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Violette (2013)

A fictionalized portrait of French novelist Violette LeDuc, directed and co-written by Martin Provost. Illegitimate and unwanted by her mother, Violette grows into an intensely needy adult who looks for love in all the wrong places. Her tremendous talent for writing is recognized and nurtured by Simone de Beauvoir, with whom Violette falls in love (albeit unrequited). Violette funnels her self-loathing and pain into her confessional novels, which are groundbreaking works of raw emotion and taboo sexual depictions.

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

What starts out as a ballroom dancing mockumentary soon becomes something more once the dancing actually starts. You know right from the beginning that this movie is going to feature some over-the-top hair and hysterics, thanks to main character Scott's mother crying into the camera, wondering just where she possibly went wrong! Scott, you see, is an up-and-coming star in the Australian ballroom dancing world, but he's bored with the same old dance steps and his partner just can't abide by his experimentation! If he doesn't follow the rules how will they win the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix?

The Wind Rises (2014)

This is a beautifully animated tale of love, tragedy and war. The latest (and rumored to be the last) release of a Miyazaki film, The Wind Rises tells the story of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, a pioneer in aircraft design in the first half of the twentieth century. More than aspiring to achieve flight, Jiro is an artist and dreamer striving to stay true to himself during a trying time in his life and in Japanese history. If you enjoy animation of imaginative tales, this movie is not one to be missed!

Insomnia (1997)

The sun never sets on Swedish detective Jonas Engström as he investigates the brutal murder of a teenage girl in a small town in northern Norway. Unable to sleep in the glare from the unceasing sunlight, Enström both solves and inserts himself into the crime, resulting in an anything-but-neat resolution. With its taciturn anti-hero cop and bleak setting, this film kicked off the Nordic noir phenomenon that is now so popular. Unsettling and well worth watching.

The Well-Digger's Daughter (2011)

On the eve of World War I, widowed well digger Pascal struggles to raise his six daughters but the oldest one, 18-year-old Patricia, goes astray, falling for a dashing airman who loves her and leaves her in the usual way. This French-language movie, based on the book by Marcel Pagnol, is heartwarming in the best sense of the word: beautiful shots of the lush Provencal countryside, the innocently luminous Patricia, the amusingly gruff but loving Pasal, and assorted charming minor characters.

Death at a Funeral (2008)

If you need some laughs, you'll definitely find them in this dark comedy about a funeral held at an English country manor. Family members and friends gather and the proceedings get more and more out of control as hallucinogenic drugs, family secrets, sibling rivalry, and a blackmailing dwarf cross paths. It's not a spoiler to reveal that there definitely is a death by the end of this funeral, but it isn't the guy in the casket. It could even be you, dying of laughter.

Elena (2012)

Wealthy businessman Vladimir and his second wife (and former nurse) Elena share a luxurious Moscow apartment and argue about their respective children: his scornful and distant daughter; her wastrel son with a wife, two kids, and no job. After Vladimir has a heart attack and decides to write a will that will prevent Elena from supporting her son's family, she makes a fateful decision. This domestic noir thriller feels quite un-American, and that's because it's Russian.

The Artist (2011)

Yes, you should see "The Artist" because it won the Academy Award but, more importantly, you should see this film because it's so much FUN!!!  The storytelling is brilliant and the characters are remarkably robust considering this is a silent film (well, for the most part).  Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a silent movie superstar.  Along come "talkies" and George denounces them as a fad.  For newcomer Peppy Miller, the talkies present an opportunity to catapult her to stardom.  "The Artist" tells the story of their interlinked destinies.  Pay particular atte

The Double Hour (2011)

Twisty, suspenseful, sexy, and Italian--what more could you want in a psychological thriller? This one begins with a hotel chambermaid and a retired cop meeting at a speed dating event. Suddenly, an armed robbery alters the course of their budding relationship and from then on, the movie keeps you guessing about who is double-crossing who. Compelling performances by the two principals, Filippo Timi and Ksenia Rappoport.

Trollhunter (2011)

Filmed in a style similar to The Blair Witch Project, this movie claims to be the found footage of several student filmmakers who had set out to make a movie about bear hunters and ended up making a movie about a secret their country has been keeping from the public. Troll hunter Hans is bitter about the lack of recognition he gets for putting himself in such danger and allows the students to follow him.

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