12 Years a Slave (U.S., U.K.)
Opening Feb. 27
In 1841, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free African-American New Yorker, is kidnapped by slavers in Washington, D.C., and sold into slavery in Louisiana. There, he is enslaved to work on farms in the South, after being renamed “Platt,” and becomes the property of a plantation owner (Benedict Cumberbatch). This film is an adaptation of the 1853 memoir of the same title by Northup, who was an educated carpenter, musician and a family man before being abducted.
American Hustle (U.S.)
Opening Feb. 20
Drama. Action. Directed by David O. Russell. The brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld DiMaso (Christian Bale) and his equally cunning and unpredictable partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are forced to work with FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) to help them crack down on political corruption. The couple ends up intertwined in the world of politics, powerbrokers and the mafia, which could all come crashing down through their operation. “American Hustle” is loosely based on the 1980 ABSCAM, an elaborate FBI sting operation in which undercover operatives pretended to be Arab sheikhs and bribed high-ranking public officials.
Opened Feb. 13
Action. Sci-Fi. Directed by Jose Padilha. Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a loving husband, father and devoted cop in Detroit, is critically injured while on duty. Multinational conglomerate OmniCorp., the world’s largest creator of military drones, seizes this chance to apply their state-of-the-art robot technology to Murphy, who becomes the world’s first part-man, part-robot police officer. Undertaking regimented training, Murphy becomes stronger and less human as his mind becomes increasingly controlled by the electronic chips implanted in his head. However, Murphy eventually overrides the machine and proves that there is still a man inside, pursuing justice by his own free will.
Venus Talk (Korea)
Opened Feb. 13
Shin-hye (Uhm Jung-hwa) is a capable TV producer and a single woman in her 40s. She used to date her coworker, the current chief of their TV network, but he left her for a younger woman who also happens to be Shin-hye’s junior colleague. She has two best friends, Mi-yeon (Moon So-ri), a housewife who is not satisfied with her sex life with her rather docile husband, and Hae-young (Jo Min-soo), a single mother who wants her grown daughter to move out so she can have more time with her boyfriend, Seong-jae (Lee Gyeung-young).
The Nun (France)
Opened Jan. 23
In 18th-century France, a young woman named Suzanne (Pauline Etienne) is told by her parents to become a nun. She does not want to, but decides to follow her parents’ wishes after learning that she is an illegitimate child. In the beginning, she finds her life as a nun bearable mostly because of her abbess, who is generous and understanding. But when the abbess dies abruptly, Suzanne faces a series of hardships as the new abbess cruelly abuses her for not obeying. “The Nun” is a film adaptation of French author Denis Diderot’s 18th-century novel of the same title. It premiered in the competition category at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival.