José Cabrera Betancort


I. Films released for the first time in 2023:

  • Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • El eco (The Echo, Tatiana Huezo, 2023)
  • The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams, 2023)
  • Jill, Uncredited (Anthony Ing, 2022)
  • Banāt Olfa (Four Daughters, Kaouther Ben Hania, 2023)
  • Slow (Marija Kavtaradzė, 2023)
  • Bên trong vo kén vàng (Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell, Phạm Thiên Ân, 2023)
  • Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)
  • Æquo (Julia Borderie and Éloïse Le Gallo, 2023)

II. Older films encountered for the first time in 2023:

  • You Can’t Take It with You (Frank Capra, 1938)
  • Adorable menteuse (Adorable Liar, Michel Deville, 1962)
  • Samaria (Samaritan Girl, Kim Ki-duk, 2004)

Thomas Caldwell

Writer, broadcaster, film critic, public speaker and film programmer based in Melbourne, Australia

These are the films I’ve most enjoyed, have lingered in my mind and are likely to be ones I revisit in the years to come. With the aim of making my list accessible, relevant and non-exclusive I’ve only listed films that received a full theatrical or online release in Australia in 2023. Films that only screened at festivals or other special events (especially films with confirmed 2024 Australian release dates) are not included.

Top ten films: My favourite films released in Australia in 2023

  1. Aftersun (Charlotte Wells, 2022)
  2. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  3. Women Talking (Sarah Polley, 2022)
  4. Till (Chinonye Chukwu, 2022)
  5. Living (Oliver Hermanus, 2022)
  6. The Killer (David Fincher, 2023)
  7. The Old Oak (Ken Loach, 2023)
  8. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (Christopher McQuarrie, 2023)
  9. Of an Age (Goran Stolevski, 2022)
  10. Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)

Honourable mentions: Twenty more films I loved this year, listed alphabetically

  • Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023)
  • Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
  • Beurokeo (Broker, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2022)
  • Biosphere (Mel Eslyn, 2022)
  • Close (Lukas Dhont, 2022)
  • Gojira mainasu wan (Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki, 2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (James Gunn, 2023)
  • How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Daniel Goldhaber, 2022)
  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (Chad Stahelski, 2023)
  • Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023)
  • Le bleu du caftan (The Blue Caftan, Maryam Touzani, 2022)
  • Limbo (Ivan Sen, 2023)
  • Maestro (Bradley Cooper, 2023)
  • Master Gardener (Paul Schrader, 2022)
  • Revoir Paris (Paris Memories, Alice Winocour, 2022)
  • Shayda (Noora Niasari, 2023)
  • Skinamarink (Kyle Edward Ball, 2022)
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K Thompson, 2023)
  • Tár (Todd Field, 2022)
  • The New Boy (Warwick Thornton, 2023)

Special mentions: I also enjoyed a number of films this year that only played at festivals and to the best of my knowledge don’t currently have a 2024 release date. These are five highlights:

  • As bestas (The Beasts, Rodrigo Sorogoyen, 2022)
  • Întregalde (Radu Muntean, 2021)
  • Les pires (The Worst Ones, Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret, 2022)
  • Miracol (Miracle, Bogdan George Apetri, 2021)
  • Titina (Kajsa Næss, 2022)

Nicolas Carrasco

Producer, film critic and programmer, Peru

Films released in 2021, 2022 and 2023, seen for the first time in 2023. In no particular order:

  • Nu astepta prea mult de la sfârsitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • El realismo socialista (Socialist Realism, Valeria Sarmiento and Raúl Ruiz, 1973-2023)
  • L’été dernier (Last Summer, Catherine Breillat, 2023)
  • El auge del humano 3 (The Human Surge 3, Eduardo Williams, 2023)
  • Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
  • Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023)
  • Knit’s Island (Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, Quentin L’Helgouac’h, 2023)
  • Heojil kyolshim (Decision to Leave, Park Chan-wook, 2022)
  • Tár (Todd Field, 2022)
  • Incident (Bill Morrison, 2023)
  • Eureka (Lisandro Alonso, 2023)
  • La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher, 2023)
  • Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg, 2022)
  • Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, Rodrigo Moreno, 2023)
  • #007 (Ariadna Onofri and Yonay Boix, 2021)
  • #008 (Yonay Boix, 2022-2023)
  • Agua del arroyo que tiembla (Javiera Cisterna, 2021)
  • Po Sui Tai Yang Zhi Xin (A Short Story, Bi Gan, 2022)
  • Aqueronte (Manuel Muñoz Rivas, 2023)
  • The Winged Stone (Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, 2023)
  • Les cinq diables (The Five Devils, Léa Mysius, 2022)
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson, 2023)
  • Anhell69 (Theo Montoya, 2022)
  • La Vénus d’argent (Spirit of Ecstasy, Héléna Klotz, 2023)
  • La práctica (The Practice, Martín Rejtman, 2023)
  • Samsara (Lois Patiño, 2023)
  • Uriui Haru (In Our Day, Hong Sang-soo, 2023)
  • Barajas (Javier Izquierdo, 2021)
  • Good Old Czechs (Tomáš Bojar, 2022)
  • Pearl (Ti West, 2022)
  • Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023)
  • Mudos testigos (Silent Witnesses, Jerónimo Atehortúa, Luis Ospina, 2023)
  • Talk to Me (Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou, 2022)
    Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  • Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023)
  • Le procès Goldman (The Goldman Case, Cedric Kahn, 2023)
  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  • Cielo abierto (Open-Pit, Felipe Esparza Pérez, 2023)
  • Las cosas indefinidas (Undefined Things, María Aparicio, 2023)
  • Here (Bas Devos, 2023)
  • The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams, 2023)
  • RRR (S.S. Rajamouli, 2022)
  • Lesser Choices (Courtney Stephens, 2022)
  • Against Time (Ben Russell, 2022)
  • Todxs queremos un lugar al que llamar nuestro (We All Want a Place to Call Our Own, Daniela Delgado Viteri, 2022)
  • Maria Schneider, 1983 (Elisabeth Subrin, 2022)
  • Moto (Gastón Sahajdacny, 2022)
  • Cidade Rabat (Susana Nobre, 2023)
  • Passages (Ira Sachs, 2023)

Last Summer

Michael J. Casey

Critic for Boulder Weekly, KGNU’s “After Image,” and michaeljcinema.com

Top ten movies of 2023:

  • Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  • La passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Taste of Things, Trần Anh Hùng, 2023)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers, 2023)
  • Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023)
  • Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
  • Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)
  • Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
  • The Swan (Wes Anderson, 2023) / Incident (Bill Morrison, 2023)

I loved going to the movies this past year. The titles on this year’s list form an ecstasy I didn’t see coming. None more so than Perfect Days, but also The Taste of Things, a sumptuous tale of a French gourmand from Trần Anh Hùng; Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos’ weird and wild spin on Frankenstein, social consciousness and sexual relations; and Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude’s clever ding at soulless capitalism. Then there’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, a movie loaded with voltage the way Oppenheimer is loaded with bombast. Walking out of those theatres left me dizzy.

