William edwards

  1. Sibyl (Justine Triet, 2019)
  2. Seules les betes (Only the Animals, Dominik Moll, 2019)
  3. Sarlatan (Charlatan, Agnieszka Holland, 2020)
  4. Days of the Bagnold Summer (Simon Bird, 2019)
  5. Adults in the Room (Costa-Gavras, 2019)
  6. Bad Education (Cory Finley, 2018)
  7. Nabarvene ptace (The Painted Bird, Vaclav Marhoul, 2019)
  8. Waves (Trey Edward Shults, 2019)
  9. Sala samobójców. Hejter (The Hater, Jan Komasa, 2020)
  10. Bait (Mark Jenkin, 2019)

Gerónimo elortegui


My favourites of 2020, in alphabetical order:
David Byrne’s American Utopia (Spike Lee, 2020)
La noche submarina (The Underwater Night, Alejo Moguillansky, Diego H. Flores & Fermín Villanueva, 2020)
Nasir (Arun Karthick, 2020)
Tipografic majuscul (Uppercase Print, Radu Jude, 2020)
True History of the Kelly Gang (Justin Kurzel, 2019)

And also…
Ciegos (Blind, Fernando Zuber (2019)
Ecosistemas de la Costanera Sur (Ecosystems of the Costanera Sur, Matías Szulanski, 2020)
Family Romance, LLC. (Werner Herzog, 2019)
Intimate Distances (Phillip Warnell, 2020)
J’accuse (An Officer and a Spy, Roman Polanski, 2019)
La chancha (The Pig, Franco Verdoia, 2020)
La vida en común (Life Together, Ezequiel Yanco, 2019)
Lamentations of Judas (Boris Gerrets, 2020)
Le Daim (Deerskin, Quentin Dupieux, 2019)
Le Jeune Ahmed (Young Ahmed, Jean-Pierre Dardenne/Luc Dardenne, 2019)
Le Temps des ouvriers (The Time of the Workers, Stan Neumann, 2020)
Miseongnyeon (Another Child, Kim Yoon-seok, 2019)
Monsieur Deligny, Vagabond efficace (Monsieur Deligny, the Helpful Wanderer, Richard Copans, 2020)
Mother (Tatsushi Ohmori, 2020)
Onward (Dan Scanlon, 2020)
Perdrix (The Bare Necessity, Erwan Le Duc, 2019)
Pullman (Paradise Inn, Toni Bestard, 2019)
Rêves de jeunesse (As Happy as Possible, Alain Raoust, 2019)
Sala samobójców. Hejter (The Hater, Jan Komasa, 2020)
Sigmund Freud, un juif sans Dieu (Sigmund Freud: A Jew Without God, David Teboul, 2020)
Sword of Trust (Lynn Shelton, 2019)
The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019)

In this particular and strange year my top three festivals both for the varied and elaborated programming and good quality of streaming services were: Ann Arbor (Michigan, US), FestiFreak (La Plata, Argentina) and We Are One: A Global Film Festival.

Ted Fendt


New Releases:
City Hall (Frederick Wiseman, 2020), DCP, 21. Haus, Viennale
La France contre les robots (Jean-Marie Straub, 2020), File, KinoSlang Presents
Richard Jewell (Clint Eastwood, 2019), DCP, Rollberg Kino, Berlin
A Proposal to Project in Scope (Viktoria Schmid, 2020), 35mm, Metrokino, Viennale
Tendre (Isabel Pagliai, 2020), DCP, Österreichisches Filmmuseum, Viennale
How To with John Wilson, Season 1 (John Wilson, 2020), File

Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1916), 35mm, Kino Arsenal, Berlin
Le tigre se parfume à la dynamite (An Orchid for the Tiger, Claude Chabrol, 1965), File
Moments choisis des Histoire(s) du cinéma (2004, Jean-Luc Godard), 35mm, Kino Arsenal, Berlin
L’affaire Maurizius (On Trial, Julien Duvivier, 1954), 35mm, Zeughauskino, Berlin
The Red Shoes (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1948), 35mm, Zeughauskino, Berlin
Reichsautobahn (Hartmut Bitomsky, 1986), DCP, Zeughauskino, Berlin
Die Überraschung (Ernst Cantzler, 1975), 35mm, Zeughauskino, Berlin
Jiabiangou ji shi (Jiabiangou Elegy: Life and Death of the Rightests, Ai Xiaoming, 2017) DCP, Zeughauskino, Berlin
Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967), 16mm, Österreichisches Filmmuseum

Christine folch-sathiah


My list for 2020 contains mostly films released in 2019 and a few older or revisited ones that I believe are worth mentioning.

So, in no particular order:
Canción sin nombre (Song without a name, Melina León 2019)
La Gomera (The Whistlers, Christian Porumboiu, 2019)
Îmi este indiferent dacă în istorie vom intra ca barbari (I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians, Radu Jude, 2019)
Sestra (Sister, Svetlana Tsotsorkova)
Ága (Milko Lazarov, 2020)
Boże Ciało (Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa, 20219)
O que arde (Fire Will Come, Oliver Laxe, 2019)
Adam (Maryam Touzani, 2020)
Dà xiàng xídì érzuò (An Elephant Sitting Still, Hu Bo, 2019)
Di jjiu tianchang (So Long, My Son, Wang Xiaoshuai, 2019)
Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, 2019)
Beolsae (House of Hummingbird, Kim Bora, 2020)
Sheytân vojūd nadârad (There is no Evil, Mohhamad Rasoulof, 2020)
Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2019)
Dylda (Beanpole, Kantemir Bagalov, 2019)
Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu (Portrait of a Young Woman on Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019)
Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always (Eliza Hittman, 2019)

Discovered or revisited:
Glory (Peter Valchanov & Kristina Grozeva, 2018)
Otona no miru ehon – Umarete wa mita keredo (I was Born, but…, Yasujiro Ozu, 1939)
Sharasojyu (Shara, Naomi Kawase, 2003)
Xiǎochéng zhī chūn (Springtime in a Small Town, Tian Zhuangzhuang, 2002)
L’Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)
Goupi mains rouges (It Happened at the Inn, Jacques Becker, 1943)
Keshtzarhaye sepid (White Meadows, Mohammad Rasoulof, 2009)

Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always

gwendolyn audrey foster


While my film list reflects but a tiny fraction of all the astonishing films and videos available online, I must give a shout out to venues such as Mubi, Vimeo, MoMA and Lincoln Center Virtual Cinema for their foregrounding and making more eclectic and unknown gems available to stream and enjoy. While it has been a devastating year for theatrical, it’s been a breakthrough year for streaming. I sincerely hope that when we finally leave the pandemic behind us that theatrical and streaming can exist side-by-side and offer hybrid viewing opportunities, as we enjoyed in 2020. Films should be offered both in the cinema on the big screen and on streaming platforms in order for all filmgoers, artists and cineastes (in every corner of the world) to be more fairly accommodated.

I also include a brief list of experimental film festivals and events; these venues offer an assortment of personal cinema, auteur film and video that is made primarily as art; experiments in the avant-garde. With so much time on your hands in continued lockdown, you might search out these often amazing experimental film festivals and even find yourself astonished. There is a surprising amount of gorgeous artwork in film and video being screened and shared these days. While the underground and experimental filmmakers don’t often make films for an audience and certainly don’t aspire to make mainstream fare, their work is often far better than most of the films that are released, even in the indie/arthouse circuit.

Films and Videos:
Storm De Hirsch – Mythology for the Soul, 1963 -1973 (Film-Makers’ Coop, Vimeo On Demand, 2020)
The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2018)
Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020)
Black TV (Aldo Tambellini, 1968)
Film About A Father Who (Lynn Sachs 2020)
Ung flukt (The Wayward Girl, Edith Carlmar, 1959)
Døden er et kjærtegn (Death is a Caress, Edith Carlmar, 1949)
Madre (Rodrigo Sorogoyen, 2019)
Run (Aneesh Chaganty, 2020)
La parmigiana (The Girl From Parma, Antonio Pietrangeli, 1963)
Damnation: A Live Projector Performance (Scott Stark, 2020)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2020)
Small Axe (Steve McQueen, 2020)
The Quarry (Scott Teems, 2020)
The Pine Barrens (David Scott Kessler, 2020)
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman, 2020)
Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform, Leontine Sagan, 1931). Finally available on DVD/BR with English subtitles (Kino Lorber)
Earth (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2020)
Jeanne (Joan of Arc, Bruno Dumont, 2019)
Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins, 1982)

Festivals – Online or hybrid (both online & in cinemas/drive-in movie theatres):
New York Film Festival/Film at Lincoln Center Virtual Cinema, New York, USA.
Engauge Film Festival, Seattle.
Analogica Traveling Festival, Bolzano, Italy.
Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival, Haworth, Scotland.
Experiments in Cinema Film Festival, Albuquerque, USA.
Film-Makers’ Coop, In Solidarity: Protest Films in a Time of Crisis, New York, USA.
Grrl Haus Cinema Festival, Berlin, Germany.
FLIGHT/Mostra del Cinema di Genova Film Festival, Genoa, Italy.
Austin Arthouse Film Festival, Austin, USA.
Fisura, Festival Internacional de Cine y Video Experimental, Mexico.
Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, Hoboken, USA.
Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, USA.
Altt Alternative Film Festival, Toronto, Canada.
Agora-Off Espace Culturel, Virtual covid art installation, Paris, France.
Revelation Perth International Film Festival, (Experimental Showcase), Perth, Australia.

simon foster


2020 Films In General Release In Australia (Theatrical/Streaming):

  1. David Byrne’s American Utopia (Spike Lee, 2020)
  2. The Vast of Night (Andrew Patterson, 2019)
  3. The Trouble with Being Born (Sandra Wollner, 2020)
  4. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Jason Woliner, 2020)
  5. The Assistant (Kitty Green, 2019)
  6. Let Him Go (Thomas Bezucha, 2020)
  7. His House (Remi Weekes, 2020)
  8. Mignonnes (Cuties, Maïmouna Doucouré, 2020)
  9. Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020)
  10. Athlete A (Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk, 2020)

The Next Best Ten: Miss Juneteenth; Relic; Dick Johnson Is Dead; Host; Another Round; Becky; Mulan; Bill & Ted Face The Music; Last And First Men; Underwater

2020 Films Viewed At Festivals (awaiting release In Australia):

  1. One Night in Miami (Regina King, 2020)
  2. The Fabricated (Ali Katmiri, 2020)
  3. Shadow in the Cloud (Roseanne Liang, 2020)
  4. Pieces of a Woman (Kornél Mundruczó, 2020)
  5. Buio (Darkness, Emanuela Rossi, 2019)
  6. L’oiseau de paradis (Paradise, Paul Manaté, 2020)
  7. Breeder (Jens Dahl, 2020)
  8. Nadia, Butterfly (Pascal Plante, 2020)
  9. La Reina de los lagartos (The Queen of the Lizards, Juan González & Nando Martínez, 2019)
  10. Cinematographer (Dan Asma; Usa; 83 Mins)

The Next Best Ten: Vicious Fun; Shifter; Gagarine; Willie, Jamaley & The Cacacoon; Come True; Fried Barry; The Go-Go’s

Older Films Watched For The First Time In 2020:
Jabberwocky (Terry Gilliam, 1977)
The Misfits (John Huston, 1961)
Cover Girl (Charles Vidor, 1944)
Action U.S.A. (John Stewart, 1989)
The Heiress (William Wyler, 1949)
Hell Comes To Frogtown (Donald G. Jackson & R.J. Kizer, 1988)
The Other Side Of Midnight (Charles Jarrott, 1977)
Sextette (Ken Hughes, 1978)
…et dieu créa la femme (…and God Created Woman, Roger Vadim, 1956)
Celia (Ann Turner, 1989)
Decamerone (The Decameron, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1971)
Joysticks (Greydon Clark, 1983)
Niagara (Henry Hathaway, 1953)
Dark Age (Arch Nicholson, 1987)
Otto e mezzo (8 1⁄2, Frederico Fellini, 1963)
Idaho Transfer (Peter Fonda, 1973)

The best online festival experience:

  1. Marché du film: the annual Cannes market is crucial to programming my event and the organisers ensured access to the content and communication with the sales agents was first class;
  2. Berlin sci-fi filmfest: enhanced the festival experience with panels and Q-and-As as well as the typically expansive program;
  3. Sydney underground film festival: small group of dedicated volunteers ensured the rabid fanbase was not let down, including an expanded academic forum;
  4. Toronto international film festival: allowed for extensive press and festival access for international visitors.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

sachin gandhi


The word “global” has been used for a few decades but it truly took on a new meaning in 2020 when all the countries around the world were impacted, albeit in different measures. The everyday lives of all the people around the world were disrupted/stopped/changed in 2020. This included the lockdown of societies such as the halting of all sporting events around the world (professional/amateur/recreational) and the closing of all cinemas. Film festivals were canceled and others moved to a digital only version. As the year progressed, it became clear that big studio films would get released one way or another, be it in a physical cinema in 2021 or digitally. However, the same can’t be said of independent films and countless foreign films. A lot of these films depend on the film festival circuit to gain distribution and traction. The disruption of the film festival calendar meant that a lot of these films were orphaned and it is not clear if many of them will find a home in 2021 when the cinematic field will be crowded by new films or delayed 2020 films.

The following list consists of many films (both 2019, 2020) that are still without a proper home and I truly hope that these films get proper distribution in 2021 and are seen by a wide audience.

1. The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (Kathleen Hepburn & Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, 2019) – an essential film about domestic abuse that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. By depicting events in real time, and keeping the aggressor off-screen, the two directors highlight abuse from the everyday complex decisions that impact people trapped in such relationships.
2. Aise hi (Just like That, Kislay, 2019)
3. Namo (The Alien, Nader Saeivar, 2020) tied with
4. Sheytân vojūd nadârad (There is no Evil , Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) tied with
5. Metri shesh-o nim (Just 6.5, Saeed Roustayi, 2019)

Three different Iranian films but put together they show how oppressive government decisions and policies place undue stress on citizens.

6. El cuidado de los otros (The Care of Others, Mariano González, 2019)
Gulabo Sitabo (Shoojit Sircar, 2020)
De la noche a la mañana (Overnight, Manuel Ferrari, 2019)
7. Piedra Sola (Alejandro Telémaco Tarraf, 2020)
8. Exil (Exile, Visar Morina, 2020)
9. This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2020)
10. Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee, 2020)

flora georgiou


Nabarvene ptace (The Painted Bird, Vaclav Marhoul, 2019) A black and white war-drama set during the second World War, focuses on a young Jewish boy in occupied Poland, who becomes a survivor refugee when his parents are taken away to a concentration camp. A harrowing portrayal of antisemitism and paranoid resentment during war time.

The Painter and the Thief (Benjamin Ree, 2020) An extraordinary and moving documentary about an artist who strikes up a friendship with the thief who stole her painting from her first major gallery show. A raw and rare exploration of love, loss and forgiveness.

Kajillionaire (Miranda July,2020) A hilarious crime-comedy-caper movie. July has extended her talents and has conjured up a magnificent story about a family of petty thieves. It is wacky and full of memorable scenarios with lashings of superb performances from the entire cast.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Charles Kaufman, 2020) A superb psychological horror film exploring individual uncertainties and vulnerabilities. This is an absurdist unravelling of memories and displaced thoughts; nothing falls short under Kaufman who has delivered a unique exploration of the psyche.

Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas, 2019) A fascinating true story of Cuban exiles living in America set in the early ‘90s. Assayas offers sensitive yet brutal portrayals of real situations and people.

Uncut Gems (Safdie Bros. 2019) Typical frenzied and action-packed film from the Safdie Bros. Adam Sandler is perfectly cast as the loose cannon/wild man of the gem world. Drug fuelled, lawless, greed and gangsters. This is more than just another crime film!

Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee, 2020) Lee is a master of Afro-American characterisations and in his new war dramedy he has struck gold (no pun intended). His satirical exploration of the Vietnam War is often funny and sometimes a little ludicrous.

Shakespeare Shitstorm (Lloyd Kaufman, 2020) The best remedy after lockdown was attending the Monster Film Festival in December and feasting on a bunch of gore/horror films. The new Troma film Shakespeare Shitstorm graced the screen; Irksome, hilarious and gross. This film does not get any better or should l say worse.

sean gilman


The Best New Movies I Saw in 2020:

  1. The History of the Seattle Mariners (Jon Bois, 2020)
  2. Umibe no Eigakan: Kinema no Tamatebako (Labyrinth of Cinema, Obayashi Nobuhiko, 2019)
  3. Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, 2020)
  4. Undine (Christian Petzold, 2020)
  5. Tabi no owari sekai no hajimari (To the Ends of the Earth, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, 2019)
  6. Rizi (Days, Tsai Ming-liang, 2020)
  7. Mangrove (Steve McQueen, 2020)
  8. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2019)
  9. Jallikattu (Lijo Jose Pellissery, 2019)
  10. Still Processing (Sophy Romvari, 2020)
  11. Ngor moon yau yu her (We Have Boots, Evans Chan, 2020)
  12. Ham on Rye (Tyler Taormina, 2019)
  13. Kimi to, nami ni noretara (Ride Your Wave, Yuasa Masaaki, 2019)
  14. Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee, 2020)
  15. Domangchin yeoja (The Woman Who Ran, Hong Sangsoo, 2020)
  16. Tesla (Michael Almereyda, 2020)
  17. The Vast of Night (Andrew Patterson, 2019)
  18. Point and Line to Plane (Sofia Bohdanowicz, 2020)
  19. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (Bill Ross IV & Turner Ross, 2020)
  20. Greyhound (Aaron Schneider, 2020)
  21. Heart (Jeong Ga-young, 2019)
  22. The Disciple (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2020)
  23. Chun Chao (Spring Tide, Yang Lina, 2019)
  24. Yi zhi you dao hai shui bian lan (Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, Jia Zhangke, 2020)
  25. Ping jing (The Calming, Song Fang, 2020)

The Best Older Movies I Saw for the First Time in 2020:

  1. Mughal-e-Azam (K. Asif, 1960)
  2. Seishun dendekedekedeke (The Rocking Horsemen, Obayashi Nobuhiko, 1992)
  3. The Bridges of Madison County (Clint Eastwood, 1995)
  4. Duvidha (Mani Kaul, 1973)
  5. Real Life (Albert Brooks, 1979)
  6. The Harder they Come (Perry Henzell, 1972)
  7. Om shanti om (Farah Khan, 2007)
  8. Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
  9. Mother India (Mehboob Khan, 1957)
  10. Original Cast Album: Company (DA Pennebaker, 1970)
  11. Dil Se.. (Mani Ratnam, 1998)
  12. Joshû sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bô (Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41, Itô Shun’ya, 1972)
  13. Welcome to LA (Alan Rudolph, 1976)
  14. Eega (SS Rajamouli, 2012)
  15. Lagaan (Ashutosh Gowariker, 2001)
  16. Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May, 1976)
  17. Jhanak jhanak payal baaje (V. Shantaram, 1955)
  18. Peggy Sue Got Married (Francis Ford Coppola, 1986)
  19. Aag (Raj Kapoor, 1948)
  20. Nora-neko rokku: Mashin animaru (Stray Cat Rock: Machine Animal, Hasebe Yasuharu, 1970)
  21. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
  22. Long min (Cageman, Jacob Cheung, 1992)
  23. Deewar (Yash Chopra, 1975)
  24. Diwale dulhania le jayenge (Aditya Chopra, 1995)
  25. Klute (Alan J. Pakula, 1971)


antony i. ginnane


Top 10 (Eligibility: 2020 festival films in theatrical, festival, premiere DVD or VOD or streaming first release in the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand) listed alphabetically by title:

Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee, 2020) Elements of Huston’s Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948) are filtered through Lee’s blend of war and racism; colonialism and the dynamics of friendship. Explosive and melodramatic. Delroy Lindo shines.

Il Traditore (The Traitor, Marco Bellochio 2019) Bellochio once again blends Italian politics; crime, drama and judicial forensics as a mafia informer and an investigative judge collaborate.

Bacurau (Kleber Mendonca Filho, 2019) A metaphoric mix of genres; crime, fantasy and western combined to meditate on Brazil’s social and class structures. Like Glauber Rodia – the directors seek to focus on change and transformation.

Boze Cialo (Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa 2019) Moral ambiguity is the keynote here as Komasa delves into religion, belief, faith and hypocrisy – much like Paul Schrader with First Reformed (2017).

The Old Guard (Gina Prince-Blythwood, 2019) Best action film of the year with Charlize Theron continuing to impress. Comic strip hyperrealism with musings on eternity, death and the past.

Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020) The usual Nolan exercises in time theory presented in a Bondian style extravagance of action set pieces; elaborate stunts and time shifting narratives.

Freaky (Christopher Landon, 2020) Amusing postmodern slasher piece with a body swap narrative that focuses on role reversals, gender, body swaps and high school tropes.

Uncut Gems (Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie, 2019) An insanely frenetic over the top performance by Adam Sandler highlights the murky underbelly of the jewellery district in New York. Scorsese-style lowlife loser hijinks.

Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell, 2020) Smart scary thriller from Lee Whannell with Elisabeth Moss progressively dealing with her ex-husband back from the dead to haunt her.

Rhythm Section (Reed Morano, 2020) Blake Lively turns revenge drawn assassin to avenge her family’s death. She’s another version of Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde (David Leitch, 2017) but grittier and more broken.

Other titles that have excited or inspired me during the year include:
Hillbilly Elegy (Ron Howard, 2020)
Relic (Natalie Erica James, 2020)
I’m thinking of Ending Things (Charlie Kaufman, 2020)
Calm with Horses (Nick Rowland, 2019)
The Lodge (Severin Fiala & Veronica Fray, 2019)
Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin, 2020)
For Sama (Waad Al Kateab & Edward Watts, 2019)
The Hunt (Craig Zobel, 2020)
Guns Akimbo (Jason Lei Howden, 2019)
Color Out of Space (Richard Stanley, 2019)
Family Romance, LLC. (Werner Herzog, 2019)
The Perfect Candidate (Haifa al-Mansour, 2019)
The Half of It (Alice Wu, 2020)
Mank (David Fincher, 2020)
Villain (Philip Barantini, 2020)
Unhinged (Derrick Borte, 2020)
The Last Thing He Wanted (Dee Rees, 2020)
His House (Remi Weekes, 2020)
The Assistant (Kitty Green, 2019)
1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)
Underwater (William Eubanks, 2020)
Atlantique (Atlantics, Maty Diop, 2019)
Birds of Prey (Cathy Yan, 2020)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (George C. Wolfe, 2020)
Falling (Viggo Mortensen, 2020)

leonardo goi

  1. Labyrinth of Cinema (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 2019)
  2. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2019)
  3. Another Round (Thomas Vinterberg, 2020)
  4. Todo lo que se Olvida en Un Istante (Richard Shpuntoff)
  5. Quo Vadis Aida (Jasmila Zbanic, 2020)
  6. The Disciple (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2020)
  7. Dashte khamoush (The Wasteland, Ahmad Bahrami, 2020)
  8. City Hall (Frederick Wiseman, 2020)
  9. Point and Line to Plane (Sofia Bohdanowicz, 2020)
  10. Nasir (Arun Karthick, 2020)

