Get us in your inbox


The 13 best movies to see at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf

Worried that you've only got Paul Bart: Mall Cop 2 to see this weekend? Fear not: The Tribeca Film Festival is in full swing. Already, we seen the 20 best movies at the festival—and have even granted two our coveted five-star rating, Stephen Fingleton's commanding postapocalyptic drama The Survivalist and Albert Maysles's swan song In Transit. But here's a handy guide of everything playing this weekend. We vouch for all the titles below—you won't be disappointed and may even discover a new favorite. Be adventurous, New York!

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival

Autism in Love Inspiring and heartbreaking in equal measure, Matt Fuller’s doc follows four people on the autism spectrum who are just different enough to be fully aware of how different they are. Candid and never the least bit condescending (in other words, nothing like The Other Sister), Autism in Love pauses to recognize the romantic challenges that are unique to its subjects, but the film is at its best when focusing on how universal their struggles truly are. Bow Tie Chelsea; Sat 18 at 6:30pm

Being 14 It’s not the easiest age, we can all agree. In French director Hélène Zimmer’s catty yet quietly sympathetic drama, female junior-high-schoolers unleash a frightening amount of verbal pain on each other, nudging their squabbles into uncomfortable territory. Subtly, a theme emerges from the viciousness, indicting not the girls but the systemic peer pressure that occupies their every waking moment. (Lunkheaded, sex-obsessed boyfriends don’t help.) Allegiances flip with the seasons—your head will spin. Regal Battery Park; Sat 18 at 6:45pm

The Birth of Saké Not too far-removed from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Erik Shirai’s The Birth of Saké is a contemplative portrait of a year inside Japan’s Tedorigawa saké brewery, a small company renowned for its elegance and finesse. Both atmospheric and informative, Shirai’s film looks for the small changes that define a vocation rooted in tradition. Bow Tie Chelsea; Fri 17 at 8:30pm, Sat 18 at 9:45pm

Bridgend If you don’t know about Wales’s notorious Bridgend County, that may be a blessing. It’s a place where 79 people—mostly teens—have committed suicide since 2007 in a secret pact that’s mystified parents and law enforcement for years. Jeppe Rønde’s starkly involving dramatization feels like a Joy Division dirge come to life: There’s little to do in this frigid, rural community but drink, vandalize and yell senselessly at the sky. Deep reserves of emotion spring from Game of Thrones’ fresh-faced Hannah Murray, playing a nice kid who’s new to town and immediately suspicious. Bow Tie Chelsea; Fri 17 at 9:30pm, Sat 18 at 2:30pm

Crocodile Gennadiy Captured in a Blade Runner–like Ukraine of decaying buildings and smoke-belching factories, Steve Hoover’s outraged documentary follows pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a furiously committed intervener who drags drug-addicted kids into clinics and confronts the pharmacists who sell them codeine. The film toys with notions of vigilantism (perhaps for fame), but the overall takeaway is complex. Galvanic, shaming and inspiring, this is the social-issue movie of the festival, with a nightmarish synth score co-composed by Gone Girl’s Atticus Ross. If Mokhnenko is at your screening, expect a deafening standing ovation. Regal Battery Park; Sat 18 at 3:45pm • Bow Tie Chelsea; Sun 19 at 3:30pm

In My Father’s House Che “Rhymefest” Smith rose to fame after cowriting Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” but his own album flopped, and his career fizzled. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s documentary begins a few years later, as Smith returns to Chicago, buys his childhood home and tries to reconnect with the alcoholic dad who abandoned him as a kid. It may revolve around a semicelebrity, but In My Father’s House tells an all-too-relatable story about faith and fatherlessness in America. Regal Battery Park; Sun 19 at 2:30pm

In Transit The last film from late, great vérité legend Albert Maysles, this gentle but (literally) moving doc takes you for a ride on the Empire Builder, Amtrak’s busiest long-distance route. Embedding themselves on the scenic three-day trip from the Pacific Northwest to Chicago, Maysles & Co. zero in on passengers from all walks of life. This short but sweet swan song is a fitting reminder that everyone has a story to tell. Bow Tie Chelsea; Sat 18 at 3:30pm • SVA Theatre; Sun 19 at 2pm

Men Go to Battle Inspired by letters from Kentucky’s Civil War era (and cowritten by House of Cards’ Kate Lyn Sheil), director Zachary Treitz’s absorbingly atmospheric indie springs off from the tension between a pair of testy brothers. At the onset of 1861’s harsh winter, they can’t keep their grubby farm going. The chickens drown in the rain, their fieldwork amounts to nothing, and they squabble and hurt each other. Eventually one leaves for the front lines, and a cast of authentic reenactors turns the movie into an immersive memorial to differing paths marked by blood. Regal Battery Park; Fri 17 at 8:30pm, Sat 18 at 6pm

Palio Imagine a horse race that’s part Kentucky Derby and part Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and you’ll have a good idea what Italy’s Palio di Siena is all about. Director Cosima Spender’s handsome and mirthfully hilarious doc unpacks Siena’s most treasured biannual blood sport, bridging the gap between the Palio’s 17th-century origins and the colorful, merciless personalities who keep it alive today. Bow Tie Chelsea; Sat 18 at 6pm • Regal Battery Park; Sun 19 at 7:30pm

Requiem for the American Dream Were you expecting something more upbeat from political analyst Noam Chomsky? Interviewed over four years in a wide-ranging conversation that touches on power, money, democracy and his own career, 86-year-old Chomsky nails down a creeping but perceptible shift in societal thinking since the 1960s. His critique extends beyond left and right (or Democrat and Republican), resulting in a lucid analysis that’s breathtaking in its simplicity, and all the more scary for it. SVA Theatre; Sat 18 at 2:30pm • Bow Tie Chelsea; Sun 19 at 3pm

Slow West A hit at Sundance, John Maclean’s terse and casually weird revisionist Western is sure to be a Tribeca highlight. Slow West stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young Scottish lad who journeys across the American frontier in search of his lost love. Michael Fassbender plays the bounty hunter who becomes his father figure along the way. The doozy of an ending alone makes this one worth it. SVA Theatre; Sat 18 at 5:30pm

The Survivalist A true festival discovery and a film that will shake you for days, Stephen Fingleton’s masterful feature debut, a postapocalyptic drama, has no charming heroes, quips, romance or leather outfits. It’s a tense chamber piece set in a European forest 10 years after the fall of civilization. (We learn from an elegantly simple graph only that demand overtook supply.) What plays out is brutal, arresting and, yet, essentially about the undying nature of hope and human contact. Fingleton’s world is a lushly green universe of ruined people trapped in the psychology of survival. You’ll leave completely rapt. Bow Tie Chelsea; Sat 18 at 9:15pm

Sworn Virgin The arrestingly serene Alba Rohrwacher (I Am Love) takes on her most ambitious role to date: an Albanian “sworn virgin,” one of that culture’s unmarried women who pledge to bind their breasts and live out their lives as men. The real-life setup is a knockout, both ancient and timely, and even though Rohrwacher never quite passes—she looks too much like Barbra Streisand’s Yentl—the movie is on to a larger point, namely about the fluidity of sexual identity and our universal penchant for self-reinvention. The film builds slowly but deserves an audience eager to discuss it. Bow Tie Chelsea; Sat 18 at 3:45pm 

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news