There are a ton of great movies playing at Cannes 2013, but you can’t be there. We feel your pain. I specifically feel your pain because I’m not technically allowed back in the city (parking tickets), so I can’t partake in all the grandeur of The Croisette. We’re lucky to have the fantastic Shaun Munro reviewing for us from the sandy beaches (and watching a few films), but it’s still a bit sad to think that we have to experience the festival from the couchly confines of our home in a town whose name we actually know how to pronounce.
To help bring the festival experience just one inch closer to reality, let’s all dive deep into the cold, Mediterranean-like sea of synopses, pics, clips and trailers for the films that are playing at Cannes 2013. It’s just like watching a highlight reel!
Inside Llewyn Davis
Directed by: Ethan and Joel Coen
Synopsis: The life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Llewyn Davis is at a crossroads. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles-some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, Llewyn’s misadventures take him from the basket houses of the Village to an empty Chicago club – on an odyssey to audition for music mogul Bud Grossman-and back again.
Directed by: Arnaud Despallieres
Synopsis: In the sixteenth century, somewhere in the Cevennes, Michael Kohlhaas, a prosperous horse merchant, leads a comfortable and happy family life. Victim of an injustice, this righteous and honest man raises an army and plunders cities to restore his right.
Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)
Directed by: Arnaud Desplechin
Synopsis: At the end of World War II, Jimmy Picard, a Native American Blackfoot who fought in France, is admitted to Topeka Military Hospital in Kansas – an institution specializing in mental illness. Jimmy suffers from numerous symptoms: dizzy spells, temporary blindness, hearing loss… In the absence of any physiological causes, he is diagnosed as schizophrenic. Nevertheless, the hospital management decides to seek the opinion of Georges Devereux, a French anthropologist, psychoanalyst and specialist in Native American culture.
Directed by: Amat Escalante
Synopsis: Estela is a 12 year old girl who has just fallen crazy in love with a young police cadet who wants to run away with her and get married. Trying to achieve this dream, her family will have to live the violence that is devastating the region.
Le Passe (The Past)
Directed by: Asghar Farhadi
Synopsis: Following a four year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his French wife Marie’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure. During his brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her daughter Lucie. Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past.
Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin)
Directed by: Zhangke Jia
Synopsis: An angry miner revolts against the corruption of his village leaders.
A migrant worker at home for the New Year discovers the infinite possibilities a firearm can offer.
A pretty receptionist at a sauna is pushed to the limit when a rich client assaults her.
A young factory worker goes from job to job trying to improve his lot in life.
Four people, four different provinces. A reflection on contemporary China: that of an economic giant slowly being eroded by violence.
Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son)
Directed by: Hirokazu Kore-Eda
Synopsis: Ryota has earned everything he has by his hard work, and believes nothing can stop him from pursuing his perfect life and living as a winner. Then one day, he and his wife, Midori, get an unexpected phone call from the hospital. Their 6-year-old son, Keita, is not their son – the hospital gave them the wrong baby. Ryota is forced to make a life-changing decision, to choose between “nature” and “nurture”. In the meanwhile, seeing Midori’s devotion to Keita even after learning his origin, and communicating with the rough yet caring family who raised his blood son for the last six years, Ryota also starts to question himself: has he really been a “father” all these years…The moving story of a man who finally faces himself when he encounters an unexpected wall for the first time in his life.
La Vie d’Adele (Blue is the Warmest Color)
Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
Synopsis: At 15, Adele doesn’t question it: a girl goes out with boys. Her life is turned upside down the night she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, finds herself…
Wara No Tate (Shield of Straw)
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Synopsis: “Kill Kunihide Kiyomaru, and I will pay you 1 billion Yen”. This is the ad placed in all the main newspapers in Japan. In placing the ad, the powerful multi-billionnaire Ninagawa puts an irresistible price on the head of the man he believes to be his granddaughter’s killer. Realising he has become a target for millions of people, Kiyomaru turns himself in at the Fukuoka Police Station. Four officers are dispatched to bring Kiyomaru back to Tokyo, risking their own life, but now any number of assassins lie in wait on the 1.200km journey. The trip becomes a hellish chase, with potential killers at every turn. Will the police get Kiyomaru to Tokyo to face justice, or will justice of a different nature prevail?
