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ENTRIES IN PART 8:


Maria San Filippo

Outgoing Editor-in-Chief of New Review of Film and Television Studies

10 Favorite Films (and addenda) of 2023 

Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
It transcended a gimmicky publicity campaign to prove the year’s most profound meditation on the irreconcilable expectations put on women under patriarchy (looking at you, #2). 

Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
She had me at the trailer (looking at you, #1). 

The Holdovers (Alexander Payne, 2023)
The Descendants in 1970s Massachusetts, with standout performances by its quartet of lead actors.

May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
Pomo blend of Persona and potboiler that in Haynes’ hands becomes a chilling vision of exploitation in its various guises. 

Les enfant des autres (Other People’s Children, Rebecca Zlotowski, 2023)
Like 2023’s other “what if?” film featuring a fulfilled woman protagonist (Past Lives), this muted yet moving story of a vibrant fortysomething confronting a childfree existence shouldn’t seem as unconventional and refreshing as it does. 

Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022)
Tantalizing, transfixing, not sure quite what it amounts to but I haven’t managed to shake it.  

Passages (Ira Sachs, 2023)
I couldn’t say it better than the Metrograph’s Anna Dorn: “A borderline personality disordered bisexual blows up his life to the beat of obscure French techno.” 

Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2023)
This ode to artmaking against all odds – and the complicated friend-and-family network it necessitates – is yet another quiet, subtle showpiece for the Reichardt-Williams symbiosis, enhanced here by Hong Chao and Judd Hirsch among other indispensable touches. 

The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)
A film that’s harder to hear than to watch, and therein lies its power. 

You Hurt My Feelings (Nicole Holofcener, 2023)
Maybe Holofcener’s best since Walking & Talking, or maybe I just really connected with the middle-aged creative battling her moderately successful, well-loved self still looking outward for validation.

Honorable mention (tie): Fremont (Babak Jalali, 2023) and Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)
Teetering on the brink of twee and cloying respectively but both won me over in the end; still more proof that indie and romcom are ideal mates.

Most auspicious debut feature: A Thousand and One (A.V. Rockwell, 2023)
Read my rave out of Sundance.

Most interesting failures: Bottoms (Emma Seligman, 2023) and Cat Person (Susanna Fogel, 2023)
Expectation-defying and cringe-delightful until venturing a third act flyer that went wildly and regrettably off the rails.

Best film still in need of distribution: Joonam (Sierra Urich, 2023)
Thanks to Emerson College’s Homa Sarabi for bringing film and filmmaker to campus this fall.

Best re-released film: Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984)
Given that it exceeded my near-forty years of heightened expectations, I am now duly and belatedly a believer (even if Monterey Pop still has my vote for best concert doc).

Most errantly as-yet-unseen: Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves (Aki Kaurismäki, 2023), Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023), Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023), The Persian Version (Maryam Keshavarz, 2023), Polite Society (Nida Manzoor, 2023).

Most hotly anticipated: All of Us Strangers (Andrew Haigh, 2023), Club Zero (Jessica Hausner, 2023), How to Have Sex (Molly Manning Walker, 2023), L’été dernier (Last Summer (Catherine Breillat, 2023).

Rowena Santos Aquino

Los Angeles-based film lecturer/scholar

Favourite films/series/etc. viewed this year

Released in 2023…-ish

  • F for Fakenham: When Orson Welles Went to Norwich (Richard Curson Smith, 2020)
  • Stateless (Michèle Stephenson, 2020)
  • Salaryman (Allegra Pacheco, 2021)
  • The Souvenir: Part II (Joanna Hogg, 2021)
  • The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes, 2021)
  • Blue Island (Chan Tze-woon, 2022)
  • Fire of Love (Sara Dosa, 2022)
  • The Pez Outlaw (Amy and Bryan Storkel, 2022)
  • The Rehearsal series (Nathan Fielder, 2022)
  • Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV (Amanda Kim, 2023)
  • Released relatively earlier
  • The Mask of Dimitrios (Jean Negulesco, 1944)
  • Lured (Douglas Sirk, 1947)
  • The Narrow Margin (Richard Fleischer, 1952)
  • La madriguera (Honeycomb, Carlos Saura, 1969)
  • El jardín de las delicias (The Garden of Earthly Delights, Carlos Saura, 1970)
  • Ana y los lobos (Ana and the Wolves, Carlos Saura, 1973)
  • Elisa, vida mía (Carlos Saura, 1977)
  • Song of Granite (Pat Collins, 2017)
  • Aquarela (Viktor Kossakovsky, 2018)
  • Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, 2018)
  • The Image You Missed (Dónal Foreman, 2018)

Honourable mentions

  • Heeojil gyeolsim (Decision to Leave, Park Chan-wook, 2022)
  • Per arti (Remember to Blink, Austėja Urbaitė, 2022)

Jack Sargeant

Program director of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival, a freelance curator and programmer, the author of numerous books, and an academic

In no particular order, and as ever this will change on subsequent reflection, but the following narrative feature films have stayed with me this year:

  • Infinity Pool (Brandon Cronenberg, 2023)
  • Augure (Omen, Baloji, 2023)
  • Heroico (Heroic, David Zonana, 2023)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  • Disco Boy (Giacomo Abbruzzese, 2023)
  • Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
  • Babylon (Damien Chazelle, 2022)
  • Brujería (Sorcery, Christopher Murray, 2023)
  • Godzilla Minus One (Yamazaki Takashi, 2023)
  • Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)

Godzilla Minus One

Some titles that were held over / released internationally prior to 2023 that I enjoyed:

  • Pearl (Ti West, 2022)
  • Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg, 2022)
  • Hello Dankness (Soda Jerk, 2022)
  • The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra (Park Sye-young, 2022)

Hamed Sarrafi

UK-based cinephile; freelance critic/translator for Senses of Cinema and Filmemrooz (Iranian Film Magazine)

25 Favorite films released in 2023 (festivals, cinemas, streaming services).

  1. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  2. Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella, 2022)
  3. Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023)
  4. Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  5. Naui pituseongi yeonin (Birth, Jiyoung Yoo, 2022)
  6. The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)
  7. Daaaaaali! (Quentin Dupieux, 2023)
  8. Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, 2023)
  9. The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams, 2023)
  10. Les chambres rouges (Red Rooms, Pascal Plante, 2023)
  11. Zielona granica (The Green Border, Agnieszka Holland, 2023)
  12. La passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Taste of Things, Trần Anh Hùng, 2023)
  13. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  14. Hebian de cuowu (Only the River Flows, Wei Shujun, 2023)
  15. Memory (Michel Franco, 2023)
  16. Un beau matin (One Fine Morning, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2022)
  17. Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2022)
  18. Los colonos (The Settlers, Felipe Gálvez Haberle, 2023)
  19. Europa (Sudabeh Mortezai, 2023)
  20. Bên trong vỏ kén vàng (Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, Pham Thiên Ân, 2023)
  21. Sobre todo de noche (Foremost by Night, Víctor Iriarte, 2023)
  22. Le livre des solutions (The Book of Solutions, Michel Gondry, 2023)
  23. R.M.N. (Cristian Mungiu, 2022)
  24. Tab (Walk Up, Hong Sang-soo, 2022)
  25. Tótem (Totem, Lila Avilés, 2023)

25 Older films encountered in 2023 (seen in festivals, restored, re-releases, home entertainment, streaming channels, etc).

