Michael Heath

Screenwriter, documentary and independent filmmaker and cinephile, Raumati South, New Zealand

The Favourites…

  • Nu Aștepta Prea Mult De La Sfârșitul Lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much From The End of The World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Pezold, 2023)
  • Le Otto Montagne (The Eight Mountains, Felix Van Groeningen &ICharlotte Vandermeersch, 2022)
  • Landshaft (Daniel Kötter, 2023)
  • R.M.N. (Cristian Mungiu, 2022)
  • Le Bleu de Caftan (The Blue Caftan, Maryam Touzani, 2022)
  • Kuolleet Lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • 青春; Quingchun (Youth/Spring, Wang Bing 2023)
  • 君たちはどう生きるか,Kimitachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023)
  • Kapag Wala Nag Mga Alon (When the Waves are Gone, Lav Diaz 2022)
  • Pacifiction – Tourment sur les îles (Albert Serra, 2022)
  • Beef (Lee Sung Jin, 2023)
  • La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher, 2023)
  • Thampu (The Circus Tent, Govindan Aravindan, 1978)
  • 宗方姉妹, Munekata kyōdai (The Munekata Sisters, Yasujiro Ozu, 1950)

Memorable glimpses from the past…

  • The Dalton Girls & Voodoo Island (Reginald Le Borg, 1957)
  • Black Test Car (Yasuzo Masumura, 1962)
  • The Signal Tower (Clarence Brown, 1924)
  • Intimacies (Rysuke Hamaguchi, 2013)
  • The Little Brother (Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov, 1991)
  • House on the Volcano (Amo Bek-Nazaryan, 1928)
  • Bread Day (Sergey Dvortsevoy,1998)
  • Rio Grande (John Ford, 1950)
  • The Crowded Train (Kon Ichikawa, 1957)
  • A Garibaldian in the Convent (Vittorio de Sica, 1942)
  • Hellgate (Charles Marquis Warren, 1952)

Best Film Webshow of 2023: Red Letter Media (Half in the Bag, Best of the Worst etc)… with Mike, Jay, Rich and friends. (YouTube) Kings of the B’s!

Maggie Hennefeld

Associate Professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Cinematic Highlights of 2023

1. After Alice, Before Lois: Mining the Archive with the Women Film Pioneers Project (Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Oct 25 – Nov 10, 2023).
More women worked in the silent film industry – at every level of creative production around the globe – than at any time ever since. This is the rallying cry of the Women Film Pioneers Project, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a retrospective of unseen, feminist silent cinema curated by Kate Saccone. I was lucky to attend the opening week’s festivities. Highlights included the Czech cross-dressing comedy Adam and Eva (Václav Binovec, 1922), in which screenwriter Suzanne Marwille plays identically “fraternal” twin brother and sister; the century-delayed North American premieres of Argentine director Renée Oro’s South American educational documentaries; and one of the few surviving films by prolific Neapolitan director/producer/writer/editor Elvira Notari. 

2. The 39th Bonn Stummfilmtage – International Silent Film Festival (Bonn, Germany, Aug 10 – 20, 2023)
Every August the University of Bonn hosts its annual silent film festival with nightly open-air cine-concerts. Co-directors Eva Hielscher and Oliver Hanley make most of the program available to stream on-demand – including glorious musical accompaniment by the likes of Meg Morley, Neil Brand, Frank Bockius, and Elizabeth-Jane Baldry. Though no substitute for the live act, I got the chance to catch new restorations of Anna May Wong’s sensational Pavement Butterfly (Richard Eichberg, 1926), all African-American cast indie fighter pilot thriller The Flying Ace (Richard E. Norman, 1926), Chinese spider-lady revenge fantasy Cave of the Silken Web (Dan Duyu, 1927), and the sole surviving children’s film by “the only female director in Ukrainian cinema of the 1930s” Їvha Hryhorovych, Congratulations on Your Promotion (1932). 

The 39th Bonn Stummfilmtage – International Silent Film Festival

3. A Gaza Weekend (Basil Khalil, 2022) + The Dupes (Tewfik Saleh, 1972) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Two extremely different films about Palestinian displacement and the desire for liberation. In early October, The Twin Cities Arab Film Festival held its closing night screening under The Third Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis. The feature film, A Gaza Weekend, is a raucously broad comedy with improbable premise that polluted drinking water in Gaza has inoculated the population against a lethal pandemic, leaving Israeli civilians desperate to flee into Gaza for safety. The carnivalesque space of that outdoor viewing felt like a parallel reality on November 29th at the “Solidarity evening for Palestine,” also curated by Arab and SWANA Twin Cities arts organisation Mizna. A reading of the devastating Gaza Monologues was followed by the new restoration of The Dupes, filmed in Syria by Egyptian director Tewfik Saleh about three generations of Palestinian refugees seeking a better life across the border from Iraq to Kuwait. 

