William Edwards

Long time film fanatic, Sydney, Australia
  1. Benediction (Terence Davies, 2021)
  2. Ete 95 (Summer of 85, Francois Ozon, 2020)
  3. Aline (Valerie Lemercier, 2020)
  4. Ich bin dein Mensch (I’m Your Man, Maria Schrader, 2021)
  5. After Love (Aleem Khan, 2020)
  6. Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde (Fabian: Going to the Dogs, Dominik Graf, 2021)
  7. Jipuragirdao jab sipeun jibseungdeul (Beasts That Cling to Straws, Kim Yong-hoon, 2020)
  8. The 20th Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019)
  9. Barn (Beware of Children, Dag Johan Haugerud, 2019)
  10. The Dry (Robert Connolly, 2020)

I must acknowledge Swallow (Carlo Mirabella-Davis, 2019), that should have been in my top ten last year but that I accidentally omitted. 

Drive My Car

Samantha Egensteiner

Experimental filmmaker and writer in Brooklyn, United States

2021 Releases

The 8th Annual On Cinema Oscar Special (Eric Notarnicola, 2021)
Once again the On Cinema at the Cinema team have managed to make Oscars Night exciting again and further push the boundaries of their immersive comedy experience. This year’s dual stream technique emphasized the dueling personalities of the show and how skewed their perspectives are and how skewed the audience’s perspectives can be as well. 

Doraibu mai kā (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
earthearthearth (Daïchi Saïto, 2021)
From Bakersfield to Mojave (James Benning, 2021)
The History of the Atlanta Falcons (Jon Bois, 2021)
Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021)

Umibe no eigakan – Kinema no tamatebako (Labyrinth of Cinema, Nobuhiko Ōbayashi, 2021)
The most beautiful, sincere, and inventive love letter to cinema. Looking to the past, the present, and the future. 

Six Seventy-Two Variations, Variation 1 (Tomonari Nishikawa, 2021)
Tomonari Nishikawa’s live performance features the artist etching lines onto a loop of black 16mm leader. As the lines accumulate the effect’s rhythm comes alive, both on screen and heard on the optic soundtrack. Proof more than ever of the vitality of the theatrical experience. 

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Jane Schoenbrun, 2021)
Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Zack Snyder, 2021)

New to Me

Blackhat (Michael Mann, 2015)
In a year of isolation, the boundaries between the physical and digital world seemed blurrier than ever, and no film better portrayed that for me than Blackhat. Michael Mann’s twenty-first century portrait of digital warfare and global cyber-politics strongly resonated with the dissociated state of the world in 2021.

Timewave Zero (Terrence McKenna, 2012)
Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)

Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999)
Returning to the theater with friends and feeling the rush of group screenings as we all perk up in recognition over the original dialogue sampled in Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love.

Hester Street (Joan Micklin Silver, 1975)
The Flicker (Tony Conrad, 1966)

Gerónimo Elortegui

Lente Creativo, Website Editor and Curator, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The five best films of 2021 in alphabetical order:

Being a Human Person (Fred Scott, 2020)
Doraibu Mai Ka (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
Dorogie Tovarishchi (Dear Comrades, Andrei Konchalovsky, 2020)
Gûzen To Sôzô (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
Los Niños de Dios (The Children of God, Martin Farina, 2021)

And others equally valuables also in alphabetical order:

A.I. At War (Florent Marcie, 2021)
Akelarre (Coven, Pablo Agüero, 2020)
Bob Cuspe: Nos Nao Gostamos De Gente (Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People, César Cabral, 2021)
Cider No Yo Ni Kotoba Ga Wakiagaru (Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, Kyohei Ishiguro, 2020)
Dyrio (Lamb, Valdimar Jóhannsson, 2021)
El Diablo Entre Las Piernas (Devil Between the Legs, Arturo Ripstein, 2019)
Espiritu Sagrado (The Sacred Spirit, Chema García Ibarra, 2021)
Friends and Strangers (James Vaughan, 2021)
Given (Hikaru Yamaguchi, 2021)
Hugo In Argentina (Stefano Knuchel, 2021)
I Walk On Water (Khalik Allah, 2021)
Jesus Egon Christus (David Vajda & Sasa Vajda, 2021)
Kaze No Denwa (Voices in the Wind, Nobuhiro Suwa, 2020)
Kunstneren Og Tyven (The Painter and the Thief, Benjamin Ree, 2020)
Les Choses Qu’on Dit, Les Choses Qu’on Fait (The Things We Say, the Things We Do, Emmanuel Mouret (2020)
Mad God (Phil Tippett, 2021)
NITRAM (Justin Kurzel, 2021)
Nocturna Lado A: La Noche Del Hombre GRANDE (Nocturna Side A: The Great Old Man’s Night, Gonzalo Calzada, 2021)
Persischstunden (Persian Lessons, Vadim Perelman, 2020)
Sary Mysyq (Yellow Cat, Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2020)
Sentimental (The People Upstairs, Cesc Gay, 2020)
Shorta (Enforcement, Anders Ølholm & Frederik Louis Hviid, 2020)
South Park: Post Covid (Trey Parker, 2021)
Sweat (Magnus von Horn, 2020)
Tata Muta Muntii (The Father Who Moves Mountains, Daniel Sandu, 2021)
Tig Notaro: Drawn (Greg Franklin (2021)
The Trip to Greece (Michael Winterbottom, 2020)

John K. Emelianoff

Consultant, Editor, United States

Time is a manmade concept.  All manmade concepts are manmade concepts.  The notion of that which is a concept is a concept.  The definition of a concept is a concept.  Conceptuality is conceptual.  Maybe reality is, too.  

Here is one American’s account of some movies released in calendar year 2021, if you believe in such conceptual structural temporal constraints.  

Every film you liked that is not listed here is surely a film I have not yet had the privilege to experience.  Forgive my ignorance, my blind spots, and the fact that there is simply not enough time.  

My favourite documentaries of 2021 include Philly D.A. (Yoni Brook, Ted Passon, Nicole Salazar), Becoming Helen Keller (Laurie Block, Michael Pressman), and some segments of NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ (Spike Lee), as well as a lengthy vérité account of some quite talented musicians noodling on their instruments and vying to replace Mo Salah and Sadio Mané as my favorite Liverpudlians.  I forget who produced it or which micro-niche company offers it to stream, but whatever, it’s nice to see filmmakers Get Back to Frederick Wiseman-esque aesthetics, allowing the subjects to speak and sing for themselves.  

An airy dream that became a massive phenomenon, at times sprawling beyond the boundaries of comity, that then miraculously became an actual film, also massive and unmoored from the conventional boundaries of conventional feature cinema, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is all that a Zack Snyder fan could hope to experience if that fan is at least tolerant of the odiously oversaturated superheroes genre.  

Then he gave us Army of the Dead, which is all that a Zack Snyder fan could hope to experience if that fan is at least tolerant of the odiously oversaturated zombies genre.  

