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New Directors/New Films 2010

New York's premier next-gen film festival highlights tomorrow's heavy hitters.

By David Fear, Joshua Rothkopf and Keith Uhlich

Soderbergh, Haneke, Linklater, Wong Kar-wai, Almodvar, Spielberg (yes, that Spielberg)...these are just some of the big names that dot the “New Directors/New Films” alumni archive. For almost four decades, this annual (and already-in-progress) survey of up-and-coming auteurs, sponsored by MoMA and Film Society of Lincoln Center, has given viewers a glimpse of the future; here are five movies from this year’s edition that you’ll want to pay attention to.

RECOMMENDED: See all “New Directors/New Films” coverage

Magnificently disturbing, Yorgos Lanthimos’s one-of-a-kind psychodrama takes place in a family’s walled-in estate, where three homeschooled kids give new meaning to the word sheltered. These randy teens have no concept of the outside world; left to their own warped language and rituals, they bring about their ruination. Is this a terror-shocked future? Or, obliquely, right now? (Tue 30 at 9pm at MoMA; Wed 31 at 6:15pm at FSLC)—JR

Down Terrace
Ben Wheatley’s lo-fi tale of a suburban gangster clan has been described as “Mike Leigh directs The Sopranos,” but that doesn’t quite do this British indie justice. Blending black comedy, kitchen-sink dramatics and crime-flick conventions, this modest gem takes some serious sideways swipes at England’s class ceiling. Get Down, people. (Tue 30 at 9pm at MoMA; Wed 31 at 6:15pm at FSLC)—DF

I Am Love
Channeling Visconti’s lusty lushness and Desplechin’s symphonic melodramas, Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s story of familial shenanigans would be a fest highlight even if it didn’t give Tilda Swinton the desire-driven grande dame performance of her career. Odes to old-school foreign films don’t get more sensual—or satisfying—than this. (Apr 2 at 6:15pm at FSLC; Apr 4 at 1pm at MoMA)—DF

I Killed My Mother
That title is a mistake—especially since this French-Canadian comedy is loaded with empathy and heartache (and zero matricide). Written and directed by its then-teenaged star, Xavier Dolan, the movie develops fierce tensions between a Quebecois single mom and her surly, artistic son into a full-throated catharsis. (Apr 4 at 7pm at MoMA)—JR

Last Train Home
A deeply moving look at an unavoidably fractured family, Lixin Fan’s documentary follows a clan of Chinese migrant workers separated by economic circumstance. The heart of the film is the shaky relationship between the sweatshop-employed parents and their defiant teenage daughter, who ekes out a meager big-city existence. Don’t miss it. (Apr 1 at 9pm at MoMA; Apr 3 noon at FSLC)—KU

“New Directors/New Films” runs through Apr 4.

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