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Five movies to see at "New Directors/New Films"

NYC’s annual showcase of the best and boldest gets under way at Lincoln Center and MoMA

By Joshua Rothkopf and David Ehrlich

From its first edition in 1971 (which introduced New Yorkers to a little-known 25-year-old wunderkind from Germany named Wim Wenders), “New Directors/New Films” has proven essential to those eager to see beyond film’s horizons. This year’s model is no exception: These five titles do the festival proud. The fun begins on Wed 18 and runs through Mar 29 at Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA. Visit the fest's site for full listings and showtimes.

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

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

1. The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Lunging off the screen with the heat of a true breakthrough, moon-faced Bel Powley (herself a 23-year-old Brit) does wonders with the role of Minnie Goetz, a San Francisco kid growing into her own funky sexuality during the glammed-up 1970s. Writer-director Marielle Heller makes her feature debut boldly, with a confidence that shook Sundance—she’s studied her Cameron Crowe but crucially supplies a welcome dollop of female-centric naughtiness to it all.

Museum of Modern Art; Wed 18 at 7, 8pm.


2. Entertainment

The titles of Rick Alverson’s movies might seem misleading, but you just have to take them at their word. The Comedy was one of 2012’s best films, but the joke of this deeply misanthropic character study was on us. Likewise, Entertainment has little interest in showing you much of a good time. Instead, this Lynchian saga about a nameless stand-up comic (Gregg Turkington doing his Neil Hamburger shtick) searching for his daughter is an unforgettable death march to the rotting core of American culture.

Museum of Modern Art, Mar 29 at 4pm.
Film Society, Mar 29 at 7pm.


3. Haemoo

Directed by the writer of Bong Joon-ho’s masterful Memories of Murder, Shim Sung-bo’s first effort behind the camera is a soaking-wet reminder that South Korea is still churning out the world’s best (and most brutal) thrillers. Based on the disastrous true story of a cash-strapped fishing crew who began smuggling illegal immigrants from China in order to make ends meet, Haemoo is a riveting portrait of how quickly morals can dissolve in water.

Museum of Modern Art, Fri 20 at 8:45pm.
Film Society, Sat 21 at 6:15pm.

Listen to Me Marlon

4. Listen to Me Marlon

It’s unclear how Stevan Riley got his hands on the hundreds of hours of personal audiotapes that Marlon Brando recorded over the course of his remarkable life, but he’s certainly made great use of them, cutting together such an intimate portrait of American cinema’s most iconic actor that it often feels like an autobiography. If anything, Listen to Me Marlon can be too slick, its beautiful ambient soundtrack occasionally making the film play like the greatest Oscar tribute reel ever assembled.

Film Society, Mar 27 at 6:30pm.
Museum of Modern Art, Mar 
28 at 1pm.

The Tribe

5. The Tribe

An immersive, bleak and bracingly singular experience, Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s Cannes sensation is much more than its gimmick—but it’s one hell of a gimmick. The Tribe is set at a Ukrainian boarding school for the deaf and mute, but the film doesn’t provide subtitles. Long takes allow you to find your own way into the action, and while the story’s tragic ultraviolence begins to feel like a posturing shock effect, The Tribe harrowingly traces the fine line between a community and a prison.

Museum of Modern Art, Mar 27 at 9pm.
Film Society, Mar 28 at 8:45pm.


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