Jeune et Jolie
Directed by: Francois Ozon
Synopsis: A coming-of-age portrait of a 17-year-old French girl over four seasons and four songs.
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Synopsis: A poor old man living in Montana escapes repeatedly from his house to go to Nebraska to collect a sweepstakes prize he thinks he has won. Frustrated by his increasing dementia, his family debates putting him into a nursing home – until one of his two sons finally offers to take his father by car, even as he realizes the futility.
En route the father is injured, and the two must rest a few days in the small decaying Nebraska town where the father was born and where, closely observed by the son, he re-encounters his past. (Don’t worry – it’s a comedy.)
Shot in black and white across four American states, the film blends professional actors with non-actors and aspires to mirror the mood and rhythms of its exotic locations.
La Venus a la Fourrure (Venus in Fur)
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Synopsis: Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for the lead role in his new play, writer-director Thomas complains on the phone about the poor caliber of talent he has seen. No actress has what it takes to play his lead female character-a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Thomas is about to leave the theater when actress Vanda bursts in, a whirlwind of erratic-and, it turns out, erotic-energy.
At first she seems to embody everything Thomas has been lamenting. She is pushy, foul-mouthed, desperate and ill-prepared-or so it seems. But when Thomas finally, reluctantly, agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation. Not only is Vanda a perfect fit (even sharing the character’s name), but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively-down to buying props, reading source materials and learning every line by heart. The likeness proves to be much more than skin-deep. As the extended “audition” builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession…
Behind the Candelabra
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Synopsis: Before Elvis, before Elton John, Madonna and Lady Gaga, there was Liberace: virtuoso pianist, outrageous entertainer and flamboyant star of stage and television. Liberace lived lavishly and embraced a lifestyle of excess both on and off stage. In summer 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into his dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair.
La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)
Directed by: Paolo Sorrentino
Synopsis: Aristocratic ladies, social climbers, politicians, high-flying criminals, journalists, actors, decadent nobles, prelates, artists and intellectuals – whether authentic or presumed – form the tissue of these flaky relationships, all engulfed in a desperate Babylon which plays out in the antique palaces, immense villas and most beautiful terraces in the city? They are all there, and they are not seen in a good light? Jep Gambardella, 65, indolent and disenchanted, his eyes permanently imbued with gin and tonic, watches this parade of hollow, doomed, powerful yet depressed humanity. A moral lifelessness enough to make one’s head spin? And in the background, Rome in summer. Splendid and indifferent, like a dead diva?
Directed by: Alex Van Warmerdam
Synopsis: Borgman’s arrival in the tree-lined avenues of an exclusive residential area is the beginning of a series of unsettling events around the carefully constructed facade of a wealthy couple, their three children and their nanny.
Only God Forgives
Directed by: Nicholas Winding Refn
Synopsis: Julian, an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business.
His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy. Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the head of the murderers from Julian.
But first, Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman – and figurehead of a divine justice – who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs.
Directed by: Jerome Salle
Synopsis: Cape Town, 2010. A mutilated corpse is discovered in the city’s botanical gardens.
As chief of police, Ali Neuman investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding the macabre murder of the daughter of former rugby champion Stewart Weitz, he makes a startling discovery.
A drug whose composition is unknown appears to be the cause of the homicide.
The Bling Ring
Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Synopsis: In the fame-obsessed world of Los Angeles, a group of teenagers take us on a thrilling and disturbing crime-spree in the Hollywood hills. Based on true events, the group, who were fixated on the glamorous life, tracked their celebrity targets online, and stole more than 3 million in luxury goods from their homes. Their victims included Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and Rachel Bilson, and the gang became known in the media as “The Bling Ring.”