4. Cleopatra (J. Gordon Edwards 1917) – Lost Film Fragment Found!
“THOUSANDS TURNED AWAY” at the Lyric Theatre on 42nd St. and Broadway, boasted the Moving Picture World in November 1917 upon the premiere of “sirenic” movie vamp Theda Bara’s “most sumptuous and sensational motion picture spectacle ever produced.” The last two prints of the film were destroyed in fires at Fox studios and MoMA in the 1930s, and Cleopatra has been a holy grail for film archivists ever since. Though still “mostly lost,” an unseen 40-second fragment was recently rediscovered by James Fennell, who purchased it on eBay (in a lot with a 1920s toy film projector). “Longer, clearer, and more spectacular,” as Pamela Hutchinson describes it, this uncanny fragment gives us a glimmer of the “genuine blockbuster” that had been banned under the Hays Code and then disappeared off the face of the earth.


5. The 42nd Giornate del Cinema Muto / Silent Film Festival  (Pordenone, Italy, October 7 – 14, 2023).
Like Cleopatra, the vast majority of silent films ever made are long lost or remain physically inaccessible. The Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone is nothing less than a pilgrimage to see new restorations of silent-era prints that cannot *yet* be viewed anywhere else. The highlights of the hybrid 42nd edition included a retrospective of the modernist artist Sonia Delaunay’s Orphist cinematic design work as seen in the French serial Le P’tit Parigot (René Le Somptier, 1926); an orangutan who murders a misogynist in the bristling melodrama Merry-Go-Round (1923), mostly directed by Rupert Julian after Irving Thalberg fired Erich von Stroheim; and the rediscovery of a documentary shot in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon by Portuguese filmmaker Silvino Simões dos Santos Silva, which had been lost for over a century.

Poster for the The 42nd Giornate del Cinema Muto / Silent Film Festival

6. Her Man (Tay Garnett, 1930)
Thanks be to the Film Foundation’s Restoration Screening Room, September gave us Tay Garnett’s freewheeling pre-Code musical starring Helen Twelvetrees as a sex worker in a Havana dance hall. 

7. Il Cinema Ritrovato (Bologna, Italy, June 24 – July 2, 2023)
The largest international archival festival featuring new restorations of global cinema from 1903 to 2023 included over 400 films this year. If you missed it, they have a traveling program. I’m proud to participate as a satellite curator in the Twin Cities, coming up February 15-18, 2024 at the Main Cinema and Heights Theater in Minneapolis!

8. Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
If nothing else, it was beautiful to attend a sold-out Friday night screening at my nearby Landmark theatre for the first time since I moved to Minneapolis in 2015. 

9. Money Has Four Legs (Maung Sun, 2020)
A backstage Burmese comedy about a struggling genre filmmaker who robs a bank after breaking an expensive camera during a shoot. I was lucky to see a theatrical screening of this ingenious, low-budget satire – whose 2020 release had the bad luck of Covid timing. Thanks be to my phenomenal local repertory theatre the Trylon Cinema and the Southeast Asian Cinema and Its Diaspora film series for programming it.

10. The Lost Negroes of North America: A Silent Film Experience.
Rare 8mm home-movie footage of Black community life in South Minneapolis from 1945-1955, accompanied by spoken word poetry, 3-piece band, DJ, and thoughtful discussion moderated by curator Ralph L. Crowder III. This has screened several times in the Twin Cities. I hope it makes the rounds far and wide in the new year.

Alain Hertay

Teaches cinema studies at the Haute Ecole de la Province de Liège, Belgium. Contributor to La Furia Umana, Culturopoing, POPNews and Flashback Magazine.

10 favourite new release films from 2023: 

  • Le Procès Goldman (The Goldman Case, Cédric Kahn, 2023)
  • The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg, 2022)
  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  • Knock at the Cabin (M. Night Shyamalan, 2023)
  • Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
  • Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (James Mangold, 2023)
  • Wonka (Paul King, 2023)
  • Normale (Normal, Olivier Babinet, 2023)
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, 2023)

+ Fleishman Is in Trouble (Taffy Brodesser-Akner, 2022)

David Heslin

Editor of Metro, former editor of Screen Education and Senses of Cinema.

Best New Films of 2023

  1. Aftersun (Charlotte Wells, 2022)
  2. The Maiden (Graham Foy, 2022)
  3. The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams, 2023)
  4. Khers nist (No Bears, Jafar Panahi, 2022)
  5. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  6. Riddle of Fire (Weston Razooli, 2023) 
  7. Tár (Todd Field, 2022)
  8. Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023)
  9. Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella, 2022)
  10. Paco (Tim Carlier, 2023)

Asteroid City

I won’t say much here except to note the last film on this list, which is also the best Australian film I saw this year: Paco, an independent Australian production that’s as aesthetically novel as it is funny and eccentric. It was a pity that most Australian film festivals failed to select it, despite the film having had an international premiere at IFFR; as a result, I still haven’t had a chance to watch it on the big screen (only seeing it via a screener provided by the director), or to share the joys of the film with an audience. Considering the fate of this film alongside the truncated recent releases of other excellent, major-overseas-festival-premiering Australian titles Friends and Strangers (James Vaughan, 2021) and Moja Vesna (Sara Kern, 2022) – both of which are, ironically, available (or soon to be available) on DVD in the US, but not here – I can only say that I hope that bold and interesting Australian cinema will get a little more love in 2024.

