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10 captivating new indie films to watch this autumn

From award-winning film festival gems and stunning debuts to twisted black comedies, these are the arthouse flicks to have on your radar this season

10 of the most captivating new indie films to watch this autumn

As the nights start to draw in, there’s no better way to while away an evening than watching a a brilliant new indie film – and while the run-up to Christmas often ushers in box office blockbusters, it’s also a time for arthouse films to shine ahead of awards season. From one of the most hotly anticipated filmmaking debuts of the year to a welcome return from big names including Martin McDonagh and Darren Aronofsky, we’ve rounded up the best new indie films that are not to be missed this autumn. 

Triangle of Sadness

Fresh from his second Palme d’Or win at the Cannes Film Festival, this dark comedy from director Ruben Östlund is sure to appeal to fans of The White Lotus. A sharp and wry take on the likes of the rich and privileged, this searing film offers a dissection of vanity and class.

Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean star as a retired model couple who are invited on a luxury cruise for the super-rich, led by Captain Thomas Smith (Woody Harrelson). But what begins as a glamorous affair quickly takes a dark turn when the ship hits shaky waters, and the couple must fight for their survival amongst their fellow privileged passengers. 

In cinemas 28 October

Decision to Leave

South Korean cinema has been making serious waves over recent years, and none more so than the movies helmed by master filmmaker Park Chan-wook, who’s best known for his acclaimed hits Old Boy and The Handmaiden and who scooped the coveted Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his latest film, Decision to Leave

Described as a romantic Hitchcockian mystery set in Busan, the film follows a criminal detective (Park Hae-il) as he falls in love with the main suspect (Tang Wei) in a murder investigation. Incorporating intriguing elements of the neo-noir genre, you can expect plenty of the twists and turns that the director has become so well known for. 

In cinemas 14 October

Aisha

She’s one of the hottest stars of the moment, fresh from turns in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Silent Twins. Now Letitia Wright is appearing on both the large and small screens in Sky Cinema’s Aisha, which received rave reviews after its European premiere at the London Film Festival. In it she plays the titular Aisha, a young Nigerian woman seeking asylum in Ireland.

Having fled her home after the violent murders of her brother and father, Aisha finds herself adrift in a maze of social services and bureaucracy, all while suffering daily micro-aggressions at both the salon where she works and the temporary residence she lives in. With no one to turn to, she finds an unlikely ally in Conor (played brilliantly by Josh O’Connor), an employee at her accommodation centre with a troubled past of his own. But can their budding friendship survive the increasingly uncertain predicament Aisha finds herself in? 

In cinemas and on Sky Cinema 17 November

Tár

Todd Field returns to the big screen with the release of Tár, his first film since his critically acclaimed 2006 hit Little Children, starring Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly. He’s pulled in a similarly stellar name for this latest release, with Cate Blanchett taking on the titular role of Lydia Tár, a world-renowned classical music conductor preparing for the most important performance of her career. 

As she readies herself for her moment in the spotlight, it becomes increasingly apparent that the composer is battling with a troubled temperament, and as time goes on she sinks deeper and deeper into a personal and professional crisis. It’s a tour de force performance from Blanchett, who brings her usual high levels of commitment to the role, as well as marking a triumphant revival for Field after his 16-year hiatus. 

UK release date TBC

The Banshees of Inisherin

Writer/director Martin McDonagh may have hit the big time since the release of his first film, In Bruges – having won multiple Academy Awards and nominations for his last release, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – but he’s harking back to that original magic by reuniting the stars of the acclaimed black comedy, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. 

Instead of a fast-talking hitman and his long-suffering colleague, this time around the pair play a couple of longtime pals in a small Irish fishing village, whose friendship is abruptly terminated by one of them out of the blue – causing dire outcomes for both men. Expect plenty of McDonagh’s trademark brand of twisted comedy and dark humour. 

In cinemas 21 October

Armageddon Time

This is the most personal work to date for American director James Gray, who’s best known for his ambitious flicks Ad Astra and The Lost City of Z. In a departure from those last two releases, he turns to autobiographical elements for this latest film, which centres around his experiences growing up in 80s New York. 

Set in Queens, Banks Repeta plays Paul, whose character portrays Gray during his pre-teen years. Paul is part of a tight-knit Jewish family, who have worked hard to ensure success for their sons. But when he befriends a Black kid at school, he starts to realise that not everyone who seeks the American Dream is given equal opportunities to achieve it. The film delivers a powerfully honest and emotional punch, carried off with aplomb by a cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong and Anthony Hopkins, with the latter already garnering awards season buzz for his performance. 

In cinemas 18 November

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The Whale

The 10 captivating new indie films to watch this autumn 2022
Brendan Fraser in The Whale

Darren Aronofsky has made a name for himself for his haunting, darkly compelling films like Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream – now he’s back with an altogether more intimate affair, his first film since 2017’s Mother! And if the rapturous receptions at both the Venice and London Film Festivals – where the film drew minutes-long standing ovations – are to be believed, this could be his finest work yet. 

After a string of flops in the Noughties, actor Brendan Fraser is back to tackle his first leading role in over a decade playing a 600-pound gay man confined to a wheelchair due to his obesity. The film revolves around his attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter (played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink), as he tries for one last chance at redemption. Critics are hailing it as a masterful performance from Fraser, with many saying he’ll be a shoo-in for a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars.

In cinemas 9 December

Call Jane

The subject matter of this new indie film – which marks a directorial debut for Phillis Nagy, who penned the Academy Award-nominated screenplay adaption of Carol in 2015 – could hardly be more timely. It tells the story of Joy, a 1960s housewife who finds herself struggling with an unwanted pregnancy. Unsure of where to turn for help, she stumbles across the Jane Collective, a cohort of Chicago activists who helped pregnant women obtain abortions at a time when they were illegal.

Despite being made on an indie budget the film pulls in some big names, with Elizabeth Banks taking on the role of Joy in what critics are already calling a career-best performance and Sigourney Weaver and Kate Mara rounding out the cast. The film was well received when it first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, but with all the controversy around Roe vs. Wade surfacing since then, its subject matter now feels more urgent than ever. 

In cinemas 4 November

The Eternal Daughter

The 10 captivating new indie films to watch this autumn 2022
Tilda Swinton in The Eternal Daughter

The acclaimed filmmaker Joanna Hogg and Tilda Swinton have been best friends since childhood, so it’s no surprise that the duo have teamed up yet again for Hogg’s latest release, which follows in the wake of The Souvenir parts I and II, which saw Swinton play alongside her real-life daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne. Hogg’s latest release also revolves around the mother-daughter dynamic, only this time both of them are played by Swinton herself. 

The eery ghost story follows an artist and her elderly mother as they return to their former family home – there, they are forced to confront long-buried secrets at their once-grand manor, which has become a nearly-vacant hotel haunted by its mysterious past. It’s a typically moving performance from Swinton, as she explores parental relationships and the things we leave behind. 

In cinemas 2 December

Aftersun

This arthouse flick from first-time filmmaker Charlotte Wells is one of the most hotly-anticipated debuts of the year, and with good reason – critics have hailed it as one of the best films to be released in 2022, with one describing it as “spellbinding”. Told in flashbacks, it’s a beguiling father-and-daughter-tale that takes place over one long, hot summer in Turkey. 

Paul Mescal plays Calum while Francesca Corio has a star-making turn as his young daughter Sophie, who is battling to try to understand her enigmatic father. Flitting between the older, present-day Sophie and that of her childhood, memories are stirred – some happy, others much less so – and combine to create a poignant and moving coming of age tale that will stay with you long after you’ve left the cinema. 

In cinemas 18 November

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