Friday, April 5, 2019

Fighting for Toronto

It’s a good time for young Toronto filmmakers. They’re making interesting work and it’s getting nicely distributed within the city. At Yonge and Dundas – of all places! – you can go out and see Jasmin Mozaffari’s Firecrackers and Natty Zavitz’s Acquainted, both of which I highly recommend. This feels new and exciting. The award-winning Firecrackers has such an intense energy: It’s the story of two young women (the incredible Michaela Kurimsky and Karena Evans) trying to leave their dead-end, small town lives to find something better in the big city. Think The Florida Project in rural Ontario. It’s an impressive debut feature for the energy of its actresses as they stop at nothing to get out of there, having to fight off some pretty god-awful men. There’s an adrenaline to Firecrackers as it’s always on the go, always scrappy. It feels like a really raw film (in the best sense of the term): as if it’s always on the brink of sweat, blood and tears.
If you’re looking for a film that’s explicitly set in Toronto (instead of pathetically substituting it for somewhere else) you need to see Acquainted. I think it deserves the highest of praise as I don’t think the city has ever looked so good: Think of a Toronto Now feature but with the most beautiful actors and actresses. Its story is of two relationships in crisis as three young adults need to figure out how to live and who to love. It’s a real step-up for Zavitz after his micro-budget first-feature EdgingHe’s a real actor’s director as, along with having such an impressive cast – Giacomo Gianniotti, Laysla De Oliveira and Rachel Skarsten –, the performances are all amazing. They express a surprising amount of depth just by their expressions, gestures and non-verbal scenes alone. But I think one of Acquainted’s real stars is its cinematographer Ian Macmillan who pulls off some astounding cinematography, which also resonates thematically with its story: The exhilaration of a first date is matched by a fifteen-minute tracking shot through Trinity Bellwoods, a melancholy confession is filmed entirely in shadows, and a reserved sexual encounter is filmed trough a doorway. Its pretty incredible.
            These two films are just the most recent examples of what’s exciting about Canadian cinema that is going on in the city, which I think is now starting to pay more attention to emerging directors and Canadian culture in film and television more broadly. It’s easy to be dismissive or jaded, but I actually think that these are positive signs. There needs to be people to believe in Canadian cinema for it to exist: Mozaffari and Zavits can be seen to be leading the way.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Les Cahiers Aujourd’hui : Le déssacord, les films et une communauté

There was an announcement on February 12ththat Richard Schlagman, the owner of Cahiers du Cinéma, would be selling the prestigious film magazine. Schlagman has had a relatively hands-off role there since purchasing Cahiers in 2008. As aside from helping decide its covers, my impression is that its chief-editor Stéphane Delorme had complete control of guiding the magazine over the last ten years. So the news about the sale leads to some speculation. What’s going to happen Cahiers? Is the current team going to stay? Will some of its earlier writers try to reacquire the magazine? Or will a new generation of younger writers try to take charge? And what legacy of the magazine will remain? 
It’s worth looking at Cahiers over the last year to see what image of itself it presents. What news of the world does it provide? What message in the bottle does it have to offer? After 2017’s emphasis on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return, which amazingly received three covers, the following year seemed like a return to priorities. They published a special issue on exactly this topic: Pourquoi le Cinéma? There they reaffirmed their core beliefs.
Pourquoi le Cinéma? was sparked by their desire to reaffirm why choose and love films as the art that organizes their interests and relationship to the world. Delorme acknowledge their core beliefs, “Il faut donc réaffirmer ses points cardinaux: le montage, la mise en scène, le réalisme, l’émotion, le film, le spectateur passif, la salle (ou l’idée de la salle), la pensée.” All of these beliefs are in strict opposition to homogeneity, the social, neoliberalism, cognitive sciences, content, social media, alienation and thoughtlessness. Cinema, according to Cahiers, begins with subjectivity and emotions. Films are more than just the information that they present and reception is more interpretative than it is assumed. Delorme writes, “l’émotion est éblouissante et elle transmet une idée qui n’est réductible ni à un concept ni à une information. La communication est littéralement une anesthésie.” The desire to experience negates the foreseeable, algorithms anesthetize.  
The defining developmental experience of cinephilia, for Delorme, is the curiosity of an adolescent whose imagination is sparked by experiencing a temporality and world different than what their accustomed to. He recounts a quite touching anecdote about how he experienced this moment,
“Qu’est-ce qui fait qu’un enfant de 14 ans, fan du Grand Bleu et d’Empire du soleil, découvre soudain Gens de Dublin de John Huston et éprouve un choc au point d’accrocher l’affiche dans sa chambre? Qu’est-ce qui fait que cet enfant habitué au cinéma spectaculaire est bouleversée par ce cinéma de chambre? Qu’est-ce qui dans cette histoire de Dublinois de la bonne société, vieux et moins vieux, du début du siècle, qui passe un réveillon à ne presque rien faire, sinon chanter, danser et reciter des poèmes, peut toucher un enfant qui est à milles lieues de cela?
Je me souviens des pas des chevaux dans la neige, de l’ambiance chaleureuse et feutrée, de danses qui s’arrêtent et reprennent, de regards détourneés, à la fois d’un endroit où on veut être et en même temps d’un malaise diffuse, qui devient tristesse et désastre. Un trou noir loge au coeur même de la maison la plus chaude. La comprehension qu’un film peut être fait de ces petits riens, de ces sensations, de ces lumières, de ces danses, de ces chambres vides, de ces paysages déserts, de la tessiture d’une voix qui chante, que l’émotion peut être encore plus grande à partir de ces presque riens. Que le cinéma, ce peut être ça.”
            The opposition to this emotional and intellectual awakening – of experiencing John Huston’s The Dead as a teenager and being overwhelmed by it – appears later on in the Cahiers dossier on technological totalitarianism (“Dans quel monde entrons-nous?”). The enemy for them becomes a person’s relationship of co-dependence with hyper-mediated digital technologies that are fostered by neoliberal societies. Delorme writes,
“L’idée même que le cinéma est un art est en train de disparaître: avec l’informatique, c’est logique, tout n’est plus qu’information. Les ‘produits’ et ‘programmes’ suffisent amplement aux dispositifs. Et il ne faut jamais oublier ce que ce totalitarisme tech part d’une haine originelle: le monde n’est pas assez, il en faut un autre. L’homme n’est pas assez, il faut le modifier. Le geek ne veut qu’une chose: fuir. Réel et rêve que jadis certains opposaient se retrouvent ensemble main dans la main à lutter contre le monde virtuel standardisé, d’autant plus dangereux qu’il se prétend personnalisé.”
            Cahiers bring