Top 22 of 2020

While I certainly wouldn’t say 2020 approached the greatness of 2019’s release year, it certainly held up much better than could have been reasonably expected, given all the obstacles eventually overcome. The amount of films is a bit misleading; there were definitely fewer films that I adored, and Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology accounts for a not insignificant percentage of this list.

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 or received a virtual commercial release in 2020. A list, not the list.

1. Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello)

2. To the Ends of the Earth (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

3. Fourteen (Dan Sallitt)

4. I Was at Home, But… (Angela Schanelec)

5. The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack)

6. The Traitor (Marco Bellocchio)

7. Heimat Is a Space in Time (Thomas Heise)

8. Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa)

9. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt)

10. The Whistlers (Corneliu Porumboiu)

11. Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen)

12. Ghost Tropic (Bas Devos)

13. Tesla (Michael Almereyda)

14. Liberté (Albert Serra)

15. Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles)

16. The Wild Goose Lake (Diao Yinan)

17. City Hall (Frederick Wiseman)

18. Sibyl (Justine Triet)

19. Red, White and Blue (Steve McQueen)

20. Education (Steve McQueen)

21. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (Bill & Turner Ross)

22. Mangrove (Steve McQueen)

My Top 10 Discoveries During 2020 (for first-time viewings of films made before 2000)

  1. Perceval le Gallois (1978, Eric Rohmer)
  2. Femmes Femmes (1974, Paul Vecchiali)
  3. High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)
  4. Beijing Watermelon (1989, Nobuhiko Obayashi)
  5. His Girl Friday (1940, Howard Hawks)
  6. The Love Eterne (1963, Li Han-hsiang)
  7. Peking Opera Blues (1986, Tsui Hark)
  8. Yearning (1964, Mikio Naruse)
  9. The Rocking Horsemen (1992, Nobuhiko Obayashi)
  10. Dirty Ho (1979, Lau Kar-leung)

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