The 13th edition of the Cinema One Originals Film Festival opens on Nov. 12 with the Frances McDormand-starrer “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and closes on Nov. 28 with the Emma Stone-Steve Carrell biographical sports film “Battle of the Sexes.” In between, there will be restored films, competing full-length and short films, a C1 Originals retrospective and several acclaimed foreign films that will not be released in local mainstream cinemas. As much as we want to watch all foreign films in exhibition (where to find time and money? asking for a friend), we have to narrow down our list to those that we, against all odds, cannot miss. What about the local films, you say? That’s a no-brainer. You should watch them all (wink wink).
A FANTASTIC WOMAN by Sebastian Lelio (Chile)
You do not want to miss this gem that film festival programmer and lecturer Ed Cabagnot calls his most favorite film out of the Busan International Film Festival. “A Fantastic Woman” tells of Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega), a trans woman who has to deal with the sudden death of her lover, and the ensuing suspicion of his family. The film features “excellent storytelling and enlightened treatment about the trans experience in South America; plus the grade-A prod [uction] values,” notes Cabagnot.
ZAMA by Lucrecia Martel (Argentina)
Following a nine-year absence, Lucrecia Martel (“The Headless Woman”) returns with “Zama,” an 18th century-set period film based on the 1956 novel by Antonio di Benedetto. In it, a Spanish crown officer named Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) wants desperately to be reassigned to another place. Judging from the trailer, “Zama” is both funny and weird, which are enough adjectives for us to go see the film. Also, pay close attention to the sumptuous cinematography, which is definitely a film student’s wet dream.
THE THIRD MURDER by Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan)
Remember Kore-eda? The filmmaker whose hobby is to break our hearts with poignant pieces like 2004’s “Nobody Knows?” Yep, that guy. This time, he centers on a courtroom drama about a recently-released convict who is now on trial for murder and the lawyer who is set to defend him. Sure, this is a sin to miss on the big screen, but you might need to bring some friends along for comfort or to purge your emotions with afterwards.
GOOD TIME by the Safdie Brothers (USA)
If you’re fan of “Twilight,” (or if you hated that movie, same difference) you might want to check “Good Time,” featuring a very different Robert Pattinson. Pattinson plays Connie Nikas, who attempts to rob a bank with his mentally handicapped brother Nick (Ben Safdie). Filmmaker Adolf Alix Jr., who caught the film at Cannes, calls Pattinson’s performance a “tour de force.” “He takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions,” praises Alix.
SWEET COUNTRY by Warwick Thornton (Australia)
“Sweet Country” tells of an aboriginal farmer, Sam (Hamilton Morris), who goes on the run after killing a white man in self-defense. Just watch the trailer and dare tell us that you did not feel the racial tension as scorching as a hot summer day. The film also bagged the Special Jury Prize at the recent Venice Film Festival.
L’AMANT DOUBLE (THE DOUBLE LOVER) by François Ozon (France)
Is it a love story? Is it a thriller? Will E.L. James rethink her writing career? The trailer is toying with our heads. Ozon (“Swimming Pool,” “Frantz”) combines sex and duplicity, with one critic calling it “the kinkiest movie at Cannes.” Don’t bring younger siblings or your children in the cinema. We warned you.
THELMA by Joachim Trier (Norway)
Described as “beguiling,” “visceral” and “unsettling,” Joachim Trier’s new film is about a girl (Eili Harboe) who moves to Oslo to study, falls in love with another girl, and discovers she has supernatural powers. Let’s just say this is not your typical LGBT film.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Luca Guadagnino (Italy)
Perhaps the most-awaited out of all the foreign films announced, “Call Me by Your Name” marks the final installment in Guadagnino’s “Desire Trilogy,” which started with “I Am Love” and followed by “A Bigger Splash.” This movie needs no introduction as you’ve seen the trailer five million times already. For those wandering in the cinema blind, the film is about the pains of young love, between two boys, set against the majestic Italian landscape in the 1980s.
Which ones are you watching? Tell us about them below!