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Best indie films 2019: 14 great flicks to put on your radar

COLETTE
Keira Knightley stars as the 19th-century French writer in the empowering biopic

Your at-a-glance guide to the most buzzed-about and best indie films of 2019 to watch right now

Lifestyle

Colette

This biopic about France’s most famous and once-controversial female author, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, explores her life, loves and the challenges she faced asserting herself as an artist. Keira Knightley takes the lead role, with Dominic West as her husband, Willy. Wash Westmoreland’s film transports you back to the turn of the 20th century and charts Colette’s empowerment as she establishes herself in the literary world. Out now

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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Based on William Kamkwamba’s heart-wrenching memoir, Oscar-nominated, BAFTA-winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut is set and shot in Malawi and tells the story of a 13-year-old’s determination to save his village from famine by building a wind turbine that he’s read about in a book. Ejiofor also penned the script, which tackles universally resonant themes of determination and inventiveness, and takes on the role of Kamkwamba’s father, so the film will serve as a unique statement of his sensibility as an artist. No release date set

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Maxwell Simba plays protagonist William, with director Chiwetel Ejiofor also starring as his father

The Kindergarten Teacher

Convinced she has a duty to nurture the prodigious talent of a child in her class, Lisa (Maggie Gyllenhaal) develops a disturbing obsession that reveals her own deep need to get more out of life. Directed by Sara Colangelo and based on a 2014 Israeli film, expect The Kindergarten Teacher to be dark and thought-provoking, letting Gyllenhaal showcase her remarkable skill and sensitivity for nailing psychologically complex roles. Out March 8

The Kindergarten Teacher
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a teacher who goes overboard to champion the talent of a five-year-old poetry prodigy
Her smell
Elisabeth Moss stars as self-destructive punk-rocker Becky Something

Her Smell

Picking up where Courtney Love left off, Elisabeth Moss plays a punk-rock princess with an appetite for destruction in this gritty, warts-and-all watch. When it screened at Toronto Film Festival, the critics went wild for Moss’ performance; her faded rock-star-in-the-throes-of-a-breakdown scenes are said to be spectacular. Out March 29

The Beach Bum

Consummate provocateur Harmony Korine – the man who scripted Larry Clark’s Kids and wrote and directed Spring Breakers – is back with another meditation on rebellion. In The Beach Bum, Matthew McConaughey plays a party-loving poet called Moondog who’s living life on his own terms. Amused? Good, Korine says it’s a comedy, a description borne out by the casting: Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Zac Efron and Jonah Hill complete the starry list of characters who are messing up to an electrifying soundtrack in flashy Miami. Out March 22

Under the Silver Lake

Andrew Garfield is impressively convincing as a scruffy stoner trying to solve the disappearance of a young ingénue (Riley Keough) in this David Lynch-style neo-noir, by hit horror It Follows director David Robert Mitchell. Set across the sprawling, seedy LA underbelly, with all the quirks of modern urban life laid out for the audience to laugh and recoil at, it’s a future cult classic for all millennials. An anti-La La Land, if you will. Out April 19

Under the Silver Lake
Sam (Andrew Garfield, pictured with Callie Hernandez) finds himself involved with LA’s criminal underworld in David Robert Mitchell’s drama
After the Wedding
Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore co-star in this remake of a 2006 Danish drama

After the Wedding

Julianne Moore’s husband Bart Freundlich helped orchestrate the gender flip that makes this remake of the Academy Award-nominated Danish movie of the same name sing. Freundlich directs the film and, happily, his ridiculously talented wife was keen to be involved: she plays Theresa, a wealthy New York-based businesswoman who’s considering funding a struggling Indian orphanage. The plot takes a turn when orphanage owner Isabel (Michelle Williams) travels to New York to secure the funding deal and must reckon with her past. No release date set

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A

Maverick musician Mathangi Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A., is the subject of this revealing documentary that has been a decade in the making. It all started when the British rapper gave the film’s director, Stephen Loveridge (they have been close since attending Central St. Martins art school in London together), over 700 hours of personal footage almost ten years ago. The resulting film delivers an intimate and incredibly revealing portrait of the artist and activist. Out now

Wildlife

This coming-of-age tale, the directorial debut of actor Paul Dano (War & Peace), follows a young boy as he witnesses his parents’ marriage at breaking point. Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal play the troubled couple, dissatisfied with their lives and struggling with the realization that the American Dream has eluded them. Dano also has a writing credit along with his real-life partner and fellow actor Zoe Kazan, having adapted Richard Ford’s close-to-the-bone novel for the screen. Out now

Wildlife
Carey Mulligan plays a woman adrift when her husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) abandons her to fight wildfires

Ophelia

Based on the novel by Lisa Klein, this re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet flips the narrative to tackle the tragedy from Ophelia’s perspective, raising pertinent questions about gender, female identity and power. Australian filmmaker Claire McCarthy directs Daisy Ridley as Ophelia and George MacKay as Hamlet in this feminist take on the famous tragedy. Out now

Ophelia
Daisy Ridley (left) takes the title role alongside Naomi Watts as Gertrude
Nancy
British actress Andrea Riseborough gives a searing performance as a woman caught between fact and fiction

Nancy

In this dark exploration of identity, titular character Nancy is convinced that she was kidnapped as a child, and makes contact with a couple whose daughter went missing many years ago. Andrea Riseborough plays Nancy and the film also stars Steve Buscemi and Ann Dowd (best known for her Emmy Award-winning performance as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale). Nancy is written and directed by Christina Choe and sees Riseborough make her debut as a producer. Out now on YouTube and Google Play

Lizzie

Based on a story that’s just as fascinating today as it was when it made headlines 125 years ago, this psychological thriller retells the tale of Lizzie Borden, a woman who was tried for the axe murders of her father and stepmother in 1892. Directed by Craig William Macneill, the film suggests that Lizzie, played by Chloë Sevigny, was driven to violence due to a thwarted love affair with her Irish maid (Kristen Stewart). Out now

Lizzie
Chloë Sevigny (right) stars as could-be killer Lizzie Borden, while Kristen Stewart is Bridget Sullivan, the housemaid she falls for

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Desiree Akhavan directs this sensitive LGBT story that charts the journey of a teenage girl forced to attend a gay conversion therapy camp by her disapproving guardians. Akhavan also wrote the screenplay and cast Chloë Grace Moretz as the eponymous protagonist, alongside the breakout star of 2016’s American Honey, Sasha Lane. Out now on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play

I Think We’re Alone Now

After an apocalypse seemingly wipes out entire communities, two survivors – played by Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning – are thrown together and form an unlikely companionship. Charlotte Gainsbourg also stars and the film is directed by Reed Morano, known for helming the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale (a job that saw her become the first woman in 22 years to win an Emmy for her TV series directing work). Out now on YouTube and Google Play

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST
L-R: Forrest Goodluck, Sasha Lane and Chloë Grace Moretz star in this LGBT drama

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