ENTRIES IN PART 6:

 


MARIA SAN FILIPPO

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES, GOUCHER COLLEGE (USA): ItinerantCinephile.com BLOGGER

Favourite films of 2017 (with some leftovers from 2016), in alphabetical order:
20th Century Women (Mike Mills, 2016)
Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)

Runners-up:
Bacalaureat (Graduation, Cristian Mungiu, 2016)
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo, 2016)
The Hero (Brett Haley, 2017)
Ladybird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)
Landline (Gillian Robespierre, 2017)
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)

Contenders still to be seen:
Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone, Hong Sang-soo, 2017)
Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sun Shine In, Claire Denis, 2017)
Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)
Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)
La fille inconnue (The Unknown Girl, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2016)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, 2017)
The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017)

Most highly anticipated of 2018:
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio, 2018)
Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi, 2018)
Happy End (Michael Haneke, 2017)
High Life (Claire Denis, 2018)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan, 2018)
The Souvenir: Part One (Joanna Hogg, 2018)
Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017)

JOSÉ SARMIENTO HINOJOSA

Desistfilm.com CO-DIRECTOR, FILM CRITIC

2017 Films:

  1. Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch, 2017)
  2. Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone, Hong Sang-soo, 2017)
  3. 9 doigts (9 Fingers, F.J. Ossang, 2017)
  4. La vendedora de fósforos (Alejo Moguillansky, 2017)
  5. Good Time (Joshua & Ben Safdie, 2017)
  6. Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017)
  7. A fábrica de nada (The Nothing Factory, Pedro Pinho, 2017)
  8. Cínicos (Raúl Perrone, 2017)
  9. Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope, Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)
  10. Rey (Niles Atallah, 2017)
  11. La tierra aun se mueve (Still the Earth Moves, Pablo Chavarría Gutiérrez, 2017)
  12. Braguino (Clément Cogitore, 2017)
  13. Aliens (Luis López Carrasco, 2017)
  14. Ak-nyeo (The Villainess, Jung Byung-gil, 2017)
  15. Expo Lío 92 (María Cañas, 2017)
  16. Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? (Travis Wilkerson, 2017)
  17. Fang Xiuying (Mrs Fang, Wang Bing, 2017)
  18. Paris est une fête – Un film en 18 vagues (Sylvain George, 2017)
  19. John Wick: Chapter Two (Chad Stahelski, 2017)
  20. Milla (Valérie Massadian, 2017)
  21. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S. Craig Zahler, 2017)
  22. Baronesa (Juliana Antunes, 2017)
  23. Thirst Street (Nathan Silver, 2017)
  24. Era uma vez Brasília (Once There Was Brasília, Adirley Queirós, 2017)
  25. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)
  26. The Cinephiles (María Álvarez, 2017)
  27. Logan (James Mangold, 2017)

2016 Films seen in 2017:

  1. La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  2. A Quiet Passion (Terrence Davies, 2016)
  3. El auge del humano (The Human Surge, Eduardo Williams, 2016)
  4. Gok-seong (The Wailing, Na Hong-Jin, 2016)
  5. Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016)
  6. Nocturama (Betrand Bonello, 2016)
  7. Antiporno (Sion Sono, 2016)
  8. Le Cancre (Paul Vecchiali, 2016)
  9. Ku Qian (Bitter Money, Wang Bing, 2016)
  10. El Futuro Perfecto (The Future Perfect, Nele Wohlatz, 2016)
  11. Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot (Yourself and Yours, Hong Sang-soo, 2016)
  12. Beduino (Júlio Bressane, 2016)
  13. Der traumhafte Weg (The Dreamed Path, Angela Schanelec, 2016)
  14. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  15. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  16. Autumn, Autumn (Jan Woo-jin, 2016)
  17. Mimosas (Oliver Laxe, 2016)
  18. The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016)
  19. What Happened to Her (Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, 2016)
  20. Split (M. Night Shyamalan, 2016)
  21. Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember (Khavn, Achinette Villamor 2016)
  22. Safari (Ulrich Seidl, 2016)
  23. The Love Witch (Anna Biller, 2016)
  24. Victoria (Justine Triet, 2016)
  25. Myomano Shel Tzlam Hatonot (From the Diary of a Wedding Photographer, Nadav Lapid, 2016)
  26. Zoologiya (Zoology, Ivan I. Tverdovskiy, 2016)
  27. Medea (Alexandra Latishev, 2016)
  28. El Dorado XXI (Salomé Lamas, 2016)
  29. Las Calles (María Aparicio, 2016)

Avant-Garde/Expanded Cinema:

  1. Fugue, a Light’s Travelogue (Els Van Riel, 2017)
  2. Potamkin (Stephen Broomer, 2017)
  3. An Aviation Field (Joana Pimenta, 2016)
  4. Mata Atlantica (Nicolas Klotz, Elisabeth Perceval, 2016)
  5. Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016)
  6. Phantasiesätze (Fantasy Sentences, Dane Komljen, 2017)
  7. Saint Bathans Repetitions (Alexander Larose, 2016)
  8. Ulysses in the Subway (Marc Downie, Paul Kaiser, Flo & Ken Jacobs, 2017)
  9. On Generation and Corruption (Takashi Makino, 2017)
  10. 100ft (Minjung Kim, 2017)
  11. Caniba (Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2017)
  12. The Watchmen (Fern Silva, 2016)
  13. Nu Dem (Jennifer Saparzadeh, 2017)
  14. Amérika; Bahía de las Flechas (America; Bay of Arrows, Ana Vaz, 2016)
  15. By Night to Light (Friedl Vom Gröller, 2016)
  16. A Strange New Beauty (Shelley Silver, 2017)
  17. Palmerston Blvd. (Dan Browne, 2017)
  18. Zirdziņ, Hallo! (Hello, Horse!, Laila Pakalniņa, 2017)
  19. From Source to Poem (Rosa Barba, 2017)
  20. Light Lick Amen (Saul Levine, 2017)
  21. Ha! Terra (There is Land! Ana Vaz, 2016)
  22. Super Taboo (Su Hui-Yu, 2017)
  23. Wasteland No. 1: Ardent Verdant (Jodie Mack, 2017)
  24. Fajr (Lois Patiño, 2017)
  25. Y Berá, Aguas de Luz (Jessica Sarah Rinland, 2016)
  26. El Paisaje está Vacío y el vacío es Paisaje (Carla Andrade, 2016)
  27. Montañas ardientes que vomitan fuego (Burning Mountains That Spew Flame Helena Girón & Samuel M. Delgado, 2016)
  28. Pla y Cancela (Elena Duque, 2017)
  29. Eason (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2017)
  30. NN (Pablo Mazzolo, 2017)
  31. Fluid Frontiers (Ephraim Asili, 2017)
  32. Tres oraciones sobre la Argentina (Three Sentences About Argentina, Nele Wohlatz, 2016)
The Nothing Factory

A fábrica de nada (The Nothing Factory, Pedro Pinho, 2017)

