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The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015

The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015

2015 keeps looking better and better from where we sit. After laying out our massive 100 Most Anticipated Movies of the year and previewing the 25 Best Films we’ve already seen, the time has come to express our excitement for all the overseas films we’re looking forward to this year. Aside from some of the bigger foreign films we couldn’t resist including in our main feature (“The Lobster,” “Queen of the Desert,” etc.), this is our chance to share our enthusiasm for the slightly lesser buzzed-about productions from across the globe.

Having said that, as you read down towards the top choice, you’ll see that  some of these films come from the biggest current giants in the game. We’d be lying if we didn’t admit to a pinch of wishful thinking, given the nebulous nature of some productions (for instance, why they’re previewed here and not in our main feature). Unless one is involved in the productions however, no one can say for sure what the status is, so this list encompasses bigger fish in hopes that they will have surprise premieres in one of the prestige festivals to come.

And for purists aiming their definitions of “foreign” at us: note that the list mostly consists of foreign language films with a couple of English-language exceptions from foreign directors and international productions. Without further ado, on y va

20. “Mia Madre”
Director: Nanni Moretti (“The Son’s Room,” “Dear Diary”)
Cast: Margherita Buy, John Turturro, Nanni Moretti
Synopsis: A look inside the life of an Italian female film director as she tries to juggle her private and professional life in Rome.
What You Need To Know: Films about filmmaking are rarely dull, and when you put them under an Italian column, that towering classic “8 ½” always looms large. But Frederico Fellini’s masterpiece should be a source of inspiration for Moretti, a well established director in his own right (Palme d’Or winner, Cannes regular and ex-Jury president), who is reteaming with actress Margherita Buy for a third time (they last worked together in Moretti’s “We Have a Pope”). Buy’s film director has to grapple with the pressures that come with commandeering a film set, including dealing with an American actor playing by John Turturro and her private life dominated by her ailing mother. Filming is said to have wrapped last year and the film is now in post-production, with Films Distribution already nabbing worldwide rights. Moretti’s cinema is known to be a balanced mix of comedy and drama, with a scathing religious critique or two when there’s room, and we’re hopeful that he’ll bounce back up to his usual great self after the mediocre ‘Pope.’
Release Date: If it’s anywhere, it’s Cannes.

19. “Diary of a Chambermaid”
Director: Benoit Jacquot (“Farewell My Queen,” “A Single Girl”)
Cast: Léa Seydoux, Vincent Lindon
Synopsis: Based on the infamous French novel of the same name, the film follows chambermaid Celestine and her work for the Lanlaire family.
What You Need To Know: The French novel by Octave Mirbeau has been adapted four times for the screen, including by Jean Renoir and Luis Bunuel (the latter’s version is way better, in case you were wondering), and now it’s going to be Benoit Jacquot’s turn. The prolific French filmmaker is set to bring the most faithful adaptation yet, but what has attracted more curiosity than his direction is the film’s star. Marion Cotillard was reportedly up for the title role before dropping out due to scheduling conflicts with “Macbeth,” after which the role landed in Lea Seydoux’s lap. The French actress rose to fame after her seminal turn in “Blue is the Warmest Color,” and 2015 looks to be a busy year, with “The Lobster” and “Spectre” (both covered in our main Anticipation feature) in the works. But while she’s part of big ensembles in those two, her lead role in “Diary of a Chambermaid” will be her brightest spotlight since ‘Blue.’ 
Release Date: Will premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival

18. “A War”
Director: Tobias Lindholm (“R,” “A Hijacking”)
Cast: Pilou Asbæk, Dar Salim, Tuva Novotny, Søren Malling
Synopsis: A troop of Danish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan is caught in heavy Taliban crossfire during a routine mission. One man makes a decision that sees him accused of a war crime.
What You Need To Know: We’ve championed writer/director Lindholm’s last feature, “A Hijacking” as well as his work on the tv show “Borgen.” He’s a seriously gifted filmmaker and writer, occasionally handling script duties for Thomas Vinterberg (he wrote “The Hunt”). ‘Hijacking’ was superior in almost every way to the Tom Hanks vehicle “Captain Phillips,” with which it shared similar elements. But we’d recommend you hunt down his first directorial effort, the prison crime drama “R,” which is pragmatic and bleak where “A Prophet” was uplifting and at times thrilling. This latest work sees his favorite leading man Pilou Asbæk return in what’s sure to be another brilliant turn. Also from “A Hijacking” is Søren Malling (who plays a ruthless, dispassionate corporate CEO), as well as the similar sounding structure that goes back and forth between the action in the main story and how it affects loved ones back home. His films are made for adults but still thrilling, and “A War” sounds no different.
Release Date: Magnolia snatched up the rights last year for U.S. distribution and principal photography is completed. “R” premiered at Rotterdam while ‘Hijacking’ bowed in Venice, so maybe this time Cannes will come knocking?

