DESISTFILM 2020 FILM ROUND-UP: THE LISTS/LAS LISTAS

DESISTFILM 2020 FILM ROUND-UP: THE LISTS/LAS LISTAS

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2020 comes to an end, and with it, a great twist of the screw that seems to return the world to a primitive state, to recognize its own fragility and the precariousness of an economic and social system that crumbles like a house of cards. In the midst of chaos, at home, we take refuge in the light pulses of the cinema, in the rhythmic variations, in the echo of the sounds of our televisions, computers, screens. This is the record of a cinephilia that resists, that remains and reinvents itself. Within the chaos, the light of the cinema continues to shine on us.

2020 llega a su fin, y con el, un gran giro de tuerca que parece devolver al mundo a un estado primigenio, a reconocer su propia fragilidad y lo precario de un sistema económico/social que cae como una casa de cartas. En medio del caos, en casa, nos refugiamos en los pulsos lumínicos del cine, en las variantes rítmicas, en el eco de los sonidos de nuestros televisores, computadoras, pantallas. Este es el registro de una cinefilia que resiste, que permanece y se reinventa. Dentro del caos, la luz del cine nos sigue alumbrando.

Nicole Brenez
Film critic (France)

Twelve Films of the Year (by alphabetical name of the author(s))

Carlos Adriano, O que há em ti, Brazil, 2020, 13’30
Danielle Arbid, Blackjack, Lebanon, 2020, 13’
Prantik Basu, Bela, India, 2020, 59’
Cecilia Bengolea, Shelly Belly Inna Real Life, Jamaica, 2020, 23’
Fergus Daly, Mirror of the possible Worlds, Ireland, 2020, 24'
Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy, Her Name Was Europa,Germany, 2020, 76’;
John Gianvito, Her Socialist Smile, USA, 2020, 93’
Florent Marcie, A.I. At War, France, 2020, 106’
Juan María Mónaco Cagni, Ofrenda, Argentina, 2020, 66’
Jacques Perconte, Avant l’effondrement du Mont Blanc, France, 2020, 15’
Jean-Marie Straub, France against the robots (La France contre les robots), Switzerland, 2020, 9’
Othello Vilgard, Iter, France, 2020, 59’

Most Haunting Film
Alois Sandner Díaz, Angelus 0420, France, 2020, 20’

Perfect Sequence for 2020
Natacha Thiéry attracted by a collective revolutionary song in the deserted streets of Paris in:
Natacha Thiéry, Dream of Gotokuji by a moonless May Day (Rêve de Gotokuji par un premier mai sans lune), France, 2020, 46’

An exceptional event
René Viénet, Autoportrait, France, 2020, 75’

Best Curating
Jean-Luc Godard, Carte Blanche. For Occupied La Clef, October 15-21, 2020, Paris, France

2019 Catch-ups
Amel Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed, Purple Sea, Germany, 2019, 67’
Sylvain Yonnet, Carnets 88, France, 2019, 108’

My personal loops during the lockdowns
Cecilia Bengolea, Lighting Dance, Argentina, 2018, 6’
Teresa Villaverde, Où en êtes-vous? Teresa Villaverde, France-Brazil-Portugal, 2019, 17’;
Billy Woodberry, A Story From Africa, Portugal, 2018, 33’;

A necessary book
Gabriela Trujillo, Marco Ferreri. Le cinéma ne sert à rien, Capricci, 2020

Most inspiring piece
Philippe Grandrieux, “Au bord d’un lac” (“On the edge of a lake”),in Philippe Grandrieux, boxset, Shellac, 2020

A digital publication
Maria Klonaris &  Katerina Thomadaki, The Angel Cycle. Selected Works, Re:Voir, 2020

A magnificent promise
#nøborders
Greece, 2019, 3’
+
Meeting with Remarkable People
A Platform of Interactive Documentary Films
Greece, 2020
Both created by Menelaos Karamaghiolis.


 

Adrian Martin
Film critic (Australia)

Scattered Notes from 2020

Notable Short & Experimental Films from the Festival Circuit
 
LOLOLOL
In 2020, an intriguingly authentic portrait of the milieu of art – especially of art s0chools and their emerging artists – appeared in the program of the Viennale film festival. Shot on iPhone X and semi-improvised, Kurdwin Ayub’s LOLOLOL is a naturalistic, seemingly off-the-cuff portrait of two young women who live and breathe this world. Hooking up with a few pals, they cruise through the vast exhibition space of Parallel Vienna, a sprawling group show art fair that occurs in a different, officially unused venue each year. Moving from room to room – many decked out in “relational art” assemblages – the women roll their eyeballs, make bitchy remarks about the artists (most of whom they probably know), and dive whenever possible for the free food and drink. It is a typical scene from the art world of many countries, communicated with striking, intimate realism.

Point and Line to Plane
In what inspires us (as the late Pascal Kané said) we can find the traces of what we are and what we make. Sofia Bohdanowicz discovers one such genealogy of inspiration in her moving tribute to two painters who died in 2018, neighbour Jaan Poldaas and friend Giacomo Grisanzio. An artful cascade – including personal recollections, images of Vienna and Saint Petersburg, and the life and career of Hilma af Klimt – takes us right inside the emotional and mystical resonances of so- called abstract art.

The Plastic House
The Plastic House is the most demanding of Australian artist Allison Chhorn’s striking films to date – demanding of our attention and concentration over a slowly unwinding span. It’s easy to tag its style and manner with labels like minimalism and slow cinema but, as usual, what Chhorn does inside this broad framework is distinctive and detailed. Mood is all-important in this cryptic intermeshing of documentary and fiction, taking prominence over narration in any strict sense. Like in Chantal Akerman’s classic Jeanne Dielman … (1975), the absorption in everyday duties and gestures of work creates its own, unusual kind of tension – as well as its own unfolding drama.

Desaparición incompleta / Incomplete Disappearance
This enigmatic, haunting work by Alan Martín Segal from Argentina may or may not have been designed to reflect on the 2020 pandemic (its working title was May I Disappear), but its resonance with our current situation is profound. Mainly comprised of images without people – they have disappeared, it seems, if incompletely – the film takes us through a loose cycle of almost ritualistic images: coins dropped in a tray of water, candles set within flimsy sculptural constructions, small objects placed under a table leg. A discontinuous tale is narrated only in printed subtitles: it speaks of clocks that once adorned public buildings, clocks that were effectively penalised for telling the correct time. Things are truly out of joint here – especially the world itself.

Notable Readings
I am privileged to follow the process that goes into the writing of each one of Cristina Álvarez López’s essays at her blog Laugh Motel. This year, the Motel standouts for me were “The Audition” on a scene from Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and her epic return after a break of over two months, “Brain Massage”. I also greatly admired Tara Judah’s regular column “Reflections” at one of my favourite cinema websites, Ubiquarian, devoted to experimental, documentary and short films, run by Marina D. Richter & Marko Stojikovi?. Both Cristina and Tara are involved in the world of audiovisual essays and, in that realm, the best literature was provided by Will DiGravio with the regular email newsletter attached to his splendid, ongoing project The Video Essay Podcast. One essay that rose to the surface of the constantly churning sea of film and art coverage elsewhere was Erika Balsom’s razor-sharp commentary on the Iris Brey phenomenon in France, “In Search of the Female Gaze” for Cinema Scope.

Notable Digital Experiences
– Cristina Álvarez López’s Little Films
– Robert Fripp & Toyah Wilcox’s Sunday Lunch video series
Early Super-8 films by Jean-Claude Brisseau

Most Extraordinary & Hilarious Declarations of 2020
– The vehement way Willem Dafoe repeatedly says “WHAT the FUCK?!?” in Abel Ferrara’s Tommaso;
– The uppermost signature on a public manifesto titled “Statement on the Urgency of Rethinking Power and Gender-Based Relations in the Field of Cinema”;
– The off-screen voice of Khalik Allah in his IWOW: I Walk on Water, waving away the lover who wants to spend some alone-time with him before their separation, explaining in a mantra why he needs to keep on filming: “I’m in the presence! In the presence!”;
-Two podcasters who yell “Laura Mulvey, fuck you!” – thereby suggesting they haven’t read anything written by Mulvey since than 1975 – and authoritatively inform us that “Claude Chabrol never thought of himself as an auteur”;
– Olivier Assayas in the course of his “Cinema in the Present Tense” lecture: “What is left of these questions? Do they remain, did they get past the borders of France? Not really”. Great news for all of his faithful friends, fans and supporters around the world! (© Adrian Martin, 22 December 2020)


 

Antoni Pinent

Filmmaker and researcher/ Cineasta e investigador (España)

 – Thouht Experiments in F# Minor (2020, Interactive). Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles (January 2020)
– My Mexican Bretzel (2019) de Nuria Giménez Lorang. Editor: Cristóbal Fernández. Sound Design: Jonathan Darch
– Prohibida la proyección pública (2020, Super 8) de Leo Zito
– Relieves (2018. 16mm) de Tono Mejuto
-Online: (S8) Mostra Internacional de Cinema Periférico. 11º Edición Dual. Sep – Oct. 2020.
– Ceniza Verde (Green Ash) (2019, 35mm) de Pablo Mazzolo
– More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015) de William Kentridge. Video installation for 8 screens and 4 megaphones, sound. ‘William Kentridge. That Which Is Not Drawn’. Exhibition. CCCB. Barcelona. 9 October 2020 — 21 February 2021


 

Paddy Muholland
Film critic (UK)

I remember a point, some time early in 2020, when the London chill had yet to begin lifting, when it was first suggested that the Cannes Film Festival might not take place this year, or at least in May. I remember a point when Sony’s decision to push their latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, to November seemed like a radical, remarkable move. I remember checking the U.S. release schedule and finding three consecutive weekends of no new wide releases ahead; I remember checking back through the history books and finding nothing of the sort on record. I remember how bizarre it all seemed.

Well, it was bizarre, and it still is. My penultimate theatrical experience before the UK’s first COVID lockdown in March was Lucio Castro’s End of the Century. It would have made the perfect swansong for 30-odd years of cinemagoing, but I had one cinema visit yet to make. That would be Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Bacurau – how startling and prophetic it then appeared; how startling it still appears, if not so prophetic. If anything, it was a vision of what is now the past rather than the future it depicts. I don’t doubt it will again emerge as a vision of the future, and likely no startling enough!

I adore the cinema, and I trust myself and others, so I’ve made a few trips to the arthouse when they’ve been open this year, only for new releases. All were worthwhile excursions, though the London Underground isn’t much fun under a facemask. But I don’t adore the cinema enough to nostalgize it unduly. I’ve always appreciated the opportunity of enjoying great cinema whenever and wherever. Maybe it’s a trait unique only to people of my (Millennial) generation and younger, the ability to create a bespoke atmosphere at any time or place around whatever media we’re consuming, a by-product of living amid cultures that so rarely devote spaces specific to generating atmosphere of any sort. There’s no better way to watch a film than on a cinema screen though, no doubt, something I recognized when my minimal festival experiences this year were marked by a deficit in ceremony, in pomp, in… theatre. That said, not having to queue up alongside the world’s most insufferable film nerds to see something mediocre that I could easily have waited a few months more to endure was most gratifying.

Streaming is no longer the future – we’ve been saying that for a decade or so – it’s the present, and while I understand (and value) the arguments against allowing it to take over entirely, I can’t help but applaud what it’s equipped to achieve societally. No, they don’t nurture their best talent in the best way. Yes, streaming platforms are overwhelmed by trash content that’ll forever drown out the finer content whose space they’re sharing. But the audience for that finer content, for the smart, complex, challenging, beautiful, progressive, innovative independent and experimental fare that’s been confined to the very top stratum of financially imperilled urban arthouses, has always been there. It just hasn’t always had access to that fare. And now, at least relative to just a few years ago, it does.

And those who’ve craved better access to just anything other than big studio franchise product now has it too. And those who’ve craved only the chance to watch good, great or awful cinema without draining their bank account dry now have that chance too. That was already becoming the case before the major studios started dumping their high-profile films online, side-by-side with everything else. The challenge now will be for the more rarefied platforms to keep up with an industry now under the auspice of the industry’s biggest corporations.

I sit on an armchair in my parents’ living room, under a one-week nocturnal curfew in the region. I’m using their WiFi, typing on my laptop (not currently plugged in), a single click away from sending this copy off for publication on an online-only platform. Things that once were analogue, physical, slow and time consuming are now instant, portable, digital, accessible. It was always going to happen to film too, it’s just happening faster than we’d perhaps expected it would. I’d rather be watching my films in a cinema, sure, but if this is the future or even if it’s the present, I’ll take it!
Bests, all unranked!

Best Films
Domains (Kusano Natsuka, Japan, 2019)
End of the Century (Lucio Castro, Argentina, 2019)
Gunda (Viktor Kosakovskiy, Norway, 2020)
Last and First Men (Jóhann Jóhannsson, Iceland, 2020)
This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Lesotho, 2019)
World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime (Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 2020)

Best Performance
Sônia Braga (Bacurau)
Jessie Buckley (I’m Thinking of Ending Things)
Louis Negin (The Twentieth Century)
Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)
Franz Rogowski (Undine)
Diana Sakalauskaité (Malmkrog)
Mary Twala Mhlongo (This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection)

Best Debuts
Radha Blank (The Forty-Year-Old Version) – directing/writing debut
Agathe Bosch (Malmkrog) – acting debut
Lucio Castro (End of the Century) – directing/writing/editing debut
Aline Frazão (Air Conditioner) – composing debut
Jóhann Jóhannsson (Last and First Men) – directing debut
John Kahrs and Glen Keane (Over the Moon) – feature-length directing debut
Jodie Mack (The Grand Bizarre) – feature-length producing/directing/editing debut
Aditya Modak (The Disciple) – acting debut
Charlene Swankie (Nomadland) – acting debut
Remi Weekes (His House) – directing/writing debut
Xinyuan Zheng Lu (The Cloud in Her Room) – feature-length directing/writing debut
Gints Zilbalodis (Away) – feature-length producing/directing/writing/sound/animation debut
 


 

Pamela Biénzobas
Consultant and independent critic, programmer (Locarno), France / Chile

Every year, invitations to bookmark lists cause conflict. This time more than ever I feel the weight of the randomness of my particular universe of possibles. So I adapt the rules of the game to respond to the two calls in which I wish to participate because of the respect and affection I have for publications: the International Cinephile and Desistfilm. Responding with a single title is not a whim, much less suggesting that it is the only valuable one of 2020. But this film, released worldwide in January before traveling the entire world virtually or in person, has profoundly marked the year and will surely mark the decade and more.

