In 2018, including festivals, I hung out in a cinema for a little over 400 hours. That’s a little less than one movie every other day. And what do we get out of it all? 20 excellent films, quite varied, but with a dark and arty atmosphere. Here are my twenty favorite movies of the year, and keep in mind that this top is purely personal, subjective, and that it only concerns the movies I’ve seen. My complete list is available here!
A few centuries after Narco, Gilles-Lellouche signs a strangely luminous film, around the most anti-cinematographic environment possible (just after the Gabriel Péri stop on the 13): a Swimming Pool Inside swim depressed losers, at the bottom of the hole, all with a serious problem to solve. And since sports and team spirit are good therapies, they will move forward together. The film is raw, borderline cruel, then it gets hot and hopeful again, until a slightly surreal happy ending. These men (and Virginie Efira, always at the top wherever she is) are broken, beautiful, failed, and put into perspective this famous masculinity adored by French podcasts – here, she is sensitive, fragile, she says what she thinks and is not afraid to transmit her emotions. It’s almost subversive, and we’re still talking about a comedy. “Stop puking, it’s not productive. ” Bonus points for Philippe Katerine, at the top of his game.
They meet at a Nouvelle Star-style audition, he’s a handsome Manoukian, she’s got an icy, fiery voice. Together, they will restore the coat of arms of the Soviet bloc through the prism of art, dances and patriotic songs. It’s crazy love, so irrational, then it goes west while there’s still time, but she doesn’t want to. And that’s TRAGEDY. They run around, the years go by, they become stateless, art and feelings take up too much space on top of each other… in short, they are animated by simple and effective dramaturgical conflicts, stuck in a sophisticated black and white The musical sequences are galvanizing, all beautiful to cry. It’s old emulated cinema, it’s by Paweł Pawlikowski (Ida) and the final dialogue is great. It’s beautiful. (See also: Leto, Roma)
You probably haven’t heard of this Deauville Festival survivor. Blindspotting is the story of a friendship doomed to be compromised: Buddy A tries to let his last day of parole go by without any trouble, Buddy B (a Macklemore clone) is a hyperactive, perpetually pissed off guy who never goes around without a gun. A is black, lives in a crappy neighborhood in Oakland, and witnesses police violence – not to say murder of a black guy by a white cop. Now, are we gonna fall in line without flinching, or are we gonna go back to solitary? They’re both movers and shakers, and the actors are pals like pigs in real life. And this injustice will be the source of a film, you guessed it, very societal about America and its current demons. A beautiful (sic) postcard about Oakland and its gentrification, and an amazing ability to navigate between tones and genres, wandering between hilarious punchlines and the stunning shot of a baby playing with a gun. Even if its ending is a bit heavy and prescriptive, it’s still infinitely better and cooler than the whole Spike Lee Blindspotting is the annual avatar of the self-respecting and self-respecting American independent film industry.
High-concept horror film by Jim-de-The-Office, Sans Un Bruit does everything well. Reminder of the titles: monsters will zigouille you in two-two if you make too much noise. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt have to deal with this somewhat awkward parameter of daily life, and try to stay alive on a remote farm. Except that: the woman is pregnant, she will have to give birth in silence, and babies are not known for their silence. Best film in the “do your own thing” category: only one and a half hours to explain the concept, play with a minimum, present disturbing elements and deal with them. At one point, we are shown a nail sticking out of a stair board. That’s to be expected, but we grind our teeth so hard in advance, it’s worth it. There’s not one scene too many, not a single bit of humor missing, so please take it all in stride. Too bad the French poster’s all crap, but I’m nitpicking.
This film is INTENSE. And very anxious. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson, so it’s very concentrated in his work, there’s more meaning than images in the footage, and we don’t have the complete reading grid until very late. This film could be carried by its characters alone, and its central role as an egotistical artist and the Oedipus a little too present. It’s much more than “gneu gneu suffering/giving up everything for art”. It’s British, it’s fashion, it’s a toxic relationship like a good omelette with poisonous mushrooms, it’s masochistic tango, it’s Phantom Thread and it’s close to excellence.
Unsurprisingly, the latest Wes Anderson is great. In this animated film, he talks about the dogs (or is it the old Japanese?) that are kept in a giant garbage can in neo-Japan. The obsessions are there: symmetry everywhere, budding love between teenagers, sepia tones, all-star casting. The characters speak and respond with thoughtful timing, as if they were in a rakugo sketch. Grammar is cultivated right down to the camera movements, which are also sketches in three acts. Akira Kurosawa is referenced everywhere. At the sound, it’s Desplat playing taiko. Weebs love it, moviegoers love it. The film is an example of fluidity and attention, it is to be watched in its original version
Well, now I think I understand Noah’s cinema. Thirty-something is approaching, youth is leaving, tastes are changing and evolving… or maybe he has made a successful best-of of his repertoire? The “kid having fun with extreme ideas” side is still there, but there’s not that unbearable or soothing little trick that his critics can find in his other films – Enter The Void is graphically splendid, but it’s three years too long, for example. Climax is much shorter, technically impressive, its first (dance) sequence is fantastic. The rest is simplistic and complex at the same time, surrounded by a list of funny little things – the muffled buzz, the boxes that knock you out with gifts of general truth, the discussions of those dancers who secretly can’t see each other. It goes wrong, the camera keeps rolling and rolling over. Clivant, as usual, but for once the thing is compact and sensible enough to work.
“What do you do for a living? – I’m running to my doom ”
Live fast, die young. Christophe Honoré’s cinema is not always the most accessible, but the timing is good: one year after 120 BPM, Honoré is screening in Vincent Lacoste (big up to freshman year, cool too), who meets an older playwright with AIDS. And let’s go for the love story where we quote great authors instead of doing so, love, because it’s a morbid risk. The dialogues are devilishly written, you have to accept it. Same lemonade as Robin Campillo, especially in its ability to recreate the 90s. And yet, it’s a film in the antipodes. It’s obviously an intimate subject, into which he injects a lot of romance and romance. He’s not afraid to be cultural, and chooses a brighter angle for an outcome we know is fatal. We find Denis Podalydès in a real role, yippee!
The new Mamoru Hosoda continues its Sainte-Beuvienne approach of “the stages of my life told in cartoon”. In this episode: the arrival of the second child and the jealousy of the first, in an incredible home in Yokohama, all in horizontality. science fiction family, space management, what if the real new Spielberg was him? Mirai sounds less grandiose than his previous films, but that should in no way be held against the author. “Filmed” at child’s height, a bit mechanical and dueling but still inventive and enchanting, the formula still works. Not sure that it will last forever, he is unloved by the fans, who don’t always accept that he n’t make a fourth “grandiose” film in a row.
Irony: the movie. Not the sexiest of this selection, the most theatrical as well, it is literally a drama in three acts. Here’s the pitch. “Michael and Dafna, married for 30 years, lead a happy life in Tel Aviv Their eldest son Yonatan is doing his military service at a border post in the middle of the desert. One morning, soldiers ring the doorbell of the family home. “They think he’s dead. But we follow him right after, not knowing the time frame. Then we go back to the parents. Something’s not right. Then we finally understand everything and apply the palm of your choice on the face, for one of the best falls of the year. In the meantime, we are witnessing the theatre of tragedy and absurdity in the IDF, where brave soldiers are bored in an inclined box, when they do not make huge mistakes or deceive boredom. No paragraph will do justice to this political film, which is not much loved at home, at least not by his staff, you will quickly understand why.
You think there are no more good horror movies in the movies? Implied, not “films made to walk automatically and that drive teenage audiences crazy fighting in the middle of a screening”? Everyone – including them –