By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire December 8, 2010 at 4:41AM
Nine award-winning narrative feature films from Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Georgia, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Uruguay will headline the Global Lens 2011 series, put on by the Global Film Initiative. The festival, now in its eighth year, runs January 13 - 28 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, before embarking on a yearlong tour of over 35 cities in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, selections from the series will be presented in Washington, D.C. in January as part of a newly established partnership with the Smithsonian Institution.
Films included in the lineup include a number of festival headliners, like Federico Veiroj's "A Useful Life" which played in Toronto; Mohammad Rasoulof's "The White Meadows," winner of the Special Jury Award in Dubai; and Dieo Lerman's "The Invisible Eye," which played as part of Director's Fortnight in Cannes earlier this year.
"This year's lineup really does break new ground for the series," said Susan Weeks Coulter, Board Chair of the Global Film Initiative in a statement. "The films are unusual and intriguing, wildly creative, experimental at times and quite different from previous editions of Global Lens."
Global Lens 2011 films, with synopses provided by the Global Film Initiative:
"Belvedere," dir. Ahmed Imamović, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2010
Fifteen years after the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan conflict, a determined widow searching for the remains of her husband and son quietly attempts to rebuild her life by caring for her troubled extended family.
"Dooman River," dir. Zhang Lu, China, 2009
Two boys on opposite sides of the Chinese-Korean border strike a playful friendship that comes under scrutiny and strain after a series of thefts in a nearby town lead Chinese residents to cast suspicion on North Korean refugees.
"The Invisible Eye," dir. Diego Lerman, Argentina, 2010
Against the backdrop of Argentina's former military regime, an overzealous young teacher develops an unusual obsession with one of her students after she is asked to keep a watchful "eye" over the happenings at an elite Buenos Aires private school.
"The Light Thief," dir. Aktan Arym Kubat, Kyrgyzstan, 2010
A humble electrician intent on enlivening his windswept valley with electricity unwittingly strikes a deal with a rich politician whose corrupt ambitions threaten to upend the electrician's dream to build windmills in his village.
"Soul of Sand ," dir. Sidharth Srinivasan, India, 2010
A watchman at an abandoned mine is drawn into a bizarre triangle after a wealthy landlord's daughter and her lower-caste lover seek refuge from a masked killer wreaking havoc across the Indian countryside.
"Street Days," dir. Levan Koguashvili, Georgia, 2010
A well-meaning heroin addict whose life and status seem to worsen by the day, finds himself caught between serving a prison sentence and selling out the son of his former classmate.
"The Tenants," dir. Sérgio Bianchi, Brazil, 2009
After three mysterious men move into a smoky São Paulo suburb, a neighboring couple becomes obsessed with the men's clandestine activities and the ozone of violence that descends upon their once-tranquil neighborhood.
"A Useful Life," dir. Federico Veiroj, Uruguay, 2010
After financial troubles and a dwindling audience force an art-house cinema to shut its doors permanently, its most devoted employee is suddenly left without a "home" and forced to adjust to life outside of the theater.
"The White Meadows," dir. Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran, 2009
Rowing through the salty waters of a vast marsh, a boatman quietly collects and combines the tears and confessions of nearby island residents into a dreamlike mythology of modern Iran.