17. “The Treasure”
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu (“12:08 East of Bucharest,” “Police, Adjective”)
Cast: Toma Cuzin, Adrian Purcarescu, Corneliu Cozmei
Synopsis: Follows the misadventures of two men on a quest for treasure.
What You Need To Know: We’re not the biggest fans of Porumboiu’s last film, the meta-look at a director and his muse in “When Evening Falls on Bucharest, or Metabolism,” but we’re more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt solely based on his two brilliant films ’12:08’ and ‘Police,’ flag-bearers to the bleak but metaphysically absorbing features that comprise the Romanian New Wave. “The Treasure” (a working title) already under the international handling rights of Wild Bunch, was scheduled for a one-month shoot last October, so it should be well into post-production right now, scheduled for a 2015 release in Romania. The fact that it’s got such a vague premise, bordering on possible fantastical elements, gives us reason enough to believe it will be much different than ‘When Evening Falls,’ which is a good thing. When he’s on top form, his films are laden with thoughtful conversations and a slow-burning, calculated, direction, so fingers crossed.
Release Date: Seems like a Cannes bow is inevitable if he gets it finished in time. Don’t rule out Venice, however, if he only completes it by the summer.

16. “Three Memories of Childhood”
Director: Arnaud Desplechin (“A Christmas Tale,” “Kings & Queen”)
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Lou Roy-Lecollinet, Quentin Dolmaire
Synopsis: Paul is an anthropological researcher who is returning to his home country France, and relives memories of his life spent in Moscow, Paris, and especially Roubaix.
What You Need To Know: Desplechin’s last film, “Jimmy P.,” starring Benicio Del Toro and Amalric, had all the makings of a great film on paper but ended up falling flat, so we’re being slightly more cautious here. However, given that his track record was pretty damn great pre-‘Jimmy P.,’ especially “A Christmas Tale,” which was one of our 10 Christmas Films you shouldn’t forget about last year, we’re letting bygones be bygones and looking ahead. “Three Memories of Childhood” sounds like the makings of a return-to-form and sees Desplechin reuniting with the always-enigmatic Amalric in the lead role. The project sounds extra personal since Desplechin himself was born and raised in the small commune of Roubaix, but most interesting of all is that the film is something of a sequel/prequel to his 1995 film “My Sex Life…or How I Got Into an Argument.” 20 years later, the lead character of his film from 20 years ago is returning and reminiscing about the past. Sold.
Release Date: Prepping for Cannes, no doubt.

15. “The Assassin”
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien (“The Puppetmaster,” “Flowers of Shanghai”)
Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Qi Shu, Chen Chang
Synopsis: Based on a short story and set during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), the film follows a female assassin after her loyalties are tested when she falls in love with a target.
What You Need To Know: One of the most plagued productions on this list, the story of the financing and shooting behind “The Assassin” could encompass a film on its own (perhaps directed by Terry Gilliam). But we know that after months and months of setbacks (the production started around 2010, with the story’s development dating way back to Hou’s Golden Lion winner “A City of Sadness” in 1989), the film finally wrapped production and is currently in a heavy editing phase. Co-financed by the Chinese government, with the kind of budget Hou has never worked with before (close to $15 mil), there’s a lot riding on “The Assassin,” least of all a fever-pitch anticipation that comes with the return of an art house heavyweight (his last film was the French production “Flight of the Red Balloon” in 2007). Anyone familiar with the Taiwanese director’s celebrated artistic filmography must surely feels the jitters at the thought of him directing an epically scaled martial arts period film.
Release Date: Reportedly being prepped for Cannes.

