A few of our writers talk about their favourite films from 2017, a year in which the industry has been dogged by widespread allegations of sexual abuse.
Dubbed the world’s first fully painted feature film, Loving Vincent brings Van Gogh’s works to life in stunning fashion. The film is about the circumstances surrounding the Dutch master’s death, and its composition was a painstaking process – 125 painters were recruited to produce its 65,000 frames. The plot may not be the most fluid, and it can be a little jarring to hear a variety of British accents in a film set in France, but this is more than made up for by the visuals. Even the smallest movements send brushstrokes fluttering around the screen, and the resulting effect is absolutely mesmerising.
Call Me By Your Name
A stunning and nostalgic film based on André Aciman’s novel of the same title. The story is set in Italy and tells the story of Elio and Oliver, who comes to stay with Elio’s family for six weeks in the summer of 1983 to help his father with archiving. A coming-of-age story of longing, love, friendship and peaches, it is a visual masterpiece that simmers with desire and emotion. The rich mixture of languages, colour and music makes Call Me By Your Name the undisputed best film I have seen this year.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
You know the film has its desired effect when nervous giggles of distress start spreading out in the audience. After The Lobster, Lanthimos produces yet another piece of great cinema, exposing human relationships as aseptic and mere constructions. Just like Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis, The Killing of a Sacred Deer puts on stage a dreadful meditation on justice, responsibility and decision-making. This time, Euripides’ compatriot gets over himself by creating a morbid film which is visually wonderful and mentally disturbing, and sure to make the audience feel alienated and lost.
Dunkirk is not a traditional depiction of the event, usually rendered in a desolate and apocalyptic fashion and typically painted with the trope of the plucky British underdog using its natural ingenuity to overcome adversity. Christopher Nolan’s war epic follows three threads: British and French soldiers stranded on a desolate beachscape, a little ship bobbing its way across the English Channel, and a pair of Spitfires providing aerial support. Dunkirk, a film of few words, searches to engage the senses, pushing the edges of the frame to create an encompassing view, engulfing the audience in a score that accompanies every sound, AND making you question if the rumbling in your bones is a double bass or a fighter plane engine. Every single detail in Dunkirk is carefully considered, and creates a rich cinematic experience, amongst the best of 2017.
If you love a banging soundtrack, then this is the film for you. Action scenes are impeccably timed to fit the beat of whatever tune the main character is blasting out of his retro iPod classic, and the directors have done a meticulous job making this film rhythmically engaging. Normally, a soundtrack operates just below the conscious level, but here it’s brought to the centre of attention, and this makes for a refreshing change. The main character’s tendency to walk to the beat of his song is so mundanely relatable to us all, and, whilst the ending is a bit cliché and predictable, the journey beats the destination, and you’ll find yourself in a world that you’re not really ready to leave by the time the film is over.
Featured Image: Loving Vincent