Indie Fresh List

The Indie Fresh List: A Pair of Cultural Icons and a Conscientious Objector

Check out the latest Fresh indie releases, including what's still in theaters and what's coming soon.

by | December 10, 2019 | Comments

Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what’s opening, expanding, and coming to the specialty box office. From promising releases from new voices to experimental efforts from storied filmmakers – or perhaps the next indie darling to go the distance for end-of-year accolades – we will break it all down for you here each week in Fresh Indie Finds. 

This week at the specialty box office, we have new documentaries on ’60s icons of fashion and dance and the latest from The Thin Red Line director Terrence Malick about an unsung World War II hero. In our spotlight section, we bring back Linda Ronstadt’s bio-doc, and in our indie trailer section, we have new clips from Josh Hartnett and Ozark star Julia Garner.

Opening This Weekend

Cunningham (2019) 86%


Experimental avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham was at the forefront of a revolution. Over 70 years of work with collaborators like Alvin Ailey, Andy Warhol, and countless others, he reshaped what it means to dance with one guiding principle: any movement is possible. This week, an immersive new 3D documentary featuring a non-traditional narrative style chronicles his career, collaborators, and innovations. Kevin Lee of Film Inquiry said of Alla Kovgan‘s film, “Sometimes you don’t need a narrative in your documentary. Sometimes your silver bullet is so powerful that it speaks for itself. In the case of Cunningham, that silver bullet is the dance choreography.”

Playing New York and Los Angeles this weekend.

A Hidden Life (2019) 80%


Terrence Malick returns to form in this visually stunning World War II epic on life, religion, and fanaticism, based on the true-life story of Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector who refused to fight for the Nazis and was threatened with treason and execution. Zhuo-Ning Su of Award Daily writes, “Malick’s approach to profiling Jägerstätter is so far removed from the typical tropes of cinematic biographies, to call it that seems to almost cheapen the effort. ”

Playing New York and Los Angeles this weekend. 

The Disappearance of My Mother (2019) 96%


A captivating and peculiar examination of a reluctant documentary subject. Benedetta Barzini was an iconic fashion model in the 1960s — a muse to Warhol, Dali, Pen, and Avedon. She disappeared from the public spotlight at 75 years old and retreated to the remote areas of the world, far removed from anyone who knew her. Her son, documentarian Beniamino Barrese, chronicles her self-imposed disappearance and secretly records her, despite her constant effort to prevent him from capturing her on film. The result is a blend of found-footage guerilla documentary tactics mixed with a loving tribute of a son to his mother that J. Don Birnam of Awards Circuit called “an intimate, beautiful and evocative documentary about the life and thoughts of an inherently fascinating, cantankerous, and progressive woman who, in her old age, just wants to disappear.”

Playing New York and Los Angeles this weekend.

Fresh and Still in Theaters

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) 88%

– Spotlight Pick  

Linda Ronstadt trended on social media last weekend, so we thought now would be a great time to remind everyone that she has a brilliant bio-doc still in theaters. As a musician, Ronstadt has been an icon for decades; her voice, ambition, and creativity have given us some of the most famous recordings in modern music. This documentary examines her life, from her humble beginnings singing Mexican canciónes with her family to the 1970s and early 1980s, when she became the first artist to top the Pop, Country, and R&B charts simultaneously. Ronstadt’s career came to an abrupt halt when a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis robbed her of her singing career and the world of one of the best voices ever to perform. A.O. Scott of The New York Times said of Ronstadt, “She shows herself to be one of its indispensable interpreters, as a vocalist and also as a thinker — covering a sprawling landscape with elegance, passion and insight.”

Playing on limited screens this weekend.

Along with…

  • Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) , a satire about a low-income family who try to hustle their way to a better life through their association with an affluent family.
  • Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) , a drama about an aging director who reflects on his films, collaborators, and legacy after he’s sidelined by severe back pain.
  • The Lighthouse (2019) , a surreal psychological horror film about two men tortured by the elements and each other while isolated in a remote lighthouse.
  • Mickey and the Bear (2019) , a drama about a teenage girl who navigates a loving but troubled relationship with her single, veteran father in rural Montana.
  • Marriage Story (2019) , a bi-coastal drama chronicling the divorce between a director and his actress wife.
  • Waves (2019) , a drama about a young wrestler who battles familial pressures and the burdens of minority exceptionalism.
  • Citizen K (2019) , a thought-provoking documentary on post-Soviet Union Russia and the oligarchical system that runs it.
  • Jojo Rabbit (2019) , a satire about a naive Hitler youth who discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic during World War II.

New Indie Trailers

The Assistant (2020) 90%

Ozark star Julia Garner stars in a film about the pre-#MeToo film industry as told through the eyes of a young assistant to a predatory Hollywood producer.

Invisible Life (A vida invisível de Eurídice Gusmão) (2019) 93%

An Oscar Foreign Language hopeful about two inseparable sisters who live their lives apart yet are unavoidably linked through time.

Inherit the Viper (2020) 45%

Josh Hartnett stars in this rural thriller about a backwoods drug-dealing family who are put in a battle against the clock when a drug deal goes wrong.

Thumbnail images by Kino Lorber, Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing, Fox Searchlight Pictures

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