I think my New Years resolution for 2011 will be to document every film I watch, I’ve compiled this list with the niggling feeling I’ve left something quite special out. Although I’ve attended Birds Eye View, Underwire and the London Film Festival this year, there are still several films I feel ashamed of not having watched yet, mainly Mike Leigh’s Another Year, but also films such as Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void. I have real issues picking favourites, I’m a little too indecisive over these things but it’s a buck I have to bear when having the pleasure of writing for DN. I can’t argue that any of the films I’m about to list were the best of 2010, but for me, these are most certainly the ones that have stuck with me most.
10. Catfish – Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
I didn’t get a chance to watch Catfish at this year’s London Film Festival. I only had the pleasure this month. I really love the fact Henry Joost, Ariel and Nev Schulman had a great opportunity to make a women look very silly, but instead tried to understand her a little better. In doing so making a documentary thriller full of love and deception reflecting quite scarily on products of our time.
9. It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
My friends often mock me for not watching many ‘funny’ films and it’s not that I don’t like comedy, I just struggle to find the forced jokes of Will Ferrel very funny. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a little different. A very amusing look into the life of a 15 year old boy, suffering with hyper-anxiety and wanting to kill himself. It’s another of the films I’m very excited to watch again.
Read the DN review of It’s Kind of a Funny Story.
8. Waste Land – Lucy Walker
I think I would struggle to understand anybody who didn’t enjoy this film. I can obviously understand why it might not be considered in everybody’s top ten, yet documentaries that tell stories like Waste Land are hard not to love. This is another film I’ve told you all about before, so again I won’t bore you all by repeating myself about its greatness. Just watch it.
Read the DN review of Waste Land.
7. Somewhere – Sophia Coppola
Sophia Coppola back to what she does best. Arguably throwing away the rule book of beginning, middle and end and instead having a turning point. We watch Johnny Marco’s life as he experiences it. His lifestyle of parties and womanising is put on hold when his daughter Clio has to stay with him for a while. Coppola’s directing style is one I have always been a fan of, her long static shots are more powerful than many give her credit for and she never over-directs. I watched Somewhere very recently and the more I think about it, the more it grows on me.
6. Hands Up – Romain Goupil
Who would have thought attacking the French immigration system from a child’s perspective could be so powerful? Romain Goupil is who, and what a film he made of it. I still haven’t heard of a UK release which is massively upsetting, I hope it shows its face at some other festivals next year so I don’t have to stand alone in loving this film as much as I do.
Read the DN review of Hands Up.
4. A Single Man – Tom Ford
I watched this film as somebody who wasn’t the greatest fan of Colin Firth and left totally in love with him. He plays George, a British professor living in LA, struggling to cope with his life a year after his partner dies. Information is slowly revealed layer by layer in such a way you can’t help but imagine how you would react if something similar happened to you. So great, a film that is naturally tragic yet I couldn’t help but feel excited after watching it.
3. The Arbor – Clio Barnard
I’ve babbled on about its greatness before, so I shall save you all the speech. Such amazing direction, concept and performances. The Arbor thoroughly deserves the awards it’s collecting at the minute, Clio Bernard has produced a truly inspiring piece of documentary/drama film.
Read the DN review of The Arbor.
2. Blue Valentine – Derek Cianfrance
One of my favourite films from LFF this year. Also one that took me by surprise. What is arguably a simple love story comes across as so much more. Seeing a couple at the beginning and end of their relationship is quiet heartbreaking and you can’t help but feel for the characters. It really has stuck with me. When people ask me what I’ve seen this year Blue Valentine is almost always the first thing that springs to mind. It’s released into cinemas early next year and I’m already excited about catching it again.
Listen to the DN interview with director Derek Cianfrance.
1. I am love – Luca Guadagnino
A quiet chilling look into the lives of a powerful Milanese family and a wife, who left her home of Russia only to have her family turn their backs on her Slavic identity. I went in to this film knowing very little about it and if you haven’t watched it already I think you should too. Tilda Swinton is magical. The cinematography and direction are flawless. I became completely engrossed, though in all honesty, seeing a woman really shit on her suppressive husband was never going to disappoint me.