There is often a national cinema that seems to percolate up from the festival circuit to exhibit a fresh new sensibility. In years past, Romania, Iran, South Korea and Argentina have been frequent faves. Now there's an abundance of exciting films from Chile, including Pablo Larrain's "No," Cristián Jiménez's "Bonsái," Marialy Rivas' "Young & Wild" and Dominga Sotomayor's "Thursday Till Sunday." All of these films meld personal politics with broader societal forces. In stepping out from the long shadow of Chile's dictatorship era, the work of these filmmakers is infused with a sense of freedom and renewal.
What's next: "No," Chile's submission for the Academy Awards, will be released later this spring. Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva has two films premiering at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
One of the most exciting developments in nonfiction filmmaking over the last few years — check that, make it one of the most exciting developments in filmmaking, period — has been the rise of the hybrid documentary. These films blend fact and fiction to turn audience expectations inside-out while working with a thrillingly modern notion of how truth is constructed. Bart Layton's "The Imposter" mixes investigation, re-creation and likely outright lies.
What's next: Layton hasn't announced his next feature project yet, but continues to work as creative director at the U.K.-based production company Raw.
"Compliance" marked a bold step forward for writer-director Craig Zobel, and felt like payoff for anyone who makes a habit of following talent from early, formative works to completely realized films. Zobel's debut feature, 2007's "Great World of Sound," showed him to be a thoughtful talent with a brassy bent toward unnerving provocation, and "Compliance" pushes even further into that territory. The film is a tense exploration of the fault-line power dynamics of gender and class, marking Zobel as a filmmaker capable of mining insight from discomfiting situations.
What's next: Zobel is a producer on David Gordon Green's upcoming "Prince Avalanche" and is also set to direct Tobey Maguire in "Z for Zachariah."