Francesco grieco


Films released for the first time:
City Hall (Frederick Wiseman, 2020)
Dashte khamoush (The Wasteland, Ahmad Bahrami, 2020)
Figli (Giuseppe Bonito, 2020)
Hopper/Welles (Orson Welles, 2020)
Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020)
Onward (Dan Scanlon, 2020)
Sepelenmis Ölümler Arasinda (In Between Dying, Hilal Baydarov, 2020)
Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020)
Undine (Christian Petzold, 2020)
Wolfwalkers (Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart, 2020)

Older films encountered for the first time:
Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920)
Schloß Vogelöd (The Haunted Castle, F.W. Murnau, 1921)
Unfaithfully Yours (Preston Sturges, 1948)
Sterne (Stars, Konrad Wolf, 1959)
Quasi una tangente (Massimo Bacigalupo, 1966)
Utószezon (Late Season, Zoltán Fábri, 1967)
Out 1 (Jacques Rivette, 1971)
W.R. – Misterije organizma (WR: Mysteries of the Organism, Dušan Makavejev, 1971)
Shatranj-e baad (The Chess Game of the Wind, Mohammad Reza Aslani, 1976)
Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)
Diary (Diary 1973-1983, David Perlov, 1983)
Nobody’s Business (Alan Berliner, 1996)
Giro di lune tra terra e mare (Round the Moons Between Earth and Sea, Giuseppe M. Gaudino, 1997)
Oasiseu (Oasis, Lee Chang-dong, 2002)
Historias extraordinarias (Extraordinary Stories, Mariano Llinás, 2008)
So leben wir: Botschaften an die familie (How We Live: Messages to the Family, Gustav Deutsch, 2017)
O processo (The Trial, Maria Augusta Ramos, 2018)
Sedução da Carne (Seduction of the Flesh, Júlio Bressane, 2018)
Colectiv (Collective, Alexander Nanau, 2019)
A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)
Labyrinth of Cinema (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 2019)
Richard Jewell (Clint Eastwood, 2019)
The Vast of Night (Andrew Patterson, 2019)

Online festivals that presented a really good program:

  • I Mille Occhi for the homage to Vittorio Cottafavi
  • Archivio Aperto for the movies directed by Mauro Mingardi and David Perlov
  • Filmmaker Festival for the retrospectives curated by Tommaso Isabella and dedicated to Johannes Gierlinger and Antoinette Zwirchmayr
  • Torino Film Festival for the new Le stanze di Rol section, programmed by Pier Maria Bocchi


Michael Heath


An unprecedented year of virtual cinema offerings – not, sadly in those hallowed spaces called cinemas – but in the home where world cinema dominated on large HD screens like never before… and the offerings were an endless selection of extraordinary works most of which sadly did not grace our local Film Festival programmes…

The favourites:
Rizi (Days, Tsai Ming-Liang, 2020)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2019)
Eeb allay oo! (Prateek Vats, 2019)
Ti imas noc (You Have the Night, Ivan Salatić, 2019)
Zheltaya Koshka (Yellow Cat, Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2020)
Dorogie tovarishchi! (Dear Comrades, Andrei Konchalovsky, 2020)
The Trouble with Being Born (Sandra Wollner, 2020)
Calm with Horses (Nick Rowland, 2020)
Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, 2019)
Queen & Slim (Melina Matsoukas, 2019)
The Disciple (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2020)
New Order (Nuevo Orden, Michel Franco, 2020)

Guilty & Streaming Pleasures, and restored treasures from the past…
I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Charlie Kaufman, 2020), Netflix
Ratched (Ryan Murphy & Evan Romansky, 2020) Netflix
The Outsider (Richard Price, Stephen King, etc., 2020), HBO
Devs (Alex Garland, 2020), FX
The Virtues (Shane Meadows & Jack Thorne, 2020), Ch4
The films of Youssef Chahine, restored, Netflix
Abwege (The Devious Path, G.W. Pabst 1928), Pordenone restoration
The Deer (Masoud Kimiai, 1974), University of Wisconsin Cinematheque
Les Enfants d’Isadora (Isadora’s Children, Damien Manival, 2019) and Takara, La Nio Ou Jai Nage (The Night I Swam, Damien Manival and Igarashi Kohei, 2017), Mubi
Running to the Sky (Mirlan Abdykalykov, 2019) and Selkinchek (1993), Beshkempir (The Adopted Son, 1999) Aktan Abdykalykov, Kyrgyzstan, Kino Klassika
Meghe dhaka tara (The Cloud-Capped Star, Ritwik Ghatak, 1960), Criterion restored
Ride the Pink Horse – Robert Montgomery, USA 1947 (Criterion Restored)
Beau travail (Claire Denis, 1999, Criterion restored)

claire henry


My year at the cinema started with A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (Will Becher and Richard Phelan, 2019) and ended with Possessor (Brandon Cronenberg, 2020), a tonal shift that sums up the general trajectory of 2020.

I was so keen to get back to the cinema after lockdown that I was willing to watch anything, from the silly fun of Bloodshot (David S.F. Wilson, 2020) to the indulgent nonsense of Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020). Dispirited by the claim that the latter would be the saviour of cinema, I was grateful for the gems by Australian and New Zealand filmmakers that came to our socially-distanced cinemas, particularly the brilliant The Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell, 2020) and The Assistant (Kitty Green, 2019). My optimism about the state of (local) cinema was also buoyed by Baby Done (Curtis Vowell, 2020) and Babyteeth (Shannon Murphy, 2019).

Whānau Mārama – New Zealand International Film Festival:
Dinner in America (Adam Rehmeier, 2020)
Exil (Exile, Visar Morina, 2020)
Futur Drei (No Hard Feelings, Faraz Shariat, 2020)
Jumbo (Zoé Wittock, 2020)
Kala azar (Janis Rafa, 2020)
King of the Cruise (Sophie Dros, 2019)
Muidhond (Tench, Patrice Toye, 2019)
Relic (Natalie Erika James, 2020)
Schwarze Milch (Black Milk, Uisenma Borchu, 2020)
The Unknown Saint (Alaa Eddine Aljem, 2019)

While held primarily online, the festival was able to schedule a smaller programme of cinema screenings as restrictions lifted in Aotearoa New Zealand. Ironically, the one cinema screening I caught was a web series, Rūrangi (Max Currie, 2020), but it was a great reminder of the joys of the collective viewing experience and the importance of screen culture in representation and community building.

Wellington Film Society:
The popular opening night film was Creature from the Black Lagoon (Jack Arnold, 1954) in 3D, and closing night was Columbus (Kogonada, 2017) – third time lucky, after two Covid-related reschedulings. Other highlights included the NZ premiere of Instinct (Halina Reijn, 2019), held in association with NZIFF, and Huo Shan (Up the Mountain, Zhang Yang, 2018).

