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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2019

Written by on January 10, 2019 

80. Against All Enemies (Benedict Andrews)

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With iconic roles in films such as Saint Joan, Breathless, and Paint Your Wagon, the cinematic life of French film icon Jean Seberg would be fascinating enough for its own movie. However, this year’s Against All Enemies will be telling a not widely-known part of Seberg’s life. After donating money and associating with various civil rights groups such as the NAACP and the Black Panther Party–and particularly her involvement with activist Hakin Jamal–the FBI launched an investigation into Seberg, harassing, defaming, and blacklisting her along the way. Directed by Benedict Andrews (Una), Against All Enemies looks to be an eerily relevant exploration of the intersection of art, activism, and the government institutions that rail against them, and providing Kristen Stewart with an incredibly juicy role as Seberg. – Stephen H.

79. Untitled Lav Diaz Film

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For Lav Diaz’s next film, he resurrecting a 20-year-old screenplay loosely described as a political thriller. Says he: “I felt an urgency, and objectively, with the distance of time, it seems to me that there is a kind of premonition, immediacy, since my film provides for the rise of a new despot Filipino.” Filming has already wrapped, so expect it on the festival circuit this year. – Jordan R.

78. Divine Love (Gabriel Mascaro)

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Sundance Film Festival certainly has beefed up their world cinema offerings this year and one of the highlights looks to be the latest film from Neon Bull writer-director Gabriel Mascaro. Divine Love, set in the near-future of 2027, takes place in a dystopian Brazil and follows a religious woman who helps save couples from divorce, only to be confronted by a crisis in her own marriage. – Jordan R.

77. The History of the Kelly Gang (Justin Kurzel)

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Justin Kurzel’s debut feature Snowtown was one of the most striking true crime dramas of this decade, an impressionistic tour de force of Australia’s most infamous serial murder case from the perspective of the troubled teenager who became killer John Bunting’s reluctant accomplice. Now, Kurzel finally reunites with Snowtown screenwriter Shaun Grant to return to the world of Australian crime, this time traveling all the way back to the 19th century to tell the story of notorious outlaw, bushranger and folk hero Ned Kelly. Aside from being based on the historical novel of the same name by Peter Carey, and featuring a cast of Australian and English cinema’s brightest stars including Russell Crowe and Nicholas Hoult, we still know relatively little about the film–but its subject matter and pedigree suggest a raw, ruthless and evocative journey into the lawless underworld Australia’s own Wild West. – Eli F.

76. Velvet Buzzsaw (Dan Gilroy; Feb. 1)

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While his last film Roman J. Israel, Esq. didn’t earn as much acclaim as Nightcrawler, this writer found it to be a more fascinating, idiosyncratic character study. Dan Gilroy is now back with his third film, Velvet Buzzsaw, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, and Toni Collette in the story of the strange world of fine-art trading. The release on Netflix so soon after its Sundance premiere doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence, but we’re hoping for the best. – Jordan R.

75. Guest of Honour (Atom Egoyan)

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Although his output may be uneven as of late, Atom Egoyan’s latest Guest of Honour, announced last year during TIFF, is said to explore the relationship between a father (David Thewlis) and his 20-something daughter (Laysla De Oliveira) who wants to remain in jail for a sexual assault she didn’t commit. The film sounds like a return to form for Egoyan, this time working from his own script with notes of some of his best works including Exotica, Adoration, The Sweet Hereafter, and his first study of a perverse family unit, Next of Kin. – John F.

74. Untitled Miranda July Film

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A woman’s life is turned upside down when her criminal parents invite an outsider to join them on a major heist they are planning in Miranda July’s upcoming project, produced and released by Annapurna. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Debra Winger, and Richard Jenkins the film is pitched as a crime drama but we expect it’ll retain the quirky and moving touches of July’s work including her previous films Me You and Everyone We Know and The Future. – John F.

73. Bad Hair (Justin Simien)

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After the success of Dear White People both on film and TV, Justin Simien will return this year with a horror satire that is inspired by Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Get Out.“[Bad Hair] follows a girl from Compton who doesn’t have the right look,” said Simien last year. “She doesn’t have the right hair, she doesn’t have the right face, she doesn’t have the right skin color. She wants to be a VJ in the late ’80s, early ’90s and she makes a bit of a Faustian bargain with this woman who takes over the network where she’s at and she ends up with this hair, this weave in her head, that may or may not have a mind of its own.”

72. All Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony)

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Theo Anthony’s Rat Film was one of the most fascinating documentaries of recent years, exploring the contentious history of Baltimore through the unexpected analogies of the rat population. He’ll likely return this year with All Light, Everywhere, which  “explores the past, present, and future relationships between technology, vision, and power. From arcane theories of sight to the emergence of virtual reality and police body camera programs, the film takes a kaleidoscopic investigation into how the reality of what we see is constructed through the tools that we use to see.” – Jordan R.

71. Jeanne (Bruno Dumont)

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The prolific Dumont is back again–and with another sequel. “The girl was 8 when she starred in Jeannette, and she’s going to be 10 in Jeanne. And the very idea that you could have a 10-year-old burn on a pile of wood, well, the audience’s interest in the whole myth could be revamped,” Bruno Dumont told us this year. “And that’s what’s important. Remember there’s about 600 films on Joan of Arc. We’ve seen everything already! So I think there’s a lot of strength in the whole idea, and I think it’s going to change it all. Just imagine a little girl riding a horse, leading men to the war, confronting old sirs, members of the clergy… That to me is extraordinary. And it gives me so much enthusiasm. It’s a risk, of course, but you have to take a few in life.”

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