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14 indies to watch this winter and spring

From a crazy Miles Davis biopic to a movie where Colin Farrell might become a lobster, early 2016's art house fare is strong.

Let’s assume this late winter will last into, oh, July. So it’s a great time to be indoors. You could go see the 10,000 comic book movies coming out before the summer (which will bring another 20,000 comic book movies). Or you could stick to the thriftier, artier, weirder fare. Here’s the indies and art house fare coming to a theater near you (or your couch, via VOD).

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‘In the Shadow of Women’ (Jan. 15)
You probably know his son, the strapping, floppy-haired Louis Garrel, star of “The Dreamers” and last year’s “Saint Laurent.” But Philippe Garrel has long been one of France’s finest filmmakers, capable of sprawling masterworks like 2005’s “Regular Lovers” (with Louis) and tiny, compact ones, like this exacting study of a relationship in which both partners cheat (not with Louis).

‘Aferim!’ (Jan. 15)
It’s been a decade, and the Romanian New Wave — which spawned “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” etc. — is still going strong. Radu Jade, the director of this gypsy comedy-drama, made one of the Wave’s best films, “Everybody in Our Family,” so go.

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‘Knight of Cups’ (Feb. 4)
Remember those 20 years when Terrence Malick made zero films? Now we have three, maybe four, maybe 30,000 in the pipeline. The first is this L.A.-based one about a sad screenwriter (Christian Bale), plus a seriously random supporting cast (Cate Blanchett! Antonio Banderas! Brian Dennehy! Nick Offerman! Ryan O’Neal!)

‘Cemetery of Splendor’ (Feb. 4)
It’s been awhile since Thai wonder Apichatpong Weerasethakul (whose name we’ve been able to spell without looking since his 2004 masterpiece “Tropical Malady”) has made a proper feature. The new one is reliably hypnotic and mysterious, hanging at a country hospital for people in comas, where the spirit world casually bros down with the staff.

‘Midnight Special’ (Feb. 8)
OK, it cost $18 million, but this sci-fi road movie is still the latest from small-time legend Jeff Nichols, he of “Take Shelter” and “Mud.” Nichols’ sometime-regular Michael Shannon plays a man trying to protect his son, who has magical powers, from evil gub’mint forces, and Kirsten Dunst and Adam Driver are in there as well.

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‘The Witch’ (Feb. 26)
We’re currently living in an indie horror renaissance, thanks to “The Babadook,” “It Follows” and more. Here’s another: People have been going nuts for this 17th century-set chiller, which sounds like “The Crucible” but with scares, since Sundance last year. Believe the hype?

‘The Lobster’ (Mar. 11)
In a dystopian future, single people — including Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw — are consigned to a hotel, where they have two months to find a mate or they will be turned into an animal (of their choice, which is nice). The latest from Yorgos Lanthimos is not quite as brilliant as his “Dogtooth,” but you try to live up to something that good.

‘Hello, My Name is Doris’ (Mar. 11)
Michael Showalter wrote this dramedy, which finds Sally Field romancing the young Max Greenfield. We’re enjoying the Fieldassaince (see also: “Lincoln”), especially since she’s become even more interesting with age.

‘Krisha’ (Mar. 18)
The long takes in “The Revenant” have nothing on this tiny fest favorite, where the camera prowls around a tense family reunion, where everyone would be getting along if it hadn’t been crashed by a self-destructive, argumentative relative (Krisha Fairchild).

‘Mia Madre’ (Mar. 26)
John Turturro tries out his Italian in the latest from Nanni Moretti (“The Son’s Rom,” “We Have a Pope”), playing a tyrannical American actor making life miserable for an Italian film set. He especially makes things miserable for its director (Margherita Buy), who’s juggling a shoot with her dying mom.

‘Miles Ahead’ (Apr. 1)
Rather than another tiresome career-spanning biopic, Miles Davis gets a certifiably crazy one, with Don Cheadle taking on the jazzman’s wild, wild-haired late ’70s pre-comeback period. There’s even a car chase.

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‘No Home Movie’ (Apr. 1)
Chantal Akerman, the minimalist legend of “Jeanne Dielman,” committed suicide this fall, right as her latest was playing the New York Film Festival. It’s a great film, too, though it’s not an easy one: It consists of home movie footage, mostly of her mom in her last year, arranged in mysterious ways.

‘Demolition’ (Apr. 8)
Jean-Marc Valee (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Wild”) takes on grief with this character study of a widower (Jake Gyllenhaal) who falls apart after the death of his wife.

‘Tale of Tales’ (Apr. 22)
Want to see Salma Hayek eat a gross monster? That and other bizarro sights are up for grabs in this Italian fantasy, which adapts some particularly out-there fairy tales, with the help of Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge
 
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