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2008 World Cinema Dramatic Competition

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

The World Cinema Dramatic Competition reflects Sundance’s commitment to championing the independent spirit in filmmakers everywhere and to fostering creative dialogue between divergent cultures. This year’s 16 selections from 983 submissions represent 17 countries including Spain, Peru, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Panama, Russia, and Sweden. From sexual exploits to criminal minds, coming-of-age stories to life-altering events, these films introduce us to characters with tenacity, imagination, and spirit that transcend borders.

The films screening in World Cinema Dramatic Competition are:

ABSURDISTAN/ Germany (Director: Veit Helmer; Screenwriters: Veit Helmer, Zaza Buadze, Gordan Mihic, Ahmet Golbol) – This inventive and allegorical comedy centers on two childhood sweethearts who seem destined for one another until the women of their isolated village, angered by male indifference toward the water shortage, go on a sex strike that threatens the young couple’s first night of love. Cast: Maximilian Mauff, Kristyna MlĂ©rova. World Premiere

BLUE EYELIDS (PARPADOS AZULES)/ Mexico (Director: Ernesto Contreras; Screenwriter: Carlos Contreras) – When Marina wins a beach getaway trip for two, her desperate search for someone to take with her leads to a complicated relationship and the revelation that she might be better off on her own. Cast: Cecilia SuĂ rez, Enrique Arreola, Ana Ofelia Murguia, Tiare Scanda, Luisa Huertas. U.S. Premiere

CAPTAIN ABU RAED/ Jordan (Director and Screenwriter: Amin Matalqa) – An aging airport janitor who is mistaken for an airline pilot by a group of poor neighborhood children weaves fantastical stories to offer hope for a sad, and sometimes unchangeable, reality. Cast: Nadim Sawalha, Hussein Al-Sous, Rana Sultan, Uday Al-Qiddissi, Ghandi Saber. North American Premiere

THE DRUMMER (JIN. GWU)/ Hong Kong/ Taiwan/ Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Kenneth Bi) – A young man transforms from a reckless youth and gangster into a mature adult through the inspiration of Zen drumming. Cast: Jaycee Chan, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Josie Ho, Roy Cheung, Lee Sinje, Kenneth Tsang.

I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A GANGSTER (J’AI TOUJOURS REVE D’ETRE UN GANGSTER)/ France (Director and Screenwriter: Samuel Benchetrit) – Told in four vignettes, this existential comedy relates the exploits of four aspiring criminals who hope to improve their lot, but find that they might not have what it takes for a life of crime. Cast: Sergi LĂłpez, Jean Rochefort, Alain Bashung, Anna Mouglalis. North American Premiere

JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY (KAERLIGHED PA FILM)/ Denmark (Director and Screenwriter: Ole Borendal) – Jonas’s quiet life as a suburban family man takes an unexpected twist when he causes a car crash that leaves a young woman with amnesia. When he is mistaken for her boyfriend, Jonas’s decision to play the role gradually unravels his life. Cast: Anders W. Berthelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Charlotte Fich, Dejan Cukic, Ewa Fröling. North American Premiere

KING OF PING PONG (PING PONGKINGEN)/ Sweden (Director: Jens Jonsson; Screenwriters: Jens Jonsson, Hans Gunnarson) An ostracized and bullied teenage boy who excels only in ping pong descends into an acrimonious struggle with his younger, more popular brother when the truth about their family history and their father surfaces over the course of their spring break. Cast: Georgi Staykov, Ann-Sofie Normi, Frederik Nilsson, Jerry Johansson. International Premiere

MANCORA/ Spain/Peru (Director: Ricardo de Montreuil; Screenwriter: Oscar Torres) – A young man mourning the death of his father sets out with his estranged stepsister and her arrogant husband for adventures in the lush, picturesque beach town of Mancora, Peru. World Premiere. World Premiere

MEGANE (GLASSES)/ Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Naoko Ogigami) – Taeko’s southern vacation becomes a life-changing experience when she discovers a unique beach community unified by surprising and perhaps odd traditions in this comedic film. Cast: Satomi Kobayashi, Mikako Ichikawa, Ryo Kase, Ken Mitsuishi, Masako Motai. North American Premiere

MERMAID (RUSALKA)/ Russia (Director and Screenwriter: Anna Melikyan) – The fanciful tale of an introverted little girl who grows up believing she has the power to make wishes come true. She must reconcile this belief with reality when, as a young woman, she journeys to Moscow and grapples with love, modernity and materialism. Cast: Masha Shalaeva, Evgeniy Ciganov, Maria Sokolova, Nastya Doncova. International Premiere

PERRO COME PERRO (DOG EAT DOG)/ Colombia (Director: Carlos Moreno; Screenwriters: Alonso Torres, Carlos Moreno) – In the crime world of Colombia, there is an unwritten code. When Victor and Eusebio, two hoods who bungle a shake-down job, break that code, they unwittingly sign their own death sentence. Cast: Marlon Moreno, Oscar Borda, Alvaro Rodriguez, Blas Jaramillo, Paulina Rivas. World Premiere

RIPRENDIMI (GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE)/ Italy (Director: Anna Negri; Screenwriters: Anna Negri, Giovanna Mori) – A modern young couple with a new baby are forced to deal with the almost comedic pain of breaking up while being the subject of a documentary that quickly crosses professional lines into their private lives. Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Marco Foschi, Valentina Lodovini, Stefano Fresi, Alessandro Averone. World Premiere

STRANGERS/ Israel (Directors and Screenwriters: Erez Tadmor, Guy Nattiv) – An Israeli man and a Palestinian woman meet serendipitously during the carefree atmosphere of the World Cup finals in Germany, drawing them out of the stark reality of their lives and into a passionate affair. Cast: Liron Levo, Lubna Azabal, Dominique Lollia, Patrick Albenque, Abdallah el Akal, Roger Dumas. International Premiere

UNDER THE BOMBS (SOUS LES BOMBES)/ Lebanon (Director: Philippe Aractingi; Screenwriters: Philippe Aractingi, Michel Leviant) – In the wake of Israel’s 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, a determined woman finds her way into the country convincing a taxi cab driver to take a risky journey through the scarred region in search of her sister and her son. Cast: Nada Abou Farhat, Georges Khabbaz, Bshara Atallah, and Rawia Elchab. North American Premiere

THE WAVE (DIE WELLE)/ Germany (Director: Dennis Gansel; Screenwriters: Dennis Gansel and Peter Thorwarth) – A high school teacher’s unusual experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own. Cast: Juergen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt, Jennifer Ulrich, Christiane Paul. World Premiere

THE WIND AND THE WATER (BURWA DII EBO)/ Panama (Directors and Screenwriters: A collective collaboration) – A young indigenous teen seeking his fortune in Panama City struggles to acclimate to chaotic urban life, where he becomes enamored with a girl from a wealthy, assimilated family. Later, he encounters his crush once again–but this time the landscape and tradition define their interaction. World Premiere

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