Entertainment

The Best Films at the 2021 New York Film Festival

Movies are back at Lincoln Center, and we're watching 'em.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

New York’s famed Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is finally bustling with life again after pandemic had kept its houses dark. The opera is back and so is the ballet, but most excitingly for our purposes, the New York Film Festival has returned in full force with an incredible selection of movies from around the world. The public screenings will kick off September 24 with the premiere of The Tragedy of Macbeth directed by Joel Coen, one half of the Coen brothers, and starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand; over the next two weeks New Yorkers will be treated to Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, Denis Villenueve’s Dune, Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers, and so many more highly anticipated movies. Read on to discover our favorites; we’ll be updating this as the festival goes on. 

IFC Films
IFC Films
IFC Films

Benedetta

Release date: December 3
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Virginie Efira, Daphne Patakia, Charlotte Rampling, Lambert Wilson
Why it’s worth seeing: “French lesbian nun historical drama” sounds like a joke, or like the typical sort of trashy European film festival offering that ultimately ends up being morbid and depressing, but Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, based loosely on Judith C. Brown’s book Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (which itself is based on actual facts), is none of those things, a shocking, sexy, hilarious film that is hysterical in every sense of the word. When novice Benedetta (Virginia Efira) joins a convent in 17th century Italy, she begins having visions of Jesus looking like something off the cover of a romance novel, striding towards her across golden fields and galloping on horseback to save her from ruffians. But the arrival of a new nun, Sister Bartolomea (Daphne Patakia), throws a wrench into Benedetta’s relationship with the Lord, the two consummating their forbidden affection, igniting the ire of the Abbess (Charlotte Rampling), and devising a scheme to take over the convent itself. (Watch the trailer.) -Emma Stefansky

IFC Films
IFC Films
IFC Films

Bergman Island

Release date: October 15
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Cast: Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, Anders Danielsen Lie
Why it’s worth seeing: The legendary Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman hangs like a shadow over the latest from Mia Hansen-Løve’s film which asks questions about inspiration in the story of a married filmmaker couple on a retreat. Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth play Chris and Tony, both directors and screenwriters themselves, who take a trip to Fårö, the spot where Bergman lived and made some of his most famous films. They are sleeping in the bed where parts ofScenes from a Marriage was filmed, if there weren’t enough dread hanging over their coupling. But Bergman Island is not exactly about a marriage falling apart. Rather, it’s about what we ask from art and artists and how we choose to utilize that in our own work. While Tony is diligently working on a screenplay, Chris is searching for what her next project will be, looking to establish herself independently of her influences, almost rejecting the darkness that has come to define Bergman’s work. About midway through the narrative, a film within a film-Chris’ idea-starts to take over, starring Mia Wasikowska as another woman who comes to this gorgeous and strange locale searching. (Watch the trailer.) –Esther Zuckerman

Lucky Red
Lucky Red
Lucky Red

Il Buco

Release date: TBA
Director: Michelangelo Frammartino
Cast: Paolo Cossi, Jacopa Elia, Denise Trombin
Why it’s worth seeing: Michelangelo Frammartino’s first film in a decade (after his strange, meditative 2010 film Le Quattro Volte, about a lonely farmer experiencing transmigration of the soul) is half based on fact, and half a sort of magical realist fable. In 1961, a team of speleologists (cavers) traveled to southern Italy to map the unseen caves in the Calabria region, and descended into the then-un-climbed Bifurto Abyss, at the time the third-deepest cave in the world, appearing on the surface as a long, thin gash in the earth carefully avoided by a local farmer’s herd of cows. Frammartino spent a year and a half collecting a cast of real cavers, who used the same equipment as their 1960s counterparts, to descend and reenact the first expedition, lighting the walls of the cave with their headlamps while the rest is left in darkness. Most of the film is not subtitled and the dialogue is deliberately unintelligible, allowing the breathtaking landscapes and the claustrophobic yet beautiful cave chambers speak for themselves. -ES

