As the new year begins around the world, we’ve gathered up 10 of the international films we’re most looking forward to seeing in 2013. Some look like standout debuts, some are the latest work of our favourite foreign filmmakers. These are the films you should look out for on the film festival circuit this year – there are sure to be a few award-winners amongst the list.
Mood Indigo – Michel Gondry
From the bizarre breakthrough Human Nature, to the touchingly surreal masterpiece Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to the ethereal The Science of Sleep – French filmmaker Michel Gondry’s movies never cease to push the limits of imagination. In 2013 he returns with Mood Indigo – another delightfully absurd story involving a woman who suffers from an unusual illness caused by a flower growing in her lungs. Starring everyone’s favourite French actress Audrey Tautou as the patient, and Romain Duris as the man responsible for keeping her alive by surrounding her with flowers, this all-star cast is rounded out by The Intouchables‘ breakthrough star Omar Sy.
Expected: Mid 2013 (April 2013 in France).
The Nymphomaniac – Lars Von Trier
Your favourite aerophobic, award-winning, Dogme-creating, Cannes-banned, controversy-baiting Danish director is back with another film that caused outrage before principal photography even began. Lars Von Trier’s The Nymphomaniac follows the sexual awakening of a woman over 50 years of her life – played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who is apparently keen for more cinematic punishment after gruelling performances in Antichrist and Melancholia. The two-part film – the last in the director’s aptly titled Depression Trilogy – also stars Shia LaBeouf and Stellan Skarsgård, and is set to feature real, unsimulated sex.
Von Trier has explained how he came up with this self-described ‚Äòporno film’:
My DP on Melancholia at one point voiced a surprising prejudice. He urged me not to fall into the trap that so many aging directors fall into – that the women get younger and younger and nuder and nuder. That’s all I needed to hear. I most definitely intend for the women in my films to get younger and younger and nuder and nuder.
Expected: Mid 2013 (May 2013 in Denmark)
I’m So Excited – Pedro Almod√≥var
Even before the first teaser trailer was released last month, we were counting down to the latest Almod√≥var film. Departing from the dark, twisted morality tales of his most recent work – The Skin I Live In and Broken Embraces most notably – the Spanish auteur is set to harness the wacky joy of his earlier films in this high-altitude farce. I’m So Excited features an ensemble cast of the finest Spanish actors, and reportedly tells the story of a group of plane passengers who reveal their secrets and affections when faced with an emergency crash landing.
Expected: Early 2013 (March 2013 in Spain)
The Grandmasters – Wong Kar-Wai
The cinema world has been waiting for another Wong Kar-Wai classic. Following the disappointment of his first full-length English language film My Blueberry Nights in 2007, anticipation is building for another classic along the lines of his masterpieces In The Mood For Love and Chungking Express. His upcoming film The Grandmasters features the story of Yip Man, the Wing Chun grandmaster who trained Bruce Lee. While his story is territory already covered by films including the Donnie Yen biopic Ip Man, it will be interesting to see the highly-stylised and emotionally resonant touches that Kar-Wai brings to every one of his films. Starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, The Grandmasters will open the 63rd Berlin Film Festival in February.
Expected: Early 2013 (February 2013 in Germany).
Her – Spike Jonze
While not technically an international film, we can’t help always getting excited for a new Spike Jonze film. Shrouded in the usual secrecy that his films demand until release, all that is known about this romantic sci-fi is that it follows a man who falls in love with his new computer operating system that is designed to ‚Äúmeet every need‚Äù. Seriously.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, it will be Spike Jonze’s first solo screenplay.
Expected: When you least expect it.
Magic Magic – Sebasti√°n Silva
Sebasti√°n Silva is one of our favourite filmmakers after his wonderful drama The Maid, for which he won Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival 2009. He returns with this psychological thriller about a group of teens holidaying in Chile, oblivious to the fact that one of their friends is slowly losing her mind until it’s too late. The film stars Australia’s Emily Browning alongside awkward-indie icon Michael Cera – who reportedly spent 5 hours a day learning Spanish for the role. The first pictures look desolate and haunting, and the film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month.
Expected: TBC (Premieres January 2013 at Sundance)
Oldboy – Spike Lee
The original Oldboy was a critical and box-office success around the world, and like all such films it is now receiving the Hollywood treatment. After being passed through the hands of Steven Spielberg and Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) it has found an unusual director in Spike Lee. We’re excited to see what the award-winning filmmaker does with the story of a man who has five days to find out why he’s been secretly incarcerated for 15 years. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin and Elisabeth Olsen.
Expected: 11 October 2013
In The House – Fran√ßois Ozon
Critics are calling In The House French director Fran√ßois Ozon’s strongest work since the globally lauded Swimming Pool in 2003. It won a swag of awards at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and is based on the remarkable play The Boy in the Last Row by Juan Mayorga. With an exuberant cast including Kristin Scott Thomas and the excellent Fabrice Luchini, In The House follows a bored literature teacher who becomes hooked on the dramatic and inappropriate real-life essays of one of his students – and the uncontrollable events that follow as a result.
Expected: Early 2013
Elysium – Neill Blomkamp
South African director Neill Blomkamp gave us one of the best science-fiction films of the past few years with District 9, and his return is highly anticipated. Elysium is set in an apocalyptic Earth in 2159, where the wealthy live in a man-made space station and the rest scrounge to survive in a desolate world. Apart from a cast that includes Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, not much is known about the film’s premise – which was part of District 9‘s success.
Expected: 9 August 2013.
Only God Forgives – Nicholas Winding Refn
Acclaimed director Nicholas Winding Refn teams up with Drive collaborator/heartthrob Ryan Gosling on what the latter has called “the strangest thing I’ve ever read”. The modern Cowboy drama, set in Thailand, has Gosling working in a Thai boxing club as a front for his family’s drug smuggling operation. Things get ugly (and so does Gosling if the posters are anything to go by!) when his fierce Mafia mother instructs him to seek justice for his brother’s recent death. Refn is an expert at gritty crime thrillers, so we can’t wait for this latest installment from him.
Expected: Mid 2013 (May 2013 in Denmark).