Entertainment

10 Indie Movies You'll Want to See This Year

These movies that premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival should be on your radar.

Ask anyone privileged enough to have been there, yet still bold enough to complain: This was, by any conceivable metric, a terribly unexceptional Cannes Film Festival. Vanishingly few trees could be pulled up in the competition slate, where auteurial powerhouses were seemingly caught in their flop eras; the adjacent strands were hardly better, variously presenting disappointments from well-loved filmmakers and indistinct debuts from promising future stars.

Nevertheless, for all of the damp squibs, the fest wasn’t a total dud. Though even the most popular premieres proved divisive, some consensus emerged: Lukas Dhont’s Close, a ravishing coming-of-ager about two 13-year-old Dutch boys in the wake of an unimaginable tragedy, proved popular among a plurality of critics, as did Aftersun, Charlotte Wells’ exceptional feature debut starring Paul Mescal as a dad taking his 11-year-old on a budget holiday.

Movies from big-hitters like James Gray (Armageddon Time), David Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future), and Kelly Reichardt (Showing Up) were similarly well regarded, if not considered among their best work yet. With many of the movies on show expected to release at home over the next year, this is our pick of the crop that you need to watch out for.

BBC Films
BBC Films
BBC Films

Aftersun

Release date: TBA
Director: Charlotte Wells
Cast: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall
Perhaps the greatest fumble of this festival was that Wells, whose Aftersun was unequivocally the best on show despite premiering in the smallest strand, missed out on the Camera d’Or, the award given for the best directorial debut. Nevertheless picked up by A24 for distribution in the US, Paul Mescal’s first hype-warranting role since Normal People positions him as a young dad taking his 11-year-old kid, Sophie (an incandescent, absurdly mature Frankie Corio), on a budget holiday. It’s stunningly shot, edited, and performed, a montage of unreliable childhood memories-the kind we keep with us for a lifetime.

Focus Features
Focus Features
Focus Features

Armageddon Time

Release date: TBA
Director: James Gray
Cast: Michael Banks Repeta, Jaylin Webb, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong
Armageddon Time ranks among the dregs in Gray’s filmography, so its inclusion here is a testament to two things: firstly, just how terrific a filmmaker the 53-year-old is; secondly, that the bar in competition this year was so low. This is a deeply autobiographical, deeply New Yorkian melodrama: Gray’s kid facsimile, Paul (Michael Banks Repeta), is a precocious kid in the ‘80s suburbs, perpetually in trouble with his parents (Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong, the latter a touch miscast) as a big-headed anti-authoritarian. The only one who can get through to him is his grandpa, Aaron, played by the ever-delightful Anthony Hopkins. More disarray comes when he makes friends with a similarly sure-headed Black boy, Johnny (Jaylin Webb). Emergent from this is a spirited web of class consciousness, liberal bootstrapping, and intraracial, Reaganist myopia; meaningful stuff, even if tone finds itself chucked in a blender.

Zip Cinema/CJ ENM
Zip Cinema/CJ ENM
Zip Cinema/CJ ENM

Broker

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona, IU
Kore-eda does what he’s best at in Broker, a rogue’s tale conceived on the margins of South Korean society. There’s a system in the country called the “baby box,” allowing reluctant parents to put up their kids for adoption anonymously, thereby side-stepping taboo. Two men (Parasite‘s Song Kang-ho and Peninsula‘s Gang Dong-won, both terrific) take advantage of this by, well, stealing babies deposited in said boxes to sell them on the adoption black market, thus being the eponymous brokers. One mother, wracked with guilt for having abandoned her wean, joins them on a road trip to find the right adoptive parents, and so an unconventional, patchwork family forms. This isn’t quite the Palme-winning Shoplifters, which plays largely to the same tune-atypical broods formed of societal outcasts, just trying to get by-but it’s sweetly affecting nevertheless.

The Match Factory
The Match Factory
The Match Factory

Close

Release date: TBA
Director: Lukas Dhont
Cast: Eden Dambrine, Gustav de Waele, Émilie Dequenne
Dhont’s debut feature, Girl, polarized audiences as a well-intended, empathetic, but cripplingly flawed take on the trans coming-of-age experience. With the Jury Prize-winning Close, Dhont presents another bildungsroman, albeit one closer to home, and all the better for it: This focuses on two boys in their early teens so inseparable as to be mistaken as young lovers by their classmates (you hardly need to read between the lines). Their tight bond is torn asunder by an unspeakable tragedy in the first act, and your eyes will stream thereafter. A slam-dunk of a sophomore picture.