14. “Cosmos”
Director: Andrzej Żuławski (“The Possession,” “Szamanka”)
Cast: Sabine Azéma, Victória Guerra, Ricardo Pereira, Johan Libéreau
Synopsis: A metaphysical noir thriller set in the Polish countryside, where two friends happen on a guesthouse and become captivated by a pair of female lips.
What You Need To Know: Yep, you’ve read that synopsis right. Because… Żuławski. The 74 year-old Polish director, mostly known for nightmarish bodily horrors that would keep the likes of David Lynch and David Cronenberg up at night, is returning to the big screen after a much-too-long hiatus. His last film was the Sophie Marceau-starring “Fidelity” 15 years ago, which wasn’t the greatest, but there’s more than enough reason to feel excited for his next endeavor, which we hear wrapped filming last December and is currently in post. Most of all, it’s a story adapted from one of the most celebrated Polish authors Witold Gombrowicz, who sounds like Żuławski’s soul mate in that his work is riddled with deep psychoanalysis involving absurd behavior, identity crisis and critique of Polish class system. Sounds bloody fantastic. He’s grouped a good-looking international cast, with veteran Azéma leading the way. Even the poorly received Żuławski pictures have something original to say, so we’ve got all the reason in the world to feel excited.
Release Date: Nothing official, but expect it to crop up at Cannes or Venice.

13. “Eternite”
Director: Tran Anh Hung (“Norweigan Wood”)
Cast: Audrey Tatou, Mélanie Laurent, Bérénice Bejo
Synopsis: The story follows three generations of women from the 19th to 20th centuries, as they grow from girls to women to widows, husbands killed by war.
What You Need To Know: With the trio of French adorableness and talent that is Tatou, Laurent and Bejo, what the hell else do you need to know? The film doesn’t shoot until March, but we’re already lining up outside a theater somewhere to catch the French language debut of Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung (he also adapted the screenplay from a French novella by Alice Fernay). When we chatted with Laurent in December at the Marrakech Film Festival, she said of the film, “I can’t wait, it’s going to be a very very beautiful movie… I love the book a lot and he’s so sensitive, and I’m sure he’s going to put so much poetry in this movie.” Tran’s got quite the resume, with a Venice Golden Lion and Cannes Camera d’Or under his belt, and the project is a winning mix of talent, director and interesting material to boot.
Release Date: At best, a late fall festival debut.

12. “Evolution”
Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic (“Innocence,” “La Bouche de Jean-Pierre”)
Cast: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
Synopsis: 11-year-old Nicolas lives with his mother in a secluded village where a hospital conducts strange experiments on little boys.
What You Need To Know: She may not be someone you’re familiar with but, with a stroke of fortune, Lucile Hadzihalilovic will become super famous. She’s worked with Gaspar Noe on his story for “Enter the Void” but is a startlingly original director in her own right. Her “Innocence” (starring Marion Cotillard, by the way) from 2004 is the kind of film that sticks with you for years, thanks to the remarkable and haunting atmosphere Hadzihalilovic conjures up. It’s been a 10-year hiatus, but things are looking good for her next project, which already sounds like one of the most original films of the year. The director has quoted H.G. Wells’ classic “The Island of Dr. Moreau” as a main source of inspiration, since those experiments mentioned in the synopsis are meant to disrupt various phases of evolution. With her special touch for the macabre, this sounds a little bit like Yorgos Lanthimos meets that underseen Keira Knightley film “Never Let Me Go.” In other words, kinda brilliant.
Release Date: With filming wrapped last summer in Spain, sounds like it’s headed toward one of the more daring Cannes sidebars, Un Certain Regarde or Director’s Fortnight.

11. “Schneider vs Bax”
Director: Alex van Warmerdam (“Borgman,” “Ober”)
Cast: Tom Dewispelaere, Annet Malherbe, Pierre Bokma
Synopsis: Hit-man Schneider is given a task: before the night passes, he must kill the writer Ramon Bax. It seems to be an easy task….
What You Need To Know: Dutch filmmaker van Warmerdam has been working since the late seventies, but it took his last film, the deliriously weird home invasion cum religious allegory “Borgman,” to finally get our attention. We championed that film pretty much all year, and are excited to see what else he has up his sleeve with this latest work. The fact he’s working in another fairly tired hitman genre gives us hope he can find that sweet spot again and give us something fresh. Here he stars as the titular hitman assigned to kill a writer, which doesn’t go well. The other top billed actors associated with the film are regulars in most his work.
Release Date: No US distribution yet. It’s in post production. Almost all his films have premiered at Toronto, but after the success of “Borgman” at Cannes, perhaps he’ll make it in the main competition again or in one of the sidebars.