    1. Gharibeh va meh (Stranger and the Fog, Bahram Beyzaie, 1976)
    2. Kimssi pyoryugi (Castaway on the Moon, Lee Hae-jun, 2009)
    3. Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996)
    4. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1976)
    5. Sparta (Ulrich Seidl, 2022)
    6. Un mundo misterioso (A Mysterious World, Rodrigo Moreno, 2011)
    7. Macario (Roberto Gavaldón, 1960)
    8. Geomi sup (Spider Forest, Song Il-gon, 2004)
    9. Les misérables (Ladj Ly, 2019)
    10. Liteul poleseuteu (Little Forest, Yim Soon-rye, 2018)
    11. The Assistant (Kitty Green, 2019)
    12. Geu seome gago shibda (To the Starry Island, Park Kwang-su, 1993)
    13. Por el dinero (For the Money, Alejo Moguillansky, 2019)
    14. Nat-sool (Daytime Drinking, Noh Young-seok, 2008)
    15. La collectionneuse (The Collector, Éric Rohmer, 1967)
    16. Castro (Alejo Moguillansky, 2009)
    17. Chihwaseon (Drunk on Women and Poetry/Painted Fire, Im Kwon-taek, 2002)
    18. Los guantes mágicos (The Magic Gloves, Martín Rejtman, 2003)
    19. Han Gong-ju (Lee Su-jin, 2013)
    20. Rapado (Cropped Head, Martín Rejtman, 1992)
    21. Urideul (The World of Us, Yoon Ga-eun, 2016)
    22. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
    23. Lo-maen-seu Jo (Romance Joe, Lee Kwang-kuk, 2011)
    24. Mong-ta-joo (Montage, Jeong Geun-seop, 2013)
    25. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

Christine Sathiah

Former film curator at the Alliance française de Penang.

Fewer films on my list this year as family issues have curtailed my viewing time. Still, in no particular order except for the first on the list, my personal best and possibly Ceylan’s best too.

  • Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
  • Kuolleet lehdet. (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • Tar (Todd Field, 2022)
  • Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  • Domangchin yeoja (The Woman who Ran, Hong Sang-soo, 2022)

Revisited: A torinói ló (The Turin Horse, 2011), Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky’s masterpiece. 

Biggest disappointment: Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023).

Andrea Schmidt

Teaches German and the occasional Film Studies course.

Films released earlier than 2023 I rewatched: 

1. The year opened with sold-out 35mm screenings of Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) at the Trylon Cinema in Minneapolis. I first saw it on release in college, and try to screen it for my own film students whenever I get the chance. One of the most achingly beautiful films ever made.

2. Philadelphia Film Society showed Under the Skin (2013) in (what I assume is) anticipation of the nation-wide release of Jonathan Glazer’s latest film. Scarlett Johansson’s performance is stunning. (I do sometimes wonder what it would have been like with Gemma Arteton, originally envisioned for the role.) To quote critic Walter Shaw on the film in his review for Barbie (2023) (a film I unfortunately really disliked): “The good – indeed, masterful – version of Barbie, in which a woman’s appearance is her greatest weapon as well as a giant, often deadly bullseye drawn across her, is Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin….” I love this film and found it extremely cathartic on its release in theatres 10 years ago. On a rewatch, I now have mixed feelings about the rape scene. One could argue it functions as a logical conclusion of the banal male violence Johansson’s creature endures throughout the film. The beach sequence remains one of the bleakest things I have ever watched in cinema. 

3. It was great nostalgic fun to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Steve Barron, 1990) for the first time on the big screen. First introduced to the film at the children’s dentist’s office, my sisters and I grew up watching the VHS’s on repeat. The original sequels have not held up as well, but I still love the neo-noir elements of the first. I also discovered my twin sister has an encyclopedia knowledge of the trilogy of Turtle films from the 1990s. 

4. In my second year of living in Minneapolis, I finally made it up to the The Heights Theater for several films. The organists are a charming show onto themselves. A screening of The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935) provided comfort during the loss of my beloved grandfather. 

Films released earlier than 2023 I watched for the first time:

5. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (David Mirkin, 1997) for the Summer Series at The Fargo Theater. I had never seen this film in its entirety, and it was an absolute joy to see it with my best friend from high school (Hi, Reid!) in your hometown independent cinema. 

6. Screening and Talk with Apichatpong Weerasethakul at Walker Cinema: What a thrill to see Weerasthakul’s films on the big screen! I resisted the urge to watch him (just a few seats away), as he watched his films. In his illuminating discussion with filmmaker Sky Hopinka, he also graciously fielded questions from the audience. A young audience member asked him what he would say to viewers who question the purpose of his films, and he responded, “I don’t care.” The best answer.

7. Lake Mungo (Joel Aderson, 2008): One of the best horror films I have viewed in recent memory. I find only one instance where the tone falls awry, but otherwise, as many others have said, an absolutely stunning portrayal of the process of grief. 

8. Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999): Social media threads recently asked users to nominate best dance scenes and best use of cigarettes from their favourite films. I nominate the final dance sequence in Beau for both. 

Films released in 2023: 

9. Museum of the Moving Image hosted a day of discussion with veritable Renaissance woman Rebecca Miller. I thoroughly enjoyed She Came to Me (2023), which I had wanted to see since its premier at the Berlinale earlier this year. Her script includes one of my favourite lines of the year when a historical reenactor character says, “It’s called period rush.” (I guess it is an actual term!) The cast was all fantastic, but Joanna Kulig was a particular stand-out. 

10. Passages (2023) with Ira Sachs and Franz Rogowski at the Lincoln Film Center. I have been following Franz Rogowski’s career since I first saw him onscreen in Victoria (2015). I am a bit ashamed I became starstruck and fan-girled, though he was extremely kind and patient. Ira Sachs also very graciously let me talk at him about the influence of Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore (1973), which I had just seen at the Lightbox Film Center. He recommended My Little Loves (1974). When I asked if I could find it on DVD, he paused, and said with a smile, “See it in the theatre.”

