ENTRIES IN PART 7:

 


DONATELLA VALENTE

FILM WRITER, TEACHES FILM AND MEDIA AT BIRBECK COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON.

In no preferential order:

Il Racconto dei Racconti (Tale of Tales, Matteo Garrone, 2015). A wildly entertaining fairy tale on ‘excess’. It could be read in a feminist key, as in all three intertwined stories women try to cut out a space of autonomy from male dominance.

Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015). A lyrical essay film on the coming of age of masculinity.

Fai Bei Sogni (Sweet Dreams, Marco Bellocchio, 2016). A moving portrayal of the myth of oedipal attachments.

Cìkè Niè Yinniáng (The Assassin, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 2015). A finely textured and stylistically sublime essay on the Chinese wuxia genre; a mood piece re-imagined by a sympathetic female warrior.

La fille inconnue (The Unknown Girl, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2016). A contemporary realistic, and stylistically minimalist, tale of moral dilemmas, about individualism, self-absorbed interests and dis-connection from social altruism. A journey towards redemption from racial prejudice.

El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra, 2015). An ethnographic film full of magic realism.

Mia Madre (Nanni Moretti, 2015). Margherita Buy at her best in marrying comedy with tragedy, and as the typically neurotic female survivor in Moretti’s best film in years. Wonderful use of flashbacks in this female oedipal narrative of loss.

Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015). This is an eerie tale of a mystical reality, where time for soldiers caught by a mysterious sleeping disorder is suspended in a liminal state, between memory and dream, and imagined as magically re-consigned to life through the help of two women – a nurse and a psychic.

On the Milky Road (Emir Kusturica, 2016). Visually bold and anarchic, inventive and passionate, this is the idealistic and romantic Kusturica depicting the life of the anti-hero male protagonist fighting to save love from war.

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016). Aside from the lyrical and visually inventive overtones, which confirm Jarmusch’s genius at juxtaposing stylistic flourishes over naturalistic portraits of mundanity, this is a very funny film.

Notes on Blindness (Pete Middleton and James Spinney, 2016). An audio-visually multi-layered, lyrical self-portrait film tracing theologian John Hull’s oncoming visual darkness.

While most of these films had a 2016 UK release, a few others were screened at the 2016 International London Film Festival. Also noteworthy is the wonderfully rich and engaging collection of experimental feminist films shown in September 2016 at Tate Modern celebrating the 50th anniversary of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative titled From Reel to Real. Women, Feminism and the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative. Since 1969, through a wide range of expressive filmic texts, media and techniques, these feminist artists have been addressing women’s subjectivity in society and the arts to counter the constraints of patriarchal authority.

 

CARLOS VALLADARES

MANAGING EDITOR OF ARTS AND LIFE, THE STANFORD DAILY AND THE STANFORD ARTS REVIEW

15 Favorite American Releases:

1. Omoido Poro Poro (Only Yesterday, Isao Takahata, 1991, 2016 re-release in United States)

This long-unavailable Studio Ghibli masterpiece (now my favorite film from Isao Takahata) has a radical respect for process, the quotidian, the mundane. The movie stops to watch a Japanese family learn how to cut a Hawaiian pineapple. We tear up as we see a boy relentlessly ragged for having a crush on the girl in the next class; we’ve been there.

2. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)

Reichardt’s brown-heavy tale of Montana loneliness (with the year’s best ensemble) is radical for several reasons. Besides respecting the weirdness of the most microcosmic details — an untucked Laura Dern shirt, the way Kristen Stewart dabs her mouth without removing the napkin/fork paper band — Reichardt digs deep beneath a thing’s surface to uncover the disharmony of the world, an unsettling American loneliness. Thus, her film’s quietness moved me more often than most of 2016’s other slickly conceived tear-jerkers (from La La Land to Moonlight to Mangled Drama by the Sea — and I don’t mean The Shallows).

3. Beyoncé: Lemonade (Beyoncé Knowles, Kahlil Joseph, 2016)

Lemonade‘s sheer originality in image-making blows most of this year’s movies out of the water. Queen Bey dismantles canons, assumptions, seemingly sturdy grounds. Her film staggers in its relentless remixing, enlightens in its Black Womanist insights.

4. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)

Malick externalizes his personal tragedies and Ho’wood seductions into this heady trip through rotten-to-the-core L.A. A daring treatise on the spiritual death of cinema, and its potential for Phoenix-like resurrection.

5. La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)

A postmodern work for our times. Aggressive jewel tones, Demy-copped CinemaScope bulge, and a cartooned Los Angeles (really, Hollywood) are the tools Chazelle uses to both embrace and critique the #aesthetic moment. La La Land’s tragedy comes from its success at conjuring up many pasts (of the first romantic encounter, of American musicals, of revolutionary jazz), and its failure at sustaining any of them.

6. Sunset Song (Terence Davies, 2015)

Davies’ trademark humanism in full effect, channeled through stunning Scottish landscapes, a performance for the ages (Agyness Denn’s) and Davies’ pet themes: patriarchal brutality (abusive fathers), feminist resilience (battle-axe mothers), artistic escapism (through Scottish folk tunes), and the strength culled from loneliness. All are channeled through Davies’ steady hand — as knowing as late Chaplin’s (Limelight, Countess from Hong Kong).

7. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)

  1. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
  2. The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig, 2016)
  3. Hail, Caesar! (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2016)
  4. Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016)
  5. The Love Witch (Anna Biller, 2016)
  6. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson, 2016)
  7. Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight, 2016)
  8. Dirty Grandpa (Dan Mazer, 2016)
world film poll 2016

La La Land

 

JESUE VALLE

CINESHOTS

2016 in film is a year about communication, or lack thereof. You can describe any of these films as examination of life’s misunderstandings or the difficulty of articulation. Which, funnily enough, seemed to plague the year in general.

  1. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  2. Arrival (Dennis Villeneuve, 2016)
  3. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  4. Little Men (Ira Sachs, 2016)
  5. A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2015)
  6. Mon Roi (My King, Maïwenn, 2015)
  7. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  8. The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015)
  9. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
  10. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
  11. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  12. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  13. 13. I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016)
  14. Don’t Breathe (Fede Alverez, 2016)
  15. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2015)

 

KOEN VAN DAELE

CURATOR WORKING IN LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA. HEAD OF PROGRAM AT KINODVOR.

Top Five

1.

  • Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  • Jackie (Pablo Larraín, 2016)
  • Mama (Mother, Vlado Škafar, 2016)
  • Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  • Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016)
  • Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  • Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)

2.

  • Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
  • Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  • Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016)
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
  • La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  • Neruda (Pablo Larraín, 2016)
  • A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)

3.

  • Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left, Lav Diaz, 2016)
  • Bacalaureat (Graduation, Cristian Mungiu, 2016)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
  • I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016)
  • Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar, 2016)
  • Ma Loute (Slack Bay, Bruno Dumont, 2016)
  • Nočna ptica (Nighthawk, Špela Čadež, 2016)
  • Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
  • Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016)
  • Ta’ang (Wang Bing, 2016)
  • video haiku #3 (Vlado Škafar, 2016)

4.

  • 24 Wochen (24 Weeks, Anne Zohra Berrached, 2016)
  • L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
  • Beyond Sleep (Boudewijn Koole, 2016)
  • Demon (Marcin Wrona, 2015)
  • I Had Nowhere to Go (Douglas Gordon, 2016)
  • Indignation (James Schamus, 2016)
  • Kate Plays Christine (Robert Greene, 2016)
  • Ne gledaj mi u pijat (Stop Staring at my Plate, Hana Jušić, 2016)
  • Porto (Gabe Klinger, 2016)
  • Rester Vertical (Staying Vertical, Alain Guiraudie, 2016)
  • The Transfiguration (Michael O’Shea, 2016)

5.

  • The Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker, 2016)
  • Chi-Raq (Spike Lee, 2015)
  • Dobra žena (A Good Wife, Mirjana Karanović, 2016)
  • Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater, 2016)
  • La fille inconnue (The Unknown Girl, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2016)
  • Le Fils de Joseph (The Son of Joseph, Eugène Green, 2016)
  • Little Men (Ira Sachs, 2016)
  • Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
  • Loving (Jeff Nichols, 2016)
  • My Scientology Movie (John Dower, 2015)
  • Wiener-Dog (Todd Solondz, 2016)

+ 11 exceptional screenings

Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, Lav Diaz, 2016). Berlinale. Berlinale Palast. Berlin, February.

Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926). Projection of a fine grain print, restored from the original camera negative. Live accompanied on piano by Gabriel Thibaudeau. Il cinema ritrovato, Cinema Lumiere – Sala Officinema/Mastroianni, Bologna, June 28th.

Projection of the first 10 ‘vues’ by the Lumière brothers (as projected in the Grand Café on December 28th, 1895) using a projector from the time, hand-cranked by Nikolaus Wostry (»Enjoy the flicker!«) from the Filmarchiv Austria. Il cinema ritrovato, Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bologna, June 30th.

Yoru no kawa (Undercurrent / Night River, Kozaburo Yoshimura, 1956). 35mm colour print. Il cinema ritrovato, Cinema Jolly, June 30th.

Excursion dans la ravine d’Edmunds Klamm en Suisse Saxonne (Germania Film, 1911). 35mm print preserved in 2015 from a stencilcoloured and tinted nitrate print. Screened as part of a program of early films from the collections of the Swedish Film Institute, curated by Camille Blot-Wellens and Jon Wengström. Il cinema ritrovato, Cinema Lumiere – Sala Officinema/Mastroianni, June 30th.

Déjà s’envole la fleur maigre (Paul Meyer, 1960). Projection of the restored version, introduced in Italian by Paul Meyer’s daughter Claire. Il cinema ritrovato, Cinema Arlecchino, Bologna, July 2nd.

Dolina miru (Valley of Peace, France Štiglic, 1956). Slovene premiere of the restored version (on the occasion of the film’s 60 anniversary) presented in the presence of the two leading ‘child’ actors: Eveline Wohlfeiler and Tugo Štiglic. Open air projection on Congress Square, Ljubljana, August 23rd.

Safety Last! (Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor, 1923). Live accompanied on piano by Neil Brand. Open air projection on Congress Square, Ljubljana, August 25th.

Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience (Terrence Malick, 2016). TIFF, Scotiabank Theatre – IMAX, Toronto, September.

No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015). Opening film of the International Festival of Contemporary Arts CITY OF WOMEN. Introduced by, and followed by a talk with Claire Atherton. Kinodvor, Ljubljana, October 3rd.

The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971). 35mm print screened as part of the ‘Film Goes to Cinema’ retrospective at the Ljubljana International Film Festival, Kinodvor, Ljubljana, November 11th.

KAJ VAN ZOELEN

FREELANCE FILM CRITIC, WRITER AND EDITOR FRAME.LAND, FILMTOTAAL, EASTERN EUROPEAN FILM BULLETIN.
  1. Birkebeinerne (The Last King, Nils Gaup, 2016)
  2. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  3. L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
  4. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
  5. Office (Johnnie To, 2015)
  6. An (Sweet Bean, Naomi Kawase, 2015)
  7. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke, 2015)
  8. L’ombre des femmes (In the Shadow of Women, Philippe Garrel, 2015)
  9. Beyoncé: Lemonade (Beyoncé Knowles, Kahlil Joseph, 2016)
  10. A Walnut Tree (Ammar Aziz, 2015)
  11. Çirak (The Apprentice, Emre Konuk, 2016)
  12. Förvaret (Detained, Shaon Chakraborty & Anna Persson, 2015)
  13. À peine j’ouvre les yeux (As I Open My Eyes, Leyla Bouzid, 2015)
  14. Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015)
  15. El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra, 2015)
  16. Forushande (The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, 2016)
  17. Évolution (Lucile Hadžihalilović, 2015)
  18. Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets of Karbala (Wael Shawky, 2015)
  19. Home Sweet Home (Faton Bajraktari, 2016)
  20. Goksung (The Wailing, Na Hong-jin, 2016)
world film poll 2016

TheSalesman_500

 

MIHA VEINGERL

FREELANCE FILM CRITIC, SLOVENIA/AUSTRIA

My top 10 list, in no particular order:

  • Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  • Risttuules (In the Crosswind, Martti Helde, 2014)
  • Cinema Futures (Michael Palm, 2016)
  • Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson, 2016)
  • Austerlitz (Sergey Loznitsa, 2016)
  • Vlažnost (Humidity, Nikola Ljuca, 2016)
  • Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  • Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  • Mama (Mother, Vlado Škafar, 2016)
  • Forushande (The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, 2016)

 

NOEL VERA

FILM CRITIC FOR BUSINESSWORLD; AUTHOR OF BOOK AND BLOG CRITIC AFTER DARK: A REVIEW OF PHILIPPINE CINEMA
  1. Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, Lav Diaz, 2016)
  2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
  3. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  4. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
  5. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  6. Umi machi Diary (Our Little Sister, Koreeda Hirokazu, 2015)
  7. Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left, Lav Diaz, 2016)
  8. Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman, 2015)
  9. 45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
  10. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)

I’m afraid the list reflects my limitations more than my wide-ranging interests: I catch what little is worth watching in either the multiplex and the arthouses, and do what I can to see the rest. I’m happy to be able to keep up with Lav Diaz, who I feel chronicles the history and soul of our country; I wish I could do the same for our other filmmakers. It’s been a grim year, not just personally but as a humane being in general; films are a consolation of sorts if little else, that somehow despite everything good work is still possible.

TOM VINCENT

PROGRAM DIRECTOR: FILM, PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL, AUSTRALIA

Cinema experiences (film + time + place + people)

  • Untranslated pink film at Ōkura Tokyo, January.
  • Chibi Maruko Chan: A Boy From Italy (Jun Takagi, 2016) at Toho Cinemas Ichikawa, January.
  • El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra, 2015) at Somerville Perth, March.
  • Mid-film ovation for Sandra Hüller in Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016), Cannes, May.
  • Kimi no na wa (Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, 2016) at Luna Leederville, November.

Retrospective (film + film + time + place + people)

‘Gaining Ground’ at Melbourne International Film Festival, July-August.

Idea expressed in film journalism (film + not-film)

“…the very notion that films can be labeled “good” or “bad”, so basic to mainstream reviewing protocol, becomes nonsensical unless one provides some context: good or bad for what, and for whom?” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, writing about Melbourne International Film Festival, September.

Films

  • All Things Ablaze (Aleksey Solodunov, Dmitry Stoykov and Oleksandr Techynskyi, 2016) Revelation Perth International Film Festival, July.
  • Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016) Melbourne International Film festival, August.
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepisi, 1978), Australian Revelations, Perth, March.
  • Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016) Cannes, May.
  • Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016), Sydney Film Festival, June and The Backlot, Perth, December.
  • Shin Gojira (Shin Godzilla, Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, 2016) Luna Leederville cinema, Perth, October.
  • Smithereens (Susan Seidelman, 1982) Melbourne International Film festival, August.
  • Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015) Event Innaloo cinema, Perth, January.
  • Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016) Cannes, May.
  • Where Are You Going (Zhengfan Yang, 2016) Melbourne International Film festival, August.
world film poll 2016

Embrace of the Serpent

BEN VOLCHOK

MELBOURNE BASED COMEDIAN WITH A GREAT PASSION FOR FILMS.

This year my list of favourites seems to have been dominated by established masters and familiar names, both ones I’ve treasured for a while and ones I’ve only come to treasure over the course of the year. There’s also a plethora of debut creations by people I’m sure I will treasure in the future. And of course an abundance of glorious repertory and retrospective goodness that has allowed me to discover entire new on-screen worlds. It’s perhaps not been a year filled with films I’ve utterly adored, but it’s been a wholly interesting and eye-opening selection, as usual with a mix of festival and general-release viewing. Here it is, in a vague order:

Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
One of the first films I saw this year and probably my absolute favourite. Above all, the intricacy of the aesthetic choices is what I found most enthralling, but their combination with a real affective power elevated it to be simply divine. Expertly translates Highsmith’s riveting emotional fervour onto the screen, shifting the focus from linguistic to visual cues (so much glass! so many door frames!), and yet the structural defiance of the original remains ever-present. Even having read the source material and knowing exactly how it ended up I was still just as touched watching it fold out. A gorgeous and impeccable romantic drama.

Cosmos (Andrzej Žuławski, 2016)
Recalling this film puts me back into the frightened and daunted mood I left the cinema with. It’s another great adaptation and one that instils an immense dread and awe of the absurdity of minutiae and the terror of the enormousness of the mundane. Made ever more extraordinarily poignant by the recent passing of Žuławski, it caps off a lifetime of confrontational filmmaking and invites us to recalibrate the world in no uncertain – or even certain – terms. Confounding and contradictory and I loved it a lot.

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Contrary to Cosmos, Paterson embraces simplicity and quotidian existence and shares its exuberance and contentment with us all. There’s a quiet, contemplative tone that pervades the film; one of the sweetest and most wholesome films I think I’ve seen this year. Just delightful. I might go see this again. Driver gives a blissfully patient performance and the musings on art are profoundly touching. It’s also one of Jarmusch’s funniest films to date.

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
My imagination has rarely been so captured by a recent film. Such a prolific confluence of the visual, intellectual and emotional. Phenomenal design! The aliens, their craft and their language were all super cool and detailed. Arrival balances immense scale and personal narrative very, very well, weaving worldwide panic with a tender mother-daughter tale. There’s a certain plot development which feels less like a twist and more like a key or a missing piece of the puzzle that is Arrival, and that’s very hard to pull off successfully. Films about aliens are expected to reinforce a love of humanity, but this takes that to another level with an admirable and much-needed optimism in us as a species.

Lu bian ye can (Kaili Blues, Bi Gan, 2015)
An audacious, expansive debut. The forty-minute-long single take that’s been placed right in the middle of the film’s already weaving loose structure is a feat of courage that endeared me even more to this film. I remember very little of what actually took place in the film but I remember very strongly feeling transfixed by the dreamy wave that washed over me.

11 Minut (11 Minutes) (Jerzy Skolimowski, 2015)
Speaking of audacity, I loved this angry rollercoaster of a film by a renowned punk master. Not letting up his commitment to breaking the form of filmmaking since his early days, Skolimowski delivers yet another shocking and marvellous film whose final moments are just mindboggling. Not to mention the entire film is set during 11 minutes, so the urgency is palpable as we know it all must end. And end it does, massively. It’s like riding on a rickety rollercoaster where the screws slowly unfasten and finally you’re thrown off into a shimmering explosion. Impressive stuff.

Julieta (Pedro Almodòvar, 2016)
While revisiting some familiar themes, Almodóvar makes them feel a lot different to what he usually does. Yes, it’s a film about loss and grief – and yet it’s not a film about the emotions felt when grieving, but rather the lack of emotions felt when grieving. It’s got no tears for a reason. I found this a very moving and delicate way of dealing with these issues. The immaculate colour scheme, tender score and fine acting were just the icing on the cake. Based on a set of wonderful short stories by Alice Munro.

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015)
This is only Saulnier’s third feature, but already he’s proving to be one of the more interesting dissectors of violence in the film world. Wielding an almost Peckinpahesque fascination with the psychology and effects of violence, Saulnier has crafted an intense, gory thrillride that doesn’t let up over the course of its runtime. Heart-pounding.

Fear Itself (Charlie Lyne, 2015)
This is less a documentary and more a cine-essay, a rumination on what shapes horror as a genre. Alongside an almost hypnotic voiceover, we are led through a collage of edited clips from a remarkably diverse range of horror films and asked to ponder what exactly horror films play on, what fears they exploit, what anxieties they tap into. What they say about us as people. The whole thing ends up putting us into a calm, introspective trance, directly contrary to the intensity of the subject matter. Splendid work.

Hymyilevä mies (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, Juho Kuosmanen, 2016)
The most un-sporty sport film I think I’ve seen. Like so many films on this list, it deals with love, the decisions we make in relation to it and the effects it engenders. Surprisingly a biopic, the grainy black-and-whiteness suits the mood of the film perfectly. A notable near-absence of non-diegetic music helps authenticise and immerse us and overall this is a simple and sweet film.

Zir-e Sayeh (Under the Shadow, Babak Anvari, 2016)
The debut of Iranian filmmaker Babak Anvari is startlingly good. Effectively mixes parental and political themes into a horror setting, with Narges Rashidi giving a wonderful performance as a beleaguered mother in 1980s Tehran dealing with not only wartime but also a young, fragile daughter – and the possibility of an otherworldly presence. An unbelievably slow burn with a shriekingly huge payoff, the tension simmers from the very beginning and just gets bigger from there. Stylistically spot on, too. Probably my favourite of the first-time entries on this list.

The Eyes of My Mother (Nicolas Pesce, 2016)
Seems like it’s a great year not only for debuts but specifically for horror debuts. Nicolas Pesce’s is stunningly poetic and macabre. Equally mesmerising as it is horrifying, the film does not shy away from incredibly graphic horror violence but it’s enveloped in such a blissfully meditative and soft atmosphere that you don’t seem to notice. Kika Magalhães as the demented daughter is a creepy, melancholy piece of acting.

Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015)
Attenberg was one of my favourite films the year it came out and I’ve been waiting for Tsangari’s return ever since. As dry a film set on a boat as you’ll see. A gleefully twisted take on the foibles of hypermasculinity, it’s hilarious and poignant. So many great moments and a very dark undercurrent.

Francofonia (Alexander Sokurov, 2015)
Where Russian Ark explored themes of art and war in the Hermitage during the Russian Revolution, Francofonia transposes these same questions to the Louvre during the Nazi invasion of France. At times baffling and dense, in a good way, there are some remarkable blends of the past and present, of truth and fiction.

Girl Asleep (Rosemary Myers, 2015)
A charming and curious take on the coming-of-age story. Fabulous art design and a great sense of humour push this along and turn an ordinary, familiar narrative (new girl doesn’t fit in at school, doesn’t get along with parents, etc) into something lively, lovely and altogether unique. There’s also a striking dream sequence that ties the whole film together, an inventive amalgam of the protagonist’s subconscious with great aesthetic sensibilities. Definitely one of the better Australian films I’ve seen for a while.

Mustang (Denis Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
Powerful and well-crafted, this story of five Turkish sisters living in an oppressive traditionalist household seems (unfortunately) timelessly relevant. Sparkles with engaging performances, especially the five lead girls. It’s a very moving film and the structure and script are complemented by superb technical work, too, most notably for me the remarkable editing. I’m sure many have pointed out the aptness of the title, but it’s something that sums up the spirit of the film strikingly well: a majestic wild horse that must be free.

The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2015)
It’s strange to use the word “mature” when describing the films of Quentin Tarantino, but that’s exactly how The Hateful Eight felt. Yes, there was the trademark violence and snappy dialogue, but the air it all gave off was grounded and frank – as were the discussions surrounding racism. Much more so, I thought, than the more explicitly racially-themed Django Unchained. (Though I’m still not sold on this film’s treatment of women, which seems at times knowingly brutal, to make a statement, but at other times just needlessly so.) Maybe because it’s the first of Tarantino’s films I’ve actually seen in a cinema – and on 70mm at that – but it’s the first of his films I’d genuinely describe as beautiful. The buckets of blood don’t hurt, either.

Nasty Baby (Sebastián Silva, 2015)
What begins as a semi-hipsterish New York story of boyfriends trying to convince their mutual friend to conceive and carry their baby slowly but surely turns into a nightmarish spiral of horror and destruction. Farce does not get much darker.

45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
Oh the heartbreak. I love love stories and particularly ones that break down what it means to love. And there’s nothing quite like finding out information 45 years into a marriage that casts your entire relationship in a shocking new light to break down what it means to love. I admired the clever centering of the story around Rampling’s character as the action unfolds. Smoke gets in your eyes indeed.

Hail, Caesar! (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2016)
I have no idea how accessible this film is to people who aren’t Old Hollywood enthusiasts – I hope it is – but as an Old Hollywood enthusiast I vigorously ate up this delicious filmic meal. Moments of hilarity, moments of wonder, and, of course, a healthy dose of the Coens’ obsession with the joyful inevitability of life’s ultimate meaninglessness.

Honourable mentions
Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, 2016), Malgré la nuit (Despite the Night, Philippe Grandrieux, 2015), Hrútar (Rams, Grímur Hákonarson, 2015), Taxi, (Jafar Panahi, 2015), Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman, 2015), Operation Avalanche (Matt Johnson, 2016), Suntan (Argyris Papadimitropoulos, 2016), Le Fils de Joseph (The Son of Joseph, Eugène Green, 2016), The Love Witch (Anna Biller, 2016), Down Under (Abe Forsythe, 2016), Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, 2016), Killing Ground (Damien Power, 2016), Ta luo (Tharlo, Pema Tseden, 2015), Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson, 2016), The Autopsy of Jane Doe (André Øvredal, 2016). I would write about them individually if I had some more time.

Retrospectives, repertories
The Patsy (Jerry Lewis, 1964), The Ladies Man (Jerry Lewis, 1961), Children of Hiroshima (Kaneto Shindô, 1952), Romance X (Catherine Breillat, 1999), Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999), Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960), Roadgames (Richard Franklin, 1981), Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964), Phantasm (Don Coscarelli, 1979), A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971), Girlfriends (Claudia Weill, 1978), Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden,1983), Early Summer (Yasujio Ozu, 1951), Stan Brakhage retrospective, Nosferatu, the Vampyre (Werner Herzog, 1979), For Your Consideration (Christopher Guest, 2006), How the West Was Won (John Ford et al, 1962) Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950), Yama no oto (Sound of the Mountain, Mikio Naruse, 1954). Again, all of these I would write about one by one. I loved them all and will be thinking about them for a long time, for various reasons.

