Archive for February 12th, 2017

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 by Sam Juliano
For the very first time since I began composing lists back in 1973 (as the film critic for the Bergen Community College Monitor-Jan Troell’s “The New Land” was #1 that year) 44 years ago I have decided to go with a Top 20. Including the 38 films I saw at Tribeca this year I have seen 173 films with the vast majority of these in movie theaters. For about twenty of the full total I have had to avail myself of Amazon Prime, DVD or blu rays. I had also added seventeen (17) films that I really like, but just couldn’t fit them in my Top 20 proper. After serious contemplation I have decided to include The Salesman, The Witch and Embrace of the Serpent on these lists. In the case of the first, I saw it before making my list and it was nominated for the foreign film Oscar meaning it did get an opening in 2016 theatrically. Some will continue to argue the other two are really 2015 films, but they didn’t open in NYC until early 2016, meaning that NEITHER film could make my list last year. These lists are not designed for on the spot posterity, just to gauge what was seen in a calendar year by the writer. I have the option down the line to restore films to their proper year to be sure. As this is my own list, I have the right to enact my own “rules.” Having said that I see so many others pretty much do the same thing. But I am wasting time on “dates” when I should be naming the films. The Chilean Pablo Larrain astonishingly has two films in the Top 20. Here we go:

1 Indignation (USA; James Schamus)
2 La La Land (USA; Damien Chazelle)
3 Manchester by the Sea (USA; Kenneth Lonergan)
4 Jackie (USA; Pablo Larrain)
5. Quand on a 17 ANS (France; Andre Techine)
6. The Salesman (Iran; Asghar Farhadi)
7. O.J. Made in America (USA; Ezra Edelman)
8. Paterson (USA; Jim Jarmusch)
9. Fences (USA; Denzel Washington)
10. Moonlight (USA; Barry Jenkins)
11. Under Sandet – Land of Mine (Denmark; Martin Zandvliet)
12. The Red Turtle (France; Michael Dudok de Wit)
13. Love and Friendship (USA; Whit Stillman)
14. Krisha (USA; Trey Edward Shults)
15. Neruda (Chile; Pablo Larrain)
16. Aquarius (Brazil; Kleber Filho)
17. My Golden Days (France; Arnaud Desplechin)
18. The Arrival (USA; Dennis Villenue)
19. The Witch (USA/Canada; Robert Eggers)
20. Lion (Australia/India; Garth Davis)

Runners-Up: (in no particular order)

American Honey
Things to Come
Captain Fantastic
Toni Erdmann
I Am Not Your Negro
Cemetery of Splendor
Hell or High Water
Sing Street
The Handmaiden
Midnight Special
Little Men
I, Daniel Blake
A Man Called Ove
Hacksaw Ridge
Little Sister
Nocturnal Animals
Hidden Figures
Embrace of the Serpent


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