4. Omar (February 21)

Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Cast: Adam Bakri, Eyad Hourani, Samer Bisharat, Leem Lubany, Waleed F. Zuaiter
Distributor: Adopt
Current Criticwire average: B+ (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? The gripping and heart-rending thriller “Omar” had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September and is now a somewhat surprise nominee in the Oscar's best foreign language film race (the only film on this list to manage that). The film achingly captures the emotional struggles of a young Palestinian baker whose loyalty to family and country are complicated by his love for Nadia, a beautiful young student. Following the assassination of an Israeli occupation soldier, Omar, a co-conspirator and friend of the suspected sniper, is arrested. Facing a life sentence, he is coerced by the Israeli authorities and enlisted as a collaborator to find the killer in exchange for his freedom. Powerful stuff.

Watch the trailer below:

5. Child's Pose (February 19)

Director: Calin Peter Netzer
Cast:Luminita Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Ilinca Goia, Natasa Raab, Florin Zamfirescu, Vlad Ivanov
Distributor: Zeitgeist
Current Criticwire average: B+ (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? Submitted by Romania but not making Oscar's cut was Calin Peter Netzer's "Child's Pose," which debuts in U.S. theaters almost exactly a year after it premiered at the Berlinale. Starring in Luminita Gheorghiu (in a remarkable performance that should end up on many critics' lists of 2014's best) as an upper-class Bucharest architect who is determined to keep her thirtysomething troubled (to say the least) son out of jail after a deadly car crash. Taking on social commentary and psychological realism, "Child's Pose" is another great offering from Romania, and should not be missed. 

Watch the trailer below:

6. Vic and Flo Saw a Bear (February 7)

Director: Denis Côté
Cast:  Pierrette Robitaille, Romane Bohringer, Marc-André Grondin, Marie Brassard
Distributor: KimStim
Current Criticwire average:  B+ (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? Montreal-based filmmaker Denis Côté's work is always both cryptic and heavy with meaning, but his latest narrative feature, "Vic and Flo Saw a Bear," stands out because at first it seems deceptively simple. From the purely avant-garde "Bestiare" to the restrained father-and-daughter portrait "Curling," Côté's movies invite viewers to search for clues to his motives. "Vic and Flo" is no exception. Sharply drawn characters and fine-tuned performances follow a meandering trajectory that finally upends expectations at the very end. Côté puts viewers at ease before throwing them off. In the first shot, newly released 61-year-old prison convict Victoria (Pierrette Robitaille) arrives at the isolated countryside where she will live with her catatonic uncle. There, she encounters a young boy playing an offkey rendition of "Frere Jacques" on his horn. The notes are all there but the entire thing sounds off -- much like "Vic and Flo," which initially takes the form of a pedestrian relationship drama before twisting into odder, darker directions. Read Indiewire's full review here.

Watch the trailer below: