Houda Benyamina’s “Divines” tells a scrappy coming-of-age story about a place where women are encouraged to follow their individual dreams so long as they don’t have a chance of escaping their collective nightmare. Read IndieWire’s review.
“The Duke of Burgundy” (2015)
Peter Strickland’s visually evocative tribute to ’70s European sexploitation films explores the sadomasochistic relationship between two lesbian entomologists. He understands the key to being sexy is mounting anticipation; with “Duke of Burgundy,” he establishes himself as the Hitchcock of sexual tension. Read IndieWire’s review.
Rick Alverson’s sketchy, irreverent drama “Entertainment” follows co-writer Gregg Turkington’s real-life comedic stage persona: The awkward and grotesque Neil Hamburger. The movie offers a fascinating look at the tension between personal aspirations and the harsh realities holding them back. Read IndieWire’s review.
What would happen if you mixed art house cinema with the kind of body horror every David Cronenberg fan loves? The result would look something like “Evolution.” The second feature from French director Lucile Hadžihalilovic arrives 12 years after her debut, and it’s a mesmerizing and maddening coming-of-age horror movie that has the look of a beautiful nightmare. Read IndieWire’s review.
“The Eyes of My Mother” (2016)
Oddly touching and terrifying in equal measures, Nicolas Pesce’s knockout debut “The Eyes of My Mother” conveys a sharp directorial vision that nods to the past while building an entirely fresh experience. It has all the makings of a cult phenomenon bound to leave an impression on audiences even if it traumatizes them. Read IndieWire’s review.
Jason Banker’s visceral horror-thriller finds artist Amy Everson starring in her own true story as a woman coping with a past sexual trauma by creating a grotesquely costumed alter ego that re-appropriates the male form. Exploring sexuality and combating rape culture, the movie is a powerful feminist statement on the sanctity of female vulnerability and the ways in which it is corrupted by male aggression.
“Five Star” (2014)
“Five Star” is set amid the perils of gang life in the Brooklyn housing projects and features performances by actual former gang members riffing on their own lives. It offers plenty of talking points as a sociological experiment, but its real triumph is how the cast actually delivers, yielding a story in which the heightened suspense emerges organically from a gritty foundation of realism. Read IndieWire’s review.
“The Forbidden Room” (2015)
Impossible to describe and impossible to forget, Guy Maddin’s “The Forbidden Room” is a breathless phantasmagoria whose narrative labyrinth and intricate visual effects combine to create a film that appears to defy convention at every turn. Just turn it on and go for a trip. Read IndieWire’s review.
Dublin’s gloomy weather underscores the heartfelt human drama at the center of Gerard Barrett‘s affecting feature “Glassland.” Centered on a mother and a son (played in powerful turns by Toni Collette and Jack Reynor), the film captures the agony of addiction and the strength of unshakable love in all its melancholic beauty. Read IndieWire’s review.
“Hungry Hearts” (2015)
Saverio Costanzo’s psychological drama stars Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher as a young married couple in New York City who engage in a fateful struggle over the life of their newborn child. As the mother’s increasingly nightmarish child-rearing practices take center stage, the husband is forced into an emotional wringer as the film evokes the classic slow-burn thrillers of Roman Polanski and Alfred Hitchcock. Read IndieWire’s review.
“Hunter Gatherer” (2016)
“The Wire” alum Andre Royo leads this warm, eccentric movie that kind of feels like a kindred spirit of David Gordon Green’s “George Washington.” Marking the innocent and eccentric debut of Josh Locy, “Hunter Gatherer” is a warm-hearted movie that follows a diehard romantic but refuses to romanticize his plight. Read IndieWire’s review.
Mike Flanagan puts a simple but effective twist on the home-invasion horror-thriller by making the lead character deaf. When things go bump in the night and one person can’t hear them, the possibilities for twisted horror set pieces are endless, and this movie exploits as many as possible before the end credits. Read IndieWire’s review.