Rather than endorse it as a whole, I shall highly recommend only the final 30-ish minutes of Malignant, James Wan’s return to sturdy, classical story-told-round-the-campfire horror unencumbered by shady real-life quackery.  Beyond the invigoratingly violent thrills that ensue after a certain wild reveal, the concluding act of Malignant is a source of joy for me personally because it reminds me of my days in the US Army when my strongest event in physical training was running backwards.  I could never best my infantry teammates in a pushup contest, I had a mediocre record against my fellow artillery & comms specialists when we engaged in MMA-style combatives, and I have never been an elite [forward] sprinter, but, when our supervisors told us to run in the style of the reverse-entropy futurelings of Tenet (Nolan, 2020) from point A to point B on a stretch of Fort Benning dirt or Fort Bragg concrete, I was usually the fastest.  I respect people (and demons?) who can operate in any direction with full mobility and dexterity, as though they have eyes in the back of their head.  

It was another year in which a surfeit of cinema embraced the “meta” approach of bending the 4th wall, if not outright shattering it and wallowing in the debris.  There is surely a happy, reasonable level of “meta” somewhere on the spectrum between Eriq La Salle’s brief direct eye contact with the camera in Coming To America (Landis, 1988) and the full blown Ryan Reynolds-ization of action comedy, between labourious Charlie Kaufman-style expansive worlds-within-worlds recursiveness and a subtle, mild nod in a fleeting line of dialogue at the nature of the televisual medium itself.  Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve) achieves that pleasant, relatively unobtrusive flavor of meta.  Another modest triumph from a filmmaker who will likely make lots of entries for Best Of lists for decades to come.  

Xmas came a few days early in 2021 when another film proved it is possible to be ultra-self-referential, almost obnoxiously so, and still present a wondrous, absorbing interrogation on the nature of relationships that seem emotionally straightforward until doubts, falsehoods, and complications, real and/or imagined, enter the picture and distort or displace the comfortable reality the protagonists and protagonists’ creations had hitherto thought they had enjoyed.  A binary is disrupted, expanded, and made into at once somehow both older and younger versions of itself.  

Resurrect the past and you may find that sometimes, dead is better.  Warner Brothers this year released two long-dreamt-of rebootquels as extreme tests of the applicability of Stephen King’s aphorism, one as an affirmation that dead is indeed better (Lebron James is a better athlete and arguably a better player, controlling for era, than Michael Jordan, but their taste in film projects, even controlling for era, is about equally atrocious.), and one as a glorious exception in the negation.  If you are not sure what I mean as I refer to my favorite film of 2021, then look a little closer for a falling vertical coded language that will be un-unseeable once you see it.  

Shun someone who complains about Lana Wachowski’s latest, which could almost be titled Neo And Trinity Face The Music. The thematic and narrative similarity of Keanu Reeves’s other recent long-awaited sequel is undeniable; he might unironically own a “The Future Is Female” t-shirt.  Shun anyone who deserves to be shunned for their bad opinions, their bad ideologies, their bad behavior, their bad use of multi-comma’d catalogues of clauses in their prose, but never abandon hope that they can change, can grasp a clearer truth, can be deprogrammed and experience a breakthrough with an Analyst or whomever has been feeding them misinformation.  Our reality depends on it. 

A Cop Movie

Adalberto Fonkén

Lima-based social communicator and film writer for the Séptima Ilusión blog.

Annette (Leos Carax, 2021)
Petite maman (Céline Sciamma, 2021)
Titanium (Titane, Julia Ducournau, 2021)
The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021)
Noche de fuego (Prayers for the stolen, Tatiana Huezo, 2021)
Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes, 2021)
Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2019)
Babi Yar. Context (2021) and State Funeral (Sergey Loznitsa, 2019)

I would have liked to include some works with particular aesthetics (Memoria, The French Dispatch), medieval and fantastic settings (The Green Nnight, Dune) and others like The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet, A Cop Movie, The Great Movement and Manco Cápac


Cabra marcado para morrer (Man Marked To Die, Eduardo Coutinho, 1985)
The Night Of The Shooting Stars (La notte di San Lorenzo, Vittorio & Paolo Taviani, 1982)
Una giornata particolare (A special day, Ettore Scola, 1977)
The Killing of Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1976)
Chronicle Of The Years Of Fire (Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina, 1975)
La ragazza con la valigia (Girl with a suitcase, Valerio Zurlini, 1961)
Untouched (Sombra verde, Roberto Gavaldón, 1954)
This Land Is Mine (Jean Renoir, 1943)
White zombie (Victor Halperin, 1932)
Vampyr – Der traum des Allan Gray (Carl T. Dreyer, 1932)

The Power of the Dog

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

Artist / Filmmaker / Author. Willa Cather Professor Emerita at the University of Nebraska

World Poll Top 10 or 20 Viewed in 2021

El Planeta (Amalia Ulman, 2021 MoMA Virtual Cinema)
Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021)
Titane, (Julia Ducournau, 2021)
Lamb (Valdimar Jóhannsson, 2021)
Delphine’s Prayers (Rosine Mbakam, 2021)
Poly Styrene: I am a Cliché (Celeste Bell and Paul Sng 2021)
Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma, 2021)
Sisters with Transistors (Lisa Rovner, 2020, Metrograph-At-Home)
Swan Song (Todd Stephens, 2021)
The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021)
Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021)
Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor (Lynne Sachs, 2018)
Visita ou Memórias e Confissões /Visit, or Memories and Confessions (Manoel de Oliveira, made in 1982, released in 2015, MUBI)
Passing (Rebecca Hall, 2021)
The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal, 2021)
Sambizanga (Sarah Maldoror, 1972, NYFF restoration)
Adoption (Márta Mészáros, 1975, NYFF restoration)
Who Killed Vincent Chin? (Christine Choy, Renee Tajima-Peñ, 1987, NYFF restoration)
Beyond the Visible: Hilma Af Klint (Halina Dyrschka, 2019 Kino Marquee)
Sign of the Gladiator/ Nel Segno di Roma (Guido Brignone, Michelangelo Antonioni, Sergio Leone, Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava, 1959 Paramount channel)

Best Festivals and Screening Events in 2021

New York Film Festival, Film at Lincoln Center
To Save and Project, 17th MoMa International Festival of Film Preservation, New York.
The Films of Tanaka Kinuyo, Tokyo International Film Festival, Tokyo.
The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival and Touring Program, Hoboken, NJ.
International Film Festival “Suspaustas Laikas,” Vilnius, Lithuania.
Women Make Movies, Inc. Festival, NYC (held online).
Rencontres Internationales Sciences & Cinémas (RISC), Marseille, France.
Porto Femme International Film Festival, Portugal.
In Solidarity: Protest Films in a Time of Crisis, The Film-Makers’ Cooperative. (Hybrid festival, in person in New York City and online on Vimeo-on-Demand.)
Moving-Image-Arts International Film Festival, Ryerson University, Toronto.
The Animattikon Project: Animation in Times of Plague, Paphos, Cyprus.
Athens International Film + Video Festival, Ohio University, Ohio.
ESMoA Video Art + Film Festival: BLUE/S, El Segundo, California.
VII Festival Video nodoCCS, Touring Caracas, Venezuela; Barcelona, Spain; and Kristiansand, Norway.
Alteraciones, curated by Carlos Cruz, Festival de Cine Radical, Bolivia.
ULTRAcinema Festival de Cine Experimental y de Found Footage, Mexico.
Festival Transterritorial de Cine Underground, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Revelation Perth International Film Festival, International Experimental Showcase, (Hybrid, online and in-person.) Perth, Australia.
Encuentro Para Cinéfagos: Festival de CineArte en la Frontera, Venezuela.
24th Antimatter [Media Art] Festival, Victoria, BC, Canada.
Crossroads Film Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque, (Hybrid, online and in-person at the Roxie Theater, San Francisco. 

