Five Films To Look Out For: New York Film Festival 2020

Still from In Sudden Darkness

Festival season continues with NYFF kicking into gear on 17th September until 11th October. Here are some of the titles that the Screen Queens team are looking forward to.

Still from In Sudden Darkness. A young girl sits, hunched over in a car.
Still from In Sudden Darkness

In Sudden Darkness

Film critic and programmer Tayler Montague’s In Sudden Darkness is a examination of a working-class Black family’s experience of the 2003 NYC blackout — an event that Montague experienced herself as a child. With rising temperatures and chaos and disorder lurking on the minds of everyone in the city, the Moore family have to come together to traverse the experience together.

Montague’s directorial debut is from a perspective that is uniquely hers, and this tender and affectionate short promises the emergence of a talented multi-hyphenate who is just getting started.

Still from The Woman Who Ran. Two women sit at a table, one is drinking from a mug. Two notebooks liek between them - behind is a large window that looks on to trees.
Still from The Woman Who Rang

The Woman Who Ran

Hong Sangsoo’s latest feature follows Gamhee (Kim Minhee) who makes a journey to visit friends, alone for the first time in five years as her husband is on a business trip. Three visits create a triptych of sections that share a casual theme — Gamhee experiencing the worlds of three different women.

Hong’s focus on the inner lives of women and the interactions between friends in the absence of men, on how relationships are lost and found again, and a strong central performance from his long-time collaborator and partner ensures that The Woman Who Ran will be a gem to seek out during NYFF.

Still from Days. Two men, one older, one younger, sit outside a restaurant, not making eye contact.
Still from Days


Tsai Ming-liang’s Days focuses on the experiences of two lonely men in Hong Kong’s busy streets; Lee Kang-sheng is Kang, a middle class man who travels into the city for treatment for a chronic illness, who meets Non (Anong Houngheuangsy) a Laotian immigrant at the massage parlour where Non works.

Completive and sparse, Days is an intimate look at human connection, the loneliness of the urban landscape and the fleeting moments of companionship that can be found in unexpected places.

Still from The Calming. A woman looks out from a balcony onto a snowy landscape, with mountains and trees in the background.
Still from The Calming

The Calming

Song Fang’s sophomore feature follows a young film director Lin (Qi Xi) as she travels throughout Japan, China and Hong Kong after a relationship breakdown — visiting friends and family and presenting work. With shifting landscapes of cities and forests, this tranquil examination of travel and rejuvenation looks at our place in a world and our interactions with our environment in microcosm.

See Brianna Zigler’s review for Screen Queens: ‘The Calming’ is a Serene, Exquisite Recreation of its Title

Still from Night of the Kings. A young man stands in front of a crowd of men looking scared, wearing a necklace and another young man holds a lamp up to him.
Still from Night of the Kings

Night of the Kings

When a young pickpocket (Koné Bakary) is sent to the Ivorian prison of Maca in the country’s capital, he arrives into a world run by inmates and ruled by superstition. Picked from the group of new arrivals, he is given the position of storyteller, tasked to keep the inmates entertained with stories, or potentially lose his life.

Director Philippe Lacôte weaves a tale of performance and survival that pays tribute to both the West African tradition of griot (a storyteller or historian) and the mythical character of Scheherazade in an original and intriguing film that promises to entertain.

New York Film Festival will run virtually from September 17th to October 11th

by Rose Dymock

Rose is a film critic , who graduated from the University of Liverpool with an MRes in Film Studies. She loves thrillers, Al Pacino, and multilingual cinema and she’s not entirely sure if she’s a millennial.

Find her on twitter, and find more of her work at

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