Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie star in the suspenseful “Eileen,” based on the novel of the same name by Ottessa Moshfegh.
By Lucy Spicer
As we close out 2023 to prepare for a new chapter, it’s worth taking a moment to remember the diverse stories we’ve encountered throughout the year. Which emerging filmmakers did you meet and fall in love with through their work? What unfamiliar genres did you explore? What stories taught you something new about the world and yourself?
December continues to bring audiences unique perspectives and voices with three new Sundance releases — one fictional thriller and one fly-on-the-wall documentary that premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, as well as one meditative feature reaching new audiences after it screened at the 2020 Festival.
Eileen — One dreary winter in 1960s New England, 20-something Eileen’s (Thomasin McKenzie) monotonous life is shaken up by a new arrival at the correctional facility where she works. Rebecca (Anne Hathaway), the prison’s new psychologist, is as enigmatic as she is glamorous, and Eileen finds herself drawn into the woman’s orbit. But something sinister lurks beneath Rebecca’s polished exterior — something with the potential to bring out the darkest parts of Eileen herself. Directed by William Oldroyd, this stylish psychological thriller is based on the novel of the same name by Ottessa Moshfegh, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Luke Goebel. Arriving in select theaters December 1; wide release on December 8.
The Mountains Are a Dream That Call to Me — Writer-director Cedric Cheung-Lau’s meditative feature debut features three characters: a young Nepali man, an older Australian woman, and the awesome Annapurna massif in the Himalayas. Tukten (Sanjay Lama Dong) is heading westward for new opportunities when he encounters lone hiker Hannah (Alice Cummins) trekking in the opposite direction. The chance meeting invites unexpected reflection in both travelers. Supported by the 2019 Film Music and Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Sound, this sweeping film screened in the NEXT section at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Streaming on The Criterion Channel starting December 1.
Pianoforte — Held every five years in Warsaw, Poland, the International Chopin Piano Competition is a prestigious event that often propels its winner into a lucrative career in classical performance. Director Jakub Piątek goes behind the scenes of the 2021 competition in this gripping documentary that follows some of the world’s most skilled young pianists as they navigate the contest’s many rules and handle the intense pressures imposed on them by others as well as themselves. Arriving in select theaters December 1; streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ starting January 9.
The 2023 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour is underway! Traveling to all corners of the United States and beyond in the following months, the 90-minute program features seven short films selected from the 2023 Festival. Check here for dates and venues; see below for dates in December.
- Colorado Springs, Colorado, December 2, Independent Film Society of Colorado
- Rockford, Illinois, December 2, 815horts
- Los Angeles, California, December 3, American Cinematheque: Los Feliz 3
- Boston, Massachusetts, December 7–10, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire, December 21–22, The Music Hall