Seventh Row editors Alex Heeney and Orla Smith pick the 30 best films of 2020, from First Cow to My Prince Edward. This is part of our 2020 wrap up series.
At Seventh Row, we pride ourselves on seeking out the best hidden gems that nobody’s talking about to ensure that our readers never miss a great film again.
Don’t let anyone tell you that 2020 wasn’t a good year for movies — this list will prove them wrong. In 2019, we put together a list of the 20 best films of the year, but in 2020, there was too much good cinema to keep it at 20. The following 30 films might not necessarily be the films everyone’s talking about — none of the handful of blockbusters that actually got released in 2020 are on here, and even higher profile prestige titles like Nomadland or Promising Young Woman weren’t our cup of tea.
What you will find is a wealth of cinema from around the world, much of it under the radar, that made us laugh, cry, think, and feel in 2020. These are films that stuck with us throughout the year, and some of them are films we’ve kept coming back to because their layers warranted multiple rewatches. You’ll find every continent represented, except Australia, unless you count The Assistant as a film set in America made by an Australian filmmaker. (That’s not to say the Australian continent didn’t produce great films in 2020 — we highly recommend Babyteeth and Animals, the latter of which is set in Ireland but directed by Australian Sophie Hyde.) Although we’ll continue to delve further into world cinema so we can do even better in 2021, we hope this list is a nice change from many other America-centric best of the year lists. Just half of the films on the list are in English, and only 10 are American.
This list reflects our tastes and preoccupations as a publication, namely character-focused films, world cinema, films by and about women, and Canadian cinema — all these films fall into at least one of these categories, if not more. It’s not an aggregated list (for that, check out our critics survey where First Cow and Never Rarely Sometimes Always came out on top). Rather, our editors Alex Heeney and Orla Smith sat down over Zoom and formulated this list through conversation and debate, eventually settling on a group of films that they felt reflected Seventh Row’s identity as a publication.
We also wanted to shout out three projects we loved in 2020 that aren’t exactly films: Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology (we politely discussed their status as ‘film’ or ‘TV’ on our podcast), the Old Vic’s Lungs: In Camera Production (we discussed its innovative approach to filmed theatre on our podcast), and Zia Anger’s live desktop documentary My First Film.
30. Driveways (Andrew Ahn)
Andrew Ahn’s second feature, Driveways, is the rare American indie that is content to just let its characters be, rather than manufacturing conflict. Hong Chau (great as always) plays Kathy, a mother at a professional crossroads who takes her young son, Cody (Lucas Jaye), to clear out her late sister’s home. Over the course of a summer, Kathy quietly grieves for a sister she barely knew, Cody gets to know the local kids, and the two of them befriend their kind, elderly neighbour, Del (Brian Dennehy). It’s a lovely, comforting film about good people helping each other through a tough situation — in that respect, it would make a nice double bill with a film higher up this list, Amanda. Driveways is also a fitting send-off to Dennehy, who died a month before the film’s release. His final scene couldn’t be a more perfect career closer. Orla Smith
Driveways is available to stream on Hoopla in Canada and the US, Kanopy and Showtime in the US, and Sky Go and Now TV in the UK.
29. Fourteen (Dan Sallitt)
Fourteen is a film so low key it might seem insubstantial, yet, by the end, it packs an emotional wallop greater than the sum of its parts. Part of its power is the fact that it’s so rare to see a film that treats the highs and lows of friendship as just as, if not more, devastating than romantic relationships. Men come and go in the lives of best friends Mara (Tallie Medel) and Jo (Norma Kuhling), but writer-director Dan Sallitt stays focused on the relationship between the two women. It’s a devastatingly accurate portrait of a friendship that is close and loving but also toxic, and how friends drift apart without realising, until the loss of that person hits them all at once. OS
Fourteen is available on VOD in the US. It is still seeking distribution in Canada and the UK.