Alain Hertay


Films from 2019 and 2020:
Degas et moi (Arnaud des Pallières, 2019)
The Gentlemen (Guy Ritchie, 2020)
JoJo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)
Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019)
Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream, Frank Beauvais, 2019)
The Nest (Sean Durkin, 2020)

Discoveries of older films:
Les Amis (The Friends, Gérard Blain, 1971)
The Nickel Ride (Robert Mulligan, 1974)
Rapture (John Guillermin, 1965)
Welcome Home, Soldier Boys (Richard Compton, 1972)

david heslin


New Films

  1. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman, 2020)
  2. Das melancholische Mädchen (Aren’t You Happy?, Susanne Heinrich, 2019)
  3. Muidhond (Patrice Toye, 2019)
  4. The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019)
  5. Om det oändliga (About Endlessness, Roy Andersson, 2019)
  6. Le sel des larmes (The Salt of Tears, Philippe Garrel, 2020)
  7. Une fille facile (An Easy Girl, Rebecca Zlotowski, 2019)
  8. Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, 2019)

It will surprise few to learn that all but one of the new works I discovered in 2020 were seen at home, generally on my creaky old laptop. With the bulk of the year spent under various degrees of lockdown, there was scarcely opportunity to see new films at the cinema, and even when Melbourne’s picture houses did cautiously open their doors again in early November, films were seemingly gone in a flash – meaning that I missed the opportunity to catch a film that I was particularly looking forward to, Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always, on the big screen.

Hittman is among the most exciting filmmakers working in the US today; her previous two films, It Felt Like Love and Beach Rats, are dreamy reflections of recognisably shitty suburban teenage life, works in which not all that much necessarily always happens narratively, but wherein emotional upheavals can be measured on the Richter scale. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is even better than those two impressive films: in depicting a teenage girl’s surreptitious flight to New York to end an unwanted pregnancy – a topic ripe for melodrama or ratcheted-up tensions – Hittman focuses mostly on mundane detail and inner turmoil, foregrounding the oppressive sensory experience of being lost and penniless in a big city.

A diametrically different work was the absurdly stylised Aren’t You Happy?, a series of comedic vignettes about a disenchanted young woman that refuses to take anything (including itself) remotely seriously, and whose combination of spiky feminist politics and formal playfulness often recalls the sensibility of Věra Chytilová’s Sedmikrásky (Daisies, 1966). Films like this – and a couple of others in my list, The Lighthouse and About Endlessness – prioritise boldness over safety, and run a high risk of alienating viewers; all three are cinematic houses of cards liable to fall at any moment. More of that kind of thing, please.

On another note, the most morally serious new film I saw this year by far was the claustrophobic and confronting Muidhond, a Flemish drama about a sexually disordered young man battling his urges. It’s still uncommon, if not exactly new, territory – Todd Solondz’s Happiness (1998), after all, came out over two decades ago – but whereas other films of this ilk have presented sexual offending as inevitable and paedophiles as (at very best) objects of pity, Toye’s film dares to identify fully with its subject and his struggle. It’s a rare feat for films about mental illness in general, let alone a condition as stigma-riddled as this.

I will only mention in passing some of the films I wish I could have seen in 2020, and will hopefully get to see somewhere, somehow, in the months to come: Dau. Natasha (Ilya Khrzhanovskiy & Jekaterina Oertel, 2020); La flor (Mariano Llinás, 2016); Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020); Baby Done (Curtis Vowell, 2020); Domangchin yeoja (The Woman Who Ran, Hong Sang-soo, 2020); Isabella (Matías Piñeiro, 2020); and The Doll’s Breath (Stephen & Timothy Quay, 2019). The prospect of catching up on these, as with so much else that has been postponed or neglected in the past year, give 2021 a more hopeful hue.

Repertory screenings

  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson, 1992)
  2. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
  3. Fantasia (various directors, 1940)

One special filmic experience of this year was accompanying my kindergarten-age son to some of his first encounters with the big screen. The Wizard of Oz, which we saw at the Astor Theatre – hard to imagine a more ideal setting for a first experience of that film! – has particularly stayed with him, and even inspired him to make his own short adaptation, a virtuoso single-take fifteen-minute-long re-enactment filmed on an iPad! But the one I treasured most this year was, a few weeks after the thaw of an exhausting and soul-crushing second lockdown, taking him to see The Muppet Christmas Carol at the boutique independent theatre Thornbury Picture House, among an appreciative audience of kids and parents at (appropriately distanced) capacity, many of whom were presumably venturing out to a screening for the first time in the better part of a year. It felt like a glimmer of light seeping in through the cracks of an otherwise melancholic year.

Old films

  1. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978)
  2. Sans soleil (Chris Marker, 1983)
  3. Strategia del ragno (The Spider’s Stratagem, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)
  4. Astenicheskiy sindrom (The Asthenic Syndrome, Kira Muratova, 1989)
  5. Amor de Perdição (Doomed Love, Manoel de Oliveira, 1979)
  6. Jane B. par Agnès V. (Agnès Varda, 1988)
  7. Yuki yukite, shingun (The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, Kazuo Hara, 1987)
  8. Nuit d’été en ville (Summer Night in Town, Michel Deville, 1990)

DVD releases

  1. The Complete Films of Agnès Varda (Criterion)
  2. Das melancholische Mädchen (Salzgeber & Co. Medien GmbH)
  3. Fourteen (Grasshopper Film)

Nothing could come close to touching Criterion’s comprehensive Agnès Varda set this year, up there with Potemkine’s Eric Rohmer box set as one of the best home-video surveys of a director’s filmography ever released. But I also want to give mention to two humbler releases: Dan Sallitt’s Fourteen (one of my favourite films of 2019), which finally emerged on disc through the impressive distribution label Grasshopper Film; and the German DVD of the aforementioned Das melancholische Mädchen (Aren’t You Happy?) – a film that may well not get a release in English-speaking countries – which came with a great booklet and, miraculously, English subtitles.

Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur

Lee Hill


Top Ten (no order):
Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur (A White, White Day, Hlynur Pálmason, 2019)
Dark Waters (Todd Haynes, 2019)
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019)
Les Misérables (Ladj Ly, 2019)
Druk (Another Round, Thomas Vinterberg, 2020)
Śniegu już nigdy nie będzie (Never Gonna Snow Again, Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert, 2020)
Lahi, Hayop (Genus Pan, Lav Diaz, 2020)
200 Meters (Ameen Nayfeh, 2020)
Nuevo Orden (New Order, Michel Franco, 2020)
Queen of Hearts (May el-Toukhy, 2019)

Runners Up/Honourable Mention: Gisaengchung (Parasite, Bong Joo-Hoo, 2019), Uncut Gems (Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie, 2019), The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019), Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee, 2020), The Painter and the Thief (Benjamin Ree, 2020), African Apocalypse (Rob Lemkin, 2020), Undine (Christian Petzold, 2020), Belushi (RJ Cutler, 2020) and The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (Frank Marshall, 2020)

Vittorio Storaro Summer Project 2018:
A Rainy Day in New York (Woody Allen, 2020)

The Far Side of Paradise
: Siberia (Abel Ferrara, 2020)…it’s his 3 Women (Robert Altman, 1977)

Moments in Time:
The gagging of Bobby Seale in The Trials of the Chicago Seven (Aaron Sorkin. 2020), the “Silly Games” dance sequence in Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, 2020) and the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 (Patty Jenkins, 2020)

The F is for Fake Award for Biopic Bad Faith:
Mank (David Fincher, 2020)

Academy of the Overrated: Normal People (Lenny Abrahamson & Hettie MacDonald, BBC, 2020) and Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020)

Stand-out performance in an otherwise execrable film: Christopher Abbott in Possessor (Brandon Cronenberg, 2020).

