The 10 best first feature films of 2021

It’s almost impossible to worry about the future of cinema with such a wealth of new talent starting their jobs this year.

It’s never easy to put together end-of-year “best of” lists, but there are certain categories that make the annual chore with relish. This year: a truly inspiring crop of first feature films from directors of a wide range of emerging talent. Who could care about the future of cinema with so many great movies on screens (of all sizes) in the span of a single calendar year?

It’s telling that some of the year’s most acclaimed films, like Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter” and Rebecca Hall’s “Passing,” have already broken into the fray to grab attention alongside the rest of the heavy hitters of. the year. But they’re not the only ones, as this year’s list of best first feature films includes a number of hidden gems still ripe to watch, unexpected box office deals (like Emma Seligman’s “Shiva Baby” or ” Pig “) by Michael Sarnoski, and much more. .

Picking ten movies and directors to showcase this year was, well, one word: easy. Discover the next generation of filmmakers and their mind-blowing debut films, and get on board with these names now. We certainly are.

Eric Kohn, Jude Dry, and Ryan Lattanzio contributed to this article.

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