Monday, 1 January 2018

My Top Films of 2017

Despite the fact that 2017 has been an extremely busy year for me (due to the release of London Symphony), I still managed to watch around the same number of films as I did in 2016 (actually, I watched ten more). Within that, I think there was a slightly better balance of old and new films – although, as ever, there were omissions from the new ones I did see (I was particularly saddened to miss Get Out, Frantz, Lady Macbeth and The Red Turtle, all of which may well have cracked this list had I seen them). 
The quality of the films I saw was generally very high, and the lists below therefore feel a little arbitrary (this is especially true of the list of old films). 
Given all the travelling I've been doing while touring London Symphony, I've had more time than usual to read this year, so I've decided to include my top five books below. Whether I do this again next year will depend on how much I manage to read in 2018. 
London Symphony doesn't, obviously, appear on the list below but, equally obviously, it is the film release that has meant the most to me this year on a personal level, so I hope readers of this blog will seek it out, if they haven't already done so (writing this I realise that, somehow, I haven't updated this blog with any information about the release, so I'll do a separate post sometime soon – but in the meantime you can check the film's website for all the latest info on how to see it/stream it/own it). 
Unlike many others, I've decided to exclude TV from my lists, but Scott Frank's Godless was the best series I saw this year. 
In the lists below, directors' names will take you to their IMDb pages and, as always, I've limited myself to one film per director in each list. (I've likewise restricted myself to one work per author in the book list, though I've cheated by including a whole trilogy in my number one spot…).
My Top Films of 2017
01) 1945 (dir. Ferenc Török)
02) On Body and Soul (dir. Ildikó Enyedi)
03) Certain Women (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
04) Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade)
05) A Wedding (dir. Stephan Streker)
06) Leaning into the Wind (dir. Thomas Riedelsheimer)
07) Manchester by the Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan)
08) I Dream in Another Language (dir. Ernesto Contreras)
09) Paddington 2 (dir. Paul King)
10) A Quiet Passion (dir. Terence Davies)
11) Their Finest (dir. Lone Scherfig)
12) The Beguiled (dir. Sofia Coppola)
13) Logan (dir. James Mangold)
14) Spider-Man: Homecoming (dir. Jon Watts)
15) Logan Lucky (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2017
01) Last Year in Marienbad (1961, dir. Alain Resnais)
02) The Night of Counting the Years (1969, dir. Chadi Abdel Salam)
03) By the Law (1926, dir. Lev Kuleshov)
04) The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972, dir. R. W. Fassbinder)
05) The Fireman's Ball (1967, dir. Milos Forman)
06) Homeland of Electricity (1967, dir. Larisa Shepitko)
07) The Devil's Trap (1962, dir. Frantisek Vlácil)
08) The Sun in a Net (1962, dir. Stefan Uher)
09) The Deep Blue Sea (2011, dir. Terence Davies)
10) The Pumpkin Eater (1964, dir. Jack Clayton)
11) The War Game (1965, dir. Peter Watkins)
12) Grand Hotel (1932, dir. Edmund Goulding)
13) Mademoiselle Fifi (1944, dir. Robert Wise)
14) Witchhammer (1970, dir. Otakar Vávra)
15) The Goose Women (1925, dir. Clarence Brown)
The Best Books I Read for the First Time in 2017
01) The Best Intentions/Sunday's Children/Private Confessions – Ingmar Bergman
02) The Dwarf – Pär Lagerkvist
03) On Solitude – Michel de Montaigne
04) No Bed of Her Own – Val Lewton
05) The First Men in the Moon – H. G. Wells

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