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The 13 Indies You Must See This March: ‘Krisha,’ ‘Knight of Cups’ and More

The 13 Indies You Must See This March: 'Krisha,' 'Knight of Cups' and More

“Songs My Brother Taught Me” (March 2)

(Film Page)
Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller
Criticwire Average: B
Why is it a Must See? “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” centers around Lakota Native Americans living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the Badlands of South Dakota. Starring non-professional actors, the plot follows a high school senior who must reevaluate his future after the death of his father leaves him responsible for his 13-year-old sister. The movie, which marks Zhao’s debut, played at Sundance and Cannes last year. It was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, including Best First Film and Best Cinematography. 

“Cemetery of Splendor” (March 4)

(Film Page)
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Jenjira Pongpas , Banlop Lomnoi, Jenjira Widner, Jarinpattra Rueangram
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a Must See? Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Cemetery of Splendor” was lauded on last year’s festival circuit, starting with an acclaimed debut in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. The film, a haunting tale which explores the familial, societal and economical issues of Thailand through the lens of a sleeping sickness that has begun plaguing the people, marks the director’s return to producing films in his native tongue. The spiritualistic drama tells the story of an aging woman who finds solace, comfort, revelations, magic and healing in the world of comatose victims. The enigmatic tale is one that incorporates notes of magical realism and tales of redemption and empathy. It’s everything we love most about Weerasethakul.

Knight of Cups” (March 4)

(Film Page)
Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Imogen Poots, Antonio Banderas
Criticwire Average: B+
Why is it a Must See? With an ensemble cast headed by Christian Bale and supported by Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman and Imogen Poots, “Knight of Cups” is one of Malick’s starrier efforts to date. Bale plays an existentially-plagued Hollywood screenwriter who embarks on a spiraling odyssey in the sexualized, hard-partying urban landscape of Hollywood and Las Vegas. His quest to break the spell of his disenchantment takes him on a series of adventures with six alluring women, as Malick and Emmanuel Lubezski take their free-floating camera to new gritty environments. 

“The Wave” (March 4)

(Film Page)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Cast: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp
Criticwire Average: C
Why is it a Must See? “The Wave” was Norway’s biggest box office hit in 2015 and its official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Unfortunately, it was not nominated, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth your time and money this month. The film takes place in the small town of Geiranger, one of the most spectacular tourist draws on the planet. When local geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) begins to notice peculiarities in the substrata, his concerns go unnoticed as tourist season arrives. These peculiarities soon transform into an impending tsunami that threatens to submerge Geiranger, leaving Kristian with only 10 minutes to clear everyone out before it makes impact.

“Trapped” (March 4)

(Film Page)
Director: Dawn Porter
Criticwire Average: N/A
Why is it a Must See? After winning the U.S. Documentary Social Impact Filmmaking Award at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Dawn Porter’s “Trapped” is opening in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. on March 4. The timely documentary follows the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of a battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women. The nationwide release of the film will come just as the U.S. Supreme Court takes on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the landmark case that will determine the constitutionality of “TRAP” (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws.

“Eye in the Sky” (March 11)

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Director: Gavin Hood
Cast: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Iain Glen, Barkhad Abdi
Criticwire Average: B+
Why is it a Must See? The tactics of modern warfare are questioned in Gavin Hood’s new film, “Eye in the Sky.” Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and Alan Rickman star as military intelligence officers left with the task of killing two suicide bombers. The stealth of their drones seems impenetrable, until a young girl’s presence prevents them from firing. With each character questioning the morality of the situation in his or her own way, “Eye in the Sky” is white-knuckle morality thriller that throws wartime politics into the chaotic ringer.

“Creative Control” (March 11)

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Director: Benjamin Dickinson
Cast: Benjamin Dickinson, Nora Zehetner, Dan Gill, Alexia Rasmussen, Reggie Watts
Criticwire Average: B
Why is it a Must See? After making a huge splash at SXSW last year, where it won a special jury prize for visual excellence and got picked up by Amazon and Magnolia Pictures, “Creative Control” is now ready for public consumption. Written and directed by Benjamin Dickinson (“First Love”), the film takes on the increasingly popular trend of virtual reality. After an executive tries out his company’s brand new invention, a pair of glasses known as Augmenta, he suddenly finds himself immersed in a new realm of consciousness. Soon, he uses the glasses for his own professional and personal advantage, carrying out an affair with his best friend’s girlfriend.

