The best movie debuts of 2021


One of the reasons that this work doesn’t weigh on me is that I take so much pleasure in welcoming new directorial talents to our screens. So here is our list of filmmakers whose first fiction feature films marked me so much. I’m still ringing the gong for second-time filmmakers who have shown growth, so kudos to Philip Barantini (Boiling point), Siân Heder (CODA), Leigh Janiak (the Fear street trilogy), Potsy Ponciroli (old henri), Ben Sharrock (Limbo) and Chaitanya Tamhane (the disciple).

Blerta Bacholli

I had never seen a film from Kosovo before admiring it Hive. The 38-year-old Albanian rose through the ranks of film crews before leading this story of a group of village war widows who challenge local prejudices to harvest honey from the beehives they keep and convince the local supermarket to sell it. The film’s unassuming facade is a cover to tackle the Serbian genocide that made these women widows, but you may well appreciate it at face value.

Clint bentley

He’s the son of a jockey, so it’s no wonder he has such a feeling for the characters who work on the racetrack in Jockey. Bentley was a producer on the striking frontier thriller Transpecos, and he reunites with the star of that film, Clifton Collins Jr., who portrays an aging jockey facing a multitude of life crises. The film wrapped up the recent Lone Star Film Festival and brought that event to a close in person.

Benjamin Claire

The Irishman had already won an Oscar when his Stutterer was named Best Live Action Short Film. His first feature film Swan song is notable for its technical values, not only for having Mahershala Ali playing two separate characters, but also for depicting the world of 2040, with people using more advanced technology than ours and still containing developments that we can easily understand. He doesn’t overlook the underlying emotional arc, as the main character fumbles with his own mortality.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Big Unappreciated Brunette Actresses Part 1: The Outrageously Talented Star Of Secretary and The black Knight never found a groove in front of the camera, so it’s good that she excelled behind by adapting that of Elena Ferrante The lost girl. The story of a British literature professor on a Greek beach vacation is represented by mysterious ellipses and passive-aggressive confrontations with an overly boisterous family.

Rébecca Room

Big Unappreciated Brunette Actresses Part II: The Star Of Iron man 3 and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women adapted from Nella Larsen Who passed strong effect. The high-contrast black-and-white photograph only serves to highlight the fable of two black women whose lives took different courses when they came together in the demi-monde of Chicago jazz clubs in the 1920s. Let’s have more racial comments from his neighborhood.

Valdimar Jóhannsson

I mentioned in my review of Lamb that Jóhannsson started out as a special effects artist for Hollywood. He brought this know-how back to his native Iceland to make this twisted parody of the Nativity story. If the climax doesn’t pay off quite as it should, it makes great use of the dark and secluded atmosphere of his homeland as the backdrop for a childless couple whose prayers are answered in a nightmarish form.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

It should come as no surprise to anyone that he proves he can direct a musical film in check mark, check mark … Boom. He was offered the opportunity to adapt his own In the Heights, but he wisely chose to film someone else’s musical, and while Jonathan Larson’s show about a third life crisis has problems that perhaps should have left her on stage, Miranda shows flair for the cast (Andrew Garfield can sing!) and bring musical numbers to life. What about that number in the pool?

Burhan Qurbani

Steven Spielberg received kudos for the update West Side Story, but this 41-year-old Afghan-German filmmaker did such a good job with Berlin Alexanderplatz, bringing Alfred Döblin’s 1929 novel into the era of online sex sites. It makes the main character an immigrant from Guinea-Bissau, and man’s tragic attempt to blend into a Western capitalist society only takes on more tragic power.

Michel Sarnoski

You probably thought that a Portland movie starring Nicolas Cage would be weird, and one thing Sarnoski did right in Pork was leaning into absurdity. (Hypothetical question: If Fort Worth restaurant workers formed their own fight club, who would win?) Yet instead of doing Mandy with a pig, Sarnoski makes this film a study of the character of a hermit in the countryside and a meditation on grief and loss.

Emma Seligman

I have to give props when a film critic successfully crosses the gap and makes his own film. 25-year-old NYU college student developed her short baby shiva in a feature film of the same name, and it offers a new perspective on Jewish humor with its messy bisexual sex worker of a heroine. I had some issues with the film’s ending, but Seligman’s skill at conjuring up a nightmarish storyline makes her a talent to watch.

Honorable mention: Ephraim Asili, Heritage; Prano Bailey Bond, Censor; Shatara Michelle Ford, Test pattern; Lauren Hadaway, the novice; Fran Kranz, Mass; Santiago Menghini, No one comes out alive; Jon Pollono, Small engine repair; Nicole Riegel, Bawl.