February 23, 2024

“Monster,” Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

Described by Variety critic Peter Debruge as a “convoluted portrait of a pre-teen in turmoil,” Kore-eda ‘s Palme d’Or best script and Queer Palm winner stars Sakura Andō as a mother who confronts a teacher after noticing odd changes in her son’s demeanor. Written by Yuji Sakamoto, it’s scored by the late Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Peafowl,” Byun Sungbin, South Korea

Myung, a transgender, is estranged from her family because of who she is. She competes in a dance to earn some money for her sex-change surgery but it does not go well. One day, she is told that her father has died and that his will stipulates she could inherit his estate if she performed the Drum Dance during his memorial. Left with no other options, she returns to her hometown to do her father’s bidding.  

Waiting for Dali,” David Pujol, Spain        

Fernando, a brilliant chef, arrives at the coastal village of Cadaqués during the ‘70s where renowned artist Salvador Dali resides. Dali’s influence on the chef spawns the rise of a new culinary genius. Produced by Roger Corbi and Yan Fisher-Romanovsky of FishCorb Films and David Ortiz of Arlong Productions who are re-teaming with Pujol on his next film, “Rehearsal for a Kiss.” 

“Hypnotic,” Robert Rodriguez, U.S.

The latest from Robert Rodríguez, who crafts his own films at his Austin, Texas-based Troublemaker Studios, and shot to fame with his innovative debut feature, “El Mariachi.” Co-written by Rodriguez and Max Borenstein, the mystery thriller revolves around a detective whose child has been abducted. Ben Affleck plays the detective opposite Alice Braga.

“From You,” Shin Dong-min, South Korea

A Grand Prizewinner at the 24th Shonju Film Festival, this three-part drama turns on fashion design student Min-ju and her mother, Seung-ju, an aspiring actress preparing for an audition. In part three, director Shin Dong-min and his mother Kim Hye-jeong break the fourth wall, returning home to come to terms with the loss of Dong-min’s father. 

“Matusalén,” by David Galán Galindo, Spain

University-set comedy where forty-something rapper Matusalen (Methuselah in English) goes back to college to prove to his parents that he can be a mature adult. He wins over his classmates, who were initially disdainful of him, with his rapping skills. “He was sent to college to change, but it was he who changed everyone else,” the synopsis goes.

“Dear Memories,” Nahuel López, Germany, Switzerland

Poignant documentary turns on celebrated Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker, renowned for his iconic photos. When in 2017, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he decides to fulfil one of his big dreams, going on a road trip across the across the U.S. with his wife. “Of course, I forget a lot, but not everything has to stay forever,” he says.

“Un mundo mejor,” Janett Juárez, Mexico 

Starring Raúl Briones, recent winner of the best actor Ariel in Mexico, pic centers on Víctor who takes refuge in another country after surviving a violent kidnapping. Breaking the monotony of his life in exile is a seven-year-old neighbor who shows him that “when everything seems lost, the hope for a better world is what keeps us afloat.” 

“The Rescue” (“El rapto”) Daniela Goggi, Argentina, U.S. 

“Money Heist” star Rodrigo de la Serna plays Julio, who returns to Argentina after the collapse of the country’s dictatorship in the 1980s. But his brother is kidnapped and he finds himself leading negotiations with the criminals. A Paramount Television Int’l Studios presentation with Rei Cine, Infinity Hill, (“Argentina, 1985”), PTIS production. 

“Sal Azul,” Alejandro Cervantes Polanco, Mexico

A toxic relationship on a Mexican beach comes to a head when Connie, isolated by language and cultural barriers, thinks she’s going crazy until she finds out that her Mexican partner, Vic, has been manipulating her and hides a dark secret from her. Produced by Complice Films.

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