The following list is the favourite films this year seen by members of the team at the AFI Research Collection, in alphabetical order

Best Recent Releases 
The Daughter (Simon Stone, 2015)
Gleason (Clay Tweel, 2016)  
Life, Animated (Roger Ross Williams, 2016)
Mahana (Lee Tamahori, 2016)
The Silences (Margot Nash, 2015)
Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016)
Tanna (Martin Butler & Bentley Dean, 2015)
Weiner (Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg, 2016)

Best Retrospectives
Adéla Jěstě Nevečeřela (Adele Hasn’t Had Her Dinner Yet, Oldřich Lipský, 1977) Seen at Czech and Slovak Film Festival.
Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, Wrath of God, Werner Herzog, 1972) seen at Melbourne Cinematheque.
McCabe and Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971) seen at Melbourne Cinematheque.
Na Srebrnym Globie (On the Silver Globe, Andrzej Źulawski, 1988) Seen at Monster Fest.
Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999) seen at Melbourne Cinematheque
Tōkyō Monogatari (Tokyo Story, Yasujirō Ozu, 1953) seen at MIFF.




The best film I saw in 2016 was Unheimlich II: Astarti (1980) by Maria Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki.
Also: AMOR (Robert Beavers 1980); Inversion (Barry Gerson 1973); Mujer de milfuegos (Woman of a Thousand Fires, Chick Strand 1976) and Pastorale d’Eté (Will Hindle 1958) are very important films for me. And, of course, all the films by Ute Aurand and Teo Hernández.
I have been very happy at (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico (A Coruña), L’Age d’or (Brussels) and Xcèntric (Barcelona).

For the rest, not differentiating between films seen for the first or the second time, all true film-events:

