If I’m being totally honest, the most enjoyment I had this year didn’t come from a traditional movie-going experience, but through its greatest rival, the medium of television. For years, I’ve been hearing that television is just about surpassing film in its more artistic endeavors, and I’ve been skeptical to get on that bandwagon until now.
The most thoroughly engrossing and thrilling viewing I had this year was HBO’s limited series, Big Little Lies, whose success inspired the network to create a second season beyond the source material (and set to be directed by one of my absolute favorites, Andrea Arnold!). And the most unique and frustrating experience came in the form of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return, whose eighteen hours contained some of the best and worst screen moments I’ve ever seen. Neither of these experiences could be replicated in the cinema, and with these two, I saw the true advancement of television as the preferred medium for long-form storytelling and even artistic, auteur-driven expression.
I’m rather disappointed that my Top 10 list doesn’t contain a single female-directed feature. Granted, the two films I was most excited to see (Lucrecia Martel’s Zama and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here) didn’t make their way to San Francisco yet, and I sadly missed both Valeska Grisebach’s Western and Chloé Zhao’s The Rider. A special mention on the list belongs to Travis Matthews’ harrowing Discreet, a film I didn’t feel comfortable including due to my involvement in its production; Discreet will be released theatrically in the U.S. sometime in 2018. And at last, I present my 20 favorite films of 2017.
- Nocturama. Bertrand Bonello. France/Germany/Belgium.
- The Square. Ruben Östlund. Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark.
- The Untamed (La región salvaje). Amat Escalante. Mexico/Denmark/France/Germany/Norway/Switzerland.
- The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Yorgos Lanthimos. UK/Ireland/USA.
- Lady Macbeth. William Oldroyd. UK.
- Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves (Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau). Mathieu Denis, Simon Lavoie. Canada.
- Good Time. Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie. USA.
- 4 Days in France (Jours de France). Jérôme Reybaud. France.
- Atomic Blonde. David Leitch. Germany/USA/Sweden.
- A Quiet Passion. Terence Davies. UK/Belgium.
- Girls Trip. Malcolm D. Lee. USA.
- The Wound (Inxeba). John Trengove. South Africa/Germany/Netherlands/France.
- The Beguiled. Sofia Coppola. USA.
- Detroit. Kathryn Bigelow. USA.
- Personal Shopper. Olivier Assayas. France/Germany/Belgium/Czech Republic.
- Body Electric (Corpo Elétrico). Marcelo Caetano. Brazil.
- On the Beach at Night Alone. Hong Sang-soo. South Korea/Germany.
- Lady Bird. Greta Gerwig. USA.
- The Next Skin (La propera pell). Isa Campo, Isaki Lacuesta. Spain/Switzerland.
- Blade Runner 2049. Denis Villeneuve. USA/UK/Hungary/Canada.