“City of Gold” (March 11)

(Film Page)
Director: Laura Gabbert
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a Must See? Take a tour of LA’s culinary underground in “City of Gold,” the new documentary about Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. Featuring interviews from Gold and other culinary icons like Andrew Zimmern, along with restaurant owners who have been affected by Gold’s writing, the film speaks directly to the LA food landscape and the man who dedicated his life to exploring it. The documentary uses Gold’s big personality and his passion for food to explore the diverse range of cultures that coexist in LA through the lens of the cuisines they bring to the table. Gold’s unorthodox approach focuses on small and often unknown restaurants, making him a powerful ally to a restauranteur who could just as easily spell failure with a bad review.

“Lolo” (March 11)

(Film Page)
Director: Julie Delpy
Cast: Julie Delpy, Dany Boon, Vincent Lacoste, Karin Viard
Criticwire Average: B-
Why is it a Must See?  “Lolo,” a French romantic comedy written and directed by star Julie Delpy, had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, and it also screened to favorable reviews during its North American premiere at TIFF. Delpy plays a 40-year-old workaholic with a career in the fashion industry. When she falls for a provincial computer geek while on a spa retreat with her best friend, her life is thrown into romantic chaos as her new love must win the trust and respect of Violette’s teenage son, Lolo (Vincent Lacoste), who is determined to wreak havoc on the couple’s fledging relationship and remain his mother’s favorite. Think of it as a French spin on the Duplass Brothers’ “Cyrus.”

“Fireworks Wednesday” (March 16)

(Film Page)
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Hamid Farokhnezhad, Hediyeh Tehrani, Taraneh Alidoosti, Pantea Bahram
Criticwire Average: N/A
Why is it a Must See? As Indiewire exclusively reported earlier this month, the newly-created distribution company Grasshopper Film is kicking off its slate by opening Asghar Farhadi’s acclaimed 2006 drama “Fireworks Wednesday” for the first time in the U.S. this March. The company told Indiewire that it is “dedicated to releasing acclaimed and award-winning independent cinema,” and Farhadi’s martial drama certainly fits the bill. The release is a surefire treat for foreign film fans who haven’t had the easiest time seeing Farhadi’s drama on the big screen in North American theaters.

Krisha” (March 18)

(Film Page)
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Trey Edward Shults, Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Bill Wise, Chris Doubek
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a Must See? The secret weapon of the 2015 festival season was unquestionably Trey Edward Shults’ dazzling and disorienting “Krisha.” Winner of both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, as well as an official selection of Critics’ Week at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, the drama stars Shults opposite his own aunt Krisha Fairchild in the titular role. She plays an estranged member of a Texas family who returns home on Thanksgiving morning for a holiday full of shocking secrets and palpable tension. Borrowing from the likes of John Cassavetes, Robert Altman and Ingmar Bergman, Shults and Fairchild create a psychological force of nature over the film’s 90-minute runtime.

Midnight Special” (March 18)

(Film Page)
Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Joel Edgerton, Sam Shepard, Jaeden Lieberher
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a Must See? While it might not be an indie in the literal sense, “Midnight Special” is practically beaming with indie talent thanks to its talented director Jeff Nichols, who is crafting his most ambitious effort yet after the critically acclaimed indie hat trick of “Shotgun Stories,” “Take Shelter” and “Mud.” Reuniting with longtime collaborator Michael Shannon, Nichols looks to be bringing some menacing adult sensibitlies to what, on paper, sounds very much like an Amblin Entertainment/Steve Spielberg-esque childhood saga. Shannon plays the father of an eight-year-old boy with special powers. As religious extremists, local law enforcement and the federal government all try and hunt down the boy, the father must embark on a dangerous quest to bring his son to safety.

I Saw the Light” (March 25)

(Film Page)
Director: Marc Abraham
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Krumholtz, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones
Why is it a Must See? Some negative reviews may have pushed back “I Saw the Light” from its awards-friendly November release date to this month, but they aren’t stopping Sony Pictures Classics from putting together a well-edited and emotionally effective campaign. Starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, “I Saw the Light” is a biopic centered around country superstar Hank Williams, one of the most prolific songwriters of all time, who rose to fame and died at the age of 29 after years of substance abuse. The film marks the second feature from director Marc Abraham and features Hiddleston performing all of his own musical numbers. The actor learned how to play the guitar exclusively for the role.

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