When The Year of Discovery opened in Rotterdam in January, many countries were in full swing. I often had to look twice to see if a photo I saw on social networks corresponded to young people on the streets of Chile (my home country), Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq … France (my current country) had already had more than a year with weekly social protests in which police violence, unleashed in 2015, was in crescendo. In the United States the violence of systemic racism was about to blow up society. And so the list can continue to go around the planet.

And we, although we may have been participants in some movement, in general we find ourselves in the position of powerless observers of a complex world, largely dependent on another sociological phenomenon of our times: the circulation of information and ideas. Immediacy and brevity, simplification and lightness, irrational reactions, lack of perspective, arbitrariness disguised as objectivity, monopolistic speeches, invisibility and silence of the protagonists and victims, and a long etcetera only contribute to confusion and anxiety.

And suddenly The Year of the Discovery, based on an event that occurred in Cartagena, Spain, in 1992, offers everything that is sorely lacking: perspective; analysis; listen attentively to those whose voices we rarely hear; diversity of looks and voices; rejection of easy judgment; contextualization; deepening and at the same time projection to be able to understand how social, cultural, political and economic phenomena transcend their moment and their specific circumstances, interacting with other times, starting with the current ones; other realities, including several of those mentioned; other ideologies, demonstrating the complexity of situations that resist the ease of black and white. To do this, he takes the necessary time (every minute is appreciated, and never feels too much) and uses staging and montage devices to promote dialogues –literally or figuratively– and enrich the debate without trying to dictate truths or conclusions. simple.

El año del descubrimiento / The Year of the Discovery (Luis López Carrasco, Spain, 2020)

*

Cada año, las invitaciones a establecer listas de favoritos me provocan conflicto. Esta vez más que nunca siento el peso de lo aleatorio de mi universo particular de posibles. Así es que adapto las reglas del juego para responder a los dos llamados en los que deseo participar por el respeto y cariño que tengo por las publicaciones: la Internacional Cinéfila y Desistfilm. Responder con un solo título no es un capricho, ni mucho menos sugerir que es el único valioso de 2020. Pero este film, estrenado mundialmente en enero antes de recorrer el mundo entero virtual o presencialmenteha marcado profundamente el año y de seguro marcará la década y más.

Cuando El año del descubrimiento se estrenó en Rotterdam en enero, muchos países estaban en plena ebullición. A menudo tenía que mirar dos veces para saber si una foto que veía en redes sociales correspondía a los jóvenes en las calles de Chile (mi país natal), el Líbano, Argelia, Iraq… Francia (mi país actual) llevaba ya algo más de un año con protestas sociales semanales en que la violencia policial, desatada en 2015, iba in crescendo. En los Estados Unidos la violencia del racismo sistémico estaba por hacer estallar la sociedad. Y así la lista puede seguir dando la vuelta al planeta.

Y nosotros, aunque hayamos podido ser partícipes de algún movimiento, en general nos encontramos en la posición de observadores impotentes de un mundo complejo, dependientes en gran medida de otro fenómeno sociológico de nuestros tiempos: la circulación de la información y de las ideas. Inmediatez y brevedad, simplificación ligereza, reacciones irracionales, falta de perspectiva, arbitrariedad disfrazada de objetividad, discursos monopólicos, invisibilización y acallamiento de los protagonistas y víctimas, y un largo etcétera no hacen más que contribuir a la confusión y a la ansiedad.

de pronto El año del descubrimientopartiendo de un hecho ocurrido en Cartagena, España, en 1992, ofrece todo eso que tanta falta hace: perspectiva; análisis; escucha atenta de aquellos cuyas voces raramente oímos; diversidad de miradas y voces; rechazo al juicio fácil; contextualización; profundización y a la vez proyección para poder comprender cómo los fenómenos sociales, culturales, políticos y económicos trascienden su momento y sus circunstancias específicas, interactuando con otros tiempos, comenzando por los actuales; otras realidades, incluyendo varias de las citadas; otras ideologías, demostrando la complejidad de situaciones que se resisten al facilismo del blanco o negro. Para ello, se toma el tiempo necesario (cada minuto se agradece, y nunca se siente de más) y recurre a dispositivos de puesta en escena y de montaje para fomentar diálogos –literal o figuradamente– y enriquecer el debate sin pretender dictar verdades ni conclusiones simples.

 


 

Mónica Delgado
Director Desistfilm (Perú)

A difficult year in every way, but cinema always makes its way, by force. I am once again grateful for the opportunity that the DOBRA Experimental Film Festival gave Desistfilm to curate a Latin American cinema program, as well as the Corrient.es, where we proposed a group of shortfilms of the duo Priscyla Bettim & Renato Coelho./ Un año difícil en todo sentido, pero siempre el cine se abre paso, a la fuerza. Agradezco nuevamente la oportunidad que dio el Festival de Cine Experimental DOBRA a Desistfilm para realizar una curaduría de cine latinoamericano, al igual que el espacio Corrient.es, donde propusimos un grupo de cortos retratos de la dupla Priscyla Bettim & Renato Coelho.

Los mejores films que vi en este 2020 en festivales presenciales y online:
Malmkrog (Cristi Puiu, Rumania, 2020)
Luz nos trópicos (Light in the tropics, Paula Gaitán, Brasil, 2020)
La France contre les robots (France againts robots, Jean-Marie Straub, 2020)
Mes chers espions (My Dear Spies, Vladimir Léon, Francia 2020)
Thorax (Siegfried A. Fruhauf, Austria, 2019)
Río Turbio (Tatiana Mazú, Argentina, 2020)
Apiyemiyekî? (Ana Vaz, Brasil, 2020)
Chaco (Diego Mondaca, Bolivia, 2020)
Lúa vermella (Red moon tide, Lois Patiño, España, 2020)
Her Name Was Europa (Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy, Alemania, 2020)
Rizi (Days, Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwán, 2020)
O que há em ti (brazil is thee haiti is (t)here, Carlos Adriano, 2020)
Avant L’effondrement du Mont Blanc (Before the collapse of Mont Blanc, Jacques Perconte, Francia, 2020)
Danzas lunares (Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, Mexico,2020)
Journal de Septembre (Eric Pauwels, Belgium, 2019)
Como el cielo después de llover (The Calm after the Storm, Mercedes Gaviria, Colombia, 2020)
Memby (Rafael Castanheira Parrode, Brazil, 2020)
My Mexican Bretzel (Nuria Giménez Lorang, Spain, 2019)
Raw Power (Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt, France, 2020)
Sun dog (Dorian Jespers, Bélgica, Russia, 2020)
Equinox (Margaret Honda, Japan, 2019)
Domangchin yeoja (The woman who ran, Hong Sang-soo, Corea del Sur, 2020)
El año del descubrimiento (The year of the discovery, Luis López Carrasco, España, 2020)
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman, USA, 2019)
Lulu Faustine (Stephen Broomer, Canada, 2020)
Tipografic majuscul (Uppercase Print, Radu Jude, Rumania, 2020)
Intimate Distances (Phillip Warnell, USA, 2020)
She Dies Tomorrow ( Amy Siemetz, USA, 2020)

Dos films peruanos
Fragmentos potenciales de obras para desplegar fractal y cíclicamente (Paola Vela, 2019)
Laguna negra (Felipe Esparza, 2020)

Films muy feministas
A Cat Is Always Female (Martina Mestrovic & Tanja Vujasinovic, Croacia, 2019)
Domovine (Homelands, Jelena Maksimovic, Serbia, 2020)

Films vistos por primera vez en 2020 y que me interesaron mucho:
Szép lányok, ne sírjatok! (Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!, Marta Mészaros, 1970)
Scala Milan AC (Sarah Maldoror, 2003)
Las furias (The furies, Vlasta Lah, 1960)
Variety (Bette Gordon, 1983)
The Strange but Unknown Star (Henri Plaat, 1969)


 

José Sarmiento
Director Desistfilm (Peru) / Curator (MUTA Audiovisual Appropriation International Festival)

Public health and mental health issues aside, this will remain as the year in which cinema meant a true refuge, a shelter for the spirit. As we realign our vibrations to match earth’s, we wait, calmly, for the opportunity of the dark room, again, in silence.

40 new films seen in 2020:

  1. 1. Que há em ti (Brazil is thee Haiti is (t)here) – Carlos Adriano (2020)
    2. Avant L’Effondrement du Mont Blanc – Jacques Perconte (2020)
    3. Thorax – Siegfried A. Fruhauf (2019)
    4. Republica – Grace Passo (2020)
    5. France Against Robots – Jean-Marie Straub (2020)
    6. El tango del viudo y el espejo deformante– Valeria Sarmiento, Raúl Ruiz (2020)
    7. Days – Tsai Ming-Liang (2020)
    8. Lulu Faustine / Fat Chance / Arrival of the Train – Stephen Broomer (2020)
    9. The Woman Who Ran – Hong Sang-soo (2019)
    10. Malmkrog – Cristi Puiu (2020)
    11. My Lover the Killer – Marc Hurtado & Lydia Lunch (2020)
    12. Further Radical – Stefano Canapa (2020)
    13. I was at Home, but… – Angela Schanelec (2019)
    14. Untitled – Takashi Makino (2020)
    15. Où en êtes-vous? Teresa Villaverde – Teresa Valverde (2019)
    16. Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg (2020)
    17. She Dies Tomorrow – Amy Siemetz (2020)
    18. Where I don’t Meet You – Charlotte Clermont (2019)
    19. Shelly Belly Inna Real Life – Cecilia Bengolea (2020)
    20. Loose Ends – Esperanza Collado (2020)
    21. Amusement Ride – Tomonari Nishikawa (2019)
    22. Ms Slavic 7 – Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell (2019) /Point and Line to Plane –Sofia Bohdanowicz (2020)
    23. Printemps (2020) -Jacques Perconte & Nicole Brenez
    24. City Hall – Fredrick Wiseman (2020)
    25. Fauna – Nicolás Pereda (2020)
    26. Dau. Degeneration/Dau. Natasha – Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, Jekaterina Oertel (2020)
    27. Corman’s Eyedrops Got Me Too Crazy – Ivan Cardoso (2020)
    28. A Potentiality – Dana Berman Duff (2020)
    29. The Giverny Document – Ja’Tovia M. Gary (2019)
    30. Las Ranas – Edgardo Castro (2020)
    31. The Plastic House – Allison Chhorn (2019)
    32. Ontem Habia Coisas Estranhas No Céu – Bruno Risas (2019)
    33. Berlin Based – Vincent Dieutre (2019)
    34. 80,000 ans – Christelle Lheureux (2020)
    35. Knives and Skin – Jennifer Reeeder (2019)
    36. Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream – Frank Beauvais (2019)
    37. Preludio (a la siesta del Fauno y la Bacante) – Martin Baus (2020)
    38. Raw Power – Pierre-Luc Valliantcourt (2020)
    39. Messages – Pat O’Neill (2020)
    40. IWOW: I Walk on Water – Khalik Allah (2020)

30 best somewhat obscure new discoveries in 2020:
(With special thanks to Marc Toscano and his tuesday online screenings.)

  1. Medea – Franz Zwartjes – (1982)
  2. Toxic Shock! – Vanesssa Renwick (1983)
  3. Visao 2013 para Roberto Piva / A propósito de Willer – Pryscylla Bettim y Renato Coehlo (2013) (2016)
  4. Studies for the Decay of the West – Klaus Wyborny (2010)
  5. Lighting Dance – Cecilia Bengolea (2018)
  6. F.H.A.R. (Front Homosexuel D’Action Revolutionaire) – Carole Roussopoulos (1971)
  7. Dufus – Mike Henderson (1970)
  8. Bleu Shut – Robert Nelson (1970)
  9. POTpourri – Peter Spoecker (1968)
  10. Pulse – Peter Spoecker (1969)
  11. Departure – Ludwig Wust (2018)
  12. The Fourth Watch – Janie Geiser (2000)
  13. Market Street – Tomonari Nishikawa (2005)
  14. Elixir – Amy Halpern (2012)
  15. Self-Portrait: Sphinx in 47 km – Zhang Mengqui (2018)
  16. Journey – Susan Stein (1976)
  17. Le Journal D’Un Combat – Guy Gilles (1964)
  18. Oliver – Nick Deocampo (1983)
  19. Nothing is Something – Anne Rees-Moog (1966)
  20. Coatti – Stavros Tornes (1977)
  21. Athryum-Filix Femma – Kelly Egan (2016)
  22. White Death – Sarah Maldoror (1968)
  23. Irregular Time Signatures – Julia Feyrer (2011)
  24. Instructions on how to Make a Film – Nazli Dincel (2013)
  25. Bead Game – Ishu Patel (1977)
  26. Self Portrait Post Mortem – Louise Bourque (2002)
  27. Closed Vision – Marc’O (1954)
  28. Ida Western Exile – Courtney Stephens (2015)
  29. No-Zone (Greta Snider, 1993)
  30. Apple Grown in Wind Tunnel – Steven Mathison (2000)

 

Jessica McGoff
Film critic (UK)

Dick Johnson is Dead (Kirsten Johnson, USA, 2020)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2019)
His House (Remi Weekes, UK, 2020)

Best 2020 Films (alphabetical)
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (Bill Ross, Turner Ross, USA, 2020)
Crestone (Marnie Ellen Hertzler, USA, 2020)
Days (Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan, France 2020)
Dick JFilm: Livestream (Zia Anger)
Never Rest/Unrest (Tiffany Sia, Hong Kong, 2020)
This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Lesotho, 2019)
Time (Garrett Bradley, USA, 2020)

Best online programmes
Glasgow Short Film Festival
Berwick Film and Media Festival
Scottish Queer International Film Festival

Reflections
It is difficult to avoid, especially in the tradition of year-end reflection, viewing this year’s films through a “pandemic lens.” So often it seemed as if every film released in 2020 was in some way reflecting on or responding to the pandemic: notions of claustrophobia, contagion and connectivity consistently surfacing. Of course, this is less cosmic coincidence and more just the nature of cinema in its multitudinous meaning (or perhaps more accurately, the nature of humans to precisely seek out that meaning).

