Each year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invites countries to submit a single film for consideration in the competition category of Foreign Language Film. This year 83 films have been accepted for competition and, for the twelfth consecutive year, the Smith Rafael Film Center offers a choice sampling. This is a rare opportunity to view some of the most distinguished works in international cinema, many of which are film festival prizewinners.

Series programmed by Karen Davis and Janis Plotkin

Click image to view trailer


(Vivre es fácil con los ojos cerrados)

Friday, January 9  •  5:00
Thursday, January 15  •  8:30

It’s 1966 and Antonio uses Beatles lyrics to teach English in a small school in Spain. When he discovers that John Lennon is filming a movie in Almeria, he sets out to meet him. A hit at the Mill Valley Film Festival, filmmaker David Trueba’s story of a nowhere man in search of his hero is a complete audience-pleaser: charming, whimsical and a definite ticket to ride. In Spanish with English subtitles. 108 min.

AWARDS: Goya: Best Actor, Best New Actress, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Screenplay & Best Film
MVFF37 Official Selection Winner ¡Viva el Cine! Audience Favorite Gold Award

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101506′ av_uid=’av-7p89n80′]

Click image to view trailer


(Deux jours, une nuit)

Friday, January 9   •   7:30

In the Dardenne Brothers’ riveting emotional drama, Marion Cotillard is extraordinary as a working-class Belgian mother who returns to work after a medical leave to discover her coworkers have voted for a salary bonus in exchange for her dismissal. She has only one weekend to convince them to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job. In French with English subtitles. 95 min.

AWARDS: Nominee: Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival; Winner: ICS Cannes Award Grand Prize
MVFF37 Official Selection

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101509′ av_uid=’av-72n8qo0′]

Click image to view trailer



Saturday, January 10  •  2:00
Tuesday, January 13  •  8:00

From the snowbound mountains at India’s Tibetan border to the cosmopolitan cacophony of Delhi, Geethu Mohandas’ debut feature follows Kamala, a young mother, and Manya, her toddler daughter (accompanied by an adorable pet baby goat), on the road in search of Kamala’s missing husband. Liar’s Dice offers an insightful, eye-opening vision of contemporary India across a wide spectrum of social, political and cultural conditions, with love at the heart of the story. In Hindi with English subtitles. 104 min.

AWARDS: Sundance Grand Jury Prize Nominee – World Cinema

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101511′ av_uid=’av-n1i4sg’]

Click image to view trailer


(Huang jin shi dai)

Saturday, January 10  •  4:15
Monday, January 12  •  7:00

Ann Hui, celebrated filmmaker from the Hong Kong New Wave, forges a sophisticated biopic of trailblazing female novelist Xiao Hong, who lived through the turbulent times of China’s shift from dynastic imperial rule to a modern state. Selected as the closing film of this year’s Venice Film Festival, it stars actress Wei Tang (Lust, Caution). In Mandarin with English subtitles. 177 min.

AWARDS:  Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominee Best Performance by an Actress; Winner Golden Horse Film Festival Award for Best Director

Presented with Support From

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101514′ av_uid=’av-5misfy8′]

Click image to view trailer



Saturday, January 10  •  7:45

Winner of the 2014 Cannes Jury Prize, white-hot enfant-terrible director Xavier Dolan’s Mommy is the high-energy tale of an irresistibly dysfunctional triad that includes an emotional train-wreck party-girl mother, her hyperactive delinquent teenage son and the extremely introverted neighbor woman who insinuates herself into their lives. This audacious, visually compelling film is driven by extraordinary ensemble performances and masterful direction. In French with English subtitles. 140 min.

AWARDS: Cannes Jury Prize, ICS Cannes Award + Palme d’Or Nominee: Xavier Dolan
MVFF37 Official Selection

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101516′ av_uid=’av-50h875s’]

Click image to view trailer



Sunday, January 11  •  1:00

Director-co-writer Sissako’s vibrant, graceful film depicts a community and a family fraying under forced occupation. Set during the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012, the story focuses on a mild-mannered herdsman who runs afoul of the rebels when his beloved cow (affectionately named “GPS”) goes astray. With stunning cinematography and quiet moments of humor and ingenuity, Timbuktu pays testament to a singularly humane vision in the face of absurdity.  Rated PG-13. In French, Arabic and Bambara with English subtitles. 97 min.