HOWARD SCHUMAN

FILM CRITIC FOR THE CRITICAL CRITICS
  1. Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017) Call Me by Your Name can touch anyone who has ever felt the confused and conflicting longings of first love, whether gay or straight. Marked by Oscar-worthy performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, director Luca Guadagnino does not pigeonhole his characters into familiar categories, and his refusal to deal in stereotypes or manufactured emotion gives the film the space to breathe.
  1. Nelyubov (Loveless, Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2017) No film in recent memory has examined the growing emptiness of human relationships with such expressive force as Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, a heart wrenching drama about a couple on the brink of divorce whose emotional neglect of their son leads to devastating consequences.
  1. Kimi no na wa (Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, 2016) Your Name, a Japanese anime directed by Makoto Shinkai, is a physically gorgeous and spiritually alive comedy/drama with a deeply moving story of teenage love that also includes time travel and science-fiction elements that give the film an enchanting, otherworldly feeling.
  1. Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017) Get Out has elements of romance and comedy, but they are all wrapped in a Twilight Zone basket of social satire, horror, and science-fiction that adds up to a roller-coaster ride of dizzying proportions. Peele has has fashioned a look at the unconscious racism that may lie beneath the outward appearance of polite society.
  1. Tower (Keith Maitland, 2016)* In his powerful and beautifully realized documentary, Keith Matiland’s Tower movingly recreates the shock and heartbreak of the random shooting of 49 people at the University of Texas in the summer of 1966. The attack was the first mass shooting at any school in the U.S. But sadly, it was not to be the last.
  1. I Am Not Your Negro is based on an unfinished manuscript by author James Baldwin. In it, Baldwin details his reminiscences of, and friendships with, civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X (whose betrayal and murder he lived to witness). The film is more than just a retrospective of three civil rights leaders, it is a persuasive case for Baldwin as a poet and prophet.
  1. Jane (Brett Morgan, 2017) Reconstructed from over one hundred hours of footage shot by nature photographer Hugo van Lavick, Jane Goodall’s life is brought to the screen in the riveting documentary. Directed by Brett Morgen, the film transports us to Gombe in Northwestern Tanzania, where we witness Jane’s groundbreaking research into the behaviour of chimpanzees in their natural environment.
  1. The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017) The Square mercilessly skewers the moral hypocrisy of the contemporary art scene in Stockholm, particularly taking aim at Christian, the museum’s chief curator, whose pretensions are repeatedly called to task in creative and sometimes bizarre ways.
  1. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)* Featuring a remarkable performance by Kristen Stewart as the personal assistant to an elusive celebrity fashion model, the film operates on both a physical and psychological level, suggesting that our imagination, our memories, and our sense of a deeper reality are as real as our physical existence.
  1. Visages villages (Faces Places, Agnès Varda and J.R., 2017) French director Agnes Varda makes both past and present come alive in Visages, villages/Faces Places, a life-affirming meditation on friendship, art, and mortality. Co-directed by JR, a hip 33-year-old French graffiti artist, Varda and her companion crisscross the French countryside, meeting and taking pictures of villagers, workers, and townspeople.
  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a mix of black (and politically incorrect) comedy and heartfelt drama that takes us on a wild, mostly improbable, but highly entertaining, ride. At a key moment, the characters recognise each other not as protagonists in the midst of battle, but as human beings, and the film becomes about more than the eccentricities of its colourful characters.
  1. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)* Based on the short stories of American writer Maile Meloy, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women displays three women’s struggle for connection, whose loneliness mirrors the economic and spiritual malaise gripping part of 21st century America.
  1. Brad’s Status (Mike White, 2017) Brad Sloan, played to perfection by Ben Stiller, is constantly listening to an inner-monologue that tells him he is a failure because he has fallen short of the material success of his old friends from college. The film captures White’s incisive deadpan humour and his ability to create characters who talk and act like real human beings, not cardboard caricatures.
  1. The Big Sick (Michael Showalter, 2017) The Big Sick depicts the influence a Pakistani family has on the life choices of their son, Kumail, and in particular on his relationship with his Caucasian girl friend, Emily. The film sounds weighty but it is primarily a comedy, and a very funny one at that, even if the humour is so deadpan that you often have to listen very closely to appreciate it.
  1. Becoming Who I Was (Moon Chang-Yong & Jeon Jin, 2017) Shot over a period of eight years, Becoming Who I Was is the story of a young Buddhist, Padma Angdu, who at age six is discovered by high-ranking lamas to be the reincarnation of a revered Tibetan monk. His journey to Tibet to discover his heritage with his godfather, Urgyan Rickzan, tests both of their commitment and resolve.
  1. Western (Valeska Grisebach, 2017) A clash of cultures erupts when a tall, slender, rugged-looking man comes to a small Bulgarian village near the Grecian border as part of a German work crew. Alienated by their unfamiliar surroundings, the workers mock the local residents, whose language they do not understand, until one begins to reach out.
  1. Hondros (Greg Campbell, 2017) Directed by fellow journalist Greg Campbell, this documentary on the life of photojournalist Chris Hondros is a moving tribute to a man who inspired people, not only by his iconic war photographs that captured the humanity of people caught in the middle of conflict, but by the humanity and compassion he displayed in his life.
  1. Una (Benedict Andrews, 2016)* Adapted from a play about the sexual abuse of a thirteen-year-old girl, Benedict Andrews does what has become increasingly uncommon in modern cinema – he makes us think. The film asks us to look at its characters not as symbols, but as damaged human beings who are seeking to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.
  1. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Joseph Cedar, 2016)* Norman, a lonely man in his sixties, is an American businessman, consultant and generally disreputable individual, known in Yiddish as a “gonif.” He is a person we can relate to, although maybe not admire, as a flawed human being persistent in his longing for prestige and recognition by his peers.
  1. A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017) A Ghost Story, sees life not from the usual perspective of the one left behind after a loved one dies, but from the vantage point of the dead, the ghost who remains attached to the physical world, looking for completion and release.

*Released in Canada in 2017

Honorable Mention:
The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016), Menashe (Joshua Z. Weinstein, 2017), Sameblod (Sami Blood, Amanda Kernell, 2016) , Thank You for Your Service (Jason Hall, 2017), The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

Disappointments:
The Trip to Spain (Michael Winterbottom, 2017), Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017), The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)

CHRISTOPHER SIKICH

TEACHER OF BIOLOGY, PHOTOGRAPHER OF LIVE MUSIC AND NATURE, FILM SNOB; BASED IN PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA
  1. Quest (Jonathan Olshefski, 2017)
  2. Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)
  3. I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
  4. The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)
  5. Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
  6. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)
  7. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)
  8. My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (Dash Shaw, 2016)
  9. The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (Errol Morris, 2016)
  10. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)

Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)

MATTHEW SINGLETON

FILM CRITIC FOR TiCGN.com, FREELANCE JOURNALIST

The list below details my favourite films released in the UK this year. It also includes films shown at film festivals in the UK this year (i.e London Film Festival).

