MUST-SEE UPCOMING INDEPENDENT FILMS IN 2020
2019 has been a great year for independent cinema, and we can only expect 2020 to follow in its steps. If you’re tired of mainstream productions and are looking for alternative options, here’s a little list of the most anticipated indie film releases of the next several months. All of these movies have already created buzz both online and offline, and are predicted to “wow” the viewers all over the world. At the same time, they’re independent productions, directed by auteurs who maintain their artistic integrity and are expected to offer something unexpected and intriguing. Not constricted by the big studios’ requirements and rigid rules, this corner of the cinematic universe is definitely enticing and offers different kinds of experiences than those we associate with high-budget blockbusters.
Whichever option out of these listed below you choose to watch, it’s probably going to be an unforgettable experience. Enjoy!
1. Uncut Gems (December 13, 2019); Directed by: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Starring Adam Sandler, Idina Menzel and Lakeith Stanfield, this A24 production pushes the boundaries of the thriller genre. After an extremely warm welcome at the most important independent film festivals (including Telluride and Toronto), Uncut Gems seems to be the critics’ dark horse in the upcoming award season. Howard Ratner is a jeweler from New York. His life revolves around his business, gambling, toxic relationships (especially with women) and all-around bad choices. The chaos is his “normal”, though, and we – the viewers – have to get involved whether we like it or not. Highlighted by Darius Khondji’s stunning cinematography and contemporary soundtrack, this high-paced drama promises to be equally anxiety-inducing and fulfilling.
2. Last Night in Soho (September 2020); Directed by Edgar Wright
Edgar Wright’s films have a very distinctive sense of humour to them. We’ll find out whether the same can be said for Last Night in Soho when the British picture hits theatres in September 2020, but for now, it’s fair to say that this psychological thriller-slash-horror produced by Focus Features is one of the most anticipated independent films of next year. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie and Matt Smith, it features 1960s London, boundless amounts of nostalgia for the past and a promise of a not-so-predictable take on time travel. One thing’s for sure, though: Edgar Wright will without a doubt put a personal twist on the thriller and horror genres.
3. Clemency (December 27, 2019); Directed by Chinonye Chukwu
With a score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, Clemency promises to be an unforgettable drama of the highest quality. Directed by Chinonye Chukwu and starring Alfre Woodard and Danielle Brooks amongst others, this American drama has already collected accolades, including the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Festival. Telling the story of Bernardine Williams, a Death Row prison warden, Clemency has us confront just how high the cost of taking someone’s life is, and what an irreversible path it is.
4. First Cow (March 6, 2020); Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Another A24 production to premiere at Telluride, First Cow is about to be released in March 2020. This drama, directed by Kelly Reichardt, is delicate tale of male friendship and sets the plot in the scenery of 19th century rural America. Well-known for the insightful unravelling of femininity in her previous films, this time Reichardt decides to touch on the themes of masculinity and does so just as successfully. The aesthetics of Americana, as well as poignant performances by John Magaro and Orion Lee, complete the whole picture.
5. Wendy (February 28, 2020); Directed by Behn Zeitlin
Choosing to retell the classic Peter Pan story with usually side-lined Wendy as the protagonist is a bold move, but if the initial reactions are anything to go by – it will pay off. Expected to premiere in February 2020, Behn Zeitlin’s film sets the expectations high – his first full feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild, collected numerous honours and awards, including Caméra d’Or. Based on that, we can only expect Wendy to follow through. Touching on the themes of courage and friendship, this coming-of-age story promises to indulge every viewer in the world of adventure and child-like joy, all accompanied by the striking imagery of Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s cinematography.
Written by Paulina Prońko