So, I found 2019 not a great year for new releases; lots of popular films but not that many outstanding ones. Those that stood out for me both in terms of craft and subject were:
Rosie, Eire. This was a drama about homelessness in Dublin. Very well done and the cast were impressive. It was distributed independently so I am afraid many people may have missed it.
Happy as lazzaro / Lazzaro Felice, Italy. A compelling drama, both of exploitation and the problems of migrants. One of the most imaginative stories I have seen for a long time.
A Season in France, France. A drama about an African migrant family. This was a bleak tale but finely done.
Never Look Away, Germany. An artist travels from East Germany to the West and from Socialist Realism to the avant-garde. Fascinating.
Pain and Glory, Spain. An exploration of sexual orientation and of cinema and of art; beautifully put together.
Bait, Britain. This title only qualified on 35mm. The digital version did not handle the distinctive techniques on the film well.
So Long, My son, China. One of several epic dramas from the territory presenting a canvas that was large in terms of time and space; a study of the contradictions of family relationships.
We also enjoyed several screenings of classics in their original format of 35mm. Sans Soleil / Sunless, France 1983 was part of a weekend of screenings curated by the Pavilion of the Artist Moving Image Network. This is a classic documentary, visually stunning and with a complex tapestry of themes. Among the other gems of the weekend was Colloque de chiens, France 1977; a sardonic 20 minute film on 35mm and in colour. The canine characters were a metaphor.