I am a very “picky eater” when it comes to my eclectic taste in cinema, but the one positive thing about this terrifying (seemingly never-ending) pandemic is the explosion of places to view some remarkable films, with gorgeous prints online available on various platforms and in film festivals, from the well-known festivals to smaller experimental film festivals, with many offering a hybrid model of viewing both in-person and streaming online. As a viewer, I screwed up the courage to see only a couple of films at a movie theatre this year, given that in our area neither masks nor proof of vaccination are needed to go out to the cinema. 

Nevertheless, in 2021, I managed to track down and view so many gorgeous films via streaming on our new giant screen at home theatre, so I have no complaints with the move towards streaming. There were so many films to choose from this year, especially on MUBI, and on MoMA’s streaming platform as well as the Virtual Cinema at Lincoln Center, Metrograph’s online at-home theatre and so many others. If I had to choose one film that knocked my socks off in 2021, it would be the beautiful independent low-budget El Planeta by the incredibly talented Spanish filmmaker Amalia Ulman. Films like El Planeta convince me that brilliant auteur cinema still exists and thrives, even in a world where we increasingly see mega-budget sewage such as Spiderman suck up all the wind out of the room. To me, that sort of “viewing product” has very little to do with anything we can agree is cinema or cinematic. The only thing it has in common with cinema is that it’s light projected on a screen; it’s garbage that is increasingly taking up valuable space in venues formerly known as movie theatres.

As a cineaste, the really exciting and innovative viewing is to be found in some of the curated retrospectives, such as the great films presented by The Museum of Modern Art’s “To Save and Project Series.” It’s absolutely thrilling, for example, to see the collected films of neglected Japanese filmmaker Kinuyo Tanaka screened, projected and celebrated at the Tokyo International Film Festival and elsewhere. Many of these retrospectives are now available online!

As an experimental filmmaker, I am privileged to have seen so many truly cinematic explorations and experiments in film at smaller experimental film venues and also to screen my own work in many of these experimental festivals. I have included only a short list of the myriad international film festivals that screen abstract, experimental and avant-garde work, much of it short films. The celebration of the short experimental film is so important, because they remind us why we fell in love with cinema to begin with, and it has nothing to do with budgets or stars, or even narrative; instead it has to do with a love of radical experimentation in the form and the medium, whether it be hand-painting and scratching films, to hand-animating experimental one-of-a-kind personal cinema.

Experimental underground cinema springs not from the love of money, but from a love of film as an art form and it is at these underground experimental film festivals (powered by a love of cinema) that you should tune in and log on – if you really desire to see something fresh, unique and mind-blowing.

Simon Foster

Festival Director, Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival; Managing Editor, Screen-Space; Reviewer, ABC RADIO; Host, The Screen Watching Podcast


  1. Coda (Dir: Sian Heder; USA, 111 Mins)
  2. Last Night In Soho (Dir: Edgar Wright; UK, 116 Mins)
  3. The Worst Person In The World (Joachim Trier; Norway, 127 Mins)
  4. West Side Story (Steven Spielberg; Usa, 156 Mins)
  5. Shiva Baby (Emma Seligman; Usa, 77 Mins)
  6. Dune (Denis Villeneuve; Usa, 155 Mins)
  7. Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve; France, 112 Mins)
  8. Adrienne (Andy Ostroy; Usa, 98 Mins)
  9. Free Guy (Shawn Levy; Usa, 115 Mins)
  10. The Colony (Tim Fehlbaum; Germany, 104 Mins)

2021 FILMS VIEWED AT FESTIVALS (Awaiting Release in Australia):

  1. Annees 20 (Roaring 20s. Dir: elisabeth vogler; france, 85 mins)
  2. Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma; France, 72 Mins)
  3. Vera De Verdad (Beniamino Catena; Italy/Chile, 100 Mins) 
  4. La panthere des neiges (The Velvet Queen. Dir: marie amiguet; france, 92 mins)
  5. Doraibu Mai Ka (Drive My Car, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi; Japan, 179 mins)
  6. Ted K (Tony Stone; USA, 120 mins)
  7. Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven; France/Belgium, 131 mins)
  8. Ilargi Guztiak (All The Moon, Igor Legarreta; Spain, 102 mins)
  9. Medusa (Anita Rocha da Silveira; Brazil, 127 mins)
  10. Wo De Jie Jie (Sister. Ruoxin Yin, China, 127 mins)

The next best ten: Annette; Corazon Azul; Stories From Afterwards; Mayday; Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes; Straight To Vhs; El Corazón De La Luna; The Deep House; Offseason; Censor 

PLUS Five Must-Watch Documentaries For The Hardcore Cinephile:

  1. Woodlands Dark And Days Bewitched: A History Of Folk Horror (Kier-La Janisse; USA, 197 mins)
  2. Dear Werner (Pablo Maqueda; Spain, 80 mins)
  3. Val (Ting Poo, Leo Scott; USA, 109 mins)
  4. The Story Of Film: A New Generation (Mark Cousins; UK, 160 mins)
  5. Television Event (Jeff Daniels; Australia, 90 mins)


  1. The Terminal | 2004 (Steven Spielberg; USA, 128 mins)
  2. The Slumberparty Massacre | 1982 (Amy Holden Jones; USA, 77 mins)
  3. Ticket To Heaven | 1981 (Ralph L. Thomas; Canada, 108 mins)
  4. Ms. 45 | 1981 (Abel Ferrara; USA, 80 mins)
  5. Christiane f. | 1981 (Uli Edel; Germany, 138 mins)
  6. Lost Horizon | 1973 (Charles Jarrott; USA, 150 mins)
  7. Death Watch | 1980 (Bertrand Tavernier; France, 117 mins)
  8. Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains | 1982 (Lou Adler; USA, 87 mins)
  9. Old Boyfriends | 1979 (Joan Tewkesbury; USA, 103 mins)
  10. Cattle Annie And Little Britches | 1980 (Lamont Johnson; USA, 97 mins)


  1. Revelations Perth International Film Festival – Australia’s most remote capital offered a national audience a glimpse inside why they have a global reputation as one of the most inventive, progressive festival experiences. 
  2. Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival – From its Auckland base, Whānau Mārama presented programs in a further 12 NZ cities and online, ensuring the legacy of late founder Bill Gosden is both honoured and enhanced.
  3. Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival: All humility aside, my team and I presented 93 films from 21 countries as part of our first hybrid festival, and held firm in our commitment to genre cinema in the face of all manner of obstacles. Very proud of what we achieved. 


Sachin Gandhi

Film Programmer, Canada

After a global shutdown in 2020, including that of Cinema, it was widely expected that a reopening would happen in 2021. Society did open in varying degrees in 2021, film festivals did happen in actual cinemas, but things were far from normal. Many cinemas remained closed in some countries and numerous film festivals took place in a hybrid manner (virtual + physical cinema) while some stayed completely online. As 2021 progressed, it became clear that big studios would still prevail and be able to dump their product whenever they wanted and in whatever fashion. Meanwhile, independent and foreign films suffered as they were not able to depend on film festival buzz to gain traction. To complicate matters, some distributors insisted on purity of cinema and only wanted to show their film in physical cinemas. That immediately put many cities out of reach, including my city. So as 2021 is about to end, it is crystal clear that it is becoming very very difficult to legally see quality cinema while there is no shortage of means to see Hollywood films.

Still, it was heartening to see that good films continued to be made even though it was tougher to see them. I am thankful that some Canadian film festivals (thank you Gimli film festival, Fantasia, Festival du nouveau cinéma) made some of their incredible selections easily available online across Canada.

Here are 10 of my favourite films from 2021. I truly hope that some of these films are widely released in 2022.

1. The Great Indian Kitchen (Jeo Baby, 2021)
As the title indicates, there is food in the movie which will cause one to get hungry. However, it becomes apparent that the film is more than about food and the kitchen is more than just a space to make food. Even though this film is rooted in South India, aspects about marriage and treatment of women are applicable to many other patriarchal societies around the world. A highly relevant and urgent film.

2. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
The first of the two Hamaguchi films released in 2021 is pure cinematic delight. The playful structure, including abrupt zooms, reminds of Hong Sang-soo’s cinema but the honesty and mature stories are a continuation of ideas from his earlier Happy Hour. Another lovely surprise is the inclusion of an element that reflects our current pandemic world.

3. Întregalde (Radu Muntean, 2021)
There are no vampires in this contemplative film set in Transylvania yet there are elements of morality and ethics that are relevant to our world today. Those elements centre around doing good for others at the expense of one’s needs.

4. Le monde après nous (The World After Us, Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas, 2021)
A charming Parisian film that balances the sweetness of romance in Paris with the bitterness of a writer’s struggles.

5. A Night of Knowing Nothing (Payal Kapadia, 2021)
Payal Kapadia’s beautiful poetic film shows that despite decades of progress, many things haven’t changed in India (or the world in general). In fact, some things are regressing including basic human rights.

6. Fire in the Mountains (Ajitpal Singh, 2021)
A remarkable film which derives its power with a smart mix of dry humour and plenty of heart. In the hands of another filmmaker, this could have been a completely dramatic film but Ajitpal incorporates many light hearted touches that elevates the film.

7. Faya Dayi (Jessica Beshir, 2021)
An immersive, hypnotic and poetic journey to Harar! With a photographer’s soul, Beshir lovingly captures the myths and rituals around Khat along with its growth, sale and consumption.

8. Aleph (Iva Radivojevic, 2021)
Smartly uses a Jorge Luis Borges short story as a spring board to explore diverse stories in Buenos Aires, Greeland, Kathmandu, New York City and the Sahara. Easily one of the most creative films of the year!

9. Pebbles (P.S. Vinothraj, 2021)
The film depicts the harness of the main character against the backdrop of an unfolding environmental disaster. That point may not be apparent at first but is hammered home by the quietly powerful final scene.

10. Mbah Jhiwo (Ancient Soul, Álvaro Gurrea, 2021)
As most of the world shifted to comfortable online remote working, Gurrea’s film shows the brutal reality of dangers some people face in their jobs. Ancient Soul shows the life of Yono, a sulphur miner in Java, as he navigates his dangerous job while dealing with the complex questions around why his wife left him. The mine shots evokes Michael Glawogger’s Workingman’s Death while some of the spiritual themes have a touch of Apichatpong’s style to them.

Honourable Mentions (alphabetical order):
Ahed’s Knee (Nadav Lapid, 2021)
Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021)
La Ciudad de las Fieras (The City of Wild Beasts, Henry Rincón, 2021)
Directamente para video (Straight to VHS, Emilio Silva Torres, 2021)
Taming the Garden (Salomé Jashi, 2021)

Flora Georgiou

Film and Theatre Reviewer, writer, and filmmaker

Nomadland (Chloe Zha0,2021)
A road trip that sees the disparate middle aging set survive the elements. Directed with a compassionate and open space, with emotion and geography in nature’s elements in light and wind to reveal character. Fern’s (France MacDormand), long hours on the road behind the wheel, or at a job, with weather disruptions and conflicting social relations and a feeling of moving on to battle the elements.

Pixie (Barnaby Thompson,2020)

Pixie (Olivia Cole) is busting loose with vivacious conniving plans to avenge her mother’s death. In a small Irish town masterminding her own heist, she must hide from the gangsters when it goes wrong. It was shot in Northern Ireland, capturing a small town as the comical cat and mouse games run rampant through the countryside. Hilarious performances by the entire cast.

First Cow (Kelly Reichardt,2019)

A William Blake quotation opens the Reichardt film – “The bird, a nest the spider a web, man friendship.”. First Cow is an intimate exploration of a tale set around Oregon in early pioneering days, when the British reigned over the early American colonies.

Titane (Julia Ducournau,2021)

A seriously frantic, surrealistic body horror body film. Agatha Roussette in her first feature film debut as Alexia. Her mechanophilia is foreshadowed in the films prologue – a road accident in childhood that leaves her with a titanium plate embedded in her skull – but her bloodlust is harder to pin down.

Alexia the serial killer with her sexual car fetish, adopts the identity of a missing boy, and hell just keeps breaking loose.

Judas And The Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021)

True story. A solid drama! The FBI offered a plea deal to William O’Neal, who consents to infiltrate the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party to gather intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton. 

The film ends with archival footage of Chairman Fred Hampton  of the Black Panther Party (BPP) – speeches at  his funeral procession and an interview O’Neal gave in 1989. The title cards state that William O’Neal continued to work as an informant within the BPP, before dying by suicide.

The Monster festival in December 2021 filled the gap in another Covid no festival year for cinephiles like me. An eclectic selection and broad   range of genre and sub- genre titles in horror, where offered at this year’s festival. I chose three favourites from ten film pass.

Black Friday (Casey Tebo,2021)

A perfect allegorical tale of the oncoming Black Friday sale. On a thanksgiving night, a bunch of cranky employees arrive for work to open the store at midnight for the busiest shopping day of the year. In the meantime, an alien parasite crashes to Earth in a meteor. The misfit team led by store manager Jonathon (Bruce Campbell) who give a standout performance along with Ken (Devon Sawa) find themselves battling against the holiday shoppers who have been turned into zombie monsters, hellbent on a murderous rampage on Black Friday.

Wyrmwood Apocalypse (Kiah Roache- Turner,2021)

 What appears to be a reboot era template of Roache- Turner brothers original WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD (2015). The sequel has soldier Rhys (Luke Mckenzie) living in a zombie-infested Australian wasteland. Rhys who is on the arc of redemption, turns against his evil bosses and joins forces with a group of rebel survivors to help rescue a girl who holds the cure to the virus.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (Johannes Roberts,2021)

This returns to the origins of the enormous popularity of RESIDENT EVIL franchise. Director Johannes Roberts (THE STRANGERS, PREY AT NIGHT). It does not disappoint.

