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The 10 best movies at Tribeca Film Festival 2019

We've sifted through the fest's 100-plus features to pinpoint the perfect screening for every kind of moviegoer
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut
By Joshua Rothkopf |
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About to unveil its 18th edition, the Tribeca Film Festival has become the best kind of predictable. We know they'll introduce us to some exquisite documentaries, the kind that preoccupy us for days. We know they'll unspool a handful of refurbished classics that nobody minds revisiting, with talent on hand for some legendary post-screening Q&As. (This year, no less a giant than Francis Ford Coppola will discuss his epic war movie Apocalypse Now.) And we know that digging through the indies, rom-coms and dramas will yield a new favorite for all tastes. This year, we've made it easy for you: Are you one of the 10 types below? Tribeca's got you covered. The festival runs Wed 24–May 5 at various venues (noted below); visit the fest’s official site for tickets and full schedule.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the Tribeca Film Festival

Best Tribeca Film Festival 2019 movies

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For fashionistas

Halston
Filmmaker Frédéric Tcheng is responsible for 2014’s transcendent, suspenseful Dior and I, and his new doc is even better. Halston is a rigorous history of the mono-monikered clothes designer, an Iowa-born cypher, a genius of drapery and publicity, an Andy- and-Bianca scenemaker and, ultimately, a cautionary emblem of ’80s exploitation.

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Theater from Chase (tribecafilm.com). Sun 28 at 8pm. • Regal Cinemas Battery Park. Mon 29 at 9pm. • $24. • Village East Cinema. May 3 at 3:15pm; free.

Courtesy of A24

For horror-loving fashionistas

In Fabric
The highlight of a new Tribeca sidebar programmed by local critics, Peter Strickland’s stylish supernatural comedy (we laughed, promise) is set in a department store run by witches who lull shoppers into buying haunted couture. Strickland, a longtime devotee of trashy European thrills à la the original Suspiria, makes sick stuff that we love.

SVA Theatre 2 Beatrice. Tue 30 at 9:15pm; $24. • Regal Cinemas Battery Park. May 1 at 8:30pm, May 3 at 9:15pm; free–$24.

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Photo: Eileen Emond

For TV addicts

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
Stokes, a Philadelphia librarian and hoarder, compulsively recorded the news 24 hours a day, from 1977 until her death in 2012, leaving behind an amateur media archive of increasingly profound significance. This profile teases out the radical intellect behind the VHS tapes: a hard woman to love but a paragon of free will.

Village East Cinema. Thu 25 at 6:30pm. • Regal Cinemas Battery Park. Fri 26 at 7pm, Sat 27 at 12:45pm, May 4 at 7pm. • $24.

Photo: Sean Stiegemeier

For postapocalyptic preppers

Only
It wouldn’t be Tribeca without some dark, doomy, end-of-the-world fare, and while this road movie, about a virus wiping out millions of women globally, has echoes of Children of Men and The Handmaid’s Tale, it has an emergency signal all its own. Hamilton’s Leslie Odom, Jr. and Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto bring the conviction.

SVA Theatre 1 Silas. Sat 27 at 6:30pm. • Regal Cinemas Battery Park. Sun 28 at 6:30pm. • Village East Cinema. May 2 at 6pm, May 4 at 2:45pm. • $24.

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Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal

For those about to rock

This Is Spinal Tap
Even if you can quote the whole thing, you'll be stunned at how fresh Rob Reiner’s groundbreaking 1984 mockumentary still feels. If they can find their way to the stage post-screening (“Hello, Tribeca!”), members of the band are scheduled to perform.

Beacon Theatre. Sat 27 at 8pm; $46–$256.

Photo: Henry Diltz

For karaoke queens

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
An icon in desperate need of status rehabilitation, Ronstadt sang loops around her contemporaries, sold out arenas a decade before Madonna and consistently surprised critics. Codirectors Rob Epstein and Jeff Friedman get out of a great story’s way and even capture the singer as she is now: retired, with a voice held back by Parkinson’s, but still angelic.

BMCC Tribeca PAC. Fri 26 at 8:30pm; $30. • Regal Cinemas Battery Park. Sat 27 at 9:30pm; $24. • Village East Cinema. Mon 29 at 8:45pm; free.

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Photo: Katelin Arizmendi

For Sharp Objects fans

Swallow
The always compelling Haley Bennett is ready for her Michelle Williams breakout moment, and this icky domestic psychodrama is a huge step in that direction. In a highly art-directed Hudson Valley mansion (shades of Todd Haynes’s Safe), she plays a pinned-down housewife who is increasingly drawn to sabotage her own pregnancy.

SVA Theatre 1 Silas. Sun 28 at 6pm. • Village East Cinema. Mon 29 at 8:30pm, May 1 at 6:30pm. • Regal Cinemas Battery Park. May 4 at 6pm. • $24.

Apocalypse Now

For revivalists

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut
Think you know the smell of napalm in the morning? Francis Ford Coppola’s pummeling war epic has received a full, 40th-anniversary restoration—never before shown—deepening those jungle greens and low-flying chopper frequencies. Afterward, the director discusses the extensive technical cleanup and the much-storied shoot, loaded with drama.

Beacon Theatre. Sun 28 at 5pm; $48–$116.

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For those who don't remember high school as a rom-com

Luce
Operating at a tricky intersection of race, class, liberal guilt and generational divide, this suburban thriller stars the electrifying up-and-comer Kelvin Harrison Jr. (It Comes at Night) as a former African child soldier who’s adopted by a white family and is now an ace student. But a nosy teacher (Octavia Spencer) isn’t convinced.

BMCC Tribeca PAC. Sun 28 at 7:30pm; $40. • Regal Cinemas Battery Park. May 2 at 9:30pm. • Village East Cinema. May 4 at 12:15pm. • $24.

Want to grab a bite before the show?

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