Monday, 4 January 2021

My Top Films (and Books) of 2020

I may not have made it to the cinema much in 2020, but that didn't stop me watching films, both old and new… As always, I've limited myself to one film per director/one book per author.

My Top Films of 2020
01) Last and First Men (dir. Jóhann Jóhannsson)
02) The Assistant (dir. Kitty Green)
03) 180° Rule (dir. Farnoosh Samadi)
04) Shadow Country (dir. Bohdan Sláma)
05) Days (dir. Tsai Ming-liang)
06) Red, White and Blue (dir. Steve McQueen)
07) Build the Wall (dir. Joe Swanberg) 
08) The Truth (dir. Hirokazu Koreeda)
09) Moffie (dir. Oliver Hermanus)
10) The Reason I Jump (dir. Jerry Rothwell)
11) Fire Will Come (dir. Oliver Laxe)
12) Where'd You Go, Bernadette (dir. Richard Linklater) 

The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2020
01) Red Beard (1965, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
02) Doktor Glas (1968, dir. Mai Zetterling)
03) Distant Journey (1949, dir. Alfréd Radok)
04) Transport from Paradise (1962, dir. Zbyněk Brynych)
05) The Last Stage (1948, dir. Wanda Jakubowska) 
06) Hiroshima (1953, dir. Hideo Sekigawa)
07) The Heiress (1949, dir. William Wyler)
08) Black Girl (1966, dir. Ousmane Sembène)
09) Columbus (2017, dir. Kogonada)
10) The Cheaters (1930, dir. Paulette McDonagh) 
11) The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929, dirs. Arnold Fanck and G. W. Pabst)
12) Moontide (1942, dir. Archie Mayo)
13) The Magician (1926, dir. Rex Ingram)
14) The Song of Ceylon (1934, dir. Basil Wright)
15) Chess of the Wind (1976, dir. Mohammad Reza Aslani)
16) Frieda (1949, dir. Basil Dearden)
17) The Farewell (2019, dir. Lulu Wang)
18) Western Approaches (1945, dir. Pat Jackson)

The Best Books I Read for the First Time in 2020
01) Mariamne – Pär Lagerkvist
02) Unquiet – Linn Ullmann
03) The Book of Dads – ed. Ben George
04) Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge 
05) The Prague Cemetery – Umberto Eco 
06) Africa's Tarnished Name – Chinua Achebe
07) The White Plague – Karel Čapek
08) I Should Have Stayed Home – Horace McCoy 
09) Spring Awakening – Frank Wedekind
10) Lysistrata – Aristophanes 

Monday, 19 October 2020

Monday, 12 October 2020

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Caligari at 100

I wrote a piece for the BFI celebrating 100 years of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Read it here

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

My Top Films (and Books) of 2019 – And of the Decade


There seems to be a consensus that 2019 was a strong year for film and, while that may be the case, I feel like overall it's (once again) the films from the archive which excited me most – thanks, in no small part, to the BFI's double-whammy of a stupendous Weimar Cinema season and a complete Antonioni retrospective. Of course, now that we're heading into the 2020s, it's an appropriate time to be looking back, so I've also included a list of my top films of 2010s below, along with my list of the Best Books I Read for the First Time in 2019.

That's a lot of lists!

As always, I've limited myself to one film per director/one book per author.

My Top Films of 2019
01) The Irishman (dir. Martin Scorsese)
02) Waiting for the Barbarians (dir. Ciro Guerra)
03) Ghost Town Anthology (dir. Denis Côté)
04) Vitalina Varela (dir. Pedro Costa)
05) mid90s (dir. Jonah Hill)
06) Venezia (dir. Rodrigo Guerrero)
07) I, Apostate (dir. Jeremy Moss)
08) I Lost My Body (dir. Jérémy Clapin)
09) It Must be Heaven (dir. Elia Suleiman)
10) The Ghost of Peter Sellers (dir. Peter Medak)

The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2019
01) La signora senza camelie (1953, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni)
02) Hangmen Also Die! (1943, dir. Fritz Lang)
03) Life Begins Tomorrow (1933, dir. Werner Hochbaum)
04) The Student of Prague (1926, dir. Henrik Galeen)
05) All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, dir. Lewis Milestone)
06) Madagascar Skin (1996, dir. Chris Newby)
07) Room at the Top (1959, dir. Jack Clayton)
08) You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (2012, dir. Alain Resnais)
09) Mother Krause's Journey to Happiness (1929, dir. Phil Jutzi)
10) La otra (1946, dir. Roberto Gavaldón)
11) No Man's Land (1931, dir. Victor Trivas)
12) The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927, dir. G. W. Pabst)
13) Her Majesty, Love (1931, dir. William Dieterle)
14) Man of a Thousand Faces (1957, dir. Joseph Pevney)
15) Happy End (2017, dir. Michael Haneke)
16) A Special Day (1977, dir. Ettore Scola)
17) In Vanda's room (2000, dir. Pedro Costa)
18) Scherben (1921, dir. Lupu Pick)
19) The Song of Life (1931, dir. Alexis Granowsky)
20) The Story on Page One (1959, dir. Clifford Odets)

The Best Films of the 2010s
01) The Turin Horse (2011, dir. Béla Tarr)
02) Ida (2013, dir. Paweł Pawlikowski)
03) Silence (2016, dir. Martin Scorsese)
04) Boyhood (2014, dir. Richard Linklater)
05) Miss Julie (2014, dir. Liv Ullmann)
06) Blue Valentine (2010, dir. Derek Cianfrance)
07) Birds of Passage (2018, dirs. Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra)
08) Museum Hours (2012, dir: Jem Cohen)
09) La Sapienza (2014, dir. Eugène Green)
10) 1945 (2017, dir. Ferenc Török)
11) I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (2018, dir. Radu Jude)
12) The Assassin (2015, dir. Hsiao-Hsien Hou)
13) An Elephant Sitting Still (2018, dir. Bo Hu)
14) Demain? (2011, dir. Christine Laurent)
15) The Revenant (2015, dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu)
16) 36 (2012, dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit)
17) On Body and Soul (2017, dir. Ildikó Enyedi)
18) Horse Money (2014, dir. Pedro Costa)
19) Under the Skin (2013, dir: Jonathan Glazer)
20) Once upon a Time in Anatolia (2011, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)


The Best Books I Read for the First Time in 2019
01) My Antonioni – Carlo di Carlo
02) All those Tomorrows – Mai Zetterling
03) The Late Mattia Pascal – Luigi Pirandello
04) R.U.R. – Karel Čapek
05) Mikhail Kaufman: Ukrainian Dilogy
06) The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
07) Piers of the Homeless Night – Jack Kerouac
08) Nosferatu in Love – Jim Shepard
09) United States Vs. Murder, Inc. – Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming
10) Metropolis – Thea von Harbou

Where to Begin with Costa and Resnais

For the BFI, I wrote a piece on Where to begin with Pedro Costa

Earlier in the year, I also wrote about Where to begin with Alain Resnais, but for some reason I never posted a link on this blog. You can read it here