15 Movies We Can’t Wait To See At The 2022 Tribeca Film Festival
Yes, there’s the Jennifer Lopez documentary, but there’s also new comedies with Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, MGK and Megan Fox.
Those of us with a passion for film are most likely still buzzing in the afterglow of the recently-concluded Cannes Film Festival. (Those Elvis premiere looks! A second Palme d’Or win, in a row, for Triangle of Sadness‘s Ruben Östlund!) Alas, the calendar never slows down, so it’s already time for the next gathering on the docket: the Tribeca Film Festival 2022 in New York.
Set to run for a week and a half, from June 8 to June 19, the latest edition of the super-popular fest will host more than 110 films from over 40 different countries. As usual, the festival will host several high-profile premieres, including Netflix’s highly-anticipated Jennifer Lopez documentary Halftime, which will serve as the festival’s Opening Night Gala selection, and Loudmouth, a documentary about controversial civil rights figure Reverend Al Sharpton, which will close it out.
But aside from that, Tribeca has plenty of exciting titles covering a wide swathe of genres and topics. Fans of horror can get excited for the psychological scares of Family Dinner or the spooks of pregnancy in Huesera. Those looking for a coming-of-age drama can look forward to The Year Between while those seeking out a film about drag queens in crisis have God Save the Queens. Comedy fans can see Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas ham it up in Official Competition or, for something slightly cringier, there’s The Drop. Or, if you just want to learn something new, documentaries like Body Parts (female sex on screen), Subject (how do documentaries impact their stars), and God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines (an exploration on how Black people are the true originators of techno music) may do just the trick.
Below, find the 15 movies NYLON is most excited to check out later this month.
After winning an Emmy for her writing work on Master of None, Lena Waithe has been on a nonstop kick, penning screenplays for splashy films like Queen & Slim and scripts for shows she’s created, like Showtime’s The Chi and BET’s Twenties. For her next writing endeavor, Waithe is gifting us Beauty, a new film that is directed by Restless City’s Andrew Dosunmu and stars Raise Your Hand’s Gracie Marie Bradley as the titular character, a queer Black singer learning firsthand about the sacrifices that sometimes come with fame. Set in the 1980s and designed to pay tribute to Black vocalists like Patti LaBelle and Whitney Houston, Beauty will paint an arresting portrait about what we lose when we make it big. And with a cast that also includes Sharon Stone as the manager who eventually signs Beauty, as well as Niecy Nash and Giancarlo Esposito as Beauty’s parents, it seems very hard for this film to fail.
Conversations about sex in film — and how it’s used, for better or for worse — have run rampant in recent years. (I’ve even joined in myself, from time to time.) Body Parts adds a new layer to that ever-evolving discourse by honing in on the predominantly male-gazey sex scenes of many films from a distinctly female perspective. Directed by Going On 13’s Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Body Parts traces to evolution of sex on-screen while also exploring how constructs like capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy have always impacted the way we perform and digest these scenes. Featuring interviews with actresses like Jane Fonda, Alexandra Billings, and Emily Meade, as well as with directors like Karyn Kusama, Joey Soloway, and David Simon, Body Parts will also touch on those members of Hollywood who have spoken out about abusive on-set behavior, only to be ostracized for their honesty.
In one of the most talked-about episodes of the recently-concluded third season of FX’s Atlanta, a privileged white child is forced to deal with the unexpected death of his Trinadidian nanny, whose culture he had been subconsciously soaking up for years. A similar setup is found in Carajita, which follows Sarah, the privileged white daughter of a corrupt oligarch, and Yarisa, the Dominican domestic worker who Sarah likes to think is “part of the family.” Of course, that’s easy to think when Yarisa is simply helping her with everything. But when Yarisa’s daughter turns up missing, Sarah is confronted with her own blindspots about life, race, and class. Directed by Ulises Porra and Silvina Schnicer, this haunting Spanish-language drama will challenge the accepted norms of the bonds commonly shared between children and their caretakers.
