World Poll 2021 – Part 4 the editors January 2022 World Poll Issue 100 ENTRIES IN PART 4: Craig Harshaw Glenn Heath Jr. Michael Heath Alain Hertay David Heslin Lee Hill Chris Hite Peter Hourigan Brian Hu Christoph Huber Tomáš Hudák Parviz Jahed Darik Janik Christopher Kearney Shahbaz Khayambashi Rainer Knepperges Nicholas Kouhi Jan Křipač Jay Kuehner Otto Kylmälä Eugenia Lai Marc Lauria Elaine Lennon Sandra E. Lim Thomas Logoreci Tara Lomax Andrew Lynch CRAIG HARSHAW CINEPHILE, CULTURAL CRITIC, ARTIST, BROADCASTER AND EDUCATOR LIVING IN CHICAGO. 15 Favorite New Films Viewed in 2021 Azor (Andres Fontana, 2021) Babardeala cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Looney Porn, Radu Jude, 2021) Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond, 2021) Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) Faya Dayi (Jessica Beshir, 2021) Guled & Nasra (The Gravedigger’s Wife, Khadar Ahmed, 2021) Petite Maman (Celine Sciamma, 2021) The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) Cicha ziemia (Silent Land, Agnieszka Woszczynska, 2021) Slalom (Charlène Favier, 2020) Ste. Anne (Rhayne Vermette, 2021) Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021) Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?, Alexandre Koberidze, 2021) Gûzen to sôzô (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Ryusuke Hamaguchi 2021) Zola (Janicza Bravo, 2020) 35 Additional Terrific New Films All Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony, 2021) Annette (Leos Carax, 2021) Benedetta (Paul Verhoevan, 2021) The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021) A Chiara (Jonas Carpignano, 2021) Ta fang jian li de yun (The Cloud in Her Room, Zheng Lu Xinyuan, 2020) Jai Jumlong (Come Here, Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2021) Come True (Anthony Scott Burns, 2020) Cow (Andrea Arnold, 2021) The Disciple (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2020) Film About a Father Who (Lynne Sachs, 2020) È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God, Paolo Sorrentino, 2021) Inunaki mura (Howling Village, Takashi Shimizu, 2019) Joji (Dileesh Pothan, 2021) Karnan (Mari Selvaraj, 2021) Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright, 2021) The Lights are On, No One’s Home (Faye Ruiz, 2021) Lingui: The Sacred Bonds (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2021) Malni – Towards the Ocean, Towards the Shore (Sky Hopinka, 2020) A Mouthful of Air (Amy Koppelman, 2021) Mis hermanos sueñan despiertos (My Brothers Dream Awake, Claudia Huaiquimilla, 2021) No Sudden Move (Steven Soderbergh, 2021) Old (M. Night Shyamalan, 2021) Passing (Rebecca Hall, 2021) Pig (Michael Sarnoski, 2021) Noche de fuego (Prayers for the Stolen, Tatiana Huezo, 2021) Robuste (Robust, Constance Meyer, 2021) Test Pattern (Shatara Michelle Ford, 2019) Sheytan vojud nadarad (There is No Evil, Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) The Trouble With Being Born (Sandra Wollner, 2020) Kun maupay man it panahon (Whether the Weather is Fine, Carlo Francisco Manatad, 2021) Bodeng sar (White Building, Kavich Neang, 2021) Supai no tsuma (Wife of a Spy, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2020) Wild Indian (Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr, 2021) My Favorite Thirty Older Films Watched for the first time in 2021 About Some Meaningless Events (Mostafa Derkaoui, 1974) Ankur (Shyam Benegal, 1974) April Fool’s Day (Fred Walton, 1986) Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata, Ingmar Bergman, 1978) Les saignantes (The Bloodiest, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, 2005) Queimada (Burn!, Gillo Pontecorvo, 1969) Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972) Carnal Knowledge (Mike Nichols, 1971) L’horloger de Saint-Paul (The Clockmaker of Saint Paul, Bertrand Tavernier, 1974) Dishonored (Josef Von Sternberg, 1931) Don’s Party (Bruce Beresford, 1976) Eva (Joseph Losey, 1962) Fearless (Peter Weir, 1993) Joyce at 34 (Joyce Chopra and Claudia Weill, 1972) Kinoglaz (Kino Eye, Dziga Vertov, 1924) The Kiss (Jacques Feyder, 1929) Madhumati (Bimal Roy, 1958) Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948) The Ninth Configuration (William Peter Blatty, 1980) Nasanunaka (No Blood Relation, Mikio Naruse,1932) The Offence (Sidney Lumet, 1972) The Reckless Moment (Max Ophuls,1949) Road to Nowhere (Monte Hellman, 2010) La Pelle (The Skin, Liliana Cavani, 1981) Ek Din Achanak (Suddenly One Day, Mrinal Sen, 1989) Tea and Sympathy (Vincente Minnelli, 1956) The Time That Remains (Elia Sulieman, 2009) Two Lovers (James Gray, 2008) To Each His Own (Mitchell Leisen, 1946) La Fiancée du pirate (A Very Curious Girl, Nelly Kaplan, 1969) GLENN HEATH JR. MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PACIFIC ARTS MOVEMENT, PRODUCER OF THE SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL. FREELANCE FILM CRITIC. Ras Vkhedavt, Rodesac Cas Vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?, Alexandre Koberidze, 2021) Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo (In Front of Your Face, Hong Sang-soo, 2021) Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021) Madres Paralelas (Parallel Mothers, Pedro Almodóvar, 2021) One Shot (James Nunn, 2021) Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) France (Bruno Dumont, 2021) The Souvenir: Part II (Joanna Hogg, 2021) Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2 Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski, 2021) Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021) The Harder They Fall (Jeymes Samuel, 2021) Sentinelle (Julien Leclercq, 2021) Wrath of Man (Guy Ritchie, 2021) Zeros and Ones (Abel Ferrara, 2021) Stillwater (Tom McCarthy, 2021) Malignant (James Wan, 2021) Special Mention: The Underground Railroad (Barry Jenkins, 2021), which is probably the single greatest piece of media produced this year. MICHAEL HEATH SCREENWRITER, DOCUMENTARY AND INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER AND CINEPHILE RAUMATI SOUTH, NEW ZEALAND. The Favourites… Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) Gûzen to sôzô (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Ryusuke Hamaguchi 2021) Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) Petite Maman (Celine Sciamma, 2021) Babardeala cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Looney Porn, Radu Jude, 2021) Yangguang puzhao (A Sun, Chung Mong-Hong, 2019) Shatranj-e baad (Chess of the Wind, Mohammad Reza Aslan, 1976)Restored Jaddeh Khaki (Hit the Road, Panah Panahi, 2021) Notturno (Gian Franco Rosi, 2020) Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Daniel Deston Cretin, 2021) Limbo (Ben Sharrock 2020) Il Buco (The Hole, Michaelangelo Frammartino, 2021) Un Monde (Playground, Laura Wandel, 2021) Guilty & Streaming Pleasures, and restored Treasures from the past…. Films from the Siberian republic of Sakha: Nado mnoyu solntse ne saditsya (The Sun Above Me Never Sets (Lyubov Borisova, 2019), Toyon kyyl (The Lord Eagle, Eduard Novikov, 2018), Kostiar na vetru (The Bonfire, Dmitry Davidov, 2016) Klassiki Onna no sono (The Garden of Women, Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954), RU Jiok (Hellbound, Yeon Sang-ho, 2021), Netflix Lisey’s Story (Pablo Larrain, 2021), Apple-TV Coin Coin et les y’inhumains (Coin Coin and the Extra Humans Bruno Dumont, 2018), Mubi The White Lotus (Mike White, 2021), HBO Four Films directed by Kinuyo Tanaka: The Wandering Princess (1960), Tsuki wa noborinu (The Moon has Risen, 1955), Koibumi (Love Letter, 1953), Chibusa yo eien nare (The Eternal Breasts, 1955), RU, YouTube Ya tebya pomnyu (I Remember You, 1985), Chelovek ukhodit za ptitsami (Man Follows Birds, Ali Khamrayev, 1975) Klassiki Kasaba (The Small Town, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 1997) Mubi ALAIN HERTAY TEACHES CINEMA STUDIES AT THE HAUTE ECOLE DE LA PROVINCE DE LIÈGE, BELGIUM. Pieces of a Woman (Kornél Mundruczó, 2021) Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay, 2021) West Side Story (Steven Spielberg, 2021) Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski, 2021) The Mitchells vs. the Machines (Mike Rianda, 2021) Cruella (Craig Gillespie, 2021) Beatles: Get Back (Peter Jackson, 2021) La Pièce rapportée (Old Fashioned, Antonin Peretjatko, 2020) La Fracture (The Divide, Catherine Corsini, 2021) Guermantes (Christophe Honoré, 2021) Don’t Look Up DAVID HESLIN EDITOR OF METRO MAGAZINE. New films (screened theatrically or at festivals in 2021) Friends and Strangers (James Vaughan, 2021) Verdens verste menneske (The Worst Person in the World, Joachim Trier, 2021) La virgen de agosto (The August Virgin, Jonás Trueba, 2019) The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021) Ta fang jian li de yun (The Cloud in Her Room, Zheng Lu Xinyuan, 2020) Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, 2019) La innocència (The Innocence, Lucía Alemany, 2019) Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2021) Old films discovered for the first time in 2021 Simone Barbès ou la vertu (Simone Barbès or Virtue, Marie-Claude