Category Archives: Lists

Horror October

“Horror films serve as a barometer of those things which trouble the night thoughts of a whole society.” – Steven King

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It comes at night / Horror’s silent beginnings

  1. The Phantom Carriage (dir. Victor Sjöström, 1921)
  2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (dir. Robert Wiene, 1920)
  3. Vampyr (dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932)
  4. Nosferatu (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
  5. Haxan (dir. Benjamin Christensen, 1922)

The (cult) classics

  1. Psycho (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
  2. The Shining (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
  3. Diabolique (dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955)
  4. The Wicker Man (dir. Robin Hardy, 1973)
  5. Blue Velvet (dir. David Lynch, 1986)
  6. Suspiria (dir. Dario Argento, 1977)
  7. Rosemary’s Baby (dir. Roman Polanski, 1968)
  8. Possession (dir. Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)
  9. Eyes Without a Face (dir. Georges Franju, 1960)
  10. The Night of the Hunter (dir. Charles Laughton, 1955)
  11. Carrie (dir. Brian de Palma, 1976)
  12. The Birds (dir. Alfred Hitchcock,  1963)
  13. Peeping Tom (dir. Michael Powell, 1960)
  14. An American Werewolf in London (dir. John Landis, 1981)
  15. Night of the Living Dead (dir. George A. Romero, 1968)

TOP 10 / Best horror films of the past decade

  1. Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau, 2016)
  2. Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro, 2006)
  3. The Orphanage (dir. J. A. Bayona, 2007)
  4. It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell, 2014)
  5. Under the Shadow (dir. Babak Anvari, 2016)
  6. The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent, 2014)
  7. Goodnight Mommy (dir. Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz, 2014)
  8. The Invitation (dir. Karyn Kusama, 2015)
  9. 10 Cloverfield Lane (dir. Dan Trachtenberg, 2016)
  10. Green Room (dir. Jeremy Saulnier, 2015)

Let’s poke fun at the genre / Satires

  1. Arsenic and Old Lace (dir. Frank Capra, 1944)
  2. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)
  3. What We Do in the Shadows (dir. Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi, 2014)
  4. The Final Girls (dir. Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2015)

(Non-sparkly) Vampires

  1. Nosferatu the Vampyre (dir. Werner Herzog, 1979)
  2. Let the Right One In (dir. Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
  3. The Fearless Vampire Killers (dir. Roman Polanski, 1967)
  4. Martin (dir. George A. Romero, 1978)
  5. Only Lovers Left Alive (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2013)

Let’s talk witchcraft (but not the Harry Potter kind)

  1. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (dir. Jaromil Jireš, 1970)
  2. The Witch (dir. Robert Eggers, 2015)
  3. The Love Witch (dir. Anna Biller, 2016)

We don’t need monsters to get creeped out

  1. Funny Games (dir. Michael Haneke, 1997 / 2007)
  2. Caché (dir. Michael Haneke, 2005)
  3. The Vanishing (dir. George Sluizer, 1988)
  4. Benny’s Video (dir. Michael Haneke, 1992)

Too weird/disturbing to categorise

  1. Eraserhead (dir. David Lynch, 1977)
  2. Inland Empire (dir. David Lynch, 2006)
  3. Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer)
  4. Santa Sangre (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1989)
  5. The Skin I Live In (dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)
  6. Coherence (dir. James Ward Byrkit, 2013)

Where is my mind? / Surrealist nightmares and psychotic fragmentations

  1. Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch, 2001)
  2. Antichrist (dir. Lars von Trier, 2009)
  3. Repulsion (dir. Roman Polanski, 1965)
  4. Don’t Look Now (dir. Nicolas Roeg, 1973)
  5. Alice (dir. Jan Švankmajer, 1988)
  6. The Tenant (dir. Roman Polanski, 1976)
  7. Lost Highway (dir. David Lynch, 1997)
  8. Spider (dir. David Cronenberg, 2002)

Horror genre with a feminist twist

  1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)
  2. Into the Forest (dir. Patricia Rozema, 2015)
  3. Honeymoon (dir. Leigh Janiak, 2014)
  4. Trouble Every Day (dir. Claire Denis, 2001)

Body horror, Cronenberg style

  1. Videodrome (dir. David Cronenberg, 1983)
  2. The Fly (dir. David Cronenberg, 1986)
  3. Rabid (dir. David Cronenberg, 1977)
  4. Shivers (dir. David Cronenberg, 1975)
  5. eXistenz (dir. David Cronenberg, 1999)
  6. The Brood (dir. David Cronenberg, 1979)

Big in Japan (with some Korean gems in-between)

  1. Kwaidan (dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 1964)
  2. Onibaba (dir. Kaneto Shindô, 1964)
  3. The Face of Another (dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1966)
  4. Black Cat (dir.  Kaneto Shindô, 1968)
  5. House (dir. Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 1977)
  6. Pitfall (dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1962)
  7. Old Boy (dir. Chan-wook Park, 2003)
  8. The Wailing (dir. Na Hong-yin, 2016)
  9. Train to Busan (dir. Yeon Sang-ho, 2016)
  10. Jigoku (dir. Nobuo Nakagawa, 1960)

Gothic tales

  1. The Innocents (dir. Jack Clayton, 1961)
  2. Rebecca (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)
  3. The Haunting (dir. Robert Wise, 1963)
  4. The Uninvited (dir. Lewis Allen, 1944)

Murder, (S)he Wrote

  1. Rear Window (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
  2. Rope (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1948)
  3. The Silence of the Lambs (dir. Jonathan Demme, 1991)
  4. Prisoners (dir. Denis Villeneuve, 2003)
  5. Dial M For Murder (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

Full list of my favourite horror films (ranking is based purely on my subjective taste) can be found here.

 

Valentine’s Day: fifty shades greyer, darker and freer

With Valentine’s Day almost around the corner and with Fifty Shades Darker about to hit the theatres, I decided to make an alternative list of films for all of us who don’t celebrate this annual “holiday” that is, let’s face it, the embodiment of everything that is wrong with contemporary consumerist society.

Before you start jumping to conclusions – no, I don’t have anything against a holiday that celebrates love. But I do have everything against a holiday that makes corporations earn billions by selling meaningless greeting cards, chocolates and flowers, that makes disastrous films such as Fifty Shades of Grey break records and that makes all single people feel like they are somehow failing at life.

If you’re here for films such as Nicolas Sparks’s clichéd romantic dramas, young adult love stories such as The Spectacular Now or Paper Towns, British tear-jerkers such as Me Before Youultimate crying out loud classics such as Titanic or feminist (but not really) films about “female empowerment” such as Trainwreck, this list probably won’t be for you. But if you’re up for something different, real, at times depressing and edgy… then there’s no doubt that you’ll find something perfect for February 14th below.

And for all of you who would like to explore cinematic world of unusual, messed up and/or not meant to be romantic relationships even further, there’s an extended Letterboxd list that I made just for the occasion.

The classics

  1. Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945)
  2. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  3. City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931)
  4. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
  5. Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)
  6. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
  7. L’eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni)
  8. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
  9. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
  10. Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946)
  11. Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961)
  12. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
  13. Love in the Afternoon (Eric Rohmer, 1972)
  14. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-Wai, 1994)
  15. Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight (Richard Linklater, 1995/04/13)
  16. Open Hearts (Susanne Bier, 2002)
  17. Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
  18. Loves of a Blonde (Miloš Forman, 1965)
  19. Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979)
  20. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
  21. A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
  22. It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)
  23. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
  24. Design for Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)
  25. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)

Let’s get weird

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  1. Belle de jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)
  2. That Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Buñuel, 1977)
  3. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
  4. Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968)
  5. Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964)
  6. Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (Sang-soo Hong, 2000)
  7. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)
  8. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
  9. The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003)
  10. Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)
  11. Wild at Heart (David Lynch, 1990)
  12. Maškarada (Boštjan Hladnik, 1971)