Raccoon City is now a dying midwestern town, The pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corporation, Raccoon City has left leaving behind a wasteland city, with great evil brewing in the cracks and below the surface and underground bog. When the evil is unleashed, a group of survivors’ band together to reveal the truth behind the corrupt drug company while surviving the battles and scars throughout the night.

Sean Gilman

Film critic, Tacoma, United States

The Best New Movies I Saw in 2021:

  1. Doraibu mai kā (Drive My Car, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, 2021)
  2. Shadow Kingdom: The Early Songs of Bob Dylan (Alma Har’el, 2021)
  3. Dangsin eolgul ap-eseo (In Front of Your Face, Hong Sangsoo, 2021)
  4. West Side Story (Steven Spielberg, 2021)
  5. Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven, 2021)
  6. Gūzen to Sōzō (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, 2021)
  7. Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2021)
  8. The Beatles: Get Back (Peter Jackson, 2021)
  9. Karnan (Mari Selvaraj, 2021)
  10. The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun (Wes Anderson, 2021)
  11. Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (Kier-La Janisse, 2021)
  12. Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime (Belle, Hosoda Mamoru, 2021)
  13. The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes, 2021)
  14. The History of the Atlanta Falcons (Jon Bois, 2021)
  15. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Jane Schoenbrun, 2021)
  16. The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski, 2021)
  17. Shin Evangerion Gekijōban 𝄇 (Evangelion 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time, Anno Hideaki, 2021)
  18. Cìshā xiǎoshuōjiā (A Writer’s Odyssey, Lu Yang, 2021)
  19. Inteurodeoksyeon (Introduction, Hong Sangsoo, 2021)
  20. Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2021)
  21. Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World (Adam Curtis, 2021)
  22. Lónghǔ wǔshī (Kung Fu Stuntmen, Wei Junzi, 2020)
  23. Zhì Chǐ (Limbo, Soi Cheang, 2021)
  24. Pùbù (The Falls, Chung Mong-hong, 2021)
  25. Dune: Part One (Denis Villeneuve, 2021)
  26. The Green Knight (David Lowery, 2021)
  27. Old (M. Night Shyamalan, 2021)
  28. The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021)
  29. Sìchuān hǎo nǚrén (The Good Woman of Sichuan, Sabrina Zhao, 2021)
  30. One Shot (James Nunn, 2021)
  31. Xuányá zhīshàng (Cliff Walkers, Zhang Yimou, 2021)
  32. Hell Hath No Fury (Jesse V. Johnson, 2021)
  33. Verdens verste menneske (The Worst Person in the World, Joachim Trier, 2021)
  34. Gekijō-ban “Kimetsu no Yaiba” Mugen Ressha-hen (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train, Sotozaki Haruo, 2020)
  35. Kyô Samurai Musashi (Crazy Samurai Musashi, Shimomura Yûji, 2020)

The best older movies i saw for the first time in 2021:

  1. Kare no ōtobai kanojo no shima (His Motorbike, Her Island, Ōbayashi Nobuhiko, 1986)
  2. Il grande silenzio (The Great Silence, Sergio Corbucci, 1968)
  3. Yokohama BJ burūsu’ (Yokohama BJ Blues, Kudō Eiichi, 1981)
  4. The Shooting (Monte Hellman, 1966)
  5. Ercole al centro della terra (Hercules in the Haunted World, Mario Bava, 1961)
  6. Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)
  7. Hǎi shì shèn lóu (Mirage, Tsui Siu-ming, 1987)
  8. The Gunfighter (Henry King, 1950)
  9. Hard Rain (Jacques Levy, 1976)
  10. Conquest (Lucio Fulci, 1983)
  11. Neil Young: Heart of Gold (Jonathan Demme, 2006)
  12. Ride in the Whirlwind (Monte Hellman, 1966)
  13. Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide (Hercules and the Captive Women, Vittorio Cottafavi, 1961)
  14. La rose de fer (The Iron Rose, Jean Rollin, 1973)
  15. Jerichow (Christian Petzold, 2008)
  16. Navajo Joe (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)
  17. La maschera del demonio (Black Sunday, Mario Bava, 1960)
  18. Tǐyù huánghòu (Queen of Sports, Sun Yu, 1934)
  19. Debra Paget, For Example (Mark Rappaport, 2016)
  20. Za sutorīto faitā (The Street Fighter, Ozawa Shigehiro, 1974)
  21. Ulisse (Ulysses, Mario Camerini, 1954)
  22. Il gatto a nove code (The Cat o’Nine Tails, Dario Argento, 1971)
  23. The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)
  24. Every Which Way But Loose (James Fargo, 1978)
  25. The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006)
  26. Rust Never Sleeps (Neil Young, 1979)
  27. Il cavaliere misterioso (The Mysterious Rider, Riccardo Freda, 1948)
  28. Festival! (Murray Lerner, 1967)
  29. La strada per Fort Alamo (The Road to Fort Alamo, Mario Bava, 1964)
  30. The Eiger Sanction (Clint Eastwood, 1975)
  31. Tiānshǐ xíngdòng II huǒ fèng kuáng lóng (Iron Angels 2, Teresa Woo, 1987)
  32. Gli invasori (Erik the Conquerer, Mario Bava, 1961)
  33. Shinobi no Mono (Ninja, a Band of Assassins, Yamamoto Satsuo, 1962)
  34. Scream 3 (Wes Craven, 2000)
  35. Wèisīlǐ zhī bàwáng xiè jiǎ (Bury Me High, Tsui Siu-ming, 1991)

Antony I. Ginnane

Melbourne born Antony I. Ginnane has produced or executive produced 71 feature films, MOW’s, miniseries and TV series over 50 years

Top 10 (Eligibility: 2021 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:

Babardeala cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, Radu Jude, 2021)
Jude’s pop analysis of contemporary Romania and hypocrisy is a fun filled blend of Godard and Makavejev focussing on society’s fault lines and fractures.

The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021)
Like most Schrader films this is gripping mix of theology and crime.  Minimalist in tone but multi layered in plot.  Redemption comes at a heavy price.

Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond, 2021)
Beginning as a nod to the UK video nasties regime, Bailey-Bond moves into horror – who dunnit mode as she probes the disappearance of her sister and like Polanski in “Repulsion” explores madness and it manifestations.

Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021)
Classical elegiac tale of debt and honor and odd ball friendship, Eastwood circumnavigates some clunky exposition to arrive at a sentimentality that is genuinely moving.

High Ground (Stephen Maxwell Johnson, 2020)
Stephen Maxwell Johnson creates a tough Australian western set in the 1920’s in which a Territory ex-cop is dragged back into duty to track down an Indigenous warrior on the run.  Extraordinary images coupled with considerations of colonialism, guilt, responsibility and fate.

Madres Paralelas (Parallel Mothers, Pedro Almódovar, 2021)
Almodovar blends the essential melodrama of two woman’s relationship in the context of babies misplaced with observations on Franco Spain.

Nobody (Ilya Naishuller, 2021)
Bob Odenkirk is a retired government operative who engages in a revenge mission against home invaders and their connections.  Great lead performance, kinetic action, droll humor.

The Outpost (Rod Lurie, 2019)
Sam Fuller light – US soldiers in Afghanistan hold a forward outpost against a massive Taliban attack.  Lurie films as both an observer and a participant of the Battle of Kandesh.

