Details on the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival were unveiled Monday, with lineups for the festival’s spotlight on Arab cinema, films competing for the FIPRESCI Award and Joshn Schlesinger Award as well as its New Voices/New Visions Award.
Additionally, PSIFF has slated 40 of the 63 official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Foreign Language Film in its roster.
“This is the most wide-ranging and cohesive line-up of films and special events the Festival has ever assembled,” commented PSIFF Director Darryl Macdonald in a statement. “From our special showcase of new Arabian cinema to the beefed-up archival section and the inclusion of an exhibition focusing on allied arts (with the Marilyn: Intimate Exposures program), the PSIFF has kicked it up a notch, enhancing its standing as an event presenting the best of contemporary world cinema with a celebration of all things cinematic.”
The Palm Springs International Film Festival will announce its complete line-up of films later this week.
Announced 2012 PSIFF lineups with descriptions and credits provided by the festival.
Awards Buzz section features 40 of the 63 official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Foreign Language Film (A jury of international film critics will review these films to award the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Best Actor and Best Actress):
“Breathing” (Austria), Director: Karl Markovics
“Bullhead” (Belgium/Netherlands), Director: Michaël R. Roskam
“Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” (Brazil), Director: Jose Padilha
“Tilt” (Bulgaria/Germany), Director: Viktor Chouchkov
“Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada), Director: Philippe Falardeau
“The Flowers of War” (China), Director: Yimou Zhang
“Alois Nebel” (Czech Republic/Germany), Director: Tomá Lunák
“Superclásico” (Denmark), Director: Ole Christian Madsen
“Le Havre” (Finland/France, Germany), Director: Aki Kaurismäki
“Declaration of War” (France), Director: Valérie Donzelli
“Pina” (Germany), Director: Wim Wenders
“Attenberg” (Greece), Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
“A Simple Life” (Hong Kong/China), Director: Ann Hui
“The Turin Horse” (Hungary/France, Germany, Switzerland), Director: Bela Tarr
“Volcano” (Iceland/Denmark), Director: Rúnar Rúnarsson
“Abu, Son of Adam” (India), Director: Salim Ahamed
“A Separation” (Iran), Director: Asghar Farhadi
“Footnote” (Israel), Director: Joseph Cedar
“Terraferma” (Italy), Director: Emanuele Crialese
“Postcard” (Japan), Director: Kaneto Shindo
“The Front Line” (Korea), Director: Jang Hun
“Back to Your Arms” (Lithuania/Germany, Poland), Director: Kristijonas Vildziunas
“Miss Bala” (Mexico), Director: Gerardo Naranjo
“Omar Killed Me” (Morocco/France), Director: Roschdy Zem
“Sonny Boy” (Netherlands), Director: Maria Peters
“The Orator” (New Zealand/Samoa), Director: Tusi Tamasese
“Happy, Happy” (Norway), Director: Anne Sewitsky
“In Darkness” (Poland/Canada/Germany), Director: Agnieszka Holland
“Jose and Pilar” (Portugal/Spain, Brazil), Director: Miguel Goncalves Mendes
“Morgen” (Romania/France, Hungary), Director: Marian Crisan
“Montevideo – Taste of a Dream” (Serbia), Director: Dragan Bjelogrlic
“Tatsumi” (Singapore/Indonesia), Director: Eric Khoo
“Gypsy” (Slovakia), Director: Martin Sulík
“Black Bread” (Spain), Director: Agustí Villaronga
“Beyond” (Sweden/Finland), Director: Pernilla August
“Summer Games” (Switzerland/Italy), Director: Rolando Colla
“Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” (Taiwan), Director: Te-Sheng Wei
“Once Upon a time in Anatolia” (Turkey/Bosnis-Herzegovina), Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
“Patagonia” (United Kingdom/Argentina, Wales), Director: Marc Evans
“Rumble of the Stones” (Venezuela), Director: Alejandro Bella
The New Voices/New Visions (Ten films from top emerging international directors marking their feature film debut at the festival, with the additional criteria that the films selected are currently without U.S. distribution):
“Almanya, Welcome to Germany” (Germany) – Neatly structured into two interwoven time frames, this charming, colorfully styled comedy centers on multiple generations of a German-Turkish clan, and derives its touching, laugh-out-loud humor from cultural misunderstandings and the question of what constitutes national identity. The film won Best Film at the German Film Awards. Director: Yasemin Samdereli. Cast: Vedat Erincin, Fahri Yardim, Lilay Huser, Demet Gul, Aylin Tezel, Denis Moschitto.
“Generation P” (Russia/USA) – A poet manqué rises to the top of the corporate heap in 1990s Russia in this delirious satire of post-Soviet culture, a drug-fueled rollercoaster ride through the era of Wild West capitalism, gangsters, oligarchs, and political puppets. Director: Victor Ginzburg. Cast: Vladimir Yepifantsev, Mikhail Yefremov, Vladimir Menshov, Andrei Fomin, Sergei Shnurov, Oleg Taktarov.
“Habibi” (Palestinian Territories/USA, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates) – The first fiction feature set in Gaza in over 15 years offers a story of forbidden love. Can Qays, a poet from the refugee camp, build a future with Layla, the daughter of a traditional, religious family? Director: Susan Youssef. Cast: Kais Nashif, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Yussef Abu-Warda, Amer Khalil.
“The House” (Slovak Republic/Czech Republic) – Contemporary Eastern Europe’s divisions – between generations, genders, economic strata, city and country – are given incisive treatment in this affecting family drama about an ambitious teen, her disowned elder sister and their dour, controlling father. Director: Zuzana Liová. Cast: Judit Bárdos, Miroslav Krobot, Tatjana Medvecká, Marian Mitas.