 

NICHOLAS VROMAN

TOKYO BASED FILM WRITER FOR FILM COMMENT, SIGHT AND SOUND.

Films of the Year

Bad Black (Nabwana I.G.G., 2016)
Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, Lav Diaz, 2016)
Nuestra amiga la luna (Our Friend the Moon, Velasco Broca, 2016)
Qingshui Li De Daozi (Knife in the Clear Water, Xuebo Wang, 2016)
Lampedusa in Winter (Jakob Brossmann 2015)
Lucifer (Gust Van den Berghe, 2014)
The Other Side (Roberto Minervini, 2015)
Noite Sem Distância (Night Without Distance, Lois Patiño, 2015)
Pow Wow (Robinson Devor, 2016)
Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2015)

DAVID WALSH

WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE

In general, artistic consciousness continues to lag far behind objective events. 2016 witnessed various political earthquakes, Brexit, a near-coup in Turkey, the election of Trump, etc. Many of the events, in a contradictory manner, expressed mass popular disaffection and anger. Right-wing, nationalist parties gained the most at this point, because of the utter worthlessness of both the traditional “left” parties and the upper middle class pseudo-left, totally obsessed with race and gender. This is a temporary situation. I’m submitting three short lists:

New films released this year in the US

  • Free State of Jones (Gary Ross, 2016)
  • Loving (Jeff Nichols, 2016)
  • Snowden (Oliver Stone, 2016)
  • Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  • Indignation (James Schamus, 2016)
  • Wiener-Dog (Todd Solondz, 2016)

2015 films released this year in the US

  • Colonia (The Colony, Florian Gallenberger, 2015)
  • Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer (The People vs. Fritz Bauer, Lars Kraume, 2015)
  • Ixcanul (Volcano, Jayro Bustamante, 2015)
  • Microbe et Gasoil (Microbe & Gasoline, Michel Gondry, 2015)

Films viewed at festivals this year and not yet released in the US

  • Sameblod (Sami Blood, Amanda Kernell, 2016)
  • El elegido (The Chosen, Antonio Chavarrías, 2016)
  • Marija (Michael Koch, 2016)
  • Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd, 2016)
  • Past Life (Avi Nesher, 2016)
  • Radio Dreams (Babak Jalali, 2016)

WANG YUE

IMAGE MAKER, UK/CHINA
  1. Landscape Suicide (James Benning, 1987)
  2. Sanrizuka – Heta Buraku, (Sanrizuka – Heta Village, Ogawa Shinsuke, 1973)
  3. Quick Billy (Bruce Baillie, 1971)
  4. Music with Roots in the Aether – Landscape with Pauline Oliveros (Robert Ashley, 1975)
  5. Lu bian ye can (Kaili Blues, Bi Gan, 2015)
  6. Second-hand Reading (William Kentridge, 2013)
  7. Boston Fire (Peter Hutton, 1979)
  8. HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis, 2016)
  9. An Unreasonable Man (Henriette Mantel, Steve Skrovan, 2006)
  10. Visita ou Memórias e Confissões (Visit or Memories and Confessions, Manoel de Oliveira, 1982)
  11. He Fengming (Fengming, a Chinese Memoir, Wang Bing, 2007)
  12. Staub (Dust, Hartmut Bitomsky, 2007)
  13. The Forgotten Space (Allan Sekula, Noël Burch, 2010)
  14. Auge/Maschine I-III (Eye/Machine I-III, Harun Farocki, 2001-2003)
  15. Juke: Passages from the Films of Spencer Williams (Thom Andersen, 2015)
  16. Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
  17. JLG/JLG: Autoportrait de décembre (JLG/JLG: Self-Portrait in December, Jean-Luc Godard, 1995)
  18. New York Portrait, Chapter II (Peter Hutton, 1981)
  19. Here I Am (Bruce Baillie, 1962)
  20. Bakit Dilaw Ang Kulay ng Bahaghari (Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow, Kidlat Tahimik, 1980-1994)
  21. Informe General II. El Nuevo Rapto De Europa (General Report II. The New Abduction of Europe, Pere Portabella, 2015)
  22. Natural History (James Benning, 2014)
  23. Vivir para Vivir (Live to Live, Laida Lertxundi, 2015)
  24. When It Rains (Charles Burnett, 1995)
  25. As Mil e Uma Noites: Volume 3, O Encantado (Arabian Nights: Volume 3, the Enchanted One, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
  26. Sakda (Rousseau) (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2012)
  27. Before the Flood (Fisher Stevens, 2016)
  28. Sixty Six (Lewis Klahr, 2015)
  29. Our Stars (Mark Rappaport, 2015)
  30. Ascent (Fiona Tan, 2016)
  31. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  32. Bacalaureat (Graduation, Cristian Mungiu, 2016)

JAMES WATERS

STUDENT AND FILMMAKER, MELBOURNE

A list of films this year – both old and new – seen at festivals/some kind of cinema environment that somehow nudged and tapped away at my inner being, whatever that is. Even if the notion of the soul is a somewhat foreign concept within my lived in experience, the films listed below gave me a sense of peace and holistic discovery that somehow connected me to something outside of myself, the best thing art and documented forms of expression can achieve.

Listed in no particular order:

  • Na srebrnym globie (On the Silver Globe, Andrzej Zulawski, 1988)
  • Andrey Rublyov (Andrei Rublev, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966)
  • Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  • A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)
  • Something Between Us (Jodie Mack, 2015)
  • Detail (Hanna Chetwin, 2016)
  • Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  • Bēiqíng Chéngshì (A City of Sadness, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1989)
  • No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
  • L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
world film poll 2016

Toni Erdmann

 

VIRGINIA WRIGHT WAXMAN

PROFESSOR EMERITA OF ENGLISH AND ART HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AND WEBSITE FILMFESTIVALTOURISM

Includes only films I viewed in theaters, some in Los Angeles and some in Bologna, Italy.

