Maria San Filippo 

Editor, New Review of Film and Television Studies

Best of 2019 (in alphabetical order)
Atlantique (Atlantics, Mati Diop, 2019)
Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodóvar, 2019)
Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon Ho, 2019)
Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry, 2018)
Jiang hu er nü (Ash Is Purest White, Jia Zhangke, 2018)
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019)
The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg, 2019)
Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)
Vox Lux (Brady Corbet, 2018)
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (Richard Linklater, 2019)


Desistfilm director. Film critic, programmer, curator (Peru)

25 x Art-house troupe

  1. Parsi(Teddy Williams, Mariano Blatt, 2018)
  2. Vitalina Varela(Pedro Costa, 2019)
  3. Zombie Child(Bertrand Bonello, 2019)
  4. The Portuguese Woman(Rita Azevedo Gomes, 2018)
  5. Sete Anos em Maio(Affonso Uchoa, 2019)
  6. The Souvenir(Joana Hogg, 2019)
  7. Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019)
  8. The Lighthouse(Robert Eggers, 2019)
  9. Ituzaingo V3rit4 (Raúl Perrone, 2019)
  10. Liberté(Albert Serra, 2019)
  11. Da xiang xi di er zuo (An Elephant Sitting StillHu Bo, 2018)
  12. Black Mother (Khalik Allah, 2018)
  13. Uncut Gems (Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie, 2019)
  14. A Febre (Maya Da-Rin, 2019)
  15. Killing (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 2018)
  16. The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2018)
  17. De Barrio (Xurxo Chirro, 2019)
  18. Atlantique (Atlantics, Mati Diop, 2019)
  19. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
  20. Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon Ho, 2019)
  21. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)
  22. Hail Satan? (Penny Lane, 2019)
  23. Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar, 2019)
  24. Mens (Isabelle Prim, 2019)
  25. Fourteen (Dan Sallit, 2019)

The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2018)

25 x Experimental troupe

  1. Resurrection of the Body(Stephen Broomer, 2019)
  2. Vever: For Barbara(Deborah Stratman, 2019)
  3. Those that, at a Distance, Resemble Another(Jessica Sarah Rinland, 2019)
  4. Prologue to the Tarot: Glenna(Brittany Gravely, Ken Linehan, 2018)
  5. The Sound Drifts(Stefano Canapa, 2019)
  6. Re-Mixed Signals(Courtney Stephens, 2019)
  7. Irmandade(Samuel M. Delgado, Helena Girón, 2019)
  8. Reverse Shadow(Janie Geiser, 2019)
  9. Or/Aour Vienna(Jacques Perconte, 2019)
  10. Pirámide Erosionada(Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, 2018)
  11. Phantom Ride (Stephen Broomer, 2019)
  12. Evidentiary Bodies (Barbara Hammer, 2018)
  13. Atomic Garden (Ana Vaz, 2018)
  14. Light Leak: Love Stains (Saul Levine, 2018)
  15. Light Leak: Pardes, Counting Flowers on the Wall (Saul Levine, 2018)
  16. Sombra Luminosa (Francisco Queimadela, Mariana Caló, 2018)
  17. En tre Fuego incesante (Ivonne Sheen, 2019)
  18. Fragmentos potenciales de obras para desplegar fractal y cíclicamente (Paola Vela, 2019)
  19. Lands of the Sea/Tierras del Mar (Azucena Lozana, 2018)
  20. August Garden (Bill Brand, 2019)
  21. Glimpses on Red Eye (Judith Adataberna, 2019)
  22. Field of Infinity (Guli Silberstein, 2018)
  23. A Month of Single Frames (Lynne Sachs, 2019)
  24. Lick Every Drop (Moira Lacowicz, 2019)
  25. Terror Nullius (Soda Jerk, 2018)

Favorite film events of 2019

Peter Kubelka retrospective at CCPUCP, presented by Ángela López Ruiz
Mujeres en la Resistenciaprogram at Ministerio de Cultura, Perú, curated by Nicole Brenez and Desistfilm, and including wonderful films by Ing K., Laura Waddington, Pilar Arcila, Bani Khoshnoudi, Anne-Laure de Franssu and Clarisse Hahn.

Christine Sathiah 

French-Spanish Parisienne. Penang based, organiser for film evenings at the Alliance Française.

Here are my Best of 2019 movies. They are in no particular order as I find it impossible to rank wildly different films and compare Woman at War, for instance, with Beanpole or Bacurau. Altogether 2019 was a good year for good cinema.

Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, 2019)
Kona fer í stríð (Woman at War, Benedikt Erlingsson, 2018)
Pájaros de Verano (Birds of Passage, Ciro Guerra, 2018)
Atlantique (Atlantics, Matti Diop, 2019)
Dylda (Beanpole Kantemir Balagov, 2019)
Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles, 2019)
High Life (Claire Denis, 2018)
Asako I & II (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2018)
Jiang hu er nü (Ash is Purest White, Jia Zhang-ke, 2018)
Ahlat Agaci (‘The Wild Pear Tree’, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2018)
Se rokh (Three Faces Jafar Panahi, 2018)
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019)

And two great documentaries

For Sama (Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts, 20019)
Rolling Thunder Review (Martin Scorsese 2019)

And finally, a few more that were released in 2018, but which I saw this year and believe certainly deserve to be mentioned, especially the first two:

Da xiang xi di er zuo (An Elephant Sitting Still Hu Bo, 2018)
Roma (Alfonso Cuarón 2018)
Arábia (Araby Joao Dumans, Affonso Uchoa, 2018)
Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazzaro Alice Rohrwacher, 2018)
Doubles Vies (Non-Fiction Olivier Assayas, 2019)
Western (Valeska Grisebach, 2017)
Beoning (Burning Lee Chang Dong 2018)



My Top Ten (in alphabetical order)

  1. Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller, 2019)
  2. Doctor Sleep (Michael Flanagan, 2019)
  3. Ford v Ferrari (James Mangold, 2019)
  4. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
  5. Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)
  6. Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)
  7. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)
  8. Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, 2019)
  9. Ride Like a Girl (Rachel Griffiths, 2019)
  10. Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

Ride Like a Girl (Rachel Griffiths, 2019)



20 Favorite Films of 2019
1. Capharnaüm (Capernaum, Nadine Labaki 2018)*
Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s masterful and deeply affecting Capernaum focuses on the street kids of Beirut, Lebanon whose daily life is marked by a struggle to survive against odds stacked against them. The film does not wallow in misery but offers a glimmer of hope and a common humanity.

