A L'ORIGINE (aka In the Beginning)(France) dir. Xavier Giannoli
A true story of a conman whose latest scheme, the building of a road, inadvertantly brings hope to a small dying community.
Mike Goodridge, Screendaily, calls it, "a sort of social realist Capra-esque fable set in the rain and grit of northern France...The film is crippled, however, by an extreme running time of 155 minutes which dilutes rather than strengthens the message of the story and will have even the most patient cinephiles shifting in their seats."
Xan Brooks, Guardian UK, calls it, "an engrossing portrait of small-town France in economic decline." He thinks it could be a late festival surprise, "this, too, would make a worthy winner, because it is humane and assured; a snapshot from the frontline of France's recession and a tale of how we live today."
DAS WEISSE BAND (aka The White Ribbon) (Germany/Austria/Hungary/Italy)dir. Michael Haneke
On the eve of World War I, the story of the children and teenagers of a choir run by a village schoolteacher, and their families: the baron, the steward, the pastor, the doctor, the midwife, the tenant farmers. Strange accidents occur and gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual. Who is behind it all?
Total Film, reports, "It's austerity would verge on absurdity if it weren’t for Haneke’s exquisitely taut control of every frame. For a film that burns so slow, there’s not one inch of slack...if the tie-up isn’t perfect, White Ribbon’s made from material that haunts, grips and immerses."
Eric Kohn, Indiewire, likes, "Pairing visual mastery with a quietly immersive story, “The White Ribbon” plays like a morbid version of “Our Town,” patiently revealing the inward discord beneath the surface of a settled community. It’s a frightening depiction of mortality."
Todd McCarthy, Variety, saw it too: "Immaculately crafted in beautiful black-and-white and entirely absorbing through its longish running time, Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” nonetheless proves a difficult film to entirely embrace. Stressing, as usual, a conspicuously dim view of the world,...The White Ribbon” feels like a thematic companion piece to “Lord of the Flies.”
LOS VIAJES DEL VIENTO (aka The Wind Journeys) (Columbia/Germany/Argentina/Netherlands) dir. Ciro Guerra
(En Certain Regard) In northern a parentless child makes a lengthy adventurous journey to return an accordion to the man who gave it to him, his teacher and mentor.
Justin Chang, Variety, writes, "The rugged majesty of the Colombian landscape forms a spectacular widescreen backdrop for a simple, bittersweet tale of regret and companionship ...Awash in scenic vistas and infused with a touch of the supernatural, this beautifully judged two-hander tells the story of an aging accordion player and the young wannabe musician he's reluctantly allowed to accompany him on his long trek north."
Lee Marshall, Screendaily, writes, "With its stunning widescreen landscapes, colourful musical interludes and sure human touch, The Wind Journeys occupies a niche not too far from nature-and landscape dominated world cinema releases such as Himalaya or Tulpan."
SKAZKA PRO TEMNOTU (aka Tale in the Darkness) (Russia) dir. Nikolai Khomeriki
(En Certain Regard) A lonely female beat cop goes on a journey to take her out of the darkness.
Leslie Felperin, Variety, writes, " A lonely, lovelorn femme cop mopes around a seaside town for a blessedly brief 77 minutes in the Russian drama "Tale in the Darkness." Although strong-featured lead thesp Alisa Khazanova proves watchable throughout, helmer Nikolai Khomeriki's second feature has little more going for it than the fact that it's more accessible than his last, the obscure and soporific sci-fi squib "Nine Seven Seven."
À DERIVA (aka Adrift) (Brazil) dir. Hector Dhalia
(En Certain Regard) Spending summer vacation with her family in Buzios, Filipa, a fourteen-year old girl, suffers through the rite of passage into adulthood while discovering love for the first time. A rite filled with anguish when she learns that her father, a famous author, is betraying her mother with a foreign woman who lives in the small seaside town. But, this secret is to be only the first in a series of others, both enchanting and painful, which she discovers about her family and herself as well.
I couldn't find any reviews for this film, sorry.