Elevate Difference

Reviews of Global Film Initiative


Mutum is a coming of age, low-budget feature about a subsistence farming family living in the sertão, the hardscrabble outback of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The family is so dirt poor and isolated that nearly every meal is rice and a little meat, the roof leaks buckets in a rainstorm, and a person can die from lack of treatment for a minor scrape that becomes infected.

Sleepwalking Land

Based on the novel by Mia Couto, Sleepwalking Land showcases the bittersweet journey of an older man and a boy as they meander through the war-ravaged countryside of Mozambique. Initially, Muidinga and “Uncle” Tuahir are seeking the basics: food, shelter, and safety from traveling gangs. Tuahir had pretended to be Muidinga’s uncle when they were residing in the Xalala refugee camp. The boy was presumed dead until Tuahir noticed otherwise, and by claiming a familial bond, the man was able to take the boy under his wing.

Possible Lives (Las Vidas Posibles)

As a geologist, Clara’s husband Luciano often travels to Patagonia for work. After calling Clara from the road, he stops answering his cell phone. Once she’s confirmed that he failed to check into his hotel, Clara leaves a note and sets out to find him. Thousands of miles from home, she checks into the room herself. She meets with a police inspector and asks for help finding her husband.

What A Wonderful World

In What A Wonderful World, director Faouzi Bensaidi attempts to bring together the incongruities of Moroccan urban life with elegance and intimacy. The film features a set of diverse characters whose lives intersect either by coincidence or choice. Thus, throughout the film one notices several intertwined little stories. However, the film’s main storyline revolves around a mercenary assassin, Kamel (who is played by Bensaidi), who falls in love with Kenza, a traffic officer by day and a prostitute by night.

I Am From Titov Veles (Jas Sum Od Titov Veles)

The film begins with a visual icon of the industrial world: the factory’s spires rising like a cathedral, emitting billows of smoke into the sky. Then, a woman’s legs, wrapped like a present in ribboned slippers and a skirt of delicate fabric. She is walking quickly along a wall; she is hurrying. Behind her, out of focus, a man rides on a machine in the factory yard. It becomes obvious that she is surrounded by a workers’ strike, and she sits down and suddenly notices a tiny bug on her hand. She is delighted, in awe.


The first feature film of Lyès Salem, Masquerades is a lighthearted and quirky comedy about an Algerian gardener, Mounir Mekbek, who dreams of a life beyond the confines of his sleepy village. His arrogance combined with his “responsibility” for a narcoleptic younger sister, Rym, make him the laughingstock of his community. He is a misunderstood dreamer who has aspirations, but can’t quite seem to pull himself together to meet the goals he has set for himself.

Adrift (Choi Voi)

At last year's Venice Film Festival, Adrift won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Prize. With its lush scenery, layered characters, and startling soundtrack, it’s not hard to see why the film stood out to an international panel of jurors. The film is in Vietnamese with English subtitles and is set in various Vietnamese locales, including Hanoi, Quang Ninh, and Hoi An. Jam-packed streets filled with tiny tuk-tuks and motorcycles are juxtaposed with lonely, gorgeous beach campfires at sunset.