Valerie Soe

Writer and filmmaker, author of the blog beyondasiaphilia.com

New Releases:

  1. Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022)
  2. Film annonce du film qui n’existera jamais: «Drôles de guerres» (Trailer for a Film That Will Never Exist: ‘Phony Wars’, Jean-Luc Godard, 2023)
  3. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  4. Ferrari (Michael Mann)
  5. Qingchun (Youth (Spring), Wang Bing, 2023)
  6. Passing Time (Terence Davies, 2023)
  7. Hei yi ren (Man in Black, Wang Bing, 2023)
  8. Mul-an-e-seo (In Water, Hong Sang-soo, 2023)
  9. De humani corporis fabrica (The Fabric of the Human Body, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, 2022)
  10. May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
  11. As Filhas do Fogo (Daughters of Fire, Pedro Costa, 2023)
  12. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  13. Padre Pio (Abel Ferrara, 2022)
  14. Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023)
  15. The Old Oak (Ken Loach, 2023)
  16. The Curse (Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, 2023)
  17. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras, 2022)
  18. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
  19. Arshaluysi lusabats’y (Aurora’s Sunrise, Inna Sahakyan, 2022)
  20. Priscilla (Sofia Coppola, 2023)

Valerie Soe

Writer and filmmaker, author of the blog beyondasiaphilia.com

Fav movies that I saw in 2023, in no particular order

32 Sounds (Sam Green, 2023)
Sam Green’s dazzling multimedia presentation spans decades and continents exploring the significance of sound in life, but ultimately returns to the heart. Green’s documentary/essay film is at once thought-provoking, intelligent, emotional, and moving.

Attack Decay Release (H.P. Mendoza, 2023)
Another multimedia extravaganza, H.P. Mendoza’s sci-fi love story mashes up archival and found footage, gay pride, space exploration, and Mendoza’s glorious lo-fi EDM compositions. Like 32 Sounds, the film is seemingly about technofuturism but it’s really all about the here and now.

Wisdom Gone Wild (Rea Tajiri, 2023)
Tajiri’s brilliant essay film elliptically tells the story of her mother’s experiences with dementia. Mixing home movies, original footage, archival clips, and a spare and poetic musical score, Tajiri’s movie is constantly surprising and enlightening. (Note: For the complete experience, if possible watch the full festival cut rather than the PBS edit.)

First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2019)
I’d previously seen and admired Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and Wendy and Lucy (2009) but First Cow bowled me over with its reimagined vision of the American West and its combination of droll humour, sleek storytelling, and a vision of a friendship that transcends the muck of daily existence.

Duk sit daai zong (A Guilty Conscience, Jack Ng, 2023)
Bit giu ngo “dou san” (One More Chance, Anthony Pun, 2023)
Things have changed drastically since the Hong Kong movies ruled the world in the 1980s and 90s but these two films show that commercial cinema in the former Crown Colony still has plenty of life left in it. Respectively starring Dayo Wong and Chow Yun-fat, both films are entertaining, engaging, and very very hyperlocal.

A Guilty Conscience

Olbbaemi (The Night Owl, Ahn Tae-jin, 2023)
I watched this on a long-haul flight to Asia and thoroughly enjoyed it. A historical drama centering on the court of King Injo, the inept monarch who launched a thousand K-dramas, it’s a good representation of the high level of moviemaking craft currently practiced in South Korea, with its lush and gorgeous cinematography and art direction, well-told narrative, and uniformly excellent acting. Ryu Jun-yeol excels as a mostly blind acupuncturist who somehow gets ensnared in court intrigue of the highest level. Injo’s story is a familiar one so it’s nice to see a new take from a fresh perspective.

Milisuthando (Milisuthando Bongela, 2023)
An intriguing, multilayered essay film exploring the director’s life growing up in the Republic of Transkei, which was created by South Africa as a homeland for the Xhosa-speaking people and which existed for a little more than thirty years. The film circles and loops through time and location, exploring the meaning of race, ethnicity, nationalism and identity. 

Honorable Mentions

  • How to Have an American Baby (Leslie Tai, 2023), 
  • Jawan (Atlee, 2023)
  • Dunki (Rajkumar Hirani, 2023)
  • Concrete Utopia (Um Tae-hwa, 2023)
  • The Tuba Thieves (Alison O’Daniel, 2023)
  • Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)
  • Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023)
  • Aku wa sonzai shinai (Evil Does Not Exist, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, 2023)

Öykü Sofuoğlu

Paris based film critic, PhD candidate

Top 10 2023 Films – listed in alphabetical order

1 – El auge del humano 3 (The Human Surge 3, Eduardo Williams)
2 – La bête (The Beast, Bertrand Bonello)
3 – Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, Rodrigo Moreno)
4 – May December (Todd Haynes)
5 – Notre corps (Our Body, Claire Simon)
6 – Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude)
7 – Orlando, ma biographie politique (Orlando, My Political Biography, Paul B. Preciado)
8 – Riddle of Fire (Weston Razooli)
9 – Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold)
10 – This Closeness (Kit Zauhar)

Old Movies – New Discoveries 

  • A Rainha Diaba (The Devil Queen, Antonio Carlos da Fontoura, 1973)
  • Dias de otoño (Autumn Days, Roberto Gavaldón, 1962) 
  • France/Tour/Detour/Deux/Enfants (Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville, 1977)
  • Hamlet (Heinz Schall and Svend Gade, 1921)
  • L’immortelle (Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1963) 
  • Mes petites amoureuses (My Little Loves, Jean Eustache, 1974)
  • MURDER and murder (Yvonne Rainer, 1996)
  • Privarzaniyat balon (The Tied Up Balloon, Binka Zhelyazkova, 1967)
  • Rosa la rose, fille publique (Rosa la Rose, Public Girl, Paul Vecchiali, 1986)
  • The Unknown (Tod Browning, 1927)

Karina Solórzano

Researcher and Film Programmer at FICUNAM, Mexico

Best Films Released in 2023:

  • Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki)
  • Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice)
  • Kimitachi wa dō ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Miyazaki Hayao)
  • Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold)
  • Mul-an-e-seo (In Water, Hong Sang-soo)
  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (Chad Stahelski 

Best Films Watched for the First Time in 2023

  • La cabalgata del circo (Mario Soffici and Eduardo Boneo, 1945)
  • La casa del Sur (Sergio Olhovich, 1976)
  • News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1976)
  • Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1916)
  • La cobarde (Julio Bracho, 1953) 

Best Films Watched in Film Festivals

  • Segundo López, aventurero urbano (Ana Mariscal, 1953) – Mar del Plata
  • Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins, 1982) – FICValdivia
  • The Terror and The Time (The Víctor Jara Collective 1979) – FICValdivia
  • Tsuki wa noborinu (The Moon Has Risen, Kinuyo Tanaka, 1955) – FICUNAM
  • Vida de Ángel (Colectivo Cine Mujer, 1982) – FICUNAM

Mark Spratt

Independent film distributor Australia/New Zealand and cinephile

While many established auteurs delivered some expected fine work on cue this year which will be reflected in many award nominations and lists, I have highlighted a group of titles which surprised, satisfied, delighted and generally were beyond expectations. Here, in no particular order, are 10 plus 5 more floating around the same criteria.

  • Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella, 2023)
  • Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude)
  • Vanskaste Land (Godland, Hylnur Pálmason, 2022)
  • Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
  • Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023)
  • El Conde (Pablo Larraín, 2023)
  • Los colonos (The Settlers, Felipe Gálvez Haberle, 2023)
  • Godzilla Minus One (Yamazaki Takashi, 2023)
  • Nuovo Olimpo (Ferzan Özpetek, 2023)
  • 20,000 especies de abejas (20,000 Species of Bees, Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, 2023)

+

  • Last Summer (Catherine Breillat, 2023)
  • Babylon (Damien Chazelle, 2022)
  • Club Zero (Jessica Hausner, 2023)
  • Revoir Paris (Paris Memories, Alice Winocour, 2022)
  • Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)

Vedant Srinivas

Independent writer/filmmaker from Delhi, India

Top Nine of 2023:

  1. Music (Angela Schanelec, 2023)
  2. É Noite na América (It Is Night in America, Ana Vaz, 2023)
  3. Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, Rodrigo Moreno, 2023)
  4. Qingchun (Youth (Spring), Wang Bing, 2023)
  5. Camping du lac (Lakeside Camping, Éléonore Saintagnan, 2023)
  6. Hei yi ren (Man in Black, Wang Bing, 2022)
  7. Samsara (Lois Patiño, 2023)
  8. Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude)
  9. Mul-an-e-seo (In Water, Hong Sang-soo)

Nine Older Films Encountered for the First Time in 2023:

– Vaastu Marabu (The Living Tradition: A Shilpi Speaks, Bala Kailasam, 1990)
– Kelai Draupadai (Listen Draupadi, Sashikanth Ananthachari, 2011)
– People’s Park (J.P Sniadecki and Libbie Dina Cohn, 2012)
– Song for an Ancient Land (Kabir Mohanty, 2006-2017)
– Drift (Helena Wittmann, 2017)
– Tie xi qu (West of the Tracks, Wang Bing, 2002)
– Marattam (Masquerade, Govindan Aravindan, 1988)
– Lancelot du lac (Lancelot of the Lake, Robert Bresson, 1974)
– Starověrci (The Old Believers, Jana Ševčíková, 2001)

Tyson Stewart

Programmer at North Bay Film Festival, professor at Nipissing University

Top Ten of 2023

1. War Pony (Riley Keough and Gina Gammell, 2022)
The best film of the year. No other film made me sit up and pay more attention this year than Riley Keough and Gina Gammell’s directorial debut War Pony. Beautifully written by Keough, Gammell, Franklin Sioux Bob, and Bill Reddy, this one builds to an unexpected yet wholly satisfying ending. There are devastating moments throughout as well as funny ones. Would make an excellent double bill with the final season of Reservation Dogs. 🐩

2. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
Fascinating character study of truly barbaric behaviour. Leo D and Bobbie D deliver career-best performances. I feel like Gladstone’s all-knowing eyes were telling their own beguiling story. They are their own very special effect. Artful and epic and urgent filmmaking.

3. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
Afire is a marvel, by far one of greatest and funniest films of the year. Enthralling from start to finish. After watching this, I was inspired to talk about creativity with my students in really practical terms. We can’t be afraid to kill our darlings. We only have so much time here and we’ve treated the earth so poorly that only urgent, personal storytelling seems appropriate now. Also, go for a swim. Treat yourself to that ice cream. 🍦🔥

4. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
A real puzzler. Everyone in attendance at the North Bay Film Festival seemed utterly transfixed. It reminded me of Rashōmon in more ways than one.

5. The Killer (David Fincher, 2023)
Deliciously demented black comedy. As propulsive, tense, and caustic as anything Fincher has made. It’s in direct conversation with some of my favourite movies, such as The Bride Wore Black, Kill Bill, Bond/Bourne. But it’s somehow more real than all of them combined. I know it’s cliché at this point, but you simply can’t deny Fincher’s mastery of form and attention to detail. It’s somewhere in the middle of the filmography; not as good as The Social Network, but not as silly as The Game. I watched it twice in the first week it was released on Netflix.

6. WaaPaKe (Tomorrow, Jules Arita Koostachin, 2023)
Koostachin’s handling of the material is remarkably adept. As relevant and urgent as anything in Killers of the Flower Moon. Both films actually have a lot in common. They are both exemplary articulations of their respective genres. They both peel off the layers of history to bring you into close proximity with the truth. They are both deeply humanizing, empathetic explorations of Indigenous culture. And they both restlessly grapple with each filmmakers’ past. And they are the only two films released this year that I would without hesitation describe as must-see’s. Caught this one at imagineNATIVE.

WaaPaKe

7. Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023)
Both a hopeful and melancholy reminder that appearances can be deceiving. Effortless, virtuosic filmmaking. Saw this one at Cinéfest Sudbury.

8. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
Yeah, it’s great. I could watch Nolan try to put the pieces of this man’s life back together for another 10 hours.

9. The Curse (Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, 2023)
A TV show about a TV show that was better than most films I’ve seen this year. But is it camp? Regardless, it’s a study of alienation and exploitation that would rival the noirest noir out there. I think Gary Farmer is better in this as an Indigenous Governor than in Rez Dogs.

10. May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
It made my mind race in 1000 different directions all at once. I was relieved when it ended. Not bad at all.

Iván Suárez

Writer and cinephile, Gijón

Ten Best Releases of 2023 – listed alphabetically (cinemas, festivals, streaming):

  •  All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras, 2022)
  • Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023)
  • Chronique d’une liaison passagère (Diary of a Fleeting Affair, Emmanuel Mouret, 2022)
  • Creatura (Elena Martín Gimeno, 2023)
  • Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • Mantícora (Manticore, Carlos Vermut, 2022)
  • Padre Pio (Abel Ferrara, 2022)
  • Les passagers de la nuit (The Passengers of the Night, Mikhaël Hers, 2022)
  • Il sol dell’avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow, Nanni Moretti, 2023)
  • Tár (Todd Field, 2022)

Ten Honourable Mentions:

  •  Bowling Saturne (Saturn Bowling, Patricia Mazuy, 2022)
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (William Friedkin, 2023)
  • O Corno (The Rye Horn, Jaione Camborda, 2023)
  • The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg, 2022)
  • IO (EO, Jerzy Skolimowski, 2022)
  • Khers nist (No Bears, Jafar Panahi, 2022)
  • Living (Oliver Hermanus, 2022)
  • Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022)
  • Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  • Suzume no Tojimari (Suzume, Shinkai Makoto, 2022) 

Ten Best Older Films Seen for the First Time – listed by year of release:

  •  Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1916)
  • La red (The Net, Emilio Fernández, 1953)
  • Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy, Roberto Rossellini, 1954)
  • Días de otoño (Autumn Days, Roberto Gavaldón, 1963)
  • I mostri (The Monsters, Dino Risi, 1963)
  • El camino (Ana Mariscal, 1964)
  • The Pawnbroker (Sidney Lumet, 1964)
  • The War Game (Peter Watkins, 1966)
  • Céline et Julie vont en bateau (Céline and Julie Go Boating, Jacques Rivette, 1974)
  • The Rapture (Michael Tolkin, 1991)

Ten Honourable Mentions:

  • Limite (Mário Peixoto, 1931)
  • Salón México (Emilio Fernández, 1949)
  • Chibusa yo eien nare (The Eternal Breasts, Tanaka Kinuyo, 1955)
  • Yōkihi (Princess Yang Kwei Fei, Mizoguchi Kenji, 1955)
  • The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956)
  • El esqueleto de la señora Morales (The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales, Rogelio A. González, 1960)
  • Macario (Roberto Gavaldón, 1960)
  • La noire de… (Black Girl, Ousmane Sembène, 1966)
  • Canciones para después de una guerra (Songs for After a War, Basilio Martín Patino, 1971)
  • Les lèvres rouges (Daughters of Darkness, Harry Kümel, 1971)

I haven’t seen yet the new films by Miyazaki Hayao, Wim Wenders, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, Pedro Costa, Jean-Luc Godard, Catherine Breillat, Víctor Iriarte, Carlota Pereda or Woo-ri-ui-ha-ru (In Our Day, Hong Sang-soo, 2023) because in most cases I couldn’t attend their screenings at the Gijón International Film Festival. Maybe they will appear in next year’s World Poll.