DVD Reissues/Restorations/Directors Cuts: Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999), Winter Kills (William Richert, 1979), Sarinui chueok (Memories of Murder, Bong Joon Ho, 2003), Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (Francis Coppola, 1990/2020), Friendship’s Death (Peter Wollen, 1986), Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971), Contagion (Steven Soderbergh, 2011) and Crash (David Cronenberg, 1996)

Readings: Apropos of Nothing by Woody Allen, The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood by Sam Wasson, Conclusions by John Boorman, Miss Aluminium by Susanna Moore and Child of Light: A Biography of Robert Stone by Madison Scott Bell…looking forward big time to Mark Harris’ Mike Nichols: A Life in early 2021. Special mention to everyone at Film Comment, we miss you…please come back when you can.

Notes: 2020 was a year… in which Patricia Highsmith’s short story, “ The Man Who Wrote Books in His Head,” never felt more resonant… with daydreams about a John Calley-type green-lighting a remake/remodel of Il portiere di notte (The Night Porter, Liliana Cavani, 1974) with Eva Green and Christopher Waltz as the problematic lovers and a new character, an American Army War Crimes lawyer played by John Cusack, or Justin Kurzel helming a “kill the franchise” reboot of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Peter Hunt, 1969) with Hugh Grant as an ageing Bond getting killed Snowtown-style instead of his new bride… spent bingeing on season five of Better Call Saul (Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, AMC, 2020) all of The Americans (Joe Weisberg, FX, 2013-18) with its cold war Mission Impossible hijinks made transcendent by a dollop of John Updike’s Couples; season two of The Girlfriend Experience (Lodge Kerrigan & Amy Seimetz, Starz, 2017/18); and Barry (Alec Berg and Bill Hader, HBO, 2018-19), proof not all SNL alumni are doomed to make underachieving comedies… when programmers worldwide, including here in London, pulled off the thankless task of keeping the festival experience alive… when near forgotten films, like La Décade prodigieuse (Ten Days Wonder, Claude Chabrol, 1971) or the ramshackle The Domino Principle (Stanley Kramer, 1977) on YouTube kept anxiety at bay.

If this Bowie Low period continues beyond 2021, I’m gonna need a bigger screen.

Jytte Holmqvist


In a year of global turmoil and confusion, a raging pandemic has left sadness and despair in its wake. During a COVID normal of interrupted realities we look within, away from that former external space of non-stop activity. As we realise the inherent value of solitude, reflection and mindfulness help us gain a greater appreciation for the arts, film and literature. With cinemas precautionarily closed to the public, we derive pleasure from what Netflix and the Melbourne Virtual Cinémathèque have to offer. While physically isolated we must, nevertheless, refrain from becoming addicted to social media platforms and remain discerning, free thinkers. The following list covers films that highlight human complexities and connections – all released in a year when reality and fiction merge; the limits between the two hard to distinguish.

  1. The Social Dilemma (Jeff Orlowski, 2020). This documentary of our times is a downright scary tale of technology taking over our minds and lives. Interviewed high-tech social media gurus with a past in Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit issue a collective warning against these platforms that turn us into mindless slaves; subjects to a “massive scale contagion experiment”, “lab rats” and ourselves products to the products offered to us. An uncomfortable watch, the documentary is a call for action: we must snap out of our robotic state, activate our brains and choose the right news channels at a time when even COVID has been called a hoax and the truth feels more relative than ever.
  2. The Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell, 2020). “Adrian’s true genius was how he got in people’s heads” declares one of the characters in this manipulative horror flick that leaves the viewer reeling long after the end credits have stopped rolling. Whannell and cinematographer Stefan Duscio play tricks with our minds in a nail-biting thriller/mystery movie which becomes a rollercoaster ride into the twisted psyche of an invisible yet very much present male protagonist. One of the best films in its genre.
  3. The Human Voice (La Voz Humana, Pedro Almodóvar, 2020). Sleek, stylish and aesthetically appealing, Almodóvar lets his creative juices flow during Madrid lockdown. Once again demonstrating his cross-referential predilections, in La Voz Humana Almodóvar draws on Jean Cocteau’s 1930’s screenplay La Voix Humaine. In this 2020 30-minute melodrama an expressive Tilda Swinton – her face an artwork in itself – delivers a monologue that ranges from a lament to feverish fury; the waif-like Scottish actress tapping into her full potential throughout.
  4. Crímenes de Familia (The Crimes that Bind, Sebastián Schindel, 2020). Cecilia Roth is a driving force in this Argentinian drama about a woman and mother with misplaced loyalties, who gets dragged into two concurrent court cases both ultimately involving her son, is forced to take a stand and rethink hitherto unquestioned values. Slow and drawn-out in part, this nevertheless captivating film contains interesting plot developments and thought-provoking feminist undertones.
  5. La vita davanti a sé (The Life Ahead, Edoardo Ponti, 2020). Italian legend Sophia Loren stars as an elderly Holocaust survivor and former prostitute in this movie directed by Loren’s son. Based on a screenplay by Ponti and Ugo Chiti and adapted from the novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary (1975), this is ultimately a feel-good movie about the rocky relationship between Madame Rosa and a streetwise Senegalese orphan (Momo). From different generations, they gradually learn to rely on and sympathise with each other; connecting on a deeper level. “Humanity is but a comma in the big book of life, but whenever Madame Rosa looked at me with her big eyes, she wasn’t just a comma. She was the whole book”.
  6. Hillbilly Elegy (Ron Howard, 2020). A superb Glenn Close, old and haggard in a role that sees her deliver one of her greatest performances, stars alongside Amy Adams in this drama based on J.D. Vance’s memoir from 2016 set in Ohio and Kentucky but filmed in Macon, Georgia. A film about a struggling working class family joined in pain and tragedy, it highlights intergenerational rupture and disconnection yet ends on a hopeful note – a boy turned man says no to drug abuse and breaks the cycle of violence thereby honouring the wish of his guardian grandmother and staying true to himself.
  7. Mank (David Fincher, 2020). A film about a film within a film within a film, this ambitious 2+ hour meta-project pays tribute to the very medium of cinema. Taking a stern look at Hollywood, Mank scrutinises its film industry in this black and white biographical drama about Herman J. Mankiewicz as he painstakingly develops the script for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Lengthy but most definitely worth watching.
  8. If Anything Happens I Love You (Michael Govier & Will McCormack, 2020). A stark and powerful, reflective 12-minute 2D animation film about family joy replaced by grief in the context of US society today. As two parents lose their daughter in a college shooting spree the colour scheme shifts from black to selective colour then fades to black again and ends with healing. This co-directed film offers a glimpse into the lingering pain that comes from the death of a child, laying bare a flawed system and a government failing its citizens.
  9. A Secret Love (Chris Bolan, 2020). The year after Coixet’s Elisa and Marcela poetically revealed the story of the first same-sex marriage in Spain, Bolan presents us a documentary of another secret same-sex relationship: between now octogenarian Pat Henschel and Terry Donahue who only came out in 2009. Poignant and beautiful.
  10. I Am Greta (Nathan Grossman, 2020). First screened at the 77th Venice International Film Festival, this documentary is a must see at a time when climate activism should be high on the political agenda and we must all pay heed to a teenager who started a global revolution; her main followers millennials with the power to make a difference.

