11 recent movie directorial debuts worth following

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Audiences and critics alike are always on the lookout for the next Martin Scorsese Where Quentin Tarantino burst onto the scene and redefine cinema. In less than a decade, Jordan Pele, Ari Asterand Robert Egger have all gone from freshman directors to event filmmakers. Each year brings a crop of impressive beginnings – the word goes After Sun reveals a major talent in Charlotte Wells– so trying to spot aspiring writers early in their careers is a sport that isn’t going to get old anytime soon.



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Olivia Wildeit is don’t worry darlingwill soon determine if Librarythe success of was really a harbinger, and Florian Zellerhis second effort, The sonwas unanimous The fatherat height. There are plenty of other burgeoning filmographies to be equally excited about.

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“Fresh” (2022) dir. by Mimi Cave

Noah (Daisy EdgarJones) meets Steve (Sebastian Stan) in the produce aisle, and the pair instantly hit it off, but this charismatic stranger isn’t as harmless as it seems. Costs is get out for the culture of online dating. Director Mimi’s Cave infuses the film with wacky energy and some brave stylistic decisions.

However, not all of Cave’s experimental editing and storytelling choices are chargeable. Still, that debut is strong enough to warrant the hype ahead of the release of his next film, Holland, Michiganwhich features Nicole Kidman as a wife who suspects her husband of cheating but discovers a far more sinister truth.


“A Star is Born” (2018) dir. by Bradley Cooper

bradley cooperis the remake of A star is born received critical acclaim and seven Academy Award nominations (including one for Best Original Song). Cooper himself – although the Precursor Awards positioned him as a favorite in the 18/19 awards season – was not nominated for Best Director.

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His second film–Maestroa biopic about Leonard Bernstein– is released by Netflix next year and will likely be one of the main contenders for the Steamboat in 2023. Cooper again doubles down and will star as the revered West Side Storycomposer. A director and actor nomination in the same year would place him among a rarefied company that includes Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood.


“Wildlife” (2018) dir. by Paul Dano

Paul DanoThe reserved directorial debut isn’t quite what one would expect from an actor who has demonstrated an uncanny knack for playing explosive weirdos. Wildlifefeaturing Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Campand Ed Oxenbouldsoberly traces the breakup of a working-class family in the early 1960s. No follow-up projects have been announced.

If this is where Dano is most comfortable as a director, he should adapt Philip Roth Where John Steinbeck. Fortunately, his acting career is in full swing. We can see it this fall Steven Spielbergis autobiographical The Fabelmans.

“Promising Young Woman” (2020) dir. by Emerald Fennell

Promising young womanwith Carey Mulligan as an avenging angel from the #MeToo era, announced a singular talent as a filmmaker in Emerald Fennell when it premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Until then, she was best known for playing Camille Parker Bowles in The crown and serving as showrunner for the second season of Kill Eve.

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Fresh and unpredictable, Promising young woman recapturesthe thrill of seeing pulp FictionWhere fight clubfor the first time. His follow-up, Saltburn, is currently in production and will no doubt premiere. Emerald Fennell’s bold, Oscar-winning debut instills enough confidence to predict she’ll be celebrated alongside Damien Chazelle and Jordan Peele (who also won Oscars for his early screenplays) as one of the all-time great filmmakers to emerge from this cinematic period.

“Mid 90s” (2018) dir. by Jonah Hill

funny man Jonah Hillknown for his roles in super bad, the wolf of Wall Streetand 21 jump streetreintroduced himself as a filmmaker of considerable depth with the poignant, autobiographical skater comedy, Mid 90s. The film is at its best while exploring Hill’s complicated relationship with his brother (one version of which is portrayed by Lucas Haies). It’s hard not to feel, during the film’s inappropriately cheerful conclusion, that Hill is suppressing the story’s darker implications.

Indeed, the actor-turned-director’s recent comments about mental health issues suggest he has a more psychologically daring film in him. Her next film, a documentary about Hill’s relationship with her therapist titled stutzis also autobiographical and can delve into some of what this debut album leaves out.