  • 025 Sunset Red (Laida Lertxundi, 2016)
  • 4 ländliche Skizzen (Klaus Wyborny 1972), 6 kleine Stücke auf Film (Klaus Wyborny, 1976-1977), Bilder vom verlorenen (Klaus Wyborny, 1971-1975).
  • 45 7 Broadway (Tomonari Nishikawa, 2013)
  • A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1991)
  • A Caixa (Manoel de Oliveira, 1994)
  • A Mystery Inside of a Fact (Jonathan Schwartz, 2016)
  • A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)
  • A Skinny Little Man Attacked Daddy (Vivienne Dick, 1994), Guerrillere Talks (Vivienne Dick, 1978), Liberty’s Booty (Vivienne Dick, 1981)
  • A Train Arrives at the Station (Thom Andersen, 2016)
  • All My Life (1966), Castro Street (1966), Have You Thought of Talking to the Director? (1962),
  • Here I Am (Bruce Baillie 1962), Little Girl (Bruce Baillie 1966), Mass for the Dakota Sioux (Bruce Baillie 1964)
  • Am Meer (Ute Aurand, 1995), Bärbel und Charly (Ute Aurand, 1994), Detel + Jón (Ute Aurand 1988-1993)
  • AMOR (1980), Early Monthly Segments (1968-70/2002), Listening to the Space in My Room (2013), Work Done (1972/1999), Robert Beavers
  • Angel Blue Sweet Wings (1966), Anselmo (1967), Elasticity (1975), Fever Dream (1979), Loose Ends (1979), Mujer de milfuegos (1976), Waterfall (1967), Chick Strand
  • Angles of Incidence (1972), Broadwalk (1972), William Raban
  • Apalachee (1974), Silk (1977), Three (1974), James Herbert
  • Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (1995), Schnittstelle (1995), Zum Vergleich (2009), Harun Farocki
  • As Is Is (Saul Levine, 1991), As Is Was (Saul Levine, 1994), August Moon An See (Saul Levine, 1997)
  • Así golpea la represión (Peter Nestler, Rodrigo Goncalves, 1982)
  • Assumption (Peter Gidal, 1997), Clouds (Peter Gidal, 1969), Coda I (Peter Gidal 2013)
  • Aula Magna (Andrés Denegri, 2013), This is Just to say III – Nro 8: Fragments of El manso (trees) (Andrés Denegri, 2016), This is Just to Say III Nro 7; Fragments of El Manso (skies) (Andrés Denegri, 2016), This is Just to Say III Nro 23: Fragments of El Manso (windows) (Andrés Denegri, 2016)
  • Autumn (2016), Intimations (2015), Prelude (2015), The Dreamer (2016), The Visitation (2002), Threnody (2003-2004), Nathaniel Dorsky
  • Spirits in Season (2013), Stephen Broomer
  • Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven, 1992), Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016),
  • Beach Events (Rick Hancox, 1985), Home For Christmas (Rick Hancox, 1978), House Movie (Rick Hancox, 1972), Landfall (Rick Hancox, 1983), Next to Me (Rick Hancox, 1971), Waterworx (A Clear Day and No Memories) (Rick Hancox, 1982).
  • Beyond (Barry Gerson, 1970), Dissolving (Barry Gerson, 1970), Inversion (Barry Gerson, 1973), Luminous Zone (Barry Gerson, 1973), Portrait of Andrew Noren (Barry Gerson, 1972), Shadow Space (Barry Gerson, 1973), The Secret Abyss (Barry Gerson, 1979), Translucent Appearances (Barry Gerson, 1975).
  • Bildnis einer Trinkerin (Ulrike Ottinger, 1979)
  • Bitter Victory (Nicholas Ray, 1957)
  • Blue Moses (Stan Brakhage, 1962), Caswallon Trilogy (Stan Brakhage, 1986), Daybreak and White-eye (Stan Brakhage, 1957), Desistfilm (Stan Brakhage, 1954).
  • Céline (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1992)
  • Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  • Intrigues 1 (1981), Intrigues 4 (1981), Intrigues 5 (1981), Intrigues 6 (1981), Joseph Bernard
  • Christopher Tree (Aka Spontaneous Sound) (Les Blank, 1968)
  • Chutes de Lacrima Christi (Teo Hernández, 1979-1984), Cinq films d’août (Teo Hernández, 1986), Esquisse d’un portrait (Teo Hernández, 1986), Fragments de l’ange (Teo Hernández, 1983-1984).
  • Come out (Narcisa Hirsch, 1971)
  • come wishes be horses (Rebecca Meyers, 2016)
  • Contour (2011), Spin (2001), Verso (2008), Hannes Schüpbach
  • Correspondências (Rita Azevedo Gomes, 2016)
  • Des journées entières dans les arbres (Marguerite Duras, 1976)
  • Días color naranja (Pablo Llorca, 2016)
  • Disque 957 (Germaine Dulac, 1928), Étude Cinématographique sur une Arabesque (Germaine Dulac, 1929), L’Invitation au voyage (Germaine Dulac, 1927), Thèmes et Variations (Germaine Dulac, 1928).
  • Double Labyrinthe (Katerina Thomadaki & Maria Klonaris, 1975-1976), L’Ange amazonien. Un portrait de Lena Vandrey (Katerina Thomadaki & Maria Klonaris, 1987-1992), Unheimlich II: Astarti (Katerina Thomadaki & Maria Klonaris, 1979-1980).
  • Dripping Water (Joyce Wieland, Michael Snow, 1989)
  • East of Eden (Elia Kazan, 1955)
  • Elixir (Amy Halpen, 2012)
  • Eye etc. (1982), Turner (1987), M.M Serra
  • Facing the Waves (Eva Kolcze, 2016)
  • Favorable Conditions (1973), Film with Sun (1976), Lowell Bodger
  • Fish Point (Pablo Mazzolo, 2015)
  • Four Toronto Films (Nicky Hamlyn, 2007), Gasometers Part 1-3 (Nicky Hamlyn 2015), Guesswork (Nicky Hamlyn, 1979), Hole (Nicky Hamlyn, 1992).
  • Funérailles (de l’art de se mourir) (Boris Lehman, 2016)
  • Grandeur et décadence d’un petit commerce de cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard 1984).
  • Grappe d’yeux (Jakobois, 1982-1983)
  • Hand Movie (Yvonne Rainer, 1966), Line (Yvonne Rainer, 1969), Rhode Island Red (Yvonne Rainer, 1968), Trio Film (Yvonne Rainer, 1968), Volleyball (Foot Film) (Yvonne Rainer, 1967).
  • High Society (Charles Walters, 1956)
  • Histoire de Marie et Julien (Jacques Rivette, 2003), Hurlevent (Jacques Rivette, 1985), L’Amour par terre (Jacques Rivette, 1984), Ne touchez pas la hache (Jacques Rivette, 2007), Out 1 : Noli me tangere (Jacques Rivette, 1971), Secret Defense (Jacques Rivette, 1998).
  • House and Universe (Antoinette Zwirchmayr, 2014), In its form Asleep (Antoinette Zwirchmayr, 2016), Venus Delta (Antoinette Zwirchmayr, 2016).
  • Human Desire (Fritz Lang, 1954)
  • In Marin County (Peter Hutton, 1970)
  • Ir e Vir (Miguel Mariño, 2016)
  • Je t’aime, je t’aime (Alain Resnais, 1968), Les Herbes folles (Alain Resnais, 2009, Mon oncle d’Amerique (Alain Resnais, 1980).
  • Journal de Michel Nedjar (août 85) (Michel Nedjar, 1985), Gestuel (Michel Nedjar, 1978), Signaux lumineux pour un ballet nuptial (Michel Nedjar, 1983)
  • A. Car Wash (Janis Crystal Lipzin, 1975)
  • L’Arbre Tahousse (Mahine Rouhi, Olivier Fouchard, 2001)
  • Lamentations: A Monument to the Dead World Pt. 2: The Sublime Calculation (Bruce Elder, 1985), Sweet Love Remembered (Bruce Elder, 1980).
  • Le Cancre (Paul Vecchiali, 2016)
  • Le Granier, Paysage Étude Nº1 (Olivier Fouchard, 2007), Le Granier, Version II (Olivier Fouchard, 2007).
  • Le Fils de Joseph (Eugène Green, 2016)
  • Light Sleeper (John Porter, 2012)
  • Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
  • Misconception (Marjorie Keller, 1977), Daughters of Chaos (Marjorie Keller, 1980).
  • Motu Maeva (Maureen Fazendeiro, 2014)
  • New York Eye and Ear and Control (Michael Snow, 1964), Short Shave (Michael Snow, 1975), Side Seat Paintings Slides Sound Film (Michael Snow, 1970).
  • Notes on the Passage of Time (Corinne & Arthur Cantril, 1979), The City of Chromatic Dissolution (Corinne & Arthur Cantrill, 1998), Waterfall (Corinne & Arthur Cantrill, 1984).
  • OH! die vier Jahreszeiten (Ute Aurand & Ulrike Pfeiffer, 1988), Okiana (Ute Aurand & Ulrike Pfeiffer, 1983)
  • Où en êtes vous, Jean-Marie Straub ? (Jean-Marie Straub & Barbara Ulrich, 2016)
  • Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947), The Flame and the Arrow (Jacques Tourneur, 1950).
  • Palace of Pleasure (John Hofsess, 1966-1967)
  • Pastorale d’été (Will Hindle, 1958), Saint Flournoy Lobos-Logos and the Eastern Europe Fetus Taxing Japan Brides in West Coast Places Sucking Alabama Air (Will Hindle, 1970)
  • Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  • Peau de pêche (Jean Benoît-Lévy & Marie Epstein, 1929)
  • Peyote Queen (Storm de Hirsch, 1965)
  • Poetry for Sale (Friedl vom Gröller, 2013)
  • Portrait de ma mère dans son jardin (Katerina Thomadaki, 1980)
  • Prima Materia (Charlotte Pryce, 2015)
  • Private Road (Barney Platts-Mills, 1971)
  • Psyche (Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1967)
  • Reverberation (Ernie Gehr, 1969), Wait (Ernie Gehr, 1968)
  • Riddles of the Sphinx (Laura Muvley & Peter Wollen, 1977)
  • River of no Return (Otto Preminger, 1954)
  • Riverbody (Anne Severson, 1970)
  • Rolls: 1971 (Robert Huot, 1972)
  • Room Window Sea Sky (Peter Todd, 2014)
  • Sauro Bellini (Maria Klonaris, 1982)
  • Sea Series #14 #19 #20 (John Price, 2014-2016)
  • Seeing in the Rain (Chris Gallagher, 1981)
  • Short (Robert Todd, 2013)
  • SKMP2 (Luca Patella, 1968)
  • Sois belle et tais-toi (Delphine Seyrig, 1981)
  • Something Between Us (Jodie Mack, 2015)
  • Starlight (Robert Fulton, 1970)
  • Suite California. Stop & Passes Part 1: Tijuana to Hollywood Via Death Valley (Robert Nelson, 1976), Suite California. Stop & Passes Part 2: San Francisco to the Sierra Nevadas & Back Again (Robert Nelson, 1978).
  • Super-8 Trilogy (Ericka Beckman, 1978-1981)
  • the tide goes in, the tide goes out (Larissa Fan, 2011)
  • The Wind Variations (Andrew Noren, 1969)
  • The Bed (James Broughton, 1968)
  • The Chair Studies (Tom Laing, 1969)
  • The Chapman Report (George Cukor, 1962)
  • The Last Supper (Mike Henderson, 1970-1973)
  • The Maltese Cross Movement (Keewatin Dewdney, 1967), Scissors (Keewatin Dewdney, 1966), Wildwood Flower (Keewatin Dewdney, 1968).
  • The Musketeers of Pig Alley (D. W. Griffith, 1912)
  • The Off-Handed Jape… & How to Pull It Off (Robert Nelson & William Wiley, 1967)
  • Tirez la langue, mademoiselle (Axelle Ropert, 2013)
  • Towards a Vanishing Point (Chris Kennedy, 2011)
  • Un couple parfait (Nobuhiro Suwa, 2005)
  • Videogramme einer Revolution (Harun Farocki & Andrei Ujica, 1992)
  • Zemlya (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1930)



