A Quiet Force: The Cinema Of 2015. The Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second Top Ten Of The Year.
For some reason Medium won’t allow me to change the date an article was originally written. I’ve just migrated over here from Wordpress, and two articles, this one and a similar round-up piece of the best home video releases of 2015 are showing as the most recently produced pieces of work on my site. Alas. This actually inadvertantly serves as a great introduction to who I am and what I like when it comes to movies. Apologies for any confusion.
Original article follows.
Last year’s best of list was very much to a formula. The auteur ruled the day, with works from Jean-Luc Godard, Wes Anderson and Pedro Costa featuring amongst as strong a roster of ten as we’ve ever seen. 2015 was a great year for film, if not one quite of its predecessor’s vintage.
James Gray’s The Immigrant still hasn’t been given a theatrical run in the uk, but it has been released on Blu-ray elsewhere in the world this year, meaning that those of us in zones rendered unwelcome could finally check it out. Even more so than Snowpiercer, the withholding of this work by the Weinstein clan is baffling, and borderline criminal. The Immigrant is a beautiful portrait of the birth of modern America, and filled with remarkable performances.
Joaquin Phoenix was even better in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, our film of the year, but both are turns for the ages. What elevates the Anderson movie is the esoteric tone of the picture; they quite literally do not make them like this anymore.
Another player that had a solid diptych in 2015 was Noah Baumbach, whose two features Mistress America and While We’re Young both opened in the last twelve months. Mistress… is arguably superior, and was certainly the better received of the two, but both have real value, and reaffirm Baumbach’s status as one of the great contemporary American filmmakers.
Never has a film united the choir quite like Todd Haynes’ Carol, with the hyperbole with which it was greeted it bordering on the underbearable at times! It proved completely founded though, with the film an absolute joy. Those final moments are some of the most electrifying of recent times.
Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu was the most relevant film of 2015, alongside Bruno Dumont’s P’tit Quinquin (our #2 of 2014, which I deliberated over including again this year too), with its tale of a village under the control of Islamic fundamentalists an affecting watch. The multi-culturally rich France was celebrated in Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood. Again, it proved rather prescient.
It was a strong year for French cinema in general. Olivier Assayas’ Clouds Of Sils Maria will be remembered as an early career highlight for the American actress Kristen Stewart, while fellow Cahiers du cinéma critic-turned-filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve released her most impressive film to date in Eden, the latest in a line of autobiographical pictures. This time around Hansen-Løve turned her gaze towards the ‘French Touch’, the dance music scene that saw her brother Sven (who co-wrote the movie) embark upon a personal odyssey. Finally, Alain Resnais’ Life of Riley was a fitting swan song for the French master.
2015 was also the year of resurrection for the blockbuster of years gone. The belated fourth Mad Max movie, Fury Road, finally reared its head, and what a sight to see it was. Jurassic World, the first sequel to Jurassic Park to live up to the first film in commercial, if not quite critical, success paved the way for Star Wars : The Force Awakens, which has dominated much of the fourth quarter of cinema, 2015.
Strangely, given the grande note we’ve just closed on, 2015 has been a subtle year for the movies. One can’t help but see it as a successful one for the quieter pictures.
- Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA)
- Star Wars : The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams, USA)
- Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, FRA)
- Mistress America / While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach, USA)
- Life Of Riley (Alain Resnais, FRA)
- Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, FRA)
- Carol (Todd Haynes, USA)
- The Immigrant (James Gray, USA)
- Girlhood (Céline Sciamma, FRA)
- Clouds Of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, FRA)