The theme of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was risk, and in its 40-year history, it has always championed films that break the mould. Here are our favourites…
1 The Miseducation Of Cameron Post
Desiree Akhavan, 2018
Stuffed with wit, humanity and compassion, Desiree Akhavan’s second feature, set in the mid-90s, takes a difficult subject and turns it into a quietly uplifting drama. An orphaned teen is sent to a gay-conversion therapy centre by her conservative guardians. While there, she must confront her own feelings, as well as the ultra-religious staff. Chloe Grace Moretz shines in her best role yet.
2 The Blair Witch Project
Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez, 1999
The oldest film on this list has probably the greatest legacy, too. It helped to popularise the “found-footage” horror format, bringing it out of the underground and into the multiplex.
Damien Chazelle, 2014
Not a shot is wasted in this tightly wound thriller about a budding jazz drummer. Instrumentalists be warned: there’s no hiding those bum notes from Fletcher – J.K. Simmons’ terrifying band leader.
Shane Carruth, 2004
Scary, puzzling and unique, Shane Carruth’s psychological sci-fi thriller tells the story of four tech entrepreneurs who discover they can manipulate time.
5 Fruitvale Station
Ryan Coogler, 2013
Based on a true story, Fruitvale Station stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant – a young man who was gunned down by police on New Year’s Day in 2009. It’s a searing condemnation of police brutality and features a total knockout performance from Jordan.
Lee Daniels, 2009
Based on the heartbreaking novel, Push, by Sapphire, this is a grim yet triumphant tale of abuse and inner-city life. Supported by stellar performances from some daring casting choices, the film follows an abused, illiterate, pregnant teen from Harlem, who gets a second chance when she’s accepted into an “alternative” school. It’s extraordinary, spellbinding stuff from a visionary director.
7 Winter’s Bone
Debra Granik, 2010
Before The Hunger Games made her a star, Jennifer Lawrence quietly announced herself in this unsettling naturalistic drama about a country girl on the hunt for her drug-dealing father. Beautifully shot and equally gripping, it will keep you hooked to the bitter end.
8 God’s Own Country
Francis Lee, 2017
Billed as Brokeback Mountain for the Yorkshire Dales, this is much more than a location-swapped remake. A young farmer uses alcohol and casual sex to escape intense loneliness, but when a handsome migrant worker arrives, they begin a fiery romance that will change both their lives forever.
9 Call Me By Your Name
Luca Guadagnino, 2017
Visually stunning, and starring Timothée Chalamet in a breakout role, Luca Guadagnino’s melancholic drama is an affecting portrait of first love. However, if you’re planning a mid-movie snack, you’d better steer clear of the peaches…
10 Get Out
Jordan Peele, 2017
Meeting the parents can be stressful, but for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose, this dating milestone may be their last. Funny, creepy and thought-provoking, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut weaves social commentary and compelling drama into an edge-of-your-seat horror thrill ride.
Passes for Sundance Film Festival: London (30 May – 2 June) are on sale now. Visit picturehouses.com/sundance