Allow me, then, to apply my own pandemic lens to the year in cinema. I should briefly say that my reactions to cinema in this turbulent year weren’t always consistent or predicable — I spent some months enthusiastic and others dispirited, meaning I didn’t actually get round to seeing many of the films I was most anticipating (see: Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series). However, from what I did see, most urgently refracted through my pandemic lens was the distinct sense of unreality that has permeated 2020. I have felt for a while now as though the concrete ground of reality has been disintegrating; further cleaved by fake news, state propaganda and the death of the distinction between online and offline. The pandemic that was experienced globally wasn’t experienced equally, and was so frequently chewed up and spat out by the various channels of unreality we’ve grown accustomed to. This year, it was difficult to experience a “new normal” that felt real, never mind normal. To identify that same sense of unreality in cinema was like a bit of wreckage to hold on to during the storm.

The films that struck me this way were all non-fiction, and all obscuring the boundaries that delineate that category. Dick Johnson is Dead and Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets both play with the notion of the “real,” the former reckoning with the role of fantasy and the latter presenting a sort of liminal space where events unfold both chaotically and meticulously. Both films also present subjects related to the pandemic: death and getting drunk with strangers in crowded bars (the former something we’ve unfortunately become all too acquainted with and the latter now completely inaccessible). However, the film that most vividly captured the year’s mood for me was Crestone, a documentary about a group of Soundcloud rappers living in the deserts of Colorado. Unreality is woven into the very texture of this film: from the multi-layered performances of the subjects to the scenes of post-apocalyptic survivalism that are playfully yet urgently presented amidst the weed-smoking and play-fighting. 2020 may not have been the end of the world, but it was infused with the same distinct feeling: a sense of unreality, and of an apocalypse both real and imagined, endlessly occurring and yet ever impending.


 

Pablo Gamba
Film critic, staff Desistfilm (Venezuela, Argentina)

1. Río Turbio (Tatiana Mazú, Argentina, 2020)
2.Lulu Faustine (Stephen Broomer, Canadá, 2020)
3. IWOW: I Walk on Water (Khalik Allah, EE.UU., 2020)
4. Quebramar (Cris Lyra, Brasil, 2019)
5. Now, at Last! (Ben Rivers, UK, 2018)
6. Goodbye Fantasy (Amber Bemak y Nadia Granados, Colombia, México, EE.UU,, 2019)
7. Pattern Recognition (Dirk de Bruyn, Australia, 2019)
8. Diarios de trabajos (Paula Ábalos, Chile-Alemania, 2020)
9. La notte salva (Giuseppe Boccassini, Italia, 2019)
10. El año del descubrimiento (Luis López Carrasco, España, 2020)


 

Ivonne Sheen
Filmmaker, Film critic, staff Desistfilm (Peru)

After a year of many symbolic and real deaths, my relationship with cinema is also changing. A year full of emotional oscillations, due to constant changes and / or uncertainties. A year with limited emotional storage space, with nearby suffering and with radicalized inequalities. A year that feels multiplied in its duration. I share this list as an acknowledgment to those filmmakers and artists, whose work has given me experiences of wonder, questioning, learning, thinking, of encountering in the distance.

*

Luego de un año de muchas pérdidas vitales, mi relación con el cine también se viene transformando. Un año lleno de oscilaciones emocionales, debido a los constantes cambios y/o incertidumbres, un año con poco espacio de almacenamiento afectivo, con mucho sufrimiento circundante y con mucha desigualdad radicalizada. Un año que se siente multiplicado en su duración. Comparto esta lista como un agradecimiento a aquellas y aquellos cineastas/artistas, cuyos trabajos me han dado experiencias de asombro, de cuestionamiento, de aprendizaje, de pensamiento, de encuentro a la distancia.

En orden alfabético (alphabetical order):
A month of single frames (2019) – Lynne Sachs
Asparagus (1979) – Suzan Pit
Como el cielo después de llover (2020) – Mercedes Gaviria
E Unum Pluribus (2020) – Libertad Gills
Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit (2019) – Thomas Heise
Judy versus Capitalism (2020) – Mike Hoolboom
La obra audiovisual de María Galindo (vista en Youtube y Vimeo).
La obra de Sarah Maldoror (vista en muestras del Museo Reina Sofía y de Another Gaze).
Les Prostituées de Lyon parlent (1975) – Carole Roussopoulos
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2019) – Eliza Hittman
Oh My Homeland (2019) – Stephanie Barber
Río Turbio (2020) – Tatiana Mazú
Self-portrait film series (2010-2019) – Zhang Mengqi
So many ideas impossible to do all (2019) – Mark Street
Thorax (2019) – Siegfried A. Fruhauf
Variety (1983) – Bette Gordon
Vision Nocturna (2019) – Carolina Moscoso


 

Tomáš Hudák
Film critic and programmer based in Bratislava, Slovakia.

In spring, I had to cancel a couple of travels to festivals that I was looking forward to so much. On the other hand, thanks to events going online suddenly I was able to visit festivals I had never been to before (including some it would be very difficult for me to visit) like Ann Arbor, Toronto’s Images, Oberhausen, Berwick’s BFMAF or London’s Open City.

Year 2020 made me explore Internet’s offerings even more – not only films, but also discussions or even courses. Even if I am lucky to have a job inside film industry, web is by far the most important place for me to watch avantgarde, experimental, or artists cinema – whether there is a global pandemic or not. There are virtually no screenings of such films in Slovakia so it’s either travelling or web. Which means it’s mostly web.

That’s why I hugely appreciate online festivals even though it’s so much work for all the organizers to switch from physical event. Many, many thanks to all of them.

For me virtual festivals are no less real than the physical ones. They are different, but not inferior. I honestly hope that cinemas will re-open soon, but I also hope that we don’t forget about the people who cannot be physically present for health, financial, environmental or whatever other reason.

So big shout out to all the people creating online events be they festivals, discussions (my favourite ones were on Sarah Maldoror organized by Another Gaze and Cinephilia in Lockdown organized by Lux) or film programs (like Ultra Dogme Virtual Film Festival), to all the artists who make their work available online (regardless the pandemic), to people behind sites like UbuWeb or Solidarity Cinema, and to all the people who make my online cinephilia thrive.

Here are some of my favourite works of 2020, all seen online:
Bottled Songs 1 – 4 (Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee, 2020)
Inventing the Future (Isiah Medina, 2020)
IWOW: I Walk on Water (Khalik Allah, USA, 2020)
Key / Frame (Johannes Binotto, 2020)
Once Upon a Youth (Ivan Ramljak, Croatia, 2020)
A Proposal to Project in Scope (Viktoria Schmid, Austria, Lithuania, 2020)
Screen Talk (Neïl Beloufa, France, 2020)


Raúl Camargo
Director FIC Valdivia (Chile)

In this 2020 in which the health contingency has prevented us from meeting in the rooms, the 125 years of the first public, collective (and paid) exhibition of the Lumière are also commemorated.

The paradox between this event and the reality of the confinement has made me reveal even more the experiences prior to the same cinema, but not those linked to capturing reality through the contribution of science (Janssen, Marey, Muybridge, Edison) but those that they experimented with the collective sharing between illusion and deception, starting with that great genius-charlatan that was Johann Georg Schröpfe, passing through the phantasmagorias of Paul Philidor and Étienne Robertson, to the luminous animations of Emile Reynaud.

Remembering that relationship between light and shadow, and remembering how badly those who advocated the artifice of cinema ended up (it is a matter of adding Méliès and Welles to the list) make me feel that we must honor their beautiful shipwrecks. And that starts with remembering that cinema was born before the Lumière and their wonderful cinematographer, and that it will not die with COVID either, no matter how much many like to announce its end.

*

En este 2020 en que la contingencia sanitaria nos ha impedido encontrarnos en las salas, se conmemoran también los 125 años de la primera exhibición pública, colectiva (y pagada) de los Lumière.

La paradoja entre ese acontecimiento y la realidad del confinamiento me ha hecho relevar aún más las experiencias previas al mismo cine, pero no aquellas ligadas a capturar la realidad a través del aporte de la ciencia (Janssen, Marey, Muybridge, Edison) sino las que experimentaron con el compartir colectivamente entre la ilusión y el engaño, partiendo por ese gran genio-charlatán que fue Johann Georg Schröpfe, pasando por las fantasmagorías de Paul Philidor y Étienne Robertson, hasta las luminosas animaciones de Emile Reynaud.

Recordar esa relación entre luz y sombra, y recordar lo mal que terminaron aquellos que propugnaron el artificio del cine (es cosa de sumar a Méliès y Welles a la lista) me hacen sentir que debemos rendirle honor a sus bellos naufragios. Y eso parte por recordar que el cine nace antes de los Lumière y su maravilloso cinematógrafo, y que tampoco morirá con el COVID, por más que a muchos les guste anunciar su fin.

Las 10 elegidas: / The 10 chosen:
El año del descubrimiento (Luis López Carrasco. España. 2020)
Mes chers espions (Vladimir Leon. Francia. 2020)
Correspondencia (Carla Simon y Dominga Sotomayor. España-Chile. 2020)
letter to a friend (Emily Jacir. Palestina. 2019)
Sueños de Pedro (Fernando Restelli & Juan Francisco Fantin. Argentina. 2020)
Vulture (Philip Hoffman, Canadá. 2019)
Apiyemiyeki? (Ana Vaz. Brasil. 2020)
Playback. Ensayo de una despedida (Agustina Comedi. Argentina. 2019)
Don’t rush (Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky. Bélgica. 2020)
Signal 8 (Simon Liu. Hong Kong. 2019)


 

Victor Guimarães
Film critic (Cinética/Con los ojos abiertos) and programmer (FENDA) – Brazil

15 imaginary double bills in 2020
República (Grace Passô, 2020) + Los Conductos (Camilo Restrepo, 2020)
In order to film a broken country, you have to shatter cinema as a whole.

Luz nos Trópicos (Paula Gaitán, 2020) + Sertânia (Geraldo Sarno, 2019)
The imperative necessity of dreams to rediscover reality.

Isabella (Matías Piñeiro, 2020) + The Woman Who Ran (Hong Sang-soo, 2020)
The exquisite beauties of repetitive games.

A Morte Branca do Feiticeiro Negro (Rodrigo Ribeiro, 2020) + O que Há em Ti (Carlos Adriano, 2020)
A contemporary archeologist excavates an archive from the 19th century. An alchemist from the 19th century turns a contemporary archive into an ancient dance.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019) + First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2020)
In 2020, the torches of so-called old cinephilia were carried by Generation X women.

Movie That Invites Pausing (Ken Jacobs, 2020) + La France Contre les Robots (Jean-Marie Straub, 2020)
In 2020, the Molotov cocktails of future cinephilia were thrown by Silent Generation men.
´
Lighting Dance (Cecilia Bengolea, 2018) + Ae não deixa ninguém mexer na barricada não em (MC Negão da BL, 2020)
Cinematic lightning never strikes the same place twice. Unless you are worthy of the miracle.

Liberté (Albert Serra, 2019) + Days (Tsai Ming-liang, 2020)
They spent the last decade dehydrating fiction in order to fill our eyes with tears, so we could believe in a story again.

Tear Gas (Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, 2019) + Detido dá golpe em policial e consegue fugir com apoio de populares (Unknown authorship, 2019)
Fuck the police.

Adios a la Memoria (Nicolás Prividera, 2020) + Her Socialist Smile (John Gianvito, 2020)
A memoir film on oblivion. A luminous-verbose film on blindness-deafness.

City Hall (Frederick Wiseman, 2020) + Entre Nós Talvez Estejam Multidões (Aiano Bemfica, Pedro Maia de Brito, 2020)
How to transform an institutional film into something else or how to make walls talk.

Richard Jewell (Clint Eastwood, 2019) + The King of Staten Island (Judd Apatow, 2020)
An Apatownian film about a 34-year-old virgin. An Eastwoodian film about men learning to be men.

Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee, 2020) + Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)
The only possible way to occupy Netflix is to make sure that your work is able to destroy everything around it.

Log 2 (Isiah Medina, 2020) + Wash us in the Blood (Arthur Jafa, 2020)
The badder, the better.

Vai Passar (Cristina Amaral) + Movimento (Gabriel Martins)
When the aliens come and ask about 2020, please show them these two messages in a bottle, so they can spare our families.

Great online initiatives:
The silent work done by the Brazilian pirates to whom we owe most of our cinephile lives. You know who you are. I will keep thanking you for the rest of my life.
IMS Convida, a platform for commissioned artwork made during the pandemic. Some of the greatest Brazilian films of the year are there,
Cine Limite, a new website dedicated to make the history of Brazilian Cinema available for English speakers.
Media City Film Festival’s Thousandsuns Cinema
Panorâmica Rosemberg, an online catalogue with virtually every work of audiovisual art ever produced by the great Brazilian artist Luiz Rosemberg Filho.
The retrospective “This Land is Our Land”, curated by Carla Italiano, Ewerton Belico and Milene Migliano for Forumdoc.BH 2020.
Geraldo Sarno’s new website, with tons of information about his unique filmography.

Also, this year I have plunged into the filmographies of the following artists for the first time: Esfir Shub, Mabel Itzcovich, Nora de Izcue, Sarah Maldoror, Sonia Andrade, Regina Silveira, Jomard Muniz de Britto, Arthur Jafa, Colectivo Los Ingrávidos. It’s been an exciting adventure in all cases.


