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15 Films to See in April

Written by on April 4, 2017 

5. Slack Bay (Bruno Dumont; April 28)

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Synopsis: Inspectors Machin and Malfoy investigate after tourists vanish from beaches on the Channel Coast.

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Why You Should See It:  Following his epic drama Li’l Quinquin — which he is currently prepping a sequel to — director Bruno Dumont returned to Cannes last year with Slack Bay, a dark period comedy following an investigation into a series of mysterious disappearances on the beaches of northern France. Led by his Camille Claudel star Juliette BinocheFabrice Luchini, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschiour review from Cannes last year was mixed, but entering the world of Dumont is an experience to cherish.

4. All These Sleepless Nights (Michal Marczak; April 7)

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Synopsis: Two art students roam the streets of Warsaw, exploring a city torn between its past and future.

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Why You Should See It:  A beautiful journey as we float through the music-filled lives of youth in Warsaw, I said in my review, “Blurring the line between documentary and fiction like few films before it, Michal Marczak‘s All These Sleepless Nights is a music-filled ode to the ever-shifting bliss and angst of youth set mostly in the wee hours of the day in Warsaw, Poland. Marczak himself, who also plays cinematographer, is wary to delineate the line between narrative and nonfiction, and part of the film’s joy is forgoing one’s grasp on this altering perspective, rather simply getting wrapped up in the immaculately-shot allure of its location.”

3. Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo; April 7)

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Synopsis: A woman discovers that severe catastrophic events are somehow connected to the mental breakdown from which she’s suffering.

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Why You Should See It: An impressive feat of large-scale-meets-small-scale storytelling, with a stellar, unexpected performance from Jason Sudeikis, Colossal is Nacho Vigalondo‘s best work since Timecrimes. Led by Anne Hathaway, we said of the film, “The climax prevails in its thematic resonance, moral quandary, and righteous hope. The monster may kill nameless hundreds, but its ability to save one could make everything worthwhile. Great power forever brings great responsibility, but we aren’t all as pure as Peter Parker.”

2. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies; April 14)

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Synopsis: The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist.

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Why You Should See It: Considering how delicate and carefully articulated his films are, it doesn’t seem like we deserve another excellent Terence Davies feature so soon after last summer’s Sunset Song. However, A Quiet Passion delivers, as we said in our review, “That sense of empathy and understanding with his subject is rife throughout this quietly cleansing and exquisitely considered film, which shows the writer from her late teens (portrayed by Emma Bell) through to adulthood (Cynthia Nixon) and old age.”

1. The Lost City of Z (James Gray; April 14)

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Synopsis: A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

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Why You Should See It: We’re only a quarter into 2017, but there will surely be no film this year that looks, feels, and moves like The Lost City of Z. As in his previous films, the souls within the characters of James Gray’s drama are laid bare as they venture into the treacherous unknown. Speaking on the experience of seeing it in 35mm, we said in our review, “Let it be stated upfront that this is most likely the best (only?) way to experience what Gray and cinematographer Darius Khondji, reuniting from The Immigrant, have achieved: a film that will often truly and totally appear to have been made in decades past and just discovered today.”

What are you watching this month?

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