Great movies, pleasant discoveries and disappointments from the last cinematic season
Let’s review the most significant films of this 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 a prominent international film competition, during 2016.
THE MAGNIFICENT FOUR
- The Club (El Club) by Pablo Larrain
The rising chilean director, young yet still author of several beautiful films, probably signs his masterpiece with this story about the perverse, violent psychological and social dynamics of a group of ambiguous, unsettling outcasts, immersed in a disturbing and tense atmosphere.
As in the best examples of cinema, the restricted context is only the base for a much larger investigation of human nature and impulses, as well as social, political, ethical and religious open questions in modern Chile and not only that; and in fact this is one of the most remarkable features of all Larrain’s works. Unforgettable is the character played by the great Alfredo Castro, director’s favourite actor since his debut.
- The Neon Demon by Nicolas Winding Refn
Refn illustrates a fairy tale which is at the same time extremely shiny and dark, elegant and crazed, modern and classic, realistic and visionary. An ethereal yet harsh reflection about the concept of beauty, and the modern obsession for it, on its sublime, transcendent and vicious sides, all filtered through the director’s unique vision.
- Knight of Cups by Terrence Malick
A passionate cry of sorrow about the vanity and emptiness of modern times, not by chance set in the golden world of Hollywood. A desperate, nearly hopeless exhortation to rediscover the uniqueness, to revalue the privileges, the potentialities and the material and spiritual wealth of human nature in all his fullness, in a time that looks more and more blind and close to a point of no return.
The beautiful, ancestral and evocative music donates a timeless sense of universality.
- The Handmaiden (Agassi) by Park Chan-wook
The author of Oldboy and Stoker unleashes a mix of pure cinema, somewhat hard to describe as it gradually embraces and exceeds many genres (costume period drama, romance, erotic, psychological thriller), making use of his visually elegant, geometric, glacial direction counterposed to the opulence of the mise-en-scène and the carnal expressivity of the beautiful characters.
An overwhelming, fascinating film, technically impressive and constantly unpredictable.
- The Hateful Eight by Quentin Tarantino
- The Danish Girl by Tom Hooper
- Snowden by Oliver Stone
- Elle by Paul Verhoeven
- Dheepan by Jacques Audiard
- Don’t Be Bad (Non essere cattivo) by Claudio Caligari
- Sully by Clint Eastwood
- Aquarius by Kleber Mendonça Filho
- Masaan by Neeraj Ghaywan
- Embrace of the serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente) by Ciro Guerra
- Spotlight by Tom McCarthy
- Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford
- The Distinguished Citizen (El ciudadano ilustre) by Gàston Duprat, Mariano Cohn
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople by Taika Waititi
- The Daughter by Simon Stone
- Room by Lenny Abrahamson
- The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) by Michael Dudok de Wit
- Boy and the World (O Menino e o Mundo) by Ale Abreu
- Kubo and the Two Strings by Travis Knight
- The Little Prince by Mark Osborne
- Into the Inferno by Werner Herzog
- Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) by Gianfranco Rosi
- De Palma by Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Tim Burton
- It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde) by Xavier Dolan
- Hail, Caesar! by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- The Revenant by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by Zach Snyder
- Suicide Squad by David Ayer
(clic on a film to show the soundtrack)
- Carol – Carter Burwell
- The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone, VV.AA.
- Knight of Cups – Hanan Townshend, VV.AA.
- Aquarius – VV.AA.
- The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) – Laurent Perez