  1. Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)
  2. Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016)
  3. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  4. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015)
  5. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)
  6. Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2016)
  7. Daguerrotype(Kyoshi Kurosawa, 2016) 
  8. Goksung (The Wailing, Na Hong-jin, 2016)
  9. L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
  10. Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954)

world film poll 2016

Personal Shopper


  1. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)
  2. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
  3. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  4. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016)
  5. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  6. Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot (Yourself and Yours, Hong Sang-soo, 2016)
  7. Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, Lav Diaz, 2016)
  8. O Ornitólogo (The Ornithologist, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2016)
  9. L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
  10. Le Fils de Joseph (The Son of Joseph, Eugène Green, 2016)
  11. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  12. Chang jiang tu (Crosscurrent, Chao Yang, 2016)
  13. La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  14. Ta’ang (Wang Bing, 2016)
  15. Forushande (The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, 2016)
  16. Homo Sapiens (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2016)
  17. Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater, 2016)
  18. Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016)
  19. Hail, Caesar! (Ethan & Joel Coen, 2016)
  20. Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin (Creepy, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2016)


Best Belatedly Viewed 2015 World Premieres (in alphabetical order):
Huá Lì Shàng Bān Zú (Office, Johnnie To, 2015)
Kishibe no tabi (Journey to the Shore, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2015)
Lu Bian Ye Can (Kaili Blues, Bi Gan, 2015)
Noite Sem Distância (Night Without Distance, Lois Patiño, 2015)
Tharlo (Pema Tseden, 2015)

Five Retrospective Favorites (films released before 2015 in alphabetical order):
From the Notebook Of… (Robert Beavers, 1971/1998)
Han jia (Winter Vacation, Li Hongqi, 2010)
Her Man
(Tay Garnett, 1930)
Khyi rgan (Old Dog, Pema Tseden, 2011)
San zimei (Three Sisters, Wang Bing, 2012)




The list below details the best new films I have seen during the last year. Though they are listed more or less in order of preference, I have not numbered them (there are 30) because I don’t feel there is so very much difference between them in terms of quality. The only thing I know for certain is that the first three should be at the top.

  • Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
  • Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  • A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)
  • Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016)
  • L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
  • Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  • I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016)
  • Hissein Habré, une Tragédie Tchadienne (Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2016)
  • La Fille inconnue (The Unknown Girl, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2016)
  • Auf Einmal (All of a Sudden, Asli Özge, 2016)
  • Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  • Hail Caesar! (Ethan & Joel Coen, 2016)
  • Inimi Cicatrizate (Scarred Hearts, Radu Jude, 2016)
  • Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  • Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
  • La Academia de las Musas (The Academy of Muses, José Luis Guerin, 2015)
  • Voyage à travers le cinéma français (A Journey Through French Cinema, Bertrand Tavernier, 2016)
  • Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  • Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  • Inhebbek Hedi (Hedi, Mohamed Ben Attia, 2016)
  • Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
  • El clan (The Clan, Pablo Trapero, 2015)
  • Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar, 2016)
  • Frantz (François Ozon, 2016)
  • Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  • Bacalaureat (Graduation, Cristian Mungiu, 2016)
  • Florence Foster Jenkins (Stephen Frears, 2016)
  • Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016)
  • Umi yori mo Mada Fukaku (After the Storm, Koreeda Hirokazu, 2016)
  • Kollektivet (The Commune, Thomas Vinterberg, 2016)

world film poll 2016




  1. A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2016)
  2. The Love Witch (Anna Biller, 2016)
  3. Zootopia (Byron Howard & Rich Moore, 2016)
  4. Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater, 2016)
  5. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  6. Dao Khanong (By the Time it Gets Dark, Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2016)
  7. Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (John Lee, 2016)
  8. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  9. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2016)
  10. Busanhaeng (Train to Busan, Yeon Sang-ho, 2016)




Favourite new films seen in 2016 In alphabetical order:
Beixi moushou (Behemoth, Zhao Liang, 2015)
Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson, 2016)
Fei cui zhi cheng (City of Jade, Midi Z, 2016)
Goksung (The Wailing, Na Hong-jin, 2016)
Hiso hiso boshi (The Whispering Star, Sion Sono, 2016)
Honour Thy Father (Erik Matti, 2016)
Hooligan Sparrow (Nanfu Wang, 2016)
Jookyeojooneun yeoja (The Bacchus Lady, E J-yong, 2016)
Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar, 2016)
La Academia de las Musas (The Academy of Muses, José Luis Guerin, 2015)
Les Démons (The Demons, Philippe Lesage, 2015)
Li Wen man you Dong Hu (Li Wen at East Lake, Li Luo, 2016)
Luanshi beiwang (Yellowing, Chan Tze-woon, 2016)
Měi rén yú (The Mermaid Stephen Chow, 2016)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
San ren xing (Three, Johnnie To, 2016)
Umi machi Diary (Our Little Sister, Koreeda Hirokazu, 2015)
Umi yori mo Mada Fukaku (After the Storm, Koreeda Hirokazu, 2016)
Yingsheng (The Hedonists, Jia Zhangke, 2016)

Retrospective titles in 35mm:
Chun gwong cha sit (Happy Together, Wong Kar-wai, 1997)
Dung che sai duk (Ashes of Time Redux, Wong Kar-wai, 2008)




In alphabetical order:
The Enlightenment – New Variations (Steve Littman, 1991-2016)
In-Situ Cinema (Maria Anastassiou and Julie Myers, 2016)
Malha (Jamie Jenkinson, 2016)
Media Blackout I (Deniz Johns, 2016)
Midas (I) (Samantha Rebello, 2016)
Murmur (Alex Pissourios, 2011-2016)
Prometheus’ Stolen Time (Extract) (Anna Thew, 2016)
Reason’s Code (Simon Payne, 2016)
This is Clapton (Amy Dickson, 2016)
Untitled (iPhone) (Matthew Noel-Tod, 2016)




Top Ten list: 

  1. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  2. Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendor, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015)
  3. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  4. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
  5. Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook, 2016)
  6. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
  7. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
  8. Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016)
  9. Neruda (Pablo Larrain, 2016)
  10. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)

Performance of the year was Isabelle Huppert in Elle: fearless and funny and as complicated and contradictory and human as you’ll ever see.

Pure moviegoing joy of the year: Sing Street (John Carney, 2016).




In no particular order the 5 movies of 2016 that I will always remember are:
John From (João Nicolau, 2015)
Oleg y las raras artes (Oleg and Rare Arts, Andrés Duque, 2016)
Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
El viento sabe que vuelvo a casa (The Winds Know That I’m Coming Back Home, José Luis Torres Leiva, 2016)

The great discovery:
Die kleine Veronika aka Unschuld (Little Veronica, Robert Land, 1930)

The best retrospectives:
Britannia B-Side: Margaret Tait (BAFICI, 2016)
Time and tide: A Tribute to Peter Hutton (Viennale, 2016)
Two Programs about the Austrian Avant-Garde Cinema: Within the Light and Sound
Machine & Scratching Surfaces
 (Bienal de Imagen y Movimiento, 2016)




10 favourite new release films from 2016 shown in UK cinemas, listed in alphabetical order:

American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
Anomalisa (Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman, 2015)
Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater, 2016)
The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2015) – 70mm Roadshow Version
Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar, 2016)
The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
Umi machi Diary (Our Little Sister, Koreeda Hirokazu, 2015)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)




Favourite 20 new films in alphabetical order. All films released in Australia in 2016 unless stated otherwise.

