I saw a number of festival-run films yet to be distributed in the US, but yet not enough to warrant a stand-alone list, so I’ve decided to combine those yet-to-be-distributed films alongside a handful of honorable mentions from this year.
The smattering of films below are arranged in no particular order.
NECKTIE YOUTH directed by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer
An episodic mosaic of the disaffected youths of Johannesburg, presented in black and white, Shongwe-La Mer’s debut blends a number of styles into a statement piece. Great performances from Shongwe-La Mer, himself as September, and Bonko Cosmo Khoza as Dabz.
A MORNING LIGHT directed by Ian Clark
Standard narrative and experimental cinema at odds with each other, Clark’s sci-fi/mystery mashup insinuates a cinematic approximation of the metaphysical, every frame just as (or more so) gorgeous than the last.
VIAJE directed by Paz Fabrega
A lovely little romance drama that covers a lot of ground within its short 71 minute run-time, fluidly shifting through a number of unexpected mood shifts, all presented in wonderful black and white.
HER WILDERNESS directed by Frank Mosley
Indiscernible between reality and fantasy, Mosley’s minimalist mood piece of a film is bathed in ambiguity and mystery, trance-like storytelling seemingly existing in that small window – the twilight of waking and the dawning of slumber.
A film adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Castle set in Inner Mongolia with non-professional actors, K contains spectacular performances from Bayin and Yirigui alongside wonderful natural light cinematography from Matthieu Laclau.
TEARS OF GOD directed by Robert Hillyer Barnett
Just about every scene in Barnett’s debut is breathtaking; cryptic and haunting, Tears of God is downright astounding, especially the wandering cinematography, apparition-like in its recordings.
HIERBA directed by Raúl Perrone
Utterly foreign in terms of execution, yet vaguely familiar with stylistic choices gleaned the from the past, reassembled into an amalgamation of artistic representation incorporating 19th century paintings as backdrops to the silent film unfolding before (and in) them.
A CORNER OF HEAVEN directed by Zhang Miaoyan
A monolith of melancholia, Zhang captures the breathtaking beauty peeking out through the fog of sorrow in every frame, a parade of lifeless faces full of seemingly infinite strife and struggles living in an assemblage of structures on the precipice of unrelenting burden.
DISCO INFERNO directed by Alice Waddington
A 12 minute horror short profuse with striking imagery (in black and white), Waddington’s short informs us that we desperately need an Alice Waddington feature as soon as possible.
THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF PÉROLA directed by Guto Parente
An experimental mélange of digital and home video imagery, Parente’s slow-burn murder mystery slowly builds a domicile of disquiet, fixed frame after fixed frame steadily encroaching upon various focal points breeding foreboding within the thick, ominous air.
THANATOS, DRUNK directed by Chang Tso-chi
Underneath the fairly mundane day-to-day activities that comprise the surface level plotline lays an elaborate tapestry of emotional entanglements as guilt, love and indifference wrestle within the characters.
HERE’S TO THE FUTURE! directed by Gina Telaroli
Telaroli, along with a group of friends and acquaintances, transform a familiar space into something completely different, something magical and cinematic, reminding all of us of the potential and possibilities that cinema has to offer.
QUEEN OF EARTH directed by Alex Ross Perry
GIRLHOOD directed by Céline Sciamma
An admirable coming-of-age drama with a narrative that feels a bit shorthand at times, but everything involving Vic, Lady, Adiatou and Fily is bursting with energy and camaraderie that it’s almost impossible not to get swept up.
52 TUESDAYS directed by Sophie Hyde
A heartfelt, genuine portrayal of gender transitioning nestled in a coming-of-age tale, Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays easily traverses a multitude of moods while Del Herbert-Jane delivers a helluva performance.