Possessor (Brandon Cronenberg, 2020)
Sci-fi horror in the spirit of his father, Cronenberg is not afraid to present us with brutal violence and ultra-confronting memory, trauma and gore.

Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021)
Ducournau’s extraordinary second feature is a potent blend of female power and body horror full of images that are hard to shake.

Other titles that have excited or inspired me during the year include:

  1. Let Him Go (Thomas Bezucha, 2020)
  2. The Mountain (Kevin Macdonald, 2020)
  3. Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021)
  4. Druk (Another Round, Thomas Vinterberg, 2020)
  5. The United States vs Billie Holiday (Lee Daniels, 2021)
  6. Fatale (Dean Taylor, 2020)
  7. Truffle Hunters (Michael Dweck, Gregory Kernshaw, 2020)
  8. Black Widow (Cate Shortland, 2021)
  9. The Guilty (Antoine Fuqua, 2021)
  10. Bull (Paul Andrew Williams, 2021)
  11. The Suicide Squad (James Gunn, 2021)
  12. Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green, 2021)
  13. Candyman (Nia DaCosta, 2021)
  14. Malignant (James Wan, 2021)
  15. No Time To Die (Cary Joji Fukunaya, 2021)
  16. The Last Duel (Ridley Scott, 2021)
  17. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Michael Showalter, 2021)
  18. Wrath of Man (Guy Ritchie, 2021)
  19. Soul (Pete Doctor, Kemp Powers, 2020)
  20. The White Tiger (Ramin Batrani, 2021)
  21. The Midnight Sky (George Clooney, 2020)
  22. The Little Things (John Lee Hancock, 2021)
  23. I’m Your Woman (Julia Hart, 2020)
  24. Small Axe – Mangrove (Steve McQueen, 2020)
  25. Bando (“Peninsula”) (Sang-ho Yeon, 2020)
  26. The Furnace (Roderick Mackay, 2020)
  27. Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright, 2021)
  28. The Rescue (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, 2021)
  29. The Harder They Fall (Jim Jeynes, 2021)
  30. Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021)
  31. The Real Charlie Chaplin (Peter Middleton, James Spinney, 2021)
  32. The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021)
  33. Belfast (Kenneth Branagh, 2021)
  34. Storms of Jeremy Thomas (Mark Cousins, 2021)
  35. Sputnik (Egor Abramenko, 2020)
  36. Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal, 2021)
  37. Licorice Pizza (PT Anderson, 2021)
  38. A Quiet Place – Part 2 (John Krasinski, 2020)
  39. Gunpowder Milkshake (Navot Papishado, 2021)
  40. The Outpost (Rod Lurie, 2019)
  41. Being the Riccardo’s (Aaron Sorkin, 2021)
  42. Spencer (Pablo Larrain, 2021)


Leo Goldsmith

Leo Goldsmith is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Culture & Media at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, and a contributor to 4Columns

Features (ranked-ish):

The Souvenir, Part II (Joanna Hogg, 2021)
Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021)
Doraibu mai kā (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
El Gran Movimiento (Kiro Russo, 2021)
რას ვხედავთ როდესაც ცას ვუყურებთ? (What Do We See When We look at the Sky?, Alexandre Koberidze, 2021)
Dangsin eolgul ap-eseo (In Front of Your Face, Hong Sang-too, 2021)
La Nature (Artavazd Pelechian, 2019)
Il Buco (Michelangelo Frammartino, 2021)
The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021)
Annette (Leos Carax, 2021)
Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven, 2021)
Gūzen to Sōzō (Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
Bunker (Jenny Perlin, 2021)
Cane Fire (Anthony Banua-Simon, 2020)
Godzilla vs Kong (4DX version, Adam Wingard, 2021)
North by Current (Angelo Madsen Minax, 2021)
Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2021)
Das Mädchen und die Spinne (The Girl and the Spider, Ramon and Silvan Zürcher, 2021)
Juste un mouvement (Just a Movement, Vincent Meessen, 2021)
Inteurodeoksyeon (Introduction, Hong Sang-soo, 2021)
Odoriko (Nude at Heart, Yoichiro Okutani, 2021)
Shared Resources (Jordan Lord, 2021)
Bad Trip (Kitao Sakurai, 2021)
Diários de Otsoga (The Tsugua Diaries, Maureen Fazendeiro & Miguel Gomes, 2021)
Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021)

Shorts (alphabetical):

All of Your Stars are but dust on my shoes (Haig Aivazian, 2021)
Ancient Sunshine (Jason Livingston, 2021)
Os Corpos (The Bodies, Eloy Domínguez Serén, 2021)
Do Not Circulate (Tiffany Sia, 2021)
earthearthearth (Daïchi Saïto, 2021)
Estuary (Ross Meckfessel, 2021)
Home When You Return (Carl Elsaesser, 2021)
A Human Certainty (Morgan Quaintance, 2021)
The Jump (Shuruq Harb, 2021)
my favorite software is being here (Alison Nguyen, 2020)
Nazarbazi (Maryam Tafakory, 2021)
Night Colonies (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021)
The Parker Solar Probe’s videos from the Sun’s atmosphere (NASA, 2021)
Revenant (Madison Brookshire & Tashi Wada, 2021)
To Pick a Flower (Shireen Seno, 2021)

New to me (alphabetical):

All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, 1979)
Communion (Philippe Mora, 1989)
Dance, Girl, Dance (Dorothy Arzner, 1940)
Deep Cover (Bill Duke, 1992)
Disintergration 93-96 (Miko Revereza, 2017)
Imagine the Sound (Ron Mann, 1981)
Gli intoccabili (Machine Gun McCain, Giuliano Montaldo, 1969)
Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
Niagara (Henry Hathaway, 1953)
Contadini del mare (Peasants of the Sea, Vittorio De Seta, 1956)
La Piscine (Jacques Deray, 1969)
Points of Departure (Alia Syed, 2014)
Razor Blades (Paul Sharits, 1968)
The Revolt of Mamie Stover (Raoul Walsh, 1956)
Songs for Drella (Ed Lachman, 1990)
Stendalì: Suonao Ancora (Cecilia Mangini, 1960)
Substrait (Underground Dailies) (Gordon Matta-Clark, 1976)
The Tall T (Budd Boetticher, 1957)
To Die For (Gus Van Sant, 1995)
Demain on déménage (Tomorrow We Move, Chantal Akerman, 2004)
Working Girls (Lizzie Borden, 1986)

Andrew Goode

Head of theatrical Hi Gloss Entertainment

Top 10 Films

  • Annette (Leos Carax, 2021)

My favourite film of the year. I rented this film online during a lockdown and seriously regretted not watching it on the big screen. Since their apparent re / emergence into popular culture – I have struggled to get into Spark’s music, but I cannot fault them in this film. I can imagine some will get put off by the plot, which at times is ridiculous, the film is constantly brought back to life my every new Sparks number. A truly enjoyable and brave film. 10 out of 10.

