Entries in part 5:

Fidel Jesús Quirós
Bérénice Reynaud
Stuart Richards
Jeremy Rigsby
Peter Rist
Eloise Ross
Julian Ross
André Roy
Dan Sallitt
Maria San Filippo
Yianna Sarri
Christine Sathiah
Daniel Schmidt
Howard Schumann
Nick Shimmin
Christopher Sikich
Mark Spratt
Brad Stevens
Clint Stivers
David Stratton
Bee Thiam Tan
Gorazd Trušnovec
Mustafa Uzuner
Donatella Valente
Koen Van Daele
Kaj van Zoelen
Tom Vincent
Ben Volchok
Katie Wackett
David Walsh
Virginia Wright Wexman
Jason Wierzba
Barbara Wurm
Neil Young
Alexandra Zawia



This is the list of the best of the few films that attracted my attention in 2015. Last year’s Academy Award nominees turned out to be completely predictable films for me. The only American movie that impressed me was almost neglected by the Academy – Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler – a merciless look at the depth of American media with an electrifying performance by Jake Gyllenhaal. A few jewels emerged in European cinema like Christian Petzold’s Phoenix, which examines both the individual and collective psyche of post-war Germany, and Hungarian László Nemes’s Son of Saul, which quite the opposite, travels literally into the inner chambers of Second World War Jewish extermination. The Italians created some tragic, epic and human films, such as Emanuele Crialese’s Terraferma, which shows Europe’s immigrant crisis with a vibrant dramatic quality that feels like it was shot last season rather than in 2011.

Latin American is producing films that combine good story telling and originality, such as Moisés Sepúlveda’s Las analfabetas, which is an intimate story with a quasi-documentary observational style following the two leads, whose acting is as great as the one of 1930s and ‘40s heroines. Lorenzo Vigas’s From Afar marks the final surrender of Venice and its Golden Lion to Latin America, in a film as tough and harsh as it is superbly acted. Berlin awarded the Grand Jury Prize to the powerful imaginary and tough verbalism of Pablo Larraín’s The Club. The also award-winning I Promise You Anarchy offers the visual soundtrack of a repressed love in a landscape of social numbness. Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent is a born classic that documents the clash of cultures and pleas for nature and ancestral traditions.

The Brazilian cinema landed here with Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull, with a magical and stunning visuality that reveals the mammoth transformations of the Amazon nation. But this and surely next year’s turning point of the cinema of the region will be the New Cuban Cinema, with an array of independent films from very young filmmakers, such as Carlos Machado’s La obra del siglo, a funny avant-garde film that mixes documentary and fiction, real found footage and false documentary, and yet uses film within film to create a really innovative piece of cinema. In the opposite direction, Fabian Suarez’s Caballos offers an intimate look at the intellectual elite of a different Havana, shot in black and white, in which the titular horses become metaphor for the powerful, fragile or prosaic nature of its inhabitants. Finally, Jessica Rodriguez’s Espejuelos Oscuros creates a multilayered narrative with a subtle postmodern atmosphere in which women are the ones who reassert, in a film that is self-reflexive and entertaining at the same time.

Best films of 2015
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
Saul fia (Son of Saul, László Nemes, 2015)
Terraferma (Emanuele Crialese, 2011)
Las analfabetas (Moisés Sepúlveda, 2013)
Desde allá (From Afar, Lorenzo Vigas, 2015)
Te prometo anarquía (I Promise You Anarchy, Julio Hernández Cordón, 2015)
El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra, 2015)
Boi Neon (Neon Bull, Gabriel Mascaro, 2015)
La obra del siglo (The Project of the Century, Carlos Quintela, 2015)
Caballos (Horses, Fabián Suarez, 2015)
Espejuelos oscuros (Sunglasses, Jessica Rodríguez, 2015)




By director’s family name alphabetical order:

  1. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
  2. The Thoughts We Once Had (Thom Andersen, 2015)
  3. Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
  4. 52 Films (James Benning, 2015)
  5. Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante, 2015)
  6. Ouragan (Hurricane, Andy Byatt, 2015)
  7. Lubian yecan (Kaili Blues, Bi Gan, 2015)
  8. Muntele Magic (The Magic Mountain, Anca Damian, 2015)
  9. As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
  10. Evolution (Lucille Hadzihalilovic, 2015)
  11. Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller, 2015)
  12. Ji-geum-eun-mat-go-geu-ddae-neun-teul-li-da (Right Now, Wrong Then, Hong Sang-soo, 2015)
  13. Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
  14. Shan he gu ren (Mountain May Depart, Jia Zhangke, 2015)
  15. Uminachi Diary (Our Little Sister, Kore0eda Hirokazu, 2015)
  16. Xiang bei fang (Back to the North, Liu Hao, 2015)
  17. The Royal Road (Jenni Olson, 2015)
  18. Nahid (Ida Panahandeh, 2015)
  19. Taxi (Jafar Panahi, 2015)
  20. Ta Luo (Tharlo, Pema Tseden, 2015)
  21. Comoara (The Treasure, Corneliu Porumboiu, 2015)
  22. Chi (Mr. Zhang Believes, Qiu Jiongjiong, 2015)
  23. The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (Ben Rivers, 2015)
  24. Prestir (Sparrows, Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2015)
  25. Bande de filles (Girlhood, Céline Sciamma, 2014)
  26. Hyaku-en no Koi (100 Yen Love, Take Masaharu, 2014)
  27. Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015)
  28. Barash (Michael Vinik, 2015)
  29. Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
  30. And When I Die I Won’t Stay Dead (Billy Woodberry, 2015).
  31. Port of Call (director’s cut, Philip Yung, 2015)
  32. Bei Xi Mo Shou (Behemoth, Zhao Liang, 2015)
  33. Datong (The Chinese Mayor, Zhou Hao, 2015)

Guilty revival pleasure: L’Albatros (Love Hate, Jean-Pierre Mocky, France, 1971).
Stef Tassel (a 38 year-old Jean-Pierre Mocky, looking like a counter-cultural Alain Delon) jailed for killing a cop in self-defense during a beating after a left-wing demonstration, escapes, kidnaps the daughter of a (shady, as always in Mocky’s world) local politician, which ends up badly, but not before an extremely gutsy scene, a harbinger of the famed ending of La ley del deseo (The Law of Desire), 16 years later. As in Almodóvar’s film, when they are having sex in front of a mesmerised crowd, one of the protagonists is in love, the other is thinking of somebody else… A masterpiece to rediscover. 

World Poll 2015

Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015)



Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
I was hesitant going into a film about transgender people of colour directed by a straight white male, however, this is an innovative and exciting film.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, 2015)
Perfect balance of humour and heartbreak.

The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)
Fantastic follow up to The Act of Killing.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller, 2015)
In my screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival, the audience found the topic of sexual assault hysterical, which unsettled me. However, the film captures the original text perfectly.

99 Homes (Ramin Bahrani, 2014)
The eviction scene is utterly devastating. Thankfully, the film maintains this tension throughout.

Downriver (Grant Scicluna, 2015)
It’s very exciting to see an Australian genre film receive praise internationally.

Nasty Baby (Sebastián Silva, 2015)
Silva’s film is arguably the strongest queer film of 2015. I am also loving Kristen Wiig’s recent dramatic performances.

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
While the ending was rubbish, Olivia Coleman’s dancing won me over. I found it interesting that the bisexual reference was edited out of promotional material.

En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Roy Andersson, 2015)
Equal parts absurd and profound.

Macbeth (Justin Kurzel, 2015)
With both viewings, the combination of red, the Scottish Highlands and Jed Kurzel’s score was a powerful closure to this film. Marion Cotillard delivers yet another gut wrenching performance.

Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
I confess, in my only viewing of this film, I stopped following the intricacies of the plot and just admired the stunning aesthetics of this film.

It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2014)
Such a smart horror film; the use of space was perfect. Is Maika Monroe the scream queen of today?

The following films were my highlights in 2014 and received commercial releases this year. I am very happy that these were received well by critics:

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (David Zellner, 2014)
Appropriate Behaviour (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)
Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

Some gripes from cinema this year:

Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
It is unfortunate that Miller did not cast more Australian actors in principle roles.

Love (Gaspar Noé, 2015)
Self-indulgent, transphobic and misogynistic, I wish I had walked our earlier.

As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
While there were moments of genius, each of these films was too poorly paced to sustain my interest. I still do not understand the hype around these films. Perhaps I just have a thing against finches? 

World Poll 2015

En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Roy Andersson, 2014)


  1. Blue and Red (Zhou Tao, 2014)
  2. Occidente (Ana Vaz, 2015)
  3. Wolkenschatten (Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy, 2014)
  4. Endless, Nameless (Pathompon Mont Tesprateep, 2014)
  5. Chromatic (Karen Johannesen, 2015)
  6. Three Quarters (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2015)
  7. O, Persecuted (Basma Alsharif, 2014)
  8. Falling (Robert Todd, 2015)
  9. Parallel Rows Cover Every Foot (Bruce McClure, 2015)
  10. Night Watch (Danaya Chulphuthiphong, 2014)

And, in no order:

Wayward Fronds (Fern Silva, 2014)
Line of Apsides (Julie Murray, 2014)
Le Boudin (Salomé Lamas, 2014)
Jáaji Approx. (Sky Hopinka, 2015)
Fish Point (Pablo Mazzolo, 2015)
Bunte Kuh (Faraz Anoushahpour, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko, 2015)




Once again this year, there have been fewer opportunities to watch “independent” films on Montreal cinema screens, but it becomes increasingly easy to watch rare films on other platforms. Some of my best viewing experiences came at four “old” film festivals, including the very last Cinefest in Syracuse, New York, where the late William K. Everson used to program 16mm shows of pre-code and silent discoveries; the first shimmering Nitrate Picture Show at the George Eastman House (now “Museum”), Rochester, NY; the always revelatory Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy; and Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy. My list only includes films I saw for the first time in 2015, but otherwise I would cite a number of digital restorations including Mizoguchi’s Shin Heike Monogatari (New Tale of the Heike, 1955) and the film that has consistently been on my all-time-best list, King Hu’s Xia Nü (A Touch of Zen, 1971). As usual I spent much of the first quarter catching up with titles that premiered in 2014, and I must say how tiresome it is to be now caught up in the post-TIFF/Venice Oscar season, where so much mediocre Hollywood (and other English-language) product is over-hyped and allowed to dominate our screens.

  1. Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
    One film stands head and shoulders above every new work I’ve seen this year, the beautiful Tang Dynasty-set wu xia pian, shot by Mark Lee Ping Bing.
  1. Portrait of Jennie (William Dieterle, 1948):
    Seen at GEH, on a 35mm nitrate print. Next up has to be the revelation of the Nitrate Picture Show, with unbelievably subtle black and white images shot by Joe August and Lee Garmes (uncredited, and, maybe, Stanley Cortez?), and a spectacular conclusion where the curtains opened to reveal a much larger and wider, tinted and toned reel (with a Technicolor final shot),

3-20 listed in the order in which I saw them: 

Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östland, 2014)

Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
Timely and astute, yet beautifully humanitarian widescreen criticism of religious fundamentalism. 

Pod elektricheskimi oblakami (Under Electric Clouds, Aleksei German Jr., 2015)
Directed by the son of the late, great director of last year’s Hard to Be a God: seen online, thanks to a student.

Relatos salvajes (Wild Tales, Damián Szifrón, 2014)
Perhaps the most fun I had with an audience this year.

Ma’a al-Fidda (Silvered Water: Syria, Self-Portrait, Wiam Bedirxan/Ossama Mohammed, 2014)
A timely, gut-wrenching poetic documentary: seen in limited release.

Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
Seen at a special screening at Phi Centre, Montreal, April.

Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015).
The best English-language feature in 3D.

Woman on the Run (Norman Foster, 1950)
From a time when Hollywood craftsmanship was supreme (cinematography by Hal Mohr): on TCM; with restoration by the Film Noir Foundation.

Amour fou (Jessica Hausner, 2014)
On a flight to London, Heathrow, June (Air Canada have the best in-flight film selections, but the worst food).

Yek Ettefagh-e Sadeh (A Simple Event, Sohrab Shahid Saless, 1973)
A definitive Iranian New Wave film: on a 35mm print.

Amy (Asif Kapadia, 2015)
The best conventional documentary, exemplary in its use of “found footage” of all kinds.

Uski Roti (Our Daily Bread, Mani Kaul, 1970)
I finally caught up with a black and white, Hindi masterpiece of the Indian “parallel cinema”.

Nakinureta haru no onna yo (A Woman Crying in Spring, Shimizu Hiroshi, 1933)
An amazingly creative early Japanese sound film, by a director whose work from 1929 to 1941 often rivals that of Ozu and Mizoguchi.

Dong (Seven Days, Xing Jian, 2015)
Best film seen at the World Film Festival.

The Rat (Graham Cutts, 1925)
A vastly underrated British silent film that probably has more studio-filmed camera movement than any previously-made fiction film

Engram of Returning (Daïchi Saïto, 2015)
Best Canadian and Short film of the year: at the Festival de Nouveau Cinéma (FNC).

Reconversão (Reconversion, Thom Andersen, 2012)
My favourite Andersen film, shot by Peter Bo Rappmund in varied frame rates, so that the stone ruins architecture of Eduardo Souto de Moura structures the digital work: at the Montreal documentary festival (RIDM).

Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
Beautifully shot in Super-16, the best U.S. feature film of the year, and because it does such a clever number on hetero-male behaviour, it probably won’t do well at the Oscars.




I don’t feel quite fair claiming this as any sort of best of list of the year. I have missed an awful lot of new release films, due to other projects, and there are many I had wished to see that may have ended up on this list had I been able to. Thus my list this year consists of several Australian theatrical releases, several seen in the festival circuit, and a select few repertory screenings, to revel in the glory of seeing things big screen!

Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Leviafan (Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)
Queen of Earth (Alex Ross Perry, 2015)
Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman, 2015)
L’Inhumaine (Marcel L’Herbier, 1924) 35mm film print, Melbourne Cinémathèque, December 2015
The Iron Mask (Allan Dwan, 1929) DCP restoration courtesy of Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne Cinémathèque, April 2015
La Prisonnière (Woman in Chains, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1968) 35mm film print, Melbourne International Film Festival, August 2015
Bedelia (Lance Comfort, 1946) 35mm film print, Film Forum New York
The Fast and the Furious (John Ireland, Edward Sampson, 1955) 35mm film print, Anthology Film Archives




Escape Scenes (Julia Feyrer, 2014)
The Many Colors of the Sky Radiate Forgetfulness (Basim Magdy, 2015)
moon blink (Rainer Kohlberger, 2015)
The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music (The Propeller Group, 2014)
Sonoma (Sky David (formerly Dennis Pies), 1977)
Reign of Silence (Lukas Marxt, 2013)
People’s Park (Libbie D. Cohn & J.P. Sniadecki, 2012)
Five Year Diary Reels 22, 23 & 80 (Anne Charlotte Robertson, 2014)
The Meaning of One Twenty-fourth of a Second (Choi Won-Young, 1969)
Sun Song (Joel Wanek, 2013) 