Joe Miller
Film critic

Films for an Undergraduate Course on Cinema and Empathy (in order screened):

Moonlight (2016, Barry Jenkins, USA)
Wasp (2004, Andrea Arnold, UK)
Mothlight (1963, Stan Brakhage, USA)
Battleship Potemkin (1925, Sergei Eisenstein, Russia)
A Movie (1958, Bruce Conner, USA)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer, France/Germany)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (2002, Marie Losier, United States)
21-87 (1964, Arthur Lipsett, Canada)
The Only Son (1936, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan)
Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan)
Roma (2018, Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico)
Rehearsals for Retirement (2007, Phil Solomon, USA)
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Germany)
Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, Chantel Akerman, France/Belgium)
Cameraperson (2016, Kirsten Johnson, USA)
Window Water Baby Moving (1959, Stan Brakhage, USA)
Star Garden (1974, Stan Brakhage, USA)
I, Dreaming (1988, Stan Brakhage, USA)
Remains to be Seen (1989, Phil Solomon, USA)
The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (1971, Stan Brakhage, USA)
Dying at Grace (2003 Allan King, Canada)
Triumph of the Will [first ten minutes] (1935, Leni Riefenstahl, Germany)
Night and Fog (1955, Alain Resnais, France) 
Why We Fight: Prelude to War [first half] (1842, Frank Capra)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959, Alain Resnais, France/Japan)
Paisán (1946, Roberto Rossellini, Italy)
Transit (2018, Christian Petzold, Germany/France)
Story of Women (1988, Claude Chabrol, France)
Phoenix (2014, Christian Petzold, Germany)
Seven Beauties (1976, Lina Wertmüller, Italy) 
The Night Porter (1974, Liliana Cavani, Italy)
Call Me Francis, Episode 4: The Listening Heart (2015, Daniele Luchetti, Argentina/Italy)
The Official Story (1985, Luis Puenzo, Argentina)
The Headless Woman (2008, Lucrecia Martel, Argentina) 
Pinochet’s Women (Eduardo Menz, 2004, Canada/Chile)
I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become (2016, Sky Hopinka, USA)
Meek’s Cutoff  (Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2010)
Dead Man (1995, Jim Jarmusch, USA) 
Dislocation Blues (2017, Sky Hopinka, USA)
When You’re Lost in the Rain (2019, Sky Hopinka, USA)
Silent Light (2007, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico)
Breaking the Waves (1996, Lars von Trier, Denmark
The Gospel According to Matthew (1963, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy)


 

Daisuke Akasaka
Film critic, Japan

Un Monde flottant (Jean-Claude Rousseau, France, 2020)
La France contre Les Robots (Jean-Marie Straub, France, 2020)
Das Licht der Welt (Klaus Wyborny, Germany, 2015)
Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, Portugal, 2019)
Classical period (Ted Fendt, USA, 2018)
Notes on an Appearance (Ricky D’Ambrose, USA, 2018)
The World is full of secrets  (Graham Swon, USA, 2018)
Medium (Edgardo Cozarinsky, Argentina, 2020)
La Flor (Mariano Llinas, Argentina, 2018)
Introduzione all ‘oscuro (Gaston Solnicki, Argentina, 2018)
Mauro (Hernan Rosselli, Argentina, 2014)
Il Siciliano (Jose Luis Sepúlveda, Carolina Adriazola, Chile, 2017)
Longa Noite (Eloy Enciso, España, 2019)
Correspondencias (Rita Azevedo Gomes, Portugal, 2018)
Living in your sky (Shinji Aoyama, Japón, 2020)
Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2019)
Informe General  (Pere  Portabella, España, 1976)
Jardín de Piedra (Gustavo Fontán, Argentina, 2020)

This year I watched almost of all films (except 4 films) with online in my list, especially because of covid-19, but they are all made for screen in cinema so I felt regret.


Sebastian Wiedemann
Filmmaker, film scholar, editor and curator at hambrecine.com (Colombia, Brazil)

In no particular order:
Apiyemiyekî? (Ana Vaz, Brazil, 2019)
A Febre (Maya Da-Rin, Brazil, 2019)
Luz nos trópicos (Paula Gaitán, Brazil, 2020)
Aleluia, o Canto Infinito do Tincoã (Tenille Bezerra, Brazil, 2020)
Mujeres Espíritu (Francisco Huichaqueo, Chile, 2020)
ma?ni – towards the ocean, towards the shore (Sky Hopinka, USA, 2020)
Danzas Lunares (Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, Mexico, 2020)
Cine Cipó (Barbara Marcel, Brazil, 2020)
Naturales Historiae (Pauline Julier, Switzerland, 2019)
Soils-Habit-Plants (Elke Marhöfer and Mikhail Lylov, Japan, 2018)
Fog Dog (Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Bangladesh/Brazil, 2020)
M . A . G . N . E . T (Basim Magdy, Portugal/ Switzerland/ Egypt, 2019)
Renacer del Carare (Andrés Jurado, Colombia, 2020)
Revelaciones (Juan Soto Taborda, Colombia/USA, 2020)
Antonin Artaud’s The Theatre and the Plague (Wolfgang Pannek, Brazil/Germany, 2020)
Entre el cuerpo y lo eterno. El cine de Narcisa Hirsch (Retrospective Show Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain, 2020)


Courtney Stephens
Filmmaker (USA)

My 2020 viewing often had less to do with pleasure than with needing an escape hatch. I disappeared into detective movies this year, from Ride the Pink Horse to Harper to Arthur Penn’s Night Movesand adjacent oddities like Juzo Itami’s A Taxing Woman, about a  freckle-faced tax investigator hunting a crooked hotelier in 1980s Tokyo. This year, there was comfort in pursuing a “why” that could be found, as it often can be in procedurals. Occasionally, it felt like justice served. It was also a year for considering the cultural myths that undergird our criminal justice system.

It was a five and a half minute film, uploaded to YouTube, that brought me true delight. In MessagesPat O’Neill narrates an assortment of photographs taken in the streets of Southern California and elsewhere. What was found then is still found now: empty alleys, advertising, infrastructure. But these snapshots also capture something out of grasp: the joy of indeterminate movement. In a way this too is a detective movie, as O’Neill combs through the remembered and unremembered moments in a life. The pictures are clues to O’Neill’s particular (and wonderful) sensibility that privileges the provisional and the superficial, in the sense of surfaces. Most of the shots feature some form of text or signage — the messages of the film’s title — offering fragments of mysterious guidance: “Sinners” reads one mural on the road to Santa Barbara: “World will end next Tuesday. Get out while you can.”

Messages (dir. Pat O’Neill, with Martha Colburn, 2020) (short)


Mariana Dianela Torres
Filmmaker, video essayist (Mexico)

Lately I’ve been thinking that lists say a lot and at the same time very little. When does a movie stop being just that and become part of our memory? In the following list there is no specific order by preference, but there is a series of love views. I will start with one of the last films that I saw in a movie theater, screened in 35 mm, at the Ciudad Universitaria in Mexico City. All seats occupied, a small room that that day was more than 30% of its capacity. From a distance, the sound of the projector seems ineffable, how nostalgic for the big screen! With this in mind, I reflected on the uniqueness of a (experiential) film projection; the light is never the same, the color, the texture and the perception neither. Would it be an experience that would not be repeated?

A whole night that has lasted a year. The darkness dragged me rambling over cans and hills of the southern cone. The confinement came and then the anxiety. Rhythmic buildings and exposed poets, nameless nations and purple death. He was now unable to hear the breathing of strange acquaintances that bother, but accompany. Live from screen to screen; All so lonely and suffocating Even so, there were several views that had an important, although different, impact on me. The offer has been a lot and guiltily pleasant, the difficult part: concentrating. These films left the trail of a memory (imaginary?), Meta-virtual memories, far from the dreamy past and far from my friends. /

Últimamente he estado pensado que las listas dicen mucho y a la vez muy poco. ¿Cuándo una película deja de ser sólo eso y se convierte en parte de nuestra memoria?  En la siguiente lista no hay un orden específico por preferencia, pero sí una serie de visionados amorosos. Comenzaré con una de las últimas películas que vi en sala de cine, proyectada en 35 mm, en la Ciudad Universitaria de la Ciudad de México. Todas las butacas ocupadas, una sala pequeña que aquel día estaba a más del 30% de su capacidad. A la distancia, el sonido del proyector parece inefable, ¡cuánta nostalgia de la pantalla grande! Con esto en mente, reflexioné sobre la unicidad de una proyección (vivencial) de cine; la luz nunca es la misma, el color, la textura y la percepción tampoco. ¿Sería una experiencia que no se repetiría?

Toda una noche que ha durado un año. La oscuridad me arrastró a divagaciones sobre latas y cerros del cono sur. Llegó el encierro y luego la ansiedad. Edificios rítmicos y poetas descubiertas, naciones sin nombre y muerte color púrpura. Estaba ahora sin poder escuchar la respiración de extraños conocidos que incomodan, pero acompañan. Vivir de pantalla en pantalla; todas tan solitarias y asfixiantes. Aun así, fueron varios los visionados que tuvieron en mí una incidencia importante, aunque distinta. La oferta ha sido mucha y culpablemente placentera, lo difícil: concentrarse. Estas películas dejaron el rastro de un recuerdo (¿imaginario?), memorias meta-virtuales, alejada del pasado ensoñado y lejos de mis amigas.

With these eager words I would describe the list of movies I saw during 2020 that have helped me survive the pandemic:/ Con dichas ansiosas palabras describiría la lista de películas que vi durante el 2020 y que me han ayudado a sobrevivir la pandemia:

Toute une nuit (1982) de Chantal Akerman
Nunca subí el Provincia (2019) de Ignacio Agüero
El tango del viudo y su espejo deformante (2020) de Valeria Sarmiento & Raúl Ruiz
Elle (1996) de Valeria Sarmiento
Corbusierhaus (2020) + Pantano (2019) de Azucena Losana
Mass for the Dakota Sioux (1964) + Castro Street (1966) de Bruce Baillie
La Nación Clandestina (1989) de Jorge Sanjinés
Danzas lunares (2020) de Los Ingrávidos
The Sasha (2019) de María Molina Peiró
Purple Sea (2020) de Amel Alzakout & Khaled Abdulwahed
Las poetas visitan a Juana Bignozzi (2019) de Laura Citarella & Mercedes Halfon

 


Carlos Esquives
Crítico, director de Fotograma Gourmet (Perú)

A year of paradoxes. The dark room closed its doors, but the digital room expanded its domains. Several of us miss the physical encounter and the experience from the armchair, but the birth of digital platforms and the Zoom were able to emulate a festive reality that until now was impossible to return. Furthermore, the cinema, if in an instant it meant an escape from our reality, in the period of mandatory quarantine it became a dimension that made us return to that impossibility. Digital cinema, today more than ever, has become memory.

Un año de paradojas. La sala oscura cerró sus puertas, pero la sala digital amplió sus dominios. Varios extrañamos el encuentro físico y la experiencia desde la butaca, pero el nacimiento de plataformas digitales y el Zoom fueron capaces de emular una realidad festivalera hasta el momento imposible retornar. El cine además, si en un instante significó un escape de nuestra realidad, en el período de la cuarentena obligatoria se convirtió en una dimensión que nos hizo regresar a esa imposibilidad. El cine digital, hoy más que nunca, se ha convertido en memoria.

Estas son mis preferidas de 2020 ordenadas según las fui viendo.

The Visit (Jia Zhangke, China, 2020)
Nasir (Arun Karthick, 2020)
Manco Cápac (Henry Vallejo, Perú, 2020)
Mamá, mamá, mamá (Sol Berruezo, Argentina, 2020)
Il n’y aura plus de nuit (Eleonore Weber, 2020)
Fauna (Nicolás Pereda, México, 2020)
Red Post on Escher Street (Sion Sono, Japón, 2020)
I’m thinking of Endings Things (Charlie Kaufman, EE.UU., 2020)
Die letzte stadt (Heinz Emigholz, Alemania, 2020)
The Woman Who Run (Hong Sang-soo, Corea del Sur, 2020)
Undine (Christian Petzold, Alemania, 2020)


 

Orisel Castro
Filmmaker, programmer (Cuba, Ecuador)

This was a time of changes and changes, fear and encounters, readings and re-readings. I was lucky enough to attend the Berlinale, just before all the festivals started to be cancelled. There I saw great films by authors that I look forward to every year such as Camilo Restrepo, Hong Sang-Soo, Tsai Ming-Liang, and Kelly Reichard in theaters.

In March I was surprised by the pandemic in the Dominican Republic, in a dream film school, between celluloid and experimental classes for some wonderful students. There I rediscovered the pleasure of the school-monastery film club: every night a movie in the cozy living room and the freshest and most enthusiastic conversation of those who discover the cinema, avid as thoughtful and intelligent children. One day a student brought Le meraviglie by Alice Rohrvwacher and it stuck in my memory as a great moment. So, one per night …

MUBI, as always, guided me in The Green Ray, which resonated more than ever with Hong Sang Soo or even with Ozu, which is to say with life.

The programming work gave me the opportunity to get closer to the work of an editor, Ana Pfaff, and see the films from the authorship of the cut (Los días que vendrán, Ainhoa, yo no soy esa o Niñato).

But it was teaching that gave me the most encounters, from students who recommended me rare bird such as Anne Charlotte Robertson and her Apologies, to what I was dusting off to articulate the classes and offer references (Agnés Varda, Jonas Mekas, Sara Gómez, Nicolás Guillén Landrián, Naomi Kawase, Pascal Aubier, Pedro Costa).

Lastly, the movies that I watched on my computer on lonely quarantine nights and shared with my daughter, such as The Silence Before Bach or with close and distant friends such as The Most important thing is love and a lot about Naruse and Sirk.

I wanted to group them in each entry on the list according to the links I found between films (existential melodramas, poetry of the minuscule, the mother’s footprint, kinetic research, women who look deeply at each other and women who look at men and their genders)

It fills me with pride to honestly include the work of friends who are also my references, such as Nicolás Pereda and Juan Soto. I did not meet Jonas Mekas in person although he feels like a lifelong friend too.

*

Este fue un tiempo de mudanzas y cambios, miedo y encuentros, lecturas y relecturas. Tuve la suerte de asistir a la Berlinale, justo antes de que todos los festivales se empezaran a cancelar. Allí vi en salas grandes grandes películas de autores que espero cada año como Camilo Restrepo, Hong Sang-Soo, Tsai Ming-Liang y Kelly Reichard.

En marzo me sorprendió la pandemia en Dominicana, en una escuela de cine de ensueño, entre celuloide y clases de experimental a unos estudiantes maravillosos. Allí redescubrí el placer del cineclub de las escuelas-monasterio: cada noche una película en la salita entrañable y la conversación más fresca y entusiasta de los que descubren el cine, ávidos como niños reflexivos e inteligentes. Un alumno llevó un día Le meraviglie de Alice Rohrvwacher y se quedó en mi memoria como un gran momento. Así, uno por noche…

MUBI, como siempre, me guio en El rayo verde, que me resonó más que nunca con Hong Sang Soo o hasta con Ozu, que es decir con la vida.

El trabajo de programación me dio la oportunidad de acercarme a la obra de una montajista, Ana Pfaff, y ver las películas desde la autoría del corte (Los días que vendrán, Ainhoa, yo no soy esa o Niñato).

Pero fue la docencia la que me regaló más encuentros, desde estudiantes que me recomendaron rara avis como Anne Charlotte Robertson y su Apologies, hasta lo que iba desempolvando para articular las clases y ofrecer referentes (Agnés Varda, Jonas Mekas, Sara Gómez, Nicolás Guillén Landrián, Naomi Kawase, Pascal Aubier, Pedro Costa).

Por último, las películas que vi en mi compu en noches de cuarentena solitarias y compartidas con mi hija, como El silencio antes de Bach o con amigos cercanos y distantes como Lo importante es amar y mucho de Naruse y Sirk.