I find myself puzzled when I see much of the Spanish media and film critics passionately praising mediocrities and horrors because of their subject matter without giving consideration to their cinematographic aspects. There are also other reasons, ranging from friendship with the filmmakers to fear of losing interviews, or avoiding criticizing Spanish cinema because, in the opinion of some people, our films must be protected. I guess these are the main reasons why I see a clear disconnection between the audience and critics and why Spanish film criticism is in a very sorry state. I guess this also accounts for other countries as well, but maybe I’m wrong.

Having said that, a year that marked the return of Víctor Erice to feature filmmaking it will always be a remarkable year. I was tempted to include his glorious press conference at the San Sebastián Film Festival in the list but let’s give it a “special mention” here. I liked that he refuted that his was a “testamentary film” as many people in the media claimed (I would say it is very much alive) and his quotation of a statement by Antonio Gramsci: “We must put the optimism of the will before the pessimism of the intellect.” I guess that’s a great phrase that can be applied to film and life. Let’s see what 2024 will bring us with new works by Leos Carax, Amalia Ulman, Michael Mann, George Miller and, hopefully, Francis Ford Coppola, among other pleasant surprises.

Josh Timmermann

Historian of Late Antiquity and early medieval Europe, a lifelong film enthusiastic and sometime critic.

23 really-good-to-great movies viewed at least once – in several cases, happily, 2 or 3 times – in 2023, as of early December; an exceptionally strong year for octogenarian (or nonagenarian!) filmmakers! 

  1. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023) 
  2. Past Lives (Celine Song, 2003) 
  3. Kimitachi wa dō ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Miyazaki Hayao, 2023) 
  4. Napoleon (Ridley Scott, 2023) 
  5. 05. La morsure (Bitten, Romain de Saint-Blanquat, 2023) 
  6. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023) 
  7. I’m Just Here for the Riot (Kat Jayme and Asia Youngman, 2023) 
  8. A Cooler Climate (James Ivory and Giles Gardner, 2022) 
  9. Retour à Séoul (Return to Seoul, Davy Chou, 2022) 
  10. You Hurt My Feelings (Nicole Holofcener, 2023) 
  11. You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah (Sammi Cohen, 2023) 
  12. Satan Wants You (Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor, 2023) 
  13. The Luckiest Guy in the World (Steve James, 2023) 
  14. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Sam Wrench, 2023) 
  15. Rapito (Kidnapped, Marco Bellocchio, 2023) 
  16. Les filles du Roi (Corey Payette, 2023) 
  17. Blackberry (Matt Johnson, 2023)
  18. Master Gardener (Paul Schrader, 2023) 
  19. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (James Mangold, 2023) 
  20. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson & Kemp Powers, 2023) 
  21. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023) 
  22. Notre Corps (Our Body, Claire Simon, 2023)
  23. Priscilla (Sofia Coppola, 2023)

Sofia Topi

Film critic, artistic researcher, and editor currently based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

What I retrieved from this year’s releases is trust that cinema can stir senses and emotions, but most importantly can poke society’s most disturbing realities. For the rest, I certainly hope narcissism in filmmaking has reached its bottom.

Films Released for the First Time in 2023:

  • Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023)
  • Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
  • Dream Scenario (Kristoffer Borgli, 2023)
  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  • Je verrai toujours vos visages (All Your Faces, Jeanne Herry, 2023)
  • Aku wa sonzai shinai (Evil Does Not Exist, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, 2023)
  • R.M.N. (Cristian Mungiu, 2023)
  • The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams, 2023)

Older Films Encountered for the First Time in 2023:

Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World, Wim Wenders, 1991)
Prove me wrong, but I cannot recall any other film that managed to be of a multi-genre universe. Violent, advanced, on the run, and hopelessly romantic. Until the End of the World is probably the least critically acclaimed film by Wim Wenders, but it is the epitome of his passion for road movies and inventive ideas of our world. I was lucky enough to recognize it as such, and so this film has been for me the most exciting 180’ I remember spending on the small screen.

Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971)
A rare depiction of Australia’s frantic lifestyle, lost for years and rescued in 2004. Before that, surprisingly enough, a rather censored version was presented.

Desk Set (Walter Lang, 1957)
An enchanting piece, for its witty dialogues that challenge your intellectuality irreversibly.

The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn and a person who remained anonymous, 2012)
It is a frightening watch, and that by itself is a reason to be on every list.

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
Few films have depicted brutality in everyday affairs. This one is definitely a case study.

True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993)
The aesthetics of the ‘90s do the trick, for an honest and real story, with no discounts on passion.

Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope, Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)
More like an honourable mention for Kaurismäki’s devotion to what it means to be human.

Koen Van Daele

Curator working in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Head of Program at Kinodvor

Top Five

1.

  • Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023)
  • Eureka (Lisandro Alonso, 2023)
  • Here (Bas Devos, 2023)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  • Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella, 2022)

2.

  • Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023)
  • La bête (The Beast, Bertrand Bonello, 2023)
  • Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, Rodrigo Moreno, 2023)
  • The Holdovers (Alexander Payne, 2023)
  • May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
  • Ne misli, da bo kdaj mimo (Don’t Think It Will Ever Pass, Tomaž Grom, 2023)
  • Occupied City (Steve McQueen, 2023)
  • Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)
  • Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)

3.

  • 20.000 especies de abejas (20,000 Species of Bees, Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, 2023)
  • Coup de chance (Woody Allen, 2023)
  • El Eco (The Echo, Tatiana Huezo, 2023)
  • Le grand chariot (The Plough, Philippe Garrel, 2023)
  • Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
  • La memoria infinita (The Eternal Memory, Maite Alberdi, 2023)
  • Retratos Fantasmas (Pictures of Ghosts, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2023)
  • The Swan (Wes Anderson, 2023)
  • The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams, 2023)
  • Tótem (Totem, Lila Avilés, 2023)
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Wes Anderson, 2023)
  • The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)

El Eco

4.

  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  • Black Flies (Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, 2023)
  • La chimera (Alice Rohrwacher, 2023)
  • As Filhas do Fogo (The Daughters of Fire, Pedro Costa, 2023)
  • The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft (Werner Herzog, 2022)
  • Hokage (Shadow of Fire, Tsukamoto Shinya, 2023)
  • My Sleepless Friends (Tara Najd Ahmadi, 2023)
  • Obzornik 242 – Sunčane pruge (Newsreel 242 – Sunny Railways, Nika Autor, 2023)
  • Poison (Wes Anderson, 2023)
  • Samsara (Lois Patiño, 2023)
  • Surfacing Images (Tara Najd Ahmadi, 2023)
  • Die Theorie von Allem (The Universal Theory, Timm Kröger, 2023)

5.

