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Culture

10 indie movies for 2020

Mariana Di Girolamo and Gael Garcia Bernal in Ema

We’ve scoured the globe to bring you the best new indie movies worth adding to your must-see list. By ANNA SMITH

Lifestyle

Ema

A stylish, edgy indie movie from Chilean director Pablo Larraín (who directed the 2016 Jackie Kennedy biopic Jackie), Ema stars Mariana Di Girolamo as a dancer whose life goes into a tailspin after a dramatic event. Fans of street dancing will be well served as Ema begins to revisit her roots in urban choreography with a crew of friends. But this has plenty of depth and thought-provoking ideas as well as visual pleasures – plus, the great Gael Garcia Bernal co-stars as her choreographer husband. Out April 17 (UK); on MUBI from May 7

An Easy Girl (Une Fille Facile)

Set in the glamorous yachts and grand mountain villas of Cannes, this French drama stars a real-life tabloid sensation – Zahia Dehar, the French-Algerian model and lingerie designer who once hit the headlines for an underage prostitution scandal. She plays Sofia, a 22-year-old head-turner, who is visiting her 16-year-old cousin and showing her a thing or two about the high life. Expect designer accessories aplenty – Chanel bags feature heavily – along with insights into the flirtations on the Cote d’Azur.

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Nichola Burley (left) and Roxanne Scrimshaw in Lynn + Lucy

Lynn + Lucy

Lynn (Roxanne Scrimshaw) and Lucy (Nichola Burley) are best friends and neighbors who do everything together, until a tragedy strikes Lucy’s family. Lynn must decide where her loyalties lie – and how to react to gossip and speculation in the hair salon where she works. Fyzal Boulifa marks himself as a filmmaker to watch with this emotive, thought-provoking movie, which tackles challenging issues and boasts terrific performances from Burley and newcomer Scrimshaw.

The Glorias

Based on feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s bestselling memoir My Life on the Road, this biopic will show how her rebellious childhood influenced her later work as an activist. Lulu Wilson and Alicia Vikander play the young feminist at different ages, while Julianne Moore portrays her older self. Expect an inspiring, witty tale of fledgling feminism on the rise with a message that’s still relevant today.

Bukky Bakray (center right) and her schoolgirl co-stars in Rocks

Rocks

Rocks is a 15-year-old Nigerian-British schoolgirl with bags of attitude and a hot Instagram account showing off her makeup skills. She has great friends, but now she also has an absent mother. Suddenly, Rocks has to look after her little brother and figure out who – if anyone – can help her. Hip Brit director Sarah Gavron (who also directed Brick Lane) delivers a credible slice of British grit with time for humor, optimism and multiple makeovers. Out April 10 (UK)

Nocturnal

A taut psychological thriller with a talented young cast, Nocturnal also comes from a promising female writing and directing duo, Olivia Waring and Nathalie Biancheri. The audience is invited to play detective as Pete (Cosmo Jarvis) starts stalking a young schoolgirl, Laurie (Lauren Coe). Laurie begins to enjoy the attention and befriends Pete, but what’s his deal? Sadie Frost also stars in this intriguing British thriller that will have you gripped from start to finish.

Parasite

The winner of 2019’s Cannes Palme d’Or is an audacious, bitterly funny and utterly compelling trip through the mind of genius filmmaker Bong Joon-ho. The South Korean black comedy thriller follows an enterprising young man who fashions himself as a tutor for rich kids – and begins to infiltrate the home of a wealthy family along with his own relatives. As stylish as it is daring and funny, this is definitely one for the water cooler. No wonder it picked up three Golden Globe nominations. Out now (US); 7 February (UK)

Vivarium

A house-hunting couple end up in a nightmare in this surreal sci-fi that plays out like an episode of Black Mirror. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg portray the pair who get stranded in a show home on a deserted estate. Who has trapped them there, and why? Black comedy and gender exploration gives way to mystery: if you enjoy guessing games, this one’s for you. And if you happen to be planning your next house move, you might want to reconsider… Out March 27 (UK)

Yeo-jeong Jo in Parasite
Taylor Russell in Waves

Waves

Kelvin Harrison Jr earns his reputation as a hot new talent in this intense family drama. He’s a teen sports star who struggles to cope with an injury, which impacts his relationship with his girlfriend. After a tragedy, the focus of the film shifts to his sister (Taylor Russell) and her boyfriend (Lucas Hedges). This is a deeply atmospheric indie that pulls you in and won’t let you go, leaving you with plenty of thoughts to chew on. Out now (US); out January 17 (UK)

Last Night In Soho

Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright brings back the swinging ’60s in a psychological horror about a modern-day fashion student (Thomasin McKenzie) who’s obsessed with the golden era. One magical way or another, she gets to experience it, and it’s not quite what she expected – neither is her idol, singer Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy). Real-life ’60 icons Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp complete the key cast, along with The Crown’s Matt Smith. Out September 18 (UK); September 25 (US)

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