28. Saint Frances (Alex Thompson)
From our interview with Alex Thompson and writer-star Kelly O’Sullivan: “Early in Saint Frances, Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) Googles, ‘What to do with my life at 35 and no idea.’ While her peers are busy having children, she’s working as a server in a restaurant with hopes of snagging a summer nanny position. Bridget seems to understand that she’s intelligent and capable, but the other people in her orbit constantly remind her of the societal pity for anyone living a less than conventional life. None of those judgmental jerks are any better off than Bridget, though. They’re simply more practiced at pretending that life isn’t a waking nightmare of confusion commingled with feelings of inadequacy.”… Read the full interview.
Saint Frances is available to stream on Kanopy and Starz in the US and Netflix in the UK. You can rent the film on VOD in Canada.
27. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman)
It’s easy to see why Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always was one of the most beloved indies of the year: despite harrowing subject matter, it’s a film with such empathy and love for its characters. Hittman meticulously chronicles the many steps teenager Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) has to go through in order to get an abortion, which includes taking a coach from her small town to New York City with her supportive cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder). From the frustrating bureaucracy of the abortion process, to Skylar’s hook up with a friendly but kind of creepy boy (Théodore Pellerin) to get money for the coach home, Hittman takes stock of the myriad ways women’s bodies are controlled by patriarchy. At the same time, she also paints a beautiful portrait of the solidarity women share through tough situations, like the multiple shots of hands clasping each other in support that Hittman lingers on throughout the film. OS
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is available on Crave+ in Canada, HBO and HBO Max in the US, and Now TV and Sky Go in the UK.
26. My Prince Edward (Norris Wong)
Hong Kong filmmaker Norris Wong’s first feature, My Prince Edward, is a thoughtful if depressing look at the changing institution of marriage and the ways in which women are expected to put up with patriarchal norms. Fong (Stephy Tang) has just moved in with her boyfriend of seven years, Edward (Pak Hon Chu), which forces him to propose to appease his mother’s delicate sensibilities. This poses a problem for Fong, who is still in a sham marriage she agreed to 10 years ago. She gets embroiled in the bureaucratic process of helping her husband get his permanent residency so that they can get divorced. In the process, Wong reveals Edward as an increasingly immature, self-absorbed, and eventually, mean-spirited man; Fong’s husband proves just as self-absorbed and privileged though it comes out in different ways. Edward and Fong both work in wedding-related shops, so we get a glimpse at other couples getting married, and the social pressures which force people to couple up, while seeing the devastating emotional consequences this has on Fong. Alex Heeney
My Prince Edward is available to stream on Hoopla in Canada and the US. It is still seeking distribution in the UK.
25. Swallow (Carlo Mirabella-Davis)
From our interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis: “While it’s easy enough these days to relate just about any cultural artifact to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Swallow is the rare film that is eerily predictive of our current self-isolated moment, concerned as it is with a woman’s lonely alienation and her invisible illness that keeps her distant from others. Director Carlo Mirabella-Davis’s solo feature debut is an energetic thriller that uses genre tropes to burrow into harrowing subject matter. As Hunter, a traumatised housewife who develops pica (the compulsion to consume non-edible objects), Haley Bennett gives an exquisitely detailed performance that shows a perfect facade cracking a little more in each scene.”… Read the full interview.
Swallow is available to stream on Mubi in Canada, Showtime in the US, and Sky Go and Now TV in the UK.
