Best International Feature Dark Horse Contenders

LUCKY LUCK OR LOONY PORN

Romania

In a WTF election year, Radu Jude playing for Romania is arguably the strangest. Part Borattype documentary, part essay and part moral play, the Berlin winner broke (it opens with a cryptic sex tape and ends with a deranged scene) in a social satire harshly focused on a teacher who has been publicly shamed.

PRAYER FOR THE PLAYERS

Mexico

Documentary filmmaker Tatiana Huezo’s first feature is a free adaptation of Jennifer Clement’s 2014 novel told as a coming-of-age story about young women caught in a Mexican drug war, who Women are always afraid of being robbed by gangs and sold into human trafficking.

HIVE

Kosovo

Oscar nominations 2021 Quo Vadis, Aida? focuses on the Srebrenica massacre, one of the most horrifying moments of the Yugoslav War. Blerta Basholli surprises the Sundance Grand Jury, audience and directs the award winner focusing on the aftermath of the neighboring conflict in Kosovo and about a war widow forced to leave home and find work do.

MINING LISTS ONLY

Russia

As a steadfast portrait of a young woman struggling to break free from male control, Kira Kovalenko’s film comes with an impressive pedigree, including production credits by Alexander Rodnyansky (producer) of the Oscar-nominated couple Leviathan and No love) and the guiding hand of the Russian master Aleksandr Sokurov (Sun), who mentored Kovalenko.

LUZZU

Malta

Jesmark Scicluna, a young Maltese fisherman, won the Sundance Special Jury Prize for playing a young Maltese fisherman in Alex Camilleri’s social drama about the plight of an industry long run by the bureaucracy of the European Union. Only second Oscar submission to Malta, still not nominated, Luzzu could be the breakout title.

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THE MEDIUM

Thailand

The terrifying brilliance of the Thai and Korean horror traditions find common ground in this feature of Southeast Asian shamanism that has gone mad. Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, the film follows a documentary crew that film a Thai rural girl who seems to have inherited a gift for Taoism – as her behavior becomes increasingly radical.

This story first appeared in the independent November issue of The Hollywood Reporter. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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