Directed by: Hany Abu-Assad
Synopsis: Omar is accustomed to dodging surveillance bullets to cross the separation wall to visit his secret love Nadia. But occupied Palestine knows neither simple love nor clear-cut war. On the other side of the wall, the sensitive young baker Omar becomes a freedom fighter who must face painful choices about life and manhood. When Omar is captured after a deadly act of resistance, he falls into a cat-and-mouse game with the military police. Suspicion and betrayal jeopardize his longtime trust with accomplices and childhood friends Amjad and Tarek, Nadia’s militant brother. Omar’s feelings quickly become as torn apart as the Palestinian landscape. But it’s soon evident that everything he does is for his love of Nadia.
Directed by: Adolfo Alix Jr.
Synopsis: Bataan. 1942. Thousands of Filipino and American soldiers were forced to march in the blistering heat amidst disease, starvation and maltreatment by the displeasured and disgusted Japanese guards. Miguel is horrified by the dead soldiers talking to him. Alex starts to hallucinate and question his sanity. Roy takes care of his wounded American captain and tries to keep him alive. In the middle of this nightmare, Hatori seems to be unreal – he is both angel, guard, officer and civilian at different times.
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Synopsis: This is the true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, whose birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend, who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to T, their beautiful 4 year old daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy. He crosses paths with friends, family, and strangers, each exchange showing us that there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But it would be his final encounter of the day, with police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that would shake the Bay Area to its very core, and cause the entire nation to be witnesses to the story of Oscar Grant.
Les Salauds (Bastards)
Directed by: Claire Denis
Synopsis: Captain on a container-ship, Marco Silvestri is called urgently back to Paris. His sister, Sandra, is desperate… her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter has gone adrift. Sandra accuses the powerful businessman, Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte’s mistress lives with his son.
What Marco hadn’t foreseen are Sandra’s shameful, secret manœuvres… and his love for Raphaëlle which could ruin everything.
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Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan (Norte, The End of History)
Directed by: Lav Diaz
Synopsis: A man is wrongly jailed for murder while the real killer roams free. The murderer is an intellectual frustrated with his country’s never-ending cycle of betrayal and apathy. The convict is a simple man who finds life in prison more tolerable when something mysterious and strange starts happening to him.
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As I Lay Dying
Directed by: James Franco
Synopsis: Based on the acclaimed novel by William Faulkner, AS I LAY DYING follows a family through their turmoil-filled journey to bring their mother to her gravesite.
Directed by: Valeria Golino
Synopsis: Miele is the story of Irene a 30 years old girl who helps suffering people.Terminal patients who want to make shorter the struggle with death, people whose suffering injure the dignity of an human being. One day a 70 years old man in good health, who simply thinks to have lived enough, asks her to help him. The meeting will put to the test Irene’s convictions. It will open a stringent debate between the two.
Their relation becomes more and more full of implications and emotional ambiguities.
L’Inconnu Du Lac (Stranger By the Lake)
Directed by: Alain Guiraudie
Synopsis: Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel. An attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this, but wants to live out his passion anyway.
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Directed by: Flora Lau
Synopsis: BENDS straddles the Hong Kong--Shenzhen border and tells the story of ANNA, an affluent housewife and FAI, her chauffeur, and their unexpected friendship as they each negotiate the pressures of Hong Kong life and the city’s increasingly complex relationship to mainland China. Fai is struggling to find a way to bring his pregnant wife and young daughter over the Hong Kong border from Shenzhen to give birth to their second child, even though he crosses the border easily every day working as a chauffeur for Anna. Anna, in contrast, is struggling to keep up the facade of her ostentatious lifestyle into which she has married, after the sudden disappearance of her husband amid financial turmoil. Their two lives collide in a common space, the car.
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L’Image Manquante (The Missing Picture)
Directed by: Rithy Panh
Synopsis: For many years, I have been looking for the missing picture: a photograph taken between 1975 and 1979 by the Khmer Rouge when they ruled over Cambodia…On its own, of course, an image cannot prove mass murder, but it gives us cause for thought, prompts us to meditate, to record History. I searched for it vainly in the archives, in old papers, in the country villages of Cambodia. Today I know: this image must be missing. I was not really looking for it; would it not be obscene and insignificant? So I created it. What I give you today is neither the picture nor the search for a unique image, but the picture of a quest: the quest that cinema allows.