Best Older Films Encountered for the First Time

  1. O Sangue (Blood, Pedro Costa, 1989)
  2. Va Savoir director’s cut (Jacques Rivette, 2001)
  3. Die Reise nach Lyon (Blind Spot, Claudia von Alemann, 1981)
  4. Dolgie provody (The Long Farewell, Kira Muratova, 1971)
  5. Mossane (Safi Faye, 1996)
  6. Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970)
  7. Flaming Ears (Ursula Pürrer, A Hans Scheirl & Dietmar Schipek, 1992)
  8. La fille de Prague avec un sac très lourd (The Girl from Prague with the Very Heavy Bag, Danielle Jaeggi, 1978)
  9. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
  10. Gorod Zero (Zero City, Karen Shakhnazarov, 1988)

Best Repertory Film screenings and Local Film events

  1. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975) at the Capitol
  2. Nattvardsgästerna (Winter Light, Ingmar Bergman, 1963) and Skammen (Shame, Ingmar Bergman, 1968) at the Astor Theatre
  3. Golden Eighties (Chantal Akerman, 1986), O Sangue (Blood, Pedro Costa, 1989) and Werckmeister harmóniák (Werckmeister Harmonies, Béla Tarr, 2000) at the Melbourne International Film Festival
  4. Demain on déménage (Tomorrow We Move, Chantal Akerman, 2004), Le pornographe (The Pornographer, Bertrand Bonello, 2001) and L’homme blessé (The Wounded Man, Patrice Chéreau, 1983) at the University of Melbourne’s French Film Club
  5. The ReelGood Film Festival

The Astor Theatre turned back the clock in the second half of this year with some incredible programming, including screenings of Blow-Up, Daisies, Satantango, Fantastic Planet, The Holy Mountain and The Last Movie, and culminating in a month-long, 18-film Ingmar Bergman retrospective. Special mention also goes to the Capitol’s excellent ‘Best Films You’ve Never Seen’ program and the one-day ReelGood Film Festival, which offered an exciting and boldly curated collection of new Australian shorts. And I’d be remiss not to include the Melbourne International Film Festival, which as always was the highlight of the year. In 2023, MIFF had even more brilliant repertory programming than usual, including a retrospective of Safi Faye’s work – while the quality of the prints could have been better, it was still a privilege to see her films on the big screen. 

Best DVD/Blu-ray releases

  1. Briefe Eines Toten Mannes (Ostalgica) – German edition of Konstantin Lopushanskiy’s Dead Man’s Letters
  2. Brief Encounters & The Long Farewell (StudioCanal)
  3. La guerre est finie (The Film Desk)
  4. Intégrale Joanna Hogg (Condor)
  5. Lost Picture Show (Vinegar Syndrome)
  6. Dream Life (Canadian International Pictures)
  7. The Hourglass Sanitorium (Yellow Veil Pictures)
  8. Pasolini 101 (Criterion)
  9. Aftersun (MUBI)
  10. The Broken Mirror / Unquiet Death (Mondo Macabro)

My biggest discovery this year on the home video front was the incredible work being done by Vinegar Syndrome and its myriad partner labels (including Altered Innocence, Canadian International Pictures, Deaf Crocodile, The Film Desk, Fun City Editions and Yellow Veil Pictures). In a time when the main boutique DVD labels seem to either be slowing down their output or making safer curatorial choices, the Vinegar Syndrome umbrella has been bringing a plethora of important and underseen films into the English-friendly home video market for the first time, usually with impressive special features and commentaries. While other film enthusiasts may be more excited by the nth upgrade of an already widely released title, I’m much more thankful for those companies that, in the supposed twilight of physical media distribution, are bringing masterpieces from decades gone by to disc with English subtitles for the first time.

Lee Hill

Author of A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern.

Top Ten (no order): 

  • The Fablemans (Steven Spielberg, 2022) 
  • Avec amour et acharnement (Both Sides of the Blade, Claire Denis, 2022) 
  • Reality (Tina Satter, 2023) 
  • Barry – Final Season (HBO, Bill Hader and others, 2023) 
  • May December (Todd Haynes, 2023) 
  • Maestro (Bradley Cooper, 2023) 
  • Le Procès Goldman (The Goldman Case, Cédric Kahn, 2023)
  • Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023) 
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023) 
  • Napoleon (Ridley Scott, 2023) 

Perfect Days

Runners Up/Honourable Mention:
Tár (Todd Field, 2022), Sharper (Benjamin Caron, 2023), The Eight Mountains (Felix Van Groeningen, 2023), As bestas (The Beasts, Rodrigo Sorogoyen), Succession – Final Season (HBO, Jesse Armstrong and others, 2023), Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (James Mangold, 2023), Anita (Alexis Bloom and Svetlana Hill), Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023), Eileen (William Oldroyd, 2023) and SCALA!!! (Jane Giles, 2023) 

The Far Side of Paradise:
The Killer (David Fincher, 2023), The Master Gardener (Paul Schrader, 2021 2023), Coup de Chance (Woody Allen, 2023), The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023) and L’Été dernier (Last Summer, Catherine Breillat, 2023) 

Moments in Time:
The Spotify-ready soundtrack to The Bikeriders (Jeff Nichols, 2023) 

Academy of the Overrated:
Beau is Afraid (Ari Aster, 2023), Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023), and Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023) 

Poolman (Chris Pine, 2023) and Saltburn (Emerald Fennell, 2023) 

