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The Contenders

November 07, 2019 – January 08, 2020

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, and the MoMA Stores in New York City have closed temporarily. 

Every year there are films that resonate far beyond a theatrical release—if they manage to find their way to a commercial screen at all—or film festival appearance. Their significance can be attributed to a variety of factors, from structure to subject matter to language, but these films are united in their lasting impact on the cinematic art form. For this annual series, the Department of Film combs through major studio releases and the top film festivals in the world, selecting influential, innovative films made in the past 12 months that we believe will stand the test of time. Whether bound for awards glory or destined to become a cult classic, each of these films is a contender for lasting historical significance, and any true cinephile will want to catch them on the big screen.

Media Sponsorship is provided by The Hollywood Reporter.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund.

Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.



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American Factory (美国工厂). 2019. USA. Directed by Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar. Courtesy Netflix

Booksmart. 2019. USA. Directed by Olivia Wilde. Courtesy United Artists Releasing

Dragged Across Concrete. 2019. USA. Directed by S. Craig Zahler. Courtesy of the artist

Edge of Democracy. 2019. Brazil. Directed by Petra Costa. Courtesy Netflix

Give Me Liberty. 2019. USA. Directed by Kirill Mikhanovsky. Courtesy Music Box Films

Her Smell. 2019. USA. Directed by Alex Ross Perry. Courtesy Gunpowder & Sky

The Irishman. 2019. USA. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Courtesy Netflix

Marriage Story. 2019. Directed and written by Noah Baumbach. Courtesy Netflix

Pain and Glory. 2019. Spain. Directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Rolling Thunder Revue. 2019. USA. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Courtesy Netflix

The Beach Bum. 2019. USA. Directed by Harmony Korine.  Courtesy NEON

Varda by Agnès. 2019. France. Directed by Agnès Varda. Courtesy Ciné Tamaris

Varda by Agnès. 2019. France. Directed by Agnès Varda. Courtesy Ciné Tamaris

Where’s My Roy Cohn? 2019. USA. Directed by Matt Tyrauner. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Where’s My Roy Cohn? 2019. USA. Directed by Matt Tyrauner. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Jojo Rabbit. 2019. USA. Directed by Taika Waititi. Courtesy Fox Searchlight

Joker. 2019. USA. Directed by Todd Phillips. Courtesy Warner Brothers

Les Misérables. 2019. France. Directed by Ladj Ly. Courtesy Amazon Studios

Little Women. 2019. USA. Directed by Greta Gerwig.  Courtesy Sony Pictures

Portrait of a Lady on Fire. 2019. France. Directed by Céline Sciamma. Courtesy NEON

Synonyms. 2019. France/Israel/Germany. Directed by Nadav Lapid. Courtesy Kino Lorber

Invisible Life. 2019. Brazil. Directed by Karim Aïnouz. Courtesy Amazon Studios

Systemsprenger (System Crasher). 2019. Directed by Nora Fingscheidt. Courtesy of the filmmakers

Monos. 2018. Colombia/Argentina/Netherlands/ Germany/Sweden/Uruguay. Directed by Alejandro Landes. Courtesy NEON

End of the Century. 2019. Argentina. Directed by Lucio Castro. Courtesy Cinema Guild

Clemency. 2019. USA. Directed and written by Chinonye Chukwu. Courtesy NEON

For Sama. 2019. UK. Directed by Waad Al-Khateab, Edward Watts. Courtesy Frontline

The Report. 2019. USA. Directed by Scott Z. Burns. Courtesy Amazon Studios

Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood. 2019. USA. Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Courtesy Sony Pictures

I Lost My Body. 2019. France. Directed by Jérémy Clapin. Courtesy Netflix

Dark Waters. 2019. USA. Directed  by Todd Haynes. Courtesy Focus Features

Judy.  2019. USA. Directed by Rupert Goold. Courtesy Roadside Attractions

Uncut Gems. 2019. USA. Directed by Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie.  Courtesy A24

Dolemite is My Name. 2019. USA. Directed by Craig Brewer. Courtesy Netflix

Diamantino. 2018. Portugal/France/Brazil. Directed by Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt. Portuguese with English subtitiles. Courtesy Kino Lorber

Honeyland. 2019. Macedonia. Directed by Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov. Courtesy NEON

The Lighthouse. 2019. Canada/USA. Directed by Robert Eggers. Courtesy A24

Long Day’s Journey Into Night. 2018. China/France. Directed by Bi Gan. Courtesy Kino Lorber

Sorry Angel. 2018. France. Directed by Christophe Honoré. Courtesy Strand Releasing

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. 2019. USA. Directed by Marielle Heller. Courtesy Sony Pictures

One Child Nation. 2019. USA. Directed by Nanfu Wang. Courtesy Amazon Studios

Missing Link. 2019. USA. Directed by Chris Butler. Courtesy UA Releasing

Charlie Says. 2018. USA. Directed by Mary Harron. Courtesy IFC Films

Little Joe. 2019. Austria/UK/Germany. Directed by Jessica Hausner. Courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Queen & Slim. 2019. USA. Directed by Melina Matsoukas. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.