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18 Foreign Films We're Looking Forward To In 2011

Photo of Christopher Bell By Christopher Bell | The Playlist January 10, 2011 at 5:49AM

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.
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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.

This article is related to: Feature, Foreign Directors, Michael Haneke, Bruno Dumont, Ulrich Seidl


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