  • Aku wa sonzai shinai (Evil Does Not Exist, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, 2023)
  • Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
  • La bête dans la jungle (The Beast in the Jungle, Patric Chiha, 2023)
  • Daaaaaali! (Quentin Dupieux, 2023)
  • Film annonce du film qui n’existéra jamais: «Drôles de guerres» (Trailer of tūhe Film That Will Never Exist: ‘Phony Wars’, Jean-Luc Godard, 2023)
  • Hit Man (Richard Linklater, 2023)
  • Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023)
  • Passages (Ira Sachs, 2023)
  • Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023)
  • Pero (Damjan Kozole, 2023)
  • Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
  • The Rat Catcher (Wes Anderson, 2023)
  • Il sol dell’avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow, Nanni Moretti, 2023)
  • Sur l’Adamant (On the Adamant, Nicolas Philibert, 2023)

Noel Vera

Author of Critic After Dark: A Review of Philippine Cinema; regular contributor to Businessworld

Not a ‘best of’ but an ‘I’ve seen’ list – the good the bad the ugly of 2023. Definitely more mainstream than I like but life gets in the way.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K Thompson and Kemp Powers, 2023). The much touted innovation of animating on 2s instead of 1s had been done before, by Japanese.

The Flash (Andrés Muscietti, 2023). I liked more than I expected, mainly for the melancholy tone of Michael Keaton’s presence. Otherwise disposable.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (James Mangold, 2023). If you’re fond of the characters, this is a decent enough capstone; if you’re into visuals, you miss Spielberg’s spark.

Oppenheimer(Christopher Nolan, 2023). Historical account, biopic, noirish investigation; toss in a blender and press ‘liquefy.

Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023). First twenty minutes a witty sendup of the Barbie mythos, the next hour plus a toothless attempt to satirize toxic masculinity and Mattel (who’s funding, so you know why).

Napoleon (Ridley Scott, 2023). Yes show Napoleon warts and all but can’t we show what made him an able leader, and then demonstrate why he still falls flat?

Meg 2: The Trench (Ben Wheatley, 2023). First half dull and murky, second – when our heroes break surface and make landfall – goofy fun.

The Creator (Gareth Edwards, 2023). The science fiction is derivative but the emotional throughline – of a man’s growing affection for the child he protects – solid.

The Exorcist Believer (David Gordon Green, 2023). Takes a beloved property and commits blasphemy, which if you’re not a fan of the Friedkin original is the way to go.

Godzilla Minus One (Yamazaki Takashi, 2023). The mean green-grey mother is back, and badder than ever. If I don’t rate it higher, it’s because the movie doesn’t stick the ending.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (James Gunn, 2023). The final entry is his darkest yet for a mainstream effort, while still being laugh-out-loud funny.

Silent Night (John Woo, 2023). A man who lost his son and his voice seeks revenge. A grittier more vérité version of John Woo’s gun fu.

The Killer (David Fincher, 2023). Either a sterile exercise in style or an evocative example of minimalism.

The Holdovers (Alexander Payne, 2023). The result isn’t visual but verbal and emotional magic of a kind.

Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023). This debut feature has small scale, is quiet and packs an outsized sting.

Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023). Avoids the usual film brat cliches – guns and hitmen – but goes in a trajectory all his own. Not for everyone.

May December (Todd Haynes, 2023). Metacommentary on tabloid stories and the truths they may or may not contain.

Mahalagang Katotohanan ng Lawa (Essential Truths of the Lake, Lav Diaz, 2023). The early adventures of Hermes Papauran, the ‘greatest Filipino investigator ever,’ who never lets go. And neither does Diaz, still brooding over the crimes of the Marcos’ dictatorship.

Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023). A blackly comic depiction of the monsters preying on the Osage tribe. And at its centre, an oddly compelling marriage of love and betrayal.

Kimitachi wa dō ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Miyazaki Hayao, 2023). Like Matisse, the animation master has little time left and much to say, so he says it with pure colours.

Films I’ve found interesting:

Dust Devil (Richard Stanley, 1992). A lowbudget arty ménage à trois between a serial killing demon, the woman he’s fated to meet, and the Namibian police officer fated to hunt him.

Experiment Perilous (Jacques Tourneur, 1944). A supposed inferior take on Gaslight that features a fascinatingly homoerotic pas de deux between the stolid George Brent and the silkily menacing Paul Lukas.

The Suspect (Robert Siodmak, 1944). Follows Charles Laughton’s spiral into a paranoid Edwardian hell, through murder and despair, with us close behind.

And – thanks to a recent project – Filipino collaborations with fellow Asian countries:

Ano hata o ute korehidōru no saigo (Dawn of Freedom, Abe Yutaka and Gerardo de Leon, 1944). A handsomely produced propaganda film, treats all of Manila like a giant studio set; just as fascinating are the small-scale interactions between the Japanese and their Filipino captives.

Shiniuma (Dead Horse, Brillante Mendoza, 2016). Tone poem on the loneliness of the expatriate Filipino in snowtime Hokkaido.

Gensan Punch (Brillante Mendoza, 2021). Biopic of ‘Nao’ Tsuchiyama, the one legged Japanese boxer who made a name for himself in Filipino boxing circles.

Kintsugi (Broken, Law Fajardo, 2020). Lowkey poignant romance between a Filipino immigrant ceramic worker and his Japanese boss.

A Hard Day (Law Fajardo, 2021). Remake of the Kim Seong-hun original, about a day in a corrupt cop’s life. It is fascinating for what it successfully transposes to a Filipino setting and what doesn’t.

Imbisibol (Invisible, Law Fajardo, 2015). Arguably the director’s best work to date, adapted from a one-act play by Herlyn Alegre, an observant look at the lives of Filipino migrants in wintertime Japan.

