We recently profiled our 20 Must-See Movies Still to Come in 2017, which showcased the very best in the forthcoming blockbuster entertaining ready to storm your local multiplex over the coming months. However you might be wondering about those slighter, more obscure titles that aren’t as likely to break box-office records, but will almost certainly define the cinematic year; well, wonder no longer as we at Filmoria have you covered!
From incredible indie and ambitious arthouse, by way of the finest in foreign language film, there is a towering assortment of alternative cinema to consume across the remainder of the year, and we have narrowed it down to the 20 releases you simply cannot afford to miss. So without further ado, let’s get this show on the road! Be sure to stay in touch with Filmoria via Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss a moment of the epic movie action in 2017 and beyond!
20. Lady Macbeth
You wouldn’t be ill to think Lady Macbeth is just another dip into the Shakespearian cinematic archive, but on the contrary. The Bard and his conniving Queen of Scotland are nowhere to be found in this powerfully dark drama which sees young Florence Pugh tied into a bitter, loveless marriage in 1800s England. Directed by newcomer David Oldroyd, and co-starring Christopher Fairbank, and Bill Fellows, the film has been making waves on the festival circuit – particularly at Sundance – over the past few months, and the first trailer oozed with tantalising imagery and imagination. Dubbed as a gothic noir and melodrama, this is the very definition of a must-see.
19. Golden Exits
Writer-director Alex Ross Perry is no stranger to complex characterisation, with sublime works such as Listen Up Philip, and most recently Queen of Earth in his finite filmography. This year he’s back with Golden Exits starring Emily Browning alongside Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevingy, Adam Horowitz, and Analeigh Tipton. Early word from Sundance has been more than positive, with critics admiring Perry’s approach to prickly, uneasy personas who occupy a sparse, alarmingly mundane landscape. Audiences can expect his volatile dialogue arrangement, tight framing, and claustrophobic suburban settings, in addition to the dexterous manner in which he ensures comedy is forever straddling tragedy.
Ukrainian autuer Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi stunned critics world-over with his feature-length debut The Tribe back in 2014. A startlingly original, unflinchingly horrifying portrait of young adulthood, told entirely with sign language (no supporting dialogue or subtitles at all), it was a glowing success and paved the way for one of the most exciting new talents in circulation. This year he returns with Luxembourg; a moody drama about a jealous policeman working as a watchmen in the area sealed off after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which is rumoured for an Official Competition spot at Cannes in May. We don’t know much about this one, but enough to be supremely excited, nonetheless.
17. How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Rabbit Hole director John Cameron Mitchell finally returns, and he is heading to our screens with a big A24 property. How to Talk to Girls at Parties – adapted from the Neil Gaiman short story – stars Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Ruth Wilson, and Matt Lucas, in addition to a reunion with Nicole Kidman, offers one of the most brilliantly bizarre narratives still to come in 2017. Set in the 1970s, the film follows an alien touring the galaxy, who finds herself meeting two young inhabitants of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon. Dubbed as a coming-of-age comedy-turned science-ficiton musical, this beguiling indie has all the hallmarks for future cult status.
16. The Square
2014’s Force Majeure, a savagely funny domestic comedy set in the wake of an avalanche, was a huge hit for Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, who returns this year with The Square. Dubbed for a Cannes premiere, his latest stars the great Elisabeth Moss alongside Dominic West, and mo-cap maestro Terry Notary, and is designed to underpin the complexities of human morality and interaction within public spaces. It’ll follow Moss’ artist, who sets up a space in a European town square where people are meant to follow a shared common interest, but not everything goes quite according to plan. Viewers can expect lashings of dark, socially-aware humour, pared with vulnerably honest performances from its English-langauge leads.
Debutant writer-director Julia Ducournau’s coming-of-age cannibal odyssey Raw is one of the biggest talking points on the independent spectrum right now, after a roaringly successful festival tour. With word of audiences fainting in theatres, and the like, it has an unprecedented buzz, but accordingly to early reviews, has all the skills and ingenuity to back it up, too. Starring Garance Marillier, this psychosexual horror follows Justine, a young vegetarian who undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, which leaves her with an unbidden taste for meat that’ll soon consume her existence. An art house chiller with plenty of bite, it looks set to surpass the limitations of genre, instead transcending to something higher. We are champing at the bit for this one.
14. The Discovery
Netflix oddity The Discovery – co-written and directed by The One I Love‘s Charlie McDowell – ushered in a huge response at Sundance earlier this year, and it’ll be heading to the home streaming service very soon indeed. Featuring an all-star cast including Rooney Mara, Jason Segel, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough, and even the great Robert Redford, this high-concept mystery decodes a love story set precisely one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified. Netflix are proving themselves to be one of the most forward-thinking creative platforms of our age, and are continuing to evolve cinematically, so this one seems like the perfect fit for their global reach. Early reviews have been glowingly positive, and anything starring the ever-talented Mara is quite frankly unmissable.