10. “On the Milky Road”
Director: Emir Kusturica (“Underground,” “Time of the Gypsies”)
Cast: Monica Bellucci, Emir Kusturica, Miki Manojlovic, Sloboda Micalovic
Synopsis: The film recounts one man’s three life-changing events set in the Serbian countryside at various periods in his life.
What You Need To Know: It’s been in development for over 3 years now, with more than a couple scheduling bumps along the way, but “On the Milky Road” (once known as “Love and War”) will soon be upon us. We’re big fans of the Serbian director, naming his war-torn masterpiece “Underground” one of the greatest Palme d’Or winners ever in a Cannes feature last year, so we’re going to welcome his return to feature-length narratives with open arms. His last feature was 2007’s “Promise Me This” which was undeservedly brushed aside, and even though the director has vowed more than once to never make another film again (he dabbles in operas and mayoral duties in his own village among other things) he’s returning to the big screen, this time with Bellucci by his side and regulars like the brilliant Manojlovic in a film inspired by his own segment “Our Life,” part of the “Words with Gods” film anthology series.
Release Date: He loves Cannes and Cannes loves him. If he’s going to be premiering it anywhere, it’s there.

9. “Nobody Wants the Night”
Director: Isabel Coixet (“My Life Without Me,” “The Secret Life of Words”)
Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne, Matt Salinger
Synopsis: Set in Greenland circa 1908, the story follows two very different women who are in love with the same man.
What You Need To Know: After news came that Coixet’s latest film is going to open the Berlin Film Festival,  the first image was followed by the film’s trailer, so compared to some other foreign films we’re looking forward to, that’s a wealth of information. Putting aside the fact that the film is in the English language, the Spanish director has rounded up a stellar international cast including French megastar Binoche, Japanese breakout Kikuchi, and Irish vet Byrne, so we have zero qualms on calling this one foreign. It’s sure to be one of the unlikeliest love triangles set for the silver screen in 2015, and with the harsh, icy, Canadian setting playing such a big part in the story (not to mention its periody-ness), “Nobody Wants the Night” looks like the greatest visual feast yet from Coixet’s otherwise humbler filmography. Indeed, the trailer showcases some majestic cinematography by Coixet’s regular DP Jean-Claude Larrieu. We’re big fans of her work, so to say we’re excited would be putting it mildly.
Release Date: The Berlin Film Festival, and then depending on reception, most likely a theatrical fall release.

8. “Elle”
Director: Paul Verhoeven (“Total Recall,” “Robocop”)
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling
Synopsis: A powerful businesswoman seeks revenge on her rapist and stalker, engaging in a psychological game of cat and mouse.
What you Need To Know: Based on the novel “Oh…” by Philippe Dijan, this is the first collaboration between Huppert and Verhoeven, a match made in heaven as far as we’re concerned, though Huppert has been a longtime fan of the director, as she told us last December in Marrakech. “He’s one of the best directors in the world for me,” she said, “the book is very powerful and the character is so strong, and when I learned Paul Verhoeven was going to do it, it’s just the cherry on the cake.” This is Verhoeven’s first feature since 2006’s WWII epic “Black Book,” a decided left turn from his campy and brilliant ‘90s flicks such as “Starship Troopers,” “Total Recall” and who could forget, “Showgirls”? Verhoeven’s never been anything less than a whip smart and subversive director, and “Elle” will mark his first French-language film. The material sounds intense and edgy, and with Huppert in the lead, this makes for one project we are very much looking forward to.
Release Date: The film is reported to shoot this month, so perhaps we’ll see it at a fall festival.

7. “Erran”
Director: Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet,” “Rust & Bone”)
Cast: Vincent Rottiers
Synopsis: A Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris.
What You Need To Know: The brief synopsis above doesn’t tell us much beyond that it sounds exactly like an Audiard joint. Politically conscious works steeped in classic genre tropes are his bread and butter, which, so far in his career, reached its perfect alchemy with 2009’s “A Prophet,” easily one of the very best crime films of this past decade. That film’s screenwriter, Thomas Bidegain, joins the director again on this project. The only cast member we’re aware of at this point is the lead, Vincent Rottiers (who played Jean Renoir in Gilles Bourdos’ 2012 “Renoir”), but we’re excited to see what the young thespian can do in the Audiard cinematic milieu, where many a great leading man has been presented to the world and/or gifted with a career best part (Vincent Cassel, Romain Duris, Tahar Rahim, Matthias Schoenaerts). Several members of The Playlist staff were also big fans of the director’s last effort, “Rust and Bone,” a messy but vibrantly alive picture that also featured a knockout performance by Marion Cotillard. Last but not least, the director seems to be in a very productive mood, because he’s currently shooting another film, a still untitled drama about a Sri Lankan warrior who flees to Paris in hopes of a more stable lifestyle, only to be forced back into violence. Needless to say, we’re big fans and eagerly anticipate both features.
Release Date: It’s already secured US distribution through Sundance Selects (though no date as of yet), but we guess it’ll premiere at Cannes where the filmmaker is a beloved staple. 