2. Arábia (Araby, Joäo Dumas, Affonso Uchoa, 2017)*
The story told in Brazilian directors João Dumans and Affonso Uchoa’s intimate and poetic Araby may not be “important” in the usual sense of the word, but it is a very real and universal one. The film chronicles the personal struggle of Cristiano (Aristides de Sousa), a factory worker in Ouro Preto, Brazil as he tries to redeem his life from a poor choice he made when he was younger. The film consists of brief, poignant stories — vignettes that shed light on the daily experience of millions of laborers all over the world.

3. The King (David Michôd, 2019)
Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV: Parts 1 & 2,” and “Henry V,” David Michôd’s epic medieval drama The King lacks the Bard’s poetry and soaring eloquence, yet its intensity, intimacy, and brooding power will keep you captivated throughout its 133-minute run time. Marked by the convincing performance of Timothée Chalamet as Prince Hal and later King Henry V, it is easily the equal of the “Henry V” films of Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh in its ability to probe the depths of the royal mind.

4. A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)
Inspired by true events, A Hidden Life is the poetic and spiritually alive story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unyielding faith in the God of justice and love for his wife Fani, and three children that keeps his spirit alive.

5. The Two Popes (Fernando Meirelles, 2019)
Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes is not only a master class in acting but a film that sends a strong message that people who disagree and do not even like each other can learn to listen. Written by Anthony McCarten, the film is an account of the relationship between the ultra-conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the liberal Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the future Pope Francis. Meirelles humanizes the two men, showing that, whatever their past mistakes, they can meet on common ground.

6. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)
Marriage Story is a penetrating look at the spiraling effect of divorce American style on those involved, a film that radiates compassion for its beleaguered characters Nicole (Scarlett Johansson, and Charlie (Adam Driver) as they struggle to maintain their dignity through a dehumanizing process.

7. Tarde Para Morir Joven (Too Late to Die Young, Dominga Sotomayor, 2019)
Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor Castillo in Too Late to Die Young is uncertain where memory ends and imagination begins. This moody, elusive coming-of-age drama follows a group of families living in a secluded, non-traditional community at the foot of the Andes Mountains, close to the city of Santiago. Set in the summer of 1990, the unspoken context of the film is the recent transition of Chile from its political violence and social unrest under the dictator Pinochet to a burgeoning democracy, open to new possibilities.

8. Dylda (Beanpole, Kantemir Balagov, 2019)
27-year-old Russian director Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole (Dylda) focuses on the relationship between two young women who have returned to Leningrad from the front in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Brilliantly performed by Viktoria Miroshnichenko as Iya Surgueeva, it is an intense examination of damaged people desperately trying to find some peace and connection in a world that no longer values it.

9. Atlantique (Atlantics, Mati Diop, 2019)
Shot by Claire Mathon and set in Dakar, Atlantics focuses on the plight of immigrants who travel from Senegal to Spain in search of a better life, a dangerous and arduous journey that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates has claimed the lives of approximately 19,000 migrants since 2013. The film, however, is not overtly political but contains romance, class struggle, a police procedural, as well as elements of horror-fantasy, all combining to create a haunting and poetic experience.

10. For Sama (Waad al Kateab, Edward Watts, 2019)
Directed by journalist Waad al-Kateab and British filmmaker Edward Watts, the documentary For Sama is a gift made by Waad to her young daughter Sama, born during the war in Syria. Winner of Best Documentary at Cannes, the film chronicles the genocidal siege that took place in the city of Aleppo between 2012 and 2016 carried out by the Assad government with the support of the Russians. Filmed by one who not only witnessed it but also experienced it, the film testifies to the dedication, resiliency, and courage of those who remained and attempted to carry on with their lives, never relinquishing their hopes for a better future.

11. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot, 2018)*
Joe Talbot’s first feature, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, laments the heart of a city that has been broken by gentrification but celebrates the beauty that remains. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra and aided by a pensive score by Emile Mossei, the film is an affecting work that is based on Talbot’s lifelong friendship with Jimmie Fails who plays a fictional version of himself, a young black man estranged from a place that he once called home.

12. Jìyuántái qihào (No. 7 Cherry Lane, Yonfan, 2019)
Hong Kong director Yonfan’s mesmerizing animated film, No. 7 Cherry Lane, is steeped in nostalgia, yet seeks a balance between past, present, and future. His first film in ten years, it is Yonfan’s ode to the city of Hong Kong, to cinema in the sixties, and to the swirl of forces that provoked the Mao-inspired Hong Kong protests of 1967. The film features an unorthodox love triangle supercharged with eroticism, a dazzling dream sequence, a taste of Chinese hip-hop, youth protest marches against British colonialism, and an elegant blend of Eastern and Western culture.

13. Akik Maradtak (Those Who Remained, Barnabas Toth, 2019)
Those Who Remained is an intimate look at two damaged souls who have been bruised and shaken by life but are now ready to begin the reconstruction of their life. Knowing that any expression of the love they feel for each other will push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable, both realize that their protestations of innocence will not be enough to keep them safe, and that they must now reach out to others, bringing solace and joy in a world in dire need of both.

Akik Maradtak (Those Who Remained, Barnabas Toth, 2019)

14. Leaving Neverland (Dan Reed, 2019)
Dan Reed’s gripping two-part documentary Leaving Neverland is not an easy watch, nor was it meant to be. A powerful and provocative film that is likely to leave you emotionally drained, the film chronicles the odyssey of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, now in their thirties and forties, who claim that they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of pop music superstar Michael Jackson beginning when they were children and continuing through adolescence. The convincing accounts of both men, supported by family members, constitute the entire film with the late Michael Jackson presence felt through photographs, videos, and correspondence.