I Am Greta

peter hourigan


About eight months without stepping into a cinema. However, thanks to streaming services and the large number of festivals launching Virtual Events I was still able to have a rich year – though only in a cinema does a film have its longest lasting impact. My highlights were:

True History of the Kelly Gang (Justin Kurzel, 2019)
A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)
Waves (Troy Edward Shults, 2019)
Au nom de la terre (In the Name of the Land, Edouard Bergeon, 2019)
The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2020)
J’accuse (An Office and a Spy, Roman Polanski, 2019)
Il traditore (The Traitor, Marco Bellocchio, 2019)
Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, 2019)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2019)
State Funeral (Sergei Loznitsa, 2019)
La Llorona (Jayro Bustamente, 2019) – Discovering this in the virtual version of Melbourne International Film Festival was so exciting. Watched twice in the window available to me – and then hunted down more of his films including the also wonderful Tremblores (Tremors, 2019)
Shatranj-e Baad (The Chess Game of the Wind, Mohammed Reza Alsani, 1976). The most exciting discovery from Bologna’s virtual version of Cinema Ritrovato. Exciting that even under the cloud of 2020 wonderful lost films could still emerge.
I promesi sposi (The Betrothed, Mario Bonnard, 1922) Not really an outstanding film but for me one that I discovered thanks to Pordenone’s website portal, The Silent Stream, when I’d just read the book and been fascinated by the 19th century’s author description of a world in pandemic mode.
Penrod and Sam (William Beaudine 1923). This was part of the official, virtual Pordenone Silent Film Festival, and one of the most entertaining films I saw all year. Now it’s been rediscovered, may it have a long life.
Dashte khamoush (The Wasteland, Ahmad Bahrami, 2020). Venice Film Festival didn’t put all its entries online, but this Iranian film was powerful.
La dea fortuna (Goddess of Fortune, Ferzan Ozpetek, 2019)
Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello, 2019). This was a wonderful film to welcome back into the real cinema world.
Cemetery (Carlos Casas 2019) This Mubi offering really cried out for a cinema to do full justice to its incredible sound design and the visuals of this meditative poem (for want of a better description) connected to the belief that elephants go to a secret place to die.

Brian hu

  1. Time (Garrett Bradley, 2020)
  2. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2019)
  3. The Disciple (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2020)
  4. Undine (Christian Petzold, 2020)
  5. Down a Dark Stairwell (Ursula Liang, 2020)
  6. Happy Old Year (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2019)
  7. 76 Days (Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous, 2020)
  8. Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, 2020)
  9. Gamak Ghar (Achal Mishra, 2019)
  10. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman, 2020)
  11. Domangchin yeoja (The Woman Who Ran, Hong Sang-soo, 2020)
  12. Minari (Lee Isaac Chung, 2020)
  13. Rizi (Days, Tsai Ming-liang, 2020)
  14. Sin Señas Particulares (Identifying Features, Fernanda Valadez, 2020)
  15. My Missing Valentine (Chen Yu-hsun, 2020)
  16. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (Cathy Yan, 2020)
  17. Red, White and Blue (Steve McQueen, 2020)
  18. Jenayat-e bi deghat (Careless Crime, Shahram Mokri, 2020)
  19. Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre (Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time, Lili Horvát, 2020)
  20. Subarashikisekai (Under the Open Sky, Miwa Nishikawa, 2020)

Because nobody else is saying it, I’ll add this: what a seminal year for Asian American filmmakers. There were high profile festival wins: the top narrative prizes at Venice (Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland), Sundance (Minari), and Tribeca (Alice Wu’s The Half of It). There were powerful documentaries that discovered creative and thematic pathways between Asia and the U.S.: 76 Days, A Thousand Cuts (Ramona Diaz, 2020), and Finding Yingying (Jiayan “Jenny” Shi, 2020). Andrew Ahn’s tender Driveways (2019) received a commercial release while Bassam Tariq’s electrifying Mogul Mowgli (2020) looks to shake up 2021 with another bravura Riz Ahmed performance. Filmmakers like Cathy Yan (Birds of Prey) and Bao Nguyen (Be Water, 2020) gave mainstream content a distinctively Asian American imprint. Ursula Liang’s challenging Down a Dark Stairwell stretched the narrative of police brutality, protest, and allyship in ways that ask fundamental questions about race in the United States. And in First Cow, King Lu (played by Orion Lee) radically re-imagined race and masculinity in the American western. The unfortunate distribution circumstances of 2020 may obscure some of these accomplishments, but I’m going to choose to remember the year for these unprecedented reasons to cheer.


Christoph Huber


 11(x2) excellent excursions (listening to the current)
The Shivering Truth (Vernon Chatman, Cat Solen, 2018-20) | Thalasso (Guillaume Nicloux, 2019)
J‘accuse (An Officer and Spy, Roman Polanski, 2019) | Malmkrog (Manor House, Cristi Puiu, 2020)
The Dark and the Wicked (Bryan Bertino, 2020) | Beauty Water (Cho Kyung-hun, 2020)
Bronx (Rogue City, Olivier Marchal, 2020) | Police (Anne Fontaine, 2020)
Tatort: In der Familie 1 (Dominik Graf, 2020) | La terre et le sang (Earth and Blood, Julien Leclercq, 2020)
Bill & Ted Face the Music (Dean Parisot, 2020) | Otoko wa tsurai yo 50: Okaeri Tora-san (Tora-san, Our Lovable Tramp, Yamada Yôji, 2019)
Ang hupa (The Halt, Lav Diaz, 2019) | Lahi, Hayop (Genus Pan, Lav Diaz, 2020)
Mishima Yukio vs Tôdai zenkyôtô: 50 nenme no shinjitsu (Mishima: The Last Debate, Toyoshima Keisuke, 2020) | City Hall (Frederick Wiseman, 2020)
Thunderbolt Fantasy: Bewitching Melody of the West (Urobuchi Gen, 2019) | Bakuretsu mashin shôjo – bâsuto mashin gâru (Rise of the Machine Girls, Kobayashi Yûki, 2019)
Shakespeare’s Sh*tstorm (Lloyd Kaufman, 2020) | Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer, 2020)
Les plus belles années d’une vie (The Best Years of One Life, Claude Lelouch, 2019) | El crack cero (The Crack: Inception, José Luis Garci, 2019)

8 eminent emanations (the short version)
La France contre les robots (France Against the Robots, Jean-Marie Straub, 2020)
Struktur ist alles (Josef Hader, 2020)
World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime (Don Hertzfeldt, 2020)
Inside No. 9: Misdirection (Guillem Morales, 2020)
Shadowed (David F. Sandberg, 2020)
SpongeBob Anime Ep #1: Bubble Bass Arc (Narmak, 2020)
Morgens Pauken (Norbert Heitker, 2020)
Le Grand Rendez-Vous (Claude Lelouch, 2020)

1 outstanding obituary (in memoriam John le Carré)
Namsanui bujangdeul (The Man Standing Next, Woo Min-ho, 2020) | Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas, 2019)

3 thriving threads (future glimpses)
2551.01 Episode 01 “The Kid” (Norbert Pfaffenbichler, 2021)
Ang historya ni Ha (The History of Ha, Lav Diaz, 2021)
Darkroom (Ludwig Wüst, 2021)

the treasure trove

7 serendipitous series
Nouvelles d‘Henry James: De Grey, un récit romanesque (Claude Chabrol, 1974) | Le banc de la désolation (Claude Chabrol, 1974) | Il était un musicien: Monsieur Saint-Saëns (Claude Chabrol, 1978) | Chez Maupassant: Le parure (Claude Chabrol, 2007) | Le petit fût (Claude Chabrol, 2008) | Au siècle de Maupassant: Le petit vieux des Batignolles (Claude Chabrol, 2009) | Le fauteuil hanté (Claude Chabrol, 2010)

Desyat negrityat (Ten Little Indians, Stanislav Govorukhin, 1987) | L’heure zéro (Towards Zero, Pascal Thomas, 2007) | Urban Myths: Agatha Christie (Guillem Morales, 2018)

