In the past few years, the nearly three-week festival at the AFI Silver Theatre debuted “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” to a few hundred die-hards who managed to get into the sold-out screening; the festival was also the place to see “Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “Persepolis” and many other hot films. That’s because the films are almost exclusively plucked directly from the prestigious film festivals such as Cannes and Toronto. And several are their countries’ picks for the Academy Awards’ foreign-language category.
This year, those buzzy films include “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” a British thriller that’s scooping up plenty of awards. The film, which serves as the EU Film Showcase’s closer, stars Gary Oldman as a retired British intelligence agent brought in to sniff out a mole; the film, based on a landmark spy novel by John le Carr, just sold out at AFI, but is scheduled for wide release soon.
Instead, set your sights on “Le Havre,” a much-watched Finnish Oscar -contender about a selfish man who finds himself changing his ways when he makes a split-second decision to hide a young West African stowaway; “A Dangerous Method,” starring Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightly; and, for anyone obsessed with Nicolas Sarkozy, “The Conquest,” about the rise of the French politico and his astonishingly public personal affairs.
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