He querido agruparlas en cada entrada de la lista según los vínculos que encontré entre películas (melodramas existenciales, poesía de lo minúsculo, la huella de la madre, investigación cinética, mujeres que se miran profundamente y mujeres que miran a los hombres y sus géneros)

Me llena de orgullo incluir honestamente la obra de amigos que son también mis referentes como Nicolás Pereda y Juan Soto. A Jonas Mekas no lo conocí en persona aunque se sienta como un amigo de toda la vida también.

A todos, gracias por tanto cine hermoso este año:

  1. Le meraviglie (Alice Rohrwacher, 2014) + Comizi d’amore (P. P. Pasolini, 1964)
  2. Los conductos (Camilo Restrepo, 2020) + Undine (Christian Petzold, 2020) + El dormido (Pascal Aubier, 1966)
  3. The Woman Who Ran (Hong Sang Soo, 2020) + Le Rayon Vert (Eric Rohmer, 1984)
  4. Days (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2020) + News From Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977)
  5. Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki (Una mujer sube la escalera, Mikio Naruse, 1960) + All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955)+ All I Desire (Douglas Sirk, 1953)
  6. Où gít votre sourire enfoui? (Pedro Costa, 2001) + El silencio antes de Bach (Pere Portabella, 2007)
  7. Apologies (Ann Charlotte Robertson, 1984) + Fauna (Nicolás Pereda, 2020) + MS Slavic 7 (Sofia Bohdanovicz, Deragh Campbell, 2019)
  8. De cierta manera (Sara Gómez, 1974) + Kung Fu Master (Agnés Varda, 1988)
  9. Ociel del Toa (Nicolás Guillén Landrián, 1965) + Outtakes from the life of a happy man (Jonas Mekas, 2012)
  10. Embracing (Naomi Kawase, 1992) + Revelaciones (Juan Soto, 2020) + Los días que vendrán (Carlos Marques Marcet, 2019)
  11. First Cow (Kelly Reichard, 2019) +  The Land of Steady Habits (Nicole Holofcener, 2018)

 

Calin Boto
Film critic (Romania)

This year is not about cinema as quantity. We’ve all become people of strategy, petit-bourgeois activists who do our best to figure out how our own field should survive these months of hell. URL is not cinema’s utopic phase. That has to do with many things, out of which I’d like to highlight only two – 1. online cinephilia, no matter how freewheeling, is just a facet of the commodity fetish we’re more or less embracing in the 21st century, a much more non-confrontational arena than public space was able to achieve in the last decades, and 2. URL is a polluted space, where cinema melts in this amorphous mass of images from social media and publicity, all hungry for our time and attention. URL’s most ambitious avantgardes, such as the Facebook group la loupe, should shape tomorrow’s cinephilia and canons (and by this I mean how we organize and perceive film distribution, film festivals, cinematheques, etc.), not exclusively upload them on the Internet. A symbiosis. No matter how naïve, I sense the need to bring glimpses of all that bright minds were able to achieve through admirable piracy and film culture to the big screen.


 

Denis Cooper
Filmmaker

Favorite 2020 films (in no order):
This Shore: A Family Story (Tzuan Wu, China, 2020)
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things (Charlie Kaufman, USA, 2020)
Stump The Guesser (Guy Maddin, Canada, 2020)
L’année Dernière À Dachau (Mark Rappaport, USA, 2020)
Mudmonster (O.B. De Alessi, Italy, 2020)
Notes From A Journey (Daniel & Clara, UK, 2020)
Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, Portugal, 2019)
Ground (Leslie Thornton, UK, 2020)
Maggie’s Farm (James Benning, USA, 2020)
Raw Power (Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt, France, 2020)
La France Contre Les Robots (Jean-Marie Straub, France, 2020)
Patric Chiha Si C’etait De L’amour
Equinox (Margaret Honda, Japan, 2019)
Equation To An Unknown (Dietrich De Velsa, France, 1981)
Color Out Of Space (Richard Stanley, USA, 2020)
Sammy-Gate (Noel Lawrence, USA, 2020)
About Endlessness (Roy Andersson, Sweden, 2019)
Kill, Kobek… Kill! (Nick Toti, USA, 2020)


 

Andreea Patru
Film critic and programmer (Romania/Spain)

Features
Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, USA, 2020)
The Disciple (Chaitanya Tamhane, India, 2020)
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross, USA, 2020)
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman, USA, 2019)
Malmkrog (Cristi Puiu, Romania, 2020)
Los Conductos (Camilo Restrepo, Colombia, 2020)
Shirley (Josephine Decker, USA, 2020)
Time (Garrett Bradley, USA, 2020)
Wisdom Tooth (Liang Ming, China, 2019)
Notturno (Gianfranco Rosi, Italy, 2020)

Shorts
The Unseen River (Ph?m Ng?c Lan, Vietnam, Laos, 2020)
Former Cult Member Hears Music for the First Time (Kristoffer Borgli, Norway, USA, 2020)
War in Academia (Lisa Östberg, Sweden, 2020)
Single Copy (Hsu Che-yu, Taiwan, 2019)
I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face (Sameh Alaa,  Egypt, France, Qatar, Belgium, 2020)


 

David S. Blanco
Film critic, filmmaker / Cineasta, crítico, staff Desistfilm (Spain)

  1. Beginning by Dea Kulumbegashvili. The birth of a star. The Georgian made history at the San Sebastián festival by taking home 4 awards, with a controversial, risky, and formally splendid debut film, which draws on aesthetic echoes of directors such as Tarkovsky, Tarr, Haneke, but with its own style, disturbing, and full of rage.
  2. Druk by Thomas Vinterberg. The Dane makes his best film since Festen, and excels in writing a very bitter comedy about the effects of alcohol on a group of four high school teacher friends. Skillful, funny, and without prudish moral doctrines.
  3. Eté 85, by François Ozon. The Frenchman shows us one of his best works of his career to portray the bloody and intense summer of 85 of two boys destined to meet and separate. Beautiful, tender, and loaded with teen angst, a jewel of the romantic coming of age, who shoots Call Me By Your Name and stands above Guadagnino.
  4. South Park: The Pandemic Special, by Trey Parker. The unstoppable creators of South Park dare to make a special chapter on the pandemic, and as a result, they point to politicians, doctors and, above all, society, as the main means of stupidity in order to stop the spread of the virus. Once again, putting the finger to the bottom of the wound, with brand-name situations.
  5. Nuevo Orden, by Michel Franco. Franco’s terrifying dystopian film, which lets go of his hair in a film, which, despite sharing thematic harshness and formal sobriety with his previous works, takes his work with the camera to a new dimension within his filmography, showing us a possible social conflict between the “rich” and the “poor”.
  6. Akelarre by Pablo Agüero. Surprising feminist film about a group of young girls who are accused of being witches in the 17th century Basque Country. Several formalities within a single work, which works like a glove full of energy, pyrotechnics, and claw. Social cinema, with a scent of genre.
  7. Las Niñas, by Pilar Palomero. One of the best coming of age ever shot in Spain. The winner at the Malaga film festival brings us a debut full of intimate details, formal precision, and pre-adolescent sweetness. One of the great female names to follow for the future.
  8. Una Ilusión Óptica, by Juan Cavestany. Meta cinema by vein, in this low-cost version of Inland Empire in a comedy key. Cavestany, get on with it. Trying to break the narrative from within his own film, blowing up the plot assumptions, and escaping from any academic structure. The result: Unclassifiable.
  9. Sentimental by Cesc Gay. Gay radiographs two ways of understanding couple relationships with just a flat and a dinner. The classic couple in decline, versus the new and more liberal. “Bergmanian” darts in a comedy key, focused mainly on sexuality, with truly inspired moments in the writing, and a direction of actors as superb as Cesc Gay has always accustomed us.
  10. Sportin ‘Life, by Abel Ferrara. Poetic, chaotic, and purely free work. Abel Ferrara is caught by the pandemic in the middle of his documentary, and builds an essay that rides from Berlin, music, and quarantine, towards reflections on art, the importance of family, friendship, and health. A very important tape to understand this 2020.

*

  1. Beginning de Dea Kulumbegashvili. El nacimiento de una estrella. La georgiana hizo historia en el festival de San Sebastián al llevarse 4 premios en el palmarés, con una polémica, arriesgada, y formalmente esplendida opera prima, que bebe de ecos estéticos de directores como Tarkovsky, Tarr, Haneke, pero con un estilo propio, perturbador, y lleno de rabia.
  2. Druk, de Thomas Vinterberg. El danés firma su mejor película desde Festen, y se luce en la escritura de una muy amarga comedia sobre los efectos del alcohol en un grupo de cuatro amigos profesores de secundaria. Hábil, divertida, y sin doctrinas morales mojigatas.
  3. Eté 85, de François Ozon. El francés nos uno de sus mejores trabajos de su carrera para retratar el maldito e intenso verano del 85 de dos chicos destinados a conocerse y separarse. Bella, tierna, y cargada de teen angst, una joya del coming of age romantico, que fusila a Call Me By Your Name y se sitúa por encima de Guadagnino.
  4. South Park: The Pandemic Special, de Trey Parker. Los insobornables creadores de South Park se atreven a hacer un capítulo especial sobre la pandemia, y como resultado, señalan a los políticos, médicos y, sobre todo, la sociedad, como el principal medio de estupidez de cara a frenar la expansión del virus. Una vez más, metiendo el dedo hasta el fondo de la herida, con situaciones marca de la casa.
  5. Nuevo orden, de Michel Franco. Terrorífica cinta distopica de Franco, que se suelta el pelo en una película, que, pese a que comparte la dureza temática y la sobriedad formal, con sus anteriores trabajos, lleva el trabajo con la cámara a una nueva dimensión dentro de su filmografía, mostrándonos un posible conflicto social entre los “ricos” y los “pobres”.
  6. Akelarre de Pablo Agüero. Sorprendente película feminista sobre un grupo de chicas jóvenes que son acusadas de ser brujas en el País vasco del siglo XVII. Varias formalidades dentro de una única obra, que funciona como un guante lleno de energía, pirotecnia, y garra. Cine social, con aroma de género.
  7. Las niñas, de Pilar Palomero. Uno de los mejores coming of age jamás rodados en España. La ganadora en el festival de cine de Málaga, nos trae un debut lleno de detalles intimistas, precisión formal, y dulzura preadolescente. Uno de los grandes nombres femeninos a seguir de cara al futuro.
  8. Una ilusión Óptica, de Juan Cavestany. Meta cine por vena, en esta versión low cost de Inland Empire en clave de comedia. Cavestany, sigue a lo suyo. Intentando romper la narración desde dentro de su propia película, dinamitando los presupuestos argumentales, y escapando de cualquier estructura académica. El resultado: Inclasificable.
  9. Sentimental de Cesc Gay. Gay radiografía dos formas de entender las relaciones de pareja con tan solo un piso y una cena. La clásica pareja en decadencia, frente a la nueva y másliberal. Dardos “Bergmanianos” en clave de comedia, centrados principalmente en la sexualidad, con momentos en la escritura realmente inspirados, y una dirección de actores tan soberbia como siempre nos tiene acostumbrados Cesc Gay.
  10. Sportin’ Life, de Abel Ferrara. Obra poética, caótica, y puramente libre. A Abel Ferrara le pilla la pandemia en mitad de su documental, y construye un ensayo que cabalga desde Berlín, la música, y la cuarentena, hacia las reflexiones sobre el arte, la importancia de la familia, la amistad, y la salud. Una cinta muy importante para entender este 2020.

 

Aldo Padilla
Film critic, staff  Desistfilm (Bolivia, Chile)

A good part of the films that circulated this year at festivals have become a bubble that seems to be moving away from the pandemic confinement and the Latin American insurrections that defined this last year. Possibly the end of López Carrasco is the one that comes closest to the gaze of the bubble that was totally broken on this side of the world, but seen as a mirror from the Spain of 92. The loneliness of Days is reflected by the total distancing of the which we were forced to do this year or Hittman’s sobriety when portraying the struggle for a safe and free abortion, are also part of a photograph of a decade that is passing. It seems that the inert struggle between those who believed that the decade would end in 2019 or 2020, ended with the almost total cancellation of the year, whose only window was a 720-pixel screen and a “do you hear me well” as a synthesis of what has arrived and what is coming.

*

Buena parte de los filmes que circularon este año en festivales, se transforman en una burbuja que parece alejarse del encierro pandémico y de las insurrecciones latinoamericanas que definieron este último año. Posiblemente el fin de López Carrasco sea el que más se acerca a la mirada de la burbuja que se rompió totalmente en este lado del mundo, pero visto como un espejo desde la España del 92. La soledad de Days está reflejada por el distanciamiento total al cual nos vimos obligados este año o la sobriedad de Hittman a la hora de retratar la lucha por un aborto seguro y gratuito, son también parte de una fotografía de una década que se va. Parece que la inerte lucha entre los que creían que la década se acaba en el 2019 o el 2020, se saldó con la anulación casi total del año, cuya única ventana fue una pantalla de 720 pixeles y un “me escuchas bien” como síntesis de lo que se llegó y de lo que se viene.