  1. Girl Shy (Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, 1924). One of Harold Lloyd’s most cogent and disarming comedies was screened as part of the TCM Classic Film Fest.
  2. Shooting Stars (Anthony Asquith, 1928). An extraordinarily stylish and assured first film from British writer-director Asquith, newly restored by the BFI and screened at Bologna.
  3. Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook, 2016). An elegant study of servitude and revenge is set in mid-20th Century Korea, then under Japanese occupation.
  4. So This is Paris (Ernst Lubitsch, 1926). An exquisitely rendered confection from comedy master Lubitsch. Screened at the CineCon Festival in Los Angeles.
  5. (Pablo Lorrain, 2016). Lorrain (Neruda) was the perfect choice to direct Noah Oppenheim’s study of a determined woman who shapes the historical narrative following the assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy.
  6. Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar, 2016). An unexpectedly subdued, elegant study of guilt and secrecy from Spain’s premier auteur.
  7. City of Hope (John’s Sayles. 1991). LA’s Cinefamily hosted a timely revival screening of this complex, penetrating look at urban development as part of a tribute to writer-director Sayles’s career.
  8. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016). Romania’sOscar entry portrays a tumultuous family gathering in a cramped apartment in the suburbs of Bucharest where claustrophobia and confusion reign supreme.
  9. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1973). Screened at USC as part of a tribute to screenwriter Robert Towne. Still one of the greatest films ever.
  10. Muriel ou Le temps d’un retour (Muriel, Alain Resnais, 1963). Renais makes the most of Jean Cayrol’s complicated, deeply felt scenario, which knowingly weaves together issues of personal and political identity as old lovers reconnect in a coastal French village ravaged by World War II bombing. Screened at the Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna.
  11. La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966). The urgency and political insight of Pontecorvo’s documentary, restored for its half-century anniversary and screened at the Directors Guild, seems more relevant today than ever before.
  12. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016). Writer/director Arnold follows the adventures of a group of society’s young castaways. Dynamic and provocative.
  13. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016). Jenkins’ sensitive, lyrical examination of growing up gay and black in the American South.
  14. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016). Verhoeven’s revisionist twist on the rape-revenge genre is dominated by Isabelle Huppert’s commanding turn as a tough video-game executive.
  15. Neruda (Pablo Larraín, 2016)Larrain’s masterful depiction of the intersection of history and myth focuses on the political travails of Chile’s legendary poet
  16. Bacalaureat (Graduation, Cristian Mungiu, 2016). A subtle, intricate tale of social aspiration and moral compromise from one of Romania premier auteurs.
  17. Divines (Houda Benyamina, 2016). Writer-director Benyamina’s riveting debut chronicles the adventures of rebellious teens from marginalized groups in Nice. Bursting with energy, it features captivating turns from its two young leads.
  18. Hail, Caesar (Ethan and Joel Coen, 2016). A hilarious, good-natured satire on Golden-Age Hollywood from the Coen Brothers.
  19. The Clan (El Clan, Pablo Trapero, 2015). Trapero’s chilling variation on The Godfather depicts kidnapping as an everyday activity in a politically connected Buenos Aries family.
  20. Arrival (Dennis Villeneuve, 2016) A provocative, hopeful take on alien encounters (of whatever sort). And a woman is the hero!
  21. The Hunting Ground (Kirby Dick, 2015). A devastating exposé of campus rape.
  22. L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016). Writer-director Hansen-Løve’s quiet character study of a smart, capable middle-aged woman (Isabelle Huppert again) who must navigate her way through unexpected changes in her life course.
  23. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016). Writer Taylor Sheridan and director Mackenzie’s uncompromising portrait of rural poverty offers one way of viewing the recent election. Features a career-best performance by Jeff Bridges.
  24. Notfilm (Ross Lipman, 2015) A fascinating study that documents the relationship Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton established during the making of Becket’s Film
  25. Money Monster (Jodie Foster, 2016). Clever and witty, with three strong women at the center of the action. Also, George Clooney does the boogaloo.
  26. Afraid to Talk (Edward L. Cahn, 1932). A fast-moving, quick-witted, deftly plotted, crisply photographed, and smartly performed political satire. Screened as part of Bologna’s tribute to Universal during the early 1930s. A superlative example of classical Hollywood at its best.
  27. Miss Sloane (John Madden, 2016). Madden stages John Perera’s intricate, timely script about a ruthless lobbyist to highlight Jessica Chastain’s spellbinding lead performance.
  28. City of Gold (Laura Gabbert, 2015). Gabbert’s portrait of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold remaps the city as a rich tapestry of ethnic enclaves.

Best Female Bonding Movies: Divines, Miss Sloane, Elle, The Handmaiden
Best Live Musical Accompaniments: Speedy (Ted Wilde/Harold Lloyd, 1928: Disk Jockey J Z-Trip); Silly Symphonies (Walt Disney Studios, 1930s: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra).

 

EDDIE WHITE

FILMMAKER AND FILM LOVER BASED IN ADELAIDE. HIS SHORT FILM UPSIDE DOWN SCREENED AT MIFF IN 2016.

Here are my top 5 films of 2016:

  1. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
  2. Sing Street (John Carney, 2016)
  3. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  4. Avril et le Monde Truqué (April and the Extraordinary World, Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, 2016)
  5. Chi-Raq (Spike Lee, 2015)

 

JASON WIERZBA

WRITER AND MUSICIAN FROM THE CANADIAN PRAIRIE.
  1. No Home Movie(Chantal Akerman, 2015). Our greatest movie about death?
  2. Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014). Our greatest movie about dying?
  3. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016). Oh, it’s about movies (and their doubles), the world, reality.
  4. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015). All Los Angeles movies are endtimes movies. This might be the most winningy narcotic. Obviously it would be an impertinence to call it a narrative film.
  5. Ji-geum-eun-mat-go-geu-ddae-neun-teul-li-da (Right Now, Wrong Then, Hong Sang-soo, 2015). One of them filmmakers whose body of work (like a Fassbinder, like a Naruse) is essentially a single project – an ongoing engagement with a template. Here right at its apex. A disquisition on how to be constituted by grace and the moment.
  6. Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015). Each cut is a revelation. And the best dissolve I have ever seen. Central metaphor is robust.
  7. La calle de la amargura (Bleak Street, Arturo Ripstein, 2015). One of those superlative and rare works of art that feels like it must have always existed.
  8. La Academia de las Musas (The Academy of Muses, José Luis Guerin, 2015). Theory > Practice.
  9. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016). If we were to do a silly thing and posit an art vs. entertainment dialectic, I would assert that Sieranevada actually comes out on the side of the very best kind of (hefty) entertainment.
  10. Neruda (Pablo Larraín, 2016). Pablo Larraín made a Raul Ruiz movie. Also the most Latin American Latin American movie ever (if arguably more beholden to literary traditions than cinematic ones). And it is amazing!
  11. Yek Shahrvand-e Kamelan Maamouli (A Very Ordinary Citizen, Majid Barzegar, 2015). Co-written by Jafar Panahi. Slow third-degree burn. Saw the screener, campaigned (aggressively) to get it programmed for a wee festival. WTF IMDb.
  12. As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015). Faithful adaptation. Small fragment.
  13. Cosmos (Andrzej Żuławski, 2015). A favourite filmmaker. A favourite novel. And exeunt. ‘Pataphysical metaphysical swan song.
  14. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016). Bruuutal.
  15. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016). Sorry.
  16. The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015). The secret Puritan origins of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Some may choose to see it as paranoiac and conservative (perhaps the Scandinavian aesthetic serves this). I see it from the “hail Satan” angle.
  17. The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (Ben Rivers, 2015). Woe unto thee, tourist.
  18. High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2015). Sorry (?).
  19. Rabu & Pîsu (Love & Peace, Sion Sono, 2015). Kaiju Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!
  20. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016). Admittedly a little … baggy. But it has got some of the best stuff in all of cinema, and that stuff wouldn’t work nearly so well without all that loose legroom. It is a stupid, stupid, lazy, lazy game where we use criticism to compare things to things. Nonetheless: Maurice Pialat, Howard Hawkes, and the Farrelly brothers.