45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
La belle saison (Summertime, Catherine Corsini, 2015)
A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2015)
Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross, 2016)
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
Hrútar (Rams, Grímur Hákonarson, 2015)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi, 2016)
I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016)
La La Land (Damien Chazelle 2016)
Life Animated (Roger Ross Williams, 2016)
Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
A Month of Sundays (Matthew Saville, 2015)
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016) Not yet released, seen at British Film Festival 2016).
The Revenant (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2015)
Sherpa (Jen Peedom, 2015)
Sing Street (John Carney, 2016)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016) Not yet released, seen at German Film Fest 2016.
Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)

Like everyone else I know, I spent a good amount of time glued to riveting TV series – and not one of them from HBO.

Favourite 10 teleseries viewed in 2016 (alphabetical order)
Better Call Saul (Season 2. AMC, US. 2016)
Broadchurch (Season 1 & 2. ITV, UK. 2015)
The Detectorists (Seasons 1 & 2. BBC, UK. 2014-15)
Jessica Jones (Season 1. Netflix, US. 2015)
Mozart in the Jungle (Seasons 1 & 2. Amazon, US. 2014-5)
Mr Robot (Season 1. Various VOD, US. 2015)
National Treasure (Miniseries. Channel 4, UK. 2016)
The Night Manager (Miniseries. BBC, UK. 2016)
Peep Show (Seasons 7, 8, 9. Channel 4, UK. 2010-15)
The Secret (Miniseries. ITV, UK. 2016)

Note that 60% are UK productions. Note that two of the above feature magnetic performances from David Tennant. Note that Jessica Jones is a Marvel spin-off with clued-up sexual politics, a female protagonist and an emphasis on character and plot over action. And note that 40% of the above are comedies.

world film poll 2016

Hunt for the Wilderpeople



Ten Best Films of 2016
Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
 (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015)
45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)
The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
Umi yori mo Mada Fukaku (After The Storm, Hirokazu Koreeda, 2016)
Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot (Yourself and Yours Hong Sang-Soo, 2016)

Honourable mentions
Aferim! (Bravo! Radu Jude, 2015)
Bai ri yan huo (Black Coal Thin Ice, Yi’nan Diao, 2014)
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
Meru (Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, 2015)
A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)
The Salvation (Kristian Levring, 2014)
Slow West (John Maclean, 2015)
La tortue rouge (The Red Turtle, Michaël Dudok de Wit, 2016)
Un etaj mai jos (One Floor Below, Radu Muntean, 2015)

A great year for female performances – Sonia Braga in Aquarius, Isabelle Huppert in Elle, Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Sandra Hūller in Toni Erdmann, Kirin Kiki in After The Storm, Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Ehle in A Quiet Passion.

It was great to see the return of humanist cinema – tackling universal themes and the human condition with a sense of humour: Sieranevada, Elle, Aferim!, After The Storm, Toni Erdmann.

And there was the return of the intelligent mainstream sci-fi movie – Ex Machina.
And – glory be! – the return of the classic, non-postmodern, non-ironic western – Slow West and The Salvation.

Throw in a terrific mountain climbing doc (Meru) – why not? – and two magnificent indulgences from auteurs not giving a toss and being all the better off for it – Knight of Cups and The Neon Demon – and you had not a bad year after all.

Biggest Disappointments of the Year
La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)

The saddest spectacle of the year was witnessing all those critics who had previously been sniffy about Serra warm to him because he made something more obvious and stuck a Nouvelle Vague “legend” in it. Not a bad film for sure, but, oh, Albert, where’s that puckish spirit gone? As for Personal Shopper, not sure what was happening there. Olivier on a rare off day.

Most Gargantuanly Overrated Films of the Year
Adieu au Langage (Goodbye To Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2015)




  1. Amdavad Ma Famous (Famous in Ahmedabad, Hardik Mehta, 2016)The rest in alphabetical order:
    10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg, 2016)
    Concussion(Peter Landesman, 2015)
    Downriver (Grant Scicluna, 2015)
    Eye in the Sky (Gavin Hood, 2016)
    Florence Foster Jenkins (Stephen Frears, 2016)
    Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson, 2016)
    Mammal (Rebecca Daly, 2016)
    Neon (Lawrence Johnston, 2015)
    Sing Street (John Carney, 2016)
    Hunt For The Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi, 2016)
    Weiner (Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg, 2016)




My list of best films of 2016, ranked:

  1. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015).
  2. Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
  3. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  4. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
  5. El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent,Ciro Guerra, 2015)
  6. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
  7. HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis, 2016)
  8. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  9. Weiner (Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg, 2016)
  10. A Bigger Splash(Luca Guadagnino, 2015)
  11. Ji-geum-eun-mat-go-geu-ddae-neun-teul-li-da (Right Now, Wrong Then, Hong Sang-soo, 2015)
  12. Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross, 2016)
  13. L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
  14. Goksung(The Wailing, Na Hong-Jin, 2016)
  15. The Fits(Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)




I have chosen ten films. One animated picture, The Girl Without Hands, is a very accomplished movie in a really sophisticated style, a true stylish piece of art. I also included three political films, La Chute des Hommes, by Cheyenne Carron, is a very important filmmaker who makes her films without any subventions. Her voice is very original in the treatment of various cultural shocks between the Arab cultural world and the Occidental. The other two features, Homeland: Iraq Year Zero (Abbas Fahdel) and Tomorrow Tripoli (Florent Marcie) are complementary in a very strange way. In Homeland, Fahdel shoots before and after the American intervention in his country, and, in an astonishing (and magic?) counter shot, Florent Marcie filmed the Libyan revolution (2011) with the rebels of Zintan, hour by hour: a very surprising and disturbing movie. These are two different countries in fact, but the two movies illustrated the same problem. I also included two melancholic and beautiful American films: Paterson, the fabulous return of Jim Jarmusch, and Manchester by Sea, a real human and aesthetic accomplishment by a rare filmmaker, Kenneth Lonergan. And amongst international names of contemporary cinema (João Pedro Rodrigues, Cristian Mungiu Park Chan-wook), I discovered a fabulous Kazakhstan masterpiece: The Wounded Angel (Emir Baigazin).

La Jeune Fille sans Mains (The Girl Without Hands, Sébastien Laudenbach, 2016)
La Chute des Hommes (The Fall of Man, Cheyenne Carron, 2016)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Manchester by Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
Bacalaureat (Graduation, Cristian Mungiu, 2016)
O Ornitólogo (The Ornithologist, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2016)
The Wounded Angel (Emir Baigazin, 2016),
Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook, 2016)
Homeland: Iraq Year Zero (Abbas Fahdel, 2015)
And his counter shot
Tomorrow Tripoli (Florent Marcie, 2014, France) seen in November 2016, at Jeu de Paume, Paris, and programmed by Nicole Brenez for the event “ Soulèvements”.

world film poll 2016

The Ornithologist



Best Australian Theatrical Releases, 2016 
Best: Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)

The rest, unranked:
Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater, 2016)
Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015)
Goksung (The Wailing, Na Hong-jin, 2016)
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015)
The Daughter (Simon Stone, 2015)
Kimi no na wa. (Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, 2016)

The best festival only releases in Australia, 2016 (unranked):
Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson, 2015)
Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson, 2016)
Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015)
The Childhood of a Leader (Brady Corbet, 2015)
Smrt u Sarajevu (Death in Sarajevo, Danis Tanović, 2016)
Happy Hour (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2015)
Lu bian ye can (Kaili Blues, Bi Gan, 2015)
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)




