David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Return has not only been voted up to the #2 slot in Sight & Sound’s “best films of 2017” poll of 188 international critics and curators, it’s also come out on the very top of Cahiers du Cinéma’s list of ten. And this has sparked the debate many have seen coming since this summer, when Lynch kept saying—to Kory Grow in Rolling Stone, for example—that “I see it as a film—so it's an eighteen-hour film. It's like directing anything in cinema. It's exactly like working on a film.”
“I’m always up for an endless debate that paralyzes my Twitter feed into repetitive stasis for twelve-plus hours at a time,” writes Vadim Rizov, diving in at Filmmaker, even though “I can’t imagine a topic to get less exercised about than whether a TV series is illegitimately occupying a slot that should belong to a Real Movie.” Still, he does lay out the argument that “it’s ridiculous to pretend that the new Twin Peaks is primarily, to the point of exclusivity, interested in Peak TV concerns. The series, in fact, does not conform to any previous models of TV either, and I don’t expect what follows in the American sector to build upon it in any meaningful way.”
Reviewing the new Blu-ray set Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series for The Verge, Noel Murray adds that “saying ‘Twin Peaks isn’t just television’ doesn’t mean it’s better . . . only that it’s different. And in some significant ways, it isn’t that different. In the original 1990–91 ABC series, Lynch and Frost borrowed elements from serialized TV, like daytime soaps and police procedurals, and classic Hollywood, like film noir and lurid melodramas.”
Back to the lists. It’s likely that we’ll soon be able to browse all 188 Sight & Sound ballots, but in the meantime, we’ve got a top twenty-six titles to consider. The top ten:
- Jordan Peele’s Get Out
- Twin Peaks: The Return
- Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name
- Lucrecia Martel’s Zama
- Valeska Grisebach’s Western
- Agnès Varda and JR’s Faces Places
- Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time
- Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless
- Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk
The Cahiers du Cinéma top ten:
- Twin Peaks: The Return
- Bruno Dumont’s Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
- Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women
- Get Out
- Hong Sangsoo’s The Day After
- Philippe Garrel’s Lover for a Day
- Good Time
- M. Night Shyamalan’s Split
- Pablo Larraín’s Jackie
- Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Before rolling out her top ten in the New York Times alongside A. O. Scott’s, Manohla Dargis argues that “the allegations leveled against” Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, and “other influential men in the entertainment industry and outside it are the cultural story of 2017.” Hours later, Time would name “The Silence Breakers” Person of the Year. In a separate piece, Dargis writes that she yearns “to believe that both these accusations and the anger that’s surged in their wake will make a difference. But I wonder how this anger can be directed to effect real change, specifically in an institution that’s been as historically rigged against women as the American movie industry. Because anger alone isn’t enough.”
Again, back to the lists. Dargis on her #1: “Most war movies are about winning. Dunkirk is about surviving. With peerless craft and technique, Mr. Nolan puts you in the air, on the sea and on the ground during a World War II rescue mission and, once the rescue is over, makes it harrowingly clear that the fight goes on.”
The Florida Project tops Scott’s list: “The promise of an independent, socially conscious, aesthetically adventurous homegrown cinema is spectacularly redeemed in Sean Baker’s latest feature, which managed to be both the most joyful and the most heartbreaking movie of the year.”
Also in the NYT, and also all on one page, James Poniewozik, Mike Hale, and Margaret Lyons write about their favorite television shows of 2017. Poniewozik’s list is alphabetical, and yes, Twin Peaks is in there. Hale focuses on international TV, while Lyons looks back in the “10 Best Shows That Ended in 2017.” Her #1: The Leftovers.
“What a great year for TV,” writes Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone, “as opposed to pretty much any other aspect of life in America during 2017.” Topping his list of twenty is, of course, Twin Peaks. His #2: Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope.
“For well over two decades, Björk has redefined the limits of what a music video can be, creating a continuous arc of boundary-smashing visions,” writes Marc Hogan. You can watch it along with the nineteen other music videos on Pitchfork’s list.
Back in the NYT, Ben Brantley and Jesse Green look back on the best of the year in theater.
“Lion picked up a further five prizes at the Australian Academy of Cinematic and Television Arts Awards,” reports Patrick Frater for Variety. “Its haul included best picture, and best director for Garth Davis. . . . Earlier in the week at a prize-giving lunch, Lion made a clean sweep of the technical awards, winning in all seven categories for which it was nominated. . . . Nicole Kidman was named best supporting actress, Dev Patel was named best supporting actor, and child star Sunny Pawar was named best actor, becoming the youngest ever recipient. Kidman won a second acting prize, best guest or supporting actress in a TV drama, with Top of the Lake: China Girl.”
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