Kevin Cassidy

Melbourne, Cinephile

New films first. In order:

1) Revoir Paris (Paris Memories, Alice Winocour, 2022)
2) Shttl (Ady Walter, 2022)
3) Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
4) Banāt Olfa (Four Daughters, Kaouther Ben Hania, 2023)
5) Il pleut dans la maison (It’s Raining in the House, Paloma Sermon-Daï, 2023)
6) Wunderschön (Karoline Herfurth, 2022)
7) Tzadik (The Righteous, Sergey Ursulyak, 2023)
8) Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023)
9) Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
10) Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. (Kelly Fremon Craig, 2023)

And three outstanding children’s films:

1) Island of Lost Girls (Anne-Marie and Brian Schmidt, 2022)
2) Riddle of Fire (Weston Razooli, 2023)
3) Ghost Book Obakezukan (Takashi Yamazaki, 2023)

Old films:

1) Kokuhaku (Confessions, Tetsuya Nakashima, 2010)
Best film seen in a very long time.

2) Landscape Suicide (James Benning, 1986)

3) and 4) Queensland (John Ruane, 1976) and Journey to the End of Night (Peter Tammer, 1982)
Both shown as part of Bill Mousoulis’ screening of Australian films at the Thornbury Picture House. Both directors present for a Q and A, and catching up with John Flaus, doyen of Australian film criticism, at both screenings was an absolute bonus.

5) Ich bei Tag und du bei Nacht (I by Day, You by Night, Ludwig Berger, 1932)
Shown at Sydney’s outstanding cinephile event, Cinema Reborn.

6) Povest plamennykh let (Chronicle of Flaming Years, Yulia Solntseva, 1961)

7) Front bez flangov (Front Without Flanks, Igor Gostev, 1975)

8) Sakuran (Mika Ninagawa, 2006)

9) Los Tallos Amargos (The Bitter Stems, Fernando Ayala, 1956)
Seen on the programme of Noir November, at the James Street cinema in Brisbane.

10) Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (The Love of Jeanne Ney, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1927)

Guilherme Cavalcanti

Culture Injection (blog); Brazil


Rapito (Kidnapped, Marco Bellocchio, 2023)
Stars at Noon (Claire Denis, 2022)
Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023)
Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
Earth (Tom Hewitson, Ben Wilson, James Tovell, Duncan Singh, David Briggs, 2023)
A Invenção do Outro (The Invention of the Other, Bruno Jorge, 2022)
Master Gardener (Paul Schrader, 2022)
IO (EO, Jerzy Skolimowski, 2022)
Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2022)
Khers nist (No Bears, Jafar Panahi, 2022)
Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023)
Suzume no Tojimari (Suzume, Makoto Shinkai, 2022)
The Killer (David Fincher, 2023)
Knock at the Cabin (M. Night Shyamalan, 2023)
Mato seco em chamas (Dry Ground Burning, Adirley Queirós, Joana Pimenta, 2022)
So-seol-ga-ui yeong-hwa (The Novelist’s Film, Hong Sang-soo, 2022)
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (William Friedkin, 2023)
O Dia que Te Conheci (The Day I Met You, André Novais Oliveira, 2023)
Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
The Old Oak (Ken Loach, 2023)
Lúa vermella (Red Moon Tide, Lois Patiño, 2020)
Petite Solange (Little Solange, Axelle Ropert, 2021)
A Vida São Dois Dias (Life Lasts Two Days, Leonardo Mouramateus, 2022)
ラブライフ (Love Life, Koji Fukada, 2022)
Un beau matin (One Fine Morning, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2022)
Les Passagers de la nuit (The Passengers of the Night, Mikhaël Hers, 2022)
Retratos Fantasmas (Pictures of Ghosts, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2023)
Enys Men (Mark Jenkin, 2023)


Happer’s Comet (Tyler Taormina, 2022)
The Whale (Darren Aronofsky, 2022)
シン・ウルトラマン (Shin Ultraman, Shinji Higuchi, 2022)
Fogo-Fátuo (Will-o’-the-Wisp, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2022)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers, 2023)
The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh, 2022)
San taam daai zin (Detective vs. Sleuths, Wai Ka-fai, 2022)
Athena (Romain Gavras, 2022)
Divinity (Eddie Alcazar, 2023)
Vermelho Bruto (Rough Red, Amanda Devulsky, 2022)
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Wes Anderson, 2023)
Padre Pio (Abel Ferrara, 2022)
Pearl (Ti West, 2022)
Extraña forma de vida (Strange Way of Life, Pedro Almodóvar, 2023)
Racionais: Das Ruas de São Paulo Pro Mundo (Racionais MC’s: From the Streets of São Paulo, Juliana Vicente, 2022)
O Cangaceiro da Moviola (Luís Alberto Rocha Melo, 2023)
Skinamarink (Kyle Edward Ball, 2022)
Deo killeo: Jugeodo doeneun ai (The Killer, Choi Jae-hoon, 2022)
விக்ரம் (Vikram, Lokesh Kanagaraj, 2022)
How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Daniel Goldhaber, 2022)
Incroyable mais vrai (Incredible But True, Quentin Dupieux, 2022)
Canção ao Longe (Faraway Song, Clarissa Campolina, 2022)
Nuclear Family (Travis Wilkerson, Erin Wilkerson, 2021)
Avatar: The Way of Water (James Cameron, 2022)
Cette maison (This House, Miryam Charles, 2022)
Jethica (Pete Ohs, 2022)
Fire Music (Tom Surgal, 2021)
Black Art: In the Absence of Light (Sam Pollard, 2021)
Le Pharaon, le Sauvage et la Princesse (The Black Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess, Michel Ocelot, 2022)

Discoveries (in order of preference):


In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
Showgirls (Paul Verhoeven, 1995)
The Driver (Walter Hill, 1978)
Shurayukihime (Lady Snowblood, Toshiya Fujita, 1973)
El castillo de la pureza (Castle of Purity, Arturo Ripstein, 1973)
La Noire de… (Black Girl, Ousmane Sembène, 1966)
Él (Luis Buñuel, 1953)
A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan, 1957)
El lugar sin límites (The Place Without Limits, Arturo Ripstein, 1978)
La rimpatriata (The Reunion, Damiano Damiani, 1963)
Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)
Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Werner Herzog, 1972)
La signora senza camelie (The Lady Without Camelias, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1953)
We Can’t Go Home Again (Nicholas Ray, 1973)
Make Mine Music (Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Robert Cormack, Joshua Meador, 1946)
Parade (Jacques Tati, 1974)
Procès de Jeanne d’Arc (The Trial of Joan of Arc, Robert Bresson, 1962)
Friendship’s Death (Peter Wollen, 1987)
Tengoku wa mada tôi (Heaven Is Still Far Away, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2016)
The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)
The Flanagan Boy (Reginald Le Borg, 1953)
A River Runs Through It (Robert Redford, 1992)
Regi Andrej Tarkovskij (Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Michał Leszczyłowski, 1988)
Terminal Island (Stephanie Rothman, 1973)
Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records (Jeff Broadway, 2013)
Children (Terence Davies, 1976)