24. Call Me Human (Kim O’Bomsawin)
Kim O’Bomsawin’s portrait of Innu poet Joséphine Bacon is equally a portrait of the land and the legacy of settler colonialism on Bacon’s life and work. As a residential school survivor, Bacon has fought hard to regain her language and maintain her culture, using her poetry, which is always in both French and Innu. O’Bomsawin documents cross-generational relationships within the film, revealing how Bacon is passing on language and traditions today, and how she herself received these from her elders. Cinematography by Hugo Gendron and Michel Valiquette capture the beauty and rhythms of the land on the reserve in contrast to the colonial cities that have destroyed this beauty elsewhere. Careful, gentle sound design contrasts the calming nature of life on reserve with the noxious loudness of the streets. AH
23. To the Ends of the Earth (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s To the Ends of the Earth is one of the boldest, most ambitious films of the year, which is surprising given it was commissioned by the Japanese government. The film was made to commemorate 25 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Uzbekistan, as well as the 70th anniversary of the Navoi Theater in Tashkent, which was built by Japanese prisoners of war. We usually think of government-commissioned films as staid, bland, and compromised by the requirement to be informative and uncontroversial. Kurosawa takes a more exciting, character-focused approach to depicting international relations. He tells the story of a Japanese TV presenter, Yoko (Atsuko Maeda), on a trip to Uzbekistan to shoot a travel programme about the country. At first, she feels lost in a foreign land, but eventually, she discovers Uzbekistan to be a home away from home, and she finds herself there. OS
To the Ends of the Earth is available in virtual cinemas in the US and on VOD in the UK. It is still seeking distribution in Canada.
22. Our Lady of the Nile (Atiq Rahimi)
Read our interview with Atiq Rahimi: “Several films have been made about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when the marginalised Tutsi people were murdered en masse by the Hutus, most famously Hotel Rwanda (2005). Our Lady of the Nile stands apart: less a factual retelling of the atrocities and more a poetic, dreamlike exploration of how prejudice brews and corrupts innocence. Rather than trying to tackle the state of the entire country, we see the makings of the genocide play out in the microcosm of an all-girls boarding school. The school slowly transforms from an innocent utopia that allows the girls to flourish, to a place of hate-mongering and violence.”… Read the full interview.
Our Lady of the Nile is available to stream on Crave+ in Canada until tomorrow. It is still seeking distribution in the US and UK.
21. I Used to Go Here (Kris Rey)
From our interview with Kris Rey: “Between Unexpected (2015) and I Used to Go Here, writer-director Kris Rey has quickly distinguished herself as one of our smartest chroniclers of the female experience — especially when it comes to stories of women in their 30s who don’t fit into conventional stereotypes. I Used to Go Here is the story of a woman, Kate (Gillian Jacobs), in her 30s who isn’t pregnant or married when all of her friends are both. I Used to Go Here begins just as Kate has published her first novel but had her press tour canceled. So when she gets an unexpected invitation to give a reading at her alma mater in Carbondale, Illinois, from David (Jemaine Clement), a professor she used to crush on, she jumps at the chance.”… Read the full interview.
I Used to Go Here is available on Hoopla in Canada and the US, HBO and HBO Max in the US, and on VOD in the UK.
20. The Forty-Year-Old Version (Radha Blank)
From our review: “The funny, smart, wildly entertaining The Forty-Year-Old Version is among other things, an exploration of how difficult it is for a marginalised creator to be authentic to their own voice and get paid. Radha Blank, a playwright herself, writes the on-screen Radha (who she also plays) as a playwright living in Harlem who won a 30 Under 30 award 10 years ago and now struggles to catch a break. She’s torn about the fate of her new play, Harlem Ave: either keep it in limbo at a small, underfunded Black-owned theatre, or sell out to big Broadway producer Josh Whitman (Reed Birney), who wants to sanitise the play for white audiences.”… Read the full review.
The Forty-Year-Old Version is available on Netflix worldwide.
