Friday, December 23, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Films of 2016

Yes, another year has gone by. By all accounts, 2016 was a shitty year. Many of my idols have passed (too many to count). And the election...I have no comment.

On the contrary, wow, what a year for cinema it has been?! So many good films all around. And what year for women filmmakers! Maren Ade, Andrea Arnold, Mia Hansen-Løve, Kelly Reichardt, Lucile Hadzihalilovic -- all were top of their game this year. Hopefully the real world will catch up to the cinema world and start being awesome, one would hope? So without further a do, I present to you my favorite films of 2016, please click the titles for full reviews:

1. Toni Erdmann
Perhaps the best written, funniest dramedy ever that strikes the right chords on every level. Touching and wise and true without ever being corny. Maren Ade is a great talent and a terrific writer.

*My interview with director Maren Ade & stars Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek

2. American Honey
Energetic and powerful. More than any other film this year, American Honey is a through and through director's film. Borne out of improvisation among non-actors, Andrea Arnold paints small American Dream that still sees the possibilities of hope in a barren, ugly Americana . She even makes Brando out of Shia LaBeouf which is no easy feat.

3. La academia de la musas/Academy of Muses
Guerrin does it again- blurring the line between what's fiction and what's real, making a delicious concoction that reaches far into the possibilities of cinema.

4. L'avenir/Things to Come
Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 10.57.15 AM
After watching L'avenir, I came to realize that it's a Hou Hsiao-Hsien movie starring Isabelle Huppert. Another marvelous observation of time passing and of course, Huppert in the center. What can anyone ask for more?

5. Elle
It should be noted that Isabelle Huppert is quite possibly the best actress ever to grace the silver screen. Verhoeven's always been an interesting director but no one gave him credits for how deft of a director he was. Elle proves that he is one of the best working directors, in Hollywood or else where.

6. Cemetery of Splendour
Beautiful, low key yet playful. The Thai master does it again.

7. Mountains May Depart
Poignant, aesthetically bold, Jia Zhangke is still the best working Chinese director today.

8. Kaili Blues
A real surprise of the year. Mature, audacious debut of a major talent. Can't wait to see what Bi Gan will do next.

9. O ornitólogo/The Ornithologist
Screen Shot 2016-12-17 at 11.18.32 AM
One of the most audacious, playful film of the year. Love to screen this in a threesome along with Christopher Honoré's Metamorphoses and Alain Guiradie's Staying Vertical as the renaissance of queer cinema of today.

10. Neruda - Larrain
Neruda - Gael García Bernal
Pablo Larrain emerges as one of the best contemporary directors with Neruda. Smart, well versed in cinema history and creative. Neruda exemplifies what Larrain can do with the narrative while not losing sight of the medium's main objective- an entertainment for the masses.

and the rest...

11. Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse/My Golden Days

*My interview with director Arnaud Desplechin

12. The Lobster

13. Evolution

*My Interview with director Lucile Hadzihalilovic

14. Certain Women

15. Right Now, Wrong Then

16. Aquarius

17. Death of Louis XIV

18. La Peur/The Fear

19. Bacalaureat/Graduation

20. Neon Demon

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