Dedicated to the discovery and support of emerging artists, New Directors/New Films has earned an international reputation as the premier festival for works that break or re-cast the cinematic mold. Celebrating its 44th year in 2015, the festival takes place March 18-29 and is presented jointly by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art.
Christmas, Again | Charles Poekel
USA | 2014 | 79 min.
Writer-director Charles Poekel has transformed three years of "fieldwork” peddling Christmas trees on the streets of New York into a sharply observed and wistfully comic portrait of urban loneliness and companionship, shot on 16mm by acclaimed cinematographer Sean Price Williams (Listen Up Philip, Heaven Knows What).
Court | Chaitanya Tamhane
India | 2014 | 116 min.
Marathi, Gujarati, and Hindi with English subtitles
Chaitanya Tamhane’s absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in contemporary India won top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai Film Festivals and features a brilliant ensemble cast of professional and nonprofessional actors who capture the rich complexity and contradictions of Indian society.
Entertainment | Rick Alverson
USA | 2015 | 110 min.
The Comedy director Rick Alverson teams with comedians Gregg Turkington (better known as Neil Hamburger) and Tim Heidecker for a hallucinatory journey to the end of the night. A washed-up comic on tour with a teenage mime works his way across the Mojave Desert on a one-of-a-kind odyssey that is by turns mortifying and beautiful, bewildering and absorbing.
Goodnight Mommy | Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz
Austria | 2014 | 100 min.
German with English subtitles
The dread of parental abandonment is trumped by the terror of menacing spawn in Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s exquisite, cerebral horror-thriller. Produced by Ulrich Seidl, Goodnight Mommy is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss wrapped in one of the scariest films of the year.
The Great Man | Sarah Leonor
France | 2014 | 107 min.
French with English subtitles
The intrinsic struggle between paternal/fraternal responsibility and unfettered mobility takes on a deeply moving dimension in Sarah Leonor’s by turns heartbreaking and empowering sophomore feature, which follows two French Legionnaires at the end of their posting in Afghanistan.
The Kindergarten Teacher | Nadav Lapid
Israel/France | 2014 | 119 min.
Hebrew with English subtitles
Nadav Lapid’s follow-up to his explosive debut, Policeman, is a brilliant, shape-shifting provocation in which a fortysomething teacher in Tel Aviv becomes obsessed with one of her charges, a 5-year-old poetry prodigy, yielding a perversely romantic work whose underlying conviction seems to be that in an ugly world, beauty still has the power to drive us mad.
Theeb | Naji Abu Nowar
Jordan/Qatar/United Arab Emirates/UK | 2014 | 100 min.
Arabic with English subtitles
Classic storytelling at its finest, this quietly gripping adventure tale, set in 1916 in a desert province on the edge of the Ottoman Empire, follows the younger brother of a Bedouin guide, tasked with helping a British Army Officer and his translator, as he learns to survive and becomes a man amidst the violent and mysterious agendas of adults.
The Tribe | Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy
Ukraine | 2014 | 132 min.
Set it in a spartan boarding school for deaf and mute coeds and told entirely through un-subtitled sign language, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize–winning feature debut overcomes what may sound like impossible obstacles to tell a grim but uncannily immersive story of exploitation and brutality in a dog-eat-dog world, delivering a high-school movie you won’t forget.
White God | Kornél Mundruczó
Hungary | 2014 | 119 min.
Hungarian with English subtitles
Kornél Mundruczó’s shocking fable, which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes, captivatingly weaves together elements of melodrama, adventure, and a bit of horror in order to pose fundamental questions of equality, class, and humanity, as an outcast mutt and an army of fellow canines set out to take their revenge on the humans who have wronged them.