Pieta (May 17)

Director: Kim Ki-duk
Cast:  Min-soo Cho, Jung-jin Lee, Eunjin Kang, Jae-rok Kim, Jin Yong-Ok
Distributor: Drafthouse

Criticwire Average: 22 critics gave it a B average.

Why is it a "Must See"?  Winner of the Golden Lion at last year's Venice Film Festival (topping "The Master," "To The Wonder" and "Spring Breakers"), the latest film from controversial Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk follows a man employed by a loanshark who is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle when a mysterious woman appears claiming to be his long-lost mother. Indiewire wrote in our review last fall: "'Pieta,' a curiously engaging and wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels, displays its theatrical minimalism like a dour badge of honor. The entire narrative focuses on a pair of tortured characters unraveling the demons of their past. Kim's intense portrait is enhanced by the closeness he maintains to his subjects' fluctuating emotions. The movie looks blatantly frugal but, as it sounds a deeply sorrowful note, never cheap." [Peter Knegt]

Check out the film's trailer:

Populaire (May 17)

Director: Regis Roinsard
Cast: Romain Duris, Deborah Francois, Berenice Bejo, Shaun Benson
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Criticwire Average: 4 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a "Must See"? Amid the flurry of dramatic releases from the world's leading filmmakers, Regis Roinsard's French comedy "Populaire," has stood out for the sheer sense of delight emanating from every still and video released of the film. A hit when it was released in France last Novemeber, the film stars Romain Duris and Deborah Francois, along with "The Artist"'s Berenice Bejo, with Francois starring as a typist whose boss aims to make her into the world's fastest typer. Distributor The Weinstein Company seems to be aiming at a success inline with their previous releases of recent French box office (and Oscar) successes "The Artist" and "The Intouchables," but "Populaire"'s candy-colored aesthetic and breezy charm suggests an entirely different kind of experience that should be a perfect counterpoint to the summer's other Indie fare. [Cameron Sinz]

Check out the film's (French-language) trailer below:

Post Tenebras Lux (May 1)

Director: Carlos Reygadas
Cast: Adolfo Jimenez Castro, Nathalia Acevedo, Willebaldo Torres
Distributor: Strand Releasing

Criticwire Average: 32 critics gave it a B average.

Why is it a "Must See"? Carlos Reygadas' "Post Tenebras Lux," was one of the more controversial Cannes winners in recent memory when Reygadas took home a Best Director trophy at last year's festival, following a reception that earned its fair share of praise and an equal (if not larger) amount of derision from those attending its premiere. Using his own life as a structuring method, the film follows a rural couple living in Mexico who own a wealthy estate with their children and various workers. What seems at first to be the director's most linear film yet quickly descends into a series of inexplicable events, mixing the real with the supernatural within his heavily textured visual style.

IW's Eric Kohn called the film "at turns wildly beautiful and pointlessly nonsensical," in his Cannes review, and wherever you end up siding on the film, it's sure to be one of the more fascinating films you'll see all summer. [Cameron Sinz]

Check out the film's trailer:

Prince Avalanche (August 16)

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast:  Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault, Joyce Payne, Gina Grande, Lynn Shelton
Distributor: Magnolia

Criticwire Average: 19 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a "Must See"? A big winner at this year's Berlinale, taking home the Silver Bear for Best Director, David Gordon Green's new film "Prince Avalanche" follows two highway workers (played by Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) in 1988 as they head away from their city lives and deal with what they left behind.  The film is an American adaptation of the Icelandic film "Either Way," and is set in Austin suburb Bastrop.  [Bryce J. Renninger]

The film hasn't released a trailer yet.