Only for the bravest

  1. The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001)
  2. In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976) – one of the most controversial films in the history of cinema; don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  3. Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier, 2013)

Not happily ever afters

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  1. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)
  2. Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
  3. Jules and Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)
  4. Love Affair or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (Dušan Makavejev, 1967)
  5. Chocolat (Claire Denis, 1988)
  6. Le bonheur (Agnes Varda, 1965)
  7. Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970)
  8. Amour fou (Jessica Hausner, 2014)
  9. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
  10. A Short Film About Love (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988)

Outlaw love

  1. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
  2. Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973)
  3. Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967)

LGBTQ

  1. Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
  2. Handmaiden (Chan-wook Park, 2016)
  3. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  4. Weekend (Andrew Haigh, 2011)
  5. The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014)
  6. Maurice (James Ivory, 1987)
  7. Love is Strange (Ira Sachs, 2014)
  8. Happy Together (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997)
  9. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, 2013)
  10. Show Me Love (Lukas Moodysson, 1998)

Anti-Valentine’s 

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  1. 45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
  2. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
  3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols, 1966)
  4. Breaking the Waves (Lars von Trier, 1996)
  5. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
  6. Appropriate Behavior (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)

I’m having my own Oscars: 2016

Best Films

  1. Toni Erdmann (directed by Maren Ade)
  2. Cemetery of Splendour (directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  3. Certain Women (directed by Kelly Reichardt)
  4. Moonlight (directed by Barry Jenkins)
  5. Graduation (directed by Cristian Mungiu)
  6. Captain Fantastic (directed by Matt Ross)
  7. I, Daniel Blake (directed by Ken Loach)
  8. Paterson (directed by Jim Jarmusch)
  9. The Handmaiden (directed by Park Chan-wook)
  10. Our Little Sister (directed by Hirokazu Koreeda)
  11. Sweet Bean (directed by Naomi Kawase)
  12. I, Olga Hepnarova (directed by Tomáš Weinreb and Petr Kazda)
  13. Mina Walking (directed by Yosef Baraki)
  14. Aquarius (directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho)
  15. In the Shadow of Women (directed by Philippe Garrel)
  16. Mellow Mud (directed by Renārs Vimba)
  17. Chevalier (directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari)
  18. 24 Weeks (directed by Anne Zohra Berrached)
  19. Mountain (directed by  Yaelle Kayam)
  20. Family Film (directed by Olmo Omerzu)
  21. Home Care (directed by Slávek Horák)
  22. Our Everyday Life (directed by Ines Tanović)
  23. Death in Sarajevo (directed by Danis Tanović)
  24. Arrival (directed by Denis Villeneuve)
  25. Nightlife (directed by Damjan Kozole)

I am quite happy about the fact that films listed above come from no less than 16 different countries: United States (5), Czech Republic (3), Japan (2), Germany (2), , Bosnia and Herzegovina (2), Slovenia (1), Romania (1), France (1), United Kingdom (1), Greece (1), Latvia (1), Thailand (1), South Korea (1), Brazil (1), Afghanistan (1), Israel (1).

Best Woman-Directed Films

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  1. Toni Erdmann (directed by Maren Ade)
  2. Certain Women (directed by Kelly Reichardt)
  3. No Home Movie (directed by Chantal Akerman)
  4. Sweet Bean (directed by Naomi Kawase)
  5. 24 Weeks (directed by Anne Zohra Berached)
  6. Chevalier (directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari)
  7. Mountain (directed by Yaelle Kayam)
  8. Our Everyday Life (directed by Ines Tanović)
  9. Body (directed by Małgorzata Szumowska)
  10. Maggie’s Plan (directed by Rebecca Miller)
  11. Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)
  12. A Good Wife (directed by Mirjana Karanović)
  13. The Fits (directed by Anna Rose Holmer)
  14. The Edge of Seventeen (directed by Kelly Fremon Craig)
  15. The Invitation (directed by Karyn Kusama)
  16. California (directed by Marina Person)
  17. The Love Witch (directed by Anna Biller)
  18. As I Open My Eyes (directed by Leyla Bouzid)
  19. American Honey (directed by Andrea Arnold)
  20. Into the Forest (directed by Patricia Rozema)

Most underrated films

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“I’m just a scared, ugly, useless person.”