Top 10

  1. El año del descubrimiento, Luis López Carrasco, España, 2020
  2. Days, Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan, 2020
  3. The Woman Who Ran, Hong Sang-soo, Corea del Sur, 2020
  4. Undine, Christian Petzold, Alemania, 2020
  5. First Cow, Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2019
  6. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, Gu Xiaogang, China, 2019
  7. Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Eliza Hittman, USA, 2020
  8. The Works and Days, C.W. Winter y Anders Edström, USA, Suecia, Japón, UK, 2020
  9. Chaco, Diego Mondaca, Bolivia, Argentina, 2020
  10. La mafia non è più quella di una volta, Franco Maresco, Italia, 2019

Top 10 Avant-Garde

  1. Daniel fait face, Marine Atlan, Francia, 2018
  2. Los páramos, Jaime Puertas, España, 2019
  3. Tal día hizo un año, Salka Tiziana, España, Alemania, 2020
  4. Of Land and Bread, Ehab Tarabieh, Israel, Palestine, 2019
  5. Santikhiri Sonata, Thunska Pansittivorakul, Tailandia, Alemania, 2019
  6. Das Spiel, Roman Hodel, Suiza, 2020
  7. Apparition, Ismaïl Bahri, Francia, 2020
  8. Apples, Christos Nikou, Grecia, 2020
  9. Los Ojos del Sapo, Juan Cifuentes Mera, Chile, 2020
  10. Fordlandia Malaise, Susana de Sousa Dias, Brasil, 2019

Top 10 Cine Latino 2019 / Top 10 Latino Cinema 2019

  1. Las ranas, Edgardo Castro, Argentina, 2020
  2. Las Fauces, Mauricio Maldonado, Colombia, 2020
  3. Los conductos, Camilo Restrepo, Colombia, 2020
  4. Sueños de Pedro, Fernando Restelli y Francisco Fantin, Argentina, 2020
  5. Responsabilidad empresarial, Jonathan Perel, Argentina, 2020
  6. Las mil y una, Clarisa Navas, Argentina, 2020
  7. La Muerte Está en Los Catres, Ronnie Fuentes, Chile, 2020
  8. Carne, Camila Kater, Brasil, 2019
  9. Ya no estoy aquí, Fernando Frías, México, USA, 2019
  10. Los nombres de las flores, Bahman Tavoosi, Bolivia, Catar, Canada, 2019

 

Aaron Cutler
Programador (EE.UU. / Brasil)

Algunas películas que me marcaron en 2020:
Apparition (Ismaïl Bahri, France, 2020)
Corbusierhaus (Azucena Losana, Argentina, Germany, 2020)
La France contre les robots (Jean-Marie Straub, France, 2020)
Labor of Love (Sylvia Schedelbauer, Germany, 2020)
Notes, Imprints (On Love) (Parts 1 and 2) (Alexandra Cuesta, USA, Ecuador, 2020)
O fabul? (Radu Jude, Greece, 2020)
Sem Título #6: O Inquietanto (Carlos Adriano, Brazil, 2020)
See You in My Dreams (Shun Ikezoe, Japan, 2020)
The Rabbit Hunters (Guy Maddin/Evan Johnson/Galen Johnson, Canada, 2020)
The Return of Osiris (Essa Grayeb, Palestine, 2019)
Una película en color (Bruno Delgado Ramo, Spain, 2019)

Mejores películas que vi sobre la pandemia (hasta ahora) / Best films I’ve seen about the pandemic (until now): Untitled (Takashi Makino)  + Jardín de piedra (Gustavo Fontán)

Mejor experiencia de participar en un festival online: MUTA. El cuidado de hacer una cosa pequeña, con atención y respecto dado para cada obra de forma personal, fue delicioso de ver. Quizás la elección pueda aparecer extraña en consideración de las conexiones entre el festival y desistfilm, pero como dicen personas sabias que ya conocí, “la verdad es verdad”. / Best experience of participating in an online festival: MUTA. The care of making a small thing, with attention and respect give to each work on a personal way, was delighting to see. Maybe the election may seem strange in consideration with the connections between the festival and desistfilm, but as wise people that I’ve already met say, “the truth is true”

Restauración del año/Restoration of the year: Shatranj-e Baad (aka The Chess Game of the Wind, Mohammad Reza Aslani)

Recuperación del año/Recovery of the year: Rocinha Brasil 1977 (Sérgio Péo)

Experiencia estética del año: La experiencia de ver las películas de la Trilogia Taisho, de Seijun Suzuki (Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za, Yumeji), en copias excelentes de 35 mm, en el Instituto Moreira Salles en San Pablo en enero. Hasta mismo en un mundo sin el coronavirus, tengo dificultad de imaginar un encantamiento mayor. / Asthetic experience of the year: The experience of watching the films of Seijun Suzuki’s Taisho Trilogy (Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za, Yumeji) in excellent 35mm copies, in the Instituto Moreira Salle in Sao Paolo in January. Even then in a world without coronavirus, I find it difficult to imagine a bigger enchantation.

Un buen 2021 para todo el mundo. / A good 2021 for everyone.


Malena Martínez
Filmmaker (Peru)

In no order, except for the first one. I choose films for the impression they have made on me, for their resonance on me, no matter how slow it comes, how much I remember them in the future./ No tienen orden necesariamente excepto por la primera. Elijo las películas por la impresión que me han causado, por su resonancia en mí, no importa cuán lenta esta llegue, por cuánto las recuerdo en el futuro.

Her socialist smile de John Gianvito, EEUU 2020. Visto en la Viennale 2020
First cow de Kelly Reichardt, EEUU 2019.Viennale 2020
La casa es negra de Forough Farrokhzad, Irán 1963. Visto online en Cineclub Libro de la imagen
Fauna de Nicolás Pereda, México 2020.Viennale 2020
Lua Vermella de Lois Patiño, España 2020. Viennale 2020
Mamapara de Alberto Flores Vilca (en quechua), Puno- Perú 2019. Enlace privado.
Déjà vu de Cel Zárate. Ayacucho-Perú, 2020.Visto en el Concurso de cortos desde el confinamiento de Amaru Producciones.
Llamkayachany de Danila Gil (en quechua). Ayacucho-Perú 2020.Visto en el Concurso de cortos desde el confinamiento de Amaru Producciones.
Responso de Raúl Chuquimia, Arequipa-Perú 2020.Visto en el Concurso de cortos desde el confinamiento de Amaru Producciones.
Tunanteras de Geraldine Zuasnabar, Huancayo – Perú 2019.Visto en el canal YouTube de Chola Contravisual
Todo comenzó por el fin de Luis Ospina, Colombia 2015.Retrospectiva de Luis Ospina en Dafilms
Omelia contadina (homilía campesina) de Alice Rohrwacher, Italia, 2019  (Viennale 2020) .
Selva trágica de Yulene Olaizola, México 2020. Viennale 2020
 


 

Wilder Zumarán
Crítico, staff de Desistfilm (Perú)

Año de la pandemia, del encierro, del aislamiento. En Perú, un año más de lucha, un despertar a medias. En el mundo, el profundo desmantelamiento de un sistema sórdido. 2020. Para mí, un año en el que ver películas ha sido muy difícil, pero no por nostalgia de las salas. Me gusta ir a las salas, encontrarme con amigxs, hablar sobre cine, pero creo firmemente en la validez de todos los soportes, y no hacerlo me parece inmensamente clasista e hipócrita. Si este año vi poco cine (y escribí menos) fue por una fuerte sensación de insuficiencia, de incapacidad, de impotencia, por una profunda sensación de soledad. Sin embargo, de vez en cuando, algunas películas (apariciones espectrales) me fueron acompañando. De ellas, les comparto mis preferidas:

Year of the pandemic, of the confinement, of isolation. In Peru, one more year of struggle, a half awakening. In the world, the deep dismantling of a sordid system. 2020. For me, a year in which watching movies has been very difficult, but not because of nostalgia for theaters. I like going to theaters, meeting friends, talking about cinema, but I firmly believe in the validity of all media, and not doing so seems immensely classist and hypocritical. If this year I saw little cinema (and wrote less) it was because of a strong sense of inadequacy, incapacity, powerlessness, a deep sense of loneliness. However, from time to time, some movies (spectral appearances) were accompanying me. Of them, I share my favorites:

Para todas as moças (2019) – Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro
I was at home, but… (2019) – Angela Schanelec
Lúa Vermella (2020) – Lois Patiño
Days (2020) – Tsai Ming Liang
Jeanne (2019) – Bruno Dumont
Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another (2019) – Jessica Sarah Rinland
El año del descubrimiento (2020) – Luis López Carrasco
A portuguesa (2019) – Rita Azevedo Gomes
Avant l’effondrement du Mont Blanc (2020) – Jacques Perconte
Las ranas (2020) – Edgardo Castro
+5
A febre (2020) – Maya Da-Rin
Mi piel, luminosa (2019) – Nicolás Pereda, Gabino Rodríguez
Ceniza verde (2019) – Pablo Mazzolo
Anthology for Fruits and Vegetables (2019) – Dawn George
El concierto de Travis Scott en FORNITE

Cinco películas peruanas / Five peruvian films
Material encontrado y/o idea de una casa – (2020) – Isaac Ernesto Ruiz
[En tre] Fuego incesante (2020) – Ivonne Sheen
Laguna Negra (2020) – Felipe Esparza
Calle Eielson (2020) – Nicole Hurtado, Paulo César Peña
Mamapara (2019) – Alberto Flores Vilca

Descubrimientos/Discoveries
– Nicolás Guillén Landrián
Revisitas/Revisits:  Barbara Hammer, Jorge Sanjinés y Narcisa Hirsch

Dos propuestas curatoriales / Two curatorial proposals:
Brasa dormida: cine brasileño 2013-2019, curado por Victor Guimarães (Frontera Sur: Festival Internacional de Cine de No Ficción)
Filmo, luego existo: El cine de Narcisa Hirsch (Corriente: Encuentro Latinoamericano de Cine de No ficción)

Peor película del año: Emma (2019) – Pablo Larraín


 

Ángel Rueda
Director (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico

Films:
Propiedades de una Esfera Paralela (Valentina Alvarado, 2020) 16mm
Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another (Jessica Sarah Rinland, 2019) 16mm
Los Conductos (Camilo Restrepo, 2020) 16mm
El año del descubrimiento (Luis López Carrasco, 2020) video
Colección Privada (Elena Duque, 2020) Super 8
Austrian Pavilion (Philipp Fleischmann, 2019) 35mm
Transcript (Erica Sheu, 2019) 35mm
Poilean (Claudio Caldini, 2020) video.
Amaryllis – A Study (Jayne Parker, 2020) 16mm
Further Radical (Stefano Canapa, 2020) 35mm
Where I don’t meet you (Charlotte Clermont, 2019) Super 8
Houses (for Margaret) (Luke Fowler, 2019) 16mm
Memby (Rafael Castanheira Parrode, 2020) video
Marcas (Aldara Pagán, 2020) Super 8. En su versión performativa realizada en el (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña.

Programas y Eventos presenciales: / Programs and face-to-face events:
– El programa, In memoriam to Luther Price, realizado por el (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña, especialmente la sesión presencial, que bajo el título Luther Price as Tom Rhoads, nos permitió disfrutar de dos títulos fundamentales en la obra de Luther Price, Warm Broth (1987-1988) y Green (1988), ambos proyectados en su formato original de super 8. / The program, In memoriam to Luther Price, carried out by the (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña, especially the face-to-face session, which under the title Luther Price as Tom Rhoads, allowed us to enjoy two fundamental titles in Luther’s work Price, Warm Broth (1987-1988) and Green (1988), both screened in their original super 8 format.
– La Film Performance realizada por Valentina Alvarado y Carlos Vásquez, Paracronismos II, realizada con sonido en directo, proyecciones en 16mm, super 8 y proyector de diapositivas dentro de la sección Desbordamientos del (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña. / The Film Performance by Valentina Alvarado and Carlos Vásquez, Paracronismos II, made with live sound, 16mm projections, super 8 and slide projector within the Overflows section of the (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña.
– La Live Performance, Liquid Light Show, realizada por Adrián Canoura y Alejandro Canoura dentro del foco del programa Sinais que el (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña, le realizó a Adrián Canora. /  The Live Performance, Liquid Light Show, carried out by Adrián Canoura and Alejandro Canoura within the focus of the Sinais program that the (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña carried out for Adrián Canora.
– El programa sobre Dore O, diseñado por Elena Duque para el Festival de Cine Europeo de Sevilla y entre las que se encuentra la imprescindible Kaskara (1974) /  The program about Dore O, designed by Elena Duque for the Seville European Film Festival and among which is the essential Kaskara (1974)
– La completa retrospectiva a Stan Brakhage en 16mm, que desde hace años viene desarrollando la Filmoteca de Galicia – CGAI, que pudimos disfrutar hasta el pasado Febrero y aunque interrumpida por la pandemia hemos podido recuperar este pasado noviembre. / The complete retrospective to Stan Brakhage in 16mm, which the Filmoteca de Galicia – CGAI has been developing for years, which we were able to enjoy until last February and although interrupted by the pandemic we have been able to recover this past November.
– Las tres sesiones de Guy Debord: Contra el Cine, organizadas en noviembre por la Filmoteca de Galicia – CGAI y que contó en cada programa con las excepcionales presentaciones (online) a cargo del maestro Paulino Viota. / The three sessions of Guy Debord: Against the Cinema, organized in November by the Filmoteca de Galicia – CGAI and which featured exceptional presentations (online) by maestro Paulino Viota in each program.
– El programa Kino~Okno, organizado por Bruno Delgado en el refectorio del Espacio Santa Clara (Sevilla) que incluyó instalaciones, performances e intervenciones cinematográficas en super 8 y 16mm. / The Kino ~ Okno program, organized by Bruno Delgado in the refectory of Espacio Santa Clara (Seville) that included installations, performances and cinematographic interventions in super 8 and 16mm.

