The most anticipated films in 2020
Creating such a list implies a paradox: some of the films that will run in Romanian cinemas are (also) 2019 films that have a delayed premiere in Romania. At the same time, I couldn’t deprive this list of cinematic delicacies of movies which we don’t know anything yet of (there is no set date for release, only that they should appear in 2020), so the following films belong to both categories.
In short, 2020 should mark, at least symbolically, something distinct from the past decade. Although Netflix seemed to announce a prophetic end to cinema as we know it, it has not happened yet. And, as we can see by going through the list below, movie screenings, psychological thrillers and fantasy movies have not yet become obsolete. Nothing (too) extravagant or futuristic in this next year, as it seems – which can simultaneously delight and disappoint.
1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Celine Sciamma)
Although Celine Sciamma’s film could be watched at Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest, it cannot be left out of my list (especially since I missed it during the festival). Portrait de la Jeune Fille en feu / Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a queer idyll which unravels at the end of the 18th century between an artist and an aristocrat, and is one of the most appreciated titles of last year.
The film premieres in Romanian cinemas on April 10th.
2. Dune (dir. Denis Villeneuve)
As it seems, Dune is part of a small series of unhappy, failed or catastrophic screenings (like Don Quijote de la Mancha, as you can learn in Lost in La Mancha (2002), the famous and outrageous documentary about making Terry Gilliam’s megalomaniac movie). With the exception of David Lynch’s 1984 film, haunted by clumsiness and parody and the Jodorowsky’s unsuccessful attempt to make it (transformed into a soap opera documentary in which Jodorowsky mourns the tragic faith of the film), Dune could not have been made into a decent movie so far. So here comes Villeneuve’s film, trying to wash away the sins of its ancestors – in a kind of Star Wars + Blade Runner.
The film is due to be released in theaters on December 18th.
3. Uppercase Print (dir. Radu Jude)
Radu Jude’s new film is an adaptation of Geanina Cărbunariu‘s homonymous play, based on the real case of Mugur Călinescu, a high-school student who in 1981 wrote messages in chalk against Ceausescu. The film features in a Brechtian style parts of Cărbunariu’s script, reenactments of the event, which he interrupts with recorded documents from the official Security investigation.
Uppercase Print can be watched in our cinemas starting February 21st.
4. Color Out of Space (dir. Richard Stanley)
Nicolas Cage continues the series of unusual-and-ridiculous-roles: in this film, a meteorite hits a farm which triggers a kind of unusual infection. After H.P. Lovecraft, Color Out of Space looks like a Cronenberg glam-SF oddity.
The film doesn’t have a release date in Romania, but it has already screened in the US.
5. The French Dispatch (dir. Wes Anderson)
Film enthusiasts announce a new Wes Anderson movie – a sort of intellectual comedy about journalism – with Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan.
It has no release date yet.
6. Memoria (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul + Tilda Swinton = a film about an unusual illness that causes the victim to hear loud noises out of nowhere; a transcendental elegy that follows the best film of the Thai director, Cemetery of Splendour.
Memoria doesn’t have a release date.
7. Invisible Man (dir. Leigh Whannell)
Another adaptation, this time a bit more questionable, comes from Leigh Whannell (actor and director known for directing Insidious 3). Why am I expecting this movie? On the one hand because it looks like the most casual film adaptation after Wells ever made (the best one would obviously be James Whale’s 1933 version), and because Elisabeth Moss is one of the actresses that keeps fascinating me from movie to movie – from the dead-pan in The Square and the hysterical act in Queen of Earth to the grim suffering in The Handmaid’s Tale.
The movie is due out on February 28th.
8. Tenet (dir. Christopher Nolan)
About Tenet, Nolan’s spy movie, nothing is known yet – maybe only that Robert Pattinson was locked in a room to read the script and couldn’t take it home. The secrecy around the film is part of what Nolan does in general – in Dunkirk’s, a single teaser runned on the internet a year before the film premiered.
The film is due out in July.
9. Macbeth (dir. Joel Coen)
After The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), a cynical Western about Western values, Joel Cohen directs Macbeth by oneself, an adaptation after Shakespeare. I don’t know what intrigues me the most, the combination of terms or the mere fact that Joel will direct a movie without his brother, Ethan?
Macbeth doesn’t have a release date yet.
10. Annette (dir. Leos Carax)
Leos Carax (Holy Motors, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf) returns after a 8-year break, which can only be a huge event. Annette is a musical with Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. She’s a soprano, he’s a stand-up comedian.
The film has yet to set a release date, but most likely will premiere in one of the major international festivals of the year.