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La Jaula De Oro
Directed by: Diego Quemada-Diez
Synopsis: Juan, Sara and Samuel, all 15 years old, flee from Guatemala towards the USA. On their journey through Mexico they meet Chauk, a Tzotzil indian who does not speak Spanish and has no official documents. They all believe they will find a better world beyond the USA-Mexico border but they run into a harsh reality.
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Dast-Neveshtehaa Nemisoozand (Manuscripts Don’t Burn)
Directed by: Mohammad Rasoulof
Synopsis: Khosrow and Morteza set out on a mission to kill someone. The assassination ought to be arranged as a suicide. At the last minute however, they are obliged to change their initial plans…
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Sarah Prefere La Course (Sarah Would Rather Run)
Directed by: Chloe Robichaud
Synopsis: Sarah is a gifted young middle-distance runner. Her life changes when she’s offered admission to Quebec’s best university athletics program, in Montreal – far from her suburban Quebec City home. Sarah doesn’t have her mother’s financial support for the move, or any support at all: her mother worries that leaving will be bad for Sarah’s health and life. But Sarah is stubborn, and moves to Montreal anyway, with her friend Antoine. Though barely out of their teens, they get married because they want the best scholarships and loans. Marriage turns out to be completely different from what the naïve 20-year-olds expected. Sarah doesn’t want to hurt anyone with the choices she makes, it’s just that she loves running more than anything else.
Directed by: Rebecca Zlotowski
Synopsis: Gary is young, agile, a quick learner. He’s one of those who’s never been promised anything. After a succession of odd jobs, he’s taken on at a nuclear power plant.
There, amongst the reactors and their high doses of radioactivity, he finally finds what he’s been looking for: money, a team, a family.
But the team also includes Karole, Toni’s wife, with whom he falls in love. Forbidden love and radiation slowly contaminate Gary. Each day is menacing.
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All Is Lost
Directed by: J.C. Chandor
Synopsis: Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Robert Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest.
Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.
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Directed by: Guillaume Canet
Synopsis: New York, 1974. Fifty year-old Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Waiting for him reluctantly outside the prison gates is his younger brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon, who’d raised them alone, seems strangely to prefer Chris – this, despite all his troubles.
Yet blood ties are the ones that bind. Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance; he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). But Chris’ past quickly catches up to him, and his descent back into a life of crime becomes inevitable. For Frank, this descent proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother’s latest transgressions, he banishes him from his life.
But it’s already too late; the brothers’ destiny will keep bounded, forever…
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Directed by: Amit Kumar
Synopsis: As heavy monsoon rains lash the badlands of Mumbai, Adi, a rookie cop out on his first assignment faces a life altering decision when he must decide whether to shoot or not to shoot. His decision takes him on a journey which pits him against a system that demands a compromise on his morals. Finally, however, Adi and we come to understand that every choice has its price.
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Directed by: Johnnie To
Synopsis: He used to be a highly gifted police detective but was forced to retire after getting blinded on duty. Since then he earns his living by solving cold cases for the police.
She is an up-and-coming hit team detective who has been feeling guilty ever since her childhood friend went missing after she refused to go out with her ten years ago.
On witnessing how brilliantly he solves a case, she decides to seek his assistance to find her friend. He accepts the invitation with his own personal agenda in mind.
Directed by: Daniel Noah
Synopsis: 87-year-old Max Rose is a jazz pianist who put his professional ambitions aside in the service of his marriage, his life’s passion. But when his wife Eva dies suddenly, Max discovers a troubling artifact amongst her effects – a decades old compact with an intimate inscription from another man. In the midst of his grief, Max must grapple with the possibility that his 65-year marriage was built on a lie, and that his beloved Eva was never truly happy with him, always reaching for another. As he is haunted by the specter of his wife’s secret life, family tensions flare. His son, Christopher, believes Max views him as a disappointment, and Max isn’t quick to correct that idea. His granddaughter, Annie, tries to care for him, even though Max insists that’s the last thing he needs. As the absence of Eva hangs over his waking moments, Max is consumed by a need to learn about the other man in her life, nearly driving him over the edge, and his family makes the hard choice to put into assisted living. Trying to find some manner of peace, Max seeks out new meaning in what may be his autumn days, finding comfort in friendships with the other widowers. But just as he manages to put his life back on track, he comes to learn the surprising truth about his wife and his life.