“But maybe everyone’s a little bit ugly. Maybe we’re all just dying sacks of shit, and maybe all it’ll take is one person to just be okay with that, and then the whole world will be dancing and singing and farting, and everyone will feel a little bit less alone.” (Swiss Army Man)

  1. James White (directed by Josh Mond)
  2. Swiss Army Man (directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) – I get that this film might be a bit over the top and gross for some people, but in all its weirdness it is one of the sweetest, humane films about friendship, partnership and love. It’s about how hard it is for us to connect due to restrictiveness of numerous social norms that trap our true selves and make us ashamed of who we really are beneath the mask that we present to the outer world. It’s sweet and heartbreaking – with some truly laughing out loud moments. Not to mention terrific acting by Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe.
  3. 10 Cloverfield Lane (directed by Dan Trachtenberg)
  4. Green Room (directed by Jeremy Saulnier)
  5. Born to be Blue (directed by Robert Budreau) – one of the best but least talked about biopics of the past year. Also one of Ethan Hawke’s best performances to date.
  6. My Revolution (directed by Ramzi Ben Sliman)
  7. Morris in America (directed by Chad Hartigan)
  8. Ghostbusters (directed by Paul Feig) – this film just does not deserve the crap it got this past year. At all. Far from being perfect; but hey, so was the original.

Best Documentaries

  1. No Home Movie (directed by Chantal Akerman)
  2. Life on the Border (directed by the refugee children)
  3. 13th (directed by Ava DuVernay)
  4. Free to Run (directed by Pierre Morath)
  5. Houston, We Have a Problem! (directed by Žiga Virc)
  6. O.J.: Made in America (directed by Ezra Edelman)
  7. Fire at Sea (directed by Gianfranco Rosi)
  8. Weiner (directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg)
  9. The Witness (directed by James Solomon)
  10. Janis: Little Girl Blue (directed by Amy Berg)

Best animated films

  1. My Life as a Courgette (directed by Claude Barras)
  2. The Red Turtle (directed by Michael Dudok de Wit)
  3. April and the Extraordinary World (directed by Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci)
  4. Long Way North (directed by Rémi Chayé)

Biggest disappointments

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  1. Everybody Wants Some!! (directed by Richard Linklater) – ode to masculinity, machoism and yes, even misogyny. I had high hopes for this one (I am a huge fan of Linklater after all) and while I get the time capsule concept of the movie, I cannot watch college guys bashing over girls for two straight hours.
  2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (directed by Tim Burton)
  3. Nina (directed by Cynthia Mort)
  4. By the Sea (directed by Angelina Jolie) – this film looks gorgeous, but it is oh so very boring. It definitely had potential, but Jolie’s writing skills are too poor to keep a viewer engaged for two whole hours.
  5. Suicide Squad (directed by David Ayer)

Worst films of the year

  1. Yoga Hosers (directed by Kevin Smith) – I was never really a fan of Smith, but some of his old films – especially Clerks and Chasing Amy – are actually not all that bad. This one, however, is horrendous. The worst film I saw this year.
  2. Sisters (directed by Jason Moore) – as much as I like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, their comedic attempts don’t translate well to film. This film is awful and simply unwatchable.
  3. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (directed by Jake Szymanski) – stupid impro jokes aside, this film tries so hard to come off as progressive… but it ends up being just another comedy that promotes hetero-normativity, monogamy and marriage as a solution to our every problem.
  4. Bad Moms (written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) – because these two guys know so much about motherhood they decided to make a film about it. It’s like Mean Girls, but with grown women, you know? Because women sure can’t function any other way but by forming cliques and competing against each other.
  5. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (directed by Nicholas Stoller) – the first part was stupid. So is the second one.
  6. Me Before You (directed by Thea Sharrock)

