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15 Films to See in April

Written by on April 4, 2018 

5. Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh; April 6)

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Synopsis: A teenager gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends the fading racehorse, Lean on Pete.

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Why You Should See It: After his stellar pair of dramas, 45 Years and Weekend, Andrew Haigh is back with Lean on Pete. Rory O’Connor was a bit more mixed in his review, saying “large portions of his latest film, while exquisitely photographed, are devoted to admiring those stunning vistas, but you might be left wondering what happened to the plot,” but nonetheless I can’t wait to see Haigh’s latest.

4. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay; April 6)

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Synopsis: A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

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Why You Should See It: Considering it has yet to be released in the United States, it was quite a feat for Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin follow-up You Were Never Really Here earned a spot in our top 25 films of 2017, which shows just how much our international contributors adored it. One of our favorite films of Cannes Film Festival, where it picked up a Best Screenplay and Best Actor award, Giovanni Marchini Camia said in our review, “The results are breathtaking, and You Were Never Really Here stands alongside Claire Denis’ Bastards as one of the most ferocious indictments of systematic abuse of power and gender violence ever projected on a screen.”

3. Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis; April 27)

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Synopsis: Isabelle, Parisian artist, divorced mother, is looking for love, true love at last.

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Why You Should See It: As she continues to edit one of our most-anticipated films of the year with her ambitious sci-fi drama High Life, Claire Denis has another feature arriving first, and it’s one of the most delightful of the year. “Claire Denis may not be the first Francophone auteur expected to turn in a romantic comedy, and her latest will disappoint those expecting Nancy Meyers a Paris,” Ed Frankl said in his full review. “However, Let the Sunshine In (Un Beau Soleil Interieur) is a sophisticated, idiosyncratic, thoroughly modern interpretation of a French romantic farce, perceptive if not laugh-out-loud funny, featuring a top-form Juliette Binoche as a middle-aged divorcée wading through a series of exasperatingly self-centered men in search not just for love, but a partner with whom she can be herself.

2. The Rider (Chloé Zhao; April 13)

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Synopsis: After suffering a near fatal head injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.

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Why You Should See It: One of the most heart-stirring, authentic films I’ve seen in the past year is Chloé Zhao’s remarkable drama The Rider, which stars first-time actor Brady Jandreau in a story loosely based on his life. “What does a cowboy do when he can’t ride?,” Ed Frankl said in our review. “Chloe Zhao’s absorbing South Dakota-set sophomore feature has its titular rider come to terms with such a fate, in a film that’s a beguiling mix of docudrama and fiction whose story echoes much of history of its actors’ own lives. Zhao’s combination of the visual palette of Terrence Malick, the social backbone of Kelly Reichardt, and the spontaneity of John Cassavetes creates cinema verité in the American plains.”

1. Zama (Lucrecia Martel; April 13)

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Synopsis: Based on the novel by Antonio Di Benedetto written in 1956, on Don Diego de Zama, a Spanish officer of the seventeenth century settled in Asunción, who awaits his transfer to Buenos Aires.

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Why You Should See It: After helming some of the best films of the previous decade with 2001’s La Ciénaga and 2008’s The Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel returned last fall with her most ambitious film yet, Zama. The film is a towering achievement of composition and craft and while I can see why our Venice review was mixed due to the narrative’s elusive nature, there is no other film this month I’m more eager to experience on the big screen again. – Jordan R.

What are you watching this month?

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