  1. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  2. La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  3. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  4. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
  5. Hermia & Helena (Matías Piñeiro, 2016)
  6. El Auge del Humano (The Human Surge, Eduardo Williams, 2016)
  7. El Sacrificio de Nehuén Puyelli (The Sacrifice of Nehuén Puyelli, José Celestino Campusano, 2016)
  8. O Ornitólogo (The Ornithologist, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2016)
  9. Le Fils de Joseph (The Son of Joseph, Eugène Green, 2016)
  10. Rester Vertical (Staying Vertical, Alain Guiraudie, 2016)




Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016)
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, 2016)
Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2015)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufmann & Duke Johnson, 2015)
Saul fia (Son of Saul, László Nemes, 2015)
The Divide (Katharine Round, 2015)
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)

Although Italian distribution remains patchy at best, this year’s Rome Festa del Cinema was a corker and pay TV is increasingly becoming the place to find films that are either completely passed over by the chains or unavailable in their original language. It was interesting how the best examples of both popular cinema and popular music clustered around similar themes in 2016. Moonlight spoke eloquently of gay black experience just as Frank Ocean did in the year’s best album, Blonde, while Manchester by the Sea and Heart of a Dog dealt with loss and grief – the defining motif of Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Lonergan managed to find warm humour in the subject without sweetening the bitter truth that some losses are too great to get over. Anderson’s film was an idiosyncratic and ultimately cathartic poem that evoked the spirit of Lou Reed without mentioning him by name.

Other films carried the torch for film as a medium for social justice: the angry, bracing I, Daniel Blake, Spotlight – which played like the taut political thrillers made by Pakula and Lumet in the 70s – and Katharine Round’s lucid expose of the effects of inequality, The Divide. Ergüven’s Mustang slyly commented on Turkey’s slide into patriarchal authoritarianism while celebrating the vibrant feminine energy of its young protagonists that just may offer a way out. 2016 may have been a grim year politically but the artistic response was inspired.

Auteur theorists could also make the case for a successful 2016. Nemes and Ford provided two very different yet equally visceral experiences. Son of Saul’s tight framing and lack of script contrivance turned the unimaginable horror of the concentration camp into lived subjective experience while Nocturnal Animals gave us a stylish rumination on the difference between revenge in real life and in art with sly nods to Lynch and Hitchcock along the way. Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman did themselves no favours on the promotional tour of Anomalisa and some critics were quick to extended their smarty pants misanthropy to the film itself. However, to do so is to miss the point as the film is ultimately a celebration of the film’s titular character (wonderfully voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh) whose enthusiasm for the world remains undiminished despite the drudgery she endures each day.

Angry Birds (Feral Reilly & Clay Kaytis, 2016)
There were far worse films released this year and Angry Birds is far better than any movie based on a video game should be. To be fair, it made me laugh and it held the interest of my 10 year old nephew almost to the end. But the message at the heart of the film is despicable: don’t trust those foreigners who wash up on your shores, since they are hiding hoards of others and only want to steal from you. The film is like a ladybird book for Brexit-ers, Trump-lets and little populists everywhere.




Here are a few slippery viewings I had in the black box (except one, in a smaller room). Directors don’t need big budgets to change perception’s comfort. Well, these are the ones that most I admire:

1. La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
One chamber, one body, one actor: Jean-Pierre Léaud . Then, Albert Serra. The difference of resonance between these two names will be shorter in the coming years.

2. Homo Sapiens (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2016)
We fear the future as a sequence of ruins, but we first see the existing one.

3. Mannerlaatta (Tectonic Plate, Mika Taanila, 2016)
Have you ever been to experimental cinema suffering from jet lag?

4. Diamond Island (Davy Chou, 2016)
Coming of age and Asian timing, with unexpected music and poetry: a code, but a good way to shoot it.

5. The Challenge (Yuri Ancarani, 2016)
You can first read The Goshawk by T.H. White (1951) or go straight into the desert for a fight with a falcon. A hard home pet is a good character.

6. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller 2015), Blu-Ray, Chrome Edition (black-and-white version)

Some others: Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016), Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016), Spira Mirabilis (Martina Parenti, Massimo D’Anolfi 2016), Le parc (Damien Manivel 2016), The Burial of the Dead (Salomé Lamas 2016).




These lists inevitably include films from 2015 that I could only watch this year, and do not want to leave aside, and of course miss out on many important films of 2016 that I am still waiting to see on a big screen. They do not only include the films I consider the absolute best of the year, as I consider Senses of Cinema’s invitation a way of putting my own film year into perspective, and allowing it to dialogue with the lists by dozens of other film professionals and lovers who have had a totally different viewing experience in the past twelve months.

A few of these feature-length films (as I arbitrarily limited my entry to features) will still be quoted as milestones in film history in ten or fifty years. Some may be remembered as the remarkable early works of future great names. And others may end up ignored by most, forgotten in the annals of 2016. But as I watched each one of them, for very different reasons and in very different ways, I felt I was before a true work of cinema. And though my entry ended up being longer than I expected, these titles represent a strict minimum of my film year.

NB: I formed arbitrary groups, which is the reason some are repeated in two or more occasions. I decided to mark feature-length débuts with an asterisk in all lists.

Non-fiction, for whatever the definition is worth
Seen in 2016, originally released in 2015:

  1. Homeland (Iraq Year Zero, Abbas Fahdel, 2015)
  2. V paprscích slunce (Under the Sun, Vitaly Mansky, 2015)
  3. Sobytie (The Event, Sergei Loznitsa, 2015)

(a suggested double bill: Austerlitz (Sergei Loznitsa, 2016)

  1. El rastreador de estatuas (The Monument Hunter, Jerónimo Rodríguez, 2015)*
  2. Left on Purpose (Justin Schein, 2015)


  1. Two works by masters to be viewed in a double bill:
    • El viento sabe que vuelvo a casa (The Winds Know I’m Coming Back Home, José Luis Torres Leiva, 2016)
    • Como me da la gana II (This Is the Way I Like It 2, Ignacio Agüero, 2016)
  2. Oleg y las raras artes (Oleg and the Rare Arts, Andrés Duque, 2016)
  3. Les Bois dont les rêves sont faits (The Woods Dreams Are Made Of, Claire Simon, 2016)
  4. Safari (Ulrich Seidl, 2016)
  5. Dubina dva (Depth Two, Ognjen Glavonić, 2016)

5 Outstanding Débuts:

  1. El rastreador de estatuas (The Monument Hunter, Jerónimo Rodríguez, 2015)*
  2. Flotel Europa (Vladimir Tomic, 2015)*
  3. Paradies! Paradies! (Paradise! Paradise!, Kurdwin Ayub, 2016)*
  4. [pewén]araucaria (Carlos Vásquez Méndez, 2016)*
  5. The Revolution Won’t Be Televised (Rama Thiaw, 2016)*

Fiction, whatever that means.
Seen in 2016, originally released in 2015:

  1. La Academia de las Musas (The Academy of Muses, José Luis Guerín, 2015)
  2. Bella e perduta (Lost and Beautiful, Pietro Marcello, 2015)
  3. John From (João Nicolau, 2015)
  4. La luz incidente (Incident Light, Ariel Rotter, 2015)
  5. The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (Ben Rivers, 2015). Compulsory double bill with one of 2016’s best films: Mimosas (Oliver Laxe, 2016)


