The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art have announced the first seven titles lined up for the 2012 New Directors/New Films Festival, running March 21 through April 1. And, with descriptions from the FSLC and MoMA, they are:
Breathing (Atmen, 2011). "The remarkably assured directorial debut from veteran Austrian actor Karl Markovics (The Counterfeiters) creates a slipstream between the perilousness of youth and the inevitability of death. Roman (Thomas Schubert) is an inmate at a juvenile detention center whose last hope of parole rests on his ability to hold down a job as a morgue assistant. Remorse, horror and ultimately a glimmer of illumination are cultivated through his work and his attempts to connect with a life hanging in the balance. Breathing is a Kino Lorber release." See the Cannes roundup.
Crulic: The Path to Beyond (2011). "When Claudiu Crulic, a young Romanian in Poland, is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he becomes a pawn in a Kafkaesque miscarriage of justice and goes on a hunger strike to protest his treatment in jail. Filmmaker Anca Damian’s documentary is by turns chilling and heartbreaking, but also ironic, with a bit of black humor thrown in for good measure. What makes her extraordinary documentary even more compelling is its strong visual style: Damian uses hand drawn, cutout and collage animation techniques to create a strikingly memorable film."
Found Memories (Historias Que So Existem Quando Lembradas, 2011). "The original title, which translates as 'stories that only exist when remembered,' beautifully expresses the theme and core sentiment of Julia Murat's film. Found Memories is a poetic rendering of the fictive town of Jotuomba. A magical confluence of generations and cultures is occasioned by the visit of Julia, a young photographer, to this place where time has seemingly stood still and life is rooted in the fixed roles of tradition soon to be rendered obsolete. Found Memories is a Film Movement release."
Las Acacias (2011). "A road movie with a difference, Las Acacias takes a 900-mile trip from Asunción, Paraguay to Buenos Aires, with a gruff, taciturn truck driver and the two illegal immigrants — a young woman, and her newborn daughter — he is reluctantly transporting. Largely confined to the cramped confines of the truck’s cab, [Pablo] Giorgelli’s camera observes the miles passing, and the quiet, subtly evolving interaction of the trio, while borders are crossed (in more than one sense) and the driver gradually lowers his defenses and finds himself becoming unexpectedly attached to his passengers."
Oslo, August 31st (2011) "Daylight lingers at the end of August in Oslo, but sunlight is not a friend to Anders, a semi-recovered addict, facing a new life which may not be appealing without former habits. Joachim Trier's first feature, Reprise, was a critical highlight of New Directors/New Films 2007, and while that antic fiction was about friendship and hope, his second is quite different, bearing traces of Robert Bresson. Adapted from the same novel as Louis Malle's The Fire Within (1963), this subtle and haunting film follows Anders, as he tries to adjust — making love, wandering through Oslo, having a job interview, seeing old friends, and trying to get comfortable with his situation." See Dan Sallitt's review and the Cannes roundup.
Porfirio (2011). "Paralyzed from the waist down by a stray police bullet, the title character in Alejandro Landes's remarkable film spends his days selling minutes on his cell phone when not flirting with his comely neighbor, and secretly plotting his revenge. Landes worked on the film for five years, creating a tale that joined the most intimate details of Porfirio's day-to-day life with an astonishing re-creation of his attempt to hijack an airplane." Read Dan Sallitt's review and see the Cannes roundup.
Twilight Portrait (2011). "Twilight Portrait is a powerhouse collaboration co-written and co-produced by Angelina Nikonova, who directed, and Olga Dihovichnaya, who stars in this very dark, provocative and constantly surprising debut feature film. In a modern Russian city where corruption, apathy and class warfare are the norm, a woman is raped, rather casually by the police. What follows explodes the conventions of sexual politics — and will certainly have film-goers talking. This staggering film features great performances and an unvarnished view of life in the age of Putin." See Dan Sallitt's review.