I’ve been definitely not paying much attention to the blog this year, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be paying attention to certain films released back in 2017 that are unfortunately coming out just now. This kind of makes me mad because I don’t know if I should consider certain films from one year or the other, which even though it doesn’t really make a difference at the end, I like to be a little organized, thank you very much. With that said, I’ve decided to make this post to talk about four amazing movies that were released in several film festivals around the world last year but are starting to hit cinemas and the internet only now.
“Disobedience” by Sebastián Lelio
I had not seen A Fantastic Woman before Disobedience, but now that I have seen both, I’m glad to say this is way better than Sebastián Lelio’s Oscar winner movie. With incredible performances by Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola, the film tells the story of a photographer who goes back to England for her father’s funeral. Her father, however, was part of a big Jewish community that followed very restricted rules – this being one of the reasons that the photographer left in the first place. Considered the one who went away by the community, this woman sees herself in need to face the ghosts from her past, specially the girl she had a relationship with, who is now married to one of their best friends. Besides having an amazing script, Sebastián Lelio tells this story in a very slow-paced way with an incredible amount of details and an amazing background of the Jew community. It’s a film about family, tradition, iconoclastic and love, containing one of the most impressive sex scenes between two women I’ve seen on-screen. More than that, Disobedience stands out for being such a different movie that talks about a subject that is equal for all.
“A Prayer Before Dawn” by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
I’ve been waiting to see this film since Cannes Film Festival released a short clip from the movie back in 2017. Shot entirely inside a real prison from Thailand, the film is based on the memoir of Billy Moore, an ex-convict who was arrested in Asia and became a boxer champion of the prison. The film has an incredible sense of proximity and Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s mise en scene feels extremely violent as the camera moves so close to its characters and is constantly showing shirtless men beating each other up. It’s incredible to imagine that all of this is fiction as everything looks so real – specially Joe Cole’s performance who also admitted that most of his bruises in the film are real. More than that, A Prayer Before Dawn is a movie about resistance. How fighting is the only way of communication inside of a place where no one speaks your language, making this a way more interesting film than most movies about prison.
“Lean On Pete” by Andrew Haigh
I’ve been following Andrew Haigh since his incredible debut with Weekend, and even though I didn’t like 45 Years as much as his first movie, I was amazed with Lean On Pete. Based on Willy Vlautin’s novel of the same name, Andrew Haigh’s third feature is way more than meets the eye. Telling the story of a poor kid who starts working with a horse named Lean On Pete, we follow the live of Charley and how the situations he comes across changes his life. It’s a little difficult to talk about the story of the film without giving too much away since these strong events that happen with Charley are what defines the soul of the film. However, Andrew Haigh’s vision is so beautiful, touching, simple and unique that is impossible not to fall in love for Charley and share his pains and misfortunes. Charlie Plummer is great in the film and I really hope this ends up getting some Oscar buzz by the next award season. Until we get there, don’t forget to watch it!
“Foxtrot” by Samuel Maoz
I have waited so long to see this film and I’m so disappointed that it got such a bad distribution because is simply one of the best movies of 2017. Or 2018? Who cares? I don’t know which year we should put Foxtrot, as long as people get to watch it! It’s on Amazon, by the way! Divided in three acts, Foxtrot tells the grief of a family who just lost their son at war, sometimes by showing the family and sometimes by showing what the son was doing before he was killed. The story, however, is the least important as Samuel Maoz builds his film in the same format as the Foxtrot dance, a serial of movements with the feet that you always end up returning to the same place where you’ve started it. The film begins in a way, then it changes to something else and then it goes back to the beginning in very unpredictable and unique ways, challenging the concepts of filmmaking. A movie about death has never been son fun and the director uses this concept to create something very original, imaginative and beautiful.