  1. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
  2. Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, Lav Diaz, 2016)
  3. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman, 2016)
  4. Mimosas (Oliver Laxe, 2016)
  5. O Ornitólogo (The Ornithologist, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2016)
  6. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  7. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
  8. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)

5 Outstanding Débuts:

  1. Grave (Raw, Julia Ducournau, 2016)*
  2. La larga noche de Francisco Sanctis (The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis, Francisco Márquez and Andrea Testa, 2016)*
  3. The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015)*
  4. Ma vie de Courgette (My Life as a Zucchini, Claude Barras, 2016)*
  5. Rara (Pepa San Martín, 2016)*

5 remarkable films that address children respecting their intelligence and sensitivity:

  1. Bakemono no ko (The Boy and the Beast, Mamoru Hosada, 2015)
  2. Little Men (Ira Sachs, 2016)
  3. Ma vie de Courgette (My Life as a Zucchini, Claude Barras, 2016)*
  4. Rara (Pepa San Martín, 2016)*
  5. Zootopia (Byron Howard & Rich Moore, 2016)

Chilean film (where I’m from), though I am aware I have missed a lot of interesting new proposals:

  1. El viento sabe que vuelvo a casa (The Winds Know I’m Coming Back Home, José Luis Torres Leiva, 2016)
  2. Como me da la gana II (This Is the Way I Like It 2, Ignacio Agüero, 2016)
  3. El rastreador de estatuas (The Monument Hunter, Jerónimo Rodríguez, 2015)*
  4. [pewén]araucaria (Carlos Vásquez Méndez, 2016)*
  5. El Cristo ciego (The Blind Christ, Christopher Murray, 2016)
  6. Neruda (Pablo Larraín, 2016)
  7. Rara (Pepa San Martín, 2016)*
  8. Aquí no ha pasado nada (Much Ado About Nothing, Alejandro Fernández a.k.a. AFA, 2016)

France (where I live):
Through the eyes of women (because unfortunately the ideally senseless distinction still makes sense):

  1. Les Bois dont les rêves sont faits (The Woods Dreams Are Made Of, Claire Simon, 2016)

  1. Grave (Raw, Julia Ducournau, 2016)*
  2. Les Ogres (Léa Fehner, 2015)
  3. Suite Armoricaine (Pascale Breton, 2016)
  4. Baden, Baden (Rachel Lang, 2016)*

Through the eyes of men, French or not:

  1. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  2. Louise en hiver (Jean-François Laguionie, 2016)
  3. La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  4. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016)
  5. Rester Vertical (Staying Vertical, Alain Guiraudie, 2016)

world film poll 2016

Rester Vertical



Favourite 30 films released in UK in 2016

My top ten, in order of preference:

  1. Paterson(Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  2. The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015)
  3. Mustang(Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
  4. A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2015)
  5. La Giovinezza (Youth, Paolo Sorrentino, 2015)
  6. Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)
  7. Our Little Sister(Hirokazu Koreeda, 2015)
  8. Hitchcock/Truffaut (Kent Jones, 2015)
  9. High-Rise(Ben Wheatley, 2015)
  10. Maggie’s Plan (Rebecca Miller, 2015)

The further 20 films in alphabetical order:
American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, 2015)
L’avenir (Things To Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
Born To Be Blue (Robert Budreau, 2016)
Bridget Jones’s Baby (Sharon Maguire, 2016)
Café Society (Woody Allen, 2016)
Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015)
Chi-Raq (Spike Lee, 2015)
Eisenstein In Guanajuato (Peter Greenaway, 2015)
Fuocoammare (Fire At Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016)
Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato, 2016)
Mon Roi (Maïwenn, 2015)
Nasty Baby (Sebastián Silva, 2015)
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, 2016)
Poor Cow (Ken Loach,1967)
Saul fia (Son Of Saul, László Nemes, 2015)
Snowden (Oliver Stone, 2016)
El Sur (The South, Victor Erice, 1986)




Films about misfits (and misfit films)
Remainder (Omer Fast, 2015)
Aloys (Tobias Nölle, 2016)
The Ghoul (Gareth Tunley, 2016)
Welcome To Me (Shira Piven, 2014)
Mænd & Høns (Men & Chicken, Anders Thomas Jensen, 2015)
The Greasy Strangler (Jim Hosking, 2016)

Films about society (including documentaries)
We Are The Flesh (Tenemos la carne, Emiliano Rocha Minter, 2016)
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
Welcome To Leith (Michael Beach Nichols & Christopher K. Walker, 2015)
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
Asura: The City of Madness (Asura, Kim Sung-su, 2016)
Under The Shadow (Babak Anvari, 2016)
The Girl with All The Gifts (Colm McCarthy, 2016)

Films (other)
Embers (Claire Carré, 2016)
A Dark Song (Liam Gavin, 2016)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
Further Beyond (Joe Lawlor & Christine Molloy, 2016)
Baskin (Can Evrenol, 2015)




Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
Three loosely related vignettes prove, once again, that Reichardt is American cinema’s leading author of slow-cooked, subtle character studies.

Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook, 2016)
At once a dark, disturbing, theatrical, sensual, tragic, sweet, and funny tale of betrayal and counter-betrayal that is excessive in all the best ways. True to form, Park shies away from nothing, and the film benefits enormously.

Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
A gritty and thoughtful look at the disaffected American working class, looking for upward mobility wherever it can be found. With a powerful, haunting score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

In a Valley of Violence (Ti West, 2016)
West takes the same movie-nerd love of genre that has fueled his horror films and shifts over to the western in this refreshingly stripped-down revenge film.

Midnight Special (Jeff Nichols, 2016)
A sober counterpoint to Stranger Things’ unfettered nostalgia-porn, Jeff Nichols’ understated supernatural family drama is a testament to the lasting power of genre filmmaking.

Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
Shifting his focus away from male aggression, Refn looks at the fierce competition within the LA modelling scene. This relentlessly conflicting film is compelling, engrossing, and visually stunning.

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)
Kristen Stewart shines in this dark, supernatural tale of millennial ennui wrapped in Hitchcockian suspense.

The Purge: Election Year (James DeMonaco, 2016)
The exploitative potential of this series is finally fully realized in its third outing. With nods to Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, corporate politics, and a rising swell of white supremacy, its message is firmly on the nose, where it should be.