15. Cold Case Hammerskjold (Mads Brugger, 2018)*
Cold Case Hammerskjold is an inquiry into the death of United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, killed in a plane crash in 1961 in the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) on route to the Congo. Winner of the best directing award at Sundance, it is a powerful film that conveys an important and disturbing message about the extent of colonialism and racism in Africa, described by Brügger as “a project of titanic proportions, full of doubts, questions and moments of desperation.”

16. Werk ohne Autor (Never Look Away, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2018)*
Never Look Away spans three decades of German history from the 1930s into the 1960s, tackling the issue of the origin of human creativity and the context in which it is created. Set in Berlin, Dresden, and Dusseldorf, Never Look Away, the director’s first German work since his Oscar-winning 2006 film The Lives of Others, is inspired by the life of the artist Richter who, as a child, experienced the firebombing of Dresden and the murder of his beloved aunt in the Nazi’s Eugenics program. The film tells the story of a young artist struggling to find his voice in a political atmosphere that prizes conformity and service to the State over an artist’s discovery of their own truth.

17. Synonyms (Nadav Lapid, 2019)
Winner of the Golden Bear and the FIPRESCI prize at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival and his first film shot outside of Israel, Synonyms is loosely based on Lapid’s personal experience of having left Israel for Paris after completing his mandatory military service. A polarizing film that mirrors Lapid’s view of the Israeli army as a reflection of the nation’s damaged soul, it is a unique experience which raises important questions about the nature of our identity, our ability to come to terms with who we are, and our willingness to celebrate it.

18. The Peanut Butter Falcon (Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, 2019)
Writer-directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’ The Peanut Butter Falcon beautifully captures the ability of two damaged people to transform their life by sharing their pain with each other. It is a brave film that depicts the friendship between a young man (Zack Gottsagen) with Down syndrome and a depressed crab fisherman (Shia LaBeouf) who has been torn apart by the death of his brother (Jon Bernthal) in a car accident. The film works because of the authenticity of the two leads and the director’s ability to avoid cheap emotional appeals.

19. High Life (Claire Denis, 2018)*
French director Claire Denis’ first English-language film, High Life, is science-fiction minus the expected alien warlords, lightsaber battles, or dazzling special effects. The film is not about conquest but about isolation and what it means to be human. It is one that examines the limits of human behavior under extreme conditions.

20. The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg, 2019).*
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, The Souvenir is based on the memories of writer/director Joanna Hogg culled from her own vaguely remembered experiences in film school. Cinematographer David Raedeker uses desaturated colours to display tantalising but only marginally connected images that fleet in and out, giving the viewer the feeling of waking up from a dream and remembering only bits and pieces.

*Released in Canada in 2019

Honorable Mention

Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles, 2019)
The Biggest Little Farm (John Chester, 2018)
Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller, 2019)
Le jeune Ahmed (Young Ahmed Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, 2019)
The World Before Your Feet (Matt Green, 2018)

Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon Ho, 2019)
Long Shot (Jonathan Levine, 2019)
All is True (Kenneth Branagh, 2018)
Luce (Julius Onah, 2019)


  1. The Last Black Man in San Francisco(Joe Talbot, 2019)
  2. Little Women(Greta Gerwig, 2019)
  3. A Hidden Life(Terrence Malick, 2019)
  4. 63 Up(Michael Apted 2019)
  5. Us(Jordan Peele, 2019)
  6. Marriage Story(Noah Baumbach, 2019)
  7. The Irishman(Martin Scorsese, 2019)
  8. Apollo 11(Todd Douglas Miller, 2019)
  9. Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon Ho, 2019)
  10. Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (Matt Wolf, 2019)

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot, 2019)