In alphabetical order:
Na ri xia wu (Afternoon, Tsai Ming-liang, 2015)
Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
Les démons (The Demons, Philippe Lesage, 2015)
Mia madre (My Mother, Nanni Moretti, 2015)
As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
L’Ombre des femmes (In the Shadow of Women, Philippe Garrel, 2015)
Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-soo, 2015)



  1. Bad at Dancing (Joanna Arnow, 2015)
  2. The Grief of Others (Patrick Wang. 2015)
  3. Bloomin Mud Shuffle (Frank V. Ross, 2015)
  4. How Heavy This Hammer (Kazik Radwanski, 2015)
  5. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  6. As Mil e Uma Noites: Volume 2, O Desolado (Arabian Nights: Volume 2, The Desolate One, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
  7. Six Cents in My Pocket (Ricky D’Ambrose, 2015)
  8. Experimenter (Michael Almereyda, 2015)
  9. Un etaj mai jos (One Floor Below, Radu Muntean, 2015)
  10. Beterang (Veteran, Ryoo Seung-wan, 2015)
  11. Applesauce (Onur Tukel, 2015)
  12. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon, 2015)
  13. Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (My Golden Days, Arnaud Desplechin, 2015)
  14. Going Out (Ted Fendt, 2015)
  15. Aloha (Cameron Crowe, 2015)
  16. As Mil e Uma Noites: Volume 3, O Encantado (Arabian Nights: Volume 3, The Enchanted One, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
  17. Ji-geum-eun-mat-go-geu-ddae-neun-teul-li-da (Right Now, Wrong Then, Hong Sang-soo, 2015)
  18. Exercise (Judd Blaise, 2015)
  19. Traces/Legacy (Scott Stark, 2015)

All the above films received their world premieres in 2015. This list will certainly change quite a lot as 2015 films make their way to New York over the course of the next few years.

A few good films of recent years that crossed my path in 2015: L for Leisure (Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn, 2014), I Wasn’t There (Sky Hirschkron, 2014), Court (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2014), Félix et Meira (Félix & Meira, Maxime Giroux, 2014), Theeb (Naji Abu Nowar, 2014), Le dos rouge (Portrait of the Artist, Antoine Barraud, 2014), Gente de Bien (Franco Lolli, 2014), Sorg og glæde (Sorrow and Joy, Nils Malmros, 2013), Hai shang huang gung (The Palace on the Sea, Midi Z, 2014), La tercera orilla (The Third Side of the River, Celina Murga, 2014), Heaven Knows What (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2014), Ned Rifle (Hal Hartley, 2014), For the Plasma (Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan, 2014), Magical Girl (Carlos Vermut, 2014), Gabriel (Lou Howe, 2014), Macondo (Sudabeh Mortezai, 2014).

World Poll 2015

Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (My Golden Days, Arnaud Desplechin, 2015)



1. Tie between:
45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
Appropriate Behavior (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)
The second time in a half-decade that Haigh has topped my year’s list (Weekend was my Best Film of 2011), his latest is every bit as devastating and redeeming a depiction of an intimate relationship’s power to endure.
Equally truthful and moving, though about breakup and heartache, Akhavan’s pitch-perfect, deadpan debut feature (released via VOD in early 2015) is Annie Hall reimagined by a Persian-American bisexual woman: less uneasily feminist, infinitely more queer and ethnically-attuned, but still endlessly clever and re-watchable.

3-10. (unranked)

Darbareye Elly (About Elly, Asghar Farhadi, 2009)
Following the success of 2011’s A Separation, Farhadi’s fourth feature received an overdue theatrical release in 2014 to become my favourite of his films and even, perhaps, of Iranian cinema overall. Inventively invoking Antonioni’s L’Avventura to scrutinise social mores and how people respond to crisis, About Elly offers at once a knowing portrayal of human interaction generally alongside sensitively rendered insight into the specific experience of women living within a conservative society.

Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014)
Aided by a searing lead performance by Marion Cotillard, the Dardennes depict the lowly late capitalist worker’s existence as one of utter vulnerability and desperation. An exceptionally affecting cinematic depiction of the cruelties of capitalism, how it makes decent people act inhumanely, but how interpersonal interaction can sometimes persevere and impel people to do the right thing.

Fidelio, l’odyssée d’Alice (Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey, Lucie Borleteau, 2014)
A luminous Ariane Labed (ATTENBERG) plays a ship engineer whose long hauls at sea compromise her commitment to her boyfriend; her claim to sexual independence is neither condemned nor is it relieved of all contrition. Despite some regrettable racial Othering, Borleteau’s intimate epic constitutes a formidable feature debut.

A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor, 2014)
Chandor’s clear-eyed assessment of a striving husband-wife team forced to confront their moral compass when their business and family are threatened provides as sharp a take-down of capitalism as Two Days, One Night (see above). Leads Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are magnetic, and Chastain’s wardrobe is swoon-inducing.

Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
Petzold’s sixth collaboration with muse Nina Hoss is his most cinematically inspired meditation yet on Germany’s traumatic past and collective reinvention, skilfully merging Hitchcockian melodrama with political allegory while remaining human-scaled and deeply affecting, and culminating in an astounding, unforgettable mic-drop moment of film music magic.

Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
Deftly and subtly acted by its ensemble cast, this gripping depiction of the Boston Globe investigative journalists who exposed the local Catholic Archdiocese’s acts of child molestation and their cover-up does not hit a wrong note, with its unromanticised portrayal of the journalistic process second only to All the President’s Men.

Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
Baker’s much anticipated (by me) follow-up to 2012’s Starlet, this frantically unfurling day-in-the-life of a fierce twosome, shot on an iPhone amid Hollywood’s dingiest strip malls, humanises without condescending to its characters, trans sex workers and their clients. Not unlike my favourite film of last year, The Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2014), at its core Tangerine is a film about two women supporting one another within a profession that objectifies and exploits them.

Plemya (The Tribe, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, 2014)
130 minutes in the company of a brutal student gang at a Ukrainian school for the deaf mediated via their un-translated sign language, with the most wrenching abortion scene ever committed to celluloid, The Tribe is one of those films so excruciating to watch that I hope never to have to endure another viewing. Yet I remain grateful for this humbling spectatorial experience that translates for us its characters’ struggles to be heard and seen, and to survive.

Bande de filles (Girlhood, Céline Sciamma, 2014)
Bob and the Trees (Diego Ongaro, 2015)
Grandma (Paul Weitz, 2015)
I’ll See You in My Dreams (Brett Haley, 2015)
Mistress America (Noah Baumbach, 2015)
Une nouvelle amie (The New Girlfriend, François Ozon, 2014)
Party Girl (Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis, 2014)
Results (Andrew Bujalski, 2015)
Viaje (Paz Fabrega, 2015)
Le meraviglie (The Wonders, Alice Rohrwacher, 2014)



  1. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
  3. El Club (The Club, Pablo Larraín, 2015)
  4. Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2015)
  5. 45 Years (Andrew Haigh 2015)




By almost random order, except for my top three choices:

  1. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
  2. Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
  3. Leviafan (Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)
  4. Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013)
  5. Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)
  6. 6. La Sapienza (Eugene Green, 2014)
  7. Relatos salvajes (Wild Tales, Damián Szifrón, 2014)
  8. Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
  9. Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
  10. Dear White People (Justin Simien, 2014)

Honorable mentions:
The Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2014)
Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, 2014)
Le Meraviglie (The Wonders, Alice Rohrwacher, 2014)