Reggae in Babylon (Wolfgang Büld, 1978) | Und tschüss! (Wolfgang Büld, 1995) | Lovesick – Sick Love (Wolfgang Büld, 2004)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Final Performance (John Brahm, 1964) | Dark Intruder (Harvey Hart, 1965) | Night Gallery: Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture (Jerrold Freedman, 1971) | Pickman’s Model (Jeff Corey, 1971) | Cool Air (Jeannot Szwarc, 1971) | The Return of the Sorcerer (Jeannot Szwarc, 1972) | Death On a Barge (Leonard Nimoy, 1973) | Schatten aus der Zeit (George Moorse, 1975) | Cast a Deadly Spell (Martin Campbell, 1991) | Necronomicon (Brian Yuzna, Christophe Gans, Kaneko Shusuke, 1993) | Dark Waters (Mariano Baino, 1993) | Beyond Re-Animator (Brian Yuzna, 2003)

Lumihiutalemuodostelma (The Snowflake Formation, Tapio Piirainen, 2012) | Vasen jo oikea (Left and Right, Tapio Piirainen, 2015) | Linnan juhlat (The Independence Day Ball, Tapio Piirainen, 2017)

Schenec-Tady I/II//III (Heinz Emigholz, 1973/75/76)

Metello (Mauro Bolognini, 1970) | Imputazione di omicidio per uno studente (Chronicle of a Homicide, Mauro Bolognini, 1972) | Libera, amore mio (Libera, My Love, Mauro Bolognini, 1975) | Per le antiche scale (Down the Ancient Stairs, Mauro Bolognini, 1975) | L’eredità Ferramonti (The Inheritance, Mauro Bolognini, 1976) | La storia vera della signora dalle camelie [TV version] (Lady of the Camelias, Mauro Bolognini, 1981) | La venexiana (The Venetian Woman, Mauro Bolognini, 1986)

30 thrilling throwdowns
Zanjin zanbaken (Man-Slashing Horse-Piercing Sword, Itô Daisuke, 1929) | Tajûrô jun’ai-ki (Love’s Twisting Path, Nakajima Sadao, 2018)
Nine Hours to Rama (Mark Robson, 1963) | Weder Tag noch Stunde (Bruno Jantoss, 1976)
La stanza del vescovo (The Bishop‘s Room, Dino Risi, 1977) | Il gatto (The Cat, Luigi Comencini, 1977)
Living in a Reversed World (Ivo Kohler, Theodor Erismann, 1958) | Canale Grande (Friederike Pezold, 1983)
Fear No Evil (Paul Wendkos, 1969) | El caminante (The Traveller, Paul Naschy, 1979)
Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus (Mike Judge, 2017/18) | Paradox (Daryl Hannah, 2018)
Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Jacques Manlay, 1978) | A Human Portrait (Damiano Damiani, 1989)
Tenemos 18 años (We Are 18 Years Old, Jess Franco, 1959) | Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal (Don’t Deliver Us From Evil, Joël Séria, 1971)
Kansas City Bomber (Jerrold Freeman, 1972) | Cave Women (Annette Haven, 1979)
Trois chambres à Manhattan (Three Rooms in Manhattan, Marcel Carné, 1965) | Nurunuru Cancan (Wet Hot Sake, Noshiyama Yoichi, 1996)
Nijuman no borei (200000 Phantoms, Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2007) | #67 (Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2012)
La voglia matta (Crazy Desire, Luciano Salce, 1962) | Dove vai in vacanza? (Where Are You Going on Holiday?, Mauro Bolognini, Luciano Salce, Alberto Sordi, 1978)
Alles Fleisch ist Gras (Reinhold Bilgeri, 2014) | Erik & Erika (Bilgeri, 2018)
La cité de l’indicible peur (The Big Scare, Jean-Pierre Mocky, 1964) | Tales from the Hood (Rusty Cundieff, 1995)
Luna (Moon, Pavel Klushantsev, 1965) | 72 metra (72 Metres, Vladimir Khotinenko, 2004)
Too Late For Tears (Byron Haskin, 1949) | Chair de poule (Highway Pick-Up, Julien Duvivier, 1963)
La mansión de los muertos vivientes (Mansion of the Living Dead, Jess Franco, 1982) | El habitante incierto (The Uninvited Guest, Guillem Morales, 2004)
Die schwarze Spinne (The Black Spider, Mark M. Rissi, 1983) | Laurin (Robert Sigl, 1989)
Exorcismo Negro (The Bloody Exorcism, José Mojica Marins, 1974) | Dama de Paus (Mário Vaz Filho, 1989)
Il ladrone (The Good Thief, Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1980) | L’inchiesta (The Inquiry, Damiano Damiani, 1987)
The Barbary Pirate! (Lew Landers, 1949) | Piraty XX veka (Pirates of the 20th Century, Boris Durov, 1980)
Bianco, rosso e Verdone (Carlo Verdone, 1981) | Compagni di scuola (Carlo Verdone, 1988)
Min börda (The Burden, Niki Lindroth von Bahr, 2017) | Lake Monsters (Mizushima Hiné, 2018)
Sealed Cargo (Alfred L. Werker, 1951) | Town Tamer (Lesley Selander, 1965)
Vaxdockan (The Doll, Arne Mattsson, 1962) | Yngsjömordet (Woman of Darkness, 1966)
Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (Richard L. Bare, 1957) | The Rockford Files: There’s One in Every Port (Meta Rosenberg, 1977)
Objectif: 500 millions (Objective 500 Million, Pierre Schoendoerffer, 1966) | Diên Biên Phú (Pierre Schoendoerffer, 1992)
Plácido (Luis García Berlanga, 1961) | El sueño de la maestra (The Teacher’s Dream, Luis García Berlanga, 2002)
Kavkazskaya plennitsa, ili Novye priklyucheniya Shurika (Kidnapping, Caucasian Style, Leonid Gaidai, 1967) | Al Habil (The Rope, Ibrahim Shaddad, 1984)
Scanners III: The Takeover (Christian Duguay, 1991) | Dark (Paul Schrader, 2014-17)

tomàš hudák


Newer ones:
The American Sector (Courtney Stephens & Pacho Velez, 2020)
Aquí y allá (Here and There, Melisa Liebenthal, 2019)
Bottled Songs 1 – 4 (Chloé Galibert-Laîné & Kevin B. Lee, 2020)
Cemetery (Carlos Casas, 2019)
Forensickness (Chloé Galibert-Laîné, 2020)
The Hardest Working Cat in Showbiz (Sofia Bohdanowicz, 2020)
Hitting My Head on the World (Anna Vasof, 2019)
Inventing the Future (Isiah Medina, 2020)
IWOW: I Walk on Water (Khalik Allah, 2020)
Key / Frame (Johannes Binotto, 2020)
O jednoj mladosti (Once Upon a Youth, Ivan Ramljak, 2020)
A Proposal to Project in Scope (Viktoria Schmid, 2020)
Screen Talk (Neïl Beloufa, 2020)
Space Dogs (Elsa Kremser, Levin Peter, 2019)
Terra Femme (Courtney Stephens, 2020)
That Which Is to Come Is Just a Promise (Flatform, 2019)
Zwyczajny kraj (An Ordinary Country, Tomasz Wolski, 2020)

Older Ones:
Bush Mama (Haile Gerima, 1975)
Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991)
Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 1994)
killer.berlin.doc (Bettina Ellerkamp, Jörg Heitmann, 1999)
Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May, 1976)
Right On! (Herbert Danska, 1970)
A Story for the Modlins (Sergio Oksman, 2012)
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (William Greaves, 1968)
Szép leányok, ne sírjatok! (Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!, Márta Mészáros, 1970)

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