But their newest, Two Days, One Night, pulled me in almost instantly and held me to its gripping conclusion. It's a small story -- an individual's fight for her economic life and that of her family in the suburbs of Liege, Belgium.
Had he been born in a different time and place, painter J.M.W. Turner might have been a member of the Hudson River School, a group of artists who worked in the second half of the 19th century, after Turner's 1851 death.
Some festivals double as markets -- where films without distribution come to be seen and purchased -- and make up in quantity what they may lack in quality. Marrakech is more about the movies themselves, and offers a limited slate of titles.
Sitting in a courtyard on the grounds of La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech, filmmaker Ritesh Batra admits that one of the best parts of being a member of the jury for the competition at the Marrakech International Film Festival is actually getting the chance to watch movies.
The film, which won the main prize at this year's Deauville Film Festival, is a character study of Bill (Wes Bentley), an insurance adjuster whose straight-arrow approach to life is shaken by what being jobless forces him to do.
Here's the best thing about attending an event like the Marrakech International Film Festival: It's one of the rare opportunities that a critic has to truly walk into a screening knowing absolutely nothing about a film.
The sun is sinking, and there's a nip in the air, so he's moved inside from a courtyard where he'd been doing a TV interview. But he admits he's been warmed by the appreciation he received during a tribute a couple of nights earlier at the Marrakech International Film Festival.
It was a three-movie day at the Marrakech International Film Festival, with all of the films set against stark, harsh vistas in which people scramble and struggle just to stay alive. The best of those was Far From Men, by director David Oelhoffen.
What happens to a certain kind of codependent friendship when one member finds a significant other? Life Partners, the first film by Susanna Fogel, would like to answer that question. Instead it settles for sitcom setups and punchlines.
To my mind, The Imitation Game is the best film of the year: a gripping tale of wartime espionage and code-breaking that also manages to be the character study of an important figure whose contributions have been ignominiously ignored.