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15 Films to See in September

Written by on September 2, 2019 

10. Diego Maradona (Asif Kapadia; Sept. 20)

Following his extraordinary documentaries Senna and Amy, Asif Kapadia is back to capture another legendary figure. Rory O. Connor said in his review, “Professional football (or soccer, if it pleases) has never really lent its wonders to the big screen. Lacking the glitz of North America’s more popular team sports or even the staggering, gladiatorial heroism of something like boxing, when it comes to cinematic myth making the so-called beautiful game has always, for one reason or another, faltered. The new documentary Diego Maradona attempts and at times succeeds in addressing that situation by zooming in on the tumultuous years that the Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona–still believed by many to be the greatest ever to play the game–spent at Napoli, an Italian football club based in the city of Naples.”

9. Manta Ray (Phuttiphong Aroonpheng; Sept. 26)

One of my favorite films at New Directors/New Films this year is getting its first U.S. release arriving on MUBI this month. Leonardo Goi said in his review, “Halfway through Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s hypnotic feature debut, Manta Ray, two men put up Christmas lights around an unadorned riverside shack. They’ve known each other for a while, but seldom speak: one (Wanlop Rungkumjad) is an unnamed Thai fisherman with dyed blonde hair; the other (Aphisit Hama) is a mute man whom the fisherman has found agonizing in a remote stretch of mangroves by the border with Myanmar, and has taken home to look after. The lights are to serve as decoration for a party the two are throwing that same night, but the sun is still high on the horizon; smiling ecstatically at the makeshift disco, the fisherman suggests the two should nap to make the day go by faster. And so they do.”

8. Ms. Purple (Justin Chon; Sept. 6)

The sophomore feature from writer/director Justin Chon, who wons at Sundance in 2017 with his debut Gook, is back with Ms. Purple. Dan Mecca said in his review, “Not unlike his debut film, much of this feels messy. It’s an aesthetic that proves a value add, thanks to solid work from cinematographer Ante Cheng. The relatively spare script (Chon co-writes with Chris Dinh) allows for the actors to develop their characters while the short running time (87 minutes) maintains a brisk pace.”

7. Monos (Alejandro Landes; Sept. 13)

There’s a preternatural feel to the opening sequences of Monos, the brutal, unflinching third film from Colombian-Ecuadorian filmmaker Alejandro Landes (Cocalero, Porfirio). As if we’re floating through clouds at the edge of the world, we witness a group of children, blindfolded, playing soccer, the fear instilled that a misaimed kick could send the ball hurling into the unknown oblivion below. With information patiently, sparingly doled out–even up until the final moments–we learn this tight-knit clan is, in fact, a rebel group in the mountains of Latin America, sporadically visited by a commander but mostly given orders through a radio. Left to their own devices, the two most crucial responsibilities they are given are to care for a cow named Shakira and oversee a kidnapped American engineer, only referred to as Doctora (Julianne Nicholson). Read my full review.

6. In the Shadow of the Moon (Jim Mickle; Sept. 27)

With his last film being released in 2014, we’ve been waiting some time for Jim Mickle to return after Cold in July and now he’s back, reteaming with Michael C. Hall. Set for a Fantastic Fest premiere and Netflix release, In the Shadow of the Moon follows a police offer (Boyd Holbrook) on his way to becoming a detective as he tracks down a serial killer. As the synopsis reads, “When the killer’s crimes begin to defy all scientific explanation, Locke’s obsession with finding the truth threatens to destroy his career, his family, and possibly his sanity.” Initially reported to include some sci-fi elements, we’re looking forward to Mickle and company delivering another hard-boiled genre outing.

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