19. And Then We Danced (Levan Akin)
Part queer romance, part coming-of-age film, and full of dance, And Then We Danced is a lovely film about finding yourself and your place in a world that constricts you. When a space suddenly opens up in the traditional Georgian dance company, Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani) hopes that this will be his ticket to financial security and doing what he loves. At the same time, a new rival arrives, Irakli (Bachi Valishvili), and the two young men form a bond through dance. A romance starts to bloom — a dangerous one, in a country where being gay is illegal. Writer-director Levin Akin draws parallels between the strictures of Georgian dance and the social and economic strictures of Georgian society. Akin refuses to follow a conventional structure for his film, letting the romance grow and peter out, while the big audition seems less and less a solution to Merab’s problems as the film progresses. Instead, the film’s looseness and unpredictability mirror Merab’s own search for a place where he can be his unconventional self. AH
And Then We Danced is available to stream on Amazon Prime in Canada and the US. You can rent the film on VOD in the UK.
18. Corpus Christi (Jan Komasa)
From our interview with Jan Komasa: “When I saw Corpus Christi at TIFF 2019, I called it the ‘Vicar of Grantchester meets Suits, only darker because this is Poland.’ Little did I know that impersonating a priest was not just a fictional flight of fancy but an actual phenomenon plaguing Poland, which was the starting point for the film. The film opens in a juvenile detention centre where we meet Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), who agrees to stand watch while fellow prisoners violently attack one of the other prisoners. We soon learn that this seeming ‘thug’ desperately wants to be a priest, but has his hopes dashed when the centre’s priest informs him his criminal record will prevent him from ever becoming a man of the cloth. When Daniel gets out of prison, heading toward a job at a sawmill, he stops at the local church where he claims to be a priest. Before he knows it, he’s being asked to take charge of the local parish.”… Read the full interview.
Corpus Christi is available to stream on Criterion Channel in Canada and the US. It is still seeking distribution in the UK.
17. First Stripes (Jean-François Caissy)
From our review: “First Stripes begins and ends with the same military graduation parade. A Steadicam shot marches along the ceremonial procession of solemn-looking army recruits, their movements stiff, their faces expressionless. But once the young men and women pass beyond the curtain separating them from their family and friends, their bodies take on a whole new shape. Plasticity returns to their limbs and emotion to their faces. This is where Jean-François Caissy’s verité documentary takes us: behind the curtain, behind external appearances, to follow a group of Québécois recruits to the Canadian armed forces through the 12-week basic training boot camp. The film reveals how training designed to equalize recruits is yet another machine that reproduces a conservative set of norms.”… Read the full review.
First Stripes is streaming free on the NFB in Canada and on Prime in US, UK, Australia.
16. Sibyl (Justine Triet)
Part thriller, part melodrama, and part farce, Justine Triet creates an impressively controlled messiness in Sibyl, which is as surprising and bonkers as its protagonist. Virginie Efira stars as Sibyl, a psychiatrist in the process of closing down her practice in order to return to being a novelist. Starved for inspiration, and on the verge of dangerous territory — the last time she worked as a writer coincided with Sibyl’s alcoholism and a toxic if intense romantic relationship — she takes on one last client, an actress (Adèle Exarchopoulos) in the midst of her own melodrama, in the hopes of helping the actress and helping herself. Sibyl starts to break every professional rule in search of the toxic exhilaration she feels she has lost, and perhaps forgets she deliberately gave up. Amidst a series of flashbacks, a film shoot gone awry, and a series of poor choices, Sibyl slowly figures out how to like herself without boring herself. Efira is exquisite as a woman going out of her mind without ever letting her performance go off the rails, and Sandra Hüller gives the standout comic performance of the year. AH
Sibyl is available on VOD in Canada and the US. It is still seeking distribution in the UK.
15. Ema (Pablo Larraín)
From our interview with Pablo Larraín and star Mariana Di Girólamo: “Pablo Larraín’s Ema is a bizarre, colourful, pulsing, bonkers, and utterly invigorating cinematic experience. Part melodrama, part dance film, it defies categorization and even explanation: like dance itself, it has to be experienced to be understood. The film mixes the high emotions of Jackie with the looseness of The Club, and occasionally, the wry humour of Neruda. Ema deliberately embraces a kind of freedom in the way the film was written, made, and told, playing with both structure and your head.”… Read the full interview.