  • The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
  • Logan (James Mangold, 2017)
  • Manchester By the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  • Wind River (Taylor Sheridan, 2017)
  • Mother! (Darren Aronofsky, 2017)
  • The Big Sick (Michael Showalter, 2017)
  • Journeyman (Paddy Considine, 2017)
  • Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, 2016)
  • 20th Century Women (Mike Mills, 2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts, 2017)
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017)
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017)
  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Noah Baumbach, 2017)
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
  • Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater, 2017)
  • Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh, 2017)
  • Brigsby Bear (Dave McCary, 2017)
  • Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnorak (Taika Waititi, 2017)
  • Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

CHRISTOPHER SMALL

CRITIC AND FILMMAKER LIVING IN THE UK

Abaton (Nathaniel Dorsky, 2017)
Aliens (Luis López Carrasco, 2017)
Alive in France (Abel Ferrara, 2017)
Arrière-saison (Jean-Claude Rousseau, 2016)
Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone, Hong Sang-soo, 2017)
Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)
La caméra de Claire (Claire’s Camera, Hong Sang-soo, 2017)
Geu-hu (The Day After, Hong Sang-soo, 2017)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
Cho-haeng (The First Lap, Kim Dae-hwan, 2017)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2017)
First They Killed My Father (Angelina Jolie, 2017)
Fang Xiuying (Mrs Fang, Wang Bing, 2017)
Napalm (Claude Lanzmann, 2017)
Patriots Day (Peter Berg, 2016)
Piazza Vittorio (Abel Ferrara, 2017)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2016)
Sat min (The Sleep Curse, Herman Yau, 2017)
Transformers: The Last Knight 3D (Michael Bay, 2017)
Untitled (Gina Telaroli, 2017)
Wasteland No. 1: Ardent Verdant (Jodie Mack, 2017)
Western (Valeska Grisebach, 2017)

MARK SPRATT

INDEPENDENT FILM DISTRIBUTOR IN AUSTRALIA

First, twelve films that, in my mind, have creatively used the cinematic medium in exciting and original ways – in terms of structure, performance, cinematography, ambition. In order seen.
Jackie (Pablo Larraín, 2016)
Nelyubov (Loveless, Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2017)
Jeannette: l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc (Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, Bruno Dumont, 2017)
Hounds of Love (Ben Young, 2016)
A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
Visages villages (Faces Places, Agnès Varda and J.R., 2017)
Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, 2017)
Teströl és lélekröl (On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, 2017)
Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016)
Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch, 2017)
La Telenovela Errante (The Wandering Soap Opera, Raul Ruiz, 1990/2017)

Twelve more close contenders:
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
Réparer les vivants (Heal the Living, Katell Quillévéré, 2016)
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
Lady Macbeth (William Olroyd, 2016)
Good Time (Joshua & Ben Safdie, 2017)
Powidoki (Afterimage, Andrzej Wajda, 2016)
Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sunshine In, Claire Denis, 2017)
You Were Never Really Here (Andrea Arnold, 2017)
Krotkaya (A Gentle Creature, Sergei Loznitsa, 2017)
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
Marjorie Prime (Michael Almereyda, 2017)
Mother! (Darren Aronovsky, 2017)

BRAD STEVENS

AUTHOR OF BOOKS ON ABEL FERRERA AND MONTE HELLMAN. HIS ‘BRADLANDS’ COLUMN APPEARS REGULARLY ON SIGHT & SOUND‘S WEBSITE

Films of the Year:
Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016)
Torneranno i prati (Greenery Will Bloom Again, Ermanno Olmi, 2014)
Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
Poesia Sin Fin (Endless Poetry, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2016)
Malgre la nuit (Philippe Grandrieux, 2015)
Alive in France (Abel Ferrara, 2017)
Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog, 2014)
Every Thing Will Be Fine (Wim Wenders, 2015)
Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope, Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)
Song to Song (Terrence Malick, 2015)
Café Society (Woody Allen, 2016)
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)
9 doigts (9 Fingers, F. J. Ossang, 2017)
24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami, 2017)

Special mention should be made of three outstanding auteurist television series released this year. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch, 2017), Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake: China Girl (Jane Campion, 2017), and the restoration of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (Eight Hours are Not a Day, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972).

JOSH TIMMERMANN

DOCTORAL STUDENT IN MEDIEVAL HISTORY, OCCASIONAL FILM AND MUSIC CRITIC, WRITER AT JLT/JLT, VANCOUVER

10 Best Films I Saw in 2017:

  1. Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2017)
  2. 24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami, 2017)
  3. Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
  4. Super Dark Times (Kevin Phillips, 2017)
  5. Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone, Hong Sang-soo, 2017)
  6. The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016)
  7. The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)
  8. Mudbound (Dee Rees, 2017)
  9. Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)
  10. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)

10 Best Films of 2017, based on North American commercial release date:

  1. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)
  2. Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2017)
  3. La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  4. Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
  5. Super Dark Times (Kevin Phillips, 2017)
  6. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  7. Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone, Hong Sang-soo, 2017)
  8. The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016)
  9. The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)
  10. Mudbound (Dee Rees, 2017)

GORAZD TRUŠNOVEC

FREELANCE FILM CRITIC, EDITOR, SCREENWRITER. LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA.

I’ve decided to choose the best 15 films I’ve seen locally this year. The list is in alphabetical order. I would have no trouble limiting myself to five titles, if I wanted to distinguish the really great “cinematic” films from the rest. The key question I asked myself in making the list was: which of this year’s films will, I believe, stand the test of time?

Atomic Blonde (David Leitch, 2017)
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)
Družina (The Family, Rok Biček, 2017)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar, 2016)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
Muškarci ne plaču (Men Don’t Cry, Alen Drljević, 2017)
Nelyubov (Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2017)
Ničije dete (No One’s Child, Vuk Ršumović, 2014)
The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)
Teströl és lélekröl (On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, 2017)
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan, 2017)
1945 (Ferenc Török, 2017)

MATT TURNER

LONDON BASED WRITER & PROGRAMMER

Before getting into this year’s films, a quick note on two experiences / humblebrags in repertory filmgoing that stood out for me this year. Two separate screenings of short films, from two filmmakers whose films can be very difficult to see. They are amazing works from towering figures in avant-garde filmmaking.

First, two sessions dedicated to Peter Hutton, held one year on from his death at Close-Up Cinema in London. Visiting host and curator, Ed Halter, a friend of Mr. Hutton, flew in from New York and spoke eloquently after two programmes of the filmmaker’s stunning landscape films. Unable to speak for Hutton, naturally, he instead spoke well about him, offering fascinating insight and a poignant tribute.

Second, a screening for which I travelled out. 8 films by Nathaniel Dorsky, played to an audience of four in Light Cone’s small screening room, a magical venue befitting a majestic series of wondrous films, projected dutifully by a quiet gentleman with a long wispy beard and a gnarly black metal t-shirt. At these screenings, I saw Hutton’s In Titan’s Goblet (Peter Hutton, 1991) and Dorsky’s Song and Solitude (Nathaniel Dorsky, 2006), new all time favourites, amongst countless other precious gems. This year, I am thankful to the dedicated benefactors who were able to make these screenings happen, allowing this sort of rare work to be screened in the way its makers intended it to be seen: in small rooms, to an enraptured audience of rabid nerds, projector whirring audibly, dust dancing in the beam of light splitting the darkness down the middle. Their money has to go somewhere, and, selfish at it may be, I’m happy for it to go into the cinema.