Peter Verstraten

Assistant Professor Film and Literary Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Thirty of the best recent films I watched in 2023 in order of preference:

  1. Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella, 2022)
  2. L’ultima notte di amore (Last Night of Amore, Andrea Di Stefano, 2023)
  3. Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
  4. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  5. Böse Spiele: Rimini Sparta (Wicked Games: Rimini Sparta, Ulrich Seidl, 2023)
  6. Yannick (Quentin Dupieux, 2023)
  7. Khers nist (No Bears, Jafar Panahi, 2022)
  8. Sweet Dreams (Ena Sendijarević, 2023)
  9. Vanskabte land (Godland, Hlynur Pálmason, 2022)
  10. Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  11. Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022)
  12. IO (EO, Jerzy Skolimowksi, 2022)
  13. Tár (Todd Field, 2022)
  14. Luise (Matthias Luthardt, 2023)
  15. Saint Omer (Alice Diop, 2022)
  16. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
  17. The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams, 2023)
  18. John Wick: Chapter 4 (Chad Stahelski, 2023) 
  19. L’envol (Scarlet, Pietro Marcello, 2022)
  20. Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen (Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything, Emily Atef, 2023)
  21. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  22. Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
  23. Zhena Chaikovskogo (Tchaikovsky’s Wife, Kirill Serebrennikov, 2022)
  24. Los colonos (The Settlers, Felipe Gálvez Haberle, 2023)
  25. Viens je t’emmène (Nobody’s Hero, Alain Guiraudie, 2022)
  26. Kurak Günler (Burning Days, Emin Alper, 2022)
  27. Cha wu ci xin (The Abandoned, Tseng Ying-Ting, 2022)
  28. Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023)
  29. Pedágio (Toll, Carolina Markowicz, 2023)
  30. Rabu raifu (Love Life, Fukada Kōji, 2022)

The five best movie theater experiences of the year (older films I already was familiar with)

  1. 3 Women (Robert Altman, 1977), BFI London
  2. Unfaithfully Yours (Preston Sturges, 1948), Eye Amsterdam as part of a Preston Sturges retrospective
  3. Profondo Rosso (Deep Red, Dario Argento, 1975), Cinéma du Panthéon, Paris
  4. Double bill: Adelbert (Dick Maas, 1977) + Rigor Mortis (Dick Maas, 1981), Eye Amsterdam
  5. City Girl (F.W. Murnau, 1930), Focus Arnhem, music by The James Whale Orchestra

Fifteen of the best older films I saw for the first time in 2023

  1. Kocár do Vídne (Carriage to Vienna, Karel Kachyna, 1966)
  2. Hangover Square (John Brahm, 1945)
  3. Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
  4. Szürkület (Twilight, György Fehér, 1990)
  5. 10 Rillington Place (Richard Fleischer, 1971)
  6. Crime Wave (André de Toth, 1953)
  7. His Kind of Woman (John Farrow, Richard Fleischer, 1951)
  8. Adieu Philippine (Farewell, Philippine, Jacques Rozier, 1962)
  9. The Birthday Party (William Friedkin, 1968)
  10. Prea târziu (Too Late, Lucian Pintilie, 1996)
  11. Running on Empty (Sidney Lumet, 1988)
  12. The Breaking Point (Michael Curtiz, 1950)
  13. Call Northside 777 (Henry Hathaway, 1948)
  14. Eega (The Fly, S.S. Rajamouli, 2012)
  15. Chelovek ukhodit za ptitsami (The Man Follows the Birds, Ali Kharmaev, 1976)

Christopher Vicioso

Translator
  1. Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022)
  2. El Conde (Pablo Larraín, 2023)
  3. Riget (The Kingdom, Lars Von Trier, 1994-1997)
  4. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
  5. Iron Claw (Sean Durkin, 2023)

Fiona Villella

Editor, Senses of Cinema

From the outset, it’s necessary to say that this list reflects the limited number of films I saw in 2023. I imagine that if I saw all the films that I wanted to then this list would be quite different. In any case, throughout 2023 I have cherished films that fully immersed me in their worlds and affected me emotionally, spiritually and/or intellectually.

Favourites:

  1. Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella, 2022)
  2. The Old Oak (Ken Loach, 2023)
  3. Il sol dell’avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow, Nanni Moretti, 2023)
  4. Stars at Noon (Claire Denis, 2022)
  5. Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2022)
  6. My Darling in Stirling (Bill Mousoulis, 2023)
  7. The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg, 2022)
  8. Orlando, ma biographie politique (Orlando, My Political Biography, 2023)
  9. Women Talking (Sarah Polley, 2022)
  10. Limbo (Ivan Sen, 2023)
  11. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  12. Rapito (Kidnapped, Marco Bellocchio, 2023)
  13. Pearl (Ti West, 2022)
  14. All of Us Strangers (Andrew Haigh, 2023)

Special events/retro screenings:

  1. Journey to the End of Night (Peter Tammer, 1982) presented by “Unknown Pleasures” curated by Bill Mousoulis and Chris Luscri, April 2023
  2. Three extraordinary films by Greek filmmaker Yannis Dalianidis (see the Great Directors entry by Frankie Kanatas in this issue): Istoría mias Zoís (Story of a Lifetime, 1965), Gymnoí sto drómo (1969), and Korítsia gia fílma (1965)
  3. Jacques Demy self-curated retrospective, thanks SBSOnDemand! (rewatching favourites, seeing newbies): Lola (1961), La Baie des Anges (The Bay of Angels, 1963),
  4. 4. Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964), Les demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort, 1967), Une chambre en ville (1982)

Nicholas Vroman

Film writer at DesistFilm and a page of madness

New films by Lav Diaz and Lois Patiño are a little hard to come by in the small town I live in here in the USA. And I still await a miracle for a chance to see the late, great Pema Tseden’s last film. But new discoveries are made, established filmmakers keep on keepin’ on. There are always cinematic gems to be found.

  • Alcarrás (Carla Simón, 2022)
  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  • As Bestas (The Beasts, Rodrigo Sorogoyen, 2022)
  • El Conde (Pablo Larraín, 2023)
  • Fauna (Pau Faus, 2023)
  • Dioses de México (Gods of Mexico, Helmut Dosantos, 2022)
  • Negu hurbilak (Negu Kolektiboak, 2023)
  • The Holdovers (Alexande Payne, 2023)
  • El auge del humano 3 (The Human Surge 3, Eduardo Williams, 2023)
  • 100 Ways to Cross the Border (Amber Bay Bemak, 2022)

Rick Warner

Author of The Rebirth of Suspense in Cinema; Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Best New Features Seen in 2023

  1. Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022)
  2. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  3. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  4. The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)
  5. Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  6. Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
  7. Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2023)
  8. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
  9. A Thousand and One (A.V. Rockwell, 2023
  10. No Hard Feelings (Gene Stupnitsky, 2023)

Honorable mentions: The Killer (David Fincher, 2023), May December (Todd Haynes, 2023), and Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)

Best Repertory Screenings, Projected on Film, in 2023:

  1. Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997), 70mm
  2. Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2006), 16mm 
  3. The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999), 35mm
  4. Starman (John Carpenter, 1984), 70mm
  5. Winter Kills (William Richert, 1979), 35mm

Nadine Whitney

Freelance film critic based in Naarm (Melbourne). Co-chair of the Australian Film Critics Association

The ideal list is supposed to be no more than ten entries. However, this year provided an abundance and whittling down the list proved impossible. Presented in no order.

