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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2019

Written by on January 10, 2019 

70. Triumphant Return (Juan José Campanella)

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Juan José Campanella hasn’t directed a live-action feature film since 2009’s Oscar-winning The Secret in Their Eyes, and for his return to feature films, he’s decided to remake Argentinean cult classic Yesterday’s Guys Used No Arsenic, which had the misfortune of premiering the same week a right-wing coup overthrew President Isabel Perón in 1976. The plot centers on an aging movie star living in a mansion with her husband, former doctor, and a business partner, all of whom she’s trying to get rid of. The Spanish/Argentinean co-production features an almost entirely Argentinean cast, Campanella suggested his remake will open up the original’s themes and it will no longer focus on a battle of the sexes. – Jose S.

69. Luxembourg (Miroslav Slaboshpitsky)

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With his Haneke-esque drama The Tribe putting him on the radar, helmer Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy is back this year with Luxembourg, a Chernobyl-centered project that producer Anna Katchko describes as concerning “the lives of people living in the exclusion zone today.” The drama stems from citizens’ fears and risks of contamination, which has the makings of an even more horrific story than conjured in his last film. – Jordan R.

68. All You Need is Love (Danny Boyle; June 28)

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There’s a trace of comedy running through much of Danny Boyle’s work and for his next film, it looks to be a bit more full-blown. He’s teamed with Richard Curtis for a new musical comedy starring Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, and Ana de Armas. Set in the 60s/70s, it is reported to follow someone who believes they are the only person to remember The Beatles. Boyle got a taste of the Bollywood in a very small portion of his Best Picture winner, but we’re intrigued to see what he brings to a full-on musical. – Jordan R.

67. Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Richard Linklater; March 22)

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After back-to-back features that went quite overlooked, Richard Linklater is returning with the Cate Blanchett-led adaptation of Maria Semple’s novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The story is narrated by the 15-year-old-daughter of an agoraphobic architect and mother named Bernadette Branch who goes missing prior to a family trip to Antarctica. Also starring Kristen Wiig, the book is an entertaining journey and the film, which makes a perfect role for Blanchett, will likely have much more commercial appeal than his spiritual sequel to The Last Detail. – Jordan R.

66. Where is Anne Frank (Ari Folman)

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Ari Folman, one of Israel’s finest animators and filmmakers, is best known in the States for his 2009 film Waltz with Bashir, a rattling, intimate, genre-defying wartime memoir which combined animation, documentary and drama techniques into a searing postmodern stew of history, memory, and intangible trauma. While that film may have been his most personal work, Folman has also long been fascinated with the Anne Frank story, recently writing a graphic adaptation of her memoirs intended to be accessible to young and adolescent readers–including controversial passages in which Frank ponders and interrogates her own sexuality. Folman’s return to big-screen animation will follow in a similar vein, while combining the intimacy and melancholy whimsy of Frank’s memoir with the experimental layering of fiction, reality and memory of Folman’s previous work: the film follows Kitty, the imaginary best friend to whom Frank addressed much of her diary, as she suddenly becomes a real person in a modern-day Amsterdam and sets out to find her beloved Anne. Though accessible to a wider audience than Folman’s previous work, this bittersweet urban fairy tale is likely to be no less challenging, introspective, or emotionally wrenching. – Eli F.

65. The Art of Self-Defence (Riley Stearns)

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Riley Stearns’ debut Faults was a sly surprise – a baleful and laser-precise cult of personality comedy that also offered two great character actors – Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead – the roles they’ve deserved their entire career. Bringing together an equally adept cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, and Alessandro Nivola, Stearns’ second film follows a man who enlists in a mysterious dojo after being attacked on the street. Billed as a dark comedy set in the world of karate, it should be a pleasure to see Stearns plumb the nightmarish psychology of the martial arts underworld. – Michael S.

64. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Celine Sciamma)

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After taking on the tumultuous period known as adolescence in Tomboy and Girlhood, Celine Sciamma turns to the 1760s for his next feature, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Starring Adèle Haenel, the film follows a woman who is tasked with painting a wedding portrait of a bride-to-be, though her subject is not allowed to know of the commission. As the painting process occurs, their bond grows tighter leading up to the wedding. Sciamma has shown a keen, initiate vision in her previous films, which we expect to carry through here. – Jordan R.

63. Roads (Sebastian Schipper)

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After making waves with his one-shot thriller Victoria, director Sebastian Schipper is back to prove he can impress outside of a marketable gimmick. His new feature, Roads, features Dunkirk star Fionn Whitehead who leaves his family’s holiday in Morocco to helm a Congolese man (Stéphane Bak), who is on the search for his brother. Set to be Schipper’s English-language debut, it wrapped some time back, so expect to see it soon. – Jordan R.

62. Ema (Pablo Larraín)

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Chilean director Pablo Larraín had a major 2016, releasing three films in the United States with The Club, Neruda, and his English-language debut Jackie. With his post-9/11 drama The True American delayed, he embarked on a smaller feature in his native country. Ema is a dance-focused drama starring frequent collaborator Gael García Bernal and newcomer Mariana Di Girolamo. The script written by Guillermo Calderon (Neruda) and Alejandro Moreno follows Bernal as a dance choreographer and Di Girolamo as his schoolteacher wife. As they face the hardships of a failed adoption, they will express themselves through dance. – Jordan R.

61. Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles)

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Co-directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, who gave us 2016’s gorgeously-realized, politically-minded drama Aquarius, his next film follows a documentary filmmaker who is depicting a Brazilian village. Seemingly imbuing genre elements, it’s revealed that the locals harbor dangerous secrets. We imagine this one will find the director returning to Cannes. – Jordan R.

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