Christopher Small 

Writer, programmer, and filmmaker based in Prague

Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, 2019)
Danses macabres, squelettes et autres fantasies (Danses Macabres, Skeletons, and Other Fantasies, Rita Azevedo Gomes, Jean-Louis Schefer, and Pierre Léon, 2019)
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)
L’Île aux oiseaux (Bird Island, Maya Kosa and Sérgio da Costa, 2019)
Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream, Frank Beauvais, 2019)
No Data Plan (Miko Revereza, 2019)
Un film dramatique (A Dramatic Film, Eric Baudelaire, 2019)
A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos (Around the World When You Were My Age, Aya Koretsky, 2018)
What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire? (Roberto Minervini, 2018)
143 rue du désert (Hassen Ferhani, 2019)
Tinnitus (Daniil Zinchenko, 2018)
Extrañas Criaturas (Strange Creatures, Cristóbal León and Cristina Sitja Rubio, 2019)
Chuva é Cantoria na Aldeia dos Mortos (The Dead and the Others, Renée Nader Messora and João Salaviza, 2018)
Accession (Tamer Hassan and Armand Yervant Tufenkian, 2018)
The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
Nunca subí el Provincia (Never Climbed the Provincia, Ignacio Agüero, 2019)
Ivana cea Groaznica (Ivana the Terrible, Ivana Mladenović, 2019)
Ghost Strata (Ben Rivers, 2019)
Dragged Across Concrete (S. Craig Zahler, 2019)
Luz, Clarão, Fulgor – Augúrios Para Um Enquadramento Não-Hierárquico e Venturoso (Light, Blaze, Fulgor – Auguries for a Non-Hierarchical Framing and Flourishing, Sílvia das Fadas, 2019)
Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie (Henry King, 1952)
La femme au couteau (Woman with the Knife, Timité Bassori, 1969)
Ni tsutsumarete (Embracing, Kawase Naomi, 1992)
Pickpocket (Robert Bresson, 1959)
Die Büchse der Pandora (G.W. Pabst, 1929)
Leuchtturn des Chaos (Pharos of Chaos, Manfred Blank and Wolf-Eckart Bühler, 1982)
Qianxi manbo (Millennium Mambo, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001)
Bhuvan Shome ( Shome, Mrinal Sen, 1969)
Lurja magdani (Magdana’s Donkey, Revas Chkheidze and Tengiz Abuladze, 1955)
Uttarayanam (Throne of Capricorn, Govindan Aravindan, 1975)
Bakit Dilaw ang Kulay ng Bahaghari? (Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow?, Kidlat Tahimik, 1994)
Dainitoride no hitobito (Peasants of the Second Fortress, Ogawa Pro, 1971)
Ich bin den Sommer über in Berlin geblieben (I Stayed in Berlin All Summer, Angela Schanelec, 1994)
Whore’s Glory (Michael Glawogger, 2011)
Apanhar Laranjas (Picking Oranges, Sílvia das Fadas, 2012)
Moses und Aron (Moses and Aaron, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, 1975)
Indiscreet (Stanley Donen, 1958)
Louisiana Story (Robert Flaherty, 1948)
Broken Noses (Bruce Weber, 1987)
Odds Against Tomorrow (Robert Wise, 1959)
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito, 2007)
Ne Change Rien (Change Nothing, Pedro Costa, 2009)
Subarnarekha (The Golden Thread, Ritwik Ghatak, 1965)
Shiranuikai (The Shiranui Sea, Tsuchimoto Noriaki, 1975)
Minamata: Kanja-san to sono sekai (Minamata: The Victims and Their World, Tsuchimoto Noriaki,  1971)
Wênd Kûuni (Gaston Kaboré, 1982)
Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins, 1982)
La petite vendeuse du soleil (The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun, Djibril Diop Mambéty, 1999)
Husbands (John Cassavetes, 1970)
Wer fürchtet sich vorm schwarzen Mann? (Who’s Afraid of the Boogeyman, Helke Misselwitz, 1989)
Lang iz der veg (Long is the Path, Herbert B. Fredersdorf and Marek Goldstein, 1949)
Martha (Jürgen Böttcher, 1979)
Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges (Images of the World and the Inscription of War, Harun Farocki, 1989)
Royal Opera (Lionel Soukaz, 1979)
Der Kongreß tanzt (The Congress Dances, Erik Charell, 1931)
Dolgie provody (The Long Farewell, Kira Muratova, 1971)
Lettre à Freddy Buache (Letter to Freddy Buache, Jean-Luc Godard, 1982)
Muna Moto (The Child of Another, Jean-Pierre Dikongué Pipa, 1975)
Uski Roti (A Day’s Bread, Mani Kaul, 1969)
Ouranos (Glory Sky, Takis Kanellopoulos, 1962)
Variety (Bette Gordon, 1982)
Mačka (The Cat, Zlato Bourek, 1971)
Cats Amore (Martha Colburn, 2002)

Rachel Small 


The best films I saw, at Festivals I loved in Sydney, Australia, 2019

Flickerfest (international short film festival)
Neverland (Brett Smith, 2018)
To Plant a Flag (Bobbie Peers, 2018)
Der Mandarinenbaum (The Mandarin Tree Cengiz Akaygün, 2017)
The Box (Dušan Kastelic, 2017)
The Unconditional (Dave Adams, 2017)
The Atlas (Maciej Kawalski, 2018)
Kuap (Nils Hedinger, 2018)

Mardi Gras Film Festival
Wild Nights with Emily (Madeleine Olnek, 2018)
José (Li Cheng, 2018)
Bachelor, 38 (Angela Clarke, 2017)
Sununú: The Revolution of Love (Olivia Crellin, 2017)
Phyllis & Francesca 48 Years On (Edwina Storie, 2017)
A Great Ride (Deborah Craig & Veronica Deliz, 2018)
Darío (Manuel Kinzer, Jorge A. Trujillo Gil, 2018)

French Film Festival
Les Frères Sisters (The Sisters Brothers, Jacques Audiard, 2018)
Grâce a Dieu (By the Grace of God, François Ozon, 2019)
Girl (Lukas Dhont, 2018)
Plaire, Aimer, Courir Vite (Sorry, Angel, Christophe Honoré, 2018)
Celle Que Vous Croyez (Who You Think I Am, Safy Nebbou, 2019)
L’Incroyable Histoire du Facteur Cheval (The Ideal Palace, Nils Tavernier, 2018)

Spanish Film Festival
Campeones (Champions, Javier Fesser, 2018)
Entre Dos Aguas (Between Two Waters, Isaki Lacuesta, 2018)

Cinema Reborn – films I saw for the first time
Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970 restored)
Memorias del subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968 restored)
Golden Eighties (Chantal Akerman, 1986 restored)

German Film Festival
Dreigroschenfilm (Mack the Knife – Brecht’s Threepenny Film, Joachim A. Lang, 2018)

Sydney International Film Festival
Gospod Postoi, Imeto I’E Pentrunija (God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya, Teona Strugar Mitevska, 2018)
Werk Ohne Autor (Never Look Away, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2018)
Synonymes (Synonyms, Nadav Lapid, 2019)
The Final Quarter (Ian Darling, 2019)
Di Jiu Tian Chang (So Long, My Son, Wang Xiaoshuai, 2019)
Bait (Mark Jenkin, 2018)
The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2018)
The Kleptocrats (Sam Hobkinson, Havana Marking, 2018)
Les Misérables (Ladj Ly,2019)

Les Misérables (Ladj Ly,2019)

Scandinavian Film Festival
Ut Og Stjæle Hester (Out Stealing Horses, Hans Petter Moland, 2019)
Mannen Som Lekte Med Elden (Steig Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire, Henrik Georgsson, 2018)

Korean Film Festival
Gongjak (The Spy Gone North, Jong-bin Yoon, 2018)
Inseparable Bros (Sang-Hyo Yook, 2019)

The Sydney Latin American Film Festival
Nido de Manis (Mantis Nest, Arturo Sotto Diaz, 2018)
Tiempo de Lluvia (In Times of Rain, Itandehui Jansen, 2018)