Ema is available on Mubi in Canada and All 4 in the UK. It will be released in 2021 in the US.
14. Monkey Beach (Loretta Todd)
From our interview with Loretta Todd: “Monkey Beach tells the story of Lisa (Grace Dove), a young Haisla woman who gets visions of loved ones dying before it happens. Ever since she was a child (her child counterpart is played by Zoey Snow), she’s been plagued by one vision, in particular, of her younger brother, Jimmy (Joel Oulette, and the younger Oliver Tru Sison), who is also a high level competitive swimmer, drowning. Having watched so many loved ones die and been powerless to do anything about it, she left home in, Kitimat, for Vancouver to drink and party and try to forget. When the film begins, Lisa returns home after two years away, to rekindle her relationships with her family and friends — and talk to dead loved ones, another gift. When Jimmy goes missing on a fishing trip, she becomes obsessed with saving him, but what that ends up meaning shifts as the film progresses, and as Lisa comes to terms with her gifts and her grief.”… Read the full interview.
Monkey Beach is currently streaming in Canada on Crave+ and will be available on VOD soon.
13. Another Round (Thomas Vinterberg)
Another Round, or as my friend, fellow film critic Andrew Pope, calls it “Thomas Vinterberg’s Are Men OK?” The answer this film gives is, very firmly, no. The four main characters, all school teachers, play out what they call a ‘social experiment’ — maintain a constant 0.05% blood-alcohol content and see if it improves their lives — which is really a very thinly veiled cry for help. Vinterberg’s film is funny and even contains some slapstick bits, like Mads Mikkelsen walking straight into a wall. But it’s also a deeply empathetic portrait of masculinity in crisis and how alcohol, while sometimes joyous, can become an unhealthy outlet for depression and pain. And what’s more, Mikkelsen gives a top form performance featuring everything from gentle crying to jazz ballet. OS
Another Round is available on VOD in Canada and the US. It will be released in the UK on February 5th 2021.
12. City Hall (Frederick Wiseman)
Following in the tradition of Welfare, Wiseman’s masterpiece about a failing system, but with the broadened scope of recent films like In Jackson Heights, the 4.5-hour City Hall is a complex portrait of a failing institution that diagnoses how it fails. Wiseman takes us behind the scenes of the building itself, into meetings between Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh and various staff members, and then takes us outside the building to where the city’s services are delivered. Throughout, Wiseman shows a group of well-intentioned politicians who lack the imagination to think beyond promoting small business as a means of narrowing the income inequality gap. Wiseman has always been one of the great film editors, and in City Hall, he’s at the top of his game: repeatedly opening scenes on Walsh’s trademark personal stories that he pulls out for every occasion, juxtaposing the micro with the macro, and repeatedly reminding us that Boston is a city founded by colonial settlers, whose legacy of patriarchy and racism continues to this day. AH
City Hall is available to stream on PBS until January 19th in the US. It will likely be on Kanopy later in the year. It is still seeking distribution in Canada and the UK.
11. No Crying at the Dinner Table (Carol Nguyen)
From our interview with Carol Nguyen: “No Crying at the Dinner Table, from Canadian filmmaker Carol Nguyen, was not just one of the best Canadian shorts at TIFF 2019, but one of the very best films I saw at the festival. In the film, Nguyen separately interviews her sister and her parents — both Vietnamese immigrants — about family secrets and traumas: her mother discusses the lack of physical intimacy she shared with her mother; her sister shares how, growing up, she felt closer to her grandparents than parents; and her father tells a traumatic story from his past in Vietnam.”… Read the full interview.
No Crying at the Dinner Table is available to stream free worldwide on Vimeo.