Some more favourites

Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
Li Wen man you Dong Hu (Li Wen at East Lake, Luo Li, 2015)
Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories Season 1 (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, 2014)
Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Ostlund, 2014)
Broad City Season 2 (Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, 2015)
Kaguyahime no monogatari (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata, 2013)
Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow, 2015) – as brilliant self-parody
No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
Inside Amy Schumer Season 3 (Amy Schumer and Daniel Powell, 2015)
SITE VISIT – installation at Kunst-Werke (Ryan Trecartin, 2015)
Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs, 2015)
Everything and More (Rachel Rose, 2015)
Heaven Knows What (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2014)
Louie Season 5 (Louis C.K., 2015)
‘Power’ ‘Best Friend’ ‘With That’ (Be EL Be and Young Thug, 2015)
As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
MyAlbum: A Rough-Demo Video (Mark Leckey, 2015)
South Park Season 19 (Matt Stone and Trey Parker, 2015)
Taxi (Jafar Panahi, 2015)
Riot (Nathan Silver, 2015)
Jupiter Ascending (Lana and Andy Wachowski, 2015)
La última película (Mark Peranson and Raya Martin, 2013)
Yolo (Ben Russell, 2015)
Queen of Earth (Alex Ross Perry, 2015)
Bitter Lake (Adam Curtis, 2015)
L for Leisure (Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn, 2014)
The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015)
Mercuriales (Virgil Vernier, 2014)
Freud und Friends (Gabriel Abrantes, 2015)
Mistress America (Noah Baumbach, 2015)
Kroll Show Season 3 (Nick Kroll, Jonathan Krisell and John Levenstein, 2015)
It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2014)
Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
Take What You Can Carry (Matthew Porterfield, 2015)
Occidente (Ana Vaz, 2014)
88:88 (Isiah Medina, 2015)



  1. Saul fia (Son of Saul, László Nemes, 2015)
    Son of Saul explores the moral dilemma of a group of Hungarian Jews known as the Sonderkommandos who were forced to collaborate with the Germans at Birkenau. It is not an easy film to watch, but it is an important and even a necessary one and, in its own way, both a horrifying and strangely beautiful one.
  1. Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015)
    Brooklyn is an old-fashioned romantic film that tells a simple and authentic story that makes us long for simpler times. The film provides the setting for a young woman to grow in strength, not through trauma or crisis, but through the discovery of her own personal power.
  1. Theeb (Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)*
    A masterful coming-of-age film, Theeb has been described as an “Arabic Western”. It is the story of a young Bedouin boy who must fight for survival against unknown enemies in the stark, unforgiving desert where “the strong eat the weak”. Not just a coming-of-age story, but a film with a powerful message about a traditional society on the cusp of change and a lament for the loss of a way of life.
  1. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
    Spotlight is named after the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative unit of The Boston Globe which investigated the abuse of children by parish priests in the years following 9/11, and the link of silence that existed between the Catholic Church and the Boston political and business community.
  1. Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg, 2015)
    Bridge of Spies is a film about values, about standing up for what you know to be right, an important lesson for those in today’s politics who are run by their fears. Both a courtroom drama and a spy thriller, the film is best when it makes clear what American values are supposed to be about.
  1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, 2015)
    A coming-of-age comedy/drama, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is very funny and very sad, full of life’s pain but also reminding us of its joy. Probing deeper than most films of its kind, it forges genuine, three-dimensional characters that make their way into your heart.
  1. Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsaio-hsien, 2015)
    The Assassin is wuxia as fine art employing Hou’s familiar style: glacial pacing, non-professional actors, long takes, minimal dialogue, and an elliptical story, all bound together with a graceful poetry. Meticulously composed by cinematographer Ping Bin Lee, each scene can be savoured like a masterful painting.
  1. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)*
    Timbuktu is a series of vignettes depicting the reactions of the people to the harsh laws of the Islamists seeking to impose Sharia law across Mali. Written by Sissako and Malian co-writer Kessen Tall in her feature debut, the film is a lament for the legendary land in which the director lived as a child, and a heartfelt plea for the world to return to sanity.
  1. Far From the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg, 2015)
    One of the most enchanting films of the year, alive with the spirit of a woman of uncommon strength and the beauty of the English countryside. On the surface, Bathsheba is mercurial and vain but Mulligan captures a deeper emotional level of her personality that balances her vanity with a sweet innocence.
  1. 45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
    In 45 Years, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay deliver remarkable performances as the childless couple looking forward to the celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary until it is upstaged by an unwanted reminder of the past.
  1. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
    A film about loss, loneliness and love, Carol is the story of a 19 year-old salesgirl whose chance encounter with an older married woman is a seminal moment in her life. Though the film has a Lesbian theme, it is more of a coming-of-age depiction of a rudderless young woman seeking her identity.
  1. Slow West (John Maclean, 2015)
    Slow West is a look at the plight of mistreated Native Americans and the dreams of youth, a buddy picture and a road movie filled with adventure and a meaningful message, as well as with cruelty and black humour. It has the quality of a dream, poetic and beautiful, yet filled with an unmistakable sadness and a desperate loneliness, the flip side of the myth of the heroic pioneer.
  1. Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)
    Lenny Abrahamson’s Room is the compelling story of a mother and her five-year-old son Jack kept prisoner in a 10 x 10 room that has no windows, a locked door, and no light other than that provided by an overhead skylight. While Jack is the focus of the film, we also gain access to his mother’s mind, feel her pain and live her dreams. 
  1. Ex Machina (Alex Garland, U.K., 2015)
    Ex Machina raises the issue of the nature of consciousness and whether or not it can be created artificially. It is a riveting, intelligent, and thought-provoking film that envisions a future where intelligent machines with a capacity for reason can reshape the world as we know it.
  1. Le Dernier Coup de marteau (The Last Hammer Blow, Alix Delaporte, 2014)*
    The Last Hammer Blow is the touching, heartfelt, and rewarding story of 14-year Victor who has to muster all of his inner strength to deal with three blows of fate that have been thrust upon him. Its title is derived from the three hammer blows of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, conducted in the film by Victor’s estranged father.
  1. Sleeping Giant (Andrew Cividino, 2015)
    Sleeping Giant is the story of three very different teenage boys during a summer vacation in Northern Ontario. It is not a comedy about lovable misfits but an expression of growing up in all its reality and in all its cruelty. In Sleeping Giant there is no looking back, only the immediacy and visceral impact of a powerfully real experience.
  1. Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados (Living is Easy With Eyes Closed, David Trueba, 2013)*
    The story of an English teacher who travels to Almeria in the South of Spain to try and meet Beatle John Lennon who is filming a movie, Living is Easy With Eyes Closed is basically a comedy, yet one that touches deep human emotions. Though the coming of age theme is fairly common, rarely has it been done with such tenderness and intelligence.
  1. El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra, 2015)
    Embrace of the Serpent provides a powerful insight into the effects of colonialism on an indigenous population. The film follows two interconnected stories based on the travel journals of two Amazonian explorers thirty years apart, both men seeking a plant with the powerful ability to heal.
  1. Gett, le procès de Viviane Amsalem (Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz, 2014)*
    Gett is a powerful dramatization of Viviane Amsalem, an unhappily married woman who seeks a divorce from her husband Elisha and must plead her case in a religious court under the jurisdiction of three Orthodox rabbis. The film is a powerful indictment of archaic religious laws and traditions that make women second-class citizens.
  1. ‘71 (Yann Demange, 2014)*
    A gritty anti-war thriller, ’71 is a graphic depiction of the early days of the bitter struggle in Northern Ireland between the Protestant Loyalists who want to remain in the U.K., and the Catholic Republicans whose desire is to build a united Ireland, free of British rule. It is an intense and visceral experience that spares no one in its depiction of the insanity committed in the name of ideology.
  1. Relatos salvajes (Wild Tales, Damián Szifrón, 2014) *
    Most people express their anger in socially acceptable ways, others do not. It is the others that are the subject of Wild Tales, six unrelated stories filled with dark humour, stylised violence, unhinged emotions, and unexpected twists in the Twilight Zone tradition, tales that reflect the insanity of contemporary existence.
  1. Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle, 2015)
    More like an impressionist painting than a biopic, Steve Jobs may at times sidestep the literal truth, but it always shows the “emotional” truth, conveying over a period of fourteen years the ambiguity of Jobs’ character, both his humanity and his cruelty.
  1. Clouds of Sils Maria (Oliver Assayas, 2014)*
    Clouds of Sils Maria explores the life of a successful actress who has become obsessed with the challenges posed by youth. The film excels not only because of the striking performances of Juliet Binoche and her assistant Kristin Stewart, but because it is not afraid to acknowledge the mystical presence of nature and its impact on our life.
  1. Best of Enemies (Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville, 2015)
    ABC’s coverage of the 1968 political conventions was highlighted with a ten-night debate between conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr. and flamboyant liberal novelist and playwright Gore Vidal. These debates are chronicled in Best of Enemies, a documentary that includes archival footage and commentary from people who knew Buckley and Vidal.
  1. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Alex Gibney, 2015)
    Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is an expose of the abuses of the Church of Scientology which traces its growth from its creation to the present day. Backed by videos, animations, graphs, and stories culled from hundreds of hours of interview footage, Gibney details the Church’s history of coercive tactics to control its members.

