To anyone who said that 2017 was a dire year for cinema, I beg to differ. Yes, the studio fare is becoming more tiresome but the vibrant international scene delivered a bevvy of gems for us to devour. Horror, in particular, had a massive resurgence (which is great news) and to see films like Split, Get Out, It, and Annabelle Creation earn major bank is really encouraging.
The studio machine seems to be running out of ideas although Marvel did deliver on Thor: Ragnarok and DC with Wonder Woman respectively. Australian Film was, once again, a really mixed bag led by the giant Lion and modest winners Jasper Jones and Ali’s Wedding.
For this author, dear reader, the top of the shop came in the forms of 3 documentaries, 3 queer dramas, a flawless Russian film, a gut-busting Japanese actioner, an exceptional French coming of age chamber piece, and possibly the most gorgeous family film of the past 20 years.
The ovearching theme is everything that won me over in 2017 was the defiant cry of humanity and tolerance.
Counting down from 10 to 1 –
10) PADDINGTON 2 – An absolute joy from start to finish. Sincere, warm, funny and glorious.
9) DEATH IN THE TERMINAL – A nailbiting look inside how a society, under the constant threat of war, reacts to a horrific event.
8) I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO – Eloquent, insightful, engaging, unashamedly intelligent and essential.
7) LOVELESS – Can Andrey Zvyagintsev make a bad film? From The Return, then Leviathan and now this?! The way he captures Russian life is extraordinary (and incendiary).
6) RAW – To brand this a horror film is to completely miss the point. This is one of the finest coming of age films ever made. For the bold, but shouldn’t be missed.
5) CALL ME BY YOUR NAME – A gorgeous summer love story with unexpected intimacy and resonance. Expect to be disarmed and want to hug your dad after it!
4) BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL – Takashi Miike’s 100th film is a gutbusting big screen anime adaptation par excellence. Breathlessly entertaining and made with all the wild vigour you’ve come to expect from Japan’s most prolific film maker.
3) CITY OF GHOSTS – A terrifying wake up call to the world. A resounding tome to the vitality and importance of journalism. A titanic, shattering experience into human atrocities happening this very day.
2) MOONLIGHT – There’s a reason why this won Best Picture. Barry Jenkins’ allegorical triptych is a masterclass in film making.
1) GOD’S OWN COUNTRY – Francis Lee’s feature debut is the best British film in years. Forgoing queer cinema tropes of sex as intimacy, God’s Own Country uses its harsh environment as a backdrop to some of the most tender and intimate scenes between two people in years. Beautifully performed, evocatively written and with a pay off that is so rare in queer cinema, you’ll be swooning all over the place!
Honourable Mentions: Get Out, The Florida Project, Murder on the Orient Express, Detroit, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Beguiled, Wonder, Thor: Ragnarok, American Made, The Babysitter, It, Blade Runner 2049, Cult of Chucky, Heal the Living, The Ornithologist, Battle of the Sexes, I Dream in Another Language, The Nile Hilton Incident, Nocturama, Wind River, Annabelle Creation, The Trip to Spain, Wonderstruck, Where You’re Meant To Be, A Grey State, Austerlitz, War for the Planet of the Apes, My Life as a Courgette, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Lady Macbeth, A Quiet Passion, The Square, Churchill, Kedi, 20th Century Women, Wonder Woman, Neruda, Things to Come, The Coming War with China, Raw, Colossal, The Fate of the Furious, Lion, Personal Shopper, Clash, Land of Mine, Logan, It’s Only the End of the World, Cameraperson, Trainspotting 2, Aquarius, Hidden Figures, Manchester by the Sea, Jackie, Tanna