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25 of the most exciting new feature films from around the world.
Opening NightA movie of tactile sensuality and levitating joy, Lovers Rock is part of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology of decades-spanning films that alight on various lives in London’s West Indian community. Here, McQueen, in an ecstatic yet no less formally bold mode, charts the growing attraction between Martha (newcomer Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn) and a brooding stranger (Micheal Ward) over the course of one night at a house party.
Centerpiece SelectionChloé Zhao’s richly textured follow-up to her acclaimed The Rider recounts a year in the life of Fern (Frances McDormand), a stoic, stubbornly independent widow who, having spent her adult life in a now-defunct company town, repurposes an old van and sets off in search of seasonal work. Mixing professionals and non-actors, Nomadland is a road movie for our precarious times.
Closing NightMichelle Pfeiffer is entirely bewitching as an imperious, widowed New York socialite who, facing financial insolvency, relocates to a friend’s empty apartment in Paris with her dyspeptic son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), and their mercurial cat, and begins to grimly plan for an impossible future. Azazel Jacobs’s adaptation of the best-selling novel by Patrick deWitt is a rare American film of genuine eccentricity, with a brilliant central performance.