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Nicholas Bell Sundance Top 5 2019

Film Festivals

2019 Sundance Film Festival: Nicholas Bell’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Films

2019 Sundance Film Festival: Nicholas Bell’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Films

Like many of the fourth quarter 2018 film festival circuit venues (Toronto, Venice, AFI), Sundance 2019 benefits from an overstuffed foreign film market, taking advantage of a significant number of high profile auteur items searching for high profile competition and generating one of its best World Cinema Dramatic Competition lineups in years. Still, for the most notable American independent cinema showcase, this year’s program also manages to be promising thanks to an unpredictable crop of newcomers amidst the festival’s usual alums and luminaries invited back, in some fashion, year after year. Here’s a brief list of five of my most anticipated premieres at the 2019 edition:

#5. The Wolf Hour – Alastair Banks Griffin – NEXT
It’s been almost a decade since Two Gates of Sleep (2010), but Alastair Banks Griffin snags Naomi Watts for his sophomore film The Wolf Hour, focusing on an agoraphobic counterculture guru holed up in a crumbling South Bronx façade during the dreaded Summer of Sam.

#4. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – Joe Berlinger – PREMIERES
And to keep on the serial killer train, documentarian Joe Berlinger snags Zac Efron to play Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile —-what could one not be curious about?

#3. Divine Love – Gabriel Mascaro – WORLD DRAMATIC COMP
Sundance snags the highly anticipated third feature from Brazil’s Gabriel Mascaro, Divine Love, a futuristic tale about a religious notary who uses her position to save couples on the verge of divorce by diverting them to her, umm, unique Christ cult.

#2. The Lodge – Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala – MIDNIGHT
Just as their Goodnight Mommy (2014) breakout is scheduled for an English language remake, Austrian duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are finally ready with their horror follow-up, The Lodge, about a step-mom snowed in with her two new step-children…

#1. The Souvenir – Joanna Hogg – WORLD DRAMATIC COMP
Excitingly, Sundance scores the premiere of British director Joanna Hogg‘s latest, the first part of a two part film, The Souvenir, which features Tilda Swinton and her daughter Honor Swinton-Byrne, produced by Martin Scorsese.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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