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15 Films to See in September

Written by on September 4, 2018 

10. I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni; Sept. 7)

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After an extensive festival tour since its premiere the previous spring, the acclaimed drama I Am Not a Witch will finally arrive in the U.S. this month. John Fink said in his review, “Recalling the polemics of Ousmane Sembène, Rungano Nyoni’s Zambian film I Am Not a Witch is an impressively crafted comedy of manners turned tragedy. The film centers around the accusation that an 8-year old girl, Shula (Maggie Mulubwa) is engaging in witchcraft solely because people in the town say so, and because the girl refuses to confirm or deny whether she’s a witch.”

9. Colette (Wash Westmoreland; Sept. 21)

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Keira Knightley is back in her beloved genre, the period piece, for Colette, and it looks to be one of her strongest roles. The story of the famous French author finds her trying to balance her newfound success, her exploration of her sexuality, and a marriage to her dominating husband Willy (Dominic West). Coming from Still Alice co-director Wash Westmoreland, whose husband and co-director Richard Glatzer passed away in 2015, Colette arrives this month following acclaim from Sundance.

8. Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (Stephen Loveridge; Sept. 28)

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Kicking off New Directors/New Films with a bang this year after a Sundance premiere, the M.I.A. documentary lands this September. Leonardo Goi said in his review, “Long before “Galang” and “Paper Planes,” and prior to her Oscar nomination and universal fame, there was a time M.I.A. was Mathangi Arulpragasam, the daughter of Tamil refugees who fled conflict-stricken Sri Lanka to settle in 1980s England. More an account of her origins than a stylized tour documentary, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. draws from over 700 hours of footage M.I.A. personally recorded at different stages of her career to offer an intimate pre- and-post-stardom bio-doc that feels just as magnetic as the artist it brings and dissects on screen.”

7. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (RaMell Ross; Sept. 14)

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One of the most poetic, transportive documentaries of the year is RaMell Ross’ Hale County This Morning, This Evening, a portrait of life in Alabama told in fragments. Featuring Apichatpong Weerasethakul as a Creative Advisor, Dan Schindel said in his review, “The doc has a special interest in repetition, like a basketball team going through its drills or a toddler running back and forth across a room playing some game that makes sense only to them. Chronology and specific geography are purposefully difficult to discern (one woman goes through a pregnancy during the film, but its timeline is even longer than that), though the 2017 solar eclipse makes an appearance. Joys (childbirth) and tragedies (an infant succumbing to SIDS) are given equal quiet weight, and always filmed around rather than focused upon. The doc is more invested in mourners after a burial than in immediate reactions or big events. This is a story made of the in-between pieces of stories.”

6. The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard; Sept. 21)

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Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or win for Dheepan has given him the clout to recruit his finest ensemble yet for The Sisters Brothers, his English-language debut that’s a neo-noir western, an adaptation of the novel by the same name from Patrick DeWitt. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, Riz Ahmed, and John C. Reilly, the story follows two brothers (Phoenix and Reilly) who hunt down a gold prospector (Gyllenhaal) in 1850s Oregon. Vikram Murthi said in our Venice review, “Though certain setpieces indicate Audiard’s skill as a stylist—an opening shootout lit only by gunfire, an extended digression at a brothel that ends in bloodshed, a fruitful search for gold stymied by greed and impatience—The Sisters Brothers really comes to life when he focuses on the details in the margins.”

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