‘The Lamb’ (2021) dir. by Valdimar Jóhannsson

2021 Lamb is a particularly gripping example of the “new popular horror” trend. It follows childless Icelandic farmers (Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) that transform an abnormal event into an opportunity for happiness. From the first shot, you know you’re in good hands.

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The third act loses focus and finally dispels the film’s enigmatic air with perhaps an overly literal explanation of the main character’s origin. However, Valdimar Johannsson demonstrates both a dynamic visual sense and a strong mastery of tone. At no time does the production stink of amateurism. If you enjoy the atmosphere of Ari Aster’s films but are frustrated by their opaque narrative developments, Lamb maybe more on your wavelength. Jóhannsson’s second feature has yet to be announced.


“Funny Pages” (2022) dir. by Owen Kline

Owen Klinjust got out funny pages is one of the darkest and grossest black comedies you’ve ever seen. Image Todd Solondz adapt Chuck Bulowski Passing by the safdies; if that’s not descriptive enough, think, “Whiplash crossed with Licorice Pizza, under acid. rising star Daniel Zolghardi plays Robert, a talented but spoiled high school cartoonist whose misadventures make for a frenetic, disturbing, hilarious, and sometimes profound 90 minutes.

funny pages deserves to be mentioned alongside Solondz Happinessand Kevin Smithit is Clerksas a shining example of the most uncompromising dark comedies in American independent cinema. It’s seriously so good. Just when you fear this is hurtling to a sentimental and undeserved conclusion, Kline’s wonderfully demented script doubles down on the cruelty. Whatever this filmmaker does next – don’t expect anything too soon – it’s sure to be priority viewing.


‘Queen & Slim’ (2019) dir. by Melina Matsoukas

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie TurnerSmith star as strangers whose fates intertwine after a first date ends in a deadly encounter with a police officer. Queen and Slim is a visually poetic crime drama that is as hard-hitting as it is entertaining.

A vibrant, darkly funny Bonnie and Clydefor modern times, the film also features great performances from its protagonists and promises an exciting film career for Melina Matsoukaswho worked on HBO Insecureby Netflix master of nothingand FX Y: The Last Man. His next project, The changingis a horror series for Apple TV+ starring LaKeith Stanfield.

‘tick, tick…BOOM!’ (2021) dir. by Lin-Manuel Miranda

It’s amazing that the creative force behind hamilton and In the heights only went behind the camera for the first time when he directed 2021 tick, tick… BOOM! Andrew Garfield stars like Jonathan Larsonwho wrote the autobiographical sources for the film and Lease. By bringing this stage production to the screen, Lin-Manuel Miranda shows considerable instinct as a filmmaker.

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From editing to cinematography, tick, tick… BOOM! is a pure cinematic jolt of energy. There is no doubt that Miranda is destined for an EGOT. Revamping his own hit Broadway musical, hamiltonbecause the big screen is sure to bring it a little closer.

“You will not be alone” (2022) dir. by Goran StolevskySara Klimoska in You Won't Be Alone

You won’t be aloneanother contemporary folk horror starring Noomi Rapace, has the great visual sweep and existential thematic setting of a Terrence Malik film. Although Rapace is the biggest name in production, the real star is Anamaria Marincawhich delivers 2022’s big, unsung performance as a shapeshifting witch doomed to wander the Macedonian countryside for eternity.

Goran Stolevsky currently has two films in post-production–Of an ageand Housekeeping for beginners. It will be interesting to see if and how the themes in You won’t be alone defer to the director’s upcoming work, as none of the films look like horror on the face of it.


‘Emma.’ (2020) dir. by Autumn de Wilde

adaptations of Jane Austen are usually dry, stuffy affairs, but Wilde’s Autumn Emma. bucks the trend with a colorful and effusive reimagining of one of the author’s most acclaimed novels. Anya Taylor Joy stars as the film’s “handsome, smart, and wealthy” eponym, a matchmaker whose interference in others’ lives begins to have consequences.

The film’s costumes and production design have an air of magical Burtonesque realism. It’s not yet clear how the director will pursue her debut, but while her creative interests lie in vivid reinterpretations of 19th-century literature, there are so many classics she can then satirize.

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