- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
BAD LUCK BANGING OR LOONY PORN
In a year of WTF contenders, Radu Jude’s entry for Romania is arguably the weirdest. Part Borat-style documentary, part film essay and part morality play, the Berlin winner goes for broke (it opens with a hard-core sex tape and closes with a deranged orgy) in a scathing social satire centered on a schoolteacher who has been publicly shamed.
PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN
Documentarian Tatiana Huezo’s first feature is a free adaptation of Jennifer Clement’s 2014 novel told as a coming-of-age story of young women caught in the crossfire of Mexico’s drug war, women who live in constant fear of being snatched by the cartels and sold into human trafficking.
2021 Oscar nominee Quo Vadis, Aida? focused on the Srebrenica massacre, one of the most horrific moments of the Yugoslav War. Blerta Basholli’s surprise Sundance Grand Jury, audience and directing awards winner centers on the aftermath of the neighboring conflict in Kosovo and on a war widow forced by economic necessity to leave the house and find a job.
UNCLENCHING THE FISTS
An uncompromising portrait of a young woman struggling to break free of male control, Kira Kovalenko’s film comes with an impressive pedigree, including a producing credit from Alexander Rodnyansky (producer of the Oscar-nominated pair Leviathan and Loveless) and the guiding hand of Russian master Aleksandr Sokurov (The Sun), who mentored Kovalenko.
Jesmark Scicluna, a young Maltese fisherman, won a special jury award in Sundance for playing a young Maltese fisherman in Alex Camilleri’s social drama about the plight of a generations-old industry upended by European Union bureaucracy. Only the second Oscar submission for Malta, which has yet to secure a nomination, Luzzu could be the title that breaks through.
The creepy brilliance of Thailand and South Korea’s horror traditions find a common vessel in this feature about Southeast Asian shamanism gone insane. Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, the film follows a documentary crew shooting a rural Thai girl who appears to have inherited a gift for shamanism — as her behavior grows increasingly extreme.
This story first appeared in a November stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day