Sen’ya ichiya monogatari (A Thousand and One Nights, Eiichi Yamamoto, 1969)
Suchîmubôi (Steamboy, Katsuhiro Otomo, 2004)
Lady and the Tramp (Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson, Clyde Geronimi, 1955)
The Man in the Net (Michael Curtiz, 1959)
Valkoinen peura (The White Reindeer, Erik Blomberg, 1952)
Keyboard Fantasies (Posy Dixon, 2019)
John Cage: Journeys in Sound (Paul Smaczny, Allan Miller, 2012)
You Don’t Nomi (Jeffrey McHale, 2019)
Quai de Grenelle (The Strollers, Emil E. Reinert, 1950)
Crown v. Stevens (Michael Powell, 1936)
Man on Fire (Tony Scott, 2004)
The Key Man (Montgomery Tully, 1957)
Shurayukihime: Urami renka (Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance, Toshiya Fujita, 1974)
Jimi Plays Monterey (D. A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, 1986)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman, Clyde Geronimi, 1961)
Finding the Funk (Nelson George, 2014)
Dutch Angle: Chas Gerretsen & Apocalypse Now (Baris Azman, 2019)

Short films (29 minutes or less), in chronological order:


Cops (Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, 1922)
Broadway by Light (William Klein, 1958)
Train Again (Peter Tscherkassky, 2021) 


Neighbors (Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, 1920)
Disque 957 (Germaine Dulac, 1929)
Borom sarret (The Wagoner, Ousmane Sembène, 1963)
Iré a Santiago (I’m Going to Santiago, Sara Gómez, 1964)
Carol (Ed Emshwiller, 1970)
Tails (Paul Sharits, 1976)
O Violeiro Fantasma (Wesley Rodrigues, 2017)
Catgot (Ho Tsz Wing, 2019)
Hand (Ho Tsz Wing, 2021)
La Notte (Martina Generali, Simone Pratola, Francesca Sofia Rosso, 2023)

Daryl Chin

Artist and writer in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Top ten:

1) Matter Out of Place (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2022)
2) Occupied City (Steve McQueen, 2023)
3) Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros (Frederick Wiseman, 2023)
4) All of Us Strangers (Andrew Haigh, 2023)
5) Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
6) Killer of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
7) Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)
8) My Love Affair with Marriage (Signe Baumane, 2023)
9) Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd (Roddy Bogawa and Storm Thorgerson, 2023)
10) Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)

After all was said and done, this turned out to be a great year for the cinema! For the US, the summer brought the phenomenon of Barbenheimer, where two big-budget movies unrelated to franchises opened on the same day, to record-breaking crowds making going to both movies the event of the summer! At year’s end, so many critics got uppity and sneered at the Barbenheimer phenomenon, but I felt it would be silly to ignore it, and I found much to admire in both movies. But if it was such a great year for movies, it was because of the sheer quality and variety throughout the year. So to celebrate, here is a list of an additional 20 movies released in the US in 2023 which easily would have made my Top Ten in any other year: Un beau matin (One Fine Morning, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2022), Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022), 1976 (Chile ’76, Manuela Martelli, 2022), Fogo-Fátuo (Will-o’-the-wisp, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2022), Retour à Séoul (Return to Seoul, Davy Chou, 2023), Maestro (Bradley Cooper, 2023), Nyad (Elzabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, 2023), May December (Todd Haynes, 2023), Rustin (George C. Wolfe, 2023), A Thousand and One (A.V. Rockwell, 2023), The Holdovers (Alexander Payne, 2023), Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023), R.M.N. (Cristian Mungiu, 2022), Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023), La passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Taste of Things, Trần Anh Hùng, 2023), Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023), The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023), Joan Baez: I Am a Noise (Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky and Maeve O’Boyle, 2023), Saltburn (Emerald Fennell, 2023). With such an embarrassment of riches, how can there be any doubt as to the amazing year that was 2023?

Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros

Kristen Marie Coleman

PhD Candidate in Screen and Media & Artist

Favoured new releases and first watches (features/shorts/documentary) in no particular order:

  •  Bên Trong Vo Kén Vàng (Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, Phạm Thiên Ân, 2023)
  • On the Go (María Royo & Julia de Castro, 2023)
  • El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive, Victor Erice, 1973)
  • All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen, 2022)
  • Jill, Uncredited (Anthony Ing, 2022)
  • Alcarràs (Carla Simón, 2022)
  • ゴジラ−1.0 (Gojira Mainasu Wan, Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki, 2023)
  • They Cloned Tyrone (Juel Taylor, 2023)
  • Of an Age (Goran Stolevski, 2022)
  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (Chad Stahelski, 2023)

Jesús Cortés

Spanish film writer

Best recent ones (since 2018):

 Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023), The U.S. and the Holocaust (Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, Sarah Botstein, 2022), Le coeur noir des forêts (Dark Heart of the Forest, Serge Mirzabekiantz, 2021), Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023), Mighty Afrin: in the Time of Floods (Angelos Rallis, 2022/23), The Whale (Darren Aronofsky, 2022), Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, Rodrigo Moreno, 2023), Here (Bas Devos, 2023), The Pale Blue Eye (Scott Cooper, 2022), Tengo sueños eléctricos (I Have Electric Dreams, Valentina Maurel, 2022), La nuit du 12 (The Night of the 12th, Dominik Moll, 2022), Dhuin (Achal Mishra, 2022), Bowling Saturne (Saturn Bowling, Patricia Mazuy, 2022), Boite noire (Black Box, Yann Gozlan, 2021), In the Land of Saints and Sinners (Robert Lorenz, 2023), Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023), Maigret (Patrice Leconte, 2022), That They May Face the Rising Sun (Pat Collins, 2023), Rapito (Kidnapped, Marco Bellocchio, 2023), Chronique d’une liaison passagère (Diary of a Fleeting Affair, Emmanuel Mouret, 2022), Boston Strangler (Matt Ruskin, 2023), Living (Oliver Hermanus, 2022), Bên trong vo kéng vàng (Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, Thien An Pham, 2023), The Plains (David Easteal, 2022), Les chambres rouges (Red Rooms, Pascal Plante, 2023), To Catch a Killer (Damian Szifron, 2023), Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023), Retratos fantasmas (Pictures of Ghosts, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2023), La bête dans la jungle (The Beast in the Jungle, Patrick Chiha, 2023), Le cahier noir (The Black Book, Valeria Sarmiento, 2018), Arturo a los 30 (About Thirty, Martin Shanly, 2023), Der offene blick: Künstlerinnen und künstler der Sinti und Rome (Peter Nestler, 2022), A Longa viagem do ônibus amarelo (The Long Voyage of The Yellow Bus, Júlio Bressane, 2023), Suzume no tojimari (Suzume, Shinkai Makoto, 2023), L’innocent (The Innocent, Louis Garrel, 2022), Revoir Paris (Paris Memories, Alice Winocour, 2022), An cailín ciúin (The Quiet Girl, Colm Bairéad, 2022), Gelditasuna ekaitzean (Stillness in the Storm, Alberto Gastesi, 2022), Le parfum vert (The Green Perfume, Nicolas Pariser, 2022). 

