Magazine article Screen International

Palm Springs Film Festival: Sun Shines on Foreign Fare

Magazine article Screen International

Palm Springs Film Festival: Sun Shines on Foreign Fare

Article excerpt

The reputation of Palm Springs International Film Festival (Jan 1-11) as a treasure trove of foreign-language cinema is well established. The festival's 27th edition boasts a typically comprehensive selection of films vying for Oscar glory this season.

Laszlo Nemes' Hungarian drama Son Of Saul, Anna Muylaert's Brazilian social comedy The Second Mother and Deniz Gamze Ergüven's acclaimed Mustang from France are among the 40 films in the running for the best foreign-language Oscar that will screen at the festival. That's nearly half the number of the 81 national submissions, and the most screened by any festival anywhere.

In addition, festival director Darryl Macdonald, artistic director Helen Du Toit and their team of programmers pride themselves on championing emerging talent. Beyond the foreign-language Oscar contenders, the New Voices/New Visions line-up promises to uncover some of the most dynamic young international film-makers at work today. Some, such as Canadian director Andrew Cividino's Cannes Critics' Week selection Sleeping Giant, have already made waves on the festival circuit.

Then there are those a little further towards the 'undiscovered gems' end of the spectrum. "Interruption [a Greece-Croatia co-production, directed by Yorgos Zois] is phenomenally interesting," says Du Toit, who adds that she is thrilled about the line-up at this year's festival.

"There are so many layers. You keep thinking you know what's going on and it turns around and around. There's also A Heavy Heart by Thomas Stuber, which is a beautifully crafted film. The performance by the lead actor is heart-breaking."

Du Toit also points to Thithi by Indian director Raam Reddy as one to watch. "It has a sweet, low-key vibe and it's endlessly endearing," she says. "Raam is one of the most interesting new directors out of India. …

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