I’m having my own Oscars: 2015

I haven’t seen nearly enough films released in 2015 (just around 130, not including the animated and short ones) to make a list like this, but since we’re already in the middle of January, I decided to give it a go anyway.

I hope you’ll find something to your liking here – and please, do tell what were your favourite films of 2015!

Best Films

  1. Son of Saul (dir. László Nemes)
  2. The Tribe (dir. Miroslav Slaboshpitsky)
  3. The Assassin (dir. Hou Hsia-Hsien)
  4. Taxi (dir. Jafar Panahi)
  5. The Duke of Burgundy (dir. Peter Strickland)
  6. 45 Years (dir. Andrew Haigh)
  7. Amour fou (dir. Jessica Hausner)
  8. Phoenix (dir. Christian Petzold)
  9. Slow West (dir. John Maclean)
  10. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour)
  11. The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
  12. White God (dir. Kornél Mundruczó)
  13. Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. George Miller)
  14. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (dir. Marielle Heller)
  15. Room (dir. Lenny Abrahamson)
  16. Victoria (dir. Sebastian Schipper)
  17. Mistress America (dir. Noah Baumbach)
  18. Ex Machina (dir. Alex Garland)
  19. It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell)
  20. Faults (dir. Riley Stearns)
  21. Timbuktu (dir. Abderrahmane Sissako)
  22. Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (dir. David Zellner)
  23. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (dir. Roy Andersson)
  24. Appropriate Behavior (dir. Desiree Akhavan)
  25. Respire (dir. Mélanie Laurent)
  26. Tu dors Nicole (dir. Stéphane Lafleur)
  27. The Wonders (dir. Alice Rohrwacher)
  28. Tangerine (dir. Sean Baker)
  29. Clouds of Sils Maria (dir. Oliver Assayas)
  30. Sicario (dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Best Woman-Directed Films

(In 2015, more than half of the films I saw were written and/or directed by women. Here’s the whole list of women-directed films that I’ve been working on this past year).

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  1. Amour fou (dir. Jessica Hausner)
  2. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour)
  3. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (dir. Marielle Heller)
  4. Appropriate Behavior (dir. Desiree Akhavan)
  5. Respire (dir. dir. Mélanie Laurent)
  6. The Wonders (dir. Alice Rohrwacher)
  7. Beyond the Lights (dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)
  8. Girlhood (dir. Céline Sciamma)
  9. Mustang (dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
  10. Goodnight Mommy (dir. Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz)

Most underrated films

(They’re far from being flawless, but they deserve more love and recognition)

  1. Unexpected (dir. Kris Swanberg)
  2. Dear White People (dir. Justin Simien)
  3. Christmas, Again (dir. Charles Poekel)
  4. Dope (dir. Rick Famuyiwa)
  5. Heaven Knows What (dir. Ben and Joshua Safdie)
  6. Nasty Baby (dir. Sebastián Silva)
  7. The Final Girls (dir. Todd Strauss-Schulson)
  8. My Skinny Sister (dir. Sanna Lenken)
  9. 6 Years (dir. Hannah Fidell)
  10. The End of the Tour (dir. James Ponsoldt)

Best cinematography

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  • Ping Bin Lee (The Assassin)
  • Adam Arkapaw (Macbeth)
  • Robbie Ryan (Slow West)
  • Roger Deakins (Sicario)
  • Nic Knowland (The Duke of Bergundy)
  • Hans Fromm (Phoenix)
  • Sturla Brandth Grøvlen (Victoria)

