Let’s talk about the most significant films of the past year, for both positive and negative reasons; more than being sorted by quality, they are divided into different categories of interest.
Note: the shortlist includes only films released in Italy, or shown in an international film competition, during 2015.
THE MAGNIFICENT FIVE
- The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime no monogatari) by Isao Takahata
Another absolute masterpiece from the Studio Ghibli: Takahata presents an artwork of melting poetry and beauty, both intimately and visually, through the use of delightful crayon lines and an astonishing richness of details.
An unforgettable, moving tale narrated with a unique sensibility, framed by the wonderful score by Joe Hisaishi.
- Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary) by Hirokazu Kore-eda
This time the japanese director of the extraordinary “Nobody Knows” (Dare mo shiranai, 2004) and “Father and Son” (Soshite chichi ni naru, 2013) dedicates himself to a whole feminine story, using his unmistakable delicate and elegant touch to present the beautiful characters of the sisters, but also his lucid and profound ability to inspect the complexity and importance (for better or for worse) of family relationships, especially in youth. Few directors are able to move from an almost fairy-tale style to a dramatic register with such ease and naturalness.
- A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron) by Roy Andersson
The swedish director concludes his “Living trilogy” with an hilarious and grotesque black comedy about human miseries. His static and geometric direction gives strenght to every single scene the film is divided into, most of which are unconnected, except for the two memorable main characters of the joke sellers, who recur throughout the whole movie.
Winner of the Golden Lion for Best Film at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, this surreal and sarcastic work requires a constant attention by the viewer, as it is slowly progressing and permeated with a subtle and uncommon humour, which makes it a very peculiar and intriguing experience.
- Hungry Hearts by Saverio Costanzo
A wonderful, disturbing psychological thriller dealing with the violence of both good and evil feelings and emotions that can develop between a couple of (apparently) normal young lovers. Costanzo clearly recalls Roman Polanski in many aspects of the film, especially for the wicked and oppressive mood that pervades it, perfectly espressed by his accurate and meaningful direction, full of closeups and distorted perspectives and optics.
Other relevant strong points are the performances of the two protagonists (Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher) and the music by Nicola Piovani.
- Victoria by Sebastian Schipper
An engaging and astounding german thriller, with great story and actors, but above all a truly astonishing technical achievement, as the entire movie (138 minutes) is incredibly shot in only one take: the action crosses a variety of locations through the city of Berlin never being interrupted, giving the story (and the audience) an impressive sense of realism. Furthermore, the pace of the film is cleverly modulated to grant every situation and character the right time and attention, so that it never loses any attractiveness and effectiveness towards the viewer.
The direction and the perfection of cinematography are miraculous considering the enormous complexity of the operation.
- Bridge of Spies by Steven Spielberg
- Inside Out by Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
- The Good Dinosaur by Peter Sohn
- The Martian by Ridley Scott (read review)
- Irrational Man by Woody Allen
- Mad Max: Fury Road by George Miller
- Witching and Bitching (Las brujas de Zugarramurdi) by Alex de la Iglesia
- Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) by Damián Szifrón
- Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg) by Dietrich Brüggemann
- Whiplash by Damien Chazelle
- Love at First Fight (Les combattants) by Thomas Cailley
- Rams (Hrútar) by Grímur Hákonarson
- What We Do in the Shadows by Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement
- A Perfect Day by Fernando León de Aranoa
- The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos
- She’s Funny that Way by Peter Bodganovich
- Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro
- Black Mass by Scott Cooper
- Cinderella by Kenneth Branagh
- Big Eyes by Tim Burton (read review)
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) by Alejandro González Iñárritu
- Tale of Tales (Il racconto dei racconti) by Matteo Garrone
- Spectre by Sam Mendes
- Ex Machina by Alex Garland
- Youth by Paolo Sorrentino
- Pan by Joe Wright
- American Sniper by Clint Eastwood
- The Imitation Game by Morten Tyldum
- Mountains May Depart (Shan he gu ren) by Zhangke Jia
More:Read 2014 List