 Not so new:

 Vengeance is Mine (Michael Roemer, 1984), Parisette (Louis Feuillade, 1921), El corazón de la noche (The Heart of the Night, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, 1983), Naruto hichô (Secret of Naruto, Kinugasa Teinosuke, 1957), Unmasked (Grace Cunard, Francis Ford, 1917), Liebe auf den estern Blick (Love at First Sight, Rudolf Thome, 1991), A Daughter of the Law (Grace Cunard, 1921), The Valley of Silent Men (Frank Borzage, 1922), The Dark Half (George A. Romero, 1993), Koenigsmark (The Secret Spring, Léonce Perret, 1923), Hono-o no shiro (Castle of Flames, Katô Tai, 1960), Son (A Dream, Vladimir Denisenko, 1964), Konjiki yasha (Demon of Gold, Shima Kojî, 1954), Beyrouth, ma ville (Beirut, My City, Jocelyne Saab, 1982), Gobanchô yûjirirô (A House in the Quarter, Tasaka Tomotaka, 1963), Café Cantante (Antonio Momplet, 1951), Totsugu hi (Wedding Day, Yoshimura Kôzaburô, 1956), London Calling (Nagasaki Shunichi, 1985), Verteidigung der zeit (Peter Nestler, 2007), Londra chiama Polo Nord (The House of Intrigue, Duilio Coletti, 1956), …ere erera baleibu izik subua aruaren… (José Antonio Sistiaga, 1970), Khaled/Qaleh (Women’s Quarter, Kamran Shirdel, 1966/80), Madol duwa (Enchanted Island, Lester James Peries, 1976), The Purple Mask: Part 1, Episodes 5, 12, 16 (Francis Ford, Grace Cunard, 1916), Via Wireless (George Fitzmaurice, 1915), The Come On (Russell Birdwell, 1956), Japanese Story (Sue Brooks, 2003), Vesenniy dozhd (Kira Korothova – Muratova & Alexander Muratov, 1958), Dangerous Moonlight / Suicide Squadron (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1941), Guest Wife (Sam Wood, 1945), Les fantomes d’Alexandrie (The Ghosts of Alexandria, Jocelyne Saab, 1986), Kemonomichi (Beast Alley, Sugawa Eizô, 1965), Is-slottet (Ice Palace, Per Blom, 1987), Tristi amori (The Sad Loves, Carmine Gallone, 1943), The Discovery (Charlie McDowell, 2017), Sweet Love, Bitter (Herbert Danska, 1967), Sibaji (Surrogate Woman, Kwon-taek Im, 1987), Smog (Franco Rosi, 1962), Ne le dis à personne (Tell No One, Guillaume Canet, 2006), Der goldene Abgrund (The Golden Abyss, Mario Bonnard, 1927), La casa está vacía (The House is Empty, Carlos Schlieper, 1945), Menk’/Menq (We, Artavazd Pelechian, 1969), Mabuta no haha (In Search of Mother, Katô Tai, 1962), Cascabel (The Rattlesnake, Raúl Araiza, 1976), The Glass Wall (Maxwell Shane, 1953), In dem großen Augenblick (The Great Moment, Urban Gad, 1911), Barnabo delle montagne (Barnabo of the Mountains, Mario Brenta, 1994), Nirjan saikate (Tapan Sinha, 1963), Daibutsu kaigen (Dedication of the Great Buddha, Kinugasa Teinosuke, 1952), Vilarinho das Furnas (António Campos, 1970), Le 15/8 (Chantal Akerman, Sami Szlingerbaum, 1973), El pendiente (The Earring, León Klimovsky, 1951), Prigionieri del male (Revelation, Mario Costa, 1955), Marcel Proust – Portrait souvenir (Gérard Herzog, 1962), Yanagawa horiwari monogatari (The Story of Yanagawa’s Canals, Takahata Isao, 1987), Lifeforce (Tobe Hooper, 1985), Chicago calling! (John Reinhardt, 1951).

 Best reevaluations:

 Storm Warning (Stuart Heisler, 1950), Aurat (Woman, Mehboob Khan, 1940), Verrat an Deutschland (Veit Harlan, 1955), Memórias de um Estrangulador de Loiras (Memoirs of a Strangler of Blondes, Júlio Bressane, 1971), Blood Ties (Guillaume Canet, 2013), Je ne suis pas là étre aimé (Not Here to be Loved, Stéphane Brizé, 2005), Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell, 2018), Scam (John Flynn, 1993).

Jordan Cronk

Founder: Acropolis Cinema; Contributor: Artforum, Cinema Scope, Film Comment, Sight and Sound

Fifty favourite new films seen in 2023:

  • The Adults (Dustin Guy Defa, 2023)
  • Aggro Dr1ft (Harmony Korine, 2023)
  • Aku wa sonzai shinai (Evil Does Not Exist, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2023)
  • El auge del humano 3 (The Human Surge 3, Eduardo Williams, 2023)
  • Bên trong vo kén vàng (Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, Phạm Thiên Ân, 2023)
  • La bête (The Beast, Bertrand Bonello, 2023)
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (William Friedkin, 2023)
  • Camping du Lac (Lakeside Camping, Éléonore Saintagnan, 2023)
  • Cerrar los ojos (Close Your Eyes, Víctor Erice, 2023)
  • Crowrã (The Buriti Flower, Joao Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora, 2023)
  • Los delincuentes (The Delinquents, Rodrigo Moreno, 2023)
  • Eureka (Lisandro Alonso, 2023)
  • Examen d’entrée INSAS: Films 1-4 (Chantal Akerman, 1967)
  • Ferrari (Michael Mann, 2023)
  • As Filhas do Fogo (The Daughters of Fire, Pedro Costa, 2023)
  • Film annonce du film qui n’existéra jamais: “Drôles de guerres” (Trailer of a Film That Will Never Exist: ‘Phony Wars’, Jean-Luc Godard, 2023)
  • Le grand chariot (The Plough, Philippe Garrel, 2023)
  • Gush (Fox Maxy, 2023)
  • He chu (Where, Tsai Ming-liang, 2022)
  • Here (Bas Devos, 2023)
  • Hit Man (Richard Linklater, 2023)
  • Instant Life (Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy, and Andrew Kim, 2022)
  • Ishi ga aru (There Is a Stone, Tatsunari Ota, 2022)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  • Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • Laberint Sequences (Blake Williams, 2023)
  • L’été dernier (Last Summer, Catherine Breillat, 2023)
  • Man in Black (Wang Bing, 2023)
  • Master Gardener (Paul Schrader, 2022)
  • May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
  • Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros (Frederick Wiseman, 2023)
  • Mul-an-e-seo (in water, Hong Sangsoo, 2023)
  • Musik (Music, Angela Schanelec, 2023)
  • Notre corps (Our Body, Claire Simon, 2023)
  • Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârsitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • NYC RGB (Viktoria Schmid, 2023)
  • Passing Time (Terence Davies, 2023)
  • Pátio do Carrasco (The Damned Yard, André Gil Mata, 2023)
  • La práctica (The Practice, Martín Rejtman, 2023)
  • Qingchun (Chun) (Youth (Spring), Wang Bing, 2023)
  • Reptile (Grant Singer, 2023)
  • Retratos Fantasmas (Pictures of Ghosts, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2023)
  • Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  • Samsara (Lois Patiño, 2023)
  • Sunshine State (Steve McQueen, 2023)
  • Tage (Days, Peter Schreiner, 2023)
  • Uriui haru (In Our Day, Hong Sangsoo, 2023)
  • We Don’t Talk Like We Used To (Joshua Gen Solondz, 2023)
  • Xue bao (Snow Leopard, Pema Tseden, 2023)
  • The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)

The Human Surge 3

Joe Cruz

Media and Communication Lecturer in St. Louis

Below is a list of 5 horror movies I was fortunate to encounter in 2023, even though only one premiered this year. I tend to gravitate toward this genre and felt it was worth emphasising since it sometimes gets sidelined. The films appear in order of release. 

The Thing from Another World (Christian Nyby, 1951)
An adaptation of the sci-fi novella Who Goes There? (and the blueprint for John Carpenter’s masterpiece The Thing, 1982), the story centres on a group of scientists who uncover, and eventually battle, a hostile alien creature in Antarctica. Similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956), this film allegorizes the hysteria of the Red Scare and perceived threat of communists. It’s a tad stagey and dialogue heavy at times, but worth revisiting given its influence and historical importance.   

TerrorVision (Ted Nicolaou, 1986)
TerrorVision centres on the Puttermans, a family of oddballs, gun nuts, and conspiracy kooks, who inhabit a bizarre alternate reality – a cross between the Rockwellian 1950s and a John Waters fever dream. While the Puttermans install a DIY satellite dish, a large, hideous alien with an appetite for human flesh from the planet Pluton gets transformed into pure energy and beamed into space, eventually landing in the family’s TV set. Instead of tacky ’80s programming, the Puttermans get a ravenous alien monster that materialises out of the TV screen to consume anyone in its reach. Director Ted Nicolaou lampoons everything from ’80s consumerist culture to the American nuclear family in this underrated film.  

Seoulyeok (Seoul Station, Yeon Sang-ho, 2016)
A prequel to Busanhaeng (Train to Busan, Yeon Sang-ho, 2016), arguably one of the most audacious horror films of the 21st century, this animated film shows us the origins of the zombie outbreak but follows different characters. The animation is crisp, the action sequences harrowing, and the overall tone distressing. I am tempted to say that Seoul Station is superior to its sequel in many ways. It’s somewhat more restrained in its spectacle, but it’s the humanity of its central story and relentless sense of hopelessness that make it so impactful. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the last 15 minutes. 

Possessor (Brandon Cronenberg, 2020)
It’s remarkable that this is Cronenberg’s second project! The film follows a corporate assassin who carries out her assignments by taking control of other people’s bodies using advanced technology – and this is just the tip of the iceberg! Possessor is the rare film that I consider to be a true ethical labyrinth. Most commercial films tend to give in to conventions and audience desires for justice. Possessor not only eschews this impulse, but it gleefully places its characters in ethical minefields, with no obvious routes of escape. Cronenberg is obviously philosophically inclined, and, as such, has intriguing questions about the nature of the self, agency, and consciousness.  

Play Dead (Patrick Lussier, 2023)
Very few directors can juggle the task of crafting exciting thrills, weaving a resonant social message, and the limits of a low budget to deliver an entertaining film. But Patrick Lussier did it quite well with Play Dead. It centres on a medical student who fakes her own death to sneak into the morgue to retrieve evidence that could keep her brother from prison, only to discover that the coroner is up to no good. As ludicrous as it sounds, the film very skillfully blends Hitchcockian suspense with grindhouse mayhem. It’s a breath of fresh air, especially given its indie pedigree.

Brian Darr

San Francisco cinephile

Ten commercially released (in the U.S.) features I saw this year:

Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023)
Արշալույսի լուսաբացը (Aurora’s Sunrise, Inna Sahakyan, 2022)
Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023)
May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros (Frederick Wiseman, 2023)
Nam June Paik: Moon is the First TV (Amanda Kim, 2023)
Sam Now (Reed Harkness, 2022)
Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2023)
Silver Dollar Road (Raoul Peck, 2023)
Fogo-Fátuo (Will-o’-the-wisp, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2022)

And one whose very limited 2022 distribution prefigured a wider theatrical release in 2023 (when I saw it):

Retour à Séoul (Return to Seoul, Davy Chou, 2023)

Five not-(yet?)-distributed features:

Bravo, Burkina! (Walé Oyéjidé, 2023)
Or de Vie (The Golden Life, Boubacar Sangare, 2023)
One with the Whale (Jim Wickens, Peter Chelkowski, 2023)
Rejeito (Tailings, Pedro de Filippis, 2023)
Three Promises (Yousef Srouji, 2023)

Five moving image installation works:

Cycles & Loops (Bill Morrison, 2022): multi-screen installation, Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art, Waterville, Maine
earthearthearth (Daichi Saito, 2021): video installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland
In Parallax (Sally Golding, 2023): VR installation, Museum of the Moving Image, New York
Lumbreras (Luminaries, Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, 2023): multichannel video installation, Museum of the Moving Image, New York
Oñi Ocan (Courtney Desiree Morris, 2023): multichannel video installation, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

Ten short films:

Alpha Kings (Enrique Pedráza-Botero, Faye Tsakas, 2023)
Bay of Herons (Jared Link, 2023)
Closure (Abigail Jakub, 2022)
Forward Fast (Lorraine Sovern, 2023)
Incident (Bill Morrison, 2023)
Run North (Abigail Dixson-Boles, 2023)
Surrounded By Woods (Yuke Ma, 2023)
Tending the Orchard (Bill Basquin & Katherine Agard, 2023)
Thread (Abigail Smith, 2023)
Through Eyes That Capture Us (Mozart Gabriel Abeyta, 2023)

Dustin Dasig

Communication and Media Studies Professor/Security Training Director/Writer and Editor, Philippines

Best films of 2023:

  1. Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023) – Festival audiences and film critics unanimously hailed this film as a masterpiece of storytelling, not to mention its unsentimental depiction and portrayal of timely social and psychological issues with universal resonance.
  2. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023) – Thematically-urgent storytelling that showcased Christopher Nolan’s brilliant filmmaking gifts.
  3. May December (Todd Haynes, 2023) – Possibly the second-best film that Haynes has ever made with two astounding central performances by Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore with Riverdale actor Charles Melton in a vital role and a touching portrayal.
  4. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023) – Sandra Hüller is unforgettable as the woman-in-question in this Hitchcockian tale of secrets, lies, doubts, and revelations, also a powerful statement on the court’s treatment of women and children as “persons of interest”.
  5. Das Lehrerzimmer (The Teachers’ Lounge) (İlker Çatak, 2023) – As a college teacher for 11 years, the issues depicted in this astounding film are highly relatable to me. Emotionally driven and dramatically potent with moving performances by the lead thespians. 
  6. La passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Taste of Things, Trần Anh Hùng, 2023) – Food and cooking as a metaphor for developing human relationships has been told innumerable times in cinema, but this moving film captures the complexity of how chemistry is essential in any endeavour, and how the personal and the professional intersect, influence, and impact each other.
  7. Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023) – A majestic change-of-pace for the legendary filmmaker, this is an acting showcase for the great Kōji Yakusho. This film astutely reminds us that work-life integration is essential especially today.
  8. The Holdovers (Alexander Payne, 2023) – Again, tenured college professors like me can understand the trials, tribulations, and rewards of being a dedicated educator and mentor despite the changing social mores and educational system. Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sassa, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph have sparkling chemistry. 
  9. Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023) – Childhood friendships revisited and rekindled, however told incisively and unsentimentally.
  10. La memoria infinita (The Eternal Memory) (Maite Alberdi, 2023) – Despite the hardships caused by Alzheimer’s disease, human relationships will always flourish as long as love, faith, and hope are intact.


