The Movie Waffler TMW's 10 Best Directorial Debuts Of 2018 | The Movie Waffler

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TMW's 10 Best Directorial Debuts Of 2018

revenge 2018 film
Our favourite new filmmakers to emerge in 2018.


There's something especially exciting about a great directorial debut, with a potential future legend of cinema emerging behind the camera. Some filmmakers come out of the traps running, failing to match the quality of their first films, while others go on to bigger and better things. Let's hope the 10 filmmakers listed here can continue to deliver on the promise of their debuts.


Beast (Michael Pearce)
beast film
We said: The thriller having fallen out of favour in recent decades, Beast is the sort of movie we rarely see in today's English language cinema. It has more in common with contemporary Scandinavian 'Nordic Noir' and Korean pot-boilers than with its modern British peers, but it's a reminder that this is a genre the Brits do best, director Michael Pearce recalling Hitchcock's early Hollywood period with a heroine that might have been played by Joan Fontaine and a dangerous but attractive suitor straight out of Bronte.




Columbus (Kogonada)
columbus film
We said: There's a reason Kogonada's debut is named after its setting, as the titular town is as a central character itself. Kogonada shoots whole scenes with his human protagonists reduced to small figures confined within boxes. This creates the sense that such human dramas are fleeting, and will be long forgotten in years to come while the city's structures remain standing.




The Guilty (Gustav Möller)
the guilty film
We said: Gustav Möller and co-screenwriter Emil Nygaard Albertsen spin out their twisty tale in expert fashion, feeding both Asger and the audience enough details to fool both into believing they have a grasp on the scenario, only to pepper the plotline with twists that keep us guessing as to the true nature of the drama unfolding in Asger's headset.




Lucky (John Carroll Lynch)
lucky 2018 film
We said: Harry Dean Stanton is simply mesmeric here, commanding the screen in a way that makes you imagine director John Carroll Lynch tore up a lot of pre-planned ideas to let the actor tell his own story (a scene in which Stanton breaks out in a Spanish language ballad smacks of indulgence, but it's one of the sweetest movie moments of the year). He's funny, warm, sad and even a little scary (when he challenges a 40-year-old to a fight, your money is on Stanton).




Revenge (Coralie Fargeat)
revenge 2018 film
We said: Fargeat forces us to admire her heroine's physicality in the same way we might Stallone or Schwarzenegger's. As we watch Jen take her revenge onscreen, we're also seeing a female filmmaker exact vengeance on a genre that like most exploitation fans, she probably feels guilty about enjoying.




Sink (Mark Gillis)
sink film
We said: Sink's premise may sound like that of a hundred other low budget British dramas, but director Mark Gillis confounds expectations at every turn, twisting the well-worn tropes of gritty British kitchen sink cinema to deliver one of the most genuine and heartfelt portrayals of working class life I've ever seen.




Summer 1993 (Carla Simón)
summer 1993 film
We said: Laia Artigas might be the acting find of the year. We never feel like we're watching a child star at work, rather like director Carla Simón has managed to catch a confused kid going about her business with a hidden camera. Simón doesn't take the easy option of making Frida an easily loveable lass; rather she's a petulant tyke.




Tehran Taboo (Ali Soozandeh)
tehran taboo
We said: The narrative moves at breakneck pace, its protagonists barely given a chance to breathe as their troubles - most of which are brought on by Iran's nonsensical and misogynistic religious codes - become increasingly suffocating. When the film's three main subplots coalesce, it's in a naturalistic fashion that serves as testament to Ali Soozandeh's immaculate sense of story structure.




Thoroughbreds (Cory Finley)
thoroughbreds movie
We said: Though a technically adept piece of filmmaking, Cory Finley's film is essentially a character piece, one more concerned with the relationship between its central protagonists than in weaving a plot full of twists and turns. Even if Finley wasn't so committed to making his film aesthetically pleasing, simply watching his lead actresses carefully chew their roles would make Thoroughbreds a compelling experience.




Videoman (Kristian A. Söderström)
videoman
We said: You can tell early on that Kristian A. Söderström is as much of a geek as his protagonist, as his film is riddled with movie references that even Tarantino might struggle to keep up with. If you're a fan of obscure horror and exploitation movies, you'll have a knowing smile on your face throughout, and Söderström mines some hilarious self-deprecating humour from his collection of analog obsessed nerds.




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