Programas y contenidos On line: / Online programs and content:
– Los programas Camera Obscura, realizados por el (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña, para su edición online que contaron con la participación de AMY HALPERN, ALEXANDRE LAROSE, TOMONARI NISHIKAWA y especialmente el realizado IN MEMORIAM LUTHER PRICE que contó con la participación de Ed Halter y que incluyó en primicia una entrevista realizada a Luther Price durante su visita a Coruña en la edición del 2017 y que nunca se había mostrado. / The Camera Obscura programs, produced by the (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña, for their online edition that had the participation of AMY HALPERN, ALEXANDRE LAROSE, TOMONARI NISHIKAWA and especially the one carried out IN MEMORIAM LUTHER PRICE which had the participation by Ed Halter and that included a scoop of an interview with Luther Price during his visit to Coruña in the 2017 edition and that had never been shown.
– Las presentaciones de los programas online, La Flor del Día, realizados por Elena Duque en el (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña Pura didáctica y divulgación cinematográfica. / The presentations of the online programs, La Flor del Día, made by Elena Duque at the (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico de A Coruña Pure didactic and cinematographic dissemination.
– La correspondencia fílmica, Hay cartas que detienen un instante más la noche. Comisariada por Sergi Álvarez Riosalido para la actividad online de LA CASA ENCENDIDA – La Casa On. Y en especial la realizada entre Valentina Alvarado y Nazli Dincel. / Film correspondence, There are letters that stop the night for a moment longer. Curated by Sergi Álvarez Riosalido for the online activity of LA CASA ENCENDIDA – La Casa On. And especially the one between Valentina Alvarado and Nazli Dincel.
– Las 36 sesiones online de Remains to be Streamed que generosamente Mark Toscano nos ha regalado a través de su canal de IGTV, todos los martes desde los últimos 9 meses a las 8pm PST. / The 36 online sessions of Remains to be Streamed that Mark Toscano has generously given us through his IGTV channel, every Tuesday for the last 9 months at 8pm PST.
– Los encuentros online Luxando de Sound Art + Experimental Cinema, comisariados por Alexandra Gelis y Jorge Lozano para Santo Noise que tuvo como protagonistas a cineastas como, Joyce Wieland, Malena Szlam, Madi Piller, Francisca Durán y Lindsay Mcintyre. / The Luxando online meetings of Sound Art + Experimental Cinema, curated by Alexandra Gelis and Jorge Lozano for Santo Noise, which featured filmmakers such as Joyce Wieland, Malena Szlam, Madi Piller, Francisca Durán and Lindsay Mcintyre.
– También quiero destacar algunos de los programas online que se realizaron desde algunas Filmotecas y que abrieron sus archivos durante la pandemia, lo que nos permitió acceder a algunas obras de difícil acceso, como fue el caso de la Cinémathèque françaiseFilmmuseum München, o la Filmoteca Española y su programa El Doré en Casa. / I also want to highlight some of the online programs that were carried out by some Film libraries and that opened their archives during the pandemic, which allowed us to access some works that were difficult to access, such as the Cinémathèque française, Filmmuseum München, or the Filmoteca Española and its program El Doré en Casa.
– Respecto a los festivales que tuvieron que llevar toda su programación a un formato online, destacaría por su rigurosidad, forma y contenido al Media City Film Festival, que a través de su programa THOUSANDSUNS CINEMA que actualmente está en disponible para todo el mundo en su web. / Regarding the festivals that had to take all their programming to an online format, the Media City Film Festival would stand out for its rigor, form and content, which through its THOUSANDSUNS CINEMA program that is currently available to everyone on its website.
– Y por último para cerrar lo más destacado de este año 2020, y teniendo en cuenta que el cine también es un espacio que habitar donde cobijarse del temporal, mi film refugio durante este año ha sido, Fuses (Carolee Schneemann, 1967) que me acompaño, dio luz y calor, para llevarme allí donde quería estar y era imposible hacerlo. / And finally to close the highlights of this year 2020, and taking into account that the cinema is also a space to inhabit where to shelter from the storm, my refuge film during this year has been, Fuses (Carolee Schneemann, 1967) who accompanied me , gave light and heat, to take me where I wanted to be and it was impossible to do so.


 

Libertad Gills & Martin Baus
Libertad Gills (cineasta, investigadora, profesora) y Martin Baus (cineasta, artista sonoro,
investigador), Ecuador.

Our bilingual list includes films and international audiovisual events which we saw/heard on our personal screens during the 2020 pandemic. As we make this list, we realize that there was much to see and participate in this year and we look forward to seeing how virtual screenings and live online events will continue to be explored in the following years. We are also very much looking forward to going back to the cinemas at some point, hopefully soon!

For now, we are grateful to the organizers and programmers of these events, who made it possible for us to feel cinema in new and not-so-distant ways.
With love, Libertad Gills (filmmaker, researcher, scholar based in Ecuador) and Martin Baus (filmmaker, sound artist, researcher from Chile).

*
Nuestra lista bilingüe incluye películas y eventos internacionales audiovisuales que vimos y escuchamos en nuestras pantallas personales durante la pandemia de 2020. Mientras creamos esta lista, nos damos cuenta que hubo mucho para ver este año (a pesar de no pisar una sala de cine desde marzo) y nos hace ilusión ver cómo las proyecciones virtuales y eventos en vivo serán explorados en los próximos años. Por supuesto, deseamos mucho regresar a las salas, ¡y esperamos poder hacerlo pronto! Por ahora, queremos expresar nuestra gratitud a los organizadores y programadores que se esforzaron este año para traernos el cine a nuestros hogares. ¡Gracias!
PD: Evidentemente el cine es más que solo películas.

Favorite premiere / Estreno favorito
La France Contre les Robots (Jean-Marie Straub, 2020) – Kinoslang (April 5th)
The Giverny Document (Ja’Tovia Gary, 2019) – Hammer Museum (April 22 nd )
Nunca subí el Provincia (Ignacio Agüero, 2019) – Festival EDOC (24 de septiembre)

Favorite revival / Película recobrada
La fórmula secreta (Rubén Gámez, 1965), presentada por el Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, en diálogo con Azucena Losana y Elena Pardo (13 de agosto).
El subamericano (Gustavo Valle, 1976), versión sonorizada en 2020 presentada por Rialécticas Jornadas Cinematográficas de Guayaquil.
El día que me quieras (Leandro Katz, 1997), presentada por Fundación PROA, con Leandro Katz en conversación con Eduardo Grüner (5 de agosto).

Favorite program in festival / Mejor programa en un festival
Nobody is a Citizen, curated by Nicole Brenez for DOBRA.

Favorite independent program /Mejor programa independiente
Gewaltpia: Motoharu Jonouchi and the Japanese Avant-Garde, co-presented by Screen Slate and Collaborative Cataloging Japan, organized and programmed by Go Hirasawa, in conversation with Masao Adachi (November 19).

Favorite programming platform
Crystal Z Campbell’s Archive Acts.

Favorite performance-lecture
Terra Femme: A Performance Lecture About Women and the Travelogue Archives, by Courtney Stephens, as part of Open City Documentary Festival (September 13 th ).

Favorite retrospective / Mejor retrospective
Klaus Wyborny Retrospective at Munich Filmmuseum.

In memoriam / Evento conmemorativo
The Many Legacies of Sarah Maldoror, presented by Another Gaze (May 12 th ).
Bob Kaufman’s Collected Poems: A celebration after his 95 th birthday, presented by City Lights Bookstore (October 29 th ).

Best Masterclass
Adrian Martin – FICValdivia (October 5 th )
Lucrecia Martel – FICValdivia (14 de octubre)

Favorite book presentation
Craig Baldwin: Avant to Live!, presented by co-editors Brett Kashmere (Canyon Cinema
Foundation/INCITE Journal of Experimental Media) and Steve Polta (San FranciscoCinematheque) (September 24 th ).
Afterimages: On Cinema, Women and Changing Times by Laura Mulvey, in conversation with Catherine Grant, organized by Bertha DocHouse and Birkbeck University (October 2 nd ).

Best live event
Re-encuentro por la liberación de lxs presxs políticxs, organizado por ¿Qué Hacer? –
Colectiva (Chile, 23 de agosto).

…and a personal favorite of the year:

Correspondencia: París-Guayaquil, lectura del inicio de una correspondencia audiovisual entre el cineasta Joseph Morder y el colectivo Guayaquil Analógico, realizado en el marco del V Encuentro Internacional de Investigación en Artes de la Universidad de las Artes de Ecuador (22 de julio).


Carlos Rentería
Cineasta, programador (Perú)

Cerca de las 18, después de la función de Valeria y la semana de las maravillas, pasé por el hall del Teatro San Martín. Devolvían las entradas para la siguiente función. “Listo, cerraron los cines”. Era jueves 12 de marzo. El año sobra. Poco después, BAFICI se suspendió. Luego, Cannes. Locarno. El vericueto, de por sí esquivo, de ver películas de estreno se embrolló. Los distribuidores se tornaron más mezquinos y muchos directores andaban preocupados por sus propias obras. Buena parte de las películas que se estrenaron antes del lockdown quedaron en un derrotero impredecible. Comenzaba en cierto desprecio inicial por los eventos online -que se convirtieron en casi los únicos-, que pasaba por distribuidores poco interesados en réditos menores a los que esperaban, y terminaba en la comprensible conclusión de un desbalance entre una corta experiencia emocional y años de trabajo. El mismo amigo que me enumeraba sus preocupaciones por el estreno de la película que produjo, luego me escribió para contarme que alguien con quien habíamos trabajado, y queríamos, andaba peleando contra el virus. Poco después -mientras leía los argumentos de una discusión de si el arte o el cine eran o no esenciales, de interlocutores que pretendían obviar la catástrofe sanitaria, abrigados en la coherencia de quien ve reducida su cuenta bancaria mientras la educación pública se hacía pedazos-, murió. Agradecí por cada festival que se lanzaba a lo ignoto con un suicida amor por su público. En general, la generosidad se hizo escasa y balsámica. Como el conocimiento sobre VPNs, IPs o, en esencia, piratería. A esta altura la curiosidad del cinéfilo debe verse hecha de un egoísmo frívolo e insano. Y con razón. A veces reviso el avatar del amigo que perdimos. Pienso que lo conocí para hacer una película diminuta, hecha con un presupuesto irrisorio para su pretensión pero que, finalmente, eso lo motivaba. Eso y que era de los generosos. Buena parte de este oficio quizá se parezca a perseguir ilusiones insanas o absolutamente egoístas. Pero hermosas por humanas e inenarrables por tan privadamente espirituales. Y luego uno no hace más que buscar eso tan privado en el otro o, a veces, en el arte.

Comparto esta lista con muchas “deudas”. Vi lo que pude, que seguramente fue poco. Sepan disculpar.

Around 6 pm, after Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, I went through the hall of the San Martín Theater. They returned the tickets for the next function. “Okay, the cinemas shut down.” It was Thursday, March 12. The year is left over. Soon after, BAFICI was discontinued. Then Cannes. Locarno. The inherently elusive path of watching first-run movies got tangled up. Distributors became more petty and many directors were concerned about their own works. Many of the films that were released before the lockdown were on an unpredictable course. It began with a certain initial contempt for online events -which became almost the only ones-, which passed through distributors little interested in lower revenues than they expected, and ended in the understandable conclusion of an imbalance between a short emotional experience and years of job. The same friend who listed his concerns for the release of the movie he produced, then wrote to tell me that someone we had worked with, and loved, was fighting the virus. Shortly after – while I was reading the arguments of a discussion on whether art or cinema were essential or not, by interlocutors who tried to avoid the health catastrophe, sheltered in the coherence of those who see their bank account reduced while public education was falling apart – , died. I was grateful for each festival that launched itself into the unknown with a suicidal love for its audience. In general, the generosity became sparse and balsamic. Like the knowledge about VPNs, IPs or, in essence, piracy. At this point the curiosity of the cinephile must be made of a frivolous and insane selfishness. That’s right. Sometimes I check the avatar of the friend we lost. I think I met him to make a tiny film, made with a ridiculous budget for his pretense but that, ultimately, that motivated him. That and he was one of the generous ones. Much of this business may seem like chasing insane or downright selfish illusions. But beautiful for human and unspeakable for so privately spiritual. And then one does nothing but look for that so private in the other or, sometimes, in art.

I share this list with many “debts”. I saw what I could, which surely was little. Apologize.

  • El año del descubrimiento, de Luis López Carrasco
  • City Hall, de Frederick Wiseman
  • Correspondencia, de Carla Simon y Dominga Sotomayor
  • La France contre les robots, de Jean-Marie Straub
  • Lúa vermella, de Lois Patiño
  • Mes chers espions, de Vladimir Léon
  • An unsual summer, de Kamal Aljafari
  • The woman who ran, de Hong Sang-soo
  • Malmkrog, de Cristi Puiu
  • Telé realité, de Lucile Desamory, Glodie Mubikay yGustave Fundi
  • The exit of the trains, de Radu Jude
  • A shape of things to come, de Lisa Malloy y J. P. Sniadecki
  • Lejano interior, de Mariano Llinás
  • Small axe: Lovers rock, de Steve McQueen
  • Undine, de Christian Petzold

Extra: Uncut gems -que debió estar el año pasado-, de Josh y Ben Safdie

Una peruana: Qué linda, de Bryan Rodríguez
Otra: Laguna negra, de Felipe Esparza
Una (otra) argentina: Adiós a la memoria, de Nicolás Pereda
Una (otra) latinoamericana: Los conductos, de Camilo Restrepo
Un país: España
Un director: Radu Jude


Germán Ayala
Director artístico. MIDBO – Muestra Internacional Documental de Bogotá (Colombia)

A pocos días de terminar este 2020, cuyas particularidades parecen no culminar el último día de este diciembre, realizo esta lista para compartir algunas de las películas que me acompañaron este año, y que a pesar de lo pequeño de la pantalla en la que vi la mayoría de estas, han logrado dejar algún eco que continúa resonando en mí.

A pesar de la saturación y agotamiento que las pantallas de computador han traído, y de habernos visto expulsados de las salas de cine, debo decir que, en lo personal, ha sido un año muy enriquecedor, tanto en el ejercicio de programación de un evento cinematográfico, como en el ejercicio libre, guiado por el gusto, de ver y disfrutar una película. Fue un año de bonitas sorpresas y hallazgos, con películas exigentes, y que, en este contexto, nos ha supuesto abrirnos a la posibilidad de conectar con la sensibilidad cinematográfica desde nuestras casas, en salas improvisadas.

Aprovecho para manifestar un profundo agradecimiento a las/los muchos directores, realizadores, productores, distribuidores, programadores, gestores y demás, que han continuado su labor y han tenido la valentía de probar caminos y estrategias para encontrar espectadores en medio de las circunstancias.

Por último, puedo adherir a aquellas palabras ya dichas por muchos: este ha sido un año en el que el cine nos brindó más compañía, nos cobijó y en algunos casos, ayudó a persistir. Cargado con la nostalgia de la sala de cine, y con cierta sensación de pesadumbre que quizás a muchos nos deja este 2020, he sentido con más fuerza la necesidad de celebrar el cine. Estas películas, la experiencia de verlas, independientemente de sus campos de trabajo o temáticas, puedo decir que permiten celebrar la vida del cine mismo, y me han recordado, una vez más, el carácter sensible de la creación de imágenes cinematográficas.

Aquí mi lista de películas que podría destacar de lo visto en el 2020.

*

A few days after the end of 2020, whose particularities seem not to culminate on the last day of this December, I make this list to share some of the films that accompanied me this year, and that despite the small screen on which I saw the Most of these have managed to leave an echo that continues to resonate with me.

Despite the saturation and exhaustion that computer screens have brought, and having seen us expelled from movie theaters, I must say that, personally, it has been a very enriching year, both in the programming of an event cinematic, as in the free exercise, guided by the taste, of watching and enjoying a movie. It was a year of beautiful surprises and discoveries, with demanding films, and that, in this context, has led us to open ourselves to the possibility of connecting with cinematographic sensibility from our homes, in makeshift rooms.

I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the many directors, filmmakers, producers, distributors, programmers, managers and others, who have continued their work and have had the courage to try ways and strategies to find viewers in the midst of the circumstances.