  1. Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  2. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. (Kelly Fremon Craig, 2023)
  3. Joyland (Saim Sadiq, 2022) 
  4. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  5. Living (Oliver Hermanus, 2022)
  6. La nuit du 12 (The Night of the 12th, Dominik Moll, 2022)
  7. Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
  8. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson, 2023)
  9. R.M.N. (Cristian Mungiu, 2022)
  10. Women Talking (Sarah Polley, 2022)

Superlative performances of the year: Sandra Hüller, Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall); Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon; Kōji Yakusho, Perfect Days; and Charles Melton, May December.

Guilty pleasure (saw it four times and is worth the time and the effort, not to mention its unexpected good critical and box-office reception): Thanksgiving (Eli Roth, 2023).

Most notable film industry event: The 11th QCinema International Film Festival, possibly the best venue in the country for movie premieres and a receptive space for constructive criticism and sharing of ideas about the industry and the art and craft of filmmaking.

Eagerly-awaited films of 2024 (Notable releases of 2023 that have yet to be seen): Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023); The Color Purple (Blitz Bazawule, 2023); La sociedad de la nieve (Society of the Snow, J. A. Bayona, 2023); and The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023).

The Taste of Things

Máquina De Aplausos

Independent researcher
  • Ten Lives of a Cat: A Film About Chris Marker (Matthew O’Toole, 2023) 
  • Pola Weiss Documental (Alejandra Arrieta, 2023) 
  • Werner Herzog: Radical Dreamer (Thomas von Steinaecker, 2022) 
  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023) 
  • Actual People (Kit Zauhar, 2021) 
  • I Like Movies (Chandler Levack, 2022) 
  • This is Sparklehorse (Alex Crowton and Bobby Dass, 2022) 
  • The Apology of Albert Batch (Luc Chamberland, 2023) 
  • Saules aveugles, femme endormie (Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Pierre Földes, 2022) 
  • Kunstkamera (Jan Švankmajer, 2022) 
  • Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023) 
  • Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV (Amanda Kim, 2023) 
  • Film, the Living Record of Our Memory (Inés Toharia Terán, 2021) 
  • Frank Film (Frank Mouris and Caroline Mouris, 1973) 
  • Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023) 
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023) 
  • The Sixth Reel (Carl Andress and Charles Busch, 2021) 
  • Shortcomings (Randall Park, 2023) 
  • Whit Stillman: Not So Long Ago, Fireflies Press, 2023
  • Studio: Remembering Chris Marker, OR Books, 2017

Henri de Corinth

Film writer at Lo Specchio Scuro, MUBI Notebook, Kinoscope and author of Andrzej Żuławski: Abject Cinema forthcoming from Amsterdam University Press

1 – Musik (Music, Angela Schanelec, 2023)
2 – Skinamarink (Kyle Edward Ball, 2022)
3 – Vesper (Kristina Buožytė and Bruno Samper, 2022)
4 – Chłopi (The Peasants, Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, 2023)
5 – Electra (Daria Kashcheeva, 2023)
6 – Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
7 – Xirasa (Burial, Emilija Škarnulytė, 2022/2023)
8 – Attic Windows of the Infinite (Sapphire Goss, 2022)
9 – Apokawixa (It Came from the Water, Xawery Żuławski, 2022)
10 – All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras, 2022)
11 – Müanyag égbolt (White Plastic Sky, Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó, 2023)
12 – Buurthuis II (Josefin Arnell, 2023)
13 – Remon-iro no yume (Lemon-Colored Dream, Shunji Iwai, 2023)
14 – Infinity Pool (Brandon Cronenberg, 2023)
15 – Parasite Lady (Chris Alexander, 2023)
16 – Eien ga tōrisugite iku (Eternity Passes By, Makoto Toda, 2022)
17 – Against Time (Ben Russell, 2022)
18 – Eileen (William Oldroyd, 2023)
19 – Test Objects (Sam Drake, 2023)
20 – Zielona granica (Green Border, Agnieszka Holland, 2023)

Maria Elena de las Carreras

Fulbright scholar and film critic from Argentina, has a Ph.D. in film studies, and lectures on film history and esthetics at Cal State Northridge and UCLA.

Documentary Gems of 2023

I have been reviewing documentary submissions for the Social Impact Media Awards for a few years. It is an annual competition run by the non-profit organisation SIMA Studios that also curates and distributes documentaries and media projects.

Here are 5 above par documentaries, richly deserving promotion and a worldwide audience.  

Al Djanat, paradis originel (Al Djanat, the Original Paradise, Chloé Aïcha Boro, 2023)

In this first-person documentary, Burkina Faso director Chloé Aïcha Boro, based in France, takes up the exploration of the self, as a woman split between cultures, religions and worldviews. She is also a synecdoche because her family in Dédougou, Burkina Faso, represents a large swath of francophone Sub-Saharan Africa, where Islam coexists with animism, and is engaged in a complicated relationship with the West and modernity – a world richly explored by Ousmane Sembène and Abderrahmane Sissako. Shot over five years, it follows the daily lives of her extended family, recording conversations where polygamy and the role of women in an Islamic society are recurrent. The director intervenes as a voiceover, commenting on a culture she knows from the inside – her original paradise – and yet appraising it from a distance. It is a conflict she cannot resolve, well captured in the umbilical cord ceremony and the function of the “griottes”, the women who keep an oral singing record of family and culture.

Shown at Fespaco (Burkina Faso) and Visions du Réel (Switzerland) in 2023.

Battleground: The Fight for the Future of Abortion (Cynthia Lowen, 2023)

Battleground is a piece of long form journalism designed to describe how political and religious pro-life groups worked for decades to revert Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that adumbrated a right to abortion considered implicit in the U.S. Constitution. Embedded in the organisations Students for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List and San Francisco Pro-Life, Lowen follows three charismatic female leaders. Their grassroots work is framed by a recording of evangelical leaders pledging support to Donald Trump. The conservative Christian vote was key to his win in the 2016 election. Eschewing a narrator, the contours of the battleground are clearly delineated: two diametrically opposed views about abortion, the human rights issue of our times. But unexpectedly, the pro-abortion arguments espoused by the documentary come up short, intellectually and morally, when engaging with pro-life ideas. In a surprising volte face, Battleground ultimately becomes a persuasive explanation of why life inside the womb is human and matters

Shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022.

Landshaft (Daniel Kötter, 2023)

Essayistic and intimate, without a first-person narrator nor drama on screen or a thesis to develop, and no characters to follow, Landshaft, or “landscape”, is a startling documentary about the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. “What is not filmed and is not seen” is its subject, noted the director. The conversations are divorced from the images, and they only match when the viewer slowly puts them together. People are shown from far away or framed without their faces. Stunning cinematography, hypnotic long takes, recurrent motifs dotting the landscape (a beaten-up Lada car, long freight trains) and free-flowing comments and memories about war by ordinary people function like pieces of a puzzle. In the ten-minute final sequence – the director shot at eye level an unruly flock of sheep descending on a village – the meaning of the film is encapsulated in an oblique yet tangible manner.

Shown at Visions du Réel (Switzerland) in 2023.