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Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
Directed by: Stephen Frears
Synopsis: MUHAMMAD ALI’S GREATEST FIGHT looks at Muhammad Ali’s historic Supreme Court battle from behind closed doors. When Ali was drafted into the Vietnam War at the height of his boxing career, his principled claim to conscientious objector status on religious grounds led to a lengthy legal battle that rattled the U.S. judicial system right up to the highest court in the land. Justice Harlan (Christopher Plummer), a respected jurist with 15 years on the Court, finds himself at odds with the Court’s status quo – as defined by Nixon appointee Chief Justice Burger (Frank Langella) – after his perspective is challenged by the contemporary ideals of his new clerk.
Stop the Pounding Heart
Directed by: Roberto Minervini
Synopsis: Sara is a young girl raised in a family of goat farmers. Her parents homeschool their twelve children, rigorously following the precepts of the Bible. Like her sisters, Sara is taught to be a devout woman, subservient to men while keeping her emotional and physical purity intact until marriage. When Sara meets Colby, a young amateur bull rider, she is thrown into crisis, questioning the only way of life she has ever known.
In a stunning portrayal of contemporary America and the insular communities that dot its landscape, Stop the Pounding Heart is an exploration of adolescence, family and social values, gender roles, and religion in the rural American South.
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Weekend of a Champion
Directed by: Frank Simon
Synopsis: In 1971, Motor Racing fan Roman Polanski spent a weekend with world champion driver Jackie Stewart as he attempted to win the Monaco Grand Prix. Polanski was given intimate access to Stewart’s world for three days, both on the track and off. The result is an extraordinarily rare glimpse into the life of a gifted athlete at the height of his powers.
Forty years on, Polanski and Stewart meet once again. In a remarkable post-script, they discuss the sport, both past and present, with a unique and unmatched perspective.
Otdat Konci (Bite the Dust)
Directed by: Taisia Igumentseva
Synopsis: Everyone knows everyone in the tiny village. An elderly herdsman, Vasilich, devotes all his time to taking care of his doe-eyed cow named Candy; lonely Granny Zina curses the government; married women glance enviously at other women’s husbands; and the local inventor, Vanya, entertains the children with his ingenious devices. One day, the villagers hear some terrible news on TV. Most powerful solar flare has taken place, and the mankind has got only 24 hours to live. After recovering from the initial shock, the villagers come up with their own way to bid farewell to life. They decide to throw an end-of-the-world party. Tables are set, pies are baked, and some gather their last courage to make major life decisions. But the end never comes… Instead, things get a bit hot under the collar. The villagers realize that life as they know it is over…
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Directed by: Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Karan Joha
Synopsis: Bombay Talkies is one film which comprises of 4 short stories by the 4 directors and has an element of Indian cinema to it, whether its music,celebrity,dancing and acting. it is a celebration of 100 yrs of Indian cinema and the beginning of a new century of cinema for INDIA.
The Great Gatsby
Directed by: Baz Lurhmann
Synopsis: “The Great Gatsby” follows would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without of the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
Un Chateau En Italie
Directed by: Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
Synopsis: Louise meets Nathan, her dreams resurface. It’s also the story of her ailing brother, their mother, and the destiny of a leading family of wealthy Italian industrialists. The story of a family falling apart, a world coming to an end and love beginning.
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Directed by: James Gray
Synopsis: 1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulski and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, she encounters Bruno’s cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.
Directed by: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Synopsis: Despite a paralyzed leg that could have barred most avenues, Grigris, 25 year old, dreams of being a dancer. A challenge. But his dreams are dashed when his uncle falls critically ill. To save him, Grigris resolves to work for petrol traffickers…
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Which movies do you wish you were at Cannes 2013 for?