You never know.

A film you see at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Interna­tional Film Festival could become next season's world hit.

Or it might fire your imagination and never receive an American release. The two-week fest offers a deep core sample of world cinema, American indies, documentaries, children's stories, Minnesota-made movies and more.

Once again, most of the lineup is conveniently clustered in the St. Anthony Main multiplex, and visiting filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their latest work.

This year's guests include Mexican director Carlos Cuarón introducing his raucous soccer comedy "Rudo y Cursi," and James Toback, with the incisive boxing biography "Tyson." Whether you're the first to see a popular smash or one of the lucky few to view an obscure treasure, you can't dip into MSPIFF without finding something innovative, challenging, hip or weird. Read on for Vita.mn's guide to the first seven days of the festival.

4/16 – Thursday

Opening Night Film: 500 Days of Summer

3 and a half stars

The story follows the same guidelines as most romantic comedies - boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl breaks boy's heart - but as the 500 days of their doomed relationship are shown, will Tom and Summer have different ideas of what being in love really means? Read the full review and add your own.

4/17 – Friday

The Girl from Monaco

2 out of 4 stars

Bertrand (Fabrice Lucini) is an overintellectual Parisian lawyer staying in Monaco to defend a woman who murdered her young lover. Read the full review and add your own.

Horn of Plenty

2 out of 4 stars

Zany characters and sexual high jinks provide most of the humor in Juan Carlos Tabío's conventional comedy. Chaos ensues when the Cuban city of Yamaguey receives news of an inheritance worth billions of dollars for the descendants of the Castiñeiras family ... Read the full review and add your own.

I'm Gonna Explode

3 out of 4 stars

An alienated rich boy and a cynical, intellectual poor girl meet by chance, escape their private school and hide out on the roof of his father's mansion, where the adults never think to look. Read the full review and add your own.

Just Another Love Story

2 and a half stars

Film noir meets Danish modern in this tale of a family man who loses his moorings after a fateful car accident. Read the full review and add your own.

Surveillance

2 out of 4 stars

FBI agents Bill Paxton and Julia Ormond visit a Hicksville police station to take over the investigation of a brutal murder spree. As they probe into the case, our assumptions about whom to trust crumble. Read the full review and add your own.

Three in Love

2 and a half stars

Using Helsinki as a backdrop, Peter Lindholm's film follows an urban sociologist who feels torn between his dark-haired, driven divorce-lawyer wife and a sexy blonde salesgirl who just wants a little of his time. Read the full review and add your own.

Getting Home

2 and a half stars

This mildly comic melodrama from Chinese director Zhang Yang follows a poor, middle-age construction worker. Through a mix of circumstance and courage, he resolves to transport his friend's corpse from Shenzhen to Chongqing - thousands of miles - without a car. Read the full review and add your own.

4/18 – Saturday

Il Divo

4 out of 4 stars

A must-see for political junkies of any nationality. Director Paolo Sorrentino takes the docudrama to a new level with his sophisticated portrait of seven-time prime minister Giulio Andreotti who reigned during the bloody Red Brigade period, among others. Read the full review and add your own.

King of Ping Pong

3 out of 4 stars

About halfway in, this Swedish teen comedy makes a marked turn to the dramatic, shifting from frostbitten "Napoleon Dynamite" humor to life-and-death adolescent anxiety. Read the full review and add your own.

Lion's Den

4 of 4 stars

Mesmerizing. "Lion's Den," or "Leonera," is the story of Julia, a young woman sentenced to prison for murder. Pregnant, Julia falls in with other female inmates raising young children ... Read the full review and add your own.

The Necessities of Life

4 out of 4 stars

When a tuberculosis epidemic reaches the Canadian hinterlands, Inuit hunter Thiivii is shipped off to recuperate in a Quebec City sanatorium, where the confined surroundings and processed food threaten his holistic well-being even more than the deadly disease. Read the full review and add your own.

Pachamama

3 out of 4 stars

The film follows 13-year-old Kunturi on his first trip with his father and the llama caravan, taking salt into the mountains. Read the full review and add your own.

The Photograph

3 out of 4 stars

When single mother down on her luck Sita finds herself homeless, she moves in above a photography studio run by the quiet and elderly Mr. Johan. Read the full review and add your own.

Rumba

3 out of 4 stars

Belgian comedians Dominique Abel, Bruno Romy and Fiona Gordon are engagingly daffy in this tale of a dance-mad couple pratfalling their way through life. Read the full review and add your own.

Song from the Southern Seas

3 and a half stars

Despite a brief shot of a nude man running about, Marat Sarulu's lighthearted drama about Kazakhstan's cultural past and present goes a long way in repairing the country's image post-"Borat." Read the full review and add your own.