A24
A24
A24

C’mon C’mon

Release date: November
Director: Mike Mills
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Woody Norman, Gaby Hoffmann
Why it’s worth seeing: Director Mike Mills follows up his wonderful 2016 film 20th Century Women with another tender, empathetic look at an unconventional family, featuring Joaquin Phoenix in one of his warmest performances to date. (Seriously: This Joaquin is miles away from Joker Joaquin, and for that we should be grateful.) Phoenix plays Johnny, a sort of Ira Glass radio host type, who reconnects with his sister Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) on the anniversary of their mom’s death. Viv is dealing with her ex’s mental health issues and asks Johnny to watch her odd, intelligent 9-year-old Jesse (Woody Norman), the kind of kid who pretends to be an orphan and asks his mother about her (nonexistent) dead children. Less a simple story about Johnny learning to parent, and more an exploration of childhood and memory, C’mon C’mon is lovely through and through. (Watch the trailer.) –EZ

Mubi
Mubi
Mubi

Drive My Car

Release date: November 24
Director: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Cast: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tôko Miura, Masaki Okada, Reika Kirishima
Why it’s worth seeing: The opening credits come 46 minutes into Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s 3-hour film about people grappling with their grief as they rehearse a production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. This prologue introduces the viewer to Yûsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a famed theater actor and director, and his wife Oto, a screenwriter. Their relationship is bound by sex and storytelling: After they have intercourse she weaves a tale. Without spoiling too much of what takes place: Their relationship is cut short, and the rest of the film tracks Mr. Kafuku as he ventures to Hiroshima to stage a multilingual version of the Russian classic. There, he is instructed that he must have a driver, which is how Misaki Watari (Tôko Miura), a stoic young woman, enters his life. What follows is a lengthy exploration of loss and love that uses the Chekhov-as well as the Haruki Murakami story on which this project is based-as a reference point, but enters its own beguiling territory. – EZ

NEON
NEON
NEON

Flee

Release date: December 3
Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Why it’s worth seeing: Flee, which was picked up out of Sundance bydistributor Neon, is truly unique. This largely animated documentary is a memoir come to life that is as much about the story it’s telling as it is about what the act telling that story means to the subject. Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen allows Amin Nawabi to narrate his experiences at his own pace. At present, Nawabi is an Afghan refugee living in Copenhagen with his boyfriend and working with an academic, but Flee uses drawing and archival footage to describe the arduous process of escaping the Mujahideen. The documentary appears to be as revelatory for Nawabi as it is for the audience watching it. Flee is not just about what Nawabi endured, but about the psychological tolls of a childhood constantly on the run. (Watch the trailer.) –EZ

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

Passing

Release date: October 27 in theaters; November 10 on Netflix
Director: Rebecca Hall
Cast: Ruth Negga, Tessa Thompson, André Holland, Bill Camp
Why it’s worth seeing: There’s a delicacy to actress Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, Passing, an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel about two childhood friends who reunite in adulthood and find their lives in a state of contradiction. Irene (Tessa Thompson) is living in Harlem as part of the upper echelon of Black society with her husband and two children; Clare (Ruth Negga) has been passing as a white woman and is married to a racist man. A chance meeting brings them together after years apart and ignites mutual insecurities, especially when Clare begins to infiltrate the life with which Irene previously thought herself content. Filmed in black and white and featuring a stunning jazz score by Dev Hynes, Hall keeps the tension between her protagonists at a simmer, the roiling frustrations and desires lingering just beneath the surface. Both Thompson and Negga are extraordinary, playing their characters’ internal emotions through glances and subtle shifts in their tone of voice. Hall’s film has style in spades, but it’s all in service of the tricky feelings underneath the pretty people and parties. (Watch the trailer.) –EZ

NEON
NEON
NEON

Petite Maman

Release date: TBA
Director: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Nina Meurisse
Why it’s worth seeing: Director Céline Sciamma, fresh off the success of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, brings us this gorgeous small-scale gem of a movie about the ways parents and children attempt to understand one another. Nelly (Gabrielle Sanz) is an 8 year old whose grandmother has just died. With her parents, she goes to her mother’s childhood home in the woods to clear out the rest of the deceased’s belongings. Nelly’s mom abruptly leaves to process her grief, and the girl is left to her own devices while her father finishes the rest of the tasks. Playing in the woods, she encounters another child her age, who she quickly realizes is the younger version of her own mother Marion (Joséphine Sanz-yes, the actors are sisters). As Nelly and Marion bond, Nelly gains a new respect for her mother’s dreams and sorrows. It’s a short movie, but one that carries a deep weight. –EZ