DVD Reissues/Restorations/Directors Cuts:
Trois Coleurs: Bleu/Blanc/Rouge (Three Colours: Blue/White/Red, Krzsystof Kieslowski, 1993, 1994 and 1995), viewing Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002), Aloha, Bobby and Rose (Floyd Mutrux, 1975) and Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975) at the BFI’s Film on Film Festival, Wanda (Barbara Woden, 1970), Le Maman et Putain (The Mother and the Whore, Jean Eustache, 1974), Judgement at Nuremberg (Stanley Kramer, 1961) and Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960) 

Fassbinder: Thousands of Mirrors by Ian Penman, Pandora’s Box: How Guts, Guile, and Greed Upended TV by Peter Biskind, Madonna: A Rebel Life by Mary Gabriel, The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story by Sam Wasson, Kubrick: An Odyssey by Robert Kolker and Nathan Abrams and God and the Devil: The Life and Work of Ingmar Bergman by Peter Cowie and Every Man for Himself and God Against All: A Memoir by Werner Herzog. 

2023 was the year when moviegoing returned. Who knew? Perhaps 2024 will be the year I finally see Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023), but in the meantime I am happy with the contact high from the Dua Lipa video.

Kierran A. Horner

Film scholar and writer based in London.

Six Released this year:
Amanda (Carolina Cavalli, 2022)
An absurdly existential concoction of quirky delusion, Cavalli’s film and Benedetta Porcaroli’s nuanced interpretation as the titular Amanda require and command audience sympathy. Both the central performance and the touching regard with which the director-writer captures her anti-heroine allude to a past behind the present that leads her to this distorted narrative.

Close (Lukas Dhont, 2022)
Capturing the tenderness between two school-age children, the haptic intimacy of Dhont’s camera – with its young subjects and, tellingly, the natural element that surrounds them – could feel oppressive without the perspective of Léo (Eden Dambrine), whose unaffected romantic love is universalised as he breaks the fourth wall with intersubjective glances into the lens and the gaze of the audience.

The Royal Hotel (Kitty Green, 2023)
Harvesting details from the true story in which two young, desperate and, additionally, vulnerable women accept work in the eponymous outback pub, Green’s second feature immerses its viewer in the microcosm of mindless misogyny, perpetually haunted – with nods to Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff,1971) – by the spectre of implicit violence lurking in the umbra of rooms, corridors and male fallacy.

How to Have Sex (Molly Manning Walker, 2023)
Exemplifying Manning’s meticulous ethical equipoise around consent, the scene of Tara walking alone down a deserted party-street in the Malia resort after her first sexual experience, the detritus of carousing excess from the night before blown across the frame like tumbleweed, speaks to her desolation: a lone figure in a metaphorical desert lacking the sustenance of comparable experience or support.

20.000 especies de Abejas (20,000 Species of Bees, Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, 2023)
Urresola’s drama raises broader questions about structural patriarchy’s inability to accept non-binary positions but resists making Lucia’s tale an analogy for other issues concerning restrictive delineations of subjectivity intimated throughout the film. The reactions of the intergenerational female cast at first define then gradually facilitate the burgeoning identity at the heart of the story, portrayed preternaturally by Sofía Otero.

Kokomo City (D. Smith, 2023)
Recording intersectional experience without filters (except for the lush chiaroscuro cinematography), Smith captures the frequently neglected – and by turns, horrendous, hopeful and hilarious – voices of four black trans-women discussing the complex impacts of their assumed employment as sex-workers. Rasheeda Williams’s murder by gunshot after filming completed is a devastating incarnation of the pervasive and persistent threat of misogynistic violence that these women disproportionately encounter and (therefore) the biting necessity of Smith’s film.

Six Seen for the First Time this year:
Shoes (Lois Weber, 1916)
Weber’s proto-feminist work constructs a paradigm for portraying the domestic and private life of a young woman ostensibly permitted agency yet, facing a moral dilemma between the physical and fiscal effects of poverty and betraying societal norms, is exposed to coercion and the limits of her gendered fate.

Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke, 1967)
Clarke’s apparent depiction of the titular Jason’s Holliday’s initially unapologetic account of his life as hustler is as poignant as it is diverting as it unveils – through Holliday’s increasingly maudlin inebriation over the 12-hour recording stint – not only the torment beneath her subject’s regaling reminiscences, but also the complicity of those behind the camera in his present anguish.

Rodina elektrichestva (The Homeland of Electricity, Larisa Shepitko,1967)
Although a contribution to the omnibus film Beginning of An Unknown Era, Shepitko’s short displays her signature naturalistic style, the corporeal close-ups and isolating shots of her characters against epic environmental voids, one example from her devastatingly foreshortened career of an affecting account of human frailty, physical and spiritual, and the unstinting resistance to its consuming embrace.

Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit – Redupers (The All-Around Reduced Personality: Outtakes, Helke Sander, 1978)
Whilst relocating codes from her early documentaries into her first fiction film, Sander still maintains a realist aesthetic for her didactic socialist-feminist tract depicting the reciprocal convergence of a woman artist and activist’s creativity, familial commitments and political fidelity.

