At the start of the year we usually look back over the previous 12 months and pick out our favourite films. Normally for this blog these would be restricted to those shown at the Picture House and I though this year it might have to be different. However the first few months of 2020 were really good for cinema and I’m not sure if this top 5 would be much different even if the doors had stayed open for longer.
So my Top 5 of 2020 is:
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Of the films I saw on the smaller screen at home the following would make it into my Top 10: Lynn + Lucy (BFIPlayer), Wolfwalkers (Apple+), Saint Frances (Netflix), Babyteeth (Netflix) and Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Sky/NowTV).
What about you? Did you still manage to see lots of great films (on screens of any size), let us know in the comments.
The film festival may be over but with arguably one of their best programmes, there’s still plenty to talk about. We asked our contributors for their highlights from LIFF2017 and it would be great to see yours in the comments:
The Wages of Fear
Lover for a Day
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Gaza Surf Club
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Taste of Cherry / Ta’m e guilass
And the best film not screened at the Festival, Oktyabr / October 1917 (Ten Days that Shook the World, 1928), co-written and directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
The film festival is over for another year and once again has provided Leeds with a fantastic selection of films. Below we share five of our highlights from the festival and would love to see yours in the comments:
There are so many films being made around the world! The Leeds Film Festival programme is just a small sample, and the thirty or so films I saw are just a small sample of what the Festival had to offer. Here are 5 films that I enjoyed, in no particular order:
Sieranevada – a beautifully directed and acted glimpse of a Romanian
family’s memorial commemoration, which also says something about wider
Eastern European society.
Chi-raq – Spike Lee’s theatrical exploration of the issues around Black
Lives Matter, made with the involvement of people living in Chicago’s
Lonesome – a love story, with live organ accompaniment, mostly set in
Coney Island, and made at a time when silent films were giving way to
the new ‘talkies’
The Handmaiden – an exciting and beautiful Korean/Japanese story, with
different perspectives challenging us to work out what is really going
Fukushima, Mon Amour – the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and
nuclear reactor meltdown, is the setting for this film about the lives
of people 5 years later, as seen through the eyes of a German woman who
wants to bring some pleasure to their lives
I could have added another 5 quite easily.
The Art of Negative Thinking– Scandinavian filmmakers excel at combining disability and humour.
Certain Women –Three well crafted stories, four excellent performances.
Mimosas – Very fine visually but the story requires careful thought and study.
Old Stone – A good Samaritan suffers under Chinese capitalism.
Woman of the Dunes – A black and white classic in a good 35mm print.
Mindhorn – The funniest film since What We Do In The Shadows. I’d forgotten how fantastic it is to see an incredibly funny film in a packed cinema. We laughed so hard we probably missed half the jokes. Followed by a brilliant surreal Q&A.
A Man Called Ove – Perfectly combining humour and humanity, everything comes together to remind you there is some good in the world.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe – The best horror film I’ve seen in some time. Delivers intelligent thrills and never outstays it’s welcome by becoming too silly.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Seeing this projected (from 35mm) gave me a new appreciation and managed to completely charm me where I’d previously been underwhelmed.
Two Lovers and a Bear – A complete surprise, I knew nothing about this film and found it all completely delightful.
This was the strongest festival I remember and I’d recommend nearly all the films I saw. My next 5 films were Pet, The Birth of A Nation, The First, The Last,Life Animated and Paterson.
Certain Women – Kelly Reichardt’s most fully realised film to date. Maile Meloy’s short stories perfectly compliment each other, providing a perfect counterpart to Reichardt’s earlier adaptations of Jon Raymond. Great performances from the central cast, especially Laura Dern and relative newcomer, Lily Gladstone.
Mister Universo – Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s simple fiction played out by real life members of the Italian circus community. A beautiful intersection between fact and fiction, that functions as both a road movie and an affectionate family portrait.
The Woman of the Dunes – Teshigahara/Abe’s Sisyphusian nightmare. A classic. So glad I got to see this on a big screen on 35mm.
Graduation – Doting father, Romeo, walks moral tightropes in this austere drama from Cristian Mungiu. Shades of Haneke’s Hidden in it’s creeping sense of dread.
Mimosas – Ecstatic fiction, quasi-western with the Atlas mountains as a backdrop. Shakib Ben Omar is a wild, charismatic lead. A natural heir to Ninetto Davoli.