Treilhou, 1980) Unsichtbare Gegner (Invisible Adversaries, Valie Export, 1977) Not a Pretty Picture (Martha Coolidge, 1976) All the Vermeers in New York (Jon Jost, 1990) Orphée (Orpheus, Jean Cocteau, 1950) Fårö document (Ingmar Bergman, 1970) The Getting of Wisdom (Bruce Beresford, 1977) Barbarella (Roger Vadim, 1968) Trois chambres à Manhattan (Three Rooms in Manhattan, Marcel Carné, 1965) Lonely Hearts (Paul Cox, 1982) LEE HILL LEE HILL IS THE AUTHOR OF A GRAND GUY: THE ART AND LIFE OF TERRY SOUTHERN Top Ten (in no order) Pretend It’s A City (Martin Scorsese, Netflix, 2021), Hemingway (Ken Burns, American Masters/PBS, 2021) The Sparks Brothers (Edgar Wright, 2021) Un Monde (Playground, Laura Wandel, 2021) Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2021) The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes, 2021) Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) Hytti nro 6 (Compartment No. 6, Juno Kuosmanen, 2021) Sundown (Michel Franco, 2021) Get Back (Peter Jackson, Disney Plus, 2021) Runners Up: Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020), The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal, 2021), Spencer (Pablo Larrain, 2021), Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021), Verdens verste menneske (The Worst Person in the World, Joachim Trier, 2021), Nitram (Justin Kurzel, 2021), Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2020), Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre (Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time, Lili Horvát, 2020), The Souvenir Part II (Joanna Hogg, 2021), Red Rocket (Sean Baker, 2021), Żeby nie było śladów (Leave No Traces, Jan P. Matuszyński.2021) and Okul Karas (Brother’s Keeper, Ferit Karahan, 2021) Honourable Mention: American Utopia (Spike Lee, 2020), Downhill (Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, 2020), Mela (Apples, Christos Nikou, 2020), The Chair (Amanda Peet and Annie Julia Wyman, Netflix, 2021), Kød & blod (Wildland, Jeanette Nordahl, 2021), and The White Lotus (Mike White, HBO, 2021) The Far Side of Paradise: Earwig (Lucile Hadžihalilović, 2021) and Benedetta (Paul Verhoevan, 2021) Academy of the Overrated: Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021), The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021), and Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021) Worst: No Time to Die (Cary Fukunaga, 2021), The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021), Zola (Janicza Bravo, 2021), Black Widow (Clare Shortland, 2021), Benediction (Terrence Davies, 2021) and Bull (Paul Andrew Williams, 2021) DVD Reissues/Restorations/Directors Cuts: Grandeur et décadence d’un petit commerce de cinéma (The Rise and Fall of a Small Film Company, Jean-Luc Godard, MUBI, 1986), Girlfriends (Claudia Weill, 1978), All of the Christian Petzold retrospective on MUBI,Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975), The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941) Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993) and Out of the Blue (Dennis Hopper, 1980) – The last four titles all BFI Releases. Readings: Mike Nichols: A Lifeby Mark Harris, The Hipsters by Terry Southern (ed. Nile Southern), Always Crashing in the Same Car by Matthew Specktor, Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic by Glenn Frankel, Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A by Lili Anolik, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel by Quentin Tarantino Notes: If you had told me that one of my favourite films of 2021 would be directed by Peter Jackson – the prospect of a multi-part series shaped around Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s outtakes just seemed perverse at the time of its announcement a year ago, particularly one by a director with an unhealthy obsession with orcs and hobbits – and that I would be severely disappointed by Joanna Hogg, Jane Campion and Julia Ducournau’s follow-up to Raw, well, I would have probably put you in quarantine for several weeks. 2021 was, regardless of whether you agree with my fleeting end-of-year assessments, an embarrassment of riches for the film lover and the cautious filmgoer coming out of hiding. If the world beyond the big (or more frequently, small) screen just seemed to be getting crazier, there was at least some salvation in knowing that if the planet was going to burn or drown itself to death, film culture around the world was in disturbingly good shape. As a planet, we may have pretty well sucked almost all of the natural resources dry, but our need to tell ourselves stories in order to live will be apparently be the last bridge we burn. God/Yahweh/Buddha/Netflix help us all. Bergman Island CHRIS HITE PROFESSOR OF FILM AT ALLAN HANCOCK COLLEGE AND CO-DIRECTOR OF FIRESTORM ’77: THE TRUE STORY OF THE HONDA CANYON FIRE For cinephiles, 2021 started off as one big question mark.Will cinema exist in person?What of film festivals?As we now know, the reality of motion picture screenings became a brackish mix of in-person and virtual screenings in regard to festivals.For me, 2021 also coincided with the release of my own film in January of the year.As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to visit and participate in many film festivals, both in-person and virtually, and to witness a number of great films. I’ll start by describing my festival experience.First, in regard to the virtual experience, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival does as fine a job as a festival can in that modality. Panels, filmmaker Q&As, awards, and more were facilitated with interactivity in mind.Some of the best in-person festivals I attended included the Julien-Dubuque International Film Festival in Iowa, Pasadena International, Santa Clarita International, Silicon Beach Film Festival, and the Ojai Film Festival. My best of 2021 is made up of films that I encountered for the first time this year. Additionally, because where and how we view films has become a vastly interesting point of inquiry in cinema research, I’ve noted as much for each title Medicine Man – The Stan Brock Story (Paul Michael Angell, 2020, Julien Dubuque Intl. Film Festival) Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021, Theatrical release) Bloom (Xuan Liu, 2020, San Luis Obispo Intl. Film Festival – virtual) Vinyl Nation (Christopher Boone, Kevin Smokler, 2020, San Luis Obispo Intl. Film Festival – virtual) Belfast (Kenneth Branagh, 2021, Theatrical release) Mommy or Daddy (John H. LaDue Jr. and Jennifer Ladue Miyagawa, 2021, Ojai Film Festival) Mank (David Fincher, 2020, streaming) My Dear Corpses (German Golub, 2020, Ojai Film Festival) Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021, streaming) Black Widow (Cate Shortland, 2021, Theatrical release) PETER HOURIGAN LONG TIME MELBOURNE CINEPHILE. Another screwed up year but still one that had treasures to deliver. Months of cinemas in lockdown, but compensated by the range of organisations that streamed their treasures. It was hard to find out everything that was available – perhaps no bad thing because it helped ration your options. Some of the Festivals also rationed online their best offerings.Pordenone and Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato were not quite as rich as the first year they streamed, 2020. Putting this list together, I kept noticing how the official country of a film did not always reflect the creative or cultural country of origin. Especially with some wonderful films from third world countries, the official (usually European) country could only be seen as an enabler. Two very satisfying Australian features appeared early in the year: The Dry (Robert Connolly, 2020) Higher Ground (Stephen Johnson, 2020): Streamer MUBI was rewarding and frustrating. We’d learn of treasures on MUBI in other territories but not in Australia. Were we being short changed?The streamer had its share of indulgent, unrewarding films whose only justification seemed to be they were from Brazil or Korea.But there also were special treasures, new and less recent, that we’d not have had a chance to see otherwise. Cemetery (Carlos Casas 2019): Officially French, but Sri Lankan through and through. Yalda(Yalda, a Night For Forgiveness Massoud Bakhshi, 2019): Iran Tipografic Majuscul (Uppercase Print, Radu Jude 2020): Definitely from Romania Portret v Sumerkakh (Twilight Portrait, Angelina Nikonova 2011): Russia Sonbahar(Autumn, Özcan Alper2008): Turkish En route pour le milliard (Downstream to Kinshasa Dieudo Hamadi 2021): Officially French, but really Congolese. A moving documentary of victims of interracial violence voyaging together downstream to Kinshasa in hopes of promised compensation. Festivals. Despite being locked out, festivals still succeeded in sharing new films with us – and that included some wonderful films. Quo Vadis, Aida? (Jasmila Žbanić, 2020) Blanco en blanco (White on White, Théo Court 2019): I was so glad I had the chance to see this visually stunning Spanish-Chilean film on a big screen. Very much more Chilean than Spanish. Pacto de Fuga (Jailbreak Pact David Albala 2020): Chile This Rain Will Never Stop (Alina Gorlova, 2020): Ukraine, Latvia This imaginative and moving documentary is one I want to see on a cinema screen. Black and white can be so stunning. Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look At the Sky? Aleksandre Koberidze, 2021): Georgia Baafum Nafi (Nafi’s Father, Mamadou Dia, 2019): Senegal Sniegu juz nigdy bedzie (Never Gonna Snow Again, Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert 2020): Poland-Germany Radiograph of a Family (Firouzeh Khosrovani, 2020): Norway, Iran, Switzerland Helene (Antti Jokinen, 2020) This Finnish portrait of beloved painter Helene Schjerfbeck, shows satisfying biopics are possible. And to finish, two restorations/revivals that impressed. Doktor Glas (Doctor Glas, Mai Zetterling 1968): A Zetterling tribute season was badly upset by Covid but I am so glad I saw this amazing film. Les Oliviers de la justice (The Olive Trees of Justice, James Blue): Directed by an American, is this really a French film? Or an Algerian film? Brian Hu Artistic Director of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Associate Professor of Film and Television at San Diego State University Navigating online validity periods and geofencing restrictions, and having the good fortune to program my own in-person film festival, I finish 2021 with these favorites. I should mention though that the most powerful film experiences of the year for me were Inside the Red Brick Wall (Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers, 2020) and Taking Back the Legislature (Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers, 2020), two works by an anonymous collective whose significance transcend such lists and as such go unranked. They stand alone and demand to be seen widely and internationally. Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryosuke Hamaguchi, 2021) The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021) Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2021) Gûzen to sôzô (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Ryosuke Hamaguchi, 2021) El Gran Movimiento (Kiro Russo, 2021) Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo (In Front of Your Face, Hong Sang-soo, 2021) Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma, 2021) Pu bu (The Falls, Chung Mong-hong, 2021) Inteurodeoksyeon (Introduction, Hong Sang-soo, 2021) Ste. Anne (Rhayne Vermette, 2021) Procession (Robert Greene, 2021) Libertad (Clara Roquet, 2021) A Night of Knowing Nothing (Payal Kapadia, 2021) Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?, Aleksandre Koberidze, 2021) Wild Indian (Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., 2021) Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021) Lingui, the Sacred Bonds (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2021) Jiao ma tang hui (A New Old Play, Qiu Jiongjiong, 2021) All About My Sisters (Wang Qiong, 2021) CHRISTOPH HUBER CURATOR, AUSTRIAN FILM MUSEUM. 11 exquisite experiences Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven, 2021) Exterminate All the Brutes (Raoul Peck, 2021) Chak daan juen ga 2 (Shock Wave 2, Hermann Yau, 2020) Alone (John Hyams, 2020) Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde (Fabian: Going to the Dogs, Dominik Graf, 2021) Her Socialist Smile (John Gianvito, 2020) The Empty Man (David Prior, 2020) Raging Fire (Benny Chan, 2021) Braqueurs: La série (Ganglands, Julian Leclerq, 2021) Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago – The Ultimate Director’s Cut (Sylvester Stallone, 1985/2021) 5 fierce figures (the short version) Himala: isang dayalektika ng ating panahon (Miracle: A Dialectic of Our Age, Lav Diaz, 2020) Ælektra (Asia Argento, 2020)/Hotel (Ludwig Wüst, 2005/21) Train Again (Peter Tscherkassky, 2021)/Love, Death + Robots: The Tall Grass (Otto Simon, 2021) The Death of David Cronenberg (David Cronenberg, 2021)/Very Noise (Meat Dept., 2020) 11 Punkte Programm (Dietmar Brehm, 2020)/Robot Chicken S11 (Tom Sheppard, 2021) 15 fitting finalists (the runners up) Hell Hath No Fury (Jesse V. Johnson, 2021) Supai no tsuma (Wife of a Spy, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, 2020) Benediction (Terence Davies, 2021) Sentinelle (Julien Leclercq, 2021) The Spine of Night (Philip Gelatt, Morgan Galen King, 2021) Old Henry (Potsy Ponciroli, 2021) Monster Hunter (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2020) False Positive (John Lee, 2021) Mandibules (Mandibles, Quentin Dupieux, 2020) Wrath of Man (Guy Ritchie, 2021) Castle Falls (Dolph Lundgren, 2021) Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021) Limbo (Cheang Soi, 2021) The Suicide Squad (James Gunn, 2021) Cryptozoo (Dash Shaw, 2021) The treasure trove (a history of happiness) Fantozzi (Luciano Salce, 1975)/Il secondo tragico Fantozzi (Luciano Salce, 1976) Zai jian Zhongguo (China Behind, Tang Shu Shuen, 1978)/Ai zai bie xiang de ji jie (Farewell China, Clara Law, 1990) Bad Company (Damian Harris, 1995)/Le cousin (The Cousin, Alain Corneau, 1997) Srazhenie (The Battle, Mikhail Titov,1986)/Yerik (Mikhail Titov, 1989) L’amour violé (Rape of Love, Yannick Bellon, 1978)/Mourir à tue-tête (Scream from Silence, Anne Claire Poirier, 1979) The Frighteners: The Manipulators (Mike Hodges, 1972)/Black Rainbow (Mike Hodges, 1989) Der Einzug des Rokoko ins Inselreich der Huzzis (The Entry of Rococo into the Island Kingdom of the Huzzis, Andreas Karner, Mara Mattuschka, Hans-Werner Poschauko, 1989)/Plasma (Mara Mattuschka, 2004) The Amusement Park (George A. Romero, 1973)/Kureyon Shinchan: Arashi o Yobu: Mōretsu! Otona Teikoku no Gyakushū? (Crayon Shin-chan: Fierceness That Invites Storm! The Adult Empire Strikes Back, Hara Keiichi, 2001) Landru (Bluebeard, Claude Chabrol, 1963)/Coto de caza (Hunting Ground, Jorge Grau, 1983) Skyscrapers and Brassieres (Russ Meyer, 1966)/The Great Society (Fred Mogubgub, 1967) Sky Over Holland (John Ferno, 1967)/Cityscape (Michael Snow, 2019) Vinni-Pukh (Winnie-the-Pooh, Fyodor Khitruk, 1969)/Vinni-Pukh idyot v gosti (Winnie-the-Pooh Goes Visiting, Fyodor Khitruk, 1971)/Vinni-Pukh I den zabot (Winnie-the-Pooh and a Busy Day, Fyodor Khitruk, 1972) Lorenzo’s Oil (George Miller, 1992)/Någonting har hänt (Something Happened, Roy Andersson, 1993) Monsieur Ripois (Knave of Hearts, René Clément, 1954)/Gervaise (René Clément, 1956) Los violadores del amanecer (The Dawn Rapists, Ignacio F. Iquino, 1978)/Die Totenschmecker (Ernst Ritter von Theumer, 1979) The Return of the Vampire (Lew Landers, 1943)/Haunted (Lewis Gilbert, 1995) Pirosmani (Giorgi Shengelaya, 1969)/Arabeskebi Pirosmanis temaze (Arabesques on the Pirosmani Theme, Sergei Parajanov, 1985) Anti-Clock (Jane Arden, Jack Bond, 1979)/It Couldn’t Happen Here (Jack Bond, 1987) Rainbow Quest (Sholom Rubinstein, Toshi Seeger, 1965)/Mississippi Blues (Robert Parrish, Bertrand Tavernier, 1983) Edogawa Ranpo ryôki-kan: Yaneura no sanposha (Watcher in the Attic, Tanaka Noburo, 1976)/Yaneura no sanposha (Watcher in the Attic, Jissôji Akio, 1993) Edogawa Rampo no injû (Beast in the Shadows, Katô Tai, 1977)/La bestia y la espada mágica (The Beast and the Magic Sword, Paul Naschy, 1983) El huerto del Francés (The Frenchman’s Garden, Paul Naschy, 1978)/El carnaval de las bestias (The Beasts’ Carnival, Paul Naschy, 1980) La mort de Gandji (The Death of Gandji, Moustapha Alassane, 1965)/Le retour d’un aventurier (Return of an Adventurer, Moustapha Alassane, 1966) The Birth of the Robot (Len Lye, 1936)/Kill or Be Killed (Len Lye, 1942)/Full Fathoms Five (Geilgud Poem) (Len Lye, 1953) Human Highway [Director’s Cut] (Neil Young, Dean Stockwell, 1982/2016)/Solo Trans (Hal Ashby, 1984) Rendez-vous avec Fantômas (Marcel Allain, Georges Franju, 1966)/Fantômas (Claude Chabrol episodes, 1980) Don Quichotte (Eric Rohmer, 1965)/La Sorcière de Michelet (Eric Rohmer, 1969) Der Ruf der Sibylla (The Call of Sybilla, Clemens Klopfenstein, 1984)/Macao oder die Rückseite des Meeres (Clemens Klopfenstein, 1988) L’affaire Maurizius (Julien Duvivier, 1954)/La chambre ardente (The Burning Court, Julien Duvivier, 1962) The Web (Michael Gordon, 1947)/They Won’t Believe Me (Irving Pichel, 1947) Ole dole doff (Who Saw Him Die?, Jan Troell, 1968)/Sagolandet (Land of Dreams, Jan Troell, 1988) Onna gokumon-chô: Hikisakareta nisô (Nuns That Bite, Yûji Makiguchi, 1977)/Dan Oniroku: Shûdô onna nawa jigoku (Nun In Rope Hell, Fujii Katsuhiko, 1984) Hitler Listens (Anonymous, 1939)/Il giorno più corto (The Shortest Day, Sergio Corbucci, 1963) All Square (John Hyams, 2018)/Adults in the Room (Costa-Gavras, 2019) Colpa del sole (Alberto Moravia, 1951)/Contes modernes: L’echangeur (Jean-Claude Brisseau. 1982) Macumba sexual (Jess Franco, 1983)/Gemidos de placer (Cries of Pleasure, Jess Franco, 1983) Gerdi, zločesta vještica (Gerdi, the Evil Witch, Ljubomir Šimunić, 1973-76)/Horizontal Boundaries (Pat O’Neill, 2008) Eyes of a Stranger (Ken Wiederhorn, 1981)/The Slayer (J.S. Cardone, 1982) Sex (David Avidan, 1970)/Seishōnen no tame no eiga nyūmon (Young Person’s Guide to Cinema, Terayama Shūji, 1974) Jeunesse et Spiritualité: Cyprien Katsaris (Claude Chabrol, 1979)/Sceny narciarskie z Franzem Klammerem-Skiszenen mit Franz Klammer (Bogdan Dziworski, Gerald Kargl, Zbigniew Rybczynski, 1980) Nabokov on Kafka (Peter Medak, 1989)/Phil Spector (David Mamet, 2013) Law and Order (Edward L. Cahn, 1932)/Seven Angry Men (Charles Marquis Warren, 1957) The Song of Bernardette (Henry King, 1944)/Le dialogue des carmélites (The Carmelites, Raymond Léopold Bruckberger, Philippe Agostini, 1960) Le grand Méliès (Georges Franju, 1952)/Monsieur et Madame Curie (Georges Franju, 1956) Form Phases (Robert Breer, 1952)/Ayers Rock (Paul Winkler, 1983) le Maudit (Claude Chabrol, 1982)/Dr. M (Claude Chabrol, 1990) The Borderlands (Elliot Goldner, 2013)/Die Hohlmenschen (The Hollow People, Peter Nestler, 2015) Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems, Fernando Ayala, 1956)/Afraid of the Dark (Mark Peploe, 1991) The Wolfman (Fred F. Sears, 1956)/Scarecrows (William Wesley, 1988) 1848 (Dino Risi, 1949)/Corazon del tiempo (Heart of Time, Alberto Cortés, 2008) 23 Paces to Baker Street (Henry Hathaway, 1956)/The Vestris (Arthur Hiller, 1958) Le Delta del Sel (Lucien Clergue, 1968)/Volshebnoye ozero (The Magic Lake, Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Iosif Boyarskiy, 1979) Que la fête commence… (Let Joy Reign Supreme, Bertrand Tavernier, 1975)/Un dimanche à la campagne (A Sunday in the Country, Bertrand Tavernier, 1984) Naturens Hämnd (Nature’s Revenge, Stefan Jarl, 1983)La rivière (Michel Houellebecq, 2001) TOMÁŠ HUDÁK FILM CRITIC AND PROGRAMMER BASED IN BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. Newer ones: 1970 (Tomasz Wolski, 2021) All Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony, 2021) earthearthearth (Daïchi Saïto, 2021) Gunda (Victor Kossakovsky, 2020) Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) A Night of Knowing Nothing (Payal Kapadia, 2021) Pejzaži otpora (Landscapes of Resistance, Marta Popivoda, 2020) Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma, 2021) Point and Line to Plane (Sofia Bohdanowicz, 2020) Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?, Alexandre Koberidze, 2021) Still Processing (Sophy Romvari, 2020) Time (Garrett Bradley, 2020) A bit older ones: Decasia (Bill Morrison, 2002) Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins, 1973) Now, At Last! (Ben Rivers, 2018) De stilte rond Christine M. (A Question of Silence, Marleen Gorris, 1982) Terminal Sud (South Terminal, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, 2019) This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another (Jessica Sarah Rinland, 2019) Viejo calavera (Dark Skull, Kiro Russo, 2016) The Viewing Booth (Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, 2019) Yuki Yukite Shingun (The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, Kazuo Hara, 1987) Parviz Jahed Film critic and the editor-in- chief of Cine-Eye film journal Whilst some cinema stocks have made lots of headlines and soared to unprecedented heights, the actual cinema theatres are still struggling with the return to normalcy, and many movies are still showing films to mostly empty seats, especially for films that don’t have superheroes in them. Just the same, I am more than happy to enjoy films on my home devices and avoid this damn virus and its variants. The obstacles of COVID 19 on the film industry are still present but so is the perseverance of great art and great cinema. Unfortunately, due to these limitations, I could not see many films which were on my radar from the last year, but here are my picks for best of the year: Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God, Paolo Sorrentino, 2021) The Souvenir: Part II (Joanna Hogg, 2021) Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2021) The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021) Lamb (Valdimar Jóhannsson, 2021) Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What do We See When We Look at the Sky? Alexandre Koberidze, 2021) Belfast (Kenneth Branagh, 2021) The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021) Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021) The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) DARIK JANIK FILMMAKER. The White Lotus (Mike White, 2021) Gûzen to sôzô (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) The Beatles: Get Back (Peter Jackson, 2021) Can’t Get You Out of My Head (Adam Curtis, 2021) Annette (Leos Carax, 2021) Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo (In Front of Your Face, Hong Sang-Soo, 2021) The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021) Bad Trip (Kitao Sakurai, 2021) Old (M. Night Shyamalan, 2021) Diários de Otsoga (The Tsugua Diaries, Maureen Fazendeiro/Miguel Gomes, 2021) Topology of Sirens (Jonathan Davies, 2021) Friends and Strangers (James Vaughan, 2021) Benediction (Terence Davies, 2021) Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021) The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) Introduction (Hong Sang-Soo, 2021) La veduta luminosa (Fabrizio Ferraro, 2021) Das Mädchen und die Spinne (The Girl and the Spider, Silvan Zürcher/Ramon Zürcher, 2021) Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) Întregalde (Radu Muntean, 2021) Babardeala cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, Radu Jude, 2021) Qué será del verano (Ignacio Ceroi, 2021) Hygiène sociale (Denis Côté, 2021) Annette CHRISTOPHER KEARNEY INDEPENDENT SCREENWRITER; TEACHES TV PRODUCTION AND ENGLISH AT GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER HIGH SCHOOL IN LUTZ, FLORIDA. Top Ten Films of 2021: Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2021) Passing (Rebecca Hall, 2021) Nine Days (Edson Oda, 2020) Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2021) CODA (Siân Heder, 2021) Belfast (Kenneth Branagh, 2021) The Card Counter (Paul Shrader, 2021) The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) tick, tick…BOOM! (Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2021) West Side Story (Steven Spielberg, 2021) Honorable Mentions: Annette (Leos Carax, 2021), Being the Ricardos (Aaron Sorkin, 2021), Blue Bayou (Justin Chon, 2021), C’mon C’mon (Mike Mills, 2021), Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay, 2021), È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God; Paolo Sorrentino, 2021), Dýrið (Lamb; Valdimar Jóhannsson, 2021), Nightmare Alley (Guillermo del Toro, 2021), Pig (Michael Sarnoski, 2021), Shiva Baby (Emma Seligman, 2020), Small Engine Repair (John Pollono, 2021), South of Heaven (Aharon Keshales, 2021), Spencer (Pablo Larrain, 2021), Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021) Notable Documentaries: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, 2021) The Rescue (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, 2021) The Sparks Brothers (Edgar Wright, 2021) SHAHBAZ KHAYAMBASHI SHAHBAZ KHAYAMBASHI, PHD CANDIDATE, YORK UNIVERSITY AND CHAIR OF PLEASURE DOME 2021 Releases Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021) The first experience of being back in the cinema was also the best, both because of the atmosphere and because Ducournau was able to prove definitively that she is anything but a one hit wonder with the most audacious film of the pandemic era. Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Looney Porn, Radu Jude, 2021) Annette (Leos Carax, 2021) The Nowhere Inn (Bill Benz, 2021) Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright, 2021) The Father (Florian Zeller, 2020)* In the Earth (Ben Wheatley, 2021) Tig Notaro: Drawn (Greg Franklin, 2021) Breaking News in Yuba County (Tate Taylor, 2021) Prisoners of the Ghostland (Sion Sono, 2021) *The Father was released in January 2021 in Canada. Non-2021 Releases Ghosts (Tom Kingsley, 2019-) In 2021, the most cathartic media experience is the binge-watching of an entire television programme about a group of ghosts who are stuck in our plane, unable to leave, forced to interact solely with each other, who become overly excited at the arrival of a new person. It is a bit like watching reality. Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito, 2007) Sheitan vojud nadarad (There is No Evil, Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) Aghaye halou (Mister Gullible, Dariush Mehrjui, 1970) Orange (Karen Johnson, 1971) Hollywood Burn (Soda_Jerk, 2011) Times Square (Allan Moyle, 1980) Defending Your Life (Albert Brooks) Amy! (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1979) Shallow Grave (Richard Styles, 1987) Festivals 2021 was a bit of a return to the world of festival going. While I have not been into a theatre for a festival screening yet, I did find myself watching festival screenings sort of as frequently as I did in the before times. Well, not quite, but certainly at a percentage of the before times. While I did commit to screenings at Hot Docs, TIFF and Fantasia this year, I would have to give the most credit to the comparatively smaller Toronto After Dark Film Festival. A staple of my pre-pandemic film schedule, I was crushed by the festival’s 2020 cancellation. This was why I jumped at the opportunity to pay for a (surprisingly affordable) festival pass this year, even though I was only blatantly interested in a handful of the screenings. And while the festival did have its usual batch of stinkers, it also presented some of the most fun times I could have had at a cinema and, at the end of the day, it gave me exactly what I expected. I look forward to returning to the cinema for it at some point. I would also like to give a shoutout to Rendezvous with Madness for screening a program that I co-curated this year. RAINER KNEPPERGES FILMMAKER, COLOGNE My 41 discoveries in 2021 Beggars of Life (William Wellman, 1928) Der brave Sünder (The Upright Sinner, Fritz Kortner, 1931) The King’s Vacation (John G. Adolfi, 1933) Regain (Harvest, Marcel Pagnol, 1937) Il Signor Max (Mister Max, Mario Camerini, 1937) La femme du boulanger (The Baker’s Wife, Marcel Pagnol, 1938) Perfect Strangers (Alexander Korda, 1945) The Girl on the Bridge (Hugo Haas, 1951) Home at Seven (Ralph Richardson, 1952) Bang! You’re Dead (Lance Comfort, 1954) The Weak and the Wicked (J. Lee Thompson, 1954) L’impero del sole (Empire in the Sun, Enrico Gras, Mario Craveri, 1955) On the Bowery (Lionel Rogosin, 1956) Punainen viiva (Red Line, Matti Kassila, 1959) Komisario Palmun erehdys (Inspector Palmu’s Error, Matti Kassila, 1960) El Esqueleto de la señora Morales (Skeleton of Mrs. Morales, Rogelio A. González, 1960) They Took Us To The Sea (John Krish, 1961) The Children’s Hour (William Wyler, 1961) Flucht nach Berlin (Escape to Berlin, Will Tremper, 1961) The Counterfeit Traitor (George Seaton, 1962) L’amore difficile (Of Wayward Love, Nino Manfredi et al., 1962) The Fugitive: Nightmare at Northoak (Chris Nyby, 1963) The Slender Threat (Sydney Pollack, 1965) L’ombrellone (Weekend, Italian Style, Dino Risi, 1965) Sky over Holland (John Fernhout, 1967) Gratinirani mozak Pupilije Ferkeverk (The Gratinated Brains of Pupilija Ferkeverk, Karpo Godina, 1970) Oceano (The Voyage of Tanai, Folco Quilici, 1971) The Poseidon Adventure (Ronald Neame, 1972) Tracks (Henry Jaglom, 1976) Ultimo mondo cannibale (Jungle Holocaust, Ruggero Deodato, 1977) Passe ton Bac d’abord (Graduate First, Maurice Pialat, 1979) The Entity (Sidney J. Furie, 1982) Threads (Mick Jackson, 1985) Naua Huni (Barbara Keifenheim, Patrick Deshayes, 1986) Wildwood, NJ (Ruth Leitman & Carol Weaks Cassidy, 1994) Edmond (Stuart Gordon, 2005) Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten (John Pirozzi, 2014) The Million Dollar Duck (Brian Davis, 2016) Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, 2018) Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Morgan Neville, 2018) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Marielle Heller, 2019) My 2021 Top Ten Augusts Orte (Valerie Pelet, 2021) Berlin izza Bitch (Klaus Lemke, 2021) The Conjuring 3 (Michael Chaves, 2021) Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021) Enfant Terrible (Oskar Roehler, 2020) Lydia (Christian Becker, 2021) Nicht verRecken (Martin Gressmann, 2021) Oktoberfest (Suse Beck, 2021) Tread (Paul Solet, 2020) Working Together (Michael Rogosin, 2021) NICHOLAS KOUHI EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND CRITIC AT WHAT IF CINEMA. Here are twenty-five films I discovered from years past, either at home or in the cinema, all curated into potential double and triple-bills. Araya (Margot Benacerraf, 1959) La mujer sin cabeza (The Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel, 2008) The thematic consonance between Benacerraf’s documentary and Martel’s chamber drama forms a vivid chronicle of the economic and political history of Latin America. Where Araya imbues the natural world with the vestigial traces of indigenous vitality, La mujer sin cabeza exudes a disconnect between its eponymous heroine and the roiling hills which emphasise the constrictive chilliness of her brutal, bourgeois milieu. Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999) Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (Guy Maddin, 2002) Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow, 1991) On nearly opposite ends of the 1990s, Bigelow and Denis made two of the most sensuous spectacles of machismo from that decade. The commensurate pangs of existential yearning in Beau Travail and Point Break are like cresting waves in the ocean which symbolically acts as a maternal vessel for their men to dispose of their paternal armor. White male insecurity is also a key focus of Maddin’s brilliant fantasia, maybe the finest adaptation of Bram Stoker’s text ever filmed. All three peel back the rigidity of patriarchal violence to expose the underlying pain of classist and racist trauma with nearly shocking tenderness. Blue (Derek Jarman, 1993) Brewster McCloud (Robert Altman, 1970) Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978) I saw these films on 35mm at various cinemas (the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the BFI Southbank in London, and the New Beverly in Los Angeles, respectively), and every one of them serves as a stirring testament to the transformative power of movie houses as communal spaces. The Jarman and Burnett are two of the most achingly evocative movies I’ve ever watched with a group of strangers, while Altman’s righteous satire of social hypocrisy provided a cathartic release for an audience looking to laugh at the absurdity of a world from which we’re all tempted to take flight. Les Vampires (The Vampires, Louis Feuillade, 1915-16) Céline et Julie vont en bateau (Céline and Julie Go Boating, Jacques Rivette, 1974) Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996) If French Cinema’s first century could be condensed into a trilogy, it might look something like these three masterworks. Feuillade’s serial (a significant influence on Rivette and Assayas) refracted the anxieties of a France during the First World War into a byzantine dreamscape of rooftops graced by clandestine crooks with playful mischief. The joy of play fuels the vividly feminist heart of Rivette’s classic through the parlance of drug trips which give way to cycles of dreams layered upon dreams. If that dream gives way to waking life, it might look like Assayas’ fin-de-siècle clarion call for new ways of dreaming in 24 frames a second. De quelques événements sans signification (About Some Meaningless Events, Mostafa Derkaoui, 1974) Où gît votre sourire enfoui? (Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?, Pedro Costa, 2001) Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, 1983) All these films are ostensibly about the power and limitations of the camera in discerning truth. Where Marker rigorously interrogates the contradictions between memory and history with boundless curiosity, the focus of Costa’s documentary and Derkaoui’s rediscovered docudrama hybrid are seemingly more condensed in their focus. Yet all three directors run the gamut from the personal to the political in evaluating the medium to which they’ve made their vocation, and this triage should be required viewing for anyone interested in how and why one makes movies in the first place. Gavaznhā (The Deer, Masoud Kimiai, 1974) He liu (The River, Tsai Ming-liang, 1997) There’s Always Tomorrow (Douglas Sirk, 1956) As a longtime adherent to melodrama, these radically different snapshots of urban malaise were manna to me. Tsai’s bleak austerity, Kimiai’s operatic agony, and Sirk’s unsparing brutality all resonated as parables of entrapment, their interweaving of light and shadow heightening a latent desire for transcending corrupt social schemas which was all-too relevant in 2021. Either long-neglected or nearly forgotten, it’s high time a second look was afforded these harrowing but powerful auteurist triumphs. History Is Made at Night (Frank Borzage, 1937) Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray, Éric Rohmer, 1986) I’m hard-pressed to think of two filmmakers more seriously concerned with love than Borzage and Rohmer, though their respective signatures couldn’t be less alike. Borzage makes an absurd scenario palatable with the delicate spell he casts, aided by the bewitching chemistry of stars Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. Rohmer also relies extensively on Marie Rivière to convey the pervasive emotional register of anxiety and depression with frank candor. As paeans to artistic collaboration between directors and actors, the depth of feeling generated by these works is wondrous and humbling in equal measure. Le fantôme de la liberté (The Phantom of Liberty, Luis Buñuel, 1974) La telenovela errante (The Wandering Soap Opera, Raúl Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento, 2017) Two of the funniest treatises on the existential and political value of freedom I’ve seen in all of cinema. The imagination apparent in the formal and narrative limitations these filmmakers set for themselves is a testament to the transgressive tenacity of storytelling in dismantling staid conceptions of plot structure. Their caustic wit and aesthetic invention nicely complement the assertion that serialised stories (like Les Vampires) often reveal more of our inherent contradictions than tidily closed narratives. And here were ten films (in alphabetical order), theatrically released in 2021, which reminded me of why I can’t shake this pernicious thing called “cinephilia”. All the Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony, 2021) Annette (Leos Carax, 2021) Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021) C’mon, C’mon (Mike Mills, 2021) Doraibu mai kā (Drive My Car, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, 2021) Gūzen to Sōzō (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, 2021) The Inheritance (Ephraim Asili, 2020) Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2021) The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) JAN KŘIPAČ EDITOR, FILM A DOBA MAGAZINE. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC. Diários de Otsoga (The Tsugua Diaries, Maureen Fazendeiro & Miguel Gomes, 2021) Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021) Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) Přípravy k filmu T (Preparations for film T, Milan Klepikov, 2021) Annette (Leos Carax, 2021) Les Choses qu’on dit, les choses qu’on fait (The Things We Say, the Things We Do, Emmanuel Mouret, 2020) Chun jiang shui nuan (Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, Gu Xiaogang, 2019) Onoda – 10 000 nuits dans la jungle (Onoda – 10,000 Nights in the Jungle, Arthur Harari, 2021) Zheltaya Koshka (Yellow Cat, Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2020) Orpheus (Vadim Kostrov, 2020) Diários de Otsoga JAY KUEHNER FREE-LANCE FILM CRITIC, INSTRUCTOR, AND PROGRAMMER BASED IN SEATTLE. In which, owing to Albert Serra’s distinction regarding the dramaturgy of presence (Amos Vogel Lecture, NYFF), the most sublime cinematic moment was nothing less than the act of scaling a fish (Memoria, Apichatpong Weerasathakul). Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) Doraibu mai kâ (Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) Diários de Otsoga (The Tsugua Diaries, Maureen Fazendeiro & Miguel Gomes, 2021) Il buco (Michelangelo Frammartino, 2021) La civil (Teodora Mihai, 2021) Futura (Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher, 2021) What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (Alexandre Koberidze, 2021) Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo (In Front of Your Face, Hong Sang-soo, 2021)) Das Mädchen und die Spinne (The Girl and the Spider, Ramon Zürcher & Silvan Zürcher, 2021) Wood and Water (Jonas Bak, 2021) A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces (Shengze Zhu, 2020) A Night of Knowing Nothing (Payal Kapadia, 2021) Azor (Andreas Fontana, 2021) Baba Yar, Context (Sergei Loznitsa, 2021) Terra Femme (Courtney Stephens, 2017-2021) Les prières de Delphine (Delphine’s Prayers, Rosine Mbakam, 2021) Les sorcières de l’Orient (The Witches of the Orient, Julien Faraut, 2021) El gran movimiento (The Great Movement, Kiro Russo, 2021) The Two Sights (Joshua Bonnetta, 2021) El planeta (Amalia Ulman, 2021) Taming the Garden (Salomé Jashi, 2021) Re Granchio (The Tale of King Crab, Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis, 2021) Eles transportan a morte (They Carry Death, Helena Girón, Samuel M. Delgado, 2021) Faya Dayi (Jessica Beshir, 2021) Luces del desierto (Desert Lights, Felix Blume, 2021) Surviving You, Always (Morgan Quaintance, 2021) Esquirlas (Splinters, Natalia Garayalde, 2020) Procession (Robert Greene, 2021) OTTO KYLMÄLÄ FILMMAKER, CRITIC AND THE PROGRAMMER OF THE FINNISH NATIONAL FILM ARCHIVE’S CINEMATHEQUE. Films released for the first time in 2021 (festivals, cinemas, streaming services) in alphabetical order Annette (Leos Carax, 2021) Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, Radu Jude, 2021) The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021) Colectiv (Collective, Alexander Nanau, 2019) The Father (Florian Zeller, 2020) Hytti nro 6 (Compartment No. 6, Juho Kuosmanen, 2021) Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021) Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020) Nuevo orden (New Order, Michel Franco, 2020) La Nuit des rois (Night of the Kings, Philippe Lacôte, 2020) Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) Quo vadis, Aida? (Jasmila Žbanić, 2020) Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, 2019) Spencer (Pablo Larraín, 2021) Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Ahmir-Khalib Thompson, 2021) Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021) Older films encountered for the first time in 2021 (seen in festivals, cinematheques, re-releases, home entertainment, streaming channels, etc.). Fool’s Paradise (Cecil B. DeMille, 1921) Jokeren (The Joker, Georg Jacoby, 1928) Riso amaro (Bitter Rice, Giuseppe De Santis, 1949) The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949) No Way Out (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950) Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953) Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970) Романс о влюбленных (Romance for Lovers, Andrei Konchalovsky, 1974) Örökbefogadás (Adoption, Márta Mészáros, 1975) O Thiassos (The Travelling Players, Theo Angelopoulos, 1975) Mon oncle d’Amérique (My American Uncle, Alain Resnais, 1980) El sur (Víctor Erice, 1983) Hotet (The Threat, Stefan Jarl, 1987) Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn EUGENIA LAI CINEPHILE. NEW YORK AND PARIS. New Releases (festivals, cinemas, streaming services) Lemongrass Girl, (Pom Bunsermvicha, 2021) El año del descubrimiento (The Year of the Discovery, Luis López Carrasco, 2020) The Witches of the Orient (Julien Farault, 2021) Patrick (Luke Fowler, 2020) Nuevo orden (New Order, Michel Franco, 2020) Diários de Otsoga (The Tsugua Diaries, Miguel Gomes & Maureen Fazendeiro, 2021) Do Not Split (Anders Sømme Hammer, 2020) Inside the Red Brick Wall (Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers, 2020) Taming the Garden (Salomé Jashi, 2021) Babardeala cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, Radu Jude, 2021) Hytti nro 6 (Compartment Number 6, Juho Kuosmanen, 2021) Futura (Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi & Alice Rohrwacher, 2021) Summer of Soul (Questlove, 2021) Jia ting lu xiang (All About My Sisters, Qiong Wang, 2021) In the Same Breath, (Nanfu Wang, 2021) Nam-mae-wui yeo-reum-bam (Moving On, Yoon Dan-bi, 2019) Repertoire The Origin of the Night (Amazon Cosmos) (Lothar Bamgarten, 1973-1977) Le Cousin Jules (Cousin Jules, Dominique Benicheti,1972) Working Girls (Lizzie Border,1986) Scener ur ett äktenskap (Scenes from a Marriage, Ingmar Bergman, 1973) The China Syndrome (James Bridges, 1979) Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989) Strop (Ceiling, Věra Chytilová, 1961) Ovoce stromů rajských jíme (Fruits of Paradise, Věra Chytilová, 1970) De quelques événements sans signification (About Some Meaningless Events, Mostafa Derkaoui, 1974) Silent Partners (Daryl Duke, 1978) Ābols upē (Apple in the River, Aivars Freimanis, 1974) The Draughtman’s Contract (Peter Greenaway, 1982) A Zed & Two Noughts (Peter Greenaway, 1985) The Female Closet (Barbara Hammer, 1998) The Bedroom Window (Curtis Hanson, 1987) Stockholmsnatt (Stockholm Night, Staffan Hildebrand, 1987) Single Copy (Hsu Che-Yu, 2019) Valparaiso (Joris Ivens, 1962) Křik (The Cry, Jaromil Jireš, 1964) Četri balti krekli (Four White Shirts, Rolands Kalniņš, 1967) Didi mtsvane weli (Great Green Valley, Merab Kokochashvili, 1967) Music While You Work, Festum Fluxorum, Galerie Block im Forum Theater, Berlin, November 14-15, 1970 (Arthur Köpcke/Jan Franksen, 1970) Life is Sweet (Mike Leigh, 1990) Meantime (Mike Leigh, 1983) The Criminal (Joseph Losey, 1960) House of Games (David Mamet, 1987) Homicide (David Mamet, 1991) Stendali: Suonano Ancora (Stendali: Still they toll, Cecilia Mangini, 1961) Maria e i giorni (Maria’s Days, Cecilia Mangini, 1960) Divino amore (Divine Love, Cecilia Mangini, 1961) Essere donne (Being Women, Cecilia Mangini, 1965) Brindisi 65 (Cecilia Mangini, 1966) Tommaso (Cecilia Mangini, 1965) Kyojin to gangu (Giants and Toys, Yasuzo Masumura, 1958) David Holzman’s Diary (Jim McBride, 1967) Queen of Diamonds (Nina Menke, 1991) Zero no shōten (Zero Focus, Yoshitaro Nomura, 1961) Blow out (Brian de Palma, 1981) Odete (2 Drifters, Joao Pedro Rodrigues, 2005) Le Signe du Lion (The Sign of Leo, Eric Rohmer, 1962) 25 Watts (Pablo Stoll & Juan Pablo Rebella, 2001) Mulher à tarde (Afternoon Woman, Affonso Uchoa, 2010) What is Poetry to You? (Cecilia Vicuña, 1980) Robbery (Peter Yates, 1967) Moving Image Exhibitions Monira Al Qadiri (Divine Memory, 2019/ Behind the Sun, 2013), Berlinische Galerie, Berlin Ed Atkins: Get Life/Love’s Work, New Museum, New York James Benning: Place, Neugerriemschneider, Berlin Wang Bing: The Walking Eye, Le Bal, Paris Heinz Emigholz: Counter Gravity – Haus der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin Omer Fast: Surplus, GB Agency, Paris Derek Jarman: Dead Souls Whisper, Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, France Sarah Maldoror: Tricontinental Cinema, Palais de Tokyo, Paris Wong Ping: Your Silent Neighbor, New Museum, New York Wong Ping: The Great Tantalizer, Tanya Bonakdar, New York Enfin le cinéma! Arts, images et spectacles en France(1833-1907), Musée d’Orsay, Paris MARC LAURIA CINEPHILE. BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA. My 2021 ten best: Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021) Il buco (The Hole, Michelangelo Frammartino, 2021) Intregalde (Radu Muntean, 2021) Babardeala cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Looney Porn, Radu Jude, 2021) Red Rocket (Sean Baker, 2021) Undine (Christian Petzold, 2020) The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes, 2021) Malmkrog (Cristi Puiu, 2020) The Works and Days (of Takoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin) (C.W. Winter, Anders Edstrom, 2020) Ahed’s Knee (Nadav Lapid, 2021) ELAINE LENNON ELAINE LENNON IS A FILM HISTORIAN. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF CHINATOWNE: THE SCREENPLAYS OF ROBERT TOWNE. Il Traditore (THE TRAITOR, Marco Bellocchio, 2019). The body politic. Nomadland (Chloe Zhao, 2020). Steinbeck revisited. Antebellum (Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, 2020). Revisionism revisited. Spencer (Pablo Larrain, 2021) The unmerry wife of Windsor. Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (Celeste Bell and Paul Sng, 2021). Identity politics. Lost Girls and Love Hotels (William Olsson, 2020). Jean Rhys goes east. Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell, 2020). Served cold. Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar (Josh Greenbaum, 2021). Inspired lunacy. Cruella (Craig Gillespie, 2021). The dogs. 10 Luxor (Zeina Durra, 2020). Mind and body. Special mention: The BBC TV mini-series Universe by Professor Brian Cox is the reason CGI was invented. Actually mind-blowing. SANDRA E. LIM CONTRIBUTOR TO SENSES OF CINEMA, LECTURER AND ARTIST, FILM AND VIDEO MAKER My film viewing experiences over the past year were largely focused on viewing films as a way to feel in solidarity with the Asian community locally, and globally, in light of the anti-Chinese backlash over the Covid pandemic, which began to heat up in early 2021. Some of the best films I saw in 2021 were films screened virtually at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), such as the film Are you Lonesome Tonight (Re Dai Wang Shi, Wen Shipei, 2021), a Chinese neo-noir film. Another favourite was a free screening of the older documentary film Who Killed Vincent Chin (Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Pena, 1987), accompanied by a panel discussion with Tajima-Pena, as part of Asian Heritage Month, put on by the Reel Asian International Film Festival in Toronto. The students I teach also led me to the final viewings, and the Netflix streaming series Squid Games (Hwang Dong-hyuk, Korea, 2021), and Alice in Borderland (2020). Five highlights of films seen virtually in no particular order: Who killed Vincent Chin (Christine Choy & Renee Tajima-Pena, 1987) seen at a virtual screening through Reel Asian, is a documentary which sadly resonates with these times. Choy and Tajima-Pena’s documentary presents a condemning look back at the lack of justice meted out in the case of the racially motivated killing of a young Chinese-American man Vincent Chin, by two laid off autoworkers in Michigan, who blamed the decline of the automotive industry in the 80s, on those they believed to be Japanese, and the cause of their misfortune. The pair served no time for the baseball bat bludgeoning of Chin, paying only a $3000 fine. Minari (Lee Issac Chung, 2020) is another film I viewed, streamed through Reel Asian, during Asian Heritage Month, this time through a partnership with the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Minari’s story is refreshing in that the main obstacles that the Yi family faces in the early 80s stem from trying to work the land of a dilapidated farm in rural Arkansas and the family conflicts that ensue. The small religious community that welcomes the family serves as a backdrop, and is populated by eccentric individuals such as Paul (Will Patton), a Korean War Veteran farm hand, who offers a gentle counterpoint to Jacob’s (Steven Yuen) overriding pursuit to be successful. Hon-ja-sa-neun sa-ram-deul (Aloners, Hong Seung-Eun, 2021), is a South Korean drama with elements of magic realism, seen virtually at TIFF, as part of the Discovery program with a focus on supporting female directors this past year. Hong Sung-eun’s debut feature film is about Jina (Gong Seung-yeon), a young single woman who lives a life of solitude, deviating little from work at a call centre, and nights spent alone watching cooking shows, and eating bowls of ramen soup. Much of the story is driven by unwanted encounters with people, some real and others more ghostly, such as the neighbour that Jina passes by each day, hardly noticing, as he smokes in the hallway between their flats. The arrival of the landlord and police, produce the discovery of her neighbour’s rotting corpse, revealing he died of suffocation from collapsed piles of pornography videos – well before the daily encounters – yet a seemingly uneventful point in Jina’s life. Nevertheless, moments such as this eventually break down Jina’s shell of solitude, to nurture the idea that no one can truly be alone. Re Dai Wang Shi (Are you Lonesome Tonight, Wen Shipei, 2021) was seen virtually at TIFF, as part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme. Dubbed a Chinese neo-noir film, Shipei’s debut film holds true, as a dark film in tone and cinematography. Set in 1997 the year of the reunification of Hong Kong and sweeping economic reforms, the China that is pictured is a grimy underbelly of factory workers by day, and gangsters populating the dark factory alleyways by night. Xue Ming (Eddie Peng), is an emaciated air-conditioner repair man who becomes embroiled in a hit and run. Compelled to make amends, Xue inserts himself into the life of the lonely widow of the man he believes he has killed, not knowing the man’s connection to the nighttime underworld of crime. Shipei’s elliptical narrative culminates in a harrowing chase scene in which Xue is chased by a hitman through an empty factory, in the dead of night. Pu Bu (The Falls, Chung Mong-Hong, 2021) seen virtually at TIFF special presentations programming, is a Taiwanese film about a mother (Alyssa Chia) and daughter (Gingle Wang) who are living separate lives of loneliness together in light of the father’s departure for a younger family. The teen is quarantined at home after being exposed to Covid at school, and full of resentment towards her mother, until the mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, and the girl must become her caregiver. In fact, a running theme in the Asian cinema programmed at TIFF this year seemed to contain a subtext about loneliness and solitude. The film story is also loosely based on a real-life story that the director says was told to him over the course of three hours straight – about a schoolgirl who was a caregiver for her mother, but tragically coming out of this period and making amends with her mother – the girl drowned on a school field trip. Five more films/streaming series seen in no particular order: Yi miao zhong (One Second, Zhang Yimou, 2020) seen virtually as the Gala night closing film presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2021. Random Acts of Legacy (Ali Kazimi, 2017), seen virtually as part of Reel Asian’s 25th Film Festival and the Canadian Artist Spotlight programme. Squid Game (Hwang Dong-hyuk, 2021), viewed through Netflix streaming service. Imawa no kuni no Arisu (Alice in Borderland, Shinsuke Sato, 2020), viewed through Netflix streaming service. Shang- Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021), streamed through Disney+ channel. THOMAS LOGORECI TIRANA, ALBANIA-BASED FILMMAKER, WRITER, FILM FEST SELECTOR New Releases That Made 2021 Memorable Albert, Berger (Shepherd, Alpert, Philippe Van Cutsem, 2021) By the Throat (Amir Borenstein, Effi Weiss, 2021) Can’t Get You Out of My Head (Adam Curtis, 2021) The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021) Freestyle to Montenegro (Ardit Sadiku, 2021) Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege) (Abdallah Al-Khatib, 2021) Reconciliation (Marija Zadar, 2021) Terra Femme (Courtney Stephens, 2021) When We Were Bullies (Jay Rosenblatt, 2021) Zgjoi (Hive, Blerta Basholli, 2021) First Time Viewings That Made 2021 Bearable Ménilmontant (Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1926) The Unknown (Todd Browning, 1927) She Done Him Wrong (Lowell Sherman, 1933) Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (Albert Lewin, 1951) Le mystère Koumiko (The Koumiko Mystery, Chris Marker, 1965) La solitude du chanteur de fond (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer, Chris Marker, 1974) The Getting of Wisdom (Bruce Beresford, 1977) Les trois couronnes du matelot (Three Crowns of the Sailor, Raúl Ruiz, 1983) Vdekja e kalit (The Death of a Horse, Saimir Kumbaro, 1992) Letter to the Editor (Alan Berliner, 2019) TARA LOMAX MELBOURNE-BASED WRITER, RESEARCH SCHOLAR, AND CREATIVE PRACTITIONER. As per my previous World Poll contributions, this list reflects on the key blockbuster franchise releases of the year. Thinking back to my notable viewing this year, I could discuss The Dry (Robert Connolly, 2021), High Ground (Stephen Johnson, 2021), Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell, 2020), Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020), Wrath of Man (Guy Ritchie 2021), The Beatles: Get Back (Peter Jackson 2021), or The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) – but I won’t, because I’d be ignoring an aspect of cinema that rarely gets mentioned in such polls. Blockbuster franchising is crucial to my experience of cinephilia and my love of going to the cinema. This has been a hard practice to maintain during a pandemic with lockdowns, closed cinemas, and delayed blockbusters, but the last two months of 2021 has been a frenzy of new franchise releases at the cinema. This is in striking contrast to the three blockbuster franchise movies released in cinemas in 2020, with many blockbusters delayed to 2021. As with my past contributions to this poll, this contribution surveys blockbuster franchise releases for the year to document the development of the franchise mode. This year I have organised my list based on viewing order, not preference. Godzilla vs. Kong (Adam Wingard, 2021) The fourth instalment in Warner Brothers’ MonsterVerse franchise, this was a cinematic spectacle that celebrated the histories of both the Godzilla and King Kong properties and exemplified the virtuosic artistry of visual effects. F9 (Justin Lin, 2021) This latest instalment in the Fast and the Furious franchise seems to lack the complex plot formation of previous instalments and potentially undermines earlier narrative events, but the persistence of this franchise is a testament to its action sequences and the investment of its audience. This franchise may be unapologetically absurd, but at least it is committed to its “family” theme. Black Widow (Cate Shortland, 2021) This long delayed but highly anticipated entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was a notable highlight for me this year and I was grateful to have had the opportunity to see it in the cinema, not so much because of its big action scenes but to experience Cate Shortland’s delicate aesthetic style on the big scene. With this interquel instalment, Shortland’s style captured the personal disruption felt by its main characters in tandem with the narrative displacement of its plot. The Suicide Squad (James Gunn, 2021) Not to be confused with the 2016 DC movie Suicide Squad, I expected a stronger grindhouse style with this instalment but this reimagining by James Gunn proves that adding “The” to a movie title can make a difference. Unfortunately, the theatre release of this movie coincided with a lockdown and local cinema closure, so I had to watch this at home, which may have influenced my experience. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021) The second MCU instalment to be released this year and the twenty-fifth entry in the franchise based on Marvel Comics, this reflects Marvel Studios’ command of its own adaptation ecology as it synthesises the origin story of Shang-Chi with narrative elements first introduced in Iron Man 3 (2013). Eternals (Chloé Zhao, 2021) This was a divisive MCU release this year, with disparate responses between critics and audiences. Chloé Zhao’s aesthetic sensibilities and narrative style is intertwined with the MCU formula, which has an interesting impact. This is not among my favourite MCU movies in any regard, but it is a compelling case study for examining the function of familiarity and variation in the MCU formula. Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green, 2021) A sequel to Halloween (2018) – which was itself a sequel to Halloween (1978) that tried to ignore the existence of previous sequels – this newest release struggles to find its place within the franchise’s serial continuity and mythos. Using the figure of Michael Myers to capture the terror of mass fear and hysteria, this entry was a change in tone from the grittier realism of its predecessor, but the awkward comedic ridiculousness of a mob chanting “evil dies tonight!” inside a hospital seemed frighteningly real in the current political climate. No Time to Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2021) The twenty-fifth official instalment in the ‘Bond’ franchise and the final of the ‘Daniel Craig’ era, No Time to Die was a long time coming and left a big impact on the future of the franchise (and my emotional composure). This instalment concluded the narrative arc developed across the previous four entries and tapped into the heart and soul of the Bond franchise through allusion to past instalments, particularly On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021) This is the first part in Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, Dune (1965), with at least one more instalment on the way. Its mastery in production design and visual style makes this a striking contribution to the Dune franchise, which works in contrast with its minimalist approach to storyworld narration. It will be interesting to see how this franchise unfolds in the next part. Spider-Man: No Way Home (Jon Watts, 2021) Spider-Man’s third solo instalment in the MCU through a collaboration between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, No Way Home is the event movie of the year that exemplifies the relationship between licensing, creative development, and audience engagement in blockbuster franchising. Other franchise instalments released this year include Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Andy Serkis, 2021), A Quiet Place Part II (John Krasinski, 2020), Mortal Kombat (Simon McQuoid, 2021), Snake Eyes (Robert Schwentke, 2021), The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Michael Chaves, 2021), The Forever Purge (Everardo Valerio Gout, 2021), and Spiral: From the Book of Saw (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2021). The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski, 2021) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Jason Reitman, 2021) have unfortunately not yet been released in Australia at the time of writing this poll. ANDREW LYNCH CINEMA AND SCREEN STUDIES AT SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, AUSTRALIA. My favourite 5 films released in Australia in 2021: Possessor (Brandon Cronenberg 2020) Brandon Cronenberg’s previous feature Antiviral (2012) felt overly indebted to his father (David Cronenberg)’s œuvre. Possessor keeps the body horror and twisted sci-fi that Cronenberg senior perfected and uses it to tell an original, brutal and strangely current story about identity and surveillance. Andrea Riseborough Christopher Abbott are spectacular playing at playing the same body swapping assassin. In the Earth (Ben Wheatley 2021) After his underwhelming Rebecca for Netflix (2020), Wheatley returns to what he does best: making rural England seem really creepy. Shot during one of the many UK lockdowns, the film obliquely engages with the global pandemic, just enough to make a scientific expedition to the heart of the forest to commune with sentient fungi sound like a great idea… until it isn’t. Best (only?) toe amputation scene of the year! The Green Knight (David Lowery 2021) Ticks all the boxes for an A24 release: trippy visuals, experimental score, cool marketing campaign. This bold adaptation of the heraldic the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight keeps the episodic, didactic structure of its source material and really feels like embarking on an epic journey. Druk (Another Round, Thomas Vinterberg 2020) I think it’s interesting that in Denmark this film is called Druk, which translates roughly to “binge drinking”. Inspired by their students’ weekend drinking games, five over-the-hill Danish high school teachers experiment with drinking at work to boost their confidence and verve. Given the premise, I was expecting a scornful film about the evils of the bottle, but Vinterberg presents a much more thoughtful, measured, and ultimately hopeful perspective Synchronic (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead 2019) Writer/director/producers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s first mainstream release. These two have made several low-budget, genre-bending films: Resolution (2012), Spring (2014) and The Endless (2017), that mix horror, sci-fi and fantasy with a mumblecore indie sensibility. Synchronic’s conceit of a narcotic which lets the user travel through time works really well with the storied New Orleans setting.