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Monthly pick of foreign language films - January 2021

Here are our monthly pick of the foreign language films being released in Britain and Ireland during January 2021.

Friday 1st January 2021
Sing Me a Song
Sing Me a Song (PG) Dzongkha
Ten years ago, director Thomas Balm├Ęs was filming in the small country of Bhutan, nestled between India and China, before the mass onset of the internet. He focused on a seven-year-old Buddhist named Peyangki who lived in a monastery set against a stunning mountainous backdrop. Peyangki confides to the camera his hopes and fears about the arrival of electricity. That is the opening of Sing Me A Song which then skips to the present. Peyangki is an 17-year-old monk, still at the monastery, but now awaking to the alarm of the smartphone that is his constant tool for every minute of the day, even during prayers. The film follows Peyangki in his rural monastery as he forms, via WeChat, a virtual relationship with a barroom singer named Ugyen who lives in the capital, Thimphu. She sings him love songs while he saves money from collecting medicinal mushrooms to go visit her. We watch their long-distance relationship evolve from both sides. As with all internet dating, there are obfuscations ...
Friday 15th January 2021
Dear Comrades
Dear Comrades Russian
Novocherkassk, USSR, 1962. Lyudmila is a Party executive and devout communist who had fought in WWII for Stalin's ideology. Certain that her work will create a communist society, the woman detests any anti-Soviet sentiment. During a strike at the local electromotive factory, Lyudmila witnesses a laborers' piquet gunned down under orders from the government that seeks to cover up mass labor strikes in USSR. After the bloodbath, when survivors flee from the square, Lyudmila realizes her daughter has disappeared. A gaping rift opens in her worldview. Despite the blockade of the city, mass arrests, and the authorities' attempts to cover up the massacre, Lyudmila searches for her daughter. We don't know how the search will end, but realize that the woman's life won't ever be the same.
Friday 22nd January 2021
76 Days Mandarin
Raw and intimate, this documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan.
Persian Lessons
Persian Lessons German
1942. Gilles, a young Belgian man, is arrested by the SS alongside other Jews and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. He narrowly avoids execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. This lie temporarily saves him, but then Gilles is assigned a seemingly untenable mission: to teach Persian to Koch, the officer in charge of the camp's kitchen, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Persia (Iran) once the war is over. Gilles finds himself having to invent a language he doesn't know, word by word. As the unusual relationship between the two men begins to incite jealousy and suspicion, Gilles becomes acutely aware that one false move could expose his swindle.
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Quo vadis, Aida?
Quo vadis, Aida? Serbo-Croatian
Bosnia, July 1995. Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Bosnian Serb army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp. As an insider to the negotiations Aida has access to crucial information that she needs to interpret. What is at the horizon for her family and people - rescue or death? Which move should she take?
The Exception
The Exception Danish
Four women work together at a small NGO in Copenhagen that specialises in genocide. When two of them receive death threats, they suspect a Serbian war criminal; but then they start suspecting and turning against each other.
Friday 29th January 2021
Assassins
Assassins Vietnamese
Unraveling the audacious airport assassination of the exiled and estranged half-brother to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, ASSASSINS is a riveting dissection of infamous dynasty dynamics and the surprising tale of two young women recruited to secure the uncontested leadership of Kim Jong-un.
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