10. Sorry We Missed You (Ken Loach)
Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You tackles similar territory as I, Daniel Blake, this time about a middle-aged father trying to secure his family’s financial future by participating in the gig economy — which ends up sucking him dry in more ways than one. Although he is a decent man, the pressures of financial hardship causes rifts in his relationship with his wife and children and causes him to behave in an ugly manner. While I, Daniel Blake asked us to sympathize with a man’s plight because he was decent, Sorry We Missed You charts how decent people turn cruel and desperate when they’re stuck with no financial options. AH
Sorry We Missed You is available on Criterion Channel and Kanopy in Canada, Criterion Channel in the US, and Amazon Prime in the UK.
9. The Assistant (Kitty Green)
From our interview with Kitty Green: “In the first shot of The Assistant, director Kitty Green introduces us to protagonist Jane (an excellent Julia Garner) as a small figure in a dark, unwelcoming New York City. She climbs into a cab before sunrise and makes her way to her job as a film producer’s personal assistant. The sound of her footsteps are swallowed up by a whirring industrial soundscape that builds tension and unease like a horror movie, establishing The Assistant’s portrait of a young woman living and working in an environment that is apathetic, or even antagonistic, toward her. On the drive to her office block, she stares bleary-eyed out of the cab window as a hundred anonymous office windows fly by, each of them identical to the window out of her boss’s office, which is clouded slightly to protect the privacy of those inside. While Green’s film retains its laser focus on Jane’s subjective experience during one horrific day at work, this visual cue acknowledges that her awful boss is one of many who continue to get away with terrorising women in the workplace.”… Read the full interview.
The Assistant is available on Crave+ in Canada, Hulu and Kanopy in the US, and Now TV or Sky Go in the UK.
8. Nadia, Butterfly (Pascal Plante)
From our interview with Pascal Plante: “Aside from showing us the art of swimming in Nadia, Butterfly, Pascal Plante has upended the sports film genre by starting the film with the big competition rather than ending with it. Instead of telling the story of the rigorous preparation required to swim at the Olympics, Plante is interested in the psychological journey of his characters. The film thus begins on the eve of Nadia’s (Katerine Savard) final swimming competition ever, at the Olympics, and then follows her for the few days she remains in Tokyo afterward. After devoting more than a decade of her life to being one of the world’s best swimmers, Nadia has decided to quit to go back to school and become a doctor.”… Read the full interview.
7. Rustic Oracle (Sonia Boileau)
From our interview with Sonia Boileau: “Rustic Oracle follows a Mohawk mother and daughter, Susan (Carmen Moore) and eight-year-old Ivy (Lake Delisle), coping with the aftermath of Ivy’s teenage sister, Heather (McKenzie Deer Robinson), going missing. Set largely in the 1990s, in the time before social media, Susan and Ivy go on a road trip to personally try to find Heather after the police have provided little assistance. Told through Ivy’s perspective as an adult looking back on her childhood, when she didn’t fully understand what was happening, the film weaves a complex and heartbreaking story of family bonds, grief, and the effects of systemic violence on the community.”… Read the full interview.
6. Ammonite (Francis Lee)
From our interview with Francis Lee: “Francis Lee’s second feature, Ammonite, is an apt companion piece with his debut, God’s Own Country. Ammonite is a fictionalised account of real life 19th-century paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet), a working class woman who lived on the cold, windy coast of Lyme Regis, Dorset and worked with her hands, in the mud, excavating fossils. As with Johnny (Josh O’Connor) in God’s Own Country, Mary is a withdrawn, lonely soul; and just like Johnny, the love of a more extroverted outsider pushes Mary out of her shell.”… Read the full interview.
Ammonite is available on VOD in Canada and the US. It will be released in the UK on March 26th 2021.