La memoria infinita (The Eternal Memory, Maite Alberdi, 2023)

At first sight, this observational film, shot from 2018 to 2022, about a married couple dealing with the husband’s Alzheimer’s, looks like a medical project. Confined to the couple’s home, the wife took over the camera in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The protagonists are well-known, intelligent and camera-savvy figures in Chile’s cultural and political landscape. Layered over this diary-style record of a person’s failing memory is a meditation on ageing, and the preservation of historical memory: Augusto Góngora is a journalist and TV critic whose professional goal has been to remember traumatic historical events during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The loving care of his wife Paulina Urrutia makes the tenderness of the relationship glow throughout the film. The couple’s personal and professional lives are shown through home movies, clips from the news, television shows and films. Wisely, The Eternal Memory avoids a chronological record of the illness’ progress, and organises it around specific memories, building blocks that erase time and display the healing power of remembering. Maite Alberdi’s work is characterised by patiently observing small worlds for a period of time – Tea Time (2014), Grown-Ups (2016) and The Mole (2020). The “formula” is brilliantly, humanely at work here too.

Shown at the Sundance Film Festival last January, it won the World Cinema Documentary Competition. A box-office hit in Chile, it had a limited theatrical release in the U.S. in 2023.

Mermaids of Africa (William Collinson, 2023)

From its title, Mermaids of Africa is prima facie an ethnographic documentary about the beliefs of hunter-gatherers in a semi-desert territory (present-day South Africa), where the elements of nature, like water, are seen as deities. It is built, however, as a mutually exclusive counterpoint between the scientific view of two very articulate anthropologists who have studied the phenomenon of mermaids and water snakes as manifestations of ancient mythical beliefs connected to a dry area, in a culture untouched by Western rational thinking. On the other side are the native subjects who persuasively describe encountering mermaids and water snakes. The anthropologists conclude that scientific and mythical thinking are different orders of reality. From their Western perspective, they cannot pierce the phenomenon. The mythical is staged for the camera with realistic dramatisations of mermaids and snakes wrapped in an uncanny score.  One way into the mystery, the documentary suggests, is to understand that like Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio) poetically proposed in 1982, the world is out of joint.

Mónica Delgado

Peruvian film critic and director of desistfilm.com

Films released for the first time in 2023:

  • Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  • El auge del humano 3 (The Human Surge 3, Eduardo Williams, 2023)
  • O Canto das Amapolas (Paula Gaitán, 2023)
  • Eureka (Lisandro Alonso, 2023)
  • Musik (Music, Angela Schanelec, 2023)
  • Terminal Young (Lucía Seles, 2023)
  • Il sol dell’avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow, Nanni Moretti, 2023)
  • Los colonos (The Settlers, Felipe Gálvez, 2023)
  • Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
  • Cave Painting (Siegfried A. Fruhauf, 2023)
  • La Palisiada (Philip Sotnychenko, 2023)
  • Nu aștepta prea mult de la sfârșitul lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude, 2023)
  • Voyages en Italie (Sophie Letourneur, 2023)
  • Pátio do Carrasco (The Damned Yard, André Gil Mata, 2023)
  • Cielo abierto (Open-Pit, Felipe Esparza Pérez, 2023)
  • Disco Boy (Giacomo Abbruzzese, 2023)
  • Bam Sanchaek (Night Walk, Sohn Koo-Yong, 2023)
  • This Is the End (Vincent Dieutre, 2023)
  • Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023)
  • Poznámky z Eremocénu (Notes from Eremocene, Viera Čákanyová, 2023)

 Older films encountered for the first time in 2023:

  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Dick Fontaine, Pat Hartley, 1982) – Berlinale
  • La femme au couteau (The Woman with the Knife, Timité Bassori, 1969) – MUBI
  • SURFACING (Barbara Sternberg, 2004) – S8 Mostra de Cinema Periférico
  • Un sueño como de colores (A Dream as in Colours, Valeria Sarmiento, 1973) – Festival Curtas Belo Horizonte
  • A Rainha Diaba (The Devil Queen, Antonio Carlos da Fontoura, 1973) – Berlinale

 Any online or hybrid festivals or other events you ‘attended’:

  • Light Cone: online programs of the 2023 Preview Show (France). This is not a festival, but I was able to watch pieces from their experimental film catalogue.
  • MUTA. Festival Internacional de Apropiación Audiovisual (Peru): focus Pere Ginard.
  • Flaherty Seminar, MAKA Many Eyed Vessel, programmed by Emily Abi-Kheirs, Ha’aheo Auwae-Dekker, Isabel Rojas, Raven Two Feathers.


Connor Denney

Los Angeles

Best films of 2023:

  1. Onde fica esta rua? ou Sem antes nem depois (Where Is This Street? or, With No Before and After, João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata, 2022)
  2. May December (Todd Haynes, 2023)
  3. Pacifiction (Albert Serra, 2022)
  4. Matter Out of Place (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2022)
  5. Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros (Frederick Wiseman, 2023)
  6. De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel, 2022)
  7. Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2022)
  8. Tori et Lokita (Tori and Lokita, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2022)
  9. Tab (Walk Up, Hong Sang-soo, 2022)
  10. Skazka (Fairytale, Aleksandr Sokurov, 2022)

Best older films seen for the first time in 2023:

  1. Non, ou a Vã Glória de Mandar (No, or the Vain Glory of Command, Manoel de Oliveira, 1990)
  2. La Belle noiseuse (Jacques Rivette, 1991)
  3. Anatomy of a Murder (Otto Preminger, 1959)
  4. La maman et la putain (The Mother and the Whore, Jean Eustache, 1973)
  5. Cœur fidèle (Jean Epstein, 1923)
  6. Gertrud (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1964)
  7. 7th Heaven (Frank Borzage, 1927)
  8. Conte d’été (A Summer’s Tale, Éric Rohmer, 1996)
  9. Midareru (Yearning, Mikio Naruse, 1964)
  10. Duelle (une quarantaine) (Duelle, Jacques Rivette, 1976)

Emanuele Di Nicola

Film critic, journalist, contributor to Nocturno and Spietati

New films (alphabetical order):

Adagio (Stefano Sollima, 2023)
Here (Bas Devos, 2023)
Home Invasion (Graeme Arnfield, 2023)
Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
La bête (The Beast, Bertrand Bonello, 2023)
Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)
Rapito (Kidnapped, Marco Bellocchio, 2023)
Roter Himmel (Afire, Christian Petzold, 2023)
The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)
To Catch a Killer (Damián Szifron, 2023)

New series (alphabetical order):

Demon 79, Black Mirror 6×05 (Toby Haynes, 2023)
The Fall of the House of Usher (Mike Flanagan, 2023)
Questo mondo non mi renderà cattivo (This World Can’t Tear Me Down, Zerocalcare, 2023)

Older film (just one masterpiece):

Love Me Tonight (Rouben Mamoulian, 1932)
In Cinema Ritrovato Festival for the homage to Rouben Mamoulian.

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Writer and filmmaker

Ten best of 2023

While all “ten best” lists are inherently suspect, in this case there’s a clear winner for me for 2023; Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest (2023), which as I write this has just been named best movie of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, with Glazer tagged as Best Director. The Zone of Interest depicts the “everyday” life of Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), the longest-serving Auschwitz commandant and his family, as they go about their pampered, domestic life as if all is right with the world. But just behind the wall in the back of their house, millions of people are being slaughtered by Höss and his minions, yet what we see is a bourgeois nightmare of complete complacency. Writing in The Guardian in his 2023 Cannes round up, Xan Brooks stated flatly that of all the films in the festival “there’s only one contender I’d hail as a stone-cold masterpiece” – The Zone of Interest. I heartily agree.

