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Staff & contributors

In Aftersun, Sophie recalls a holiday she took as an eleven-year-old in the ‘90s with her father. Video recordings help jog her memory, but she’s looking for more than just a blast from the past. Rather, she seems to be seeking answers to fill in the gaps between who she knew as her father and who he really was: an immensely nice but deeply troubled man.

At first, Aftersun looks like a simple but beautiful story about father and daughter bonding over the course of a summer trip. But within minutes, it’s clear that there are layers to Aftersun, emotionally and editorially, that aren’t always explained but nonetheless enrich the movie with profound meaning. Stirring, complex, and surprisingly inventive, it’s not surprising that Aftersun is one of the most beloved films of the past year. 

Genre: Drama

Actor: Celia Rowlson-Hall, Frankie Corio, Harry Perdios, Kieran Burton, Paul Mescal, Sally Messham, Sarah Makharine, Sophia Lamanova, Spike Fearn

Director: Charlotte Wells

Rating: R

Painfully intimate and told with very, very little dialogue, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt resembles the experience of flipping through a photo book and pausing to admire every page. Which is to say that this is a film that requires not only one's complete attention but—like many other arthouse dramas—a willingness to sit with the mundane until it reveals something more profound. The nearly silent nature of its storytelling can be a little awkward, given how lifelike the rest of the movie is, but one should hopefully get used to the idea that this is an attempt to represent something closer to memory than reality. Whether or not the experience sticks or strikes an emotional chord, it's all beautifully put together, with lush cinematography, impeccably detailed sound design, and thoughtful sequencing of one image after another.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Charleen McClure, Chris Chalk, Kaylee Nicole Johnson, Moses Ingram, Reginald Helms Jr., Sheila Atim, Zainab Jah

Director: Raven Jackson

Rating: PG