6. “Microbe et Gasoil”
Director: Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Science of Sleep”)
Cast: Audrey Tautou
Synopsis: An offbeat road-trip misadventure film, following two adolescents called Microbe and Gasoil as they travel around France.
What You Need To Know: The premise behind this wacky tale of friendship sounds like the freshest thing Gondry has done in years, or more specifically since his brilliant segment “Interior Design” in the excellent “Tokyo!” triptych from 2008. We brought you some set photos last year, and while they look fairly modest, what they’re hiding from us is the vehicle Microbe and Gasoil will be driving. Determined not to spend the summer with their families, the two friends build a car using a lawnmower and various planks of wood. Yep, sounds like the gonzo Gondry we know and love. Besides the captivating Tautou (who worked with Gondry in his most recent fantasy film, “Moon Indigo”), the film is reportedly filled with as-yet-unknown child actors Gondry discovered (including the two leads), so it’s sounds like the makings of a colorful and invigorating picture. 
Release Date: Filming was schedule for an August start date and an October end date, and with no word on any production issues, we’re safe in assuming Gondry’s 11th film is deep in post-production right now, aiming for a release date sometime around summer.

5. “Every Thing Will Be Fine”
Director: Wim Wenders (“Paris, Texas,” “Pina 3D”)
Cast: James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rachel McAdams, Marie-Josée Croze
Synopsis: A writer accidentally causes the death of a child and spends the next 12 years haunted by the memory.
What You Need To Know: Well, the first thing you need to know is that this heavy drama is going to be shot and presented in 3D. And it seems like the director is having fun exploring the more intimate nature of the format, saying “I have given a lot of thought to the question of how 3D might become a necessary element of our film, not only an ingredient. But I would have to reveal our story in order to explain that. All I can say: It’s exciting to do a drama in 3D! It is all new for me, for us, and hopefully that excitement will translate to the viewer as well.” As far as the effect goes, it sounds like it’s reaching for the middle ground between Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language,” which could very well result in a whole new appreciation of the format. The international production has amassed a pretty great-looking cast as well, one in which we’re most excited to see what Franco will do, as this is one of three dramatic roles on his plate in the coming year, “Queen of the Desert” and “True Story” being the other two.
Release Date: Post-production is taking a while due to 3D, but with Wenders receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in Berlin, this could very well sneak in as a nice surprise. If not, Cannes is a good bet.

4. “Love In Khon Kaen”
Director: Apitchatpong Weerasethakul (“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” “Syndromes of a Century”)
Cast: Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi
Synopsis: A lonesome middle-age housewife tending a soldier with sleeping sickness falls into a hallucination that triggers strange dreams, phantoms and romance.
What You Need To Know: Far as we’re concerned, after ‘Uncle Boonmee’, anything from the ever difficult to pronounce (for us plebes anyway) Weerasethakul is a must watch. He’s been plenty busy —creating art installations, mid length short films and such— since winning the Palme d’Or in 2010 for that extra weird, extra beautiful film concerning acceptance of death, ghost monkeys, and sex with magical fishes. In a way, Weerasethakul’s style is in the vein of David Lynch: confusing, stream of consciousness, transformative (narratively and literally with characters changing appearance), at times creepy but always beautiful and often utterly transfixing. He’s a seriously gifted and extremely particular auteur with a filmography that begs to be discovered by anyone with an open mind for seeing just how far cinema can be stretched, recontextualized and made new again. The logline for this one sounds right up the director’s alley, and he’s teaming back up with several actors from his past work. Bring on the strange, please.
Release Date: In post production now, and a premiere at Cannes seems likely.

3. “La Blessure”
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche (“Blue is the Warmest Color,” “The Secret of the Grain”)
Cast: Gerard Depardieu
Synopsis: A teenager is on a quest to lose his virginity while vacationing in Tunisia.
What You Need To Know: While Kechiche was a household name in certain art-house circles before 2013, especially after his “The Secret of the Grain” got picked up for home distribution by the Criterion Collection, nobody would have predicted his meteoric rise to prominence in 2013. Winning the Palme d’or with his insta-classic “Blue is the Warmest Color” and springboarding the careers of Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos regardless of the controversial stew the three of them got into after Cannes marked a career high-point for the Tunisian director. After debating on what to do next, he finally picked Francois Begaudeau’s coming-of-age story “La blessure, la vrai” (“The True Wound”), about a young boy wanting to lose his virginity, and switched the original location in the story (Paris) to his native Tunisia. Not much else is known, except that prolific Gerard Depardieu (who looks like he’s going through a quiet Depardieussance) joined the cast. You might remember Begaudeau from the excellent Palme d’Or winner “The Class,” so combined with Kechiche’s meticulous naturalism, it’s safe to assume that “La Blessure” won’t be Tunisia’s answer to “American Pie.” 
Release Date: Filming was set for last August, so if all goes well with post-production, Kechiche is likely to return to Cannes.

