A fresh wave of students, the first week of classes, six films you have to see. Halfway through September we welcome six wonderful, newer than new, critically acclaimed films, to Hanover from the Telluride Film Festival. The list this fall includes star casts, star directors, musical homages and brilliant and fresh takes on Hollywood tropes. Each of the six Telluride films are more than worth a trip to the Hop, considering the opportunity to see fantastic films before their widespread release. Here’s a rundown of the Telluride lineup, including those I am most excited for, so you can head to the Hop prepared to enjoy Telluride at Dartmouth.
One of the biggest directors of last year meets the biggest science fiction of this year: Arrival will touch down first at the Hop, and marks a very distinct turn in Amy Adams’ career path. The Enchanted and Man of Steel actress joins the remarkable Sicario director Dennis Villeneuve for a personal journey interpreting the communications of an alien species. Brian Tellerico at RogerEbert.com believes that Arrival largely succeeds at challenging the audience, while also moving them. Villeneuve takes a wider angle than Ridly Scott took for The Martian, deciding to pose “bigger questions,” choosing some of the more cryptic over the crowd-pleasing. Certainly a film to check out for any science fiction or action fans, or any critical movie fan hoping for questions.
Other films showing this go-round of Telluride at Dartmouth include Things to Come, a brilliant and hypnotic performance directed by applauded French directer/writer Mia Hansen-Løve; Maudie, minimalist and touching, including a trademark performance by Ethan Hawke; and Neruda, a trend-breaking biopic carefully crafted with the sharpness reality in mind, portraying exile in Chile.
Two more films I am particularly excited for feature, respectively, the use of long takes and a performance by Ryan Gosling. Cristian Mungiu won a coveted Palme d’ Or at the Cannes Film Festival for the same characteristic long takes and chilled social landscapes you will see in Graduation. The film follows a doctor and his family as his daughter approaches her final examinations. Romeo, the doctor, hopes to send his daughter to school in the UK, far away from their home in Romania. Mungiu creates a haunting atmosphere in which Romeo loses touch with his core values, amidst a grim society depicted in a dim color palette.
La La Land is a musical turn away from the dim, showcasing the talents of Gosling and Emma Stone–each often typecast and underappreciated. Oscar winner Damien Chazelle, director of Whiplash, brings to life musical homages and love interests. La La Land is heavily stylized, with attention to detail and reference, and was lauded heavily at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. Chazelle masterfully and tastefully, and somehow simply, creates a classical, musical and extravagant film which you cannot miss. La La Land is out in theaters December 2, and at the Hop on September 17. See you there!