11 Must-See Movies of ’20-’21

Cinémathèque delivers treats galore

John Magaro stars in Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, one of the must-see films being screened at the Cinémathèque this month. A24

John Magaro stars in Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, one of the must-see films being screened at the Cinémathèque this month. A24

The Cinémathèque is hosting a season of 11 films that failed to get a big screen release in Luxembourg.

While cinemas were shut down or had limited access during the pandemic, a slew of great independent films missed out on getting big screen releases, and not only in Luxembourg. Some made it onto popular streaming platforms, but many really good films have not had the audience they deserve.

The Cinémathèque is putting that to right this month with a season of 11 “must-see” movies from the past two years. Here we select a few highlights.

The season kicks off on Tuesday 4 January with Ahed’s Knee by Nadav Lapid, which won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021 and which The Film Stage called “a blistering work of meta filmmaking” It’s central character, an Israeli filmmaker in his mid-forties, arrives in a remote village at the far end of the desert to present one of his films.

Other highlights include The Woman Who Ran (Thursday 13 January), the latest work by acclaimed Korean director Sang-soo Hong, for which he won the Silver Bear at the 2020 Berlin film festival. The story focuses on a happily married Korean woman who meets three of her friends on the outskirts of Seoul. The New Yorker called it one of Hong’s best, descrobiong the film as  relying on “disturbing ironies to approach one of the mightiest of subjects—the nature of happiness and, in particular, a happy marriage, from the perspective of a married woman”.

On Tuesday 19 January, audiences will get a chance to see Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow on the big screen. The film had just limited release around the globe, in theatres and online, but made it onto several lists of the best films of the year. Associated Press called First Cow “a wholly original western, one with its own rhythms, ideas and iconography.”

Bassam Tariq’s Mogul Mowgli (on Thursday 20 January) is sort of a remake of Sound of Metal, with both featuring rising star Riz Ahmed as a musician whose faculties are failing. Empire praise Ahmed’s performance and said the film “speaks visceral truth to the British-South Asian experience so rarely explored on screen.”

On 27 January, the Cinémathèque screens Autumn de Wilde’s “bright and lively” (Time magazine) adaptation of Austen’s 1815 novel Emma starring the wonderful Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth and Bill Nighy.

31 January the season concludes with Rose Glass’s acclaimed and award-winning Saint Maude, which Mark Kermode in The Observer said charted “a razor-sharp course between the borders of horror, satire, psychodrama and lonely character study.” The title character, played by Morfydd Clark, is a nurse Maud and  recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care played by (Jennifer Ehle).

For the complete programme, check out the Cinémathèque website.