Kamikaze Hearts (Fact or Fiction, Juliet Bashore, 1986)
Bashore’s quasi-documentary, as the alternative title implies, occupies the intervals between layers of fabrication, performance and identity, recording a fictionalised version of the lives of its two real-life lovers. It barely skirts the ethical (and permeable) boundaries between condemnation of the exploitation of these and other women and gratifying the voyeurism that sexualises and dehumanises them.

Celia (Celia: Child of Terror, Ann Turner, 1989)
Composed from the eponymous Celia’s perspective, Turner presents idyllic childhood fantasy tinctured by the invasive reality of her first encounter with death. The young girl’s ensuing anxieties are personified by fictive Hobyahs and cruel neighbourhood bullies alike, with Turner’s symbolism frequently hinting at an inherent ecological concern lying behind the personal horrors, as in Long Weekend (Colin Eggleston, 1978).

Brian Hu

Artistic Director of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Associate Professor of Film and Television at San Diego State University

15 Favorite New Films:

  1. Kaibutsu (Monster, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2023)
  2. Aku wa Sonzai Shinai (Evil Does Not Exist, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2023)
  3. Mantagheye bohrani (Critical Zone, Ali Ahmadzadeh, 2023)
  4. May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
  5. Gush (Fox Maxy, 2023)
  6. Xue Bao (Snow Leopard, Pema Tseden, 2023)
  7. Las cosas indefinidas (Undefined Things, María Aparicio, 2023)
  8. All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson, 2023)
  9. Uriui haru (In Our Day, Hong Sang-soo, 2023)
  10. Fremont (Babak Jalali, 2023)
  11. Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  12. The Taste of Mango (Chloe Abrahams, 2023)
  13. Bên trong vo kén vàng (Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, Thien An Pham, 2023)
  14. Qing chun (Youth (Spring), Wang Bing, 2023)
  15. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)


Christoph Huber

Curator, Austrian Film Museum

a) Analogue Pleasures, first encountered as they were meant to be (on glorious 35mm or 16mm):

  • Le commissaire est bon enfant (Jacques Becker, Pierre Prévert, 1935)
  • Shu jian en chou lu (The Romance of Book and Sword, Ann Hui, 1987)/Xiang xiang gong zhu (Princess Fragrance, Ann Hui, 1987)
  • Quelques jours avec moi (A Few Days with Me, Claude Sautet, 1988)
  • It’s Great to Be Alive (Alfred L. Werker, 1933)
  • Agostino (Mauro Bolognini, 1962)
  • Der letzte Ritt nach Santa Cruz (The Last Ride to Santa Cruz, Rolf Olsen, 1964)
  • Le charrette fantôme (The Phantom Carriage, Julien Duvivier, 1939)
  • Zizkovská romance (Suburban Romance, Zbynek Brynych, 1958)
  • Det stora äventyret (The Great Adventure, Arne Sucksdorff, 1953)
  • The Sea Gull (Sidney Lumet, 1968)
  • The Golden Positions (James Broughton, 1970)
  • Brise-glace (Icebreaker, Jean Rouch, Titte Törnroth, Raúl Ruiz, 1988)
  • Wanted: Billy The Kid (Jack Deveau, 1976)
  • Imagining October (Derek Jarman, 1984)
  • L’oro di Roma (Gold of Rome, Carlo Lizzani, 1961)
  • Pop 1 – Dock 1 – Dock 2 – Letter – Dot (Diter Rot, 1956-61)
  • Broken Specs (Ted Fendt, 2012)
  • Toute une nuit (Chantal Akerman, 1982)
  • Meatdaze (Jeff Keen, 1968)
  • Haiku (Michael Glawogger, 1987)
  • Régime sans pain (Raul Ruiz, 1985)

b) The Digital Deluge

Recent Reveries

  • Silent Night (John Woo, 2023)
  • Jeder schreibt für sich allein. Schriftsteller im Nationalsozialismus (Melting Ink, Dominik Graf, Felix von Boehm, 2023)
  • Red (Taylor Swift Cover) (Tricks mit Kamelen, 2023)
  • Inu-oh (Yuasa Masaaki, 2021)
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (William Friedkin, 2023)
  • Menus-plaisirs: Les Troisgros (Frederick Wiseman, 2023)
  • Chempion mira (Champion of the World, Aleksey Sidorov, 2021)
  • Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Miyzaki Hayao, 2023)
  • Septet: The Story of Hong Kong (Sammo Hung, Ann Hui, Patrick Tam, Yuen Woo-ping, Ringo Lam, Johnnie To, Tsui Hark, 2021)
  • Ikuta no kita / Dozens of Norths (Yamamura Kôji, 2021)
  • Der falsche Weg (Bruno Sukrow, 2022)

