For Urszula Śniegowska, artistic director of the American Film Festival, these films are a must-see at this year’s New Horizons International Film Festival.
Searching, dir. Aneesh Chaganty
Searching is a blood-curdling crime story about a private investigation conducted by a father after the disappearance of his teenage daughter; it also reflects on the consequences of addiction to technology and the ubiquitous devices in our lives: mobile phones, computers, and televisions. All the action in the film is in fact shown on the screens of such devices.
The Wife, dir. Björn Runge
You will get a tasteof "revenge" of a woman who has lived in the shadow of a celebrity partner. The acts of a faithful eponymous wife (played by the wonderful and statuesque Glenn Close) of a fictional American writer, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, also offer a rumination on parity in the arts.
Under the Silver Lake, dir. David Robert Mitchell/USA 2018
Shown in-competition at Cannes, though failing to win any awards, this is the American director's third film (following The Myth of the American Sleepover, which was shown at the American Film Festival, and It Follows). It seduced me with countless references to classic films (Altman's work and the Coen brothers' early films) the image of young people feeding their egos on the glitz of Los Angeles, and an exhilarating crime-story plot.
We the Animals, dir. Jeremiah Zagara
A film about the maturation of an artist and sources of inspiration: three young boys are raising themselves. The youngest escapes into creativity and secretly makes a comic book that becomes the canvas for this captivating and moving film.
Piercing, dir. Nicolas Pesce
The second full-length feature film by Nicolas Pesce, who gained fame at Sundance in 2017 with his stylish back-and white horror The Eyes of My Mother, which was shown at the American Film Festival last year. In Piercing, which also premiered at Sundance and was warmly received there, Christopher Abbott, the leading American indie heartthrob, plays a good husband and father who unexpectedly decides to act on his murderous lust. The film also stars the phenomenal Mia Wasikowska. This black comedy is one of the wildest films of the year.
The Rider, dir. Chloé Zhao
Beautifully filmed in South Dakota, a fact-based fictional tale of a cowboy's fight with his limitations and weakness after a serious accident. A kind of sequel to Chloé Zhao's previous film, Songs My Brother Taught Me, which was shot in the same environment.
Madeline and Madeline, dir. Josephine Decker
Known from previous editions of New Horizons and the American Film Festival, Josephine Decker is the epitome of independence and now also the owner of a Sundance Audience Award. Her film focuses on a teenage girl named Madeline, who wants to become an actress by any means necessary and in spite of the aggression typical of this age. One of my favorite directors, the artist and writer Miranda July, plays the painfully hysterical mother.
I Am Another You, dir. Nanfu Wang
A young documentary filmmaker from China visits the United States and befriends a neo-hippy from Florida. She accompanies him as he runs away from home and as he discovers the hardships of life on the street. Together, they learn about friendship and about what contemporary capitalism and humanity are.
Kusama: Infinity, dir. Heather Lenz
A portrait of an incredible Japanese artist who obsessively uses the theme of colorful dots.
Among the retrospectives being shown, I would be glad to take another look at the work of Nicolas Roeg, a wonderful director from Australia working in the United States and Great Britain. His most important film is probably the drug-infused crime story Performance, starring Mick Jagger. I would also like to see The Man Who Fell to Earth on the big screen, a science-fiction film starring David Bowie.