  • American Fiction (Cord Jefferson, 2023)
  • Foudre (Thunder, Carmen Jaquier, 2023) 
  • Mami Wata (CJ “Fiery” Obasi, 2023)
  • The Iron Claw (Sean Durkin, 2023)
  • Femme (Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping, 2023)
  • Fancy Dance (Erica Tremblay, 2023)
  • A Thousand and One (A.V. Rockwell, 2023)
  • Eileen (William Oldroyd, 2023)
  • All of Us Strangers (Andrew Haigh, 2023)
  • Vampire humaniste cherche suicidaire consentant (Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, Ariane Louis-Seize, 2023)
  • Tótem (Totem, Lila Avilés, 2023) 
  • The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)
  • The Starling Girl (Laurel Parmet, 2023)
  • Domakinstvo za pocetnici (Housekeeping for Beginners, Goran Stolevski, 2023)
  • Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
  • Dream Scenario (Kristoffer Borgli, 2023)
  • Earth Mama (Savanah Leaf, 2023)
  • Memory (Michel Franco, 2023)
  • Àma Gloria (Marie Amachoukeli, 2023)
  • Passages (Ira Sachs, 2023)
  • Das Lehrerzimmer (The Teachers’ Lounge, İlker, 2023)
  • Io capitano (Matteo Garrone, 2023)
  • Hundreds of Beavers (Mike Cheslik, 2022)
  • Piaffe (Ann Oren, 2022)
  • Hippo (Mark H. Rapaport, 2023)
  • Fremont (Babak Jalali, 2023)
  • Monica (Andrea Pallaoro, 2022) 
  • Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • Raging Grace (Paris Zarcilla, 2023)
  • Kadib abyad (The Mother of All Lies, Asmae El Moudir, 2023)
  • Savvusanna sõsarad (Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, Anna Hints, 2023)
  • Shayda (Noora Niasari, 2023)
  • The Royal Hotel (Kitty Green, 2023)
  • Birdeater (Jack Clark and Jim Weir, 2023)
  • Sweet Dreams (Ena Sendijarevi, 2023)
  • Late Night with the Devil (Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes, 2023)
  • Soleils Atikamekw (Atikamekw Suns, Chloé Leriche, 2023)
  • Talk to Me (Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou, 2023)
  • The New Boy (Warwick Thornton, 2023)
  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  • May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
  • Perpetrator (Jennifer Reeder, 2023)

Festivals of note:

Hybrid festivals are becoming scarcer since the major COVID era. I was able to attend a few sessions of Sundance remotely and Sydney Film Festival was very co-operative in providing screeners for remote attendance. The Melbourne Queer Film Festival remains excellent. I did the mad dash run to sessions at Melbourne International Film Festival. Fantastic Fest and Fantasia both did the best they could to provide screeners.

Accessibility issues remain for many critics unable to travel. The hybrid pivot was important, and I believe that it should be kept available.

I attended several retrospective screenings at repertory cinemas in Melbourne, such as The Astor. But for community focus I have to commend Cinemaniacs. Highlights this year included the band Bikini Kill in conversation with Lee Gambin about Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (Lou Adler, 1982) and Peaches discussing Jesus Christ Superstar (Norman Jewinson, 1973).

MUBI in Australia has made available a series of films by Nelly Kaplan – the revolutionary Argentinian French feminist director including La fiancée du pirate (A Very Curious Girl, 1969) and Charles et Lucie (Charles and Lucie, 1979).

Neil Young

Vienna-based Sunderlander currently writing about, acting in, curating, presenting and making films

NEW FILMS (2022/2023 world premieres)

GOLD MEDAL
Samsara (Lois Patiño, 2023)

SILVER MEDAL
Crow (Ubu Kung, 2022)

BRONZE MEDAL
El auge del humano 3 (The Human Surge 3, Eduardo Williams, 2023)

SPECIAL “ST CLARE OF ASSISI” MEDAL (PATRON SAINT OF TELLY)
“The Resurrection of Dave” [The Gallows Pole: This Valley Will Rise, Episode 1] (Shane Meadows, 2023)

MÉDAILLE SPÉCIALE: MEILLEUR ESPOIR
Capsules / Portraits #3 (Jules Bourbon, 2022-2023)

SPECIAL MEDAL: ORDER OF BETHLEHEM
Alexei Sayle’s Alternative Alternative Christmas Message (Sayle, 2023)

BRASS MEDALS (FIRST CLASS)

  • Jill, Uncredited (Anthony Ing, 2022)
  • Mørke (Alexandre Ries, 2023)
  • A Once Lonely Man (John J A Jannone, 2023)
  • Prije mraka (Before Dark, Mare Šuljak, 2022)
  • Snow Crystals (Olivier Perriquet, 2023)
  • YUL20A (Alex MacKenzie, 2023)

BRASS MEDALS (SECOND CLASS)

  • Between Here and There (David Anthony Sant, 2022)
  • BOOKOLORBAR: Action (Shon Kim, 2022)
  • Bye Bye, Bowser (Jasmin Baumgartner, 2023)
  • La chimera (Alice Rohrwacher, 2023)
  • DJINN PROFÉRER SCRAPER (Pierre Feytis, 2023)
  • Dünnes Eis (Thin Ice, Simon Dallaserra, 2023)
  • National Anarchist: Lino Brocka (Khavn, 2023)
  • Nightshifter (Jørgen Johansen, 2022)
  • ölmondnacht (OilMoonNight, Anna Malina, 2022)
  • Ommatidia (Gloria Chung, 2022)
  • Ptitsa (Alina Maksimenko, 2022)
  • Pravilo br. 5: Pomno pratite svog čovjeka (Rule No.5: Shadow Your Man Closely, Miro Manojlović, 2023)
  • The Temptation of the Coconut Clock (Oliver Schmid, 2023)

VIRTUAL MEDALS (for “artificial intelligence” [sic] manifestations)

Jodorowsky’s Dune

PRE-2022 FILMS SEEN FOR THE FIRST TIME

GOLD MEDAL
Le trou (The Hole, Jacques Becker, 1960)

SILVER MEDAL
O Território (The Territory, Raúl Ruiz, 1981)

BRONZE MEDAL
Tradition Is the Handing On of Fire, Not the Worship of Ashes (Gustav Deutsch, 1999)

MÉDAILLE SPÉCIALE D’ARCHIVES:
Maurice Pialat: Van Gogh (1991), Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble (We Won’t Grow Old Together,1972), Passe ton bac d’abord (Graduate First, 1978)

BRASS MEDALS (FIRST CLASS)

  • Krizno obdobje (The Time of Crisis, Franci Slak, 1981)
  • Mūris (The Wall, Anatolijs Pjatkins, 1991)
  • No olvidar (Not to Forget, Ignacio Agüero, 1982)
  • Pression (Ljubomir Šimunić, 1975)
  • White Star (Roland Klick, 1983)
  • Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (D. A. Pennebaker, 1979/2003)

BRASS MEDALS (SECOND CLASS)

  • Barn (Guy Sherwin, 1974)
  • Cain at Abel (Cain and Abel, Lino Brocka, 1982)
  • Capsules / Portraits #1 (Jules Bourbon, 2021)
  • Hand Grenade I (Gill Eatherley, 1971)
  • A Married Couple (Allan King, 1969)
  • Srećna nova godina (Happy New Year, Miroslav Bata Petrović, 1983)
  • Wyjście (Exit, aka Escape, Małgorzata Bieńkowska-Buhlmann, 1989-90/2009)
  • The Woman on the Beach (Jean Renoir, 1947)

SPECIAL “ST CLARE OF ASSISI” MEDAL (PATRON SAINT OF TELLY)
Medea (Lars von Trier, 1988)

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