“The Invader” (Belgium) – The story of an illegal African immigrant whose journey begins in Brussels as he searches, like many other immigrants, for a better place in the world. hrough his confrontation with a harsh society, he slowly but irreversibly starts to incarnate our worst fears and becomes the monster we have created. Director: Nicolas Provost. Cast: Issaka Sawadogo, Stefania Rocca, Serge Riaboukine, Dieudonne Kabongo.
“Las Acacias” (Argentina/Spain) – A gruff truck driver is none too pleased when the woman riding with him from Paraguay to Argentina shows up with a baby. In the course of their journey his tough demeanor thaws, and they form a touching, hesitant connection. Director: Pablo Giorgelli. Cast: Germán de Silva, Hebe Duarte, Nayra Calle Mamani.
“Last Winter” (Belgium/France) – Johann, the head of a farming co-op in central France, runs the cattle farm he has inherited from his father with great care. But economic realities increasingly pressure him to sell. John Shank’s feature debut is effused with a quiet longing for simpler times. Director: John Shank. Cast: Vincent Rottiers, Anaïs Demoustier, Florence Loiret Caille, Aurore Clément, Michel Subor.
“Off White Lies” (Israel) – A poignant comedy about a teenager who returns to Israel to get to know her eccentric father, who is currently “between apartments.” As war in Lebanon begins, the father proposes a creative plan to put a roof over their heads. Director: Maya Kenig. Cast: Gur Bentwich, Elya Inbar, Tzah Grad, Arad Yeni, Salt Achi-Miriam.
“Old Goats” (USA) – Shot in and around Seattle, writer/director Taylor Guterson’s film is an often hilarious and always heartfelt story of three older men (actors Bob Burkholder, David VanderWal, and Britt Crosley, playing themselves) who refuse to go quietly into the night of retirement and old age. Director: Taylor Guterson. Cast: Britton Crosley, Bob Burkholder, David VanderWal, Benita Staadecker, Gail Shackel, Steve Stolee.
“Wreckers” (United Kingdom) – Urbanites David and Dawn (rising stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy) move to the pastoral village of David’s youth, only to have the arrival of David’s soldier/brother Nick—and his revelations about family secrets—threaten their idyll. Director: D.R. Hood. Cast: Claire Foy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shaun Evans, Peter McDonald, Sinead Matthews.
The John Schlesinger Award lineup (for outstanding first documentary):
“Arranged Happiness” (Germany/India) – A loving, first-hand portrayal of a Muslim Kashmiri family’s search for a groom for 27-year-old Waheeda, this humane, mesmerizing documentary provides an intimate and compelling counterweight to widely held perceptions of Islam’s practices in the West. Director: Daniela Dar-Creutz.
“Bert Stern, Original Madman” (USA) – Bert Stern, the original “madman” photographer, sheds light on a fascinating, topsy-turvy life and career that took him from the mailroom to the heights of success as one of the most celebrated photographers of the 1950s and beyond. Director: Shannah Laumeister. With: Bert Stern, Marilyn Monroe, Stanley Kubrick, Elizabeth Taylor.
“Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel” (USA) – Both the inventor and embodiment of the term “pizzazz,” Diana Vreeland ruled over the editorial content of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue for decades. This tribute to one of our greatest style icons blends archival material and interviews with fashion luminaries with a chic, assured hand. Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland. Co-Directors: Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frederic Theng. With: Ali McGraw, Anjelica Huston, Manolo Blahnik, David Bailey, Penelope Tree, Veruschka, Lauren Hutton, Diana von Furstenberg.
“Die Standing Up” (Mexico) – The inspiring story of Irina, a tireless fighter in the war for personal freedoms, a transsexual who works for progressive causes from her wheelchair despite a severe disability, and her powerful love story with her partner Nelida, whom she married as a man. Director: Jacaranda Correa.
“First Position: A Ballet Documentary” (USA) – Filled with drama, tension and suspense, this enormously satisfying documentary follows six gifted ballet students from disparate social, regional, economic and ethnic backgrounds as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious competition where the world’s top dance companies and schools prospect for new talent. Director: Bess Kargman.
“The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni” (Lebanon) – Beautifully conceived and expertly edited, this playful documentary uses a wealth of clips from Egyptian star Hosni’s films to explore the iconic actress’s screen image and shed light on the Arab world’s most popular cinema. Director: Rania Stephan.
“The Tiniest Place” (Mexico/El Salvador) – The heartbreaking yet hopeful story of Cinquera, a small town in rural El Salvador that was completely depopulated during the Civil War, as told by the survivors who have returned with astonishing resilience to rebuild their lives on their native soil. Director: Tatiana Huezo Sanchez.
“Unfinished Spaces” (USA/Cuba) – Masterfully interweaving art, politics and history, this spellbinding doc recounts the secret history of a little-known architectural marvel, commissioned as a showpiece art school by Fidel Castro, but then deemed “decadent” when he was forced to throw in his lot with the Soviet Union. Directors: Alysa Nahmias, Benjamin Murray.
“Wish Me Away” (USA) – Coming out is never easy, but when you’re a country music star it could also be career suicide. This inspiring, award-winning doc introduces us to courageous singer-songwriter Chely Wright, a devout Christian who also happens to be a lesbian. Directors: Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf.
“You’ve Been Trumped” (United Kingdom) – Anthony Baxter’s biting and entertaining documentary trails “The Donald” as he seeks to build a massive golf resort on unspoiled Scottish coastline and comes up against a spirited group of local landowners who will not go down without a fight. Director: Anthony Baxter. With: Donald Trump.