Felix Vratny
Felix Vratny
Felix Vratny

Corsage

Release date: July 7
Director: Marie Kreutzer
Cast: Vicky Krieps, Florian Teichtmeister, Katharina Lorenz
Vicky Krieps, the Luxembourgish actress best known in the US for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, had a stellar Cannes with two stand-out premieres. First came the moving More Than Ever, in which she plays a happily married 33 year old with a terminal disease; later Corsage, the Marie Antoinette-esque, subversive period piece recounting, in a sense, the life of beleaguered Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The latter is most affecting, bringing with it favourable comparisons to Pablo Larrain’s recent Diana mythology, Spencer. This one, too, finds itself outside of the realm of neat factuality, less concerned with the story of a royal than that of a woman quietly under siege.

Neon
Neon
Neon

Crimes of the Future

Release date: June 3
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Moretnsen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart
This begins with a child eating a plastic waste bin before being suffocated with a pillow by his mother, presumably the expected trigger of much-talked up premiere walkouts that didn’t actually happen. Later, Cronenberg makes a belated return to the sanguinary nasties which made his career: Crimes of the Future, already out in theatres, is situated in a dystopia to come in which humankind has evolved past the need for pain, and following the logic of physiological fascination, surgery has become the new sex. Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen are a pair of performance artists who carve one another, erotically, in surgical organ-machines for the pleasure of hushed audiences. Like Cronenberg’s Crash, pain and pleasure, exhibition and the voyeur, are interwoven beasts.

A24
A24
A24

Funny Pages

Release date: TBA
Director: Owen Kline
Cast: Daniel Zolghadri, Matthew Maher, Miles Emanuel, Marcia Debonis, Michael Townsend Wright
Fans of Uncut Gems will likely fawn over A24’s Funny Pages, the directorial debut from Owen Kline (who you’d best know as The Kid in Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale). Produced by the Safdie Brothers, Pages brings back a coterie of ensemble players from the frenetic Sandler-starrer, for a coming-of-ager as juvenile as cock outlines drawn in the margins of school textbooks. Leading is the tremendous Daniel Zolghadri: He plays another precocious teen, Robert, who decides to drop out of high school to pursue his talents as a comic artist. While variously touching and gut-clenchingly funny, it isn’t flawless-but my god, is Kline going to make a terrific second picture.

Neon
Neon
Neon

Moonage Daydream

Release date: September TBA
Director: Brett Morgen
Any filmmaker with access to David Bowie’s full discography is already on to a winner, and Moonage Daydream-Brett Morgen’s kaleidoscopic, maximalist, sweeping docufeature-montage covering Bowie’s life and career-is no exception, with its pumping soundscape of pop-rock hits. But here’s two hours and 20 minutes that zip by like a rocket ship, darting past rigid conventionality; sometimes a concert film, sometimes a memoir movie, often both all at once. Morgen has put together a treat for fans and Bowie agnostics alike.

Allyson Riggs/Courtesy of A24
Allyson Riggs/Courtesy of A24
Allyson Riggs/Courtesy of A24

Showing Up

Release date: TBA
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, Andre 3000
Another Reichardt slow-burner, following 2019’s First Cow, Showing Up was relegated to the final day of the festival, by which point most of the critics in attendance had already left. Those who saw it, however, celebrated it as a typically minimalist, quotidian tour-de-force, with a stirring lead in frequent collaborator Michelle Williams. Continuing on the trend of auto-fiction at this Cannes, Reichardt’s eleventh feature film is arguably her most wedded to the self: a lavish character study, Williams’ sculptor struggles to make art amid a whirlpool of banal tribulations. The 58-year-old director never misses, and Showing Up is no different.

Fredrik-Wenzel/Plattform
Fredrik-Wenzel/Plattform
Fredrik-Wenzel/Plattform

Triangle of Sadness

Release date: TBA
Director: Ruben Östlund
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Woody Harrelson
Östlund’s five-year return to Cannes competition following his Palme d’Or winning The Square once again yielded the top prize, joining Francis Ford Coppola, Bille August, and Michael Haneke as the only filmmakers to nab subsequent Palmes. Set on a shipwrecked yacht, Triangle of Sadness is part class satire (Woody Harrelson plays the alcoholic, Marxist captain), part study of social upheaval (Hobbes, eat your heart out), part tongue-poke at the model-cum-influencer economy (Harris Dickinson’s a star, baby!). Gloriously bizarre, deliberately ostentatious, and gleefully on the nose, this was the right pick for the big one.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Jack King is a London-based freelance writer for the likes of GQ and Vulture. You can find him on Twitter at @jackarking. He sends his apologies in advance.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.