Best Films of the Year 2018

The order and the categorization of the movies are very arbitrary. I don't believe there are any linear value systems to judge what's most beautiful so putting all these different movies in one hierarchical order is very much an injustice to them all. Moreover, I saw most of the movies only once and in many cases it's the first time I see that specific director's work so I might be making a lot of hasty judgements. This isn't meant to be a list of the best movies made in 2018, but a list of the new films that are still in the festival circuit or in theatres that I've seen in 2018. I'd like to think of it as a diary of sorts, which is partly why I rarely go back and change my lists for previous years, even if I feel I was completely wrong about it at the time, nor do I add movies to my previous lists. I keep the movies I was involved with out of the list. So, here it is, the new movies I liked in 2018:


Very Good
  • 24 Frames / Abbas Kiarostami & Ahmad Kiarostami
  • Transit / Christian Petzold
  • Leave No Trace / Debra Granik
  • Anadolu Turnesi (Anatolian Trip) / Deniz Tortum & Can Eskinazi
  • Sans Lune / Sophie Watzlawick
  • O processo (The Trial) / Maria Augusta Ramos

Good
  • Whose hand was it? / Sara Lehn & Minze Tummescheit & Arne Hector
  • Zentralflughafen THF (Central Airport THF) / Karim Aïnouz
  • Tuzdan Kaide (The Pillar of Salt) / Burak Çevik
  • Gens du Lac (People of the Lake) / Jean-Marie Straub


Memorable Screenings of Older Films (in a very arbitrary order of preference)
  • D'Est (From the East) (1993) / Chantal Akerman (gorgeous 35mm print at Cinéma du Réel)
  • Flame of My Love (1949) / Kenji Mizoguchi (good 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • The Lady of Musashino (1951) / Kenji Mizoguchi (beautiful 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • The Water Magician (Taki no Shiraito) (1933) / Kenji Mizoguchi (beautiful 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française and also at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival)
  • Gubijinsô (Poppy) (1935) / Kenji Mizoguchi (mediocre but magical 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • [Back and Forth] (1969) / Michael Snow (good 16mm print at Cinéma du Réel)
  • Scenes from Under Childhood, Section One (1967) / Stan Brakhage (good 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Assunta Spina (1915) / Francesca Bertini & Gustavo Serena (superb DCP restoration at Pordenone Silent Film Festival with musical accompaniment by John LaBarbera & Carlo Aonzo)
  • The Scarecrow (1920) / Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline (good DCP restoration at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with musical accompaniment by Orchestra Scuola Secondaria di 1o grado “Pier Paolo Pasolini”)
  • A Brighter Summer Day (1991) / Edward Yang (superb DCP restoration at Reflet Médicis)
  • Women's Victory (1946) / Kenji Mizoguchi (good 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • The Loyal 47 Ronin (1941) / Kenji Mizoguchi (mediocre 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Daughter of the Nile (1987) / Hou Hsiao Hsien (great DCP restoration at Istanbul Film Festival)
  • History Lessons (1972) / Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet (surprisingly good DCP restoration at IFFR)
  • The Green Ray (2001) / Tacita Dean (beautiful 16mm print at Cinéma du Réel) 
  • Les Anges du péché (1943) / Robert Bresson (ok 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Suspicious Wives (1921) / John M. Stahl (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Daan van den Hurk)
  • Husbands and Lovers (1924) / John M. Stahl (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Mauro Colombis)
  • Orizuru Osen (The Downfall of Osen) (1935) / Kenji Mizoguchi (good 35mm print not so good soundtrack, though apparently approved by Mizoguchi, at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival)
  • Man with No Name (2010) / Wang Bing (digital copy at Centre Pompidou)
  • Untitled Joseph Cornell Film (The Wool Collage) (1940) / Joseph Cornell (good 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Event for a Stage (2015) / Tacita Dean (beautiful 16mm print at Cinéma du Réel)
  • Norôit (1976) / Jacques Rivette (quite good DCP at Reflet Médicis)
  • The Ghost and Mrs Muir (1947) / Joseph L. Mankiewicz (beautiful 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Jezebel (1937) / William Wyler (beautiful 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Dodsworth (1936) / William Wyler (beautiful 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • La Lettre (A Carta) / Manoel de Oliveira (beautiful 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Affaires publiques (1934) / Robert Bresson (ok 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Dust in the Wind (戀戀風塵) (1986) / Hou Hsiao-hsien (good DCP at Cinémathèque Française)
  • In Old Kentucky (1927) / John M. Stahl (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Philip Carli)
  • Judaspengar (The Price of Betrayal) (1915) / Victor Sjöström (superb DCP restoration at Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by John Sweeney) 
  • Women of the Night (1948) / Kenji Mizoguchi (good 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • L’Homme du Large (1920) / Marcel L’Herbier (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Maud Nelissen)
  • L’invasione delle truppe tedesche nel Belgio (1914) / Anonymous (superb DCP restoration at Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by John Sweeney)
  • The Son of Democracy: Abraham Lincoln (1917) / John M. Stahl & Benjamin Chapin (superb DCP restoration at Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniments by Daan van den Hurk, Gabriel Thibaudeau, Donald Sosin, Günter Buchwald, John Sweeney)
  • Ciné-portrait de Raymond Depardon par Jean Rouch et réciproquement (1983) / Jean Rouch (good DCP at Cinéma du Réel)
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) / John McTiernan (good 35mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  •  Le Joli mai (1962) / Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme (good DCP at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Ciné-portrait de Bill Witney (1986) / Jean Rouch (good DCP at Cinéma du Réel)
  • Edwin Parker (2011) / Tacita Dean (beautiful 16mm print at Cinéma du Réel)
  • Public Domain (1972) / Hollis Frampton (good 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Only Yesterday (1933) / John M. Stahl (beautiful 35mm print at IFFR)
  • The Mating Call (1928) / James Cruze (superb DCP restoration at Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Neil Brand)
  • La Vengeance du Sergent de Ville (1913) / Louis Feuillade (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival)
  • The Last of the Mohicans (1920) / Maurice Tourneur & Clarence L. Brown (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Maud Nelissen?
  • Duck Soup (1933) / Leo McCarey (good DCP restoration at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Love Affair (1938) / Leo McCarey (good 35mm at Cinémathèque Française)
  • The Famous Sword Bijomaru (1945) / Kenji Mizoguchi (bad 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • N:O:T:H:I:N:G (1968) / Paul Sharits (bad 16mm print at Cinémathèque Française)
  • Sowing the Wind (1921) / John M. Stahl (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Neil Brand)
  • Tokkan Kozo (A Straightforward Boy) (1929) / Yasujiro Ozu (superb DCP restoration at Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne) 
  • Memory Lane (1926) / John M. Stahl (beautiful 35mm at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin)



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