Munyurangabo (Liberation Day)

4 out of 4 stars

A powerful visual tome, "Munyurangabo" gains its power through silent intensity and honest emotions. It contemplates the collective history of the Rwandan genocide 10 years after and the powerful effects on individuals. Read the full review and add your own.

Teddy Bear

2 and a half stars

Handsomely produced in the Czech Republic and Italy, this bittersweet ensemble piece follows three successful couples through the emotional minefield of the childbearing years. Read the full review and add your own.

Window

3 out of 4 stars

This quiet, somber Argentine film from director Carlos Sorin tells a simple and elegiac tale about man's final hours. Read the full review and add your own.

White Night Wedding

3 and a half stars

The relentless light of an Icelandic midsummer night plays havoc with the mind of Prof. Jon Jonsson as he prepares to marry a young former student on a remote, picturesque island. Read the full review and add your own.

Wolf

2 out of 4 stars

wedish family drama, crime drama, social drama and courtroom drama, clumsily interlaced. Read the full review and add your own.

4/19 – Sunday

Country Teacher

3 out of 4 stars

Bohdan Sláma's film delves into a dense thicket of dreams, desire and desperation among the pastoral arcadia of the Czech countryside. Read the full review and add your own.

Days and Clouds

2 out of 4 stars

The prospect of having the economic rug pulled out from underneath a comfortable lifestyle is not only the topic du jour, but also the theme of Silvio Soldini's relevant, if somewhat aggravating, film. Read the full review and add your own.

Fados

4 out of 4 stars

This tribute to Portugal's heart-wrenching love ballads is a joyous exercise in style. Read the full review and add your own.

Letters to the President

2 and a half stars

This solid piece of journalism is not the most engaging of documentaries. But there is a lot to respect about this film from self-taught filmmaker Petr Lom, who was allowed to accompany Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on several countryside trips (the only foreigner given such access). Read the full review and add your own.

4/20 – Monday

Heart of Fire

4 out of 4 stars

This gripping story of tween-aged soldiers in the Horn of Africa shows that the recruitment and indoctrination of children into the ways of war can be an equal-opportunity horror, complete with warrior-goddess role models. Read the full review and add your own.

Mysterious Ways

1 out of 4 stars

This sub-soap-operatic melodrama (complete with dreadful piano synth score) will test the mettle of moviegoers curious about the Minnesota film scene. Read the full review and add your own.

Recipes for Disaster

2 out of 4 stars

Brit-in-Finland John Webster turns his camera on his family to prove the monstrousness of contemporary human consumption. Read the full review and add your own.

4/21 – Tuesday

Secrets of the Grain

4 out of 4 stars

A full meal of a movie, director Abdellatif Kechiche's 2½-hour ode to food and family lovingly follows an Arab immigrant clan in France through the triumphant yet pricey realization of its dream - opening a fish couscous restaurant on a refurbished boat in the port of Sète. Read the full review and add your own.

Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimacies

3 out of 4 stars

Genial remembrances casually become ghastly revelations in Yulene Olaizola's haunting documentary about an enigmatic artist, Jorge Riosse, who briefly lived and mysteriously died in her grandmother's lodging house (on the corner of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo Streets in Mexico City). Read the full review and add your own.

Somers Town

2 out of 4 stars

In the terrific "This Is England," Shane Meadows captured beautifully the sometimes absurd and indefatigably complex intricacies of young male psyches. "Somers Town" aims - albeit less ambitiously - for the same resonance. Read the full review and add your own.

What Remains of Us

2 and a half stars

Armed with a portable video player, exiled Tibetan Kalsang Dolma smuggles a five-minute message from the Dalai Lama into Tibet. Her small act of defiance brings hope and encouragement to an otherwise oppressed people. Read the full review and add your own.

4/22 – Wednesday

The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World

3 out of 4 stars

The world's largest Chinese restaurant employs almost 1,000 people, including 300 chefs. They cook 200 ducks a day and can serve up to 5,000 in the restaurant's massive complex. In the southern Chinese city of Changsha, the West Lake Restaurant is run by one person, the dynamic Qin Linzi. Read the full review and add your own.

I Am From Titov Veles

3 out of 4 stars

Former child actor turned director Teona Strugar Mitevska's strange film about three sisters wanting out of their small-town existence will either outright annoy or grab hold of the viewer. Read the full review and add your own.

Those Three

2 and a half stars

As they prepare to finish their military training, three Iranian conscripts can take no more and see an opportunity to escape; never mind that it's the dead of winter and the northern Iran terrain is brutally unforgiving. Read the full review and add your own.