The month’s most pressing film releases, as selected by Genevieve Jacobson.
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Opens theatrically February 2
Consider a painting of a landscape: it is a discrete moment in time, a distillation of an artist’s vantage that contains their subtle disturbances of reality through details both invented and absent. It is from these imaginative meditations that the late Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami made 24 Frames, an elegiac meditation on the machinations of time, space and representation told through four-and-a-half minute vignettes that extend the fleeting moments captured in twenty-four still images.
On Body & Soul
Directed by Ildikó Enyedi
Available to stream on Netflix February 2
Winner of the Berlinale’s top prize, On Body and Soul is an otherworldly romance about two recluses, inept in all areas of intimacy, whose realities are conjoined by a recurring dream. While the unbearable longing of isolation dominates their existence in the corporeal world, their dream becomes a private sanctuary in which the paralyzing fear of being unmasked finds relief. Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, On Body and Soul is a powerful reminder that feeling is very far from mawkishness. Rather it is a connective tissue, not to be feared.
Ingmar Bergman's Cinema: A Centennial Retrospective
US tour of the 47-film retrospective begins February 2
Screens in New York February 7 – March 15
The first time I watched a movie, something transportive happened: it opened a part of my mind I had struggled to penetrate. It taught me how to see and feel again. No one has better articulated the potency of that experience than the legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Describing his first movie-going experience, he said: “I was overcome with a fever that has never left me. The silent shadows turned their pale faces towards me and spoke in inaudible voices to my most secret feelings.” For those who doubt the unfathomable, penetrating power of cinema, this comprehensive retrospective is a must-see event.
Directed by Josh & Benny Safdie
Available to stream on Amazon Prime February 11
Robert Pattinson delivers a career-(re)defining performance appealing to more than just the tween demographic. His adrenaline-fueled descent into unhinged madness is intoxicating to witness in Good Time, Josh and Benny Safdie’s stomach-clenching crime thriller, which blends everyday family tragedy with the increasingly desperate bids for freedom by a man on the run. Don’t forget to breathe.
The Green Fog
Directed by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson
Plays at Berlinale Film Festival February 20-21, 23, 25
There is an unrestrained magic to Guy Maddin — his films play like moving collages, phantasmagorias that reach sublime registers by playful blending the perverse and bizarre with specters from cinematic history. Drawing from a trove of film and TV footage shot in the Bay Area, Maddin’s dreamily disconcerting assemblages in The Green Fog serve as a paean to Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
Are We Not Cats?
Directed by Xander Robin
In theaters February 23 and on VOD February 27
Xander Robin takes the narrative tools of the horror genre and reinvents them in the enigmatic and enveloping Are We Not Cats?, a millennial romance between two floundering misfits bound by their penchant for pulling out and eating their own hair. With impeccable pacing and performances that reach near-tangible levels of immediacy, Cats finds humor in the absurd barbarity of young adulthood, and truth in beautifully sinister vulnerability. Robin promises to be the kind of artist in whose hands nothing will feel tired.