AWARDS: Cannes Film Festival 2014, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Abderrahmane Sissako; François Chalais Award – Abderrahmane Sissako;  In Spirit for Freedom Award Best Feature
MVFF37 Official Selection

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101518′ av_uid=’av-4bw3wyo’]

Click image to view trailer



Sunday, January 11  •  3:15
Tuesday, January 13  •  6:00

First-time director Afia Nathaniel packs road trip, revenge tale and love story into an unforgettable cinematic experience (and an unapologetically feminist drama), in which a young mother, who had been forced in childhood to marry an older tribal chieftain, kidnaps her own prepubescent daughter to protect her from a similar fate. Shot in the disputed territory between Pakistan and India on the world’s highest roads, Dukhtar is an epic that is both timeless and chillingly current. In Urdu and Pushto with English subtitles. 93 min.

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101520′ av_uid=’av-3q85fcg’]

Click image to view trailer



Sunday, January 11  •  5:20
Thursday, January 15  •  6:00

This lush and epic historic drama charts the story of revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar’s impassioned fight for South American independence from Spain.  His life of love and loss, the political intrigue and drama following his ascension to power and his mysterious death reveal the man behind the legendary figure. Featuring charismatic Édgar Ramírez as Bolivar and Danny Huston as his financier. In Spanish with English subtitles. 119 min.

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101523′ av_uid=’av-33phecg’]

Click image to view trailer


(Il capitale umano)

Sunday, January 11  •  7:50

Winner of all the top Italian film awards, Paolo Virzi’s languid and stylish ensemble piece is based on Stephen Amidon’s novel and transposed to northern Italy. Starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Valeria Golino, it explores the lives of two families whose destinies intertwine through love and tragedy and offers a powerful commentary on Italian social class, privilege and the value of human life in a crucible. In Italian with English subtitles. 110 min.

Presented with Support From

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101526′ av_uid=’av-2eko3gg’]

Click image to view trailer



Monday, January 12  •  6:00

This gloriously dark comedy from director Tomislav Mrsic features a well-loved cinematic scenario: A group of outcasts come together to put on a show.  Downtrodden, depressed and otherwise not quite right-in-the-head, this bunch of mostly lovable misfits live in a Croatian industrial town where not much is going on. Part social drama, part farce and all wacky, it has a denouement that will have everyone cheering in the aisles. In Croatian with English subtitles. 107 min.

AWARDS: Won, Audience Award “Golden Gate Pula” Tomislav Mrsic – Pula Film Festival
MVFF37 Official Selection

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101528′ av_uid=’av-1shcu5c’]

Click image to view trailer


(Der Kreis)

Monday, January 12  •  8:15
Wednesday, January 14  •  6:00

Zurich, 1958:  A shy teacher meets the love of his life through Der Kreis (The Circle), a pioneer organization for gay emancipation in Europe. Part love story, part thriller, and all astonishingly true, this gorgeous period drama by director Stefan Haupt is integrated with documentary material to reveal one of the first modern homophile societies and a love that endures until today. In German and French with English subtitles. 102 min.

AWARDS: Berlin Film Festival: “Teddy”: Best Doc/Essay Film+Panorama Audience Award –Doc; LA Outfest: Grand Jury Award for Best Doc

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101530′ av_uid=’av-143yz3k’]

Click image to view trailer



Wednesday, January 14  •  8:15

Director Baldvin Z explores the roots of the 2008 Icelandic economic collapse with an emotionally-gripping ensemble piece focusing on the lives of three characters, each leading a double-life, and all in search of redemption: a gifted poet haunted by his past, a debt-ridden young mother making ends meet through illicit ‘moonlighting’, and a former soccer star-turned-international-banker. In the ‘fishbowl’ of their lives, they navigate the dark and shark-infested waters, hoping to survive. In Icelandic with English subtitles. 130 min.

[av_ticket_box agile_ticket_show_id=’101533′ av_uid=’av-h11s3k’]