When Mathieu Amalric’s Barbara with Jeanne Balibar premiered in the Un Certain Regard program of this year’s Cannes Film Festival in May, it won an award for Best Poetic Narrative. A month later, it won the Jean Vigo Award, and now, as Fabien Lemercier reports for Cineuropa, it’s won the 2017 Louis-Delluc Award for Best French Film of the Year. And the Louis-Delluc Award for Best Debut Film goes to Julia Ducournau’s Raw.
More on the Best of 2017
You can now wind your way through the Sight & Sound year-end poll, clicking from titles to individual ballots (all 188 of them) to more titles and on and on.
Mike D’Angelo’s top ten is an evolving thing at Letterboxd, where you can read his reviews of his #1, Darren Aronofsky’s mother!; #2, Sergei Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature; #3, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project; #4, Craig Zahler’s Brawl In Cell Block 99; and so on.
“What's lingered with me have been the titles that are big and bold, either in theme or aesthetics or tone,” writes Alison Willmore, introducing her top eleven at Buzzfeed. “There's a time for subtlety, and it isn't now.” As for her #1: “Throughout The Florida Project, some sort of terrible development seems inevitable, which is why every instance in which Halley is able to avoid disaster feels like a minor miracle. And it’s why that final sequence, when it arrives, is so gutting.”
Michael J. Anderson’s #1 is Hong Sangsoo’s The Day After: “The best of the staggeringly prolific Korean master's three 2017 world premieres, Hong brilliantly shuffles sequence, crafting another archetypal (and biographical) narrative where competing stories challenge each other's veracity. It seems almost beyond dispute at this point to say that Hong is the filmmaker of the decade.”
“By some miracle, my choices broke quite easily into six themed double-bills, and I even found honorable mentions in each category easy to come by,” writes the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan. “I call my top choice double-bill Exciters because seeing both these films completely electrified me. I so fell in love with Guillermo del Toro’s wondrous fantasy The Shape of Water and Bill Morrison’s thrilling documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time and that doesn't happen often enough. Honorable mention: Bertrand Tavernier's passionate My Journey Through French Cinema.”
The LAT’s Mark Olsen notes that “three titles in my top 10 were released by the streaming platform Netflix, which has a contentious relationship with theatrical exhibition. [Dee Rees’s] Mudbound [#1], [Noah Baumbach’s] The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) [#5], and [Bong Joon-ho’s] Okja [#7] are all proper movies, meant to be seen big and bright and loud to take in the fine-tuned details of picture, sound and performance. That too few people got the opportunity to see them that way does not lessen their individual achievements.”
Also in the LAT: “The fact that films like Get Out, Wonder Woman, and Call Me by Your Name struck such powerful chords with audiences and critics alike—and are in the awards mix—speaks to a hunger for the kind of inclusion Hollywood has been sorely lacking for, well, ever,” writes Jen Yamato, opening up a dialogue with Tre'vell Anderson. “But how would you grade 2017 on the whole? Can movies effect real social change? How many cinephiles went vegan because of Okja? How close did Hollywood come to ‘solving’ #OscarsSoWhite?”
Alissa Wilkinson’s list at Vox runs to twenty-one, and even so, she’s added fourteen honorable mentions. Her #1: Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird “topped my list almost instantly, and only rose in my estimation on repeated viewings.” And her #2 is Frederick Wiseman’s Ex Libris: The New York Public Library.
Randy Astle’s “favorite film experiences of the year, by and large, weren’t movies from 2017,” he writes in Filmmaker. “They were re-releases, gallery or museum installations, and unique experiences in a movie theater that were built around a film, whether or not that film was one of my favorites.” At #1: John Akomfrah’s The Unfinished Conversation (2012), which he caught at MoMA.
For Trailers from Hell, CineSavant Glenn Erickson writes about the “Most Impressive Restorations of 2017.” What makes this year particularly tough is that so much great vintage cinema was released on home video. Several boutique outlets licensed studio titles by the bushel, and lavished attention on many deserving titles. Even Warners allowed Criterion to dip into its vault for special items, resulting in some terrific discs.” His #1: Michael Curtiz’s The Sea Wolf (1941). “Warners had access to John Garfield’s 16 mm print, and that was it. Then, out of the blue, a pristine full film element showed up, and suddenly the Jack London classic with Edward G. Robinson and Ida Lupino is back as if it had never been AWOL.”
Jonathan Kirshner’s roundup of the five “Best New Home Video Releases” is alphabetical. And he notes that he’s “valuing the merits of the release, not simply the movie, so there is an emphasis on discs that offer valuable extras and those that make available the otherwise hard to find and obscure.”
“The resonance of [Jordan Peele’s] Get Out has been widely celebrated,” writes Chuck Bowen, introducing Slant’s list of the ten “Best Horror Films of 2017,” “but expect [M. Night Shyamalan’s] Split, a disturbing riff on abuse and mental illness, to be reevaluated as a prescient work, released at the beginning of a year that would be racked by sexual scandals and political legislations that seek to widen the already vast gulf between the classes. With these films, Blumhouse may have placed itself at the center of a new wave of protest horror that manages to routinely break through to mainstream culture.” #1: Get Out.
In 2017, “queerness on screen is no synonym for homosexuality writ large, but a strategy—unconscious, corporeal, literary—of resisting and unsettling categories,” writes Diego Semerene, introducing Slant’s list of the ten “Best Queer Films of 2017.” #1: Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute).
Contributors to RogerEbert.com write about the best performances of the year.
“Bad movies were the least of anyone’s problems in 2017,” notes the A.V. Club at the top of its list of the twenty “worst films of 2017.” “But at a time when art seems uniquely vital as a way to escape or at least meaningfully grapple with the misery of real life, the follies still stung.” #1: Sean Penn’s The Last Face with Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem.
Also . . .
Miriam Bale reminds us that Le CiNeMa Club has been asking filmmakers and performers to share lists of five films they love. Among the recent contributors: Luca Guadagnino, Harmony Korine, David Lowery, Robert Pattinson, Bong Joon-ho, Lynne Ramsay, James Gray, Janicza Bravo, Josh and Benny Safdie, Isabelle Huppert, the list goes on and on.
Willa Paskin has opened up Slate’s TV club, a discussion of the year in television with Tara Ariano, June Thomas, and Todd VanDerWerff.
NPR’s Bob Boilen has posted a playlist that includes forty-nine of his fifty favorite songs of the year.
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