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Lobster (by Yorgos Lanthimos)
  • Ex Machina (by Alex Garland)
  • Faults (by Riley Stearns)
  • Appropriate Behavior (by Desiree Akhavan)
  • Mistress America (by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig)
  • Spotlight (by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller)
  • Room (by Emma Donoghue)
  • 45 Years (by Andrew Haigh)
  • Phoenix (by Christian Petzold and Harun Farocki)
  • 52 Tuesdays (by Matthew Cormack)
  • Brooklyn (by Nick Hornby)

Best Lead Performances: Women

  • Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
  • Brie Larson (Room)
  • Nina Hoss (Phoenix)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
  • Alicia Vilkander (The Danish Girl)
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights)
  • Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl)

Honourable mention: Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior), Elisabeth Moss (Queen of Earth), Arielle Holmes (Heaven Knows What), Laia Costa (Victoria), Maika Monroe (It Follows), Tessa Thompson (Dear White People).

Best Lead Performances: Men

  • Tom Courtenay (45 Years)
  • Colin Farrell (The Lobster)
  • Leland Orser (Faults)
  • Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Infinitely Polar Bear)
  • Michael Fassbender (Macbeth)
  • Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)

Supporting performances: Women

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  • Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria)
  • Mya Taylor (Tangerine)
  • Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
  • Katherine Waterston (Queen of Earth)
  • Kristen Wiig (The Diary of a Teenage Girl & Nasty Baby)
  • Joan Allen (Room)

Supporting performances: Men

  • Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
  • Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
  • Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
  • Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
  • Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation)

Best Documentaries

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  • The Look of Silence (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)
  • The Hunting Ground (dir. Kirby Dick)
  • Dom (dir. Metod Pevec)
  • Listen To Me Marlon (dir. Stevan Riley)
  • What Happened, Miss Simone? (dir. Liz Garbus)
  • Amy (dir. Asif Kapadia)

Best animated films

  • Summer 2014 (dir. Wojciech Sobczyk)
  • Song of the Sea (dir. Tomm Moore)
  • Anatomy of a Spider (dir. Vojtech Kiss)
  • Teeth (dir. Daniel Gray)
  • Splintertime (dir. Rosto)
  • World of Tomorrow (dir. Don Hertzfeldt)
  • O Menino e o Mundo (dir. Alê Abreu)
  • The Magic Mountain (dir. Anca Damian)
  • Anomalisa (dir. Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman)

Best music scenes

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  • Phoenix – the most powerful/devastating ending scene I have ever seen.
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – my favourite vampire in hijab and Persian James Dean listening to “Death” by White Lies and falling in love.
  • Victoria – Victoria playing the piano.
  • 45 Years – ending scene with The Platters’s Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.
  • Ex-Machina – the legendary dance scene with Oscar Isaac.
  • Girlhood – girls dancing to Rihanna’s Diamonds in a hotel room.
  • Anomalisa – Jennifer Jason Leigh singing Cindy Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

Biggest disappointments

  • Crimson Peak (dir. Guillermo del Toro)
  • The Experimenter (dir. Michael Almereyda)
  • Youth (dir. Paolo Sorrentino)
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment (dir. Kyle Patrick Alvarez)
  • Suffragette (dir. Sarah Gavron)
  • The Danish Girl (dir. Tom Hooper)
  • Digging for Fire (dir. Joe Swanberg)
  • Paper Towns (dir. Jake Schreier)

Worst films of the year

  • The Longest Ride (dir. George Tillman Jr.)
  • Hot Pursuit (dir. Anne Fletcher)
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (dir. Sam Taylor-Johnson)
  • The Loft (dir. Erik Van Looy)
  • Pitch Perfect 2 (dir. Elizabeth Banks)
  • Trainwreck (dir. Judd Apatow)

My favourite summer films

I haven’t blogged much recently and I probably won’t be for another month or two – I’ve been studying for my last exam and within a week I’ll start to work on my bachelor’s thesis (I’m finally finishing my undergraduate degree in September and moving to Prague in January for my Master’s). Because I’ve been too busy to watch any new women-directed films, I am skipping a month of my Year of Female Filmmakers. However, I’ve decided to make a list of my favourite films to watch in the summer instead (which I think is kind of appropriate considering the heat wave that is currently hitting Europe).