Also Adorable

  • Boudica: Queen of War (Jesse V. Johnson, 2023)
  • La primera mirada (The First Look, Luis E. Parés, 2023)
  • Millenium Earl Too Again (Lee Hardcastle, 2023)
  • Hokage (Shadow of Fire, Tsukamoto Shin’ya, 2023)
  • Maîtres anciens – Comédie (Mathieu Amalric, 2022)
  • Manjianghong (Full River Red, Zhang Yimou, 2023) 
  • Rapito (Kidnapped, Marco Bellocchio, 2023)
  • Esterno notte (Exterior, Night, Marco Bellocchio, 2022)
  • Adult Swim Yule Log (Casper Kelly, 2022)
  • Ecce homo (Ludwig Wüst, 2023) 
  • One Ranger (Jesse V. Johnson, 2023)

c) Timeless Treasures

  • A Chess Dispute (Robert W. Paul, 1903)
  • Šach mat (Alfréd Radok, 1964)
  • Opowiesci niezwykle: Szach i mat! (Incredible Stories: Check and Mate, Andrzej Zakrzewski, 1967)
  • Tuld kuningdale (Ülo Tambek, 1969)
  • Shesveneba (Break, Baadur Tsuladze, 1978)
  • Sakk! (Chess!, Orosz István, 2010)
  • Wittgenstein Plays Chess With Marcel Duchamp, Or How Not To Do Philosophy (Amit Dutta, 2020)
  • The Sneezing Weasel (Tex Avery, 1938)
  • Estacion de Chamartin (Manuel Vidal Estevez, 1981)
  • Ilha das Flores (Isle of Flowers, Jorge Furtado, 1989)
  • La nuit des horloges (Jean Rollin, 2007)
  • Hamster Hell (Lee Hardcastle, 2012)
  • Hamster Hell 2 (Lee Hardcastle, 2020)
  • Senilità (Senility, Mauro Bolognini, 1962)
  • La corruzione (Corruption, Mauro Bolognini, 1963)
  • Madamigella di Maupin / Le Chevalier du Maupin (Mauro Bolognini, 1966)
  • Gran bollito (Black Journal, Mauro Bolognini, 1977)
  • Swing, You Sinners! (Dave Fleischer, 1930)
  • Folies meutrières (Antoine Pellissier, 1984)
  • Prikosnoveniye (Contact, Albert S. Mkrtchyan, 1992)
  • Silent Hill (Christophe Gans, 2006)
  • Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (Friz Freleng, 1944)
  • L’uomo dal fiore in bocca (The Man with the Flower in His Mouth, Marco Bellocchio, 1992)
  • Il principe di Homburg (The Prince of Homburg, Marco Bellocchio, 1997)
  • Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (Chuck Jones, 1941) 
  • Lady Shiva oder “Die bezahlen nur meine Zeit” (Tula Roy, 1974)
  • Aktfotografie – z.B. Gundula Schulze (Helke Misselwitz, 1983)
  • The Cagey Canary (Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, 1941)
  • Occhio alla penna (Buddy Goes West, Michele Lupo, 1981)
  • Pizza Connection (Damiano Damiani, 1986)
  • Tin Pan Alley Cats (Robert Clampett, 1943)
  • La traque (The Track, Serge L. Leroy, 1975)
  • Haitatsu sarenai santsu no tegami (The Three Undelivered Letters, Nomura Yoshitarô, 1979)
  • The Lady Said No (Frank Tashlin, 1946)
  • Fallen Angels (Gregory Dark, 1985)
  • Some Nudity Required (Johanna Demetrakas, Odette Springer, 1998)
  • Chuyen Ong Giong (Tale of Thanh Giong, Ngo Manh Lan, 1970)
  • Overnight Sensation (Robert Benjamin, Al Jarry, Rico Manzini, 1976)
  • For the Love of Pleasure (Edwin Brown, 1979) 
  • Nightdreams (Francis Delia, 1981)
  • Okonjoruri (The Magic Fox, Okamoto Tadanari, 1982)
  • Los murmullos (The Whisperers, Rubén Gámez & Carlos Velo, 1974)
  • Etnocidio: Notas sobre El Mezquita (Ethnocide, Paul Leduc, 1977)
  • Lumière des hommes (Edmond Bernhard, 1954)
  • Red Planet Mars (Harry Horner, 1952)
  • Robinson Crusoe on Mars (Byron Haskin, 1963)
  • Mars (Pavel Klushantsev, 1968)
  • Budet laskovyy dozhd (There Will Come Soft Rains, Nazim Tulyahodzhayev, 1984)
  • Guns Girls and Gangsters (Edward L. Cahn, 1959)
  • Tir (Shooting Range, Vladimir Tarasov, 1979)
  • Dernier domicile connu (Last Known Adress, José Giovanni, 1970)
  • Cipka (Pussy, Renata Gąsiorowska, 2016)
  • El sexo está loco (Sex Is Crazy, Jess Franco, 1981)
  • A Thousand and One Erotic Nights (Edwin Brown, 1982)
  • Portret (Portrait, Stanislaw Lenartowicz, 1977)
  • Saat el Fahrir Dakkat, Barra ya Isti Mar (The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived, Heiny Srour, 1974)
  • The Biko Inquest (Albert Finney, 1984)
  • Jiok (dugaeui sam) (The Hell [Two Kinds of Life], Yeon Sang-ho, 2007)
  • The She-Creature (Edward L. Cahn, 1956)
  • War of the Colossal Beast (Bert I. Gordon, 1958)
  • Pesni ognennykh let (Songs of the Years of Fire, Inessa Kovalevskaya, 1971)
  • The Lost Moment (Martin Gabel, 1947)
  • Kak lvyonok i cherepakha peli pesnyu (How the Little Lion and the Turtle Sang a Song, Inessa Kovalevskaya, 1974)
  • Femmes de Sade (Alex De Renzy, 1976)
  • House of De Sade (Joe Davian, 1977)
  • Indiántörténet (An Indian Story, Miklós Jancsó, 1962)
  • Stand Up and Fight (W.S. Van Dyke, 1939)
  • Något om USA:s indianer (Something About the Indians in the United States, Peter Nestler, 1978)
  • El televisor (Narcisco Ibáñez Serrador, 1974)
  • La estanquera de Vallecas (Eloy de la Iglesia, 1987)
  • Too Many Cooks (Casper Kelly, 2014)
  • Échec au porteur (Not Delivered, Gilles Grangier, 1958)
  • Final Deployment 4: Queen Battle Walkthrough (Casper Kelly, 2018)
  • Ein Western für den SDS (Günter Peter Straschek, 1968)
  • L’heure de la vérité (The Hour of Truth, Henri Calef, 1965)
  • Mon ami le traître (My Friend the Traitor, José Giovanni, 1988)
  • 20 seiki awâ: Mô Takutô to bunka daikakumei (Mao and the Cultural Revolution, Ôshima Nagisa, 1969)
  • The Invisible Ray (Lambert Hillyer, 1936)
  • Black Friday (Arthur Lubin, 1940)
  • The Virgin Sacrifice (J.X. Williams, 1974)
  • Bolívar, sinfonía tropikal (Bolívar, a Tropical Symphony, Diego Risquez, 1980)
  • The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (William H. Whyte, 1980)
  • Are You in the House Alone? (Walter Grauman, 1978)
  • Riccardo Freda: Ero il regista più pagato d’Italia (Riccardo Freda, I Was the Highest Paid Director in Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore, 2007)
  • Bugles in the Afternoon (Roy Rowland, 1952)
  • Stadtführer Für Bonn Und Umgebung (Guidebook to Bonn and Environs, Manfred Vosz, 1969)
  • Anarchism in America (Joel Sucher, Steven Fischler, 1983)
  • Contacts (Raymond Depardon, Roger Ikhlef, 1990)
  • Taiheiyo no washi (Eagle of the Pacific, Ishirō Honda, 1953)
  • The Gallant Hours (Robert Montgomery, 1960)
  • Au Père Lachaise (Pierre-Marie Goulet, Jean-Daniel Pollet, 1986)