Queer Screen Film Festival
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019)
Dante v Mohammed Ali (Marc Wagenaar, 2018)
Reforma (Renovation, Fábio Leal, 2018)
Killing Patient Zero (Laurie Lynd, 2019)

Italian Film Festival
Le Conseguenze Dell’amore (The Consequences of Love, Paolo Sorrentino, 2004)
Novecento (1900, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1976 restored)
Il Conformista (The Conformist, 1970 restored)
Il Sindaco: Italian Politics 4 Dummies (The Mayor: Italian Politics 4 Dummies, Davide Parenti & Claudio Canepari, 2018)
Il Bene Mio (My Own Good, Pippo Mezzapesa, 2018)
Fiore Gemello (Twin Flower, Laura Luchetti, 2019)
Bangla (Phaim Bhuiyan, 2019)

Antenna Documentary Film Festival
17 Blocks (Davy Rothbart, 2019)
Advocate (Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaïche, 2019)
For Sama (Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts, 20019)
Selfie (Agostino Ferrente, 2019)
Sans frapper (That Which Does Not Kill, Alexe Poukine, 2019)
Storia di B. – La scomparsa di mia madre (The Disappearance of My Mother, Beniamino Barrese 2019)
Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-Truth World (Hans Pool, 2018)
Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit (Heimat is a Space in Time, Thomas Heise, 2019)
Happy Android (Jaina Kalifa, 2019)
Take (Victoria Hunt, 2019)

Palestinian Film Festival
It Must be Heaven, Elia Suleiman, 2019)
Adam (Maryam Touzani, 2019)

Jewish Film Festival
What She Said:  The Art of Pauline Kael (Rob Garver, 2018)
King Bibi (Dan Shadur, 2018)
Golda (Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, 2019)
Akik maradtak (Those Who Remained, Barnabás Tóth, 2019)

British Film Festival
Mr. Jones (Agnieszka Holland, 2019)
Citizen K (Alex Gibney, 2018)

Russian Film Festival
Dylda (Beanpole, Kantemir Balagov, 2019)
Bratstvo (Leaving Afghanistan, Pavel Lungin, 2019)

From various screening series at the Art Gallery of NSW
Dong dong de jiàqi (A Summer at Grandpa’s, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 1984)
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)
Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999)
Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak (Marlina the Murderer In Four Acts, Mouly Surya, 2017)
Celia (Ann Turner, 1989)

From the University of NSW SAM Cinématèque
Khane-ye doust kodjast? (Where is the Friend’s House? Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)

General & limited release cinema screenings
The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jnr., 2018)
Kona fer í stríð (Woman at War, Benedikt Erlingsson, 2018)
Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, 2019)
Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, 2019)
Isha Ovedet (Working Woman, Michal Aviad, 2018)
Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)
The Report (Scott Z. Burns, 2019)

My list has a lot of films that insightful critics whose work I value, don’t see as being “best of …”, of…, well, of anything. Writing and re-reading the list (thank you, Senses of Cinema for inducing me to put in the effort) I can now see what I hadn’t previously recognised:  my all-time-low level of tolerance for free-floating artistic expression that isn’t anchored in story. I reckon it’s my response to the relentlessly awful state of current affairs.Just to say, the fact that the list is long is about great pleasures being many.  From all the above, my two films of the year were:

Dylda (Beanpole, Kantemir Balagov, 2019)
Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit (Heimat is a Space in Time, Thomas Heise, 2019)


Film critic, the director and curator of Cultivate Cinema Circle

Here’s this year’s submission:

  1. American Factory (Steve Bognar, Julia Reichert, 2019)
  2. One Child Nation (Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, 2019)
  3. Rolling Thunder Review(Martin Scorsese 2019)
  4. Black Mother (Khalik Allah, 2018)
  5. The Cave (Tom Waller, 2019) / For Sama (Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts, 20019)
  6. Country Music (Ken Burns, 2019)
  7. Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller, 2019)
  8. The Show About The Show: Season 2 (Caveh Zahedi, 2017)
  9. Los Reyes (Iván Osnovikoff, Bettina Perut, 2018)
  10. What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire? (Roberto Minervini, 2018)

Valerie Soe 

Filmmaker (Love Boat: Taiwan, 2019), writer, and author of the blog beyondasiaphilia.com

Favorite films 2019, in no particular order

1. Geukhanjikeob (Extreme Job Lee Byeong-heon, 2019)
South Korean comedies are an underrated genre in the US since most of the films that get imported to the west are violent revenge flicks that distributors here think audiences want to see. But anyone familiar with that country’s wildly popular television variety shows know that Koreans love a good belly laugh. Extreme Job follows a group of hapless cops going undercover to stake out a group of criminals and who end up accidentally running a popular chicken restaurant. The ensemble cast has excellent comic timing and they riff off of each other in perfect sync.

2. Diqiu zuihou de yewan (Long Day’s Journey Into Night Bi Gan, 2018)
I saw this in 3-D at the Castro in San Francisco and was completely mesmerized by the film’s famous one-hour long single take, but that’s just the topper to the film’s dark and dreamlike mood. I think I felt my soul leave my body when I watched this film.

3. Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, 2019)
Not sure what I can add to the reams of commentary on this film except to say that it’s a delight to see a master filmmaker firing on all cylinders. Bong Joon-ho’s art direction, script, cast, story, cinematography, and editing are all under complete control and he wields his various filmic tools like a scimitar.

4. Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)
Like Get Out, this is another really creepy horror film by Jordan Peele that remakes the genre by leavening it with astute social commentary.

5. Jiang hu er nü (Ash Is Purest White, Jia Zhangke, 2018)
I caught up on a lot of Jia Zhangke at the SFMOMA/Pacific Film Archive series last year, topped off by a screening of his latest accomplishment. I’d seen it once before so my second viewing added even more to my understanding of the complexities of the narrative. Good stuff.

6. The Farewell (Lulu Wang, 2019)
Lulu Wang gets all the cultural nuances right and demonstrates why it’s so critical for movies about Asian American experiences to be directed by Asian Americans. She also brilliantly uses widescreen framing to emphasise the community of the family and how the main character constantly interacts within that community.