If the title for The Drop immediately reminded you of NBC’s too-crazy-to-be-true drama The Slap, then you’re already on the right path for what to expect from this new comedy. Just swap out “somebody slapping someone else’s misbehaving child” for “one member of a happily married couple accidentally dropping a friend’s baby while attending that friend’s destination wedding” and you’ve more or less gotten the central gist. Starring Pen15’s Anna Konkle and Coming 2 America’s Jermaine Fowler as the couple, and A Simple Favor’s Aparna Nancherla as the soon-to-be-married friend, The Drop is already a sure bet for a cringe-filled funny time, just based on that stacked cast alone. (There’s also A Black Lady Sketch Show creator Robin Thede, 22 Jump Street’s Jillian Bell, and The Dropout’s Utkarsh Ambudkar to round things out.)
Employee of the Month
Many of us have fantasized about our abusive bosses suddenly not being there — but what happens when you accidentally kill them? In Employee of the Month, Ines, a 45-year-old model employee who is nevertheless constantly undermined by her primarily male coworkers, is forced to contend with this question when “an accidental violent incident is committed” after her dismissive boss sexually assaults her. To add insult to injury, Melody, a new employee who Ines has been fastidiously mentoring, sees the incident occur and is now an accomplice. Now both faced with an uncertain future, these two women are forced to work together to figure out how best to cover their tracks. Directed by first-time feature helmer Veronique Jadin, this French film is described as a “quirky dark comedy” that will confront corporate office culture, misogyny in the workplace, and the happenstance bonds that can sometimes form between wildly different women — and it’s doing it all in less than 80 minutes. Well, hello, let’s celebrate that!
Described as the horror genre’s “first great Easter film,” Family Dinner follows Simi, a plus-sized 15-year-old girl, as she goes to visit her aunt Claudia, a popular nutritionist, for the holiday weekend. Hoping to get some pointers about how to eat better and possibly lose weight, Simi is instead thrown into an uncomfortable situation, battling hostility from her cousin and unwanted attention from his father. Oh yeah, the “pointers” she hoped to get from Claudia are instead presented to her as strict dietary rules. Trying to figure out why everyone is treating Simi so weirdly is at the heart of this film’s intrigue. Written and directed by Peter Hengl, making his feature debut, this German psychological creeper has been described as a “dread-filled powder keg of a film” and as “one of the most impressive genre debuts in years.” Let’s see if it lives up.
God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines
Thanks to a little thing I like to call white supremacy, stories about the origins of techno have largely focused on places like Germany. And while cities like Berlin certainly have thriving scenes, such framing paints a false narrative — most crucially, one that erases the contributions of Black musicians from places like Detroit and Chicago. In God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines, however, director Kristian Hill and producers Jennifer Washington and David Grandison set out to tell the real history of techno music through the stories of young visionaries like Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Sauderson, Blake Baxter, Eddie Fowlkes, and Santonio Echols.
God Save the Queens
As the queens of the all-winners season of Drag Race: All Stars will tell you, the possibilities for drag queens have never been greater. Look no further than God Save the Queens, a new film written and directed by Jordan Danger and starring a cast of mostly drag queens. Framed around a drag queen therapy retreat (a completely outrageous concept that I’m already 100% sold on), the dramedy stars Dear White People’s Jordan Michael Green and too many Drag Race alums to count. Alaska Thunderfuck, Laganja Estranja, and Kelly Mantle are all central characters, while Manila Luzon, Honey Davenport, and everyone’s favorite squirrel-friend Michelle Visage are all slated to make appearances. This one feels like a must for any drag fan.
After the breakout success of Beyoncé’s Homecoming, it only makes sense that Netflix would throw another glob of money at a different pop star who’s willing to open up about their process, their work ethic, and everything that makes them worthy of an “icon” moniker. Jennifer Lopez gets that treatment in Halftime, the title of which serves as a cheeky double entendre: the singer’s Super Bowl halftime performance is a huge focus of the upcoming documentary, but so is her journey up until now at the halftime of her life and career. Premiering at Tribeca just a week before making its way to Netflix queues all over the world, the Amanda Micheli-directed documentary will find Lopez “laying bare her evolution as a Latina, a mother, and an artist.”