Edit, 2.7.2016: A whole year already went by and instead of making another list like this one, I decided to make some changes with the list I published last year. I tried to include as many different films as possible – from different time periods, genres, and most importantly, different countries. You may not find all of your favourite Hollywood summer films here, but then again, at least a hundred of lists with these films on it already exist.

  1. Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) – this was the first Godard film I ever saw and it immediately made me fall in love with French New Wave and Anna Karina.
  2. L’avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) – the first part of Antonioni’s trilogy, about the search of a woman who disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip.
  3. La dolce vita (Federico Fellini, 1960)
  4. Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964)
  5. La Belle Noiseuse (Jacques Rivette, 1991) – this film is a masterpiece, but it’s certainly not for everyone, considering it’s 237 minutes long. I watched it after I read a particularly amazing interpretation of the film in Žižek’s The Plague of Fantasies – and I recently re-watched it in my philosophical class on Aesthetics, which made me appreciate this film even more.
  6. White Material (Claire Denis, 2009) – Isabelle Huppert plays a (white) French farmer who runs a coffee plantation in Africa and decides to stay there in spite of an erupting civil war.This is just one of many Denis’s films focused on post-colonial West Africa and I probably don’t have to point out Huppert’s absolutely brilliant performance (she is easily my favourite currently working actress).
  7. Chocolat (Claire Denis, 1988) – no, this is not Chocolat with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. It’s another Denis’s film about a French family that lives in colonial Cameroon.
  8. The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973) – two sisters, neglected by their parents in a rural Spain where the aftermath of their Civil War still hangs in the air, wander around the countryside and slowly cross from reality into a fantasy world that one of the girls constructs for herself.
  9. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) – this was the first Thai film that ever won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. And deservingly so – Weerasethakul is a wonderful director. His films Tropical Malady and Blissfully Yours also deserve to be on this list, if anyone’s interested in exploring his work even further.
  10. Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968) – this is probably my favourite film by Pasolini. It’s about the bourgeois Italian family that gets seduced by a mysterious man who suddenly enters their lives.
  11. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013) – Sorrentino’s 2013 Oscar-winning masterpiece that will make you want to visit Rome the second the ending credits will start to roll on the screen. A modern-day La dolce vita.
  12. Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973)
  13. Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2006) – Sissako might be more known for his last film Timbuktu, but I deliberately chose to include this film on the list for it is one of the best and most relevant films I’ve seen lately and yet seems to be greatly overlooked. If you’re still sceptical about whether to see it or not, here is the trailer that will most definitely get you hooked.
  14. Touki Bouki (Djidril Diop, 1973) – an amazing Senegalese drama about two young lovers and students who dream about going to Paris and are trying to come up with the money for the trip. However, I wouldn’t recommend this to vegans and all other sensitive people who don’t stand the sight of dead animals on screen.
  15. Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984)
  16. Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat, 2001) – this English translation is actually not the best one; it would be more appropriate to call it For My Sister. Like most of Breillat’s work, this film sparkled a lot of controversy upon it’s release for it focuses on the relationship between two sisters on summer vacation and their awakening sexuality.
  17. Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971) – Australian girl and  her younger brother get lost in the desert after they escape from their father who goes mad in the heat of the day – only to cross paths with an Aboriginal boy who, although unable to communicate with them, saves their lives and brings them back to the city life. While there is a lot to appreciate about this film, it is its cinematography that is particularly breathtaking.
  18. Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) – one of modern Italian classics about living in  Sicily, growing up and finding life’s meaning through watching films and working in a town’s movie house. An absolute delight of a film.
  19. 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957) – Hot summer day and 12 jurors caught in a court-room, trying to reach an unanimous decision. One of the best dramas one can wishes for.
