Friday, 2 January 2015

My Top Films of 2014

Putting together the lists below has made me realise how much of my viewing last year was focused on work from previous years. This was, perhaps, partly a result of me missing the entirety of London Film Festival (due to being busy running the LONDON SYMPHONY crowdfunding campaign), and partly due to my increasing preference for films from the past. From the new work I did manage to see, 2014 has been a good, as opposed to great, year for film – nothing this year has reached the dizzying heights of the films that have topped my list over the last few years (i.e. Ida, Demain? and The Turin Horse), although a single viewing of Boyhood does suggest that it deserves masterpiece status (it'll be interesting to see if subsequent viewings confirm or refute this suspicion). Still, despite my slight reticence to lavish praise, there was some very strong work on show, as suggested by the films in my 2014 list below. Not all of these are without problems, but they're certainly all worth a look, and deserve their place on an end-of-year list. 
(It's probably worth adding in passing that I'm yet to see three of my most anticipated films from 2014: Horse Money, La Sapienza and Birdman). 
If the new films left me slightly unenthused, the older films I saw did quite the opposite, and there were many suitable options clamouring for space within the top ten Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2014, which feels especially strong this year (though I suspect I say that every year…). 
As always, directors' names will take you to their IMDb pages.
My Top Films of 2014
01) Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)
02) The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese)
03) Club Sandwich (dir. Fernando Eimbcke)
04) Journey to the West (dir. Ming-liang Tsai)
05) Something, Anything (dir. Paul Harrill)
06) Life May Be (dirs. Mania Akbari and Mark Cousins)
07) Stations of the Cross (dir. Dietrich Brüggemann)
08) Amour Fou (dir. Jessica Hausner)
09) Manakamana (dirs. Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez)
10) Uncertain Terms (dir. Nathan Silver)

The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2014
01) Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, dir. Kenji Mizoguchi)
02) Willow and Wind (2000, dir. Mohammad-Ali Talebi)
03) A Time to Live and A Time to Die (1985, dir. Hsiao-Hsien Hou)
04) Almanac of Fall (1984, dir. Béla Tarr)
05) A Farewell to Arms (1932, dir. Frank Borzage)
06) The Man Who Laughs (1928, dir. Paul Leni)
07) Vesnoy (In Spring) (1929, dir. Mikhail Kaufman)
08) Blood Wedding (1981, dir. Carlos Saura)
09) Sound of the Mountain (1954, dir. Mikio Naruse)
10) Mare Nostrum (1926, dir. Rex Ingram)