With the illustrious Sundance Film Festival kicking off this week we had our Producer, Corey, and Public Relations Manager, Chelsea, put together a list of indie films that are a must-watch before a sea of newfangled indie films flood our watch-list.
Tangerine (2015)- Tangerine is the deliciously messy adventure of a transgendered woman prostitute, Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), who finds out her boyfriend/pimp boss (James Ransone), has been cheating on her. Fresh out of jail, Sin-Dee celebrates her first 24 hours of freedom by teaming up with her fellow co-worker and best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) to hunt down the ‘fish’ mistress to get her revenge.
Tangerine immediately engages the audience and doesn’t let go of your hair as it drags you all around West Los Angeles in this funny and endearing tale of revenge. Also, did we mention that it’s completely shot on an iPhone and came out of Sundance last year?
Heaven Knows What (2014)- Harley, Arielle Holmes, is a passionate girl living on the streets of New York City where the only thing more addictive to her than heroine; is love. She will do anything for love, including slitting her own wrists to absolve her imprudence behavior to her lover, Ilya (Caleb Landry Jones), this is the opening scene to Heaven Knows What. Welcome to New York!
Heaven Knows What is an incredible movie not only because it is tightly based on Arielle Holmes’ life and book but because at a certain point you feel as if you are on the streets with the characters. Directors, Ben and Joshua Safdie don’t rely on any makeup or wardrobe crew to create this world, they go to the dirty, scuzzy source itself, New York City.
Dogtooth (2009)- Dogtooth and Alps – Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos‘ breakout film Dogtooth is a wildly funny, disturbing and absurd look at the influence of upbringing in children in a hermetically sealed environment where cats are thought to be deadly beasts of the outside world and Fly Me To the Moon is a recording of their Grandfather’s about paternal love. Dubbed an “intellectual” film and sure to confound many, his film exposé is painted with broad strokes in comparison to his more subtle and sophisticated follow-up Alps, taking place in a similarly absurd alternate reality where the Alps company provides temporary replacements for loved ones recently deceased. His forthcoming and first English-language film The Lobster seems to dive back into the subject of relationships, where single persons must find romantic partners in forty-five days or be transformed into an animal of their choice and sent off into the woods. Does he have your attention? He does ours.
Heartbeats (2010)- Canadian-French Director Xavier Dolan debuted his talents as a Director/Actor/Writer/Producer at the tender age of 19 with his first feature I Killed My Mother, but his second independent feature is definitely one eye treat you don’t want to miss out on, Heartbeats. Heartbeats is about two friends, Marie (Monia Chokri) and Francis (Francis of course played by Dolan himself), who begin an obsessive fixation with the same man, Nicholas (Niels Schneider). The two become absorbed with their new friend, and infatuation, as it consumes them and produces foolish antics in an attempt to impress their new-found crush. As the two test the bounds of their relationship with their crush they learn whether their friendship will withstand their mutual engrossment. Heartbeats is Dolan’s ode to Truffaut’s Jules et Jim while incorporating his own cinematic style of blissful, colorful glimpses into the amorous subconscious nature of the characters.
Since Dolan’s Heartbeats he has lent his cinematic endowment to Adele’s official music video to her beloved hit single ‘Hello’. Look out for his upcoming feature It’s Only the End of the World starring Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux.
Mustang (2015)- In northern Turkey five young sisters welcome their summer vacation by frolicking and playing in a nearby beach and garden with their fellow male classmates. In doing so, they inadvertently are subjected to judgment and ridicule that comes with the cultural values that they were born into. The young ladies are then scandalized and suppressed due to their behavior and the eldest sisters are then held to the culture’s standard, arranged marriages. This serves as a catalyst to the five sisters’ summer as they each test the boundaries of their cultural, moral, and psychological limits. Director Deniz Gamze Ergüven does a phenomenal job casting all the sisters and creating a strong bond between the girls as they grow up. Deniz doesn’t just skim the water on the different perspectives of what it means to be a girl, and woman, in Turkey, she plunges into it and our eyes are soaking it in.
We’re excited to see this film enter the Oscar race and you’ll definitely want to catch it in theaters soon!