The lightest and weightiest new indie gems from the USA.

Please note that there will be no HIFF ticket sales booth at Kinopalatsi on Friday Sept 28th. Tickets for the screening should be bought either beforehand, online or from our other ticket sales booths. Lane gives a brilliant performance that grounds this cinematic odyssey worth every minute of its nearly three-hour running time. A bold, often abrasive statement about life on the fringes of society in the parts of the country still ravaged by recession, American Honey could have been patronizing or reductive. Instead, thanks to Lane’s natural magnetism and the director Andrea Arnold’s remarkable empathy for her subjects, it’s required viewing. (…) American Honey is a long journey well worth taking, a singularly magical experience that’ll echo in the brains of its viewers for months no matter what they think of it. David Sims, The Atlantic While exhilarating as sensory spectacle, American Honey perhaps works most satisfyingly as a
Screenings
Leave it to filmmaker Gus Van Sant to make a film about a hopeless drunk who becomes a quadriplegic into a story that’s funny, dark, sad, sweet and even sort of inspirational. Van Sant has been one of the most interesting American filmmakers for decades with an eclectic body of work (Good Will Hunting, To Die For) that is usually a little offbeat, often visually arresting and always interesting. […] Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot opens with John Callahan, in a wheelchair but able to use one hand to operate it (which he does, usually at high speed), recounting to a support group about the final big booze-up that left his body a shattered wreck. It seems like it’s going to be a downer, but in Van Sant’s hands, the tale is actually darkly and hilariously funny. It takes a while for Callahan to find his way
Screenings

First Reformed (2017)

First Reformed, a mesmerizingly austere drama of one man’s apocalyptic crisis of faith, feels like the movie Paul Schrader was put on this planet to make. As a tense study in spiritual pain and its ultimate release, this handsome production is of a piece with Schrader’s most famous screenplays, including Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ, films that also anticipate this portrait of self-inquiry taken to its most obsessive and outlandish extremes. At once ruminative and shocking, godwardly inclined and repellently graphic, First Reformed is indisputably the finest film Schrader has directed since his sensitive adaptation of Russell Banks’s novel Affliction […]. This muted, meditative character study stars Ethan Hawke as Ernst Toller, the pastor of a tiny church in Upstate New York […]. In its quiet, carefully observed opening moments, First Reformed sets the tone for what is to come: This will be a film about discernment,
Screenings

Leave No Trace (2018)

A tale of a father and daughter living off the grid in the forests of the Pacific north-west of the US proves the perfect material for Winter’s Bone [HIFF 2010] director Debra Granik. Renowned for her empathetic portrayal of marginalised outsiders, Granik here conjures a low-key drama about cultural and generational divides that is alternately gripping and melancholic, but always shot through with the unmistakable ring of truth. The result is work of overwhelming, understated power that quite simply took my breath away. In the secretive midst of a vast public park on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon […], reclusive veteran Will (Ben Foster, typically intense) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), live in camouflaged encampments, moving regularly to evade detection. Their existence is elemental; they make fire from the earth and gather water from the sky […]. But when their cover is blown, the pair are captured,
Screenings

Puzzle (2018)

Since making her big-screen debut 20-old years ago in Trainspotting, the Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald has made a specialty of stealing movies in supporting roles. She was devastating as the trusting wife in No Country for Old Men and perfectly cast as the stoic domestic goddess Dolly in Joe Wright’s dreamy adaptation of Anna Karenina. In Puzzle, Macdonald has finally found a movie that she doesn’t need to steal, because it belongs to her completely. As Agnes, a Connecticut homemaker longing to break out of a comfortable but humdrum existence, Macdonald brings her characteristic quiet radiance to bear on creating a character who’s either on the brink of crisis or of rebirth, depending on how she makes the pieces fit. Director Marc Turtletaub, working from a script by Polly Mann and Oren Moverman, engages in another clever misdirect. Rather than a conventional underdogs-in-competition drama, Puzzle underplays the familiar tropes of
Screenings

The Rider (2017)

I’ve already cried my way through Chinese-born writer-director Chloé Zhao’s deeply humanistic docu-fiction hybrid twice (it won top honors in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight section and at the Reykjavik Film Festival) […]. Like Moonlight last year, The Rider goes off the beaten path to find fascinating characters we might otherwise never have the privilege of meeting on-screen – in this case, a Native American cowboy whose near-death rodeo injury leaves him with a metal plate in his head and a doctor’s order never to ride again. Peter Debruge, Variety Absolutely stunning. A film of touching gravity and rare grace […]. Once The Rider hooks you – and believe me, it will – there’s no way you will ever forget it. Peter Travers, Rolling Stone The best film of 2018 so far. […] Chloé Zhao’s second movie is an astonishingly confident portrayal of life among rodeo cowboys in South Dakota ́s Sioux
Screenings