5. Spinster (Andrea Dorfman)
From our interview with Andrea Dorfman: “In the press notes for Spinster, director Andrea Dorfman describes it as a film that ‘tells a story of someone who isn’t always seen — in this case, the single woman.’ Single women in films are usually partnered up by the end of the story. Spinster has been marketed as an ‘anti rom-com,’ because even though it’s a heartwarming comedy about a woman’s relationships, the script steadfastly maintains that heroine Gaby (Chelsea Peretti) doesn’t need romantic love to be happy. The film begins on Gaby’s 39th birthday and ends on her 40th; in between, we watch her realise that romantic love isn’t the be all and end all of her existence, as romantic comedies so often paint it to be.”… Read the full interview.
Spinster is available on VOD in Canada, US, and UK.
4. The Perfect Candidate (Haifaa Al-Mansour)
From our interview with Haifaa Al-Mansour: “‘I needed to go home,’ Al-Mansour told me. ‘I wanted to tell stories about people that I know inside out.’ The Perfect Candidate sees the filmmaker in her element, working with non-professional actors, and telling a story rooted in home. It’s a highly political film: small-town doctor Maryam (Mila Al Zahrani) almost accidentally applies to run for local office. It’s extremely rare to see a women in politics in Saudi, so Maryam initially has drawbacks. She goes ahead only because winning would mean she can fix the road in front of the hospital, which is currently so damaged that ambulances aren’t able to reach the entrance. Through the process of her campaign, Maryam finds there’s more and more she’d like to change about the way her community is run, and she becomes excited at the idea of gaining power and having her voice heard.”… Read the full interview.
The Perfect Candidate is available in the UK on Amazon Prime and will be distributed in the US by Music Box Films, likely in 2021. It is still seeking distribution in Canada.
3. Amanda (Mikhaël Hers)
From our interview with Mikhaël Hers: “If terrorist attacks are becoming more frequent in Europe cities, they are no less shocking to the sense of safety shared by most people who build their lives there. Mikhaël Hers’ Amanda looks at this particular situation from a resolutely individual, human-sized perspective. Rather than dwell on foggy questions of cause or motive, the film centres on the survivors and the way tragedy forever changes their daily lives — and their identity. David (Vincent Lacoste) begins the film as a rather aloof young man with few attachments or responsibilities weighing him down. This changes overnight when his older sister, Sandrine (Ophélia Kolb), is killed in a terrorist attack, and he finds himself responsible for his seven-year-old niece, Amanda (Isaure Multrier). The film focuses on the close relationship that develops out of necessity between the two of them, and the personal challenges that it represents — both are forced into a situation they never could have anticipated.”… Read the full interview.
Amanda is available on VOD in the UK. It is still seeking distribution in Canada and the US.
2. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt)
From our review: “Kelly Reichardt’s latest film about the myth of the American West, First Cow, follows two men searching for a better life elsewhere that’s always just slightly out of reach. Cookie (John Magaro) and King-Lu (Orion Lee) live in 19th-century Oregon, but the film begins in the modern day with a wordless prologue. A woman (Alia Shawkat) and her dog wander the Oregon woodland and uncover the skeletons of two men lying side by side in the dirt. These, we later presume, are Cookie and King-Lu; the film follows their sweet, burgeoning friendship and their quest to fulfill modest dreams, while the spectre of death hangs over their heads.”… Read the full review.
First Cow is available on VOD in Canada and the US. It is still seeking distribution in the UK.
1. Proxima (Alice Winocour)
From our interview with Alice Winocour: “‘The idea of the separation from Earth resonate[s] with the idea of the separation from the little girl,’ Alice Winocour told me, regarding her outstanding new film, Proxima. Eva Green plays Sarah, an astronaut in training who is chosen to take part in a space mission, something all astronauts dream of but many never get to do. But there are complications: Sarah will be away from Earth and from her young daughter for a whole year. But this isn’t a film about whether or not Sarah decides to leave; there’s never any doubt that she will go. Sarah adores her job, she’s fantastic at it, and the film never judges her for wanting to do what she loves. There’s very little traditional conflict in Proxima, but that doesn’t make it any less gripping.”… Read the full interview.
Proxima is available on VOD in Canada, the US, and the UK.
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