*Released in Canada in 2015

Honourable Mentions:
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, 2015)
Every Thing Will Be Fine (Wim Wenders, 2015)
The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, 2014)
Bird People (Pascale Ferran, 2014)
The Water Diviner (Russell Crowe, 2014)
Boychoir (François Girard, 2014)

The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller, 2015)
Trumbo (Jay Roach, 2015) 




A year in which a number of directors brought the spiritual and metaphysical into cinema in ways that were completely compelling:

The Best (not in any Order)

Ghesse-ha (Tales, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, 2014)
An effortlessly sublime piece of short-storytelling about contemporary Iran which manages to avoid the self-consciousness of so many of her compatriots.

Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
Not a fan of his previous work, but this is the most seamless integration of the metaphysical into everyday lives, visually stunning and perfectly paced with the most charming ensemble of actors in cinema this year.

As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
The masterpiece of the year, and also a surprise as I detested Tabu, the compassion and real cinematic invention on display were unmatched in 2015, another totally absorbing, profound and entertaining six hours.

Another Country (Molly Reynolds, 2015)
Probably THE great documentary about remote communities, Gulpilil’s narration gives it an authority no fiction film on indigenous matters can ever achieve.

Angely Revoluciji (Angels of Revolution, Alexei Fedorchenko, 2014)
A transcendent confection which gives us the essence of the beautiful optimism of revolution and art, and the ease with which it is destroyed, by Russian cinema’s best current director.

Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What Is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
A profound meditation on recent Phillippine history with not a single minute of its six hours wasted, and the most beautifully photographed film of the year.

P’tit Quinquin (L’il Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)
Finally caught up with this and it was as astonishing as expected – bringing the entire world to a small French village in a uniquely Dumont manner.

The Worst and Most Disappointing

Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
The aesthetics of a music video, the pretension of a school student, a historical travesty.

Eisenstein in Guanajanato (Peter Greenaway, 2015)
The reduction of a great story to tired old Greenaway tricks and clichés.



  1. Where to Invade Next (Michael Moore, 2015)
  2. Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
  3. Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
  4. Cobain: Montage of Heck (Brett Morgen, 2015)
  5. Love & Mercy (Bill Pohland, 2015)
  6. Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015)
  7. Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle, 2015)
  8. The Revenant (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 2015)
  9. Chi-Raq (Spike Lee, 2015)
  10. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (Mary Dore, 2014)




El botón de nácar (The Pearl Button, Patricio Guzmán, 2015)
La Sapienza (Eugene Green, 2014)
El Club (The Club, Pablo Larraín, 2015)
Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
L’Ombre des femmes (In the Shadow of Women, Philippe Garrel, 2015)
Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
Plemya (The Tribe, Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014)
El Clan (The Clan, Pablo Trapero, 2015)
Leviafan (Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)

Some runners up:
Amy (Asif Kapadia, 2015)
99 Homes (Rahman Bahradi, 2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)

Best Newcomer/First Features:
Een Dag in ’T Jaar (12 Months in 1 Day, Margot Schaap, 2015)
Min Lilla Syster (My Skinny Sister, Sanna Lanken, 2015)
Magical Girl (Carlos Vermut, 2014)

Best revisits:
Zabriske Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970)
Seen twice this year in 35mm on very large screens.
Nymphomaniac Vols 1 &2 – Directors Cut (Lars von Trier, 2013)
Longer versions adding substantially to the “censored” theatrical cuts.



  1. Jiao you (Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-liang, 2013)
  2. Pasolini (Abel Ferrara, 2014)
  3. Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
  4. Lost River (Ryan Gosling, 2013)
  5. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
  6. Life May Be (Mania Akbari and Mark Cousins, 2015)
  7. American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, 2014)
  8. The Congress (Ari Folman, 2013)
  9. Trudno byt bogom (Hard to Be a God, Aleksei German, 2013)
  10. Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
  11. Shan he gu ren (Mountains May Depart, Jia Zhangke, 2015)
  12. La folie Almayer (Almayer’s Folly, Chantal Akerman, 2011)
  13. Yi dai zong shi (The Grandmaster, Wong Kar-wai, 2013)
  14. Magic in the Moonlight (Woody Allen, 2014)
  15. Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
  16. And So It Goes (Rob Reiner, 2013)




Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
Saul fia (Son of Saul, László Nemes, 2015)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, 2015)
Trudno byt bogom (Hard to Be a God, Aleksei German, 2013)
Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015)




This list is only films released in cinemas in Australia in 2015. In alphabetical order:

American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, 2014)
Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014)
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller, 2014)
Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen, 2015)
Leviafan (Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams, 2015)
Plemya (The Tribe, Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014)
Truth (James Vanderbilt, 2015)

I could add a couple more:
Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, 2015) – the most original film I saw in 2015
La belle équipe (Julien Duvivier, 1936) – a great film from this interesting and underrated director
Die grosse Liebe (Otto Ludwig Preminger, 1931) – Preminger’s first film, a charming romance with a mother character that could have stepped out of a John Ford film; and does the revelation of Preminger’s full name explain why Billy Wilder had a character in One, Two, Three (1961) called Otto Ludwig Piffel?




Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) (Abbas Fahdel, 2015)
Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
Scene 38 (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2015) – as part of Fragment omnibus film commissioned by the Asian Film Archive
Ji-geum-eun-mat-go-geu-ddae-neun-teul-li-da (Right Now, Wrong Then, Hong Sang-soo, 2015)
The Fox Exploits The Tiger’s Might (Lucky Kuswandi, 2015)
The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)
The Passenger (Tang Kang Sheng, 2015)
The Tiger of 142B (Henry and Harry Zhuang, 2015) short
In film nist (This Is Not A Film, Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2012)

World Poll 2015

Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)



Koza (Ivan Ostrochovský, 2015)
La Montagne magique (The Magic Mountain, Anca Damian, 2015)
Aferim! (Radu Jude, 2015)
American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, 2014)
45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
Zvizdan (The High Sun, Dalibor Matanić, 2015)
Love (Gaspar Noé, 2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Macondo (2014, Sudabeh Mortezai)
Inside Out (Pete Docter & Ronaldo Del Carmen, 2015)
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
Goli (Naked Island, Tiha K. Gudac, 2014)
La isla mínima (Marshland, Alberto Rodríguez, 2014)
Relatos salvajes (Wild Tales, Damián Szifrón, 2014)
What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, 2014)




Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
Bella e perduta (Lost and Beautiful, Pietro Marcello, 2015)
Visita ou Memórias e Confissões (Visit or Memories and Confessions, Manoel de Oliveira, 1982/2015)
Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, 2015)
Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
Bitter Lake (Adam Curtis, 2015)
Entertainment (Rick Alverson, 2015)
The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, 2015)
As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015)
Queen of Earth (Alex Ross Perry, 2015)




Together with the wonderful retrospective of Italian experimental films curated by Tate Modern under the title “If Arte Povera was Pop: Artists’ and experimental cinema in Italy 1960s-1970s”, part of the art exhibition The World Goes Pop (my report on which will be in the next Senses of Cinema issue), this is my list of favourite films from 2015.

  1. Jiao you (Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-liang, 2013)
  2. Francofonia (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2015)
  3. Shan he gu ren (Mountains May Depart, Jia Zhangke, 2015)
  4. Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014)
  5. Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
  6. Trudno byt bogom (Hard to be a God, Aleksey German, 2013)
  7. Life May Be (Mania Akbari & Mark Cousins, 2015)
  8. Love Is All: 100 Years of Love & Courtship (Kim Longinotto, 2014)
  9. Lost River (Ryan Gosling, 2013)
  10. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)

If Tsai’s Stray Dogs is another sublime example of moving imagery crossing the boundaries between cinema and art gallery, Sokurov’s Francofonia and Longinotto’s Love Is All both use archive film footage to combine history and cinema into humane meditations traversing temporal boundaries. Akbari & Cousins’s Life May Be is a jewel of an essay film, a dialogue between two artists conveying lyrical and intimate reflections on landscapes both exterior and interior.




Top Five

As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
Boi Neon (Neon Bull, Gabriel Mascaro, 2015)
Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman, 2015)
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
Rabin, The Last Day (Amos Gitaï, 2015)
11 minut (11 Minutes, Jerzy Skolimowski, 2015)
Blackhat (Michael Mann, 2015)
El botón de nácar (The Pearl Button, Patricio Guzmán, 2015)
Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg, 2015)
Francofonia (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
Sangue del mio sangue (Blood of My Blood, Marco Bellocchio, 2015)
El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra, 2015)
Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, 2015)
The Childhood of a Leader (Brady Corbet, 2015)
The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, 2015)
L’Hermine (Courted, Christian Vincent, 2015)
Mate-me por favor (Kill Me Please, Anita Rocha Da Silveira, 2015)
L’Ombre des femmes (In the Shadow of Women, Philippe Garrel, 2015)
Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog, 2015)
Saul fia (Son of Saul, László Nemes, 2015)
Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (My Golden Days, Arnaud Desplechin, 2015)
Visita ou Memórias e Confissões (Visit or Memories and Confessions, Manoel de Oliveira, 1982/2015)
De Palma (Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow, 2015)
Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2015)
The Merchant of Venice (Orson Welles, 1969)
Meurtre à Pacot (Murder in Pacot, Raoul Peck, 2014)
Risttuules (In the Crosswind, Martti Helde, 2014)
Rodinny film (Family Film, Olmo Omerzu, 2015)
Shaun the Sheep Movie (Mark Burton, Richard Starzak, 2015)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
Amy (Asif Kapadia, 2015)
Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015)
James White (Josh Mond, 2015)
Louder than Bombs (Joachim Trier, 2015)
Mia madre (My Mother, Nanni Moretti, 2015)
Mistress America (Noah Baumbach, 2015)
Na ri xia wu (Afternoon, Tsai Ming-liang, 2015)
Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle, 2015)
Taklub (Brillante Mendoza, 2015) 

+ Five Exceptional Screenings

The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998)
Projection of the only existing 35mm Technicolor/dye-transfer print. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, June 30th.

Les Misérables (Henri Fescourt, 1925-26)
Live accompanied on piano by Neil Brand. Giornate del cinema muto, Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, October 7th.

Picture (Paolo Cherchi Usai, 2015)
With live music by Alloy Orchestra. Slovenska kinoteka, Ljubljana, October 8th.

House of Wax – 3D (André de Toth, 1953)
Opening film of the Halloween Horror Marathon, Kinodvor, Ljubljana, October 31st.

Now is the Time and Around is Around (Norman McLaren, 1951)
The screening of the digital restorations of McLaren’s 3D movies (considered to be the first stereoscopic animated films ever made). Opening of the 12th Animateka festiva, Kinodvor, Ljubljana, December 7th.



  1. Asha Jaoar Majhe (Labour of Love, Aditya Vikram Sengupta, 2014)
  2. Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
  4. Margarita, with a Straw (Shonali Bose, 2014)
  5. Dan Shen Nan Nv 2 (Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2, Johnnie To, 2014)
  6. Gun dan ba! Zhong liu jun(Go Away Mr. Tumor, Han Yan, 2015)
  7. Bande de filles (Girlhood, Céline Sciamma, 2014)
  8. Zhì qu weihu shan (The Taking of Tiger Mountain, Tsui Hark, 2014)
  9. Tussen 10 en 12(Between 10 and 12, Peter Hoogendoorn, 2014)
  10. Court (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2014)




As I get older I’m becoming ever more wary of ascribing permanence to any evaluation of art. My love for all these films has much to do with their agency as regards me and others in 2015. These films all connect to things that are within and outside of me now. That agency may change, but right now Aaaaaaaah!, The Exquisite Corpus and Mia madre seem like the best films of 2015.

Aaaaaaaah! (Steve Oram, 2015), seen at home via iTunes four times in October and November.
A satire whose piercing sensibility came almost out of the blue. But not quite. Similar to Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, in which actor-writer-director Steve Oram also starred, Aaaaaaaah! conveys unspeakable sadness and a deep fatalism beneath its transgressive actionism. I watched it like I watched Greenaway or Miike or Korine films at a much younger age but hardly since; entranced, fascinated, excited. And Aaaaaaaah! is also very very funny. It could teach more lauded, much more expensive, but much lesser auteur filmmakers a thing or three about how to manage high concepts.

Another Country (Molly Reynolds, 2015), seen at CinefestOz Busselton in August
The dialectic of the edit like Vertov. And in David Gullpilil’s narration, his ironic chuckle says it all. A clarifying stare at capitalism and the soul of Australia, and the best documentary of the year by miles.

Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015), seen at Cannes Film Festival in May
Carol should not be mistaken for a homage or recreation of 1950s melodrama. It isn’t, but it applies that emotional-stylistic palate to contemporary stars and their performances. The strategy is winningly successful, an exercise in masterful craft that moved me.

The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt, 2015), seen at a Perth preview cinema in August, and again in office in September.
Shattered my prejudices against contemporary “talky” films. Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace, performed with such commitment and with clear emotional openness.

The Exquisite Corpus (Peter Tscherkassky, 2015), seen at Cannes Film Festival in May
The Exquisite Corpus employs handmade ultra-precise darkroom edits to make a kind of Cubist pornography. I think we didn’t know we desired this. Tscherkassky is one of the greatest living filmmakers.

