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20 Must-See Movies to Catch at SXSW 2017

From Charlize Theron kicking ass to music docs, midnight movies and the making of ‘The Room’ – what to see at the Austin-based film fest

Film-geek auteur projects, psychotronic fanboy-friendly blockbusters, over-the-top midnight movies, under-the-radar indie dramas and more music documentaries than you can shake a D.A. Pennebraker-approved stick at – the annual SXSW Film Festival (kicking off on March 10th) has always specialized in a sort of eclectic, lo-fi-meets-high-art-for-a-Shiner-Bock vibe when it comes to their programming. And this year is no different: You can dip into docs on David Lynch, West Coast hip-hop, Baltimore pest-control and Internet outlaws. Or check out a Big Star & Friends concert movie. Or watch Charlize Theron kick ass. There’s even a poignant character study of a small-town ape. Here are 20 films that attendees should consider must-sees, and that the rest of us not heading to Austin should keep our eyes peeled for.


Lindsey Byrnes

‘Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live … and More’

You can’t throw a rock at the current/former indie-rock contingent without hitting a Big Star fan – Alex Chilton’s band is considered by many to be the greatest power-pop ensemble of all time. Which is why, when Chilton suddenly passed away two days before the group was supposed to play SXSW in 2010, it wasn’t surprising that a ton of famous fellow musicians and disciples came to Austin to join the surviving members onstage. This recording of the event finds members of Yo La Tengo, Wilco, R.E.M., the Posies and countless others ripping through Big Star tunes and collectively mourning the music world’s loss. Be prepared to tear up.

‘This Is Your Death’

Where does Reality TV have left to go, you wonder? According to actor-director Giancarlo Esposito’s scabrous, pitch-black satire, the answer is: televised competitive suicides. And yes, of course the show is a hit! We were curious to see what the once-and-future Gus Fring chose for a follow-up to his underrated behind-the-camera debut Gospel Hill (2008), but we have to admit that “surprisingly more relevant-than-ever take on our nation’s obsession with their 15 minutes of fame” would not have been our first guess. Brace yourself for this one.

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