Honourable mention: Sunset Song (Terence Davies, 2015). Probably needs to be mentioned since it is perfect.

 

DEANE WILLIAMS

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN FILM AND SCREEN STUDIES, MONASH UNIVERSITY, MELBOURNE.

Top Ten Films 2016

  1. Beyoncé: Lemonade (Kahlil Joseph & Beyoncé Knowles, 2016)
  2. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
  3. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  4. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2016)
  5. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2016)
  6. One More Time With Feeling (Andrew Dominik, 2016)
  7. The Silences (Margot Nash, 2016)
  8. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
  9. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
  10. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
world film poll 2016

Hell or High Water

 

CAMERON WILLIAMS

FILM WRITER AND CRITIC

We needed films the most in 2016 – just look at any news headline – but we were constantly told by clickbait headlines from outlets angered by under-performing blockbusters that cinema was on life-support. I adored how many films proved this sentiment wrong as if they were eavesdropping on the horrid conversation going on in pop culture. This list represents the films that pushed back in 2016. List based on 2016 Australian film festival and release schedule.

  • Jackie (Pablo Larraín, 2016)
  • American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
  • Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
  • The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2015)
  • Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  • Swiss Army Man (Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, 2016)
  • Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
  • Chi-Raq (Spike Lee, 2015)
  • High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2016)
  • The Love Witch (Anna Biller 2016)
  • Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)
  • Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle, 2015)
  • Sing Street (John Carney, 2016)
  • The Jungle Book (John Favreau, 2016)
  • The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
  • The Invitation (Karyn Kusama, 2015)
  • Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016)
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone, 2016)
  • Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2016)
  • Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, 2016)
  • Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight, 2016)

 

WILLIAM WRIGHT

GOLD COAST BASED WRITER, CINEPHILE.

The Knick: Season 2 (Steven Soderbergh, 2015, USA) / Horace and Pete (Louis C.K., 2016, USA) / Crisis in Six Scenes (Woody Allen, 2016, USA) / The Night Of (Steven Zaillian, 2016, USA).
On the subject of America: four wildly diverse series, all fundamentally concerned with the changing nature and difficulty of living in America.

Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2015, USA) / No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015, France/Belgium) / The Silences (Margot Nash, 2015, Australia)

Phantasms thunder in the empty, silent spaces of these three masterpieces of grief and loss, expressed spiritually (Anderson), abstractly (Akerman) and via cinematic memory itself (Nash). Each more daring than the last.

Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids (Jonathan Demme, 2016, USA)

Glorious, ecstatic, democratic musical filmmaking. Timberlake is the centerfold, but this is a world away from narcissism (quite unlike another musical darling this year…): “Look to your right, look to your left — that’s who this show is for.”

Malgré la Nuit (Philippe Grandrieux, 2015, France)

My first Grandrieux, and certainly the most uncomfortable screening this year, but the depths of depravity Malgré la Nuit plumbs make its revelations only more desperate and, ultimately, hopeful.

Stirring In (Adrian Martin & Cristina Álvarez López, 2015, Spain) / A Mere Formality (Adrian Martin & Cristina Álvarez López, 2015, Spain) / I’m Still There (Adrian Martin & Cristina Álvarez López, 2016, Spain)

I had the pleasure this last March of attending Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López’s wonderful presentation in Melbourne of these three superb video essays on the great cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien; a major cinephile moment in my 2016!

Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016, USA)

Eastwood continues reckoning with his own cinematic identity, deconstructing heroism in his most plastic film yet; a constant repetition of a single scenario, a mere few minutes, refracted through memory, dreams and the nature of cinema itself. Cool and Hawksian, but every bit an Eastwood film, and one of his best.

Their Finest (Lone Scherfig, 2016, UK)

I’m generally cautious of the nostalgic posturing of a film like Their Finest, but Scherfig, at the peak of her wit, has the sense to constantly undermine its more rote qualities; the tonal whiplash so many might bemoan only makes this more unconventional and biting.

world film poll 2016

Happy Hour

 

BARBARA WURM

FREELANCE CURATOR AND CRITIC, TEACHING SLAVIC LITERATURE AND FILM AT HUMBOLDT UNIVERSITY

Now

  • Beduino (Júlio Bressane, 2016)
  • Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015)
  • Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin (Creepy, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2016)
  • Der Nachtmahr (The Nightmare, AKIZ, 2015)
  • Hele sa hiwagang hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, Lav Diaz, 2016)
  • Ma Loute (Slack Bay, Bruno Dumont, 2016)
  • Ottaal (The Trap, Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair, 2015)
  • Quand on a 17 ans (Being 17, André Téchiné, 2016)
  • Slonce, to slonce mnie oslepilo (The Sun, the Sun that Blinded Me, Anka & Wilhelm Sasnal, 2016)
  • Vor der Morgenröte – Stefan Zweig in Amerika (Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, Maria Schrader, 2016)

***

  • Accelerando (Georg Wasner, 2016)
  • Austerlitz (Sergej Loznica, 2016)
  • Chamissos Schatten (Ulrike Ottinger, 2016)
  • Cinema Futures (Michael Palm, 2016)
  • Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016)
  • Golovna rol’ (Serhij Bukovs’kyj, 2016)
  • Landstück (Volker Koepp, 2016)
  • Seeing Voices (Dariusz Kowalski, 2016)
  • Ta’ang (Wang Bing, 2016)
  • Unižennye i oskorblennye (Marina Razbežkina, 2016)