Darik Janik

  1. La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-au-Feu, Tranh Anh Hung, 2023)
  2. La Bête (The Beast, Bertrand Bonello, 2023)
  3. De Facto (Selma Doborac, 2023)
  4. Poznámky z Eremocénu (Notes from Eremocene, Viera Čákanyová, 2023) 
  5. Sur l’Adamant (On the Adamant, Nicolas Philibert, 2023) 
  6. Vildanden (The Wild Duck, Nadja Ericsson, 2023)
  7. Daaaaaali! (Quentin Dupieux, 2023)
  8. Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  9. The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)
  10. Aggro Dr1ft (Harmony Korine, 2023)
  11. Night Walk (Sohn Koo-yong, 2023)
  12. Nu astepta prea mult de la sfârsitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  13. Here (Bas Devos, 2023)
  14. Menus Plaisirs – Les Troisgros (Frederick Wiseman, 2023)
  15. Yannick (Quentin Dupieux, 2023)
  16. Los colonos (The Settlers, Felipe Gálvez, 2023) 
  17. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  18. Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, Rodrigo Moreno, 2023) 
  19. Böse Spiele – Rimini Sparta (Wicked Games: Rimini Sparta, Ulrich Seidl, 2023)
  20. MMXX (Cristi Puiu, 2023)

The Zone of Interest


  • His Three Daughters (Azazel Jacobs, 2023), 
  • A Semente do Mal (Amelia’s Children, Gabriel Abrantes, 2023)
  • Ferrari (Michael Mann, 2023)
  • Blackout (Larry Fessenden, 2023)
  • El Juicio (The Trial, Ulises de la Orden, 2023)

New To Me

  • King & Country (Joseph Losey, 1964)
  • City of Hope (John Sayles, 1991)
  • Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942)
  • Tin joek yau ching (A Moment of Romance, Benny Chan, 1990)
  • Chichi Ariki (There Was a Father, Yasujirô Ozu, 1942)
  • O Fantasma (João Pedro Rodrigues, 2000)
  • With Love to the Person Next to Me (Brian McKenzie, 1987)

Paul Jeffery

One-time actor/filmmaker, now PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne

New Films In Cinemas:

  1. Frère et soeur (Brother and Sister, Arnaud Desplechin, 2022)
  2. Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
  3. Bad Behaviour (Alice Englert, 2023)
  4. Bai ta zhi guang (The Shadowless Tower, Zhang Lu, 2023)
  5. Of an Age (Goran Stolevski, 2022)
  6. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  7. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  8. May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
  9. Women Talking (Sarah Polley, 2022)
  10. Simple comme Sylvain (The Nature of Love, Monia Chokri, 2023)
  11. Shashvi shashvi maq’vali (Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry, Elene Naveriani, 2023)
  12. Riddle of Fire (Weston Razooli, 2023)

(Comparatively) Recent Films Seen for the First Time Via Streaming:

  1. ​Favolacce (Bad Tales, Damiano D’Innocenzo and Fabio D’Innocenzo, 2020)
  2. Winona (Alexander Voulgaris, 2019)
  3. I Know This Much Is True (Derek Cianfrance, 2020)
  4. Ying (Shadow, Zhang Yimou, 2018)

Retro Films:

  1. Panique (Julien Duvivier, 1946)
  2. Razzia sur la chnouf (Razzia, Henri Decoin, 1955)
  3. Squirrels to the Nuts (Peter Bogdanovich, 2021 – aka She’s Funny That Way, Peter Bogdanovich, 2014)
  4. At Long Last Love (Peter Bogdanovich, 1975)

Matthew Jordan

Writer, Producer & Director, The Firelight Pictures Co.