Swiss Army Man (Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, 2016)
Constantly on the verge of becoming boring, excessive, or offensive, Swiss Army Man is a delightful bit of unhinged absurdity that never lets up.

world film poll 2016

Certain Woman



  1. Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rossi, 2016)
  2. Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook, 2016)
  3. Forushande (The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, 2016)
  4. Eshtebak (Clash, Mohamed Diab, 2016)
  5. Hymyilevä Mies (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, Juho Kuosmanen, 2016)
  6. Mænd og Høns (Men & Chicken, Anders Thomas Jensen, 2015)
  7. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  8. Suntan (Argyris Papadimitropoulos, 2016)
  9. Royahaye dame sobh (Starless Dreams, Mehrdad Oskouei, 2016)
  10. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Erguven, 2015)
  11. Hrútar (Rams, Grímur Hákonarson, 2015)
  12. Dokhtar (Daughter, Reza Mirkarimi, 2016 )
  13. I, Daniel Blake(Ken Loach, 2016)
  14. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  15. Francofonia (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2015)
  16. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  17. Weiner (Josh Kreigman & Elise Steinberg, 2016)
  18. Busanhaeng (Train to Busan, Yeon, Sang-ho, 2016)
  19. Chararshanbeh 19 Ordibehesht (Wednesday, May 9th, Vahid Jalilvand, 2015)
  20. Little Men (Ira Sachs, 2016)
  21. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  22. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  23. Bacalaureat (Graduation, Cristian Mungiu, 2016)
  24. Dheepan (Jacques Audiard, 2015)
  25. Oriented (Jake Witzenfeld, 2015)




  1. Fever Room(Apichatpong Weerasathakul, 2016). Apichatpong’s “performance – projection” included Jenjira, the lapping waters of the Mekong River and a hallucinatory projector and was my greatest mind-bending “cinema” experience in 2016.
  2. Der traumhafte Weg (The Dreamed Path, Angela Schanelec, 2016)
  3. Reichstag 9/11 (Ken Jacobs, 2016)
  4. Rester Vertical (Staying Vertical, Alain Guiraudie, 2016)
  5. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  6. The Illinois Parables (Deborah Stratman 2016)
  7. L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)
  8. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  9. La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  10. Ta’ang (Wang Bing, 2016)
  11. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi, 2016)
  12. Yingsheng (The Hedonists, Jia Zhangke, 2016)




My two favourites of 2016, overall a good vintage, have been largely overlooked after their festival premieres. Sundance made the right decision to screen Nicolette Krebitz’s Wild (2016), that rare film that I would actually attach the adjectives “transgressive” and “disturbing” to, in all the good ways.

TIFF scored with Kenian-German first feature Kati Kati (2016) by writer-director Mbithi Masya, produced by Berlin’s Tom Tykwer. It’s nearly un-reviewable because the first sentence would have to be a major spoiler. But trust me, it’s unusual, poetic, heartfelt and hypnotic. New African Cinema at its best. It rightly won the FIPRESCI award in TIFF’s Discovery program.

I should be fired from my job as a programmer of mostly German films if I omitted Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016), if not for the razor-sharp direction and outstanding acting by both leads and the bizarre humour, then simply for what it has done for the street cred of current German film.

Byomkesh O Chiriakhana (Anjan Dutt, 2016). This makes my best-of list because Bengal’s answer to Sherlock Holmes is back big time, with six enjoyable movies over the past two years. In particular, I like the chemistry between the husband-and-wife team played by Jisshu Sengupta and Ushasie Chakraborty.

Notable mentions:

I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach 2016). The film tells you everything you need to know about Britain today, three decades after Margaret Thatcher took a hatchet to the country and its people.

L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016). Because I want to have the brain and class and nonchalance and balls and sensibility to live mid-life like Isabelle Huppert.

Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016). The documentary that won the Berlinale and that shows the all-around hardship and challenge of the refugee crisis.

Lion (Garth Davis, 2016). Yes, it’s a tear-jerker and based on a true story, otherwise it would be unbelievable – but it gets it all right, as I know from experience. And Düsseldorf composter-pianist Hauschka might win his first Oscar for his work on the film. Spectacularly restrained and pensive (8-year-old) Sunny Pawer should definitely be nominated for Best Actor.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World (Werner Herzog, 2016) proves the German auteur back to his documentary top form, poking and prodding scientists and entrepreneurs with his trademark enlightening inquisitiveness about the future of our digitized world.

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016). The first sci-fi film in forever that I would list in a “best of”. This one made sense, had some soul, introduced a smart exploration of how language and communication work as well as an intriguing-but accessible temporal Möbius strip.

Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford 2016). Because it’s lush and kicks you in the guts, and because it turns out I much prefer a designer behind the camera than a personal shopper with frequent Cartier runs in front of it.

Neo Rauch – Gefährten und Begleiter (Neo Rauch – Comrades and Companions, Nicola Graef, 2016). In a very strong year for German documentaries, this one gave unparalleled insights into the heart and mind of one of Germany’s most famous (and very shy) painters and international art market superstars. The comrades and companions of the title are Rauch’s eerie paintings.

Films I can’t believe I haven’t seen yet: Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016), Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016), Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2015), La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) and Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids (Jonathan Demme, 2016) and basically every music film out there this year.




1. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
American Honey is a film that perfectly captures that already nostalgic feeling of singing in the car with friends to a song you all know too well, and not giving a shit about anything else in that moment. Easily the best experience I’ve had in the cinema this year.

2. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson, 2016)
A dreamlike wonder. Laurie Anderson’s undeniable knack for beautiful lyricism and turns what could’ve been a very pretentious film into an unspeakably sad yet hopeful meditation on love, life and what may come after it. The first film since It’s Such A Beautiful Day (Don Hertzfeldt, 2012) that I consider potentially life-changing.

3. High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2016)
Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump have confirmed themselves to be the modern masters even as they move towards more mainstream cinema. Immensely rewatchable; darkly funny one moment, absolutely terrifying the next, High-Rise is an unforgettable adaptation of Ballard’s nightmare (or dream).

4. The Love Witch (Anna Biller 2016)
A film that will unfairly be touted as a parody for its retro 70’s exploitation film-like aesthetics. The Love Witch, while very funny, is a devastating cinematic depiction of loneliness. The absolutely haunting ending is my single favourite movie moment of 2016.

5. The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015)
A film that immerses you into its gothic telling of extreme-religious hysteria. Despite its very different tone, this film feels like the modern next step of silent and Universal era horror films. Classical, yet thoroughly modern and original, this film will make you terrified of goats.

6. Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, 2016)
An insane, emotionally rich exploration of the consequences of giving logic precedence over love. Talking too much about Nocturnal Animals is probably betraying it, if feeling is more important than thinking as Ford puts it.

7. When it Rain by Danny Brown (music video) (Mimi Cave, 2016)
“You ain’t heard it like this before. They don’t do it like this no more. That get on up, that get on up, that get on up, up on the floor.”

8. Kang rinpoche (Paths of the Soul, Zhang Yang, 2015)
Walk, clap a wooden block three times, slide onto the ground, get up, repeat for another 1200 kilometres. A beautiful film.

9. Aaaaaaaah! (Steve Oram, 2016)
An unimaginably divisive romp of a film. Shot like an early 2000’s British single camera TV comedy, Oram’s directorial debut is an off the wall journey about ape-like humans who run only on instinct, shitting on the floor, animated chickens, gender roles and the pain of losing someone. Not everyone will like it (many in the audience I saw it with were legitimately angered by the film) but definitely one of the most original and unforgettable experiments in recent years.

10. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi, 2016)
“I didn’t choose the skuxx life, the skuxx life chose me”.

11. All Things Ablaze (Oleksandr Techynskyi, Aleksey Solodunov and Dmitry Stoykov, 2015)
Plunging the audience right into the Maidan protests in Ukraine. This is a hard film to shake out of your mind.

world film poll 2016

The Love Witch



During 2016 a range of remakes and sequels, sometimes referencing the 1970s, were screened. Surprisingly some were better than the originals demonstrating the resilience of genre. But the highlights of the year were those original and surreal films that defy categorisation.

The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Screened during Halloween 2016, this remains a striking film; a real cinematic experience. It is still very disturbing and the abject scenes are sparingly shown which increases their impact.