Insiang (Lino Brocka, 1976), seen at Cannes Film Festival in May
The deepening obscurity of Filipino filmmaker Lino Brocka is one of the legion failures left by the reshuffle of post-analogue film history. Insiang is magnificent and would feel fiercely relevant almost everywhere. It was restored this year thanks to Martin Scorsese, and yet it’s still near impossible to see it properly.

Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015), seen at Cygnet cinema, Perth, in June
I cried at this at various times while watching it with my kids (they were fine). I really couldn’t ask for more from family entertainment.

Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad, 2014), seen at Luna Leederville cinema, Perth, in June
I guess I should’ve kept my mouth shut when I started to brag about my car
But I can’t back down now because I pushed the other guys too far
She makes me come alive
and makes me wanna drive
when she says
Don’t worry baby
Everything will turn out alright

Mia madre (Nanni Moretti, 2015) seen at Cannes Film Festival in May, and again in office September
This film grows richer each time you see and think about it. A Just-so, beauty in the placement of the individual scenes, like with Ozu. The film’s full of joy-inside-sadness-inside-joy. And it’s political too in its unshowy representation. I’m anticipating a third watch when it plays in our program in January.

Nobi (Fires on the Plain, Shinya Tsukamoto 2014), seen at Japanese Film Festival, Perth, in October
Shinya Tsukamoto is someone whom we should show to young filmmakers and say “look, at what can be done with sheer integrity”. He’s a singular filmmaker, born to do it.

Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray, 2015), seen at Event Morley, Perth, in September
So much live and contentious information to gawp at, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. threads it together with charm and enough vigour to make this the greatest breakout hit of the year.

World Poll 2015

Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray, 2015)


  1. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, 2015)
  2. The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014)
  3. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
  4. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)
  5. En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Roy Andersson, 2014)
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
  7. Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
  8. Pod elektricheskimi oblakami (Under Electric Skies, Aleksei German Jr, 2015)
  9. Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Peter Greenaway, 2015)
  10. A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor, 2014)
  11. Bande des filles (Girlhood, Céline Sciamma, 2014)
  12. He Never Died (Jason Krawczyk, 2015)
  13. Deathgasm (Jason Lei Howden, 2015)



  1. Into the Forest (Patricia Rozema, 2015)
  2. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, 2015)
  3. Furious 7 (James Wan, 2015)
  4. Bande de filles (Girlhood, Céline Sciamma, 2014)
  5. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
  6. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
  8. Saul Fia (Son of Saul, László Nemes, 2015)
  9. Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)
  10. Crimson Peak (Guillermo Del Toro, 2015)




These are all films that either first played in cinemas in the US in 2015 or that I saw at film festivals in 2015.

Court (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2014)
Iraqi Odyssey (Samir, 2014)
99 Homes (Ramin Bahrani, 2014)
Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer (The People vs. Fritz Bauer, Lars Kraume, 2015)
Colonia (Florian Gallenberger, 2015)
L’armée du salut (Salvation Army, Abdellah Taia, 2013)
Janis: Little Girl Blue (Amy Berg, 2015)
Good Kill (Andrew Niccol, 2014)
El escarabajo de oro (The Gold Bug, Alejo Moguillansky, 2014)
Ha’har (Mountain, Yaelle Kayam, 2015)
Koza (Goat, Ivan Ostrochovský, 2015)
Thank You for Bombing (Barbara Eder, 2015)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
Im Labyrinth des Schweigens (Labyrinth of Lies, Giulio Ricciarelli, 2014)
Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)



  1. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2015)
  2. Chi-Raq (Spike Lee, 2015)
  3. Il brigante (The Brigand, Renato Castellani, 1961)
  4. P’tit Quinquin(L’il Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)
  5. Leviafan (Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)
  6. Flocken (Flocking, Beata Gårdeler, 2015)
  7. Gett, le procès de Viviane Amsalem (Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz, 2014)
  8. Kışuykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
  9. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
  10. Ka-teu (Cart, Boo Ji-Young, 2014)
  11. Dheepan (Jacques Audiard, 2015)
  12. Las Horas contigo (The Hours with You, Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, 2014)
  13. Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
  14. Chuangru zhe (Red Amnesia, Wang Xiaoshuai, 2014)
  15. Comoara (The Treasure, Corneliu Porumboiu, 2015)
  16. Haemoo (Shim Sung-bo, 2014)
  17. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  18. Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray, 2015)

Best Cinematography: Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)

Most Disturbing: No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)

Most Impenetrable: River of Fundament (Matthew Barney, 2014)

Most Self-Indulgent: The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2015)



  1. Trudno byt bogom (Hard to Be a God, Aleksei German, 2013)
    Spectacle and vision, tectonic conversion, epochal synthesis.
  1. Manakamana (Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez, 2013)
    The precise right moment for these gorgeously protracted moments. The gulf being traversed is not only the obvious one.
  1. Nie yin niang (The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
    Another breathtaking, narcotic triumph, like the Hou of yore.
  1. Love (Gaspar Noé, 2015)
    I had not realised how sickeningly selfish was my grief until Noé’s amniotic sex-memory immersion enwombed me.
  1. The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)
    The seat formerly occupied by silence.
  1. Que ta joie demeure (Joy of Man’s Desiring, Denis Côté, 2014)
    Documentary, theatre, labour, emancipatory shackles of play.
  1. Le dernier des injustes (The Last of the Unjust, Claude Lanzmann, 2013)
    I had no previous conscious awareness of the devastating possibilities of somebody speaking of themselves in the third person.
  1. Al doilea joc (The Second Game, Corneliu Porumboiu, 2014)
    History is farce, and family too. Form is an open invitation.
  1. Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
    This year’s holy weepie. Shiver-giver.
  1. Hua li shang ban zu (Office, Johnnie To, 2015)
    Late Capitalism Tashlin!
  1. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, 2015)
    Brain surgery with suspect instruments. Whatever comes after postmodernity.
  1. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
    Repeat viewings are slowly making Inherent Vicemy favourite movie of all time. I will probably not see any other movie on this list as many times before I die. We all have our drug(s) of choice.
  1. Attihannu mattu kanaja (Fig Fruit and the Wasps, Prakash Babu M.S., 2014)
    To be. Here. Any here. But to really be here. I don’t want to be the “slow cinema” guy, but long live slow cinema!
  1. La Sapienza (Eugene Green, 2014)
    Green has this thing about teaching us Buster Keaton-faced lessons that are sidereal profound and only possible with the cinematograph.
  1. Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg, 2015)
    Myth and counter-myth and a dollop of simple good in a world where good is otherwise so resolutely not simple. My favourite Spielberg.
  1. Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
    Lav Diaz returning from the borderline embarrassment of Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan (Norte, the End of History, 2013). Would conceivably be higher on my list if I had not experienced its five-and-some-odd hours on a laptop … over two sittings. Somewhere between ethnography and metaphysics. Obviously (to those in the know).
  1. Court (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2014)
    The malaise and tragicomic folly of social institutions. It’s a universal fucking language. The structure is smart and elastic. The gaze is laid-back irreverent. The extras sure know what they are doing.
  1. Heaven Knows What (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2014)
    Awaiting the tell-all book. One for some beautiful friends who are no longer with us.
  1. La Jalousie (Jealousy, Philippe Garrel, 2013)
    Garrel, the master, reminding me why I never killed myself, and why it is perfectly wonderful to shut off the lights and sleep alone.
  1. Haemoo (Sea Fog, Sung-bo Shim, 2014)
    My list needs one mass-entertainment good-timey treasure. It would almost certainly have to be Asian. A stalwart example of why the Chinese will never be able to win the war over populist cinema in Asia. Korean cinema 4 life.




