12 Films To See in September

12 Films To See in September

Writing for Indiewire, Erik McClanahan talks about about “12 Films to See In September.” Thought the article makes for fun and perhaps useful reading in the run up to the Telluride Film Festival this weekend. Then again, it’s anybody’s guess until the cat is out of the bag.


As we gently ease into the other, unwieldy busy season in the movie calendar — the awards race, yee-hah! — it’s worth taking stock of the summer that was. While it’s heartening that Universal Pictures has set all kinds of box office records already this year without one superhero movie in their roster, it’s not exactly like they reinvented the wheel with their big hits (“Furious 7,” “Jurassic World” and “Minions” all billion dollar earners). Here’s hoping they and other studios take note of their relatively smaller hits (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Trainwreck,” to name a few) and we see more diversity during the hot months moving forward. It’s good for everyone. Either way, we made it through another summer, so we can relax… but not for long.

With Venice, Toronto and Telluride film festivals all set to open very soon (and along with them, a huge crop of premieres, some of which feature on this month’s list), we’ll be inundated with big awards players and big disappointments left in the dust. It’s a crazy, overwhelming, sometimes unfair, but altogether exciting time to love cinema. You can count on The Playlist for tons of upcoming festival coverage, so make sure to tune in this month. We even try to cover some of the smaller fests beyond those aforementioned big three so there’s no shortage of stuff to discover. For those not lucky enough to attend any festival this month, fear not, there’s still plenty to catch at your local multiplexes and arthouse theaters.

Synopsis: A woman’s imagination runs wild after she loses her sight.
What You Need To Know: “Compelling, clever and surprisingly warm despite its cool palette” was Jessica Kiang’s A- take on this under-the-radar drama when she saw it in Berlin 2014, not long after its premiere at Sundance the same year where it went on to win the World Cinema Screenwriting prize. Beyond its strong, awards-laden festival run, we’re also keen on this Norwegian film because its writer/director, Eskil Vogt, previously collaborated with Playlist favorite Joachim Trier on his first two films (“Reprise” and “Oslo, August 31st”). “Blind” sees Vogt stepping into the director’s chair for the first time, and along with “extraordinary” lead actor Ellen Dorrit Petersen, takes an intriguing, cinematic premise — exploring the tragedy and terror of sudden blindness in a visual medium — and stylishly, wittily follows through on its possibilities. “The film is also a worthy addition to the canon of recent Scandinavian cinema, a region whose filmmaking output seems only to grow in self-confidence and distinctiveness… But really the arc of the story is one of reclamation; of a remarkable woman taking back her life and her sense of herself in the teeth of an affliction that could threaten to overwhelm her into despair,” Kiang wrote.
Release Date: September 4th (Limited).

“Goodnight Mommy”
Synopsis: Twin boys who do everything together welcome their mother home after her reconstructive surgery. But with her face wrapped in bandages, and her demeanor distant, they grow suspicious of her identity.
What You Need To Know: If you’re like this writer, seeing descriptors like “stylishly sick” (used in the headline for our review of this Austrian horror film) is just about all you need to know to get in line opening day. But, like any well-reviewed film in the genre, there’s more. It’s co-directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, produced by chilly auteur Ulrich Seidl (the “Paradise” trilogy, “In The Basement”) and DP Martin Gschlacht is a great, under-the-radar talent (he shot the wonderful, Criterion-approvedRevanche,” a must-see from 2007), whose work on “Goodnight Mommy” we called “impeccably crafted, with a chilly, crisp sheen to the photography.” We also noted that Franz, wife to Seidl, shares a similar sensibility to her husband’s work (especially the terrific “In The Basement,” which was co-written by Franz and also shot by Gschlacht). If all that is still not enough, well, we even compared this to recent crossover arthouse horror hits like “It Follows” and “The Babadook.” So if you’re “the right kind of disturbed yourself, it might also have you grinning at its sheer audacity.”
Release Date: September 11th (Limited)…

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