The Conjuring 2 (James Wan, 2016)
The enjoyable narrative evokes the Hammer House of Horror’s The House that Bled to Death (Tom Clegg, 1980). The art direction recreates the British 1970s interiors with the patterned carpets that I remember so well.

Ouija 2: Origin Of Evil (Mike Flanagan, 2016)
This film is a great improvement on the first Ouija film which actually sent me to sleep! Much like The Conjuring 2 this film represents a slightly different, but still believable 1970s mise-en-scene.

The Girl with All the Gifts (Colm McCarthy, 2016)
This film is an interesting reimagining of the zombie genre where the ‘living dead’ are ultimately redeemed through education. Glenn Close gives a good performance as a hard, driven scientist who is hoping to save the world but finally becomes a victim of her own hubris.

Blair Witch (Adam Wingard, 2016)
Blair Witch is the only ‘found footage’ film on my list; a visual trope which has become a little tedious. However this film stays true to its roots and delivers a range of pulse-raising range of shocks.

The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
Stylistically The Neon Demon is a beautifully strange film. Form and content are both about surface and spectacle. With references to the consumption of images, this film is about a glamourous type of body horror.

Ghostbusters (Paul Feig, 2016)
The all-female Ghostbusters are funny alongside the cameo performances from the original cast. The women in this film are reassuringly diverse; such a relief after the previous film where all the models aspire to be the same.

Star Trek Beyond (Justin Lin, 2016)
The pace of the film is excellent and the visual effects are engaging. This Star Trek movie has a strong ending where the villain potentially could have been saved – but wasn’t.

For the Love of Spock (Adam Nimoy, 2016)
This is a touching and engaging recounting of Leonard Nimoy’s career and life story. The wider cultural impact of the Spock character is also explored.

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
The Lobster is darkly humorous, commenting on the anxiety and panic people feel when dating. Significantly, those who wish to remain single are vilified and punished as deviants. Its ending was pleasingly disturbing.




I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, 2016)
Zero Days (Alex Gibney, 2016)
O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, 2016)
5 October (Martin Kollar, 2016)
Weiner (Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg, 2016)
Tempestad (Tatiana Huezo, 2016)

20th Century Women (Mike Mills, 2016)
La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
L’avenir (Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016)

Archival discoveries:
Still Life (Iran, 1974, Sohrad Shahib Saless) 35mm, screened at Block Cinema, November 2016
Kopfstand, Madame! (W. Germany, 1967, Christian Rischert) 35mm, screened at Berlinale, February 2016
Behind the Door (US, 1919, Irvin V. Willat) Digital restoration, screened at MoMA/To Save and Project, November 2016
A Better Day in Every Way: The Films of Rhody Streeter and Tony Ganz, (US, 1971-72) 16mm short films, screened at White Light Cinema/Nightingale Cinema, September 2016

world film poll 2016




Best Films of 2016

  1. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
  2. Nightlife (Cyprien Gaillard, 2015)
  3. La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra, 2016)
  4. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016)
  5. Der traumhafte Weg (The Dreamed Path, Angela Schanelec, 2016)
  6. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016)
  7. Sixty Six (Lewis Klahr, 2015)
  8. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  9. 025 Sunset Red (Laida Lertxundi, 2016)
  10. O Ornitólogo (The Ornithologist, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2016)
  11. Luna e Santur (Joshua Gen Solondz, 2016)
  12. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)
  13. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016)
  14. Incantati (Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 2015)
  15. Mimosas (Oliver Laxe, 2016)
  16. John From (João Nicolau, 2015)
  17. El Auge del Humano (The Human Surge, Eduardo Williams, 2016)
  18. As Without So Within (Manuela De Laborde, 2016)
  19. Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot (Yourself and Yours, Hong Sang-soo, 2016)
  20. Singularity (Albert Serra, 2015)
  21. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)
  22. Austerlitz (Sergei Loznitsa, 2016)
  23. Ta’ang (Wang Bing, 2016)
  24. Montañas ardientes que vomitan fuego (Burning Mountains That Spew Flame, Helena Girón & Samuel M. Delgado, 2016)
  25. Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left, Lav Diaz, 2016)
  26. Kékszakállú (Gastón Solnicki, 2016)
  27. Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin (Creepy, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2016)
  28. Hermia & Helena (Matías Piñeiro, 2016)
  29. Cilaos (Camilo Restrepo, 2016)
  30. I tempi felici verranno presto (Happy Times Will Come Soon, Alessandro Comodin, 2016)
  31. Mister Universo (Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel, 2016)
  32. El futuro perfecto (The Future Perfect, Nele Wohlatz, 2016)

Favourite Retro Viewings of the Year
News From Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977)
Time and Tide (Peter B. Hutton, 2000)
New York Portrait, Chapter II (Peter B. Hutton, 1981)
In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden (In a Year with 13 Moons, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1978)
Effi Briest (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
Zendegi va digar hich (Life, and Nothing More…, Abbas Kiarostami, 1992)
Na srebrnym globie (On the Silver Globe, Andrzej Żuławski, 1988)
Undertone Overture (Jodie Mack, 2013)
The Woolworths Choir of 1979 (Elizabeth Price, 2012)
Xiao cheng zhi chun (Spring in a Small Town, Fei Mu, 1948)
Heroic Purgatory (Yoshishige Yoshida, 1970)
Dong fu ren (The Arch, Tang Shu Shuen, 1968)

Farewell to Akerman, Rivette, Hutton, Kiarostami, Żuławski, Němec and Wajda.




5 October (Martin Kollar, 2016)
A dog barking in a broken voice. A burning mobile home. A dead fox on the road surrounded by a swarm of flies. Just a handful of images that stuck in my mind after watching this virtually dialogue-free film about a man travelling by bicycle around Europe, waiting for an operation that might save his life. A film of crude imagery, raw emotions and high-profile cinematic poetry.

Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)
A film that was one step ahead of me. All the time. At every single point. Enough said.

The Eyes of My Mother (Nicolas Pesce, 2016)
Distilled black and white essence of the American Gothic planting haunting images and lingering soundscapes deep under my skin. A work of macabre beauty.

Grave (Raw, Julia Ducournau, 2016)
Coming-of-age drama (about a peaceful vegetarian turned fierce cannibal) with its tongue planted firmly in cheek. Disquieting. Revolting. Irresistible. Raw. Be warned, eating meat can lead you down a very, very dark path.

The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
A film which cements Nicolas Winding Refn’s reputation as a contemporary master auteur. Style over substance in a world where style is the only thing that matters.

Oleg y las raras artes (Oleg and the Rare Arts, Andrés Duque, 2016)
A rare insight into the world of an ever-elusive Russian composer Oleg Nikolaevitch Karavaychuk. A beautiful, invigorating and loving portrait of an artist from a bygone era who still has something to say. But never too much.

Tenemos la carne (We Are the Flesh, Emiliano Rocha Minter, 2016)
No holds barred descent into living hell. Madness. Sex. Death. Birth. In any order. In the blink of an eye I found myself under a demonic spell of a crazed demigod. “This is not your average party.”

I also had an honour to re-watch several films by an inimitable master director Jan Němec on the big screen on a sad occasion of his passing. Out of them, Toyen (2005) stands out as an absolute masterpiece. A film which should be watched and re-watched. Felt. Experienced. Lived through all the way.

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