“the new” … (in order of an inner countdown)
Huángjīn shídài (The Golden Era, Ann Hui, 2014)
Theeb (Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)
Balikbayan #1 Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III (Kidlat Tahimik, 2015)
Meurtre à Pacot (Murder in Pacot, Raoul Peck, 2014)
Pod ėlektričeskimi oblakami (Under Electric Clouds, Aleksei German Jr., 2015)
Self/Less (Tarsem Singh, 2015)
Cosmos (Andrzej Żuławski, 2015)
Dólares de arena (Sand Dollars, Laura A. Guzmán & Israel Cárdenas, 2014)
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)Der Letzte Sommer der Reichen (The Last Summer of the Rich, Peter Kern, 2015) – Peter’s very last and queer summer (RIP!!)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Christopher McQuarrie, 2015)
Czerwony Pająk (The Red Spider, Marcin Koszałka, 2015)
She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich, 2014)
Bitva za Sevastopol’ / Nezlamna (The Battle for Sevastopol, Sergej Mokritskij, 2015)
Die Lügen der Sieger (The Lies of the Victors, Christoph Hochhäusler, 2014)
Aferim! (Radu Jude, 2015)
Mr. Holmes (Bill Condon, 2015)
The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014)
Pesn’ pesnej (The Song of Songs, Eva Neyman, 2015)
The Buried Alive Videos (Roee Rosen, 2013)
Lost River (Ryan Gosling, 2014)
Pasolini (Abel Ferrara, 2014)
Lampedusa (Peter Schreiner, 2014)
Pionery-geroi (Pioneer Heroes, Natal’ja Kudrjašova, 2015)
Köch (The Move, Marat Sarulu, 2014)
Ničije dete (No One’s Child, Vuk Ršumović, 2014)
Strana Oz (The Land of Oz, 2015, Vasilij Sigarev)
Destinacija Serbistan (Logbook_Serbistan, Želimir Žilnik, 2015)
Overgames (Lutz Dammbeck, 2015)
Über die Jahre (Over the Years, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2015)
V lučach solnca (Under the Sun, Vitalij Manskij, 2015)
Strom (Electricity, Eva C. Heldmann, 2015)
Sobytie (The Event, Sergei Loznitsa, 2015)
Censored Voices (Mor Loushy, 2015)
Wenn es blendet, öffne deine Augen (When It Blinds, Open Your Eyes, Ivette Löcker, 2014)
Was heißt hier Ende? Der Filmkritiker Michael Althen (Then is It the End? The Film Critic Michael Althen, Dominik Graf, 2015)
Surire (Iván Osnovikoff, Bettina Perut, 2015)
Queen of Silence (Agnieszka Zwiefka, 2014)
Sosialismi (Socialism, Peter von Bagh, 2014). RIP, Peter!
Russische Nationalbibliothek (Russian National Library, from: Cathedrals of Culture, Michael Glawogger, 2014). RIP, Michi!

… “and the old” (in chronological order)
Perepoloch (Turmoil, Aleksandr Levšin, 1928) – archival revelations happen
Chlib (Bread, Mykola Špikovskij, 1929)
Perekop (Perekop, Ivan Kavaleridze, 1930)
Kvartira nemca (The Apartment of a German, Mojsej Berov & Aleksandr Medvedkin, 1945) – ecstasy (thanks to the Belye Stolby Festival)
Leave Her to Heaven (John M. Stahl, 1945)
Giorni di gloria (Days of Glory, Luchino Visconti, Giuseppe De Santis, Mario Serandrei, Marcello Pagliero, 1945)
Morituri (Eugen York, 1948)
Strange Victory (Leo Hurwitz, 1948)
Guān liánzhǎng (Platoon Commander Guan, Shí Hūi, 1951)
Tiān xiānpèi (The Heavenly Match, Shí Hūi, 1955) – some match that is
Die Welt horcht auf (The World Pricks up Its Ears, Max Jaap und Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler, 1957)
Ósmy dzień tygodnia (The Eighth Day of the Week, Aleksander Ford, 1958)
The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958)
Čovek i zver (Man and Beast, Edwin Zbonek, 1963)
Lo scandalo (The Scandal, Anna Gobbi, 1966) – revelations happen (now give us a film print)
Gorke trave (Witness Out Of Hell, Živorad Mitrović, 1967)
Nemirni (The Naughty Ones, Vojislav “Kokan” Rakonjac, 1967)
I cannibali (The Cannibals, Liliana Cavani, 1969)
Sziget a szárazföldön (Island on the Continent, Elek Judit, 1969)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (Don Siegel, 1970)
Making of “Nedostaje mi Sonja Henie” (Making of “I Miss Sonia Henie”, 1972) – KarpoGODina
Hans – ein Junge in Deutschland (Hans – A Boy in Germany, Sohrab Shahid Saless, 1985) – a lesson in (TV) history
Barbara (Nils Malmros, 1997) – how could I not like it? after all, I “even look like a Barbara” (N.M.)
Corpo celeste (Heavenly Body, Alice Rohrwacher, 2011) – Alice forever!



  1. Malj (The Mallet, Aleksandar Ilić, 1977, 10m)
  2. Toponimia (Toponymy, Jonathan Perel, 2015, 82m)
  3. Isabella Morra (Isabel Pagliai, 2015, 22m)
  4. brouillard – passage #14 (Alexandre Larose, 2014, 10m)
  5. The Action (David Matarasso, 2012, 4m)
  6. Harlan County, USA (Barbara Kopple, 1976, 104m)
  7. Chappie (Neill Blomkamp, 2015, 120m)
  8. Na wylot (Through and Through, Grzegorz Królikiewicz, 1973, 70m)
  9. sound of a million insects, light of a thousand stars (Tomonari Nishikawa, 2014, 2m)
  10. The Exquisite Corpus (Peter Tscherkassky, 2015, 19m)
  11. Veruda: Film o Bojanu (Veruda: A Film About Bojan, Igor Bezinović, 2015, 33m)
  12. Windy Day (Faith Hubley & John Hubley, 1968, 9m)
  13. The Reflection of Power (Mihai Grécu, 2015, 9m)
  14. Embargo (Johann Lurf, 2014, 10m)
  15. Pure Virtual Function (Péter Lichter, 2015, 3m)
  16. Kierkegaard (Igor Bezinović, 2014, 4m)
  17. The Circle of Life (Milan Zulic, 2015, 5m)
  18. Vous voulez une histoire? (You Want A Story?, Antonin Peretjatko, 2014, 10m)
  19. BRÂME: La vie primitive qui habite les ombres (BRÂME: The Primitive Life Which Inhabits the Shadows, Julie Vacher, 2015, 12m.)

The Zangiacomo band was not making music; it was simply murdering silence with a vulgar, ferocious energy. One felt as if witnessing a deed of violence; and that impression was so strong that it seemed marvellous to see the people sitting so quietly on their chairs, drinking so calmly out of their glasses, and giving no signs of distress, anger, or fear. Heyst averted his gaze from the unnatural spectacle of their indifference.
― Victory. Joseph Conrad, 1915




10 best films of 2015 (random order):

Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Comoara (The Treasure, Corneliu Porumboiu, 2015)
Shan he gu ren (Mountains May Depart, Jia Zhangke, 2015)
45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
Über die Jahre (Over the Years, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2015)
As Mil e Uma Noites (Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, 2015)
Lu bian ye can (Kaili Blues, Bi Gan, 2015)
La academia de las musas (L’Accademia delle muse / Academy of the Muses, José Luis Guerín, 2015)
Bella e perduta (Lost and Beautiful, Pietro Marcello, 2015)

World Poll 2015

Taxi (Jafar Panahi, 2015)

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