Tribeca Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary with a return to in-person programming. New Yorkers gathered at outdoor venues across the city, taking in premiere screenings come rain or shine (and oh, the rain did come). Rooftops beckoned filmgoers and makers once more, with star-studded events and after-parties hosted by myriad sponsors, like Diageo, Indeed, and Chanel.
Still, Tribeca remained true to the spirit of the stay-at-home era, offering a digital screening platform for the bulk of their titles. Here are the eight that stood out to us most.
The Justice of Bunny King
Tribeca Film Festival
Essie Davis is magnetic as titular lead Bunny, a hard on her luck mother of two desperate to reunite with her children no matter the cost. It's not an easy film to watch - rather, the experience feels a bit akin to a therapy session: painful, though ultimately cathartic.
The Lost Leonardo
Sony Pictures Classics
Move over, Dan Brown. This documentary about the most expensive painting ever sold is stranger (and messier) than fiction.
Queen of Glory
Writer and star Nana Mensah's directorial debut cemented her as one to watch - and she has Tribeca's Best New Narrative Director award to prove it. Queen of Glory paints an intimate portrait of PhD candidate Sarah, a daughter of Ghanian immigrants whose life path is called into question after the sudden death of her mother. Unexpectedly funny as it is sniffle-inducing, Glory's queen deserves her crown.
What if Rosemary's baby was conceived through IVF? This chilling (and at times hilarious) film, co-written by star Ilana Glazer (Broad City), delves into the potential horrors of ceding control of one's body to outside forces. If you're pregnant or trying to conceive … proceed with emotional caution.
If you can manage to dissociate Isabelle Fuhrman's face from that of Orphan's Esther (I'll admit, I struggled), The Novice will provide a transportive experience into the depths of obsession. The film emerged as one of Tribeca's most notable, winning Best Actress for Fuhrman, Best Cinematography, and the coveted Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film.
Despite its title, Poser isn't trying to be anything it's not. In fact, the visually striking film, which follows an aspiring musician who mistakes plagiarism for inspiration, is wholly unique.
Catch the Fair One
Tribeca Film Festival
Newcomer Kali Reiss delivers a stunning performance as Kaylee, a former boxer turned vigilante who goes in search of her missing sister. I wouldn't call Taken wholesome, but it is compared to Catch the Fair One.
Mark, Mary & Some Other People
Hannah Marks brought a dose of levity to the festival's tragedy-heavy slate in this comedy about a couple wading into the sometimes murky waters of ethical non-monogamy. Indie stars on-the-rise Hayley Law and Ben Rosenfield both shine in the character-fueled film, the screenplay for which was awarded the prize for Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film.