[imagesource: Anna Kooris/A24]
Yeah, we already have a list of the best movies of 2021 (so far) but a little more choice never hurt anyone.
Despite all the twists and turns that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the movie industry, with communal watching in theatres feeling like it could be a thing of the past and release dates being pushed back and teased out, the first half of this year has been pretty decent for the world’s cinephiles.
As Rolling Stone mentioned, the films from this year so far really are an eclectic mix.
The publication has chosen 16 of 2021’s movies, with “some from first-timers and some from old-timers, some with recognisable names attached and some just north of the avant-garde border”.
Altogether, they remind us that the industry is far from dead or dying.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the picks:
Zola is based on a real Detroit Hooters waitress and a viral Twitter thread:
When Aziah “Zola” King took to Twitter, in 2015, to tell the story of “why me and this bitch here fell out,” her 148-tweet screed hit the viral big leagues before Zola was even done telling her story.
Before it was properly a movie, it was cinema in the making: A stripper misadventure, a Backpage okey-doke, a chance encounter from hell, gun violence, a cuckolded boy toy, a suicide attempt, some savory racial tension, an extra helping of terrifying unpredictability — and a cutting sense of humor narrating it all.
Zola opened in theatres on June 30.
Making good on the promise of his autopsy-of-a-judicial-system debut Court (2014), filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane returns with a look at a young man (Aditya Modak) dedicated to playing and studying Indian classical music.
What starts as a creative pursuit inherited from his father turns into an all-consuming obsession, and as the years pass, the idea that his passion may be greater than his talent starts to tear him up.
You can watch The Disciple on Netflix.
Shatara Michelle Ford’s fiery, infuriating Test Pattern — a debut feature fighting far beyond its own weight class — begins with a meet-cute that downplays the cute — thankfully, given what follows.
Renesha (Brittany S. Hall) and Evan (Will Brill) open the film as strangers and soon become lovers. She’s Black, he’s white; for a brief while, this does not matter.
In the end, it does.
Test Pattern is available on Amazon Prime.
Seriously, is there anything more nerve-racking than running into your married sugar daddy at a shiva for a family friend?
The answer, per writer-director Emma Seligman’s debut, is: Yes, if both your noisy, overbearing parents and your ex-girlfriend are there as well.
Danielle (Rachel Sennott) finds herself in the middle of juggling a number of secrets and lies while stuck at a communal gathering, having to navigate paternal expectations, the ghosts of her past and being publicly outed in regards to how she’s paying her bills.
A born-again Christian named Maud (Morfydd Clark) pines for a mission — and for her sins, she’s given one, in the form of a being a caretaker for a terminally ill choreographer (Jennifer Ehle).
The longer she tends to her sick employer, the more she worries about saving this woman’s soul. But is Maud capable of offering salvation to the sick? Is she imagining these conversations with God, or does this pious heroine really have a direct line to divinity? Or perhaps that voice in her head belongs to some other, less heavenly messenger?
Saint Maud is streamable on Hulu.
For the other movies on Rolling Stone’s list, head here.
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