Onto the new. Seeing as my year in filmgoing has been dominated by documentaries, here are 25 selections that fall, loosely, into that bracket. Non-fiction films of varying shapes, forms, lengths and styles, sorted alphabetically, connected by artistry or inventiveness of approach. All films that premiered this year, and all films seen at the festivals (IFFR, CPH:DOX, Frames of Representation, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Locarno Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, London Film Festival, IDFA) I went to over this fortuitous year. These are places I went to often with the specific intention of writing about non-fiction film (as well as doing the other things you do at festivals as you are able: drink beers, eat food, meet folks, swim in lakes, go to galleries, walk about, look at things). Doing just this, quality and company wise, has been unusually rewarding. Sure, a term as broad as ‘non-fiction’ feels a little dubious, when modes of documentary and artist’s moving image filmmaking blend into each other so easily and often so productively, and when identifying what is, or what isn’t a documentary isn’t always so easy (or so important). People disagree, people get angry. Life carries on. Is it film or television? Is it fiction or non-fiction? A cake or a biscuit? Who cares? It is what it is. Idizwadidiz, c’est ce que c’est, seskeceě. Nice weather.

A Skin So Soft (Denis Côté, 2017)
Caniba (Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2017)
Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? (Travis Wilkerson, 2017)
Disintegration 93-96 (Miko Revereza, 2017)
Dislocation Blues (Sky Hopinka, 2017)
El mar la mar (J.P. Sniadecki & Joshua Bonnetta, 2017)
Electro-Pythagoras: A Portrait of Martin Bartlett (Luke Fowler, 2017)
Ex Libris: New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman, 2017)
Good Luck (Ben Russell, 2017)
Highview (Simon Liu, 2017)
Last Days In Shibati (Hendrick Dusollier, 2017)
Life Imitation (Chen Zhou, 2017)
Fang Xiuying (Mrs Fang, Wang Bing, 2017)
Over The Limit (Marta Prus, 2017)
Panoptic (Rana Eid, 2017)
Railway Sleepers (Sompot Chidgasornpongse, 2017)
Rubber Coated Steel (Laurence Abu Hamdan, 2017)
Spell Reel (Filipa César, 2017)
Stand In The Stream (Stanya Kahn, 2017)
Strong Island (Yance Ford, 2017)
Tonsler Park (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2017) / IFO (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2017)
Druga strana svega (The Other Side of Everything, Mila Turajlic, 2017)
The Rabbit Hunt (Patrick Bresnan, 2017)
Turtle Rock (Xiao Xiao, 2017)
You Are Still Somebody’s Someone (Esther Wellejus, 2017)

Ex Libris- The New York Public Library

Ex Libris: New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman, 2017)

DONATELLA VALENTE

WRITER AND RESEARCHER ON EXPERIMENTAL WORK WITH THE MOVING IMAGE, WORLD ART CINEMA AND GENDER IN FILM.

My favourite films of 2017, in no preferential order, are:

Koibumi (Love Letter, Kinuyo Tanaka, 1953) and Chibusa yo eien nare (The Eternal Breasts, Kinuyo Tanaka, 1955) directed by one of the few successful and bold female filmmakers in Japan in the 1950s. These films were part of the BFI Season “Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama”.

Naked Spaces: Living is Round (Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1985), The Fourth Dimension (Trinh T. Minh-ha, 2001), and Forgetting Vietnam (Trinh T. Minh-ha, 2016) –  part of the ICA retrospective on writer, theorist and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha’s thematically insightful, technically inventive, and poetic essay films.

Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016) – an outlandish, yet surprisingly funny, constructed comedy of errors.

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016). A graceful film about creativity and writing poetry. Paterson’s imagination sees his nascent poems as strings of words unfolding over translucent mid-air walls, like pages from his notebook surrounding his everyday ephemeral world.

24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami, 2016). This film, by the late Iranian filmmaker, was his last, and part of the 2017 London International Film Festival. It is a moving image artwork delight, as Kiarostami’s animation techniques lift the still image off its painted canvas settings to magically re-create a sense of primitive wonder.

KOEN VAN DAELE

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

Top Five
1.
Ex Libris: New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman, 2017)
Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz, 2017)
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Noah Baumbach, 2017)
Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016)
Tesnota (Closeness, Kantemir Balagov, 2017)
Western (Valeska Grisebach, 2017)
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes, 2017)
2.
24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami, 2017)
Arábia (Araby, João Dumans, Affonso Uchoa, 2017)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2017)
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)
Golden Exits (Alex Ross Perry, 2017)
Good Time (Joshua & Ben Safdie, 2017)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope, Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)
Untitled (Michael Glawogger & Monika Willi, 2017)
Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017)
3.
Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember (Khavn, Achinette Villamor 2016)
Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone, Hong Sang-soo, 2017) +  La caméra de Claire (Claire’s Camera, Hong Sang-soo, 2017) + Geu-hu (The Day After, Hong Sangsoo, 2017)
The Box (Dušan Kastelic, 2017)
Družina (The Family, Rok Biček, 2017)
A fábrica de nada (The Nothing Factory, Pedro Pinho, 2017)
Félicité (Alain Gomis, 2017)
The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
Jeannette: l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc (Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, Bruno Dumont, 2017)
Playing Men (Matjaž Ivanišin, 2017)
The Rider (Chloé Zhao, 2017)
The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)
Teströl és lélekröl (On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, 2017)
4.
12 jours (12 Days, Raymond Depardon, 2017)
L’amant d’un jour (Lover for a Day, Philippe Garrel)
Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sun Shine In, Claire Denis, 2017)
Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)
Hikari (Radiance, Naomi Kawase, 2017)
Jusqu’à la garde (Custody, Xavier Legrand, 2017)
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)
Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater, 2017)
Menashe (Joshua Z. Weinstein, 2017)
Mugen no jûnin (Blade of the Immortal, Takashi Miike, 2017)
El Pacto de Adriana (Adriana’s Pact, Lissette Orozco, 2017)
Le serpent aux mille coupures (Thousand Cuts, Eric Valette, 2017)
La Villa (The House by the Sea, Robert Guédiguian, 2017)
Visages villages (Faces Places, Agnès Varda and J.R., 2017)
5.
Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)
Downsizing (Alexander Payne, 2017)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh, 2017)
Miljeong (The Age of Shadows, Jee-woon Kim, 2016)
Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin, 2017)
Muškarci ne plaču (Men Don’t Cry, Alen Drljević, 2017)
Okja (Bong Joon-ho, 2017)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)
Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton, 2017)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017)
Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen, 2017)