With that said, the SAG-AFTRA strike dragged on for a total of 118 days and ended with a mere three-year agreement that passed with only 38% of SAG-AFTRA members even bothering to vote (those voting favoured the final deal by roughly 78%). The big issue, of course, other than equitable payment for services, is the astonishingly rapid rise of AI, and all that it portends for the cinema. If actors can simply be cloned as the need arises, then all the power shifts from the creatives to the executive suites, at least in commercial cinema. The final SAG-AFTRA deal puts the brakes on some of the most egregious potential uses of AI in films – the ability to create instant scripts, sets, and ersatz actors with relative impunity – but leaves more than enough loopholes for studio heads to exploit. There’s also a new and troubling Hollywood strategy where nearly completed films are simply shelved without a release as tax write offs if they aren’t deemed sufficiently commercial. The strike, of course, takes place in a world wracked by conflicts, and the run up to a highly contentious 2024 US presidential election. 

So, with that as an uneasy background, here are my own picks for 2023: 

The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023) – see above.

Reality (Tina Satter, 2023) – Sydney Sweeney is astonishing in this real-time recreation of the questioning and detention of Reality Winner, a young woman arrested for smuggling out classified information about Russian interference during the 2016 US presidential elections as an act of conscience, with a script based on her actual on-site FBI interrogation. 

L’été dernier (Last Summer, Catherine Breillat, 2023) – a typically audacious film from Breillat, about a stepmother-stepson romantic relationship, although the film is essentially a remake of Dronningen (Queen of Hearts, May el-Toukhy, 2019).

Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023) – superficially masquerading as a throwaway pop musical, Gerwig’s film is an interrogation into gender roles in contemporary society among many other things, and is that rare hyper-commercial film with an actual subtext.

LOLA (Andrew Legge, 2022) – a brilliant fictional found-footage film, in which a young woman in World War II England creates a machine that can pick up radio and television broadcasts from the future, with eventually disastrous results.

Occupied City (Steve McQueen, 2023) – documenting in an unrelenting block-by-block fashion the fate of Jews in Amsterdam during World War II.

Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt, 2023) – a gently observed fiction film as a young sculptor (Michelle Williams) prepares a gallery show of her work, in a world that celebrates art over the rising tide of the supposed “uselessness” of the humanities.

Priscilla (Sofia Coppola, 2023) – an underrated look at the horrific marriage between Elvis Presley (Jacob Elordi) and Priscilla Beaulieu (Cailee Spaeny); a film that was unjustly written off by both critics and audiences for its bleak but accurate view of life inside the Presley pop machine, and a great antidote to Baz Luhrmann’s overblown 2022 biopic Elvis.

The Stroll (Zackary Drucker, Kristen Parker Lovell, 2023) – a deeply sympathetic portrait of the lives of transgender sex workers in Manhattan’s infamous meatpacking district, a decade long project that is both brutal and ultimately uplifting. 

Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023) – a riveting courtroom drama starring Sandra Hüller as Sandra Voyter, a novelist trying to prove her innocence in the death of her husband. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, this film edged out The Zone of Interest for the top slot, which won the Grand Prix instead – an interesting decision.

And in 2024, there’s a book that I await with great interest, Gerard Malanga’s Secret Cinema, a look at the now 80-year-old Malanga’s own personal film work, created during his time at Andy Warhol’s famed Factory. As one of the last living participants in the Factory scene, this limited-edition book, which was funded through a Kickstarter campaign, promises a fresh approach to the era. I’m also looking forward to new work from Jerome Hiler and Nathaniel Dorsky, two of the most accomplished artists working in personal cinema today.

Dana Duma

Romanian film critic, editor in chief of the Film magazine and professor at the National University of Theatre and Film, Bucharest
  1. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  2. Banāt Olfa (Four Daughters, Kaouther Ben Hania, 2023)
  3. Barbie (Greta Gerwig, 2023)
  4. Dream Scenario (Kristoffer Borgli, 2023)
  5. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023)
  6. Kimitachi wa dô ikiru ka (The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023)
  7. Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki, 2023)
  8. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan, 2023)
  9. The Old Oak (Ken Loach, 2023)
  10. Past Lives (Celine Song, 2023)

Akhil Dusi

Likes to watch films with subtitles. Likes to take Photos. Located in the Chicago area.

Films released in 2023 (ranked):

  • Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu)
  • Past Lives (Celine Song)
  • Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan) 
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese) 
  • May December (Todd Haynes)
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers)
  • Sapta Sagaradaache Ello (Hemanth M. Rao)
  • Month of Madhu (Srikanth Nagothi)
  • Balagam (Venu Yeldandi)
  • Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam (Like an Afternoon Dream, Lijo Jose Pellissery)
  • Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Older films discovered in 2023 (ranked):

  • Pāfekuto Burū (Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon, 1997)
  • Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
  • Ruka (The Hand, Jiří Trnka, 1965)
  • Aradhana (Bharatiraja, 1987)
  • Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar-Wai, 1990)
  • Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
  • The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2011)

Films at my first ever Chicago International Film Festival (ranked):

  • Kaibutsu (Monster, Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023)

A milestone in Screenwriting. Rashomon Effect (and then some) with the delicate tenderness of Khane-ye dust kojast (Where Is the Friend’s House?, Abbas Kiarostami, 1987). This was a special experience and it left me in tears as such. I am glad that I waited hours in the Rush line for this after failing to get into a screening of The Boy and the Heron (also waited for hours!).

  • Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)
  • Kuru Otlar Üstüne (About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)
  • La passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Taste of Things, Trần Anh Hùng, 2023)

Had a wonderful interaction with the director and was able to ask a question at the Q&A, he was kind and lovely.

  • La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher, 2023)
  • Konkeuriteu Yutopia (Concrete Utopia, Um Tae-hwa, 2023)

Mainak Dutta

Mainak holds a Master’s degree in Film Studies. A passionate cinephile. Full time aspiring academic and writer. Part time filmmaker and photographer.

I am writing names of five films (the 5th being two films) which I think are the best of 2023.

1. The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer, 2023)

I watched this film at the International Film Festival of Kolkata, in my own city. I was struck by the overall experience of the film. It was provocative, but what was more important to me was that it found a language of provocation. From the way it was shot, to the sound design, to the way it tried to have a dialogue with the spectators – everything contributed to the form of the film. I am waiting to rewatch it. Glazer has gone into a new territory with this film. The best of 2023 for me.

2. Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, 2023)

If solitude is a film. Top surprise of the year.

3. Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet, 2023)

I feel like this film is growing with me every day. I haven’t seen such performances in a long time. 

4. The Holdovers (Alexander Payne, 2023)

This time Payne goes back to 1970s America – full of turmoil and hopes – and analyses the human condition; it was witty, melancholic and refreshing!

5.  A. Kennedy (Anurag Kashyap, 2023)

For a long time now, Anurag Kashyap has not been at the top of his game. This film brings back a Kashyap which we all love. The noirish cinema of Anurag Kashyap. 

5. BAnd, Towards Happy Alleys (Sreemoyee Singh, 2023)

Sreemoyee Singh’s film is an extraordinary testament of the filmmaking culture of Iran. In a state of crisis and oppression, how they choose to live and make films. Sreemoyee’s making of the film is also very interesting; she made the film while doing her PhD on Iranian cinema, or specifically filmmakers in exile. She gave everything to this film, you can see that in every frame, a very honest film.

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