20th Century Women (2016)
Written & Directed by Mike Mills
Jamie is fifteen years old in 1979, living in a crumbling manor in Santa Barbara with his older mother, Dorothea. Residing as renters in Dorothea’s large home are Abbie, a twentysomething photographer & cervical cancer survivor and William, a carpenter/mechanic who is helping renovate the house. Jamie is desperately in love with his long-time best friend Julie, who refuses to have sex with him because she believes it would ruin their friendship. Dorothea becomes increasingly convinced that the generation gap is so vast that she cannot connect with Jamie any longer and solicits the help of Abbie and Julie in raising him into being a good man. What follows is a series of episodes where Jamie begins to develop a better understanding of women and what kind of man he wants to be. Dorothea also begins to learn about how differently women are defined in the late 1970s, considering herself a Bohemian but learning how much more open and progressive times have become.
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American Honey (2016)
Written & Directed by Andrea Arnold
Star lives in the sunburnt concrete dregs of Oklahoma, taking care of two children (not her own) while seeking something more from her life. She crosses paths with a crew of teenagers selling magazines door to door across the south and midwest and decides to join them. It’s not the job opportunity that lures Star rather her immediate attraction to Jake, one of the young men in the group. Star eventually meets Krystal, the slightly older woman in charge of the sales group. She pairs Star with Jake to learn the trade, and this affords the two an opportunity to develop their relationship further. However, Star finds this lifestyle increasingly empty and seeks another new path.
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Sea of Trees (2016)
Written by Chris Sparling
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Arthur Brennan is a distraught man who books a one-way ticket to Japan and finds himself about to commit suicide in the beautiful and notorious Aokigahara or Sea of Trees. He is stopped in the middle of his act by Takumi, a Japanese man who stumbles through the forest, bruised and bloodied, saying he is trying to find a way out. Arthur can’t stomach letting this man wander until he dies and decides to lead him to the path before returning to his original intent in the woods. However, the track isn’t where Arthur remembers it, and he and Takumi get lost deeper and deeper into the Sea of Trees.
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Written by Drake Doremus & Nathan Parker
Directed by Drake Doremus
In a futuristic utopia, humans live with emotions suppressed and all illness cured. There are no deep relationships and no sexual ones. All reproduction is done through artificial insemination determined by random lottery draws. In this world there is one affliction, Switch on Syndrome, where the afflicted is hit with a rush of emotion. Those with SOS typically end committing suicide of their own accord or at the behest of the government. Silas is an illustrator who works for a propaganda outlet and notices his co-worker Nia is showing subtle signs of SOS. Not long after, Silas begins to experience nightmares and the bubbling up of emotions. These two will embark on a struggle to escape their world and task a risk to see what lies beyond the borders.
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The Adderall Diaries (2016)
Written & Directed by Pamela Romanowsky
Stephen Elliott’s first book was a memoir on his mother’s death due to cancer and the subsequent emotional and physical abuse at his father’s hands which he cites as driving him to drugs. Stephen has gotten a new book deal and is checking out what he wants to write about next, finally setting on the murder trial of Hans Reiser, a software guru accused of killing his estranged wife. During a reading from his memoir, Stephen is interrupted by his father whom he has written had died years prior. This sudden revelation causes the writer to lose credibility among New York’s publishing scene and eventually strains his relationships. With little options, Stephen decides to directly confront his father and his misgivings about his memories of the past.
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Written by Benjamin August
Directed by Atom Egoyan
Zev Guttman wakes to find his wife Ruth is missing. Exiting his bedroom, he finds himself in the hallway of a nursing home where a kind nurse explains that Ruth passed away months ago. Zev is slipping further into dementia and losing track of memory from both the present and the deep past. His only friend is Max, a fellow resident of the nursing home who has a secret pact with Zev. One evening Max gives Zev a letter which sets the latter man on a journey across America, looking for a man named Rudy Kulander. This man has ties to both Max and Zev and their meeting will end in bloodshed.
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The Witch (2016)
Written & Directed by Robert Eggers
In the 1630s, a man named William and his family are exiled from his Puritan plantation after he is found guilty of promoting an alternative view of accepted Christianity. After traveling through the wilderness, the family settles on a remote plot of land on the edge of the woods. While playing with the baby of the family, eldest daughter Thomasin suddenly loses him to an unseen force in those woods. She’s met with suspicion by her mother and William is driven further into desperation. The crops rot on the stalk, the goat is only giving blood, and there is a malevolent air about the land. The eldest son, Caleb strikes upon a plan to venture into the woods to gather rabbits from traps so that the family can sustain themselves with some bit of food, but this journey will damn his entire family.
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