Top 26 of 2019

As I’ve said elsewhere, 2019 was one of the most extraordinary American release years for film I’ve ever seen, benefiting from both a truly fantastic 2018 premiere year and a wonderful slate of American films in 2019. The variety and sheer ingenuity provided so many pleasures and bewitching moments, without ever feeling rote or perfunctory.

The following list is formed from the reds, oranges, greens, and blues that I have seen at time of writing that were commercially released in New York City in 2019. A list, not the list.

1. La Flor (Mariano Llinás)

2. Asako I & II (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)

3. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)

4. I Heard You Paint Houses (Martin Scorsese)

5. Transit (Christian Petzold)

6. Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke)

7. Grass (Hong Sang-soo)

8. Parasite (Bong Joon-ho)

9. High Life (Claire Denis)

10. Uncut Gems (Josh & Benny Safdie)

11. In My Room (Ulrich Köhler)

12. Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry)

13. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)

14. The Image Book (Jean-Luc Godard)

15. Hotel by the River (Hong Sang-soo)

16. “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” (Radu Jude)

17. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)

18. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)

19. Little Women (Greta Gerwig)

20. Too Late to Die Young (Dominga Sotomayor)

21. What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (Roberto Minervini)

22. Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)

23. Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar)

24. 3 Faces (Jafar Panahi)

25. Ad Astra (James Gray)

26. Richard Jewell (Clint Eastwood)

My Top 10 Discoveries During 2019 (for first-time viewings of films made before 2000)

  1. Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974, Jacques Rivette)
  2. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933, Fritz Lang)
  3. The Awful Truth (1937, Leo McCarey)
  4. The Mother and the Whore (1973, Jean Eustache)
  5. Mahjong (1996, Edward Yang)
  6. A City of Sadness (1989, Hou Hsiao-hsien)
  7. The End of Evangelion (1997, Hideaki Anno)
  8. Out 1: Spectre (1972, Jacques Rivette)
  9. A Confucian Confusion (1994, Edward Yang)
  10. India Song (1975, Marguerite Duras)

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