Finally, I can adhere to those words already said by many: this has been a year in which the cinema gave us more company, sheltered us and in some cases, helped us persist. Loaded with the nostalgia of the movie theater, and with a certain feeling of sorrow that perhaps this 2020 leaves us with, I have felt the need to celebrate cinema more strongly. These films, the experience of seeing them, regardless of their fields of work or themes, I can say that they allow us to celebrate the life of cinema itself, and they have reminded me, once again, of the sensitive nature of the creation of cinematographic images.

Here is my list of movies that could stand out from what was seen in 2020.

  1. O que arde (Oliver Laxe, Spain, 2019)
  2. It must be heaven (Elia Suleiman, France, 2019)
  3. matni – towards the ocean, towards the shore (Sky Hopinka, USA, 2020)
  4. La metamorfosis de los pájaros (Catarina Vasconcelos, Portugal, 2020)
  5. La vida en común (Ezequiel Yanco, Argentina, 2019)
  6. Intimate distances (Phillip Warnell, USA, 2020)
  7. State funeral (Sergei Loznitsa, Ukraine, 2019)
  8. Las razones del lobo (Marta Hincapié, Colombia,2020)

Un doblete que por afortunada casualidad pude ver con pocos días de diferencia, y cuyo diálogo me resulta más que interesante: / A doublet that by fortunate chance I could see a few days apart, and whose dialogue is more than interesting:

  1. Nuestras derrotas (Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2020) + Espero tua (re)volta (Eliza Capai, 2019)

Tres cortometrajes que quisiera destacar: / Three short films that I would like to highlight:

  1. Past perfect (Jorge Jacome, 2019),  Point and line to plane (Sofia Bohdanowicz, 2020), y quizás el mejor hallazgo dentro de los cortos colombianos que tuve laoportunidad de ver / and perhaps the best find within the Colombian shorts that I had the opportunity to see, Esta no es una historia sobre China (Francisca Jiménez, 2020).

Extra. Películas que fueron interesantes y sugestivas de redescubrir en este particular año: / Extra. Movies that were interesting and suggestive to rediscover in this particular year: Punishment Park (Peter Watkins, 1971), Genome Chronicles (Jhon Akomfrah, 2008), Branco sai, preto fica (Adirley Queiros, 2014).


 

Cristian Saldía
Cineasta, director y programador Festival Frontera Sur, Chile.

Days (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan, 2020)
El tango del viudo y su espejo deformante (Raúl Ruiz y Valeria Sarmiento, Chile, 2020)
El año del descubrimiento (Luis López Carrasco, Spain, 2020)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2019)
The Woman Who Ran (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 2020)
Visión nocturna (Carolina Moscoso, Chile, 2019)
Lúa Vermella (Lois Patiño, Spain, 2020)
Those that, at a distance, resemble another (Jessica Sarah Rinland, UK, 2019)
Jardín de piedra (Gustavo Fontán, Argentina, 2020)
Look Then Below (Ben Rivers, UK, 2019)
Playback. Ensayo de una despedida (Agustina Comedi, Argentina, 2019)
Historia de la revolución (Maxime Martinot, France, 2019)
Río turbio (Tatiana Mazú, Argentina, 2020)
Point and Line to Plane (Sofia Bohdanowicz, USA, 2020)

Mención especial para una película que me acompañó muy de cerca este año: / Special mention for a film that accompanied me very closely this year:
Out-Takes from the Life of Happy Man (Jonas Mekas)


 

Nicolás Carrasco
Film critic, filmmaker, producer, programmer (Peru)

30 películas de 2019 y 2020, vistas por primera vez en 2020 / 30 movies from 2019 and 2020, first seen in 2020

Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream (Frank Beauvais, France, 2019)
Uncut Gems (Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, USA, 2019)
Fourteen (Dan Sallitt, USA, 2019)
Ficción privada (Andrés Di Tella, Argentina, 2019)
Journal de Septembre (Eric Pauwels, Belgium, 2019)
About Endlessness (Roy Andersson, Sweden, 2019)
Thorax (Siegfried A. Fruhauf, Austria, 2019)
Diari d’un confinement (Octavi Brühl, Spain, 2020)
The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, USA, 2019)
Atenas (Cesar González, Argentina, 2019)
La deuda (Gustavo Fontán, Argentina, 2019)
Atlantis (Valentyn Vasyanovych, Ukraine, 2019)
Tlamess (Ala Eddine Slim, Tunisia, France, 2019)
My Mexican Bretzel (Nuria Giménez, Spain, 2019)
Enquanto estamos aqui (Clarissa Campolina, Luiz Pretti, Brazil, 2019)
Las mil y una (Clarisa Navas, Argentina, 2020)
VFW (Joe Begos, USA, 2019)
Stump the Guesser (Guy Maddin, Canada, 2020)
Richard Jewell (Clint Eastwood, USA, 2019)
A Febre (Maya Da-Rin, Brazil, France, Germany, 2019)
Un película hecha de (Malena Solarz, Nicolás Zukerfeld, Argentina, 2019)
Caterina (Dan Sallitt, USA, 2019)
Playback. Ensayo de una despedida (Agustina Comedi, Argentina, 2019)
Noite perpétua (Pedro Peralta, Portugal, 2020)
Ford v Ferrari (James Mangold, USA, 2019)
Krabi, 2562 (Anocha Suwichakornpong, Ben Rivers, Thailand, UK, 2019)
Bliss (Joe Begos, USA, 2019)
Correspondencia (Carla Simón, Dominga Sotomayor, Spain, Chile, 2020)
Spoon (Laila Pakalnina, Latvia, Norway, Lithuania, 2019)
Bajo mi piel morena (José Celestino Campusano, Argentina, 2019)

30 descubrimientos más felices del 2020/30 Happiest Discoveries of 2020

Growing Up (Chen Kun-hou, Taiwan, 1983)
Runaway Train (Andrei Konchalovski, USA, 1985)
The Raid (Hugo Fregonese, USA, 1954)
Flammes (Adolfo Arrieta, France, 1978)
The Scenic Route (Mark Rappaport, USA, 1978)
La Cecilia (Jean-Louis Comolli, France, Italy, 1975)
3 Bad Men (John Ford, USA, 1926)
Il bell’Antonio (Mauro Bolognini, Italy, 1960)
My Name is Julia Ross (Joseph H. Lewis, USA, 1945)
Merrilly We Go to Hell (Dorothy Arzner, USA, 1932)
Blonde Crazy (Roy Del Ruth, USA, 1931)
Prisioneros de la tierra (Mario Soffici, Argentina, 1939)
Long Live the Republic! (Karel Kachyna, Czechoslovakia, 1965)
Road to Life (Nikolai Ekk, USSR, 1931)
Fukujusô (Jiro Kawate, Japan, 1935)
Warlock (Edward Dmytryk, USA, 1959)
Decision Before Dawn (Anatole Litvak, USA, 1951)
Woman on the Run (Norman Foster, USA, 1950)
Working Girls (Lizzie Borden, USA, 1986)
Trying to Describe Oneself (Boris Lehman, Belgium, 2005)
Variety (Bette Gordon, USA, 1983)
Parapalos (Ana Poliak, Argentina, 2004)
Dance, Girl, Dance (Dorothy Arzner, USA, 1940)
The Story of the Flaming Years (Yuliya Solntseva, USSR, 1961)
Les autres (Hugo Santiago, France, 1975)
Rock Hudson’s Home Movies (Mark Rappaport, USA, 1992)
From the Journals of Jean Seberg (Mark Rappaport, USA, 1995)
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Japan, 2000)
The World in His Arms (Raoul Walsh, USA, 1952)
The Mystery of Chess Boxing (Joseph Kuo, Taiwan, 1979)

Comentarios: Quisiera mencionar (y agradecer) aquellos festivales y muestras que me acompañaron este año, haciéndolo un poco menos infeliz y solitario: D’A, Frontera Sur, Lima Alterna, Curtocircuíto, MUTA, el BAZOFI, Peña sin cadenas (los martes), el Cineclub La Quimera (los jueves), el Vimeo del Filmmusem München, The Cinemadness Movie, Rendezvous Film Club, The Cinephobe, Cathode Cinema, 36 Cinema y los enormes ciclos de Criterion Channel.

Comments: I would like to mention (and thank) those festivals and exhibitions that accompanied me this year, making it a little less unhappy and lonely: D’A, Frontera Sur, Lima Alterna, Curtocircuíto, MUTA, el BAZOFI, Peña sin chains (Tuesdays) , the Cineclub La Chimera (on Thursdays), the Vimeo of the Filmmusem München, The Cinemadness Movie, Rendezvous Film Club, The Cinephobe, Cathode Cinema, 36 Cinema and the enormous Criterion Channel cycles.


 

Farid Rodríguez
Filmmaker, programmer (Peru)

  1. The Woman Who Ran, de Hong Sang-soo (Corea del Sur)
  2. Luz nos Trópicos, de Paula Gaitán (Brasil)
  3. Last Evolution Kizuna, de Tomohisa Taguchi (Japón)
  4. Lúa vermella, de Lois Patiño (España)
  5. Song of Clouds, de Ankit Poudel (Nepal)
  6. In the Mirror, de Laila Pakalnina (Letonia)
  7. Apiyemiyekî?, de Ana Vaz (Brasil)
  8. Red Post on Escher Street, de Sion Sono (Japón)
  9. Regret, de Santiago Menghini (Canadá)
  10. Days, de Tsai Ming-liang (Taiwán)
  11. El agente topo, de Maite Alberdi (Chile)
  12. Homelands, de Jelena Maksimovic (Serbia)
  13. Chico ventana también quisiera tener un submarino, de Alex Piperno (Uruguay)
  14. Historia de lo oculto, de Jesús Ponce (Argentina)
  15. There Will Be No More Night, de Éléonore Weber (Francia)
  16. Chronicle of Space, de Akshay Indikar (India)
  17. Goodbye Mister Wong, de Kiyé Simon Luang (Laos)
  18. Heliconia, de Paula Rodríguez Polanco (Colombia)
  19. Fauna, de Nicolás Pereda (México)
  20. Río turbio, de Tatiana Mazú (Argentina)

Siete del 2019 vistas en 2020
The Plastic House, de Allison Chhorn (Australia)
Frem, de Viera Cákanyová (República Checa)
This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection, de Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho)
Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway, de Miguel Llansó (España)
Ghost Tropic, de Bas Devos (Bélgica)
Overseas, de Sung-A Yoon (Bélgica)
Night Has Come, de Peter van Goethem (Bélgica)

Películas peruanas
Persona perpetua, de Javier Bellido
Laguna negra, de Felipe Esparza
El tiempo y el silencio, de Alonso Izaguirre


 

Juan Carlos Lemus Polanía
Film critic and Cine con Acento podcast’s director

I had the idea to return in 2020 to film festivals after the hiatus I had during 2019. But, you know, the fucking reality allowed me to go to the Berlinale 70 only. This Berlinale edition, saying without fear of contradicting all things’ virtuality has given us today, was so powerful. But, let me share with you guys few thoughts about 2020.  Back in February we had already changed something. In Berlin, I spoke with several people about these many small changes we were watching. For example, the courtesy “bless you”, which we said when someone sneezed, was replaced in ours mind for the idea, and sometimes to speak it up, “cover that face, man!”. Then, holding hands due to misintelligence supported by the fear of the most human reality of all: dying, here and there we submit our life with more or less meekness to quarantine, to confinement, to “lockdown”. The new English word to get into everybody’s vocabulary. ¿A virus from East with an explanation and solutions from West? The globalization nightmare. Still we have the cinema as universal language. Therefore, alone and getting by with my own company I found in my cinephile pleasure a refuge for this fateful time. I summarize as follows:

Fauna (2020): with caustic humor Nicolás Pereda presents first, a grotesque family reunion where disconnection, pain and value of family relationships emerge. Then, the film pulls me into an absurd neo noir that shows the imbalances between a mining company and society settled in the same place. In both parts one can see how fictions and realities mark those who consume and are consume by them.

First Cow (Berlinale 70, 2020) Kelly Reichardt arrived in cold Berlin to warm it up with this delicate film-buff dish where the force of sometimes immutable events are shown, almost without being noticed: nature, traditions, migrants, ambition, friendship and how commercial companies often punish the last one.

The Trouble With Being Born (Berlinale 70, 2020): Sandra Wollner’s Sci Fi film involves me in what the philosopher Martha Nussbaum asks when she talks about emotions and the construction of morality and how narratives help us to build the empathy necessary to make us more human.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix, 2020) Charlie Kaufman returns and plays with his always fascinating journeys into the psyche of his characters. A vivid and intellectual soliloquy, sometimes terrifying, sometimes funny, of the process of remembering a life when it is gone.

Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, Amazon 2020) Is McQueen unleashed here? Feet that move and make noise, men and women who rub each other while dancing. A step-by-step manual for putting together a party, a movie where little else happens. However, it only takes me that night shown by the director to realize everything that happened at that moment in history. A poem to what we are while we share and we are together.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Berlinale, 2020) Eliza Hittman made her presentation at one of the three great European films festivals, and Carlo Chatriani is thanked for taking her out of the US. Cold, because it does not sweeten anything, the film shows its teenager protagonists with detail and respect on a journey of detachments. A great film, one of those who celebrate a friendship amalgamated by bad times and harsh passages.

Sin señas particulares (Fernanda Valadez, Zurich Film Festival, 2020) An impressive debut by this Mexican director in which I see myself reflected by being born where I was born. This circle of Latin American violence engendered in hell by inefficient institutions that inoculates us with the most terrible congenital disease: poverty. Our LatAm history of violence from other point of view, more poetic, and maybe because of that more horrific.

Malmkrog (Cristi Puiu, Berlinale 2020) As before it was an apartment, here it is a mansion. It seems that Puiu likes to invite us to certain spaces and then be listeners of the argumentative positions that his characters are assuming. Very beautiful cinema due to the parsimony of its very smooth camera movements, a film to watch several times and to contradict ourselves, like the servants shown, and move around in the positions of the main characters.

Siberia (Abel Ferrara, Berlinale 2020) Or what a sequel to Tommaso (2019) would be like. A sled that slides, that leaves, like life itself that gets into complications without ambiguity, without realizing it. Of course, the pain, the madness, the chasms and heights of the director and the questions that showing them leaves for the audience.

Colophon:

Paying last years’ debt: Dolor y Gloria (Pedro Almodóvar, 2019); Uncut Gems (hermanos Safdie, 2019, Netflix);
My contribution with the comercial fee: Mank (David Fincher, 2020: Netflix);
The usual: La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954);
The classic: Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940);
The unforgettable one: Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999);

From Colombia: Los conductos (Camilo Restrepo, 2020, Berlinale 70).

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