New Releases

  • Happy End – Michael Haneke
  • Faces Places – Agnès Varda
  • The Antigone – Tacita Dean
  • Let The Sunshine In – Claire Denis
  • You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsay

I don’t get to the cinema much these days, being both skint and constantly nervous of Dolby Surround Sound which sadly gives rise to anxiety attacks. However, these are the best films I’ve seen that are relatively new and finally caught on various home releases (with the exception of the Dean which was screened at the Royal Academy on film and was beautiful). It is worth noting that I have yet to see the new release of Orson Welles’ The Other Side Of The Wind which may have upended this little list. It’ll undoubtedly make it into next year’s list once viewed. I’m also yet to see: Possum, Annihilation and Widows.

Previous Releases

films-top-10

  • Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) – Louis Malle
  • Documenteur (1981) – Agnès Varda
  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) – Robert Altman
  • The Red House (1947) – Delmer Daves
  • La Belle Noiseuse(1991) – Jacques Rivette
  • Pépé Le Moko (1937) – Julien Duvivier
  • Violent Saturday (1955) – Richard Fleischer
  • La Ronde (1950) – Max Ophüls
  • La Musica (1967) – Marguerite Duras
  • Un Coeur en Hiver (1992) – Claude Sautet

Much like last year, I’ve spent the majority of 2018 diving into French cinema and with excellent results. Especially in the years after the Nouvelle Vague, French cinema seems to be more quietly interesting than most, often innovating in the most casually brilliant of ways in order to address political issues. In particular, I’ve continued exploring the work of Marguerite Duras whose films, bar three, I’ve now watched in its entirety. She’s a maverick and one day will get the recognition she deserves in the English speaking world. Elsewhere, I finally finished the catalogue of François Truffaut whose work still means a great deal to me. Finishing with the triple of The Bride Wore Black (1968), Mississippi Mermaid (1969) and The Wild Child (1970) made for an excellent finale to his body of work.

In other national cinemas, I’ve been constantly dipping back into classic Hollywood which is often a guarantee of quality, rarely met in its modern counterparts. In particular, I’ve watched a number of films with Edward G. Robinson who, contrary to his image as a hard player of gangsters and crooks, provided some of the quietest and most subtle of performances, represented in the list by The Red House but also in Illegal (1955) and The Woman In The Window (1944). The best American film watched this year by some distance, however, was undoubtedly Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) which transcended even the highest of expectations I already had for it.

Other great films of note from the year’s viewing (of roughly 320 or so films):

  • What Have You Done To Solange (1972) – Massimo Dallamano
  • J’ai Pas Sommeil (1994) – Claire Denis
  • La Haine (1995) – Mathieu Kassovitz
  • Z (1969) – Costa-Gavras
  • Loulou (1980) – Maurice Pialat
  • French Cancan (1955) – Jean Renoir
  • Across 110th Street (1972) – Barry Shear
  • Out 1, noli me tangere (1971) – Jacques Rivette
  • La Chute De La Maison Usher (1928) – Jean Epstein
  • Un Homme Et Une Femme (1966) – Claude Lelouch

Books

books-top-10

  • Species of Space and Other Pieces (1974) – Georges Perec
  • The Lover (1984) – Marguerite Duras
  • Known And Strange Things (2016) – Teju Cole
  • The Piano Teacher (1983) – Elfriede Jelinek
  • A Painter Of Our Time (1958) – John Berger
  • Pond (2015) – Claire-Louise Bennett
  • Dangerous Liaisons (1782) – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  • The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass (1934) – Bruno Schulz
  • La Bête Humaine (1890) – Émile Zola
  • The Lady In The Lake (1943) – Raymond Chandler

Though there’s no ranking for these books read this year, the best was undoubtedly Zola’s which took me completely surprise with its detailed yet raw examination of male violence twinned with growing industrialisation. I’ve spent most of the year reading in translation, continuing with reading the work of Robert Walser, Thomas Bernhard and Georges Perec in particular.

Articles

Along with drafting two books, I’ve produced roughly 100 articles this year (as well as completing my PhD!). Considering the detail that goes into most of my pieces, more so than previous years in fact, I thought it worth sharing several of the articles I was most happy with. Some of these are articles from this site, some are for others. They’re often the ones that took the most work, so a number will be location articles. Thanks as always to the people who take the time to read and share my work. It’s always appreciated beyond words.

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