7. Ms. Purple (Justin Chon, 2019)
I was absolutely gutted after seeing this film. Justin Chon fearlessly ramps up his directing chops with power and honesty in this uncompromising vision of a young Korean American woman dealing with the compromises and complexities of a precarious existence.

8. Jaddoland (Nadia Shihab, 2019)
A gorgeous slice-of-life documentary about an Iraqi American family in Texas. Nadia Shihab creates a sensitive and loving portrait of her artist mother and the various other folks in her orbit.

9.  Lun lok yan (Still Human Oliver Siu Kuen Chan, 2018) at 2019 CAAMfest
Anthony Wong Chau Sang puts on an acting clinic as a disabled man who slowly bonds with his live-in helper, played by rookie actress Crisel Consunji. Both Wong and Consuji won well-deserved trophies at the Hong Kong Film Awards for their performances.

10. Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)
This creepy-as-fuck horror movie utilises its excellent world building to create a unique and shudderworthy experience. Florence Pugh nails her performance as the emotional and driven protagonist.

11. Blinded By The Light (Gurinder Chadha, 2019)
I’m not a big Bruce Springsteen fan so the fact that Gurinder Chadha’s exuberant and heartfelt coming-of-age film made me appreciate his songs demonstrates how Chadha perfectly utilizes the Boss’s music. The film also boasts on-point ‘80s hair and wardrobe and a sweet and charming performance by lead actor Viveik Kalra. Chadha expertly links the wilds of working-class Thatcher-era Luton with the badlands of Asbury Park.

Blinded By the Light (Gurinder Chadha, 2019)

12. Eksiteu (Exit Lee Sang-geun, 2019)
Another excellent South Korean genre film not about vengeance or gangsters, Exit is a comedy disaster movie that follows Yong-nam (Jo Jung-suk), a hapless millenial whiling his life away living with his parents and looking for work. When a crazed terrorist releases a deadly gas in the middle of Seoul, Yong-nam literally rises to the occasion, using his mad rock-climbing skilz to ascend various skyscrapers high about the noxious fumes, while partnering with the resourceful and equally skilled Eui-joo (played with grit and determination by SNSD’s Yoona), as they rescue themselves and many others from potential toxic poisoning.

13. Swing Kids (Kang Hyeong-cheol, 2018), at the San Diego Asian Film Festival 2019 Spring Showcase
Usually I’m wary of discussions of racism and white supremacy in Asian genre films as it’s often flat and one-dimensional (see Ip Man 4) but Swing Kids nailed its critique of Western imperialism in Asia. It’s a smart look at post-WW2 US occupation of South Korea, it’s got some killer dance numbers, and its unsparing finale is merciless and harrowing. Do Kyung-Soo from EXO is a force in the lead role as a surly North Korean soldier who takes up tap dancing in a South Korean prison camp.

14.  Hsing fu lu shang (On Happiness Road Sung Hsin-yin, 2019), seen on an EVA Air flight in 2019
Excellent animated feature from Taiwan that sensitively captures the story of Taiwanese expat living in the US and her childhood growing up during Taiwan’s transition from martial law to democracy. The film includes small but important details such as Taiwan’s ubiquitous archictectural elements, making it an outstanding portrait of the time and place it depicts.

15. Last Night I Saw You Smiling (Kavich Neang, 2019), at 2019 San Diego Asian Film Festival
Lovely observational doc about the tenants of the iconic White Building in Phnom Penh as they move out of their longtime residence. The process of the tenants meticulously prising the building’s window and door fixings from their moorings becomes a metaphor for the importance of history, memory, place, trauma, and belonging.


Independent film distributor in Australia/New Zealand and cinephile.

This year, instead of anointing a canonical “Top Ten” which will undoubtedly prevail in this World Poll I am choosing to suggest a group of titles that, for me, were the best experiences in cinemas for the breadth of their visions and experimentation.

La Flor (Mariano Llinás, 2018)
An 868 minute communal experience shared with a dedicated and enthralled audience over 3 sessions at the 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival. The multi part film is an adventure embarked upon with a road map from the director and a superb and intrepid cast navigating their way through several genres and some intertwined narratives. Funny and exhilarating.

The Clock (Christian Marclay, 2010)
Partially seen earlier but this year with the luxury of seeing in its entirety and revisiting many sections thanks to an extended season at Melbourne’s ACMI.  Is it a film or an installation?  Doesn’t matter as its dual exploration of real time and time unfolding for characters on screen is a cinematic dream in which a stream of consciousness carries the viewer through newly confected narratives and emotional arcs supplied by new connections between the massive variety of clips marking the clicking clock.

Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller, 2019)
Seen to its ultimate advantage on the giant Imax screen, this is an astonishing documentary on a subject many would have thought already well covered – the 1969 Moon landing – but its use of the newly discovered and restored 70mm footage shot at Cape Canaveral and in-flight and Moon material, make this is a surprisingly suspenseful and skillful account of the entire mission.

For Sama (Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, 2019)
Vying with Apollo 11 as the best documentary I saw this year, For Sama is a visceral entry into a world as lived and survived (or not) as it unfolds for female journalist Al-Kateab and her doctor husband during the Syrian conflict. Rarely has one felt “in” a war zone, albeit from a safe distance.

Spiderman – Into the Spiderverse (Bob Perschetti, Peter Ramsay, Rodney Rothman, 2018)
A dazzling animated film (and Oscar winner!) that expands and makes a tired and predictable story and genre interesting again. Its ultra-fast cutting (which I normally do not like) actually seems to be creating a new cinematic vocabulary for a new generation that reads images in an evolving way.

The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg, 2019)
One of two good films that transport us to and allow us to live for a couple of hours in a different time and place. The other (not listed here) lets us hang out in Los Angeles in 1969, but The Souvenir is London in the early 1980’s. Joanna Hogg’s quietly engaging semi-autobiographical story accomplishes a capturing of time and place through the observation of its characters, their strengths and failings in a way not smoothed out by dramatic convention but placing them very much in their time and emotional ages of the protagonists. Shamefully ignored by the cinema-going public on release in Australia.