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

The Power of the Dog 

Release date: November 17 in theaters; December 1 on Netflix
Director: Jane Campion
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Why it’s worth seeing: The Piano director Jane Campion’s return to feature filmmaking after more than a decade away is an absolute triumph, a chilling exploration of a man driven to cruelty by the pursuit of a masculine ideal in the American West. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Phil Burbank, a rancher who prides himself on the dirt under his fingernails and his ability to live with as few amenities as possible. He worships a rider named Bronco Henry and calls his softer brother George (Jesse Plemons) “fatso.” When George marries a widowed innkeeper Rose (Kirsten Dunst), Phil makes it his mission to mentally torture her. He is similarly inclined to do that to her son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who arrives at the ranch on summer holiday from college studies, but instead decides to take him under his wing, figuring he can mold him into the kind of man he thinks is worth being. Campion’s direction is dangerously erotic, while Benedict Cumberbatch gives one of his all-time great performances as a man so uncomfortable in his own skin he inflicts his pain upon others. (Watch the trailer.) –EZ

A24
A24
A24

The Souvenir Part II 

Release date: October 29
Director: Joanna Hogg
Cast: Honor Swinton-Byrne, Tilda Swinton, Charlie Heaton, Joe Alwyn
Why it’s worth seeing: The Souvenir Part II will likely go down in history as one of the best and most unlikely sequels ever to grace the screen, perhaps competing with Before Sunset for that title. Joanna Hogg follows up her 2019 piece of autofiction, the story of a young filmmaker Julie (Honor Swinton-Byrne), who falls for a mysterious older man Anthony (Tom Burke), and battles her own naiveté as their romance grows more and more troubled. Part II is a direct continuation of Julie’s story as she deals with the aftermath of Anthony’s death and approaches her film school graduation. Hogg’s screenplay is more straightforward this time, but no less incisive, a portrait of a young woman finding her identity as an artist and trying to understand her own ignorance. –EZ

Neon
Neon
Neon

Titane

Release date: October 1
Director: Julia Ducournau
Cast: Agathe Rousselle, Vincent Lindon
Why it’s worth seeing: Let’s just say this: Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winning film starts with a female serial killer having sex with a car that impregnates her. It gets even wilder from there, and also strangely sweet. Basically, it’s the kind of movie you have to see to believe. Ducournau’s debut feature was the gruesome cannibal tale Raw, and she once again does not hold back in this fable about Alexia (Rousselle), a woman with a metal plate in her head from a automotive accident as a child who has a taste for murder and an attraction to cars. With the police on her tail, she disguises herself as a long missing boy and is quasi-adopted by the boy’s father (Lindon), who will do anything to fill the hole in his heart, even believing that this silent, pregnant woman excreting oil is his son. Titane is visceral and often disgusting, but ultimately a story about familial devotion and the kind of love parents and children seek from one another. (Watch the trailer.) –EZ

Neon
Neon
Neon

The Worst Person in the World

Release date: TBA
Director: Joachim Trier
Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum
Why it’s worth seeing: Director Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World opens by announcing that it’s a story told in 12 chapters with a prologue and an epilogue. That might initially sound intimidating, but this warm and inviting film about a young woman basically just trying to figure shit out is anything but. The revelatory Renate Reinsve plays Julie, who we learn in that opening section was a type-A student wanting to be a doctor until she got distracted and tried psychology, and then tried photography and then tried writing. She meets Aksel, an older comic book artist and they fall in love and move in together. Trier finds plenty to mine in Julie’s uncertainty-about her future and her desire for children-and Reinsve is sensational playing all of her nerves and sensuality. It’s a very funny film with jokes about farts and buttholes, but also an astoundingly creative one that will take your breath away as it moves through its structured narrative. (Watch the trailer.) –EZWant more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

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.

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