  • El agente topo (The Mole Agent, Maite Alberdi, 2020)

My favourite documentary of the year. I took four unsuspecting friends to watch this film at Cinema Nova and it shocked and moved them all. When you are faced with the seeming barrage of Australian comedies about senior citizens (usually portrayed by beloved aging Aussie actors) planning an escapee from their oppressive old people’s homes, this film was a much more honest and critical look at the facilities, told through an unsuspecting but eager protagonist. It was such a subtle, entertaining, and truly heart-wrenching film and shined a light on something a lot of people have to face – abandonment.

  • L’événement (Happening, Audrey Diwan, 2021)

Another highlight for my virtual Venice – this Golden Lion winner rocked me to my core. It was so brutal and harrowing but so profoundly and important. It did an incredibly job in positioning society and the system as a truly evil antagonist – should be essential viewing.

  • The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021)

This kinda felt like a parody of a Paul Schrader film but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love it. The film surprisingly looked magnificent, which is something I don’t really associate with both casino and Schrader films. Paul Schrader also casting my 2017 favourite Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish shows how innovate the old man can be. Also that score.. so good! I saw the film with a tired but rowdy late night crowd at Event George Street as part of Sydney Film Fest, a cinema which I feel this film was made for…

  • È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God, Paolo Sorrentino, 2021)

Another incredible film I was lucky enough to see at SFF. I’m not one to like or indulge Netflix context but I couldn’t help myself to watch this film. I feel anything shot in or around Naples automatically looks beautiful, but this film is so much more than that. It was both hilarious, inspiring, indulgent, and completely devastating, much like Sorrentino’s other films… 

  • Sokea mies joka ei halunnut nähdä Titaniciaa (Blind Man Who Did Not Want to watch Titanic, Teemu Nikki, 2021)

A film that evoked the same kind of dread I felt watching Good Time and Victoria. Although arguably having the least marketable title ever created, the film was a major highlight of both the Venice FF and my year watching films. When we follow our blind protagonist on the train and he starts interacting with the world, you can almost feel something bad is going to happen, but you never really see it, which makes it even more stressful. I also watched this on a link so extra props for it being able to hold my fragile attention span. I sincerely hope it gets a cinematic release in 2k22.

  • قهرمان (A Hero, Asghar Farhadi, 2021)

I am biased as this is a Hi Gloss title but watching this both on a link and at the Sydney FF proved to be two unique and thoroughly entertaining viewing experiences. Tense but also intrinsically humorous and critical, A HERO is up there with Fireworks Wednesday as my favourite Farhadi film.

  • The Truffle Hunters (Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw, 2020)

A close second favourite documentary of the year. It looked incredible, focused on old, cute and mostly grumpy Italian men but was also shot with a critical eye. There are also truly gut-wrenching moments in this film as well. It reminds me of Julien Faraut’s works – which unlike the popular yet tedious ‘Netflixy’ talking heads with dramatic music over the top style of storytelling, was able to let the footage do most of the talking. 

  • Titane (Julia Ducourau, 2021)

I loved Raw so I needed to find a spot for this film in my top 10 list. I suspect this film ‘could’ve been better’ but there were so many moments of pure cinematic magic that kept me as the viewer interested. I couldn’t help but shake off parallels with The Imposter which I truly hope Julia Ducournau used as inspiration. Speaking of – I wish Vincent Lindon got more praise for his misguided/ lonely/ juiced up fireman / father role.

  • Jungle Cruise (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2021)

I always like to put a big Hollywood film into my top 10 and although this theme park adaptation (which according to Wikipedia is the 11th film adapted from a Disney attraction) is critically a very average film –  I had so much fun watching it in a cinema that I had to include it in the 10. Come for Paul Giamatti’s crude Italian accent, stay for The Rock is his People’s Choice Award winning performance as explorer / Spanish conquistador Frank Wolff / Francisco Lopez de Heredia.  

  • Films I haven’t seen yet but would probably contend.

Licorice Pizza
The Worst Person in the World
The Lost Daughter
The Father
Red Rocket

Lucas Granero

Writer and editor at La vida útil, Argentina

2021 films:

Doraibu mai kâ (Drive my Car, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
Outside Noise (Ted Fendt)
The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes)
Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What do We See When We Look at the Sky?, Alexander Koberdize)
In Front of Your Face / Introduction (Hong Sang-soo)
Baleh-Baleh / Vas-tu renoncer ? (Pascale Bodet)
Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood)
Old (M. Night Shyamalan)
Trampa de Luz (Pablo Marín)
From Bakersfield to Mojave (James Benning)
Zeros and Ones (Abel Ferrara)
Mi última aventura (Ramiro Sonzini / Ezequiel Salinas)
West Side Story (Steven Spielberg)
Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasetakhul)
The Card Counter (Paul Schrader)
France (Bruno Dumont)
El perro que no calla (The Dog that Wouldn’t be Quiet, Ana Katz)
Train Again (Peter Tscherkassky)

New discoveries and revisitations:

Winter Ade (Winter Comes After Spring, Helke Misselwitz, 1988)
Sperrmull (Bulky Trash, Helke Misselwitz, 1991)
Ani imôto (Older Brother, Younger Sister, Mikio Naruse, 1953)
Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden, 1983)
El Sur (Víctor Erice, 1983)
Vampires (John Carpenter, 1998) *
Ruby in Paradise (Victor Nunez, 1993)
Hangman’s Knot (Ruy Huggins, 1952)
Man in the Shadows (Jack Arnold, 1957)
Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubistch, 1946) *
I Pugni in Tasca (Fists in the Pocket, Marco Bellocchio, 1965)
Gli occhi, la bocca (The Eyes, The Mouth, Marco Bellocchio, 1982)
Parpaillon (Up and Down, Luc Moullet, 1993)
Les Prestiges de la Mort (Death’s Glamour, Luc Moullet, 2007)
Cityscape (Michael Snow, 2019)
Cutter’s Way (Ivan Passer, 1981)
Arigato-san, Arigatô-san (Mr. Thank You, Hiroshi Shimizu, 1936) *
Tirez la langue, mademoiselle (Miss and the Doctors, Axelle Ropert, 2013)
À l’abordage (All Hands on Deck, Guillaume Brac, 2020)
Un Monde sans femmes (A World Without Woman, Guillaume Brac, 2011)
Hand Held Day (Gary Beydler, 1975)
New York Near Sleep for Saskia (Peter Hutton, 1972)
Jeune femme à sa fenêtre lisant une lettre (Jean-Claude Rousseau, 1983)
Bye Bye Bob (Jim Jennings, 1990)
Silvercup (Jim Jennings, 1998)
Wall Street (Jim Jennings, 1980)
Nickelodeon (Peter Bogdanovich, 1976)
Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy (Tony Buba, 1988)
THE WHOLE SHEBANG (Ken Jacobs, 2019)
Mad Dog and Glory (John McNaughton, 1993)
Good-bye, My Lady (William Wellman, 1956)
Same Came Running (Vincente Minnelli, 1958) *
Tea and Sympathy (Vincente Minnelli, 1956) *
The Clock (Vincente Minnelli, 1945) *
Two Weeks in Another Town (Vincente Minnelli, 1962) *
Glide of Transparency (Betzy Bromberg, 2017)
…All the Marbles (Robert Aldrich, 1981)
Emperor of the North (Robert Aldrich, 1973)
Scarecrow (Jerry Schatzberg, 1973)
Travolta et Moi (Patricia Mazuy, 1994)
Charley Varrick (Don Siegel, 1973)
The Hired Hand (Peter Fonda, 1971)


In memoriam Monte Hellman

Sam Gray

London-based cinephile, screenwriter, and occasional festival critic.