+ 12 exceptional screenings
Night Horse (James Herbert, 1976) + Automan (James Herbert, 1988) + Kolja & Sana (James Herbert, 1995-96), 16mm program as part of Kinosloga.Retrosex. Curated by Maša Peče. Kinodvor, Ljubljana, February.
I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943), impeccable 35mm print, opening night of the Kurja polt Genre Film Festival, Kinoteka, Ljubljana, April 19.
Thriller – en grym film (Thriller – A Cruel Picture, Boarne Vibenius, 1973), magnificent 2017 restoration by the Swedish Film Institute of the original, uncut Swedish version. Followed by a talk with lead actress Christina Lindberg. Kurja polt Genre Film Festival, Kinoteka, Ljubljana, April 20.
Twin Peaks: The Return. Episodes 1 & 2 (David Lynch, 2017), 70th Cannes Film Festival, May.
Prix de beauté (Miss Europe, Augusto Genina, 1930), live accompanied by Stephen Horne. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Cinema Scorsese, Bologna, June 25th.
West Indies (Med Hondo, 1979) and a talk with Med Hondo. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Cinema Scorsese, Bologna, June 26th.
Mitt hem är Copacabana (My Home Is Copacabana, Arne Sucksdorff, 1965) introduced by Jon Wengström (Svenska Filminstitutet). Il Cinema Ritrovato, Sala Auditorium – Laboratori delle Arti UniBo, Bologna, June 26th.
Monterey Pop (D.A. Pennebaker, 1969) introduced by D.A. Pennebaker. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, June 27th.
The Patsy (King Vidor, 1928), introduced by Kevin Brownlow. Accompanied by The Sprockets, score by Maud Nelissen. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, June 28th.
Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast (Bruce Weber, 2017), followed by a Q&A with Bruce Weber. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Sala Auditorium – Laboratori delle Arti UniBo, Bologna, June 30th.
Na sončni strani ceste (On the Sunny Side of the Street, Matjaž Klopčič, 1959). Open air screening on Congress Square, Ljubljana, August 23rd.
Ocean Cantos (Andrej Zdravič, 2017). Slovene premiere of a series of shorts. Kinodvor, Ljubljana, November 7th.

The Square

The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)

JESSE VAN DER MARK

AMSTERDAM BASED FILM SCHOLAR AND PRODUCER

I think 2017 was a great year for film, at least in the Netherlands. All ten films down below have been released here in 2017. These are my favourites, ranked in order of preference.

  1. 20th Century Women (Mike Mills, 2016)
  2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
  3. Nelyubov (Loveless, Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2017)
  4. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
  5. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
  6. Mother! (Darren Aronovsky, 2017)
  7. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  8. Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden, Chan-wook Park, 2016)
  9. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)
  10. Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, 2017)

KAJ VAN ZOELEN

DUTCH FREELAND FILM CRITIC. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AND WRITER FOR FRAMELAND. WRITER FOR FILMTOTAAL AND CONTRIBUTOR TO THE EASTERN EUROPEAN FILM BULLETIN.
  1. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (S.S. Rajamouli, 2017)
  2. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
  3. Visages villages (Faces Places, Agnès Varda and J.R., 2017)
  4. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  5. Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
  6. The Deminer (Hogir Hirori, 2017)
  7. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  8. San ren xing (Three, Johnnie To, 2016)
  9. John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski, 2017)
  10. La idea de un lago (The Idea of a Lake, Milagros Mumenthaler, 2016)
  11. Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot (Yourself and Yours, Hong Sang-soo, 2016)
  12. In This Corner of the World (Kono sekai no katasumi ni, Sunao Katabuchi, 2016)
  13. Kimi no na wa (Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  14. Une Vie (A Woman’s Life, Stéphane Brizé, 2016)
  15. Mrs. K (Ho Yuhang, 2016)
  16. The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach, 2016)
  17. Umi yori mo mada fukaku (After the Storm, Hirokazu Koreeda, 2016)
  18. L’Amant Double (François Ozon, 2017)
  19. Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh, 2017)
  20. The Burglar (Hagar Ben-Asher, 2016)
  21. Busanhaeng (Train to Busan, Yeon Sang-ho, 2016)
  22. Ex Libris: New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman, 2017)
  23. El pacto de Adriana (Adriana’s Pact, Lissette Orozco, 2017)
  24. Moteris ir ledynas (The Woman and the Glacier, Audrius Stonys, 2016)
  25. Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)
  26. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)
  27. La Chana (Lucija Stojevic, 2016)
  28. I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
  29. Baby Driver (Edgar Wright, 2017)
  30. The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2017)
Columbus

Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)

MIHA VEINGERL

FREELANCE FILM CRITIC, SLOVENIA/AUSTRIA

My top 10 lists, in no particular order:

Narrative
Muškarci ne plaču (Men Don’t Cry, Alen Drljević, 2017)
The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)
Casting (Nicolas Wackerbarth, 2017)
La vendedora de fósforos (Alejo Moguillansky, 2017)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017)
Ustav Republike Hrvatske (The Constitution, Rajko Grlić, 2016)
Corporate (Nicolas Silhol, 2017)
20th Century Women (Mike Mills, 2016)
Lady Macbeth (William Olroyd, 2016)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)

Documentary
Ein Deutsches Leben (A German Life, Christian Krönes, Florian Weigensamer, Roland Schrotthofer, Olaf S. Müller, 2016)
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
Blue Velvet Revisited (Peter Braatz a.k.a. Harry Rag, 2016)
Beuys (Andres Veiel, 2017)
Brimstone & Glory (Viktor Jakovleski, 2017)
Untitled (Michael Glawogger, Monika Willi, 2017)
Readers (James Benning, 2017)
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman, 2017)
78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene (Alexandre O. Philippe, 2017)
One More Time With Feeling (Andrew Dominik, 2016)

Short
Soushite watashitachi wa pûru ni kingyo o (And So We Put Goldfish In The Pool, Makoto Nagahisa, 2017)
Livorno 32 (Miki Polonski, 2017)
Atelier (Elsa Maria Jakobsdóttir, 2017)
In Kropsdam is iedereen gelukkig (Greetings from Kropsdam, Joren Molter, 2016)
On Generation and Corruption (Makino Takashi, 2017)
Trilogy of Leaving (Anna Vasof, 2016)
Keep That Dream Burning (Rainer Kohlberger, 2017)
Debiut (Debut, Katarzyna Kijek, 2016)
Nachsaison (Late Season, Daniela Leitner, 2017)
When John Goes Outside (Bettina Tytko, 2017)

Favourite festival moment
Screening of a selection of Lumiere shorts, with a live commentary by Thierry Fremaux (Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna).

PETER VERSTRATEN

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, FILM AND LITERARY STUDIES, LEIDEN (NL)

Although the list includes several titles that premiered in 2016, these films were all released in the Netherlands in 2017.

  1. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
  2. Thelma (Joachim Trier, 2017)
  3. Zjednoczone stany milosci (United States of Love, Tomasz Wasilewski, 2016)
  4. Brimstone (Martin Koolhoven, 2016)
  5. Voir du Pays (The Stopover, Delphine Coulin, Muriel Coulin, 2016)
  6. La región salvaje (The Untamed, Amat Escalante, 2016)
  7. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
  8. Tarde para la ira (The Fury of a Patient Man, Raúl Arévalo, 2016)
  9. Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
  10. Câini (Dogs, Bogdan Mirica, 2016)
  11. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
  12. Le Fidèle (Racer and the Jailbird, Michaël R. Roskam, 2017)
  13. Happy End (Michael Haneke, 2017)
  14. The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017)
  15. Nelyubov (Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2017)

TOM VINCENT

PROGRAM MANAGER: FILM, PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL, AUSTRALIA

Film-2017 at first put me in a pessimistic mood, though I gradually shook this off as the year went on, realising that I had been distracted. The problem was that several celebrated European auteurs finished films this year that seemed to me to have a very predetermined quality. This white elephant-y, authorial kind of cinema took up too much space in Cannes’ Competition and I found the cumulative effect a bit alarming; it made me wonder where art that makes room for its audience had disappeared to. Then again, outside of the main selection at that festival I felt enthused by some new ways of seeing; some of which I mention below and others, such as Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni, 2017), auger well for cinema and, crucially, its audiences.