As abortion rights are put into worrying flux under the Supreme Court, movies about the terrors of pregnancy and motherhood couldn’t feel any more prescient — and at Tribeca, the Spanish-language horror film Huesera will join classics like Rosemary’s Baby and last year’s superb The Lost Daughter in this exclusive club. Directed by Mexican filmmaker Michelle Garza Cervera, the new film follows Valeria as she excitedly learns that she and her husband, Raul, have finally conceived a child. But when Valeria is suddenly overcome by an inescapable feeling of dread (possibly of the supernatural variety), this excitement quickly begins to sour and the bisexual Valeria finds herself seeking comfort in the arms of her old flame, Octavia. The only woman-directed feature playing in the festival’s Midnight section, Huesera promises to be spooky and unsettling. Its relevance in the current cultural conversation is just an added bonus.
As the respective stars of Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers and Pain and Glory, Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas have already shown that they have a similar filmic sensibility. That sensibility will be put to the test in Official Competition, a Spanish comedy that stars Cruz as a big-name auteur director and Banderas as the hotshot Hollywood heartthrob who’s been hired to star in her next feature, which has been commissioned by a billionaire entrepreneur who one day decides he wants to get into the movie business. Movies about movies can often be hit or miss, but with this cast (also including Oscar Martínez as a respected stage actor), the Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat-directed romp will hopefully hew closer to the former.
As far as documentary filmmaking goes, what subject could possibly be more interesting than the subject of documentary filmmaking itself? In Subject, directors Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall examine exactly this, exploring how the subjects of some of our culture’s most popular recent documentaries have responded to the success of the films about their lives. It’s a great time for this movie to arrive — right as HBO Max is enjoying plenty of conversation about their successful, star-studded adaptation of Netflix’s breakout true-crime docuseries The Staircase, which also happens to be one of the main documentaries that gets examined in Subject. Other titles include Hoop Dreams, The Wolfpack, The Square, and Capturing the Friedmans.
What can I say? It was only a matter of time before Colson Baker, aka Machine Gun Kelly, appeared in a movie that appears at least slightly inspired by his own music career. And, of course, he’s doing it alongside his very PDA-friendly girlfriend, Megan Fox. After appearing in movies like Big Time Adolescence and The Dirt, the former NYLON cover star is making his debut as a lead in Taurus, playing a “rising but troubled” musician desperately trying to find inspiration to record his final song. Described as “a work of fiction that explores fame, addiction, the artistic process, and the music industry,” this new film, from Pavilion director Tim Sutton, will, at the very least, find an audience amongst the pop-punk obsessives of the world.
Last year, B.J. Novak proved that he could do a lot with a silly premise in his cheekily-titled anthology series The Premise, in which each episode took a crazy concept and treated it completely seriously. Now, The Office veteran is back with his directorial debut, which he also wrote, to show what he can do with a more standard premise. In Vengeance, Novak plays Ben Manalowitz, a New York-based journalist who travels to West Texas to investigate a young woman’s mysterious death. Of course, this is a Novak project at the end of the day, so expect this classic setup to be deconstructed as it goes in plenty of unexpected directions. Also, get ready for some major star power, as Vengeance’s cast is rounded out by Insecure’s Issa Rae, former Punk’D host Ashton Kutcher, Logan’s Boyd Holbrook, former Disney darling Dove Cameron, and Succession’s J. Smith-Cameron (in her first of two films on this list).
The Year Between
After Cooper Raiff’s post-college malaise dramedy Cha Cha Real Smooth made a huge splash at Sundance for the preternaturally talented writer-director-star, The Year Between could be poised to do the same for Alex Heller, who also writes, directs, and stars in this dramedy about a college student who returns home thanks to the “erratic behavior” she exhibited while at school. Now relegated to the suburbs, Clemence (Heller) continues to annoy everyone around her until she eventually realizes that her actions aren’t sustainable and finally makes an effort to change her life around. The Year Between marks Heller’s directorial debut, but it doesn’t take an eagle-eyed observer to see that the promising upstart already knows exactly what she wants: Heller cast Succession’s J. Smith-Cameron and Fargo’s Steve Buscemi as her parents. Exactly.