The Independent Magazine’s Editorial Board Recommended Films

Two faces, stills from the films "Monkey Man" and "Anatomy of a Fall."
"Monkey Man" and "Anatomy of a Fall." Courtesy of "Variety "and A.Frame Oscars.Org

With the release of countless independent films, finding something to watch can often become overwhelming. What films are worth your time and dedication? Decision fatigue is real, and our editorial board understands the struggle. To help you decide on your next favorite watch, we’ve developed a curated list of some of our recent obsessions that we think you might love as well.

Sophie’s Pick: “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person” directed by Ariane Louis-Seize (2023)

Sara Montpetit as Sasha in “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person.” Courtesy of Reactor.

Sometimes a movie is just tailor-made for you, and that’s what this movie was for me. “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person” is exactly what it says on the tin. Sasha, a teenage vampire of 68, makes a pact with suicidal teenager Paul after being cut off from her parents’ blood supply when they become frustrated with her unwillingness to kill. Its “weird girl” energy combined with the dry, witty humor of Ariane Louis-Seize makes it a perfect allegory to find yourself in if you have ever felt alienated from your family or society because of something about yourself you can’t control. —Sophie Hartstein, Co-Copy Chief

Minna’s Pick: “Monkey Man” directed by Dev Patel (2024)

Dev Patel as Kid in “Monkey Man.” Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.

Dev Patel’s directorial debut “Monkey Man” follows the story of Kid (Dev Patel) as he becomes the most wanted vigilante in a fictional city in India. “Monkey Man” is a tale of vengeance and redemption as Kid avenges his mother’s death at the hands of a corrupt and violent military attack on his hometown. The director and star of the film, Dev Patel, tells a compelling and heart-wrenching story of processing grief, finding community, and navigating morality and corruption on a national scale. This was hands down the most excited I have been exiting a theater in years, this was a film that was clearly a labor of love full of beautiful folkloric roots, striking visuals, and moving storytelling. —Minna Abdel Gawad, Section Editor

Hailey’s Pick: “Perfect Days” directed by Wim Wenders (2023)

Kôji Yakusho as Hirayama in “Perfect Days.” Courtesy of Aframe

A soothing film about a man called Hirayama, who cleans public toilets for a living in Tokyo. He appreciates the little moments, reflects on his life, and wonders over the beauty of nature. This beautiful film, “Perfect Days” captures the impact of life’s everyday treasures and the importance of finding a gentle, consistent peace in the seemingly mundane of daily life. —Hailey Akau, Section Editor 

John’s Pick: “Anselm” directed by Wim Wenders (2023)

Anselm Kiefer surrounded by his towers at his studio complex in southern France. Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival.

A documentary on Anselm Kiefer’s monumental body of work that reflects both a personal and collective memory of European culture and post-war Germany. Wenders shot the film in both 3D and 6K and brings Kiefer’s art on the screen as close as possible to the experience of seeing it in person. Wenders mixes memoir, history, technology, and art into a story that mirrors Kiefer’s mix of myth and memory. See Kurt Brokaw’s review in his coverage of the 2023 DOC NYC festival. —John Rodzvilla, Lead Editor

Hannah’s Pick: “Bones and All” directed by Luca Guadagnino (2022)

Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell as Lee and Maren in “Bones and All.” Courtesy of FILMGRAB.

This film is a genre-bending feat that manages to combine horror and romance into a gruesome yet poignant final product. Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet deliver excellent performances that demand the viewer’s empathy. Their chemistry feels so natural as their story unfolds, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and the type of gore you have to watch through your fingers. “Bones and All” is a standout for the horror genre and a testament to the power of genuine on-screen relationships. —Hannah Mourousias, Webmaster & Co-Media Manager 

Natia’s Pick: “Anatomy of a Fall” directed by Justine Triet (2023)

Swann Arlaud as Maître Vincent Renzi and Sandra Hüller as Sandra Voyter in “Anatomy of a Fall.” Courtesy of French Film Festival UK

Set in a remote town in the French Alps, “Anatomy of a Fall” follows the novelist Sandra Voyter, a woman suspected of murdering her husband, Samuel Maleski. When Samuel falls to his death into the snow, the jury must decide if it was a case of suicide or if foul play was involved. Their partially-sighted son, Daniel, is the only witness to the event. The investigation dives into the complicated relationship between the husband and wife and raises questions about family, the complexities of familial relationships, and what our truth means to us. See Kurt Brokaw’s review in his coverage of the 2023 New York Film Festival. —Natia Kirvalidze, Managing Editor

Grace’s Pick: “The Holdovers” directed by Alexander Payne (2023)

Dominic Sessa, Paul Giamatti, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph in “The Holdovers.” Courtesy of Focus Features.

