There are only a few films left in this year’s lineup of BUFS’ weekly film screenings. Throughout the year, BUFS has provided the Brock community with a look at foreign cinema, social commentary and films that were expected to win big at 2019’s Academy Awards.
After making your way through the best of last year’s independent cinema and festival lineups through BUFS (Brock University Film Society), you may be wondering where to go from here — what are some other independent movies that are worthy of your time? In case you may have missed any of them when they were screened, here’s a recap of some of the very best that BUFS has had to offer in recent years.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Back in 2013, the now-renowned Oscar Isaac found his breakthrough role in the title character of this film, earning him a whopping 15 awards nominations from a variety of festivals and award ceremonies. The dark comedy follows a week in the life of a struggling folk singer and his attempts to grow his career. For Isaac’s acting prowess (and musical ability that will be unexpected to some) alone, Inside Llewyn Davis remains a must watch.
The Neon Demon
Even if this isn’t the best film you’ll ever see, it’s easily one of the most beautiful. Beneath all the neon lighting is a dark core — in a world revolving around beauty, vanity takes on a repulsive, monstrous form. The Neon Demon is a unique take on the fashion industry centred around young model Jesse (Elle Fanning), who is trying to navigate her newfound success. For something so visually stunning, The Neon Demon still manages to remain grotesque, pulling out all the necessary tools to leave you jarred and potentially even sick in a way mainstream horror films can’t manage.
One of the best things about BUFS is the exposure of films from other countries, as foreign films get overlooked quite easily and can often be inaccessible in the western world. As a result of this, many miss out on the opportunity to see films continuously hailed as “masterpieces,” such as The Handmaiden. The film revolves around two con artists who attempt to swindle a Japanese heiress out of her inheritance, with one posing as her handmaiden. The South Korean psychological thriller has been hailed as equal parts intelligent, entertaining and sumptuous, and holds up to all three claims quite easily.
Beach Rats revolves around lost boy Frankie (Harris Dickinson) and his attempts to balance two worlds — one involving his delinquent friends and a maybe-girlfriend and one in which he still can’t accept his interest in men, no matter how much further he takes his curiosity. While Beach Rats takes the story to heartbreaking extremes, it’s a harrowing take on the coming-of-age story and a powerful character study with the acting chops to back it up.
As Canadian cinema seldom makes it to local theatres, it’s always a delight to see Canadian films in the yearly BUFS lineup. Films as brilliant, heartfelt and highly regarded as Weirdos are sure to evoke a sense of Canadian pride within the audience. Taking place in 1976, Weirdos is another coming-of-age story, this time following 15-year-old Kit (Dylan Authors) as he runs away with his girlfriend in an attempt to find himself. Boasting two charming leads, Weirdos is an endearing tale that will elicit a sense of nostalgia from any viewer. The adorably awkward portrait of adolescence portrayed in this film leaves one final takeaway: weirdness is meant to be embraced.