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Debuts

MUBI Special

A celebration of first features that hail the arrival of exciting directors.

Nova Lituania

Karolis Kaupinis Lithuania, 2019

Debuts

Karolis Kaupinis’s boldly assured debut is a wonderfully unusual historical drama about our need for hope in order to escape a desperate situation. With a beautiful period recreation and a tone that wavers between dry comedy and earnest melancholy, an eccentric story comes to stand for so much more.

Wonders in the Suburbs

Jeanne Balibar France, 2019

Debuts

After playing in films by the likes of Assayas or Rivette, Jeanne Balibar makes her solo debut with an enchanting modern-day fairy tale. This whimsical comedy—based on the real ideas of French mayors!—features a crème de la crème cast, and wackily defies the usual representations of Paris’ banlieue.

Again Once Again

Romina Paula Argentina, 2019

Debuts

What happens to a woman when daughterhood and motherhood overlap? Argentine actress and author Romina Paula directs and stars in this deliciously easy-going, autobiographical treatise on the uncertainties of life at 40. Existential feminism, rendered with disarming honesty, intelligence and charm.

The Day After I'm Gone

Nimrod Eldar Israel, 2019

Expired
Debuts

We often find directorial debuts to be over-stylized films that yell their importance. Nimrod Eldar’s first film is a welcome change: From the use of locations to Zohar Meidan’s knockout performance, Eldar brings to this father-daughter drama an emotionally rich and beautifully subtle storytelling.

Take Me Somewhere Nice

Ena Sendijarević Netherlands, 2019

Expired
Debuts

As in all great journeys, the characters of Ena Sendijarević’s award-winning debut won’t be the same after this adventure. Vibrantly nodding to Jarmusch’s beloved Stranger Than Paradise, this stylized, offbeat road movie glows with pastel-colored melancholy, Balkan humor and teen self-discovery.

A Russian Youth

Alexander Zolotukhin Russia, 2019

Expired
Debuts

As seen with Kantemir Balagov, master Aleksandr Sokurov is mentoring a new generation of gifted Russian filmmakers. Intriguingly blending a painterly WWI tale with contemporary orchestra rehearsals, Zolotukhin’s debut is awe-inspiring: at once a film from another era, and a pioneer of something new.

A Family Submerged

María Alché Argentina, 2018

Expired
Debuts

You may love María Alché in Lucrecia Martel’s The Holy Girl, but you’ll be dazzled by her directorial debut. With the excellent Mercedes Morán in the main role, and images by virtuoso Hélène Louvart, A Family Submerged is a dreamy, invigorating look at mid-life womanhood so alive it’ll draw you in.

Volcano

Roman Bondarchuk Ukraine, 2018

Expired
Debuts

Ukrainian director Roman Bondarchuk has leapt to his fictional debut with an arresting eye and unpredictable story. A mordant, semi-surreal comedy as much skewering international intervention into his war-torn country as it does idiosyncratic citizens, it boldly mixes the political with the comical.

Two Irenes

Fabio Meira Brazil, 2017

Expired
Debuts

From Hitchcock to Kieślowski to Jordan Peele, the story of the double has proven to be fertile territory for cinematic visions. But rarely has it been treated as luminously as in this superb debut from Brazil: a beguiling study on identity, imbued with both adolescence turmoil and summertime bliss.

Manta Ray

Phuttiphong Aroonpheng Thailand, 2018

Expired
Debuts

The gorgeous images and gentle storytelling of Thai director Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s entrancing debut subtly build a compassionate evocation of the Rohingya refugee crisis in Thailand. A tale of empathy, culpability, recuperation, and blurred identities, it marks the voice of a bold new talent.

Our House

Yui Kiyohara Japan, 2017

Expired
Debuts

A student of Japanese horror master Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Yui Kiyohara has imbued her impressive first film⁠—a graduation project!⁠—with an eerie ambiguity that is as elusive as it is irresistible. A ghost story of sorts, where two storylines mysteriously overlap, echoing the polyphony of Bach’s music.

Suleiman Mountain

Elizaveta Stishova Kyrgyzstan, 2017

Expired
Debuts

Elizaveta Stishova has crafted a rich and colorful tale that combines a long-lost son, drama between wives of different ages, a boozy husband, shamanism, and con-games. It sounds like a lot, but told as a road movie through stunning Kyrgyz landscapes, her debut weaves a remarkably human story.

Sarah Plays a Werewolf

Katharina Wyss Switzerland, 2017

Expired
Debuts

Digging deeper into “teen angst” than most coming-of-age stories, Katharina Wyss’ debut weaves the horror of adolescence into the fabric of her film. Psychological tension and liberating performance blend in a claustrophobic yet engrossing look at the complexities of letting go in order to grow up.

Holiday

Isabella Eklöf Denmark, 2018

Debuts

Be warned: this is no placid summer’s tale! Isabella Eklöf’s sun-drenched debut is as intoxicating as it is brutal. An unflinching study of female oppression whose perspective on abuse has stirred up controversy, Holiday is daring filmmaking that exudes confidence while asking crucial questions.

Drift

Helena Wittmann Germany, 2017

Expired
Debuts

A student of Berlin School auteur Angela Schanelec, Helena Wittmann takes us on a transcendental trip with Drift: we move from interiors into oceanic immensity as one of its characters makes a journey across the Atlantic. A cosmic and compelling adventure to launch our strand of impressive debuts.

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