1. Beau is Afraid (Ari Aster)

This is the clear stand out film of 2023 for me. Seeing it twice in two days, this brilliant film builds in complexity with each viewing. Joaquin Phoenix reminds us once again why he is THE Actor of his generation and Ari Aster makes the most of his earned Hollywood clout following two critically and financially successful horror movies to take a true swing for the bleachers with the year’s most affecting horror movie (topped with liberal lashing of comedy). A cult classic for the ages and my highlight of a stellar 2023 at the movies.

2. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

This is the second film I saw twice at the cinema on back to back days this year. This is a film from a director whom I would be shocked not to see on my Top 10 in any year he releases a film. Oppenheimer proves the myth of Nolan’s Midas touch to be real as nothing here screams mega hit and yet mega hit it is, binging the masses back to the multiplex after being held away for years with a three-hour, R-rated biopic of a physicist. Bravo Mr. Nolan, Bravo.

3. Perfect Days (Wim Wenders)

As a German born director who has brought us some of the most unique cinematic visions of America, Wim Wenders here brings to us a vision of modern-day Japan so specific in its cultural minutia and yet so universal in its human emotions as to feel like the work of a Japanese director. Add to this his skill for matching great needle drops to key moments perfectly and my only complaint is that this film wasn’t three times as long, as I would have lived in that world for days more with pleasure. 

4. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

It will be a sad day when the latest opus from cinematic maestro Martin Scorsese doesn’t find a place on my Top 10. And whilst Killers is second tier Scorsese (more Aviator than Taxi Driver) it remains an epic telling of a tale thus far untold on the cinema screen, a powerful film with grand thematic ambitions and even grander technical prowess. 

May December

5. May December (Todd Haynes)

Knowing nothing about this film beforehand other than it is a Todd Hayne’s film – a director I admire more than love, I was initially perplexed by the film’s tone, before minutes in when our protagonist (played by the always brilliant Julianne Moore) turns from her fridge and delivers a line as if to us in the auditorium; a line that almost breaks the fourth wall and certainly breaks the uncomfortable tone, letting everyone know “It’s ok to laugh here!” And laugh I did, through all the strangeness until this film’s beautifully perplexing conclusion. 

6. Sick of Myself (Kristoffer Borgli)

With two films up for contention this year, Kristofer Borgli’s first film made its way onto my list for all the reasons his other film of 2023 (Dream Scenario) didn’t make the cut. This film is truly awkward, dark and disturbing, and followed all of its off-kilter elements right through to the closing credits, perfectly distilling its satirical approach to our modern mindsets, a feat that Dream Scenario failed to land in its third act. 

7. Talk to Me (Danny & Michael Philippou)

If I were told that an Australian horror film made by directors whole previous claim to fame was their YouTube channel would be on my Top 10 I would have laughed harder than I did at the sex scene on the couch in Dream Scenario (the year’s funniest scene) but here we are. A film that wears its Australian credentials with pride, never being one of those cringeworthy attempts to leverage lazy Americans perceptions of the land down under for kudos, this also happens to be a franchise commencing film that plays with all the horror classics but never feels redundant or derivative. A pure genre success from a homegrown duo. Can’t wait for Talk2Me in 2024.

8. Past Lives (Celine Song)

Seeing this with a Director Q&A at this year’s Melbourne Film Festival was both a highlight of the festival and a cinematic highlight of the year. Hearing Celine Song speak provided a beautiful glimpse into the personal nature of this story, which takes this highly specific story of cultural and cross-cultural love and makes it a love story for anyone who has ever loved and lost. A little too sappy in the final reel to move higher on my list, but as a first feature I can’t wait to see what’s next from this born cinematic storyteller. 

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (Edward Berger)

I saw this at the cinema after the early word of mouth was so effusively strong. I am pleased Netflix enables stories like this to be made but never wanting to see great cinema on a TV screen, I ventured out and the film didn’t disappoint. All the visual spectacle and tension one would expect from this powerful story made all the better for the scope and ferocity of the cinematic presentation of this worthy Oscar winner. 

10. Magazine Dreams (Elijah Bynum)

For reasons anyone following film twitter will know, this film will sadly not see the light of day for years (if ever) as all that makes it so dark and brilliant on screen, also seems to have crossed over into the real world of its lead actor. However, seeing it pre the disturbing allegations and conviction, all I saw was a stunningly shot, slow burn of a character study in the vein of Taxi Driver, with one of the year’s best central performances. Hopefully in time more people will see this great film so that director Elijah Bynum and his team can be honoured for their skills and not overlooked for reasons beyond their control or responsibility.

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