Autumn fest titles

Source: Wild Bunch/ San Sebastian International Film Festival / See-Saw Films / Netflix

[Clockwise L-R]: ‘Happening’, ‘Carajita’, ‘Power Of The dog’, ‘Fever Dream’

Fall festival season started on September 1 with Venice and flies full force to a close this week when London and Busan wrap, taking in everything from Toronto, Telluride, San Sebastian and the New York film festival in between.

This fully physical 2021 fall festival drop has left plenty to feast on, from titles that are clearly grooming themselves to enter the awards corridor, to some arthouse treasures which may have escaped immediate attention but won’t stay silent for long. Screen’s critics have called out the ones to watch this year.

Awards contenders


Dir. Kenneth Branagh
Our critic said: “Engaging, tender film-making which tugs at the heart-strings, spurred by a sympathetic cast and the young lead, newcomer Jude Hill.”
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C’mon C’mon

Dir. Mike Mills
Our critic said: “Joaquin Phoenix shines in Mike Mills’ unsentimental exploration of strained family dynamics.”
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Dir. Joe Wright
Our critic said: “Peter Dinklage steals the show in Joe Wright’s musical version of the classic text.”
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The Eyes Of Tammy Faye

Dir. Michael Showalter
Our critic said: “Jessica Chastain gives a big-hearted performance as Tammy Faye, never judging the tabloid fixture who was widely mocked for her appearance, cartoonish voice and lavish lifestyle.”
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The Hand of God

Dir. Paolo Sorrentino
Our critic said: “Paolo Sorrentino delivers a highly personal memoir that truly breathes on the big screen.”
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King Richard

Dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green
Our critic said: “Guided by strong, complicated performances from Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis, who play Richard and his long-suffering wife Brandy, director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s drama works best when it pushes against genre conventions.”
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The Lost Daughter

Dir. Maggie Gyllenhaal
Our critic said: “This sinuous adaptation of the novel by Elena Ferrante marks a supremely confident feature directing debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal.”
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The Power Of The Dog

Dir. Jane Campion
Our critic said: “Jane Campion goes full American Gothic with a 1920s-set story that feels like an old-school Western filtered through the dark dramatic mindset of a William Faulkner.”
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Dir. Pablo Larrain
Our critic said: ”The film plays with and deconstructs the familiar repertoire of Diana myths and images to offer an empathetic, intelligent insight into the prison of fame and privilege, with Kristen Stewart offering a lead performance that is brittle, tender, sometimes playful and not a little uncanny.”
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The Tragedy Of Macbeth

Dir. Joel Coen
Our critic said: “As Macbeth, Washington is both fierce and weary; as Lady Macbeth – a woman who doesn’t even have a name to call her own – McDormand is ravenous and determined.”
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Critical favourites


Source: EMU Films



Dir. Terence Davies
Our critic said: “The life of the poet Siegfried Sassoon (played by Jack Lowden, and, as an older man, Peter Capaldi) is explored in this suitably lyrical portrait.”
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The Card Counter

Dir. Paul Schrader
Our critic said: “A film that continues the second, third or fourth coming (opinions differ) of the 75-year-old director.”
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The Good Boss

Dir. Fernando Leon de Aranoa
Our critic said: “It’s Javier Bardem’s show as he reunites with Fernando Leon de Aranoa for this parable of power in a provincial Spanish town.”
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Dir. Audrey Diwan
Our critic said: “Venice competition title Happening is uncompromising in its depiction of what French women who wanted to terminate a pregnancy were forced to go through before abortion was legalised in 1975.”
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The Humans

Dir. Stephen Karam
Our critic said: “An unsettling, tightly-acted comedy/drama from Stephen Karam, adapting his own stage play.”
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Lost Illusions

Dir. Xavier Giannoli
Our critic said: “An opulent take on Balzac’s sprawling novel.”
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Madeline Collins

Dir. Antoine Barraud
Our critic said: “Virginie Efira’s central performance carries Antoine Barraud’s intriguing, cleverly structured psychological thriller.”
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Official Competition

Dirs. Gastón Duprat, Mariano Cohn.
Our critic said: “Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz unite with Oscar Martinez for this bitingly funny film world send-up.”
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The Rescue

Dirs. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
Our critic said: “Free Solo wife and husband directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are forensic in the detail they provide and the range of testimonies they have assembled; the result is a tense, absorbing documentary with a strong emotional charge.”
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The Tender Bar

Dir. George Clooney
Our critic said: “Familiar qualities are mitigated by touching passages and a collection of unfussy, lived-in performances, including that of Ben Affleck.”
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True Things

Dir. Harry Wootliff
Our critic said: “The UK’s Harry Wootliff expands her range to a dazzling degree with her immersive second feature - an intoxicating tale of a woman and the wrong man in a rundown seaside town is adventurously delivered.”
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Off the beaten track


Source: Busan International Film Festival



Dir. Royston Tan
Our critic said: “Utterly delightful on a scene-by-scene basis as characters are vividly sketched through glimpses of life, work, and artistic pursuits.”
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7 Prisoners

Dir. Alexandre Moratto
Our critic said: “This impressive feature takes the topic of modern-day enslavement as a jumping-off point for a morality tale which gets increasingly knotty and satisfying as it goes on.”
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As In Heaven

Dir. Tea Lindeburg
Our critic said: “An ambitious calling card from the Danish TV director, and technically accomplished in what it sets out to do.”
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Dirs. Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra
Our critic said: “The agonies of the Caribbean’s colonial legacy are examined with aesthetic elegance and unsettling elusiveness the second feature by this Argentinian-Spanish writing/directing duo.”
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Fever Dream

Dir. Claudia Llosa
Our critic said: “A primal story about our dangerously blasé relationship with the natural world, Fever Dream is ripe for these epidemic times.”
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Full Time

Dir. Eric Gravel
Our critic said: “Call My Agent star Laure Calamy delivers a sympathetic but nerve-flaying performance in this propulsively intense piece of filmmaking.”
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The Mad Woman’s Ball

Dir. Melanie Laurent
Our critic said: “A lavish Gallic gothic thriller largely set in Paris’ infamous Salpetriere hospital, this s a strikingly beautiful production which delves deep into the ugliness at the roots of psychiatric medicine.”
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Dir. Bogdan George Apetri
Our critic said: “The second in a planned trilogy, Bodgan George Apetri’s gripping, white-knuckle morality tale divides neatly between incident and investigation.”
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Montana Story

Dirs. Scott McGehee & David Siegel
Our critic said: “The gentle modesty of Montana Story belies the emotional wallop of this study of a sister and brother returning home to face a dying father and an unresolved past.”
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