As 2016 dashes to a close and we require entertainment to distract ourselves from these awful celeb deaths, let's reflect on the year in cinema. With nearly every website throwing their proverbial hats in the ring with ‘Best Of’ or ‘Top Ten’ lists, here you will find a few great movies that you probably didn’t see this year but should. Just to add, these are features released in the UK in 2016 but may have been put out elsewhere in 2015, so don't stress out, k?
Aloys Director by Tobias Nölle
Nölle’s debut is a noir comedy that hasn't been spoken about much since its release. With a crisp visual tone and a symmetrical aesthetic, it’s hard not to make comparisons to the King Of Twee that is Wes Anderson. However, despite the yellow pantone sweaters, some stark surrealist moments and icy cinematography separate Aloys from its apparent influences. If you enjoy Nordic noirs but need a palate cleanser then look no further than this oddball hybrid.
Embrace of the Serpent Director by Ciro Guerra
Possibly one of the most lauded movies on this list, Ciro Guerra’s strange bro-trip unfolds over two time periods as scientists and a shamanic guide travel up the Amazon River in search of a flower with magical healing properties. At a quick glance it'd be easy to mistake this as a new Werner Herzog outing. Nevertheless, Embrace the Serpent would surly make a terrific double bill with the likes of Aguirre, The Wrath of God.
I Am Belfast Director by Mark Cousins
Mark Cousins’ documentary I am Belfast is a visual poem about his hometown and the people who inhabit it. Cousins has built up a reputation as a thorough filmmaker - just look at his fifteen hour ode to cinema The Story of Film: An Odyssey - and no stone is left unturned here; the stories of every corner of the city are told in Cousins’ whimsical tones. Throw in cinematographer legend Christopher Doyle and you’ve got yourself a wonderful love letter to an area that has borne witness to so much strife.
The Lobster Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
After the impact of Dogtooth (2009) and Alps (2011), anticipation was high for Yorgos Lanthimos’ English language debut. What bold new stories could he tell with a bigger budget and recognisable faces like Colin Farrell and Léa Seydoux? As it turns out, The Lobster is a fairly eccentric one. Set in a not too distant future where the world is intolerant of singletons, Farrell has only a month to find a partner or be turned into an animal of his choosing. From the title alone, you can probably guess what he would choose...
One More time With Feeling Directed by Andrew Dominik
The death of Nick Cave's teenage son hangs heavy in this black & white documentary made by Andrew Dominick, who followed the Cave and the Bad Seeds as they worked on their heartrending newest album The Skeleton Tree. While less flashy in its design than 20,000 Days on Earth, Dominick opted to employ 3D for certain sections. For fans of the musician’s work, One More Time With Feeling is a vital chapter in the life of the maverick Aussie.
The Witch Directed by Robert Eggers
Mis-marketed as “the scariest film of the year”, The Witch is really an astounding piece set around the time of the Salem witch-hunts. With a dense lexicon of old English and a subtle but chilling atmosphere, it's a strong turn from first time film writer/director Eggers. This year distributor A24 had a fantastic number of releases with The Witch and The Lobster to name only two. If they continue this output in 2017, we’ll have a year in film to look forward to.
How many films from the list have you seen? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter.
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