So obviously I needed to get out more, and at Melbourne’s MIFF in August the smartly curated juxtaposition of old and new films did their trick. Among them were several new documentaries of greatly focused erudition. And here, the hothousing and brand-management of auteur cinema thankfully didn’t really matter. The films either engaged those people or they did not. I was glad to be there.

I shouldn’t half-heartedly expect authors to create meaning. This is of course never the case, only people and time can do that.

Cinema experiences (film + place + time)
Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott, 2017), Discovery Cinema, Isle of Bute, Scotland, June
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017), Sun Theatre Yarraville (70mm screening), Melbourne, August
Gabriel e a montanha (Gabriel and the Mountain, Fellipe Barbosa, 2017), Cannes, May
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017), Reading Cinema, Perth, May
Tender Hooks (Mary Callaghan, 1989), Melbourne International Film festival, August
The Work (Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous, 2017), Melbourne International Film festival, August

Retrospective (film + film + film…)
Stinky Wieners and Dreamy Beavers: A Collection of Curt McDowell (Curt McDowell, 1971-1974) at Revelation Perth International Film festival, July

Films
24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami, 2017), Cannes, May
Le concours (The Graduation, Claire Simon, 2016), Melbourne International Film festival, August
Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht (If I Think of Germany at Night, Romuald Karmakar, 2017)my office, May
Good Time (Joshua & Ben Safdie, 2017), Cannes, May and Somerville, Perth, December
Lenny (Bob Fosse, 1974), Bfi Southbank, London, June
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016), Luna Leederville, Perth, February
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016), Luna Leederville, Perth, March
Safari (Ulrich Seidl, 2016), Revelation Perth International Film festival, July
Visages, villages (Faces Places, JR, Agnès Varda, 2017), Cannes, May and Somerville, Perth, November
Western (Valeska Grisebach, 2017), at home, October

SARAH WARD

FILM CRITIC AND WRITER

All Formats:
Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch, 2017)

Australian Theatrical Releases:
A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo, 2016)
The Disaster Artist (James Franco, 2017)
The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
Good Time (Joshua & Ben Safdie, 2017)
Grave (Raw, Julia Ducournau, 2016)
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
Jackie (Pablo Larraín, 2016)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd, 2016)
The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016)
Lucky (John Carroll Lynch, 2017)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
Mother! (Darren Aronovsky, 2017)
Paddington 2 (Paul King, 2017)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
20th Century Women (Mike Mills, 2016)

International / Festival / Streaming
Bobbi Jene (Elvira Lind, 2017)
Casting JonBenet (Kitty Green, 2017)
The Endless (Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, 2017)
Human Flow (Ai Weiwei, 2017)
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)
The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach, 2016)
Nelyubov (Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2017)
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Noah Baumbach, 2017)
Mudbound (Dee Rees, 2017)
Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016)
Pailalim (Underground, Daniel R Palacio, 2017)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)
Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton, 2017)
Thelma (Joachim Trier, 2017)
Sandome no satsujin (The Third Murder, Hirokazu Koreeda, 2017)
Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope, Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)
Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, 2017)
Visages villages (Faces Places, Agnès Varda and J.R., 2017)
Win It All (Joe Swanberg, 2017)
Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017)

JAMES WATERS

SENSES OF CINEMA  CONTRIBUTOR, STUDENT, CRITIC AND FILMMAKER

‘Gotta light?’

(In no particular order)

Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch, 2017)
Jeannette: l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc (Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, Bruno Dumont, 2017)
Finding Frances (Nathan Fielder, 2017)
Austerlitz (Sergei Loznitsa, 2016)
The Last Train (Dianna Barrie, 2016)
Der traumhafte Weg (The Dreamed Path, Angela Schanelec, 2016)
Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016)
La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
El auge del humano (The Human Surge, Eduardo Williams, 2016)
Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sunshine In, Claire Denis, 2017)
Les Concours (The Graduation, Claire Simon, 2016)
Montañas ardientes que vomitan fuego (Burning Mountains That Spew Flame Helena Girón & Samuel M. Delgado, 2016)
Ride Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder (Fern Silva, 2016)
Sea of Pearls (Katrina Daschner, 2016)

The above list has nothing to say about the supposed death of cinema to be endlessly pruported in Indiewire articles (presumably) until the end of time. It therefore serves no purpose, apparently. There are no antics, fanatics, dweebs, dorks, pleebs, mouth breathers, nerf herders, space jockeys, rubes, goobers, shitheads, fuckfaces, asshats, scumbags, dipshits, douchenozels, fuccbois or any other nonsense pejoratives/misnomers that battered my ever-numbing head during the Year of Our Lord 2017. Only moving images that, for however fleeting a moment, made life better.

Hail Satan

Miscellanea:

Best Film Criticism of 2017, Year of Our Lord
Kate Rennebohm, A Little Night Music: Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 8 (David Lynch, 2017), Cinema Scope Magazine
Adam Nayman, Zama: Stuck in a Moment, Reverse Shot
Nick Pinkerton, Let the Sun Shine In: A Director’s Discourse, Reverse Shot
Violet Lucca, No Joke, Film Comment
Annabel Brady-Brown, Why Reproduce If You Believe the World is Ending?, Fireflies magazine
The Snowman memes
This nug of a tweet, courtesy of Whit Stillman:  https://twitter.com/WhitStillman/status/933007296044634113

