Here are the best things to watch this September

Eva Mackevic

Here's our monthly roundup of all the best films you should be watching this September.

Film of the month:The Seagull

Love, lust and family drama take centre stage in this supple adaptation featuring a stellar cast.

In this clever and passionate adaptation of one of Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov’s first major plays, a fading actress (Annette Bening) and her younger lover (Corey Stoll)—who’s a successful writer—visit her ailing brother in the country, prompting a complex family drama to unravel.

While Stoll is undeniably magnetic in the notoriously difficult role of the writer, Trigorin, it is the formidable female trio of Bening, Saoirse Ronan and Elisabeth Moss who really steal the show. Each actress delivers an absolutely knockout performance that glues you to the screen: Bening exudes grace and flair with every move she makes as the self-absorbed ageing actress Irina, Ronan wows with her emotive, exuberant performance as the ingénue Nina, and Moss displays perfect comedic timing and spunky sass as the lovelorn Masha.

All this is set to the warm glow of oil lamps in a quintessentially Russian dacha surrounded by lush forests, tranquil lakes and sunny meadows. Inspired and thoughtful, The Seagull is a breath of fresh air amongst tired, forced attempts at adaptations, and the perfect reminder that if there’s anyone who can teach you about the unpredictable, tortuous nature of life—it’s going to be Chekhov.

 

Faces Places

Iconic French New Wave director Agnès Varda (90) teams up with celebrated photographer JR (35) on a mission to make a film. What kind of film? They’re not quite sure. All they know is that they want to take pictures and meet new people. And the end result is a whimsical journey that’ll have you smiling non-stop. The peculiar duo travels through rural France, snapping photos of its various inhabitants and pasting them onto massive water towers, bunkers and barns, pausing every once in a while for a sincere heart-to-heart (that’s never devoid of playful jabs). It’s a film that’ll remind you that life is full of joy and beauty—all you need to do is switch your perception to the right frequency.

 

The Little Stranger

Based on a gothic novel of the same name, The Little Stranger follows a young doctor who develops a relationship with a local family living in a dilapidated mansion. As he supports them through a difficult time, he learns that there’s something insidious hiding within their once-grand estate. Though atmospheric and intriguing to begin with, this spooky ghost story quickly runs out of steam.

 

Lucky

This offbeat little mood piece revels in its complete randomness. Lacking any solid narrative structure, it ticks all the following boxes: one of Harry Dean Stanton’s final performances (the legendary actor died in 2017), a weird cameo by David Lynch, a tortoise in one of the lead roles, directorial debut from actor John Caroll Lewis (of Fargo fame) and a mariachi band. The film follows the day-to-day life of Lucky (Stanton) as he navigates the quiet, sometimes unsettling and bizarre world of old age. Though it loses focus every once in a while, Lucky is a poignant and very funny reflection on mortality and loneliness.

 

Skate Kitchen 

Camille skates alone. She’s light and free—an image of serenity, until she falls, injures herself, and is forced to limp to the hospital. Her mother bans her from skating and so—of course—it becomes more irresistible to her than ever before. She soon runs away to New York to join a girl-only skateboarding collective and embarks on a journey that’ll teach her about friendship, feminism and the burdens of womanhood. Ethereal cinematography combines with dynamite dialogue to echo that teenage sense of being at once inside and outside of yourself.