2. “Love”
Director: Gaspar Noe (“Enter the Void,” “Irreversible”)
Cast: Unknown
Synopsis: A ménage-a-trois love story which celebrates sex “in a joyous way.”
What You Need To Know: Oh, Gaspar Noe, you devil you. The French filmmaker has been blowing minds with controversial features like the unforgettable, searing “Irreversible” and the epically trippy “Enter the Void,” and we’ve been very much part of the long and anxious queue of people waiting to find out what the unique visionary was cooking up next. Turns out it’s a film called “Love” and, in something of an anti-Lars von Trier move, his film will reportedly celebrate sex as something joyous, with an executive from rights holders Wild Bunch reportedly quoting Noe in saying that the film will “give boys hard-ons and make girls cry.” So, not really “Fifty Shades of Gray” either? Whatever the case, it looks like Noe is stepping away from his usual bleak subject matter and diving into the innocent youthful world of sexual temptations, which sounds like a great challenge for someone with his dark proclivities. We’ll be there in a heartbeat.
Release Date: Other than that sensual poster, it’s been quiet, so we’re not exactly sure what stage the film is at currently. Though we’re crossing fingers for a Cannes premiere.

1. “Flashmob”
Director: Michael Haneke (“Amour,” “The White Ribbon”)
Cast: Unknown
Synopsis: A group of people get online and stage a “flashmob.”
What You Need To Know: Last May, Haneke wa set to start shooting his next film in the summer. But then someone stalled production, and news came that Haneke was waiting for an actress (who remains nameless) until he can begin shooting. This was the last bit of official news we’ve received about the Austrian director’s next feature, other than the fact that its premise looks like it’s a 180 degree shift from his last film, the emotionally staggering Palme d’Or winner “Amour.” “Flashmob” (literally a group of people who come together for a seemingly pointless common cause before dispersing) sounds like it’s going to bring Haneke back to his media-scathing days of “Benny’s Video” and that it’s going to be more “Funny Games” than “White Ribbon.” Lots of us have been speculating on who exactly this actress is, and since the story is set in the U.S. we presume Hollywood talent might have come knocking. Whoever it is, we sincerely hope she came to her senses and dropped whatever she was doing to work with one of the greatest living auteurs.
Release Date: Since the lid has been kept shut ever since last summer, this is major wishful thinking on our part. If it’s completed in time however, expect any big festival to pick it up.

Honorable Mentions
We could’ve packed in more foreign films that all of us Playlisters are looking forward to, but we drew the line at twenty. That said, a bunch that just missed the mark deserve shoutouts, including Julie Delpy’s next directorial effort “Lolo,” Belgian Felix van Groeningen’s follow-up to his devastatingly powerful “Broken Circle Breakdown” entitled “Belgica,” the Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert vehicle “”A Valley of Love” from French director Guillaume Nicloux, Japanese master-of-style Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s next “Journey to the Shore” and Michel Franco’s English language debut “Chronic” with Tim Roth.

Then there are a few titles we know so little about that we can only hope in our dreams they’ll pop up sometime this year, yet can’t say with full confidence that they will. These include the untitled project Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami is reportedly working on in China, Czech mastermind Jan Svankmajer’s Kafka-inspired “The Insects,Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Commune,” Ilya Khrzhanovskiy’s absolutely bonkers-sounding (in the best way possible) Russian epic “Dau,” China’s Zhangke Jia’s “Mountains May Depart”and Julia Leigh’s screen adaptation of her own novel, “Disquiet.

A couple of films were up for debate, but opted for the sideline shoutout due to their not-so-foreign nature, including Jim Sheridan’s “The Secret Scripture” starring Rooney Mara and Eric Bana, Canadian Guy Maddin’s “The Forbidden Room” and Terrence Davies’ Sunset Song” with Peter Mullan. — Nikola Grozdanovic, Erik McClanahan, Katie Walsh.

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