A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

JASON WIERZBA

A WRITER AND SORT OF MUSICIAN FROM THE CANADIAN PRAIRIE.
  1. Maliglutit (Searchers, Zacharias Kunuk, Natar Ungalaaq, 2016) At the risk of coming off blithely reductive, I am going to go ahead and call Maliglutit the Inuit Acid Western I have unconsciously awaited for most of my life. Is John Ford the rightful non-lysergic antecedent? Phooey. The thing is leaner than a Boetticher.
  2. Good Time (Joshua & Ben Safdie, 2017) With their last two films the Safdies have demonstrated that they are seriously plugged-in. A whole new urban wayGood Time comes on even more intravenously than Heaven Knows What (2014).
  3. Tesnota (Closeness, Kantemir Balagov, 2017) One of the preeminent directorial debuts of our time. Always a sucker for academy ratio, I was primed to be won over by this frontal address from history unto, ultimately, the firmament (to which so many of the greatest Russian films have been addressed).
  4. Marjorie Prime (Michael Almereyda, 2017) Masterclass. Pure lucidity of form. Like much late Resnais this late Almereyda adapts a play. It also happens to literally go Marienbad on us.
  5. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016) Having lived so much of my life on the prairie with the mountains in the background, I was especially well situated to find myself right at home in Reichardt’s best film. One of the finest fork’d titles in all cinema. Best enjoyed in winter, it also goes supremely well with Earl Grey tea.
  6. Dao khanong (By the Time It Gets Dark, Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2016) Suwichakornpong would appear to have devised a new shape. Contains ellipses but is not itself an ellipsis. Instructively wrong-foots you. Will appeal to cartographers of the New.
  7. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016) Reverent, of course. Distinguished as such. But also all the better for being a little snarky.
  8. Informe general II. El nou rapte d’Europa (General Report II: The New Abduction of Europe, Pere Portabella, 2015) Portabella back, engagé. Old scene, new crimes. We are sorely in need of this (literally, screamingly). Discourse-sodden, but he can sure finesse the apparatus.
  9. Hermia & Helena (Matías Piñeiro, 2016) Matías Piñeiro has a sense for cinema that evokes the sentient fingertips of a man born blind.
  10. Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope, Aki Kaurismäki, 2017) Kaurismäki. Cinema’s finest rotgut liquor. Clear stuff. Right from the still.
  11. 69 Minutes of 86 Days (Egil Haaskjold Larsen, 2017) Modern exodus is perhaps the signature issue of our time, appropriately married here to supernal travelling shots. Shades of Akerman’s D’Est (1993), but determinedly invested in breaking your heart.
  12. Rat Film (Theo Anthony, 2016) It would be tempting to call Rat Film a rethink of the essay film, but doing so would underserve its dense hybridity. It has predecessors (many justly cite Chris Marker and Fata Morgana (Werner Herzog, 1971)), but the lexicon is expansive and it feels bracingly fresh. Baltimore (as microcosm) may never receive a more apt redress.
  13. La caméra de Claire (Calire’s Camera, Hong Sang-soo, 2017) The only of the Hong Sang-soo 2017 trifecta I have seen as of submitting this list. His body of work continues to take the form of a manifold project, but La caméra de Claire seems particularly elegant and fleet in its mobilisation of the convergences and strange accruals of the poetic universe.
  14. A fábrica de nada (The Nothing Factory, Pedro Pinho, 2017) We don’t get a lot of factory films in the style of Coup pour coup (Marin Karmitz, 1972) or Tout va bien (Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1972) these days, (Denis Côté’s Que ta joie demeure (2014) made my list two years ago.) Like many films of his countryman Miguel Gomes, Pinho’s is a wily hodgepodge. At play in the land of austerity.
  15. The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017) I take umbrage at the assertion that The Square is satire. It hews far to close to clearly observable insanities for to be thus categorized (ghettoized?). However, it is hilarious. Östlund is our most puckish diagnostician.
  16. La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016) Though I will concede that it does naturally have a few moving parts (in the machinic sense), I am nonetheless compelled to declare that La mort de Louis XIV is probably the greatest one joke movie in the history of cinema.
  17. Anashim Shehem Lo Ani (People That Are Not Me, Hadas Ben Aroya, 2016) Emergent Israeli dynamo Hadas Ben Aroya (both as artist and object petit a) occupies in her debut feature a sweet spot somewhere on the spectrum between Lena Dunham and Je, tu, il, elle (Chantal Akerman, 1974). I developed a little crush when her character mocked young men who read John Barth’s The End of the Road; by the time it turned out she had a bunny I was a goner.
  18. The Misandrists (Bruce La Bruce, 2017) The lesbian terrorist pornographer version of The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017) (1971 or 2017, either/or). Bringing insurrection (and a little academic vernacular) back to queer cinema.
  19. Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo, 2016) This would be my second year running including a Kaijū-type movie on my list. And they are seriously not my kind of thing at all. Colossal, chillingly, has the distinction of having Jason Sudeikis play the apocalyptic resentment and self-pity that, aside from being emblematic of the alcoholic, produce mass shootings and, you know, run-of-the-mill geopolitics.
  20. Xī Yóu Fú Yāo Piān (Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, Tsui Hark, 2017) It actually makes (colossal) sense that  Stephen Chow would get Tsui Hark to direct one of his comic-historic-fantasy spectacles. Make it a little more grand, a little less gleefully slapdash. Demons Strike Back demonstrates the most impressive mainstream use of the 3D format that I have ever seen. Long live the ‘cinema of attractions’! I guess…

VIRGINIA WRIGHT WEXMAN (Senses of Cinema Patron)

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

New Releases:

  1. Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017). Bigelow’s hard-charging direction brings Mark Boal’s savvy script to life in this unjustly neglected masterpiece.
  2. Nelyubov (Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2017) A heartbreaking examination of the morally bankrupt bourgeois culture that exists in modern-day Russia.
  3. The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017) Östlund’s cheeky social satire skewers the modern art scene.
  4. First They Killed My Father (Angelina Jolie, 2017) Jolie’s devastating chronicle of the Cambodian genocide, based on Loung Ung’s memoir, is seen through the eyes of an innocent, uncomprehending young girl.
  5. Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017) Peele inserts racial politics into the horror film to turn the genre inside out.
  6. Forushande (The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, 2016) A step beyond Farhadi’s previous work, layering a self-reflexive social critique onto another of his acute character studies.
  7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017) Pointed social commentary delivered with McDonagh’s signature wit.
  8. Ladybird (Greta Gerwig, 2017) A sharply observed and unsentimental portrayal of a strong-minded young woman.
  9. 120 battements par minute (BPM: Beats Per Minute, Robin Campillo, 2017) Campillo’s look back at AIDS activism in 1980s Paris is both visceral and unrelenting
  10. Sage femme (The Midwife, Martin Provost, 2017) Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot star in this non-sexual celebration of women’s bodies and the power of female nurturing.

Most Pretentious New Releases:
Mother! (Darren Aronovsky, 2017) Overblown and needlessly obscure.
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017) Gimmicky and confusing, featuring an underutilized A-list cast.

Best Retrospectives (Listings include the sponsoring festival/organization):
Augusto Genina: A political chameleon and a virtuoso stylist whose output was spread over several decades and several countries. Highlights included 1949’s Cielo sulla palude (Heaven over the Marshes, Augusto Genina, 1949) and Stephen Horne’s live piano, flute and accordion accompaniment for the 1918 Addio Giovinezza (Goodbye Youth, Augusto Genina, 1918). (Cinema Ritrovato Festival, Bologna, Italy)
LA/LA (Latin America/Los Angeles) Film Series: Funded by the Getty. Recent films made by Latin American directors working in Hollywood (mounted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) and rare Latin American classics originally screened on Main Street’s theater row for Spanish-speaking audiences from the 1930s through the 1950s. (mounted by UCLA).