“The Holdovers” captivated audiences with its raw authenticity, heartfelt performances, and captivating storyline, making it one of the standout indie films of the year. With its poignant exploration of love, loss, and redemption, the film left me teary-eyed and smiling long after the credits finished rolling. Through its masterful direction and compelling characters, “The Holdovers” proved that the indie spirit is alive and well and still has the power to impact mainstream audiences in a crowded cinematic landscape. See Mary Grace Purser’s review from December 2023 . —Grace Rubin, News Editor

Sara’s Pick: “Orlando, My Political Biography” directed by Paul B. Preciado (2023)

Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando” in interpreted in a shared biography in Paul Preciado’s new film. Courtesy of Sideshow and Janus Films.

“Orlando, My Political Biography” is a documentary about trans and nonbinary identity that takes inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando: A Biography.” Over twenty trans and nonbinary individuals, including the director, participated in a shared biography, interpreting Woolf’s novel and incorporating their own transition and stories. Preciado and co. interpret Woolf’s novel and explore the relevance of “Orlando” in the global struggle for transgender dignity. See Kurt Brokaw’s review in his coverage of the 2023 New York Film Festival.—Sara Crepeau, News Editor & Co-Social Media Manager

Kei’Aria’s Pick: “The Half of It” directed by Alice Wu (2020)

Leah Lewis as Ellie Chu in “The Half of It.” Courtesy of Netflix.

In the heartwarming coming-of-age film “The Half of It,” directed by Alice Wu, a reserved, straight-A student named Ellie Chu assists jock Paul Munsky in pursuing Aster Flores, the girl they’re both secretly crushing on. “The Half of It” explores the genuine, emotional journey of a queer Chinese-American character’s relationship with friendship, family, religion, and love, offering a restorative take on the coming-of-age genre. —Kei’Aria Gillard, Co-Social Media Manager

Gigi’s Pick: “Infinity Pool” directed by Brandon Cronenberg (2023)

Mia Goth as Gabi Bauer in “Infinity Pool.” Courtesy of IMDb.

In early 2023, director Brandon Cronenberg’s “Infinity Pool” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Incredibly visceral in its imagery and starring Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård, this film showcases tourist traps in a horrific yet alluring light. Inside the gates of their hotel, guests enjoy the sublime setting and take advantage of their luxury residence, outside the gates it’s another story. Tourists face the consequences of their frivolous, yet violent actions, in an incredibly surreal, and increasingly tumultuous downward spiral, turn of events. Indulgent in a grotesque and almost voyeuristic way, “Infinity Pool” has done an excellent job of captivating audiences with its horror and takes advantage of an inclination towards appalling cinematic fascinations. —Gigi Sipiora, Section Editor & Co-Media Manager 

Caitlin’s Pick: “Drive-Away Dolls” directed by Ethan Coen (2024)

Geraldine Viswanathan and Margaret Qualley as Marian and Jamie in “Drive-Away Dolls.” Photograph: Wilson Webb/Working Title/Focus Features.

This hilariously crude and queer thriller follows two best friends, Jamie and Marian, as they embark on a road trip to Tallahassee following Jamie’s ugly breakup with her girlfriend. After receiving the wrong rental car, they begin getting chased by a group of incompetent criminals who are after the surprising contents of the mysterious suitcase. This Cohen brother film is sure to make you burst out laughing.—Caitlin McKeown, Co-Copy Chief

About :

Natia Kirvalidze is a Georgian student in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing program at Emerson College. She currently serves as a copy editor for Page Turner Magazine and is the managing editor for The Independent Magazine. She loves long walks, playing chess, and making lists.