Jeanne (Bruno Dumont, 2019)
Dumont’s second part of his Joan of Arc diptych following Jeanette – l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc (2017), brings back actress Lise Leplat Prudhomme (the child Jeanne from the earlier film) as the older Jeanne in this one. A bold and rewarding move as the young actress seems exceptionally vulnerable to the bullying of her trial yet her fierce determination is all the stronger for the purity of her youthful vision. Dumont drops the rock music of Jeanette but recreates a battle as if a ballet for horses. Unlike any of the other 6 or so Joan of Arc films I’ve seen and one of the most rewarding although it may test the patience of many.

The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2019)
Simply one of the most uncompromising examinations of Australia’s colonial past since The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepisi 1978).

Judy and Punch (Mirrah Foulkes, 2019)
While many films have failed at ‘adapting’ a game or comic into a film, this audacious work takes the premise of a puppet show, and places it in a mythic period ‘real world’ and creates a recognisable society where the tropes of Punch and Judy are played out both as entertainment and as routine behaviour. Not only this, but it succeeds in turning the tables on the roles played and makes a strong statement on contemporary domestic violence. Another film undervalued and unsupported by the general public.

Napszállta (Sunset, László Nemes, 2018)
Nemes recreates pre-WW1 Budapest and drops his heroine into an increasingly chaotic society where she must penetrate the mystery of the death of her parents in the setting of their hat shop. Events swirl around the central character, so that both she and us have the task of grasping the clues as to the truth of past and present events. Nemes subjective camera makes this an involving game.

High Life (Claire Denis, 2018)
One sometimes approaches the effort of an ‘arthouse’ director to take on a popular genre but Claire Denis transcends the pitfalls of making a ‘science-fiction” film by setting up a premise then illustrating it with sensuous imagery and a sustained atmosphere and fine performances from Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche and Mia Goth that makes one forget to compare it to anything else.

A few other mentions of films that in my opinion may not have quite received their due recognition:

If Beale St Could Talk (Barry Jenkins, 2018)
Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)
Monos (Alejandro Landes, 2019)
Midsommar (Directors cut, Ari Aster, 2019)
Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell, 2018)

Tommaso (Abel Ferrara, 2019)

Brad Stevens 

Author of Monte Hellman: His Life and Films (McFarland, 2003) and Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision (FAB Press, 2004)

Films of the Year (in preferential order)
Tommaso (Abel Ferrara, 2019)
Varda par Agnès (Varda by Agnès, Agnès Varda, 2019)
The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
Ahlat Agaci (The Wild Pear Tree, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2018)
La Flor (Mariano Llínas, 2018)
Krabi, 2562 (Anocha Suwichakornpong and Ben Rivers, 2019)
Gangbyeon hotel (Hotel by the River, Hong Sang-soo, 2018)
Ni de lian (Your Face, Tsai Ming-Liang, 2018)
Domino (Brian De Palma, 2018)
Ray Meets Helen (Alan Rudolph, 2017)
A Rainy Day in New York (Woody Allen, 2018)
The Mule (Clint Eastwood, 2018)
High Life (Claire Denis, 2018)
Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Terry Gilliam, 2017)

Retrospective Discoveries
The Love Nest (Frances Marion, 1920)
Chotard et Cie (Jean Renoir, 1933)
Nausicaa (Agnès Varda, 1970)
Street Scenes (Martin Scorsese, 1970)
Something New (Nell Shipman, 1920)
Die linkshändige Frau (The Left-Handed Woman Peter Handke, 1978)
Le Centre Georges Pompidou (Beaubourg, Roberto Rossellini, 1977)
Les dernières vacances (Roger Leenhardt, 1948)
Fragment of Fear (Richard C. Sarafian, 1970)
La possibilité d’une île (The Possibility of an Island, Michel Houellebecq, 2008)



2019 feels like a year of consensus, at least regarding everyone’s favourite films! There are three or four films that have been nearly universally acclaimed as masterpieces, which is uncommon: The Irishman, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Parasite. In a way, this is a great thing because of the noticeable upsurge in chatter around film and possibly cinephilia that these films have fostered. Even though there were television shows that were just as pleasurable as some of these movies, the significant differences between television and film narrative have remained the same and, in some cases, have even intensified. Therefore, there is no TV included on the list. (The great television works of the year include Dead to Me, The Mandalorian, Russian Doll, Veep’s final season, Work in Progress.)

This year I most admired movies that were impeccable constructions and perfect uses of the form. I liked stylish films that had something important to say. I eschewed sentimentality and bleak nihilism. Traditional Hollywood films failed to provide the seriousness and the originality and creativity that our time deserves. My typical favourite film contained horror and comedy, and ideas rigorously and fearlessly applied. There are a couple of Netflix films included on the list. This company I believe is doing the most to improve the films it produces. While their recommendation system may not be getting any better, Netflix, faster than any other streaming service and film production company, has both captured the zeitgeist and made compelling films with outstanding directors that will no doubt stand the test of time. Whether or not Netflix stays on the same course is impossible to know. I also see a lot of movies every year at the exceptional Sudbury Cinéfest Film Festival. While I still enjoy going out to the movies, the idea that I can see the new Scarlett Johansson or Adam Driver movie at home basically the day of its release is pretty exciting to me.

Without further ado, and in alphabetical order, here are my top ten personal favourites of the year:

Atlantique (Atlantics, Mati Diop, 2019)
A soulfully made drama centered on a young Senegalese woman who is haunted by the man she loves who leaves for Spain on a boat with other migrants. A film that brilliantly captures the immeasurable cost of exploitation and migration. A wholly contemporary ghost story.

Blood Quantum (Jeff Barnaby, 2019)
This one cuts deeper than expected. Jeff Barnaby’s ‘80s throwback and follow-up to Rhymes for
Young Ghouls
is one of the most politically savvy zombie movies since Night of the Living Dead, and one of the best new Indigenous films I’ve seen. A no holds barred, kick-ass rallying chant disguised as a piece of pop entertainment.

The Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch, 2019)
More zombies! This is the mesmerizing postmodernist, self-reflexive zombie comedy to end all self-reflexive zombie comedies. Cue the theme song, Jim!

Falls Around Her (Darlene Naponse, 2018)
The best film of the year and one of the most relevant films of the new wave of Indigenous filmmaking in Canada, Falls Around Her paints a loving portrait of Mary Birchbark (the sensational Tantoo Cardinal), a popular Indigenous singer who returns to her home reserve to get away from her exploitative manager. Mary reconnects with Creation, rekindles old friendships, protests a polluting mining company in the area, and becomes stronger than ever in the process. Writer/director Darlene Naponse braids together a story about all our relations with intelligence and style.

Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov, 2019)
This brilliant documentary about a struggling apiary labourer in Macedonia evokes a wider array of emotions than any Hollywood-made film this year. One of the most visually stunning films of the year!

The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
Top five, at least. It’s what it is.

The Laundromat (Steven Soderbergh, 2019)
A cool, experimental and hard-edged politico-economic critique of corruption at the highest rungs starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas. What’s not to love?!

The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019)
Robert Eggers’ surreal maritime chamber piece made me think more than any other film I’ve seen this year. In equal measures funny and horrifying.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)
This one casts a magical spell! Tarantino’s characterizations of Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), Cliff Booth (Pitt), and Tate (Robbie) are some of the most well drawn of the year.

Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)
It was such an encouraging moment of joy early in the year to discover that Jordan Peele was no one-hit-wonder! He made another highly original, socially relevant horror and one that featured the best performance of the year from Lupita Nyong’o. A disturbing surrealist masterpiece!

Dolemite Is My Name (Craig Brewer, 2019)


Writer and cinephile, Gijón

Best films seen theatrically or in festivals in Spain, or available on DVD, VOD and streaming in 2019 (listed alphabetically)

Booksmart (Olivia Wilde, 2019)
Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas (Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles, Salvador Simó, 2018)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller, 2018)
Un couteau dans le cœur (Knife+Heart, Yann Gonzalez, 2018)
Dolemite Is My Name (Craig Brewer, 2019)
Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodóvar, 2019)
Donbass (Sergei Loznitsa, 2018)
Glass (M. Night Shyamalan, 2019)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins, 2018)
In den Gängen (In the Aisles, Thomas Stuber, 2018)
Jiang hu er nü (Ash is Purest White, Jia Zhang-ke, 2018)
Lemonade (Ioana Uricaru, 2018)
Le livre d’image (The Image Book, Jean-Luc Godard, 2018)
Mademoiselle de Joncquières (Lady J, Emmanuel Mouret, 2018)
Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)
(Ari Aster, 2019)
Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (Werner Herzog, 2019)
O que arde (Fire Will Come, Oliver Laxe, 2019)
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)
The Projectionist (Abel Ferrara, 2019)
(Grass, Hong Sang-soo, 2018)
Quién te cantará (Carlos Vermut, 2018)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, 2018)
Three Identical Strangers (Tim Wardle, 2018)
Vice (Adam McKay, 2018)
La villa (The House by the Sea, Robert Guédiguian, 2017)
Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, 2019)
Werk ohne Autor (Never Look Away, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2018)

Very good films seen theatrically or in festivals in Spain, or available on DVD, VOD and streaming in 2019 (listed alphabetically)

70 Binladens (70 Big Ones, Koldo Serra, 2018)
Alita: Battle Angel (Robert Rodríguez, 2019)
At Eternity’s Gate (Julian Schnabel, 2018)
Climax (Gaspar Noé, 2018)
Como Fernando Pessoa Salvou Portugal (How Fernando Pessoa Saved Portugal, Eugène Green, 2018)
Diego Maradona (Asif Kapadia, 2019)
Dilili à Paris (Dilili in Paris, Michel Ocelot, 2018)
The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018)
Fyre (Chris Smith, 2019)
Gangbyeon hotel (Hotel by the River, Hong Sang-soo, 2018)
Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, 2019)
The Great Buster: A Celebration (Peter Bogdanovich, 2018)
The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
Kamera o tomeru na! (One Cut of the Dead, Shin’ichirô Ueda, 2017)
Meeting Gorbachev (Werner Herzog and André Singer, 2018)
Mirai no Mirai (Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda, 2018)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan, 2018)
The Mule (Clint Eastwood, 2018)
The Perfection (Richard Shepard, 2018)
Plaire, aimer et courir vite (Sorry Angel, Christophe Honoré, 2018)
A Portuguesa (The Portuguese Woman, Rita Azevedo Gomes, 2018)
Stan & Ollie (Jon S. Baird, 2018)
Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)
Waka okami wa shôgakusei! (Okko’s Inn, Kitarô Kôsaka, 2018)

I didn’t watched on their release potentially great or very good films like El crack cero (José Luis Garci, 2019), Gloria Mundi (Robert Guédiguian, 2019), Sorry We Missed You (Ken Loach, 2019) or Les Misérables (Ladj Ly, 2019) but I hope to include them next year, when they are available on home media or streaming platforms. There were of course lots of disappointments and bad films but personally I think that the best thing is trying to forget about them. There were also interesting films like Ad Astra (James Gray, 2019), Peterloo (Mike Leigh, 2018) or Il traditore (The Traitor, Marco Bellocchio, 2019) that did not enter any of the two lists, but nevertheless they are worth watching despite the shortcomings I saw on them. Maybe I’ll appreciate them more with new viewings. I hope that my two lists (and the lists of the rest of the contributors; an affectionate “hello” to the Spanish ones) can provide lots of films to discover for the readers, especially on these times where it seems there are only bad superhero franchises, forgettable remakes/reboots/sequels and local “comedies” produced by TV corporations… or that’s what advertising is telling us all the time on the media. Let’s see what surprises and good films 2020 will bring us. Of course, waiting for the new Verhoeven and en attendant Carax.

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