Best Revivals:
La Belle et la Bête (Jean Cocteau, 1946) This inimitable classic was given a new twist with a live score by Philip Glass featuring soloists singing the dialogue parts. The restored Moorish/Gothic interior of the cavernous Theater at the Ace Hotel (formerly the United Artists flagship venue) made an ideal backdrop. (LA Opera)
The General (Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton, 1926) A memorable reworking of the classic, featuring Jeff Beal’s rousing score. Played live in the Theater at the Ace Hotel. (LA Chamber Orchestra)
The Dumb Girl of Portici (Lois Weber, Phillips Smalley 1916) Weber’s most sumptuous production features ballet legend Anna Pavlova. (CineFamily)
Nobody Knows (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2004). This touching tale about abandoned children cemented Koreeda’s claim to the mantle of Yazijuro Ozu. (USC)
Battle of the Century (Clyde Bruckman, 1927) This Laurel and Hardy gem is surely one of the funniest movies ever made. It was screened as part of a memorial tribute to beloved film preservationist David Shepard at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Joe Rinaudo goosed the hilarity with an animated live accompaniment on the Academy’s newly restored 1915 Fotoplayer. (Academy)
Cleopatra (Cecil B. DeMille, 1934). DeMille at his most decadent, screened in the splendor of the newly-restored Chinese Theater in Hollywood. (Hollywood Heritage and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association)
“The Nickelodeon Picture Show.” Russell Merrit’s staging of what movie-going might have been like at the turn of the 20th Century has become more elaborate–and entertaining–since I first saw it at Pordenone some years back, with professional performers and a varied, lively program. A unique, memorable experience. (TCM Film Festival)
A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan, 1957) Budd Schulberg’s scabrous portrait of a media-made political powerhouse gains new relevance in the age of Trump. (American Cinematheque)
The Player (Robert Altman, 1992). Probably the most incisive take on modern-day Hollywood, missing only the part about sexual harassment. (Downtown LA Film Festival)
Panique (Julian Duvivier, 1946) This masterly 1946 thriller gave French star Michel Simon a signature role. (TCM)
La Conga Nights (Lew Landers, 1940) Hugh Herbert’s over-the-top antics, especially in drag, may not be to everyone’s taste, but I loved the high energy of this 1940 Universal programmer, especially the motormouth dialogue delivered by supporting players Sally Payne and Eddie Quillan. (CineCon)
Boys will be Boys (George Stevens, 1932) A delightful farce. George Stevens keeps the action moving in this early sound short. (CineCon)
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton, 1928) The Famous Players Orchestra’s rousing live accompaniment brought new life to Keaton’s 1928 classic. (CineCon)
The Crime of Monsieur Lange (Jean Renoir, 1936). Deeply humanistic and politically complicated, featuring a bravura closing shot. (Cinema Ritrovato)
Asegure a su mujer (Insure Your Wife, Lewis Seiler, 1935) 20th Century Fox produced this witty farce especially for the Spanish-language market (LA/LA: UCLA)
Altes Geld (Old Money, David Schalko, 2015). A wickedly satirical Austrian TV miniseries played on the big screen in Palm Springs involves the family of a wealthy industrialist who needs a liver transplant. (Palm Springs Film Festival)
Truman (Cesc Gay, 2015) A look at end-of-life issues as played out in Buenos Aires, with plenty of gentle humor to leaven the gloom. Also, a dog is the star. (USC)

Unexpected Pleasures:
Annette Bening flaunting her wrinkles in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Paul McGuigan, 2017). (AFIFest)
Tony Zierra’s affectionate portrait of Leon Vitali, one of the unsung support staff that make mainstream movies possible, in Filmworker (Tony Zierra, 2017). Next time, Zierra should take one of the thousands of women who fulfil this function as his subject. (AFIFest)
The respectful and dignified depiction of African-Americans in Universal’s Laughter in Hell (Edward L. Cahn, 1933). (Cinema Ritrovato)

Mother!

Mother! (Darren Aronovsky, 2017)

Barbara Wurm

Freelance Curator and Critic, Teaches Slavic Literature and Film at Humboldt University

Choices (come in pairs)
I am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017)
Der junge Karl Marx (The Young Karl Marx, Raoul Peck, 2017)

Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)
Erase and Forget (Andrea Luka Zimmerman, 2017)

Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sunshine In, Claire Denis, 2017)
Nawet nie wiesz, jak bardzo ciȩ kocham (You Have No Idea How Much I Love You, Paweł Loziński, 2016)

Casting (Nicolas Wackerbarth, 2017)
Garmonija (Harmony, Lidija Šejnina, 2017)

Le Serpent aux mille coutures (The Snake with a Thousand Cuts, Eric Valette, 2017)
Untitled (Monika Willi, Michael Glawogger, 2017)

Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope, Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)
Aus einem Jahr der Nichtereignisse (From a Year of Non-Events, Ann Carolin Renninger & René Frölke, 2017)

The Party (Sally Potter, 2017)
Strnadovi (A Marriage Story, Helena Třestíková, 2017)

Napalm (Claude Lanzmann, 2017)
Selbstkritik eines bürgerlichen Hundes (Selfcriticism of a Bourgeois Dog, Julian Radlmaier, 2017)

Krotkaja (A Gentle Creature, Sergej Loznitsa, 2017)
Kolyma – Straße der Knochen (Kolyma – Road of Bones, Stanislaw Mucha, 2017)

Liefde is aardappelen (Love is Potatoes, Aliona van der Horst, 2017)
Helle Nächte (Bright Nights, Thomas Arslan, 2017)

***

RECAP (comes in chronology)
Young Desire (Lewis B. Collins, 1930)
Zlatye gory (Mountains of Gold, Sergej Jutkevič, 1931)
The Road Back (James Whale, 1937)
Hana chirinu (Fallen Blossoms, Tamizo Ishida, 1938)
*
L’assedio dellAlcazar (The Siege of the Alcazar, Augusto Genina, 1940)
Große Freiheit Nr. 7 (Great Freedom No. 7, Helmut Käutner, 1944-45)
*
Domenica dAgosto (Sunday in August, Luciano Emmer, 1950)
Der fallende Stern (The Falling Star, Harald Braun, 1950)
*
Situationen (Situations, Johannes Beringer, 1967)
235 000 000 (Uldis Brauns, 1967)
Ljudi zemli i neba (People of the Earth and Sky, Semen Aronovič, 1969)
Eika Katappa (Werner Schroeter, 1969)
*
Zum Begriff des ‚kritischen Kommunismus‘ bei Antonio Labriloa (1843-1904) (Günter Peter Straschek, 1970)
Engel, die ihre Flügel verbrennen (Angels who Burn their Wings, Zbyněk Brynych, 1970)
Örökbefogadás (Adoption, Márta Mészáros, 1975)
Köchin in der Taiga (A Female Cook in the Taiga, Karlheinz Mund, 1976)
*
Choehuui jeung-in (The Last Witness, Lee Doo-yong, 1980)
Päivä Karl Marxin haudalla (A Day at the Grave of Karl Marx, Peter von Bagh, 1984)
Sarraounia (Med Hondo, 1986)
Os Canibais (The Cannibals, Manoel de Oliveira, 1988)
*
Nationalität: deutsch (German Nationality, Karl Gass 1990)
Hold you Tight (Stanley Kwan, 1998)
Ordinary Heroes (Ann Hui, 1999)
*
Tour Eifel (Rainer Knepperges, Christian Mrasek, 2000)
Shooter (Antoine Fuqua, 2007)
Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike. Marx – Eisenstein – Das Kapital (naturally only the Helge Schneider-episode) (Alexander Kluge, 2008)

KEVA YORK

SYDNEY-BASED FILM WRITER, CRITIC, AND PHD STUDENT

The Challenge (Yuri Ancarani, 2016)
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (Chris Smith, 2017)
Nathan For You: Finding Frances (Nathan Fielder, 2017)
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
Rat Film (Theo Anthony, 2016)
Spettacolo (Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen, 2017)
Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch, 2017)
The Work (Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous, 2017)

About The Author