I’m writing this blurb post-list creation. The main correlation in my top films of the 2017 I see is stories that are grounded in the human condition, and as much as I enjoyed a number of this year’s blockbusters (shout out to that one about the wars in the stars), the best cinema this year was, for me, based in the everyday. Now, in retrospect, this list attests that with a couple of genre pictures thrown in for good measure.
Your Name, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, Logan Lucky, The Meyerworitz Stories (New and Selected), Win it All, Manchester by the Sea, Toni Erdmann, & Moonlight.
10. WILDERNESS | Justin Doherty
Falmouth University, from which I graduated last year, have produced not only an exciting new model of micro-budget feature filmmaking – check out my chat with Justin Doherty and writer/DN compatriot Neil Fox – but a genuine piece of thought provoking, challenging cinema.
9. OUR LOVE STORY | HyunJu Lee
It was one of the first films I saw at the BFI Flare festival this year and I couldn’t stop thinking about it during most of the other screenings. A beautiful, subtle piece of meandering cinema.
8. SHIN GODZILLA | Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi
There hasn’t been a Kaiju film with such strong political subtext in a long time. Subversive, fast-paced and features one of the strangest looking creatures I’ve seen onscreen this year.
7. SILENCE | Martin Scorsese
It came out right at the beginning of the year but I haven’t forgotten about it. As a piece it’s a really provoking rumination on the depth of faith, martyrdom and binary oppositions, with a few darkly comic moments. Truly one of the most underrated films of this year.
6. THE BEGUILED | Sofia Coppola
My film of the summer was Sofia Coppola’s dark feminist story of an isolated girls’ school? Tenderly shot and definitively beguiling.
5. Get Out | Jordan Peele
There’s a reason that this is atop many end of year lists. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is cutting to the heart of America’s deep-rooted racial tension. It’s rib-ticklingly horrifying and frighteningly prescient.
4. AFTER THE STORM | Hirokazu Kore-eda
My cinema discovery of the year is Kore-eda. I saw Like Father, Like Son on a whim and was so entranced by his extraordinary stories about ordinary people that I proceeded to watch as much of his work as I could in the week following. After The Storm is no different. It’s beautiful and moving cinema done by a modern master.
3. PREVENGE | Alice Lowe
Alice Lowe’s pregnancy thriller is the most fun I’ve had with a film this year. A delightful homage to horror cinema of the past with a wickedly funny contemporary edge. I’ve endlessly watched interviews on the making of it, which I’d recommend to any amateur filmmakers. A genuine inspiration on the process of filmmaking with minimal resources. I can’t wait to see what she makes next.
2. THE FLORIDA PROJECT | Sean Baker
My London Film Festival highlight. As I said back then… “A subtle, clever and entertaining depiction of surviving at the bottom of the world. Sean Baker is a filmmaker whose empathy for these characters and the actors who portray them needs to be absorbed by everyone.”
1. CERTAIN WOMEN | Kelly Reichardt
Certain Women is a Northwestern America opus and a testament to everyday struggles. The performances are transfixing, subtle and Laura Dern is the lady. If you’re questioning my hyperbole, watch it. It’s my favourite film of 2017 and it’s magnificent.
Be sure to check out the rest of team DN’s Top Ten picks here.