Then

  • Nashornjagd in Deutsch-Ost-Afrika (Robert Schumann, 1913)
  • Pamjati S.M. Ėjzenštejna (material kinoletopisi) (Pera Ataševa, Sergej Jutkevič, 1948)
  • Rosen blühen auf dem Heidegrab (Hans Heinz König, 1952)
  • Take Me to Town (Douglas Sirk, 1953) & Interlude (Douglas Sirk, 1957)
  • Labyrinth (Rolf Thiele, 1959)
  • Kým sa skončí táto noc (Before This Night is Over, Peter Solan, 1965)
  • Wir lassen uns scheiden (We Are Getting Divorced, Ingrid Reschke, 1968)
  • Istenmezején 1972-73-ban (Elek Judit, 1973)
  • Ordnung (Sohrab Shahid Saless, 1980) & Empfänger unbekannt (Sohrab Shahid Saless, 1982)
  • Lian lian feng chen (Dust in the Wind, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1986)

and

Forever

  • Andrzej Żuławski (75): Opętanie (1981)
  • Jan Němec (79): O slavnosti a hostech (1966)
  • Michael Cimino (77): The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Abbas Kiarostami (76): Klūzāp, nemā-ye nazdīk (1990)
  • Arthur Hiller (92): Love Story (1970)
  • Curtis Hanson (71): Bad Influence (1990)
  • Andrzej Wajda (90): Niewinni czarodzieje (1960)
  • Sergej Mikаėljan (93): Grossmejster (1972)
  • Evgenij Jufit (55): Papa, umer ded moroz (1991)
  • Andrea Tonacci (72): Serras da Desordem (2006)

 

KEVA YORK

SYDNEY BASED FILM WRITER, CRITIC AND PHD STUDENT.
  • Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (Werner Herzog, 2016)
  • The Love Witch (Anna Biller, 2016)
  • HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis, 2016)
  • Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  • Entertainment (Rick Alverson, 2016)
  • Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson, 2015)
  • De Palma (Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow, 2015)
  • Antibirth (Danny Perez, 2016)
  • Adam Green’s Aladdin (Adam Green, 2016)
  • Wiener-Dog (Todd Solondz, 2016)

 

NEIL YOUNG

CRITIC / JOURNALIST / PROGRAMMER / CONSULTANT AT THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTERTRIBUNESIGHT & SOUND, VIENNALE AND CROSSING EUROPE.

2016 World Premieres
1. Herbst (Autumn, Meinhard Rauchensteiner, 2016)
2. The French Road (aka The French Road, Detroit MI; Arthur Summereder, 2016)
3. No’i (Aline Magrez, 2016)
4. Yi bai wu shi sui de sheng huo (One Hundred and Fifty Years of Life, Liu Yu, 2016)
5. A Brief History of Princess X (Gabriel Abrantes, 2016)
6. De Kinderen van Juf Kiet (Miss Kiet’s Children, Peter Lataster & Petra Lataster-Czisch, 2016)
7. Toxos e flores (Gorse and Flowers, Lucía Vilela, 2016)
8. Circular Inscription (Lukas Marxt, 2016)
9. Shiny (Daniel Cloud Campos & Spencer Susser, 2016)
10. measuring change (James Benning, 2016)
11. Pete’s Dragon (David Lowery, 2016)
12. Avant l’envol (Before the Flight, Laurence Bonvin, 2016)

Catch-ups
On ira à Neuilly, inch’allah (We’ll Go To Neuilly, Inshallah; Mehdi Ahoudig & Anna Salzberg, 2015)
Engram of Returning (Daïchi Saïto, 2015)
Mercury (Lewis Klahr, 2015)
António, lindo António (Antonio, Dashing Antonio; Ana Maria Gomes, 2015)
Tårar; Ögonens Crescendo (Tears; The Eyes Crescendo; Fabian Wigren, 2015)

+ Two new-releases in the UK
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015)

+ One television series
True Detective (Justin Lin; Janus Metz; Nic Pizzolatto; Nic Pizzolatto & Scott Lasser, 2015)

 

JAMES ZARUCKY

AUSTRALIAN BASED WRITER, CRITIC AND FESTIVAL PROGRAMMER

Best Films of 2016 (Australian Theatrical Releases):

  • The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
  • Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden, Chan-wook Park, 2016)
  • Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  • 45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
  • Saul fia (Son of Saul, Nemes László, 2015)
  • Weiner (Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg 2016)
  • The Daughter (Simon Stone, 2015)
  • A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2015)
  • Little Men (Ira Sachs, 2016)
  • The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015)

Honourable Mentions

  • Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  • Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  • Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)
  • Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)

Biggest Surprise

Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016)

Biggest Disappointment

American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)

 

AUSTÉ ZDANCIUTÉ

FILM LOVER, INDEPENDENT FILM CURATOR, TRANSLATOR FROM VILNIUS.

1. Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015). For wakening us in our dreams. Joe’s lights are infectious again.
2. Dead Slow Ahead(Mauro Herce, 2015). Frightening film, physically felt. Reminding us about what actually is in power; Nature perhaps.
3. Bella e perduta (Lost and Beautiful, Pietro Marcello, 2015). Beautiful, poetic, somehow modest, and a bit political — brilliant.
4. Kang rinpoche (Paths of the Soul, Yang Zhang, 2015). The film, that gives that you-are-there feeling.
5. Havarie (Philip Sheffner, 2016). In this disturbing blue, there is space to reflect on the actual, but also, within the range of images of the ocean and sounds of documented voice recordings, to imagine (or see) your own story.
6. Bankok Nites (Katsuya Tomita, 2016). Complete madness of this world, haunted by forgotten spirits. A desire, longing for paradise.
7. Tales of Two Who Dreamt (Andrea Bussmann, Nicolàs Pereda, 2016). Our life mingles in countless ways with a lot of other stories anyways…
8. Oleg y las raras artes (Oleg and Rare Arts, Andés Duque, 2016). Hands of the piano player are some mysterious animals, not human hands, really. Oleg is so strange, he is a character, somehow unearthly.
9. James Benning retrospective in Cinemateca Portuguesa (December 2016, Lisbon, Portugal).16 mm projections in a cozy small room filled with sharp-eyed people with common thoughts.

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