  20. Summer’s Tale (Eric Rohmer, 1996) – this is just the first Rohmer film on this list. I love this man, and there is no other director whose films are more enjoyable to watch in the summertime.
  21. 35 Shots of Rum
  22. La collectionneuse (Eric Rohmer, 1967)
  23. Claire’s Knee (Eric Rohmer, 1970)
  24. Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater, 1995) – I could re-watch this trilogy every year for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. I love the dialogues and I absolutely adore Jesse and Celine – you rarely come across characters that are so human and real and with the dialogues that resonate with you on such a personal level.
  25. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
  26. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) – on the hottest day of the year everyone’s hate and racial intolerance builds up until it explodes into violence. Spike Lee’s best film to date – and an absolute cult movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, maybe start with this one.
  27. Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970)
  28. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, 2013)
  29. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)
  30. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, 2013) – this is not a regular summer love story between Franck and Michel (two gay men that meet at the beach) – because Michel may or may not be the killer of his ex-boyfriend who mysteriously drowned a couple of nights before. An unexpectedly good thriller that I recommend to everyone who doesn’t have a problem with male nudity and explicit gay sex scenes.
  31. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
  32. L’argent de poche (Francois Truffaut, 1976)
  33. Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001)
  34. Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
  35. Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975) – the ultimate mystery story about students and a teacher from Australian girls’ school who vanish without a trace during a school trip.
  36. Volver (Pedro Almodovar, 2006)
  37. The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003)
  38. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller, 2015) – since I’ve already written an extensive review of this film, I won’t go any more into it. But I do urge you to see this film if you haven’t already.
  39. Home (Ursula Meier, 2008) – an unexpectedly good first feature film by French-Swiss director, once again with the one and only Isabelle Huppers in the main role.
  40. Pauline a la plage (Eric Rohmer, 1983)
  41. The Scent of Green Papaya (Tran Anh Hung, 1993) – haven’t seen a Vietnamese film before? You can start with this one.
  42. Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
  43. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993) – I don’t think any words are needed here. An ultimate classic that even got a sequel Everyone Wants Some!! this year.
  44. Tu dors Nicole (Stephane Lafleur, 2014) – one of last year’s hidden gems. Absolutely delightful to watch.
  45. Knife in the Water (Roman Polanski, 1962)
  46. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
  47. She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986)
  48. The Adventures of Priscilla, the Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliott, 1994) – two drag queens and a transsexual travel across the Australian desert to perform their unique style of cabaret. And if this alone doesn’t win you over: it’s starring Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp.
  49. Swimming Pool (Francois Ozon, 2003)
  50. Something in the Air
  51. The Band’s Visit (Eran Kolirin, 2007) – Israeli film about a Ceremonial Police Orchestra travelling from Israel to Egypt where they experience all sorts of complications due to a miscommunication between Israeli and Arab language. An amazing film with quite a few comic elements.
  52. Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973)
  53. Summer with Monika (Ingmar Bergman, 1953) – early Bergman with Harriet Andersson in the role of Monika – do I need to say more?
  54. The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971)
  55. La Cienaga (Lucrecia Martel, 2001) – ever wondered how life of an Argentinian bourgeois family looks like? If so, see this film by Martel whose films, as products of New Argentine Cinema, are quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
  56. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Erguven, 2015)
  57. Everyone Else (Maren Ade, 2009)
  58. Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970)
  59. Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl, 2012)
  60. Tracks (John Curran, 2013)
  61. City of God (Fernando Meirelles & Katia Lund, 2002)
  62. The Darjeeling Limited
  63. A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2015)
  64. Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron, 2001)
  65. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012) – you probably all know this film by now. However, if you still haven’t seen it, maybe this review will convince you to finally give it a try.

For the extended version visit my Letterboxd list.