International Cinema is 2018

And every other year too.

But there has lately been an abundance of choices from around the cinematic hemisphere, where directors around the globe are getting their visions funded AND distributed in American theaters. A number of great independent films – especially ones outside the US – are usually never seen, especially if they didn’t make the cut for a major film festival i.e. Sundance, TIFF, Cannes, etc. So the fact that so many foreign films have been getting a US theatrical run this year is quite rare.

Luckily, international film festivals have been elevating films from other countries besides their own for many years, but even more so in 2018. Claire Denis’ High Life (France/Germany/UK) and Isold Uggadottir’s And Breathe Normally (Iceland) are a couple of superb foreign indies that I caught at festivals but aren’t being released until 2019. So I’ll definitely be talking about those gems in the new year.

Rob Pattinson as Monte in Claire Denis’ bewitching, sci-fi drama
High LifeComing to theaters in 2019 via A24.

By twisting around preconceptions of what an outer-space epic should be, French auteur Claire Denis returns to the fertile ground of her Trouble Every Day era, using genre to dig beneath themes that others would only treat as skin-deep.

The Globe and Mail (Toronto), Barry Hertz

Take a look at a few of the outstanding 2018 films from around the world. Their visions and point of views are distinct and vital. To see is to understand, and cinema allows us to see and feel.

Let The Corpses Tan   | d. Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani

You can probably already tell in the title that Let The Corpses Tan is a film like no other. A cinematic assault of the senses. An experimental, spaghetti-western art film.

Roma  | d. Alfonso Cuarón

Cuarón uses one household on one street to open up a world, working on a panoramic scale often reserved for war stories, but with the sensibility of a personal diarist. It’s an expansive, emotional portrait of life buffeted by violent forces, and a masterpiece.

The New York Times, Manohla Dargis

November   | d. Rainer Sarnet

I was completely entranced and beguiled by November‘s stunning imagery. I was also completely horrified by this bold and otherworldly 19th century Estonian-fairytale vision.

These are just some of the international films that have left a mark in my memory from 2018. Other memorable foreign titles include Hirokazu Koreeda’s endearing Shoplifters (Japan); the mysterious knockout Burning (South Korea) from Chang-dong Lee; and Nadine Labaki’s socially urgent Capernaum (Lebanon).

Look out for some of these films on my next piece (Hint: my top films of 2018). Thanks for reading, and go watch some movies!

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