New Films
1. France (Bruno Dumont, 2021) 
2. Annette (Leos Carax, 2021)
3. Red Rocket (Sean Baker, 2021)
4. Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven, 2021)
5. Pig (Michael Sarnoski, 2021)
6. The Beatles: Get Back (Peter Jackson, 2021)
7. Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021)
8. Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021)
9. In Front of Your Face (Hong Sang-soo, 2021)
10. Old (M. Night Shyamalan, 2021)

Older Films (Alphabetical)
Blonde Venus (Josef von Sternberg, 1932)
Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2011)
Citizen Ruth (Alexander Payne, 1996)
The Company (Robert Altman, 2003)
Contact (Alan Clarke, 1985)
Death and Transfiguration (Terence Davies, 1983)
Dragon Inn (King Hu, 1967)
Drive a Crooked Road (Richard Quine, 1954)
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (Lau Kar-leung, 1984)
Father of my Children (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2008)
Four Days in July (Mike Leigh, 1984)
Juggernaut (Richard Lester, 1974)
The Last Detail (Hal Ashby, 1973)
The Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax, 1991)
Mobile Men (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2008)
The Narrow Margin (Richard Fleischer, 1952)
One Week (Buster Keaton & Edward F. Cline, 1920)
Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1991)
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949)
Rita, Sue and Bob Too (Alan Clarke, 1987)
Romancing in Thin Air (Johnnie To, 2012)
Rosewood (John Singleton, 1997)
Ruggles of Red Gap (Leo McCarey, 1935)
The Son’s Room (Nanni Moretti, 2001)
Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957)
The Train (John Frankenheimer, 1964)
The Trial (Eric Notarnicola, 2017)
Where Is My Friend’s House? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)
White Dog (Samuel Fuller, 1982)

I live in London, so I was able to attend the London Film Festival, and pop in to the London Korean Film Festival and the UK French Film Festival. These were all in person, which allowed for a much-appreciated (albeit too brief) return to some kind of normalcy. As always, I’m grateful for the BFI’s consistently stellar repertory programming. I wish I could have seen more.

Francesco Grieco

Head Of Selection Committee for The Calvert Journal Film Festival, Film Selector for Presente Italiano Festival

Films released for the first time:
A.I. at War (Florent Marcie, 2021)
Annette (Leos Carax, 2021)
Babardeala cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, Radu Jude, 2021)
Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven, 2021)
The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021)
Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021)
Cryptozoo (Dash Shaw, 2021)
Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo (In Front of Your Face, Hong Sang-soo, 2021)
Dear Evan Hansen (Stephen Chbosky, 2021)
Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay, 2021)
Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
Eles transportan a morte (They Carry Death, Helena Girón & Samuel M. Delgado, 2021)
È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God, Paolo Sorrentino, 2021)
France (Bruno Dumont, 2021)
The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021)
Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse (Mr. Bachmann and His Class, Maria Speth, 2021)
Illusions perdues (Lost Illusions, Xavier Giannoli, 2021)
Kodenavn: Nagasaki (Code Name: Nagasaki, Fredrik S. Hana, 2021)
Luca (Enrico Casarosa, 2021)
Mad God (Phil Tippett, 2021)
Madres paralelas (Parallel Mothers, Pedro Almodóvar, 2021)
Malcolm & Marie (Sam Levinson, 2021)
Memory Box (Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 2021)
Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?, Aleksandre Koberidze, 2021)
Rock Bottom Riser (Fern Silva, 2021)
Ryû to sobakasu no hime (Belle, Mamoru Hosoda, 2021)
Les sorcières de l’Orient (The Witches of the Orient , Julien Faraut, 2021)
La terra dei figli (The Land of the Sons, Claudio Cupellini, 2021)
La traversée (The Crossing, Florence Miailhe, 2021)

Older films encountered for the first time:
Penny Serenade (George Stevens, 1941)
Woman of the Year (George Stevens, 1942)
The More the Merrier (George Stevens, 1943)
At Land (Maya Deren, 1944)
Traité de bave et d’éternité (Venom and Eternity, Isidore Isou, 1951)
Something to Live For (George Stevens, 1952)
Il bidone (The Swindle, Federico Fellini, 1955)
Ivanovo detstvo (Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962)
I tre volti della paura (Black Sabbath, Mario Bava, 1963)
Comizi d’amore (Love Meetings, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964)
Tini zabutykh predkiv (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Sergei Parajanov, 1965)
Fando y Lis (Fando and Lis, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1968)
Invasión (Invasion, Hugo Santiago, 1969)
La gueule ouverte (The Mouth Agape, Maurice Pialat, 1974)
Italianamerican (Martin Scorsese, 1974)
O thiasos (The Travelling Players, Theo Angelopoulos, 1975)
Zerkalo (The Mirror, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)
Duelle (une quarantaine) (Twilight (A Quarantine), Jacques Rivette, 1976)
Sorcerer (William Friedkin, 1977)
La femme de l’aviateur (The Aviator’s Wife, Éric Rohmer, 1981)
Tenebre (Dario Argento, 1982)
Un jeu brutal (A Brutal Game, Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1983)
Offret (The Sacrifice, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986)
Nema-ye Nazdik (Close-Up, Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)
Pianese Nunzio, 14 anni a maggio (Sacred Silence, Antonio Capuano, 1996)
Luna rossa (Red Moon, Antonio Capuano, 2001)
Velocità massima (Maximum Velocity (V-Max), Daniele Vicari, 2002)
Raja (Jacques Doillon, 2003)
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006)
Amazing Grace (Sydney Pollack & Alan Elliott, 2018)
Dovlatov (Aleksey German Jr., 2018)
Le daim (Deerskin, Quentin Dupieux, 2019)
Dcera (Daughter, Daria Kashcheeva, 2019)
La llorona (The Weeping Woman, Jayro Bustamante, 2019)
Moj jutarnji smeh (My Morning Laughter, Marko Djordjevic, 2019)
Nuestras madres (Our Mothers, César Díaz, 2019)
Om det oändliga (About Endlessness, Roy Andersson, 2019)
Tabi no owari sekai no hajimari (To the Ends of the Earth, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2019)
Talking About Trees (Suhaib Gasmelbari, 2019)
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (Bill Ross IV &Turner Ross, 2020)
Les choses qu’on dit, les choses qu’on fait (The Things We Say, the Things We Do, Emmanuel Mouret, 2020)
Gunda (Victor Kossakovsky, 2020)
Kokoduna 19-ji (The Lonely 19:00, Sion Sono, 2020)
Mans milakais karš (My Favorite War, Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen, 2020)
Nowhere Special (Uberto Pasolini, 2020)
Rizi (Days, Tsai Ming-liang, 2020)
The Witches (Robert Zemeckis, 2020)
Yuko no tenbin (A Balance, Yujiro Harumoto, 2020)

Among all the hybrid film festivals I know that presented a really interesting program in 2021, I only choose to mention once again Archivio Aperto, for the retrospective dedicated to a real goddess, Maya Deren.

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