“Memory House” (João Paulo Miranda Maria)
In southern Brazil—in a strange Austrian colony of sorts lost in time—indigenous-Black man Cristovam has arrived from the north to take a job at a milk factory. In the face of unrelenting xenophobia and racism, he finds refuge in an abandoned house filled with art objects and folkloric memorabilia that connect him back to his roots. Soon, the mysterious relics start to provoke a metamorphosis within him. Endowed with a newfound sense of identity and power, Cristovam’s quiet forbearance turns to emboldened action—and tension mounts, building to a mythic, stunning conclusion. Rich, evocative photography and an unsettling tone envelop this uncanny tale that unmasks the social, racial, and political tensions facing Brazil today.
“Of Fish and Men” (Stefanie Klemm)
In this taut thriller set in the idyllic Swiss countryside, a single mom is raising her young daughter and running the family fish farm with the help of a farmhand-turned-friend. When his brother unexpectedly appears in search of debts owed, the specter of impending disaster looms large.
“Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time” (Lili Horvát)
After building a successful career in the U.S., gifted neurosurgeon Márta impulsively returns home to Hungary in pursuit of the man of her dreams, but when she tracks him down in Budapest, he claims they’ve never met. Is he spinning an elaborate deception or has her obsession trapped her in a world of illusions?
“Schoolgirls” (Pilar Palomero)
Growing up in small-town Spain in the early ’90s, 11-year-old Celia is ever the responsible student and considerate daughter. When impossibly cool Brisa storms in from Barcelona, she upsets the order of the girls’ strict Catholic school, run by nuns with a stern disposition and an iron fist. Unexpectedly, the two girls become fast friends, and soon Celia is swept up in a rebellious clique that breaks all the rules and flaunts authority. Her eyes newly opened to the world, Celia starts to raise questions about her own family background, including her absent father. This astute drama—in which the young character’s coming of age mirrors the post-Franco restless social energy around her—is anchored by salient performances from its young cast, who effortlessly convey the tensions and anxieties of adolescence.