World Dramatic Competition
"God Help the Girl"
Glasgow-based indie pop band Belle & Sebastian may very well enjoy one of the most devoted followings on the indie pop scene, with a new album that emerges about every two years hardly satiating the constant anticipation from the Pitchfork set. Well, there’s a lot of Belle & Sebastian in frontman Stuart Murdoch's directorial debut "God Help the Girl," and a lot that's just pure Murdoch — but god help the viewer who doesn't have the taste for B&S beats, because that distinct style is the honey coating that could either make this movie musical go down sweet or stick in your throat. Read more here.
Set in a chaotic period in 2008 when a disrupting layer of smoke covered the city of Buenos Aires, Natalia Smirnoff’s sophomore directing effort "Lock Charmer” is a subdued character study about a locksmith’s newfound gift to see hidden aspects of people around him. Heavily marked by superstition and his unwilling journey into self-discovery, the film’s protagonist exhibits an absorbing complexity, which is central to making this uncanny mix of credible performances and magic realism work. Read more here.
"To Kill a Man"
Opening with a deliberately unsettling static forest landscape and adorned with an equally intriguing score, Chilean director Alejandro Fernandez Almendras' third feature "To Kill a Man" is a quietly powerful character study that meditates on the ramifications of a family man's choice to defend his kind. Read more here.
The first Bulgarian film ever to screen at Sundance, Maya Vitkova’s “Viktoria” manages to say a lot in very few words. “I think words are useless,” the director offered following the film’s premiere, “the emotion is in the image.” Unfolding against the backdrop of the fall of communism, Vitkova’s lyrical imagery elevates her semi-autobiographical debut to poetic heights. Born without an umbilical chord, baby Viktoria’s relationship with her mother (Irmena Chichikova) is severed before it even begins. Hailed as a living symbol of the communist party, the love Viktoria knows growing up is more gubernatorial than it is maternal. Acerbic and absurdist in equal measure, the film forges a powerful metaphorical link between the physical body and the body politic. Read more here.
The first words to appear onscreen in “Wetlands,” director David Wnendt’s cheerfully profane adaptation of Charlotte Roche’s German-language bestseller, immediately engage with its controversy. "This book shouldn’t be adapted to a film," reads a quote from a letter to the editor. Wnendt not only proceeds to run against that advice but makes a solid case against it. Anchored by a believable performance by Carla Juri, "Wetlands" has the agreeable rhythms of a sleekly made teen angst dramedy…except that this one involves a young woman with an anal fissure. Read more here.