13. Hounds of Love
After tearing up Venice last year, Australian writer-director Ben Young’s audacious debut Hounds of Love – not to be confused with that Kate Bush LP – has been a heavy hitter on the midnight movie scene, thanks to its pulsatingly violent approach to the serial killer genre. Referred to by some critics as a modern-day Funny Games (any Michael Haneke comparison is a biblical compliment), the film follows Ashleigh Cummings’ Vicki, who is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamic between her captors, she quickly realises she must drive a wedge between them if she is to survive. Co-starring Emma Booth and Stephen Curry, this is one domestic chiller that’s bound to test and alarm audiences worldwide.
Ex_Machina man Alex Garland returns to the fold in 2017 with Annihilation; a hugely ambitious sci-fi project, which provides audiences with an equally impressive cast. On-board are Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and former alumni Oscar Isaac, who tackle a deep narrative in which a biologist heads into an environmental disaster zone, armed with three fellow scientists, who are all in search of her husband. The beloved partner went missing on a similar expedition, so past tragedies could replicate themselves again. Lead by Portman, the film benefits from a larger scale and budget than his previous, and indeed excellent, film, and early word from sources close say its akin to the works of the great Andrei Tarkovsky. Sign us the hell up.
Another Netflix addition comes in the shape of legendary Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho’s latest, Okja, which promises to be extremely different to his recent Snowpiercer. Featuring an incredible ensemble including the likes of Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, and Shirley Henderson, this beguiling entry – which has been likened to Disney’s recent Pete’s Dragon – details a young Korean girl travels the world trying to protect her best friend, a giant alien creature, from a malevolent corporation who wish to subject it to cruel testing. The teaser trailer was unveiled recently, and showcased an ethereal, darkly magical tone; something Joon-ho’s imaginative visual palette is simply perfect for. Viewers can expect something supremely odd, and wholly original, beamed into the comfort of their living rooms.
10. Song to Song
Terrence Malick’s Song to Song – a heady and ethereal portrait of romance amidst the Texan music scene – recently had its World Premiere at SXSW Festival, where critical reception was quite typically provided. Still, the very best of film splits audiences, and the whimsical auteur is no stranger to contrasting views. Shot almost back-to-back with his most recent effort, Knight of Cups, this is described as a companion piece, and features an equally impressive cast, too. Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman lead proceedings, whilst support comes from the likes of Hayley Bennett, Cate Blanchett, and a whole host of musicians in cameo roles. Ostentatious in visual form, restrained in dialogue and narrative, this is bound to be a feverish, unforgettably Malickian odyssey.
09. Berlin Syndrome
Making waves at Sundance, and again at Berlin last month, the ever-talented Australian Cate Shortland returns with another international offering in Berlin Syndrome. Teresa Palmer’s lead performance has been described as a career best, playing a young journalist in Germany, who after a one-night-stand with a strapping man, becomes his prisoner as she is locked up in an apartment block. Shortland’s approach to genre has always been avant-garde (see Lore for a prime example), and viewers can expect no ordinary crime drama here. The first trailer was blisteringly tense, yet textured with graceful beauty, and rhythmic editing. Rounding out the cast are Max Riemelt, Lucie Aron, and Matthias Habich. We are extremely excited to embark on this insidious ride.
Cory Finley’s directorial debut, the luxuriously macabre and complex Thoroughbred, was among the best-received films at Sundance earlier this year; regarded for its approach to sisterhood, philosophy, and psychosexuality. Featuring the ever-talented Anya-Taylor Joy, whose work in The Witch, Spilt, and Morgan has been most impressive – alongside Olivia Cooke, and the late Anton Yelchin, the film follows two wealthy teenage girls in suburban Connecticut who rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be, and that a murder might solve both of their problems. A showcase for its young women, and Finley’s scathing, acidic dialogue, audiences can expect an ambidextrous and surprising watch; one laden with blackened laughs, spiky social commentary, and a distinct visual identity.
07. It Comes at Night
If you missed Trey Edward Shults’ Krisha last year, do yourself a solid and seek it out. It is really fantastic. The hugely impressive writer-director returns this year with a calculated, spine-tingling A24 property in It Comes at Night, and judging from the first teaser trailer, audiences are going to be terrified by this one. Featuring a fantastic cast including Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, and Christopher Abbott, this mysterious horror unfolds within a desolate home as an unnatural threat wrecks havoc on the outside world, however perhaps what’s inside the walls is just as sinister. The usage of sound in the footage we’ve seen, paired with Shults’ painfully elongated camerawork builds a nauseating, yet undeniably enveloping atmosphere. If this one is anywhere near as accomplished as his debut, we have a serious talent upon our shaking, sweaty hands.
06. In The Fade
German-Turkish maestro Fatih Akin is one of the most brilliant, and criminally underrated artists at work today. His 2004 drama Head-On is one of the most visceral, brutally convincing films that gives Gaspar Noé a run for his money. This year he scoops up Diane Kruger for In The Fade; an uncompromising drama which tackles racism, austerity, and immigration as a humble man is pushed to his breaking point following his harsh experiences of prejudice. Akin has dubbed the movie as his Taxi Driver, which is enough to get anyone excited, but having Kruger back in her native tongue is equally so. She has made a solid name for herself in the French and American marketplaces, but now she’ll return home alongside Numan Acar, and Siir Eloglu. With its timely narrative, and a director who beautifully understands the power of film language, viewers can except an agonising and emotional sucker-punch.
05. Call Me by Your Name
There is no stopping Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino right now. Last year’s A Bigger Splash was a sheer triumph, and in 2017, he’ll be serving up two new titles: the first, a remake of Dario Argento’s giallo horror Suspiria; the second, perhaps the most acclaimed film at Berlin last month – Call Me by Your Name. With Oscar buzz already surrounding, particularly in regards to Armie Hammer’s career-defining performance, the intimate, coming-of-age drama follows a young American boy living in Italy in the 1980s, who engages in an affair with an older man. Fellow cast members include Timothée Chalamet, and Michael Stuhlbarg, whilst the sun-kissed Rivera promises a potent sensory feast. Queer cinema has offered some of the most beautiful expressions of humanity on film, and with recent successes such as Carol, and Moonlight, this woozy, compassionate piece is shaping up to follow suit.
04. A Ghost Story
Last year, the great David Lowery transformed the raggedy, forgotten Disney Classic Pete’s Dragon into an enchanting, bewitching arthouse treat. This year, he is reunited with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints stars Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck for A Ghost Story; a sparse, quiet affair in which a bereaved wife is haunted by her late husband. The film was met with thunderous acclaim at Sundance – opening to dozens of glowing reviews – and yet still there is incredibly little known about its narrative. Many have commented on the outstanding cinematography, breathtakingly humane performances, and sobering imagery, encased inside a 4:3 aspect ratio; all of which just cranks up the anticipation. Lowery’s delicate touch, paired with a deep respect of thematic restraint means that in his cinema of silence, emotions and motivations are never louder. Most of us have only see a still image or two, and yet that’s enough to make this absolutely essential viewing.
03. Dark River
Rumoured for an appearance at Cannes is the latest from British auteur Clio Barnard – one of the most uniquely sublime voices in modern cinema. In the wake of her stunning 2013 social realist drama The Selfish Giant, she returns this year with Dark River, and she’s bringing along the incredible Ruth Wilson, too. The film follows a young woman, who in the wake of her father’s passing, returns to her Yorkshire village for the first time in over fifteen years, in order to claim the family farm she believes is rightfully hers. Barnard’s mystery-thriller also stars the great Sean Bean, and Mark Stanley, in addition to being lensed by The Crown DP Adriano Goldman. Whilst fellow British females Lynne Ramsay, and Andrea Arnold are perhaps better known amongst film circles, Barnard’s filmography speaks absolute volumes of not only her abilities, but of her artistry. We have our fingers firmly crossed for the Cannes talk to become confirmed.
02. Personal Shopper
Parisian master Olivier Assayas directed Kristen Stewart to a rightful César win with Clouds of Sils Maria a few years ago, and in 2017, he has captured not only her most astonishing performance to date, but one of the most assured roles in recent memory. In our glowing official review, we dubbed Personal Shopper as “a work of observational genius”, awarding it five huge stars. The film follows Stewart’s lead through the bustling streets of Paris, where she works in the titular role, but her real reasoning from returning to the French capital is to spiritually connect with her deceased twin brother. Assayas’ latest is a simply uncategorisable cinematic experience; bracingly blending psychological horror with domestic drama, and beguiling mystery. The deserved winner of the Prix de la mise en scène at Cannes last year, this exquisitely original, entirely mesmeric work of art showcases the creative pairing of director and star operating in perfect harmony. The very definition of a must-see.
01. Happy End
Nominated for five Palme d’Or’s – winning two back-to-back – across his relatively slight career, for this author’s buck, there isn’t a finer filmmaker at work today than the Austrian auteur Michael Haneke, and after a five year hiatus, he finally returns with Happy End. The film is dubbed for an Official Competition spot at Cannes, and sees the director reunited with frequent collaborator Isabelle Huppert following her outstanding work in The Piano Teacher, Time of the Wolf, and Amour. In addition to having the greatest living actress at your disposal, Haneke serves up an equally impressive supporting cast in Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz, and Loubna Abidar, who’ll help populate his particularly timely, and undeniably political narrative. Set against the backdrop of the heightened European migrant crisis, his drama will following a bourgeois family caught in the crossfire. Wider details are slim, but Haneke has confirmed that location photography was captured in the real refugee camps on the Calais border, and Huppert has spoken out about the film, comparing its emotional and sociological intensity to Code: Unknown. Could he be crowned the King of Cannes for a third time in 2017? We simply cannot wait to find out…