I have a distinct impression that, in my book, 2019 was not a stellar year for high-quality films. I actually saw a few less films this year and lack of time was not really the issue. The latest by Bi Gan and Bon Joon Ho are exceptional. The former is outstanding in terms of cinematography and storytelling. The last hour or so is shot in 3D and apparently in one single take. I also saw the 2D version and could not tell the difference. Parasite has attracted almost universal claim, deservedly so. After the Okja disaster, this is good news for film-making.
Online viewing continues to gain ground, unfortunately. I could not see The Irishman in a local theater so streaming was the only option. In the US, ticket sales continue to decline while ticket prices in New York continue to rise. Some theaters are now charging 18 dollars for a film – and one has to sit and watch over 20 minutes or commercials and previous. That does not happen when watching at home.
Anyways, here is my list sorted by the date I saw each film. It is shorter than all previous ones – and I watched over 100 films!
- A Twelve-Year Night – Álvaro Brechner (2019, Uruguay)
- Everybody Knows – Asghar Farhadi (2018, Iran)
- Woman at War – Benedikt Erlingsson (2018, Iceland)
- Ash is Purest White – Jia Zhangke (2018, China)
- Long Day’s Journey into Night – Bi Gan (2018, China)
- Non-Fiction – Doubles vies – Olivier Assayas (2018, France)
- The Farewell – Lulu Wang (2019, US)
- Parasite – Bong Joon Ho (2019, South Korea)
- Pain & Glory – Pedro Almodovar (2019, Spain)
- Dark Waters – Todd Haynes (2019, US)
- A Hidden Life – Terrence Malick (2019, US)
- And Breathe Normally – Isold Uggadottir (2018, Iceland)
- Sunset – László Nemes (2019, Hungary)
- Knock Down the House – Rachael Lears (2019, US)
- The Souvenir – Joanna Hogg (2019, UK)
- Creating Woodstock – Mick Richards (2019, US)
- Official Secrets – Gavin Hood (2019, South Africa)
- The Irishman – Martin Scorsese (2019, US)
- Uncut Gems – Benny Safdie / Josh Safdie (2019, US)
- The Two Popes – Fernando Meirelles (2019, Brazil)
- Little Women – Greta Gerwig (2019, US)