You have your Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones, John Wick and so on. But what do you do when you’re tired of all these mega-budget blockbusters? Here’s a list of 11 art house, independent movies and festival favourites you need to watch out for from the international stage in 2019.
1. Yesterday (June 28)
A young, struggling singer-songwriter wakes up one day to find that he is the only person on Earth to have any memory of some of the greatest musicians of all time, The Beatles. In this world, John, Paul, George and Ringo never started The Beatles. So our protagonist, played by Himesh Patel decides to kickstart his own career using The Beatles legendary discography and passes it off as his own. Directed by Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire and Steve Jobs fame, this feel-good movie will be one for the classic rock lovers, as they take a stroll down memory lane, in a love-letter to The Beatles.
2. The Art of Self-Defense (June 21)
Jesse Eisenberg is best known for playing eccentric characters with weird intricacies, and to great effect. This next one is right in his lane. He stars in this black comedy as a mugging victim who decides to learn karate to defend himself, becoming more paranoid by the day. Written and directed by Riley Sterns, this might just be Eisenberg’s wildest performance yet.
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3. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (June 14)
Joe Talbot’s directorial debut sees Jimmie Fails (playing himself) and best friend Mont (Jonathan Majors) dream of reclaiming the Victorian home Fails’ grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. His hometown, San Francisco is no longer the city he knew, he struggles to reconnect with his family and old friends. The film was very well received at the Sundance Film Festival, with a cast including Fails, Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, and Danny Glover. The Last Black Man in San Francisco is set to hit the theatres June 14.
4. In Fabric (June 27)
In Fabric had its worldwide premiere at the Toronto Film Festival back in September 2018. The cast comprises Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill, and Gwendoline Christie. The horror comedy was very well received, with one of the critics stating: “In Fabric‘s gauzy giallo allure weaves a surreal spell, blending stylish horror and dark comedy to offer audiences a captivating treat.”
This one should be good.
5. Midsommar (July 3)
After directing modern horror classic Hereditary, Ari Aster looks to follow up with one of 2019’s most anticipated horror flicks, Midsommar. After the dark overtones of Hereditary, Aster sticks with the horror genre, as it follows a couple, Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) vacationing in a small Swedish village. As they spend more time in the village, the cult-like tendencies of the villagers make Dani increasingly suspicious and worried.
Hereditary was one of the best overall films of 2018. From what we know of the plot, Midsommar just might be one of 2019. Let’s wait and see.
6. Skin (July 26)
In this biographical drama that seems too good to be true, director Guy Nattiv follows the life of former skinhead group member Bryon Widner (played by Jamie Bell). After meeting a woman and settling down with a son, the responsibilities of fatherhood showed Widner the error of his ways, and he decided to leave his old life behind. The real-life experience of Byron Widner was shown in the 2011 documentary Erasing Hate, which focused on Widner’s months-long process to erase his tattoos and prove his worth to society. Skin, however, narrates the years leading up to Widner’s apparent redemption. It is slated to release July 26, 2019.
7. The Nightingale (August 2)
After the success of her first film, The Babadook in 2014, director Jennifer Kent is back with her next feature The Nightingale, starring Aisling Franciosi as Clare, an Irish convict living under the thumb of a British officer (Sam Claflin) who only desires two things in life: to be promoted to captain, and to make this woman miserable for his own enjoyment. After going through all sorts of mental tortures, Claire finally snaps, which turns this story into a revenge drama. The film is set to be released on August 2, 2019.
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8. Maiden (June 28)
Alex Holmes’ documentary charts the challenges faced by Tracy Edwards, skipper of the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World yacht race. Known best for his film Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story, Holmes earned positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival for Maiden. It is set to release in theaters on June 28.
9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette (August 9)
Director of movies such as Dazed and Confused, the Before trilogy, School of Rock and Boyhood, Richard Linklater is back in this comedy which is an adaptation of Maria Semple’s 2012 novel. The film stars Cate Blanchett in the titular role of Bernadette Fox. Fox is an architect who vanishes without explanation, forcing her teen daughter to conduct a lone search. After the somber tone of his previous film, Last Flag Flying, this movie is a nice change of pace. It is set to release on August 9.
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10. Blinded by the Light (August 16)
Inspired by the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor and his obsession with Bruce Springsteen, the film is set in Luton in 1987. Directed by Gurinder Chadha, the title of the film is a reference to a famous Springsteen song, ‘Blinded by the Light’. The film releases in theatres on August 16. All you Springsteen fans better mark your calendars.
11. David Crosby: Remember My Name (July 19)
Another one for you rock fans. This documentary featuring singer-songwriter David Crosby keeps all its cards on the table for everyone to see. Holding nothing back, it is a film of “genuine self-reflection”, with Crosby narrating his life’s stories, regrets, feuds and so on. Variety called it a “moving and elegiac rock-nostalgia documentary.” It is set to release July 19.
By Aditya Sarma
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I'm an engineering graduate trying to make the most out of what life throws at me. Currently working as a Brand Strategist at Mitsogo Inc, Chennai. Outside work, you can find me on a football pitch, a basketball court, or in front of a tea stall - still trying to make the most out of what I get.