love the Playlist.

  • Sergio | January 10, 2011 7:23 AMReply

    Yes!

    Incredibly informative.

  • Gabe Toro | January 10, 2011 6:46 AMReply

    Awesome awesome AWESOME piece, Chris.

  • Michael | January 10, 2011 6:33 AMReply

    I will be at Cannes this year, so this is very helpful for me. Now I can catch up on some directors whose work I've missed.

    Hou, Jia, Tarr, and Wong are all favorites of mine, and I hope to see all of their newest films at Cannes.

    I'd like it if Dumont and Paronnaud/Satrapi could make it to Cannes. Dumont consistently piques my interest, and the idea of Satrapi adapting a live-action version of one of her books sounds interesting as well.

    I've not heard of Kohler, but the Weerasethakul comparison sold me immediately. Weerasethakul may be my favorite contemporary director, and if not my absolute favorite, he certainly cracks the top five.

    There seems to be a good representation of contemporary Russian cinema next year, to which I look forward. I've long been meaning to delve into Sokurov's rather extensive filmography, and it seems now may be the time.

    Svankmajer has always been one of my favorite directors to introduce to non-film enthusiasts. I don't know that I'd just drop Little Otik on anyone, but that excellent collection of his shorts rarely disappoints friends of mine seeking something fun and new. So I'm glad to be present at the unveiling of his newest. It just fits, somehow.

    It's kind of sad that the Dardennes are just so consistently great that I'm not even registering much of a response to the idea of a new film from the duo. Maybe it's because they seem to be...if not repeating themselves, then performing very comfortably with a form at which they are admittedly excellent.

    In fact, it seems like a fair few of these directors are moving outside their comfort zones, which is possibly the biggest appeal of these selections. Which isn't to say that I wouldn't be anticipating new Hou or Jia films highly anyhow, but it's certainly a great deal of fun to be there with the rest of the world as it watches renowned film directors expand their horizons and test their talents.

  • KC | January 10, 2011 6:31 AMReply

    A tip of the hat for the Joachim Trier placing - Reprise was terrific and it's unfortunate it's taken this long for him to get back behind the camera.

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