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10 Films to See in June

Written by on June 3, 2019 

After an incredible start to the summer season last month, June is a bit lighter for acclaimed and/or promising releases, but there’s still a handful of worthwhile options. While we can’t muster up much excitement for the fourth installment of an animated franchise and our writers were mixed on some recent festival favorites finally arriving, we have a pared-down list of ten recommendations to seek out.

10. The Edge of Democracy (Petra Costa; June 19)

The first film I saw at Sundance Film Festival this year was Petra Costa’s intimate look at Brazil’s fraught political landscape, and it made quite an impression. Giovanni Marchini Camia said in our review, “The Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa belongs to the many who fear that Jair Bolsonaro’s election as President of Brazil represents the beginning of the end for the country’s democracy, three short decades after the fall of the military dictatorship that held power from 1964 to 1985. In her documentary The Edge of Democracy, which had its world premiere at Sundance a couple of weeks after Bolsonaro’s inauguration on the 1st of January 2019, she probes how the country could replace the Workers’ Party of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose presidency brought Brazil to unprecedented levels of social and economic prosperity, with a former army captain whose political views and stated ambitions amount to nothing less than fascism.”

9. Wild Rose (Tom Harper; June 21)

After breaking out with the drama Beast, Jessie Buckley’s star is certainly on the rise, joining the next films from Charlie Kaufman and Stephen Gaghan. Her latest role in Wild Rose follows her as a Glasgow musician recently out of prison who embarks to Nashville to follow her music dreams. While the set-up seems carved from a tried-and-true structure, the film has earned much praise since its TIFF premiere last fall. Now set for a release by Neon, it’ll arrive later this month.

8. Maiden (Alex Holmes; June 28)

In 1989, the 24-year-old Tracy Edwards changed history when, acting as skipper, embarked with the first-ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race. Competing against the all-male crews and numerous other challenges, this journey is now captured in the acclaimed documentary Maiden. Following its festival stops at Sundance, TIFF, SXSW, Tribeca, and more, it’ll now arrive in theaters this month, with one-night advance screenings on June 24.

7. Leto (Kirill Serebrennikov; June 7)

Following a Cannes premiere last year, the Soviet-set rock ‘n’ roll drama Leto, from controversial director Kirill Serebrennikov (who was previously under house arrest in Moscow due to being accused of embezzling $2 million of government funds, but has since been freed) will arrive this week. Ed Frankl said in our review, “At a time when freedom of expression titters on the brink in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there’s something thrillingly contemporary about Kirill Serebrennikov’s Soviet-set musical drama. Early 1980s St. Petersburg proves a breeding ground of underground music as rebellion, however tacit, emerges in home-grown rock and punk. Leto’s melancholic ode to rough-and-ready counterculture proves ever more relevant as Serebrennikov, himself an avant-garde theater director, remains under house arrest in Moscow.”

6. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot; June 7)

A24’s latest Sundance film directed by Joe Talbot–co-writing the script with star Jimmie Fails and Rob Richert– follows a man aiming to reclaim his grandfather’s home in a changing city. Hugely praised at the festival, our writer was a little more mixed, but I still look forward to seeking it out this month. Dan Mecca said in our Sundance review, “A beautiful score from Emile Mosseri and some memorable lensing from Adam Newport-Berra do quite a bit for a story that never really becomes a story. Jimmie and Mont’s friendship has plenty to invest in and the two actors do top-notch work. The subject matter is immediate and engaging. But the structure of this film is languid to the point of aggravation. Scenes linger on a minute too long and then another sequence later on achieves the same point. It’s clearly the intention to capture these lives fully and to find the style and grandeur within ordinary moments, which is admirable. Ultimately though, Talbot seems reticent to trim down this piece into a streamlined narrative that will hold attention from start to finish.”

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