1-Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch)
More than just a revival of a cult TV show, this was an 18-hour feature as mysterious, surreal and heartbreaking as Mulholland Drive and perhaps the closest a filmmaker has come to the novelistic reach of Gravity’s Rainbow or John Updike’s Rabbit books since RW Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz.
2-Happy End ( Michael Haneke)
Like a lost European remake of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
3-Custody (Xavier Legrand)
A stunning blend of social commentary and suspense.
4-Blade Runner: 2049 ( Denis Villeneuve)
Confirmation of Villeneuve’s brilliance and craft. In a year of dismal sequels and remakes, this was transcendent pop cinema.
5-20th Century Women (Mike Mills)
The Year of the Woman c.1979
6-The Lost City of Z (James Gray)
A wonderful story of exploration and obsession in the tradition of David Lean and Werner Herzog.
7-Water and Sugar: Carlo DiPalma (Fariborz Kamkari)
A documentary portrait of one of the great cinematographers (Bernardo Bertolucci, Michelangelo Antonioni, Woody Allen, et al.) that is also a valentine to classic cinema.
A film about waiting, architecture, grief and dreams deferred.
9-A Sort of Family (Diego Lerman)
Not unlike Custody, this is social realism elevated to new levels of urgency through bravura filmmaking and performance.
10-Sorcerer (William Friedkin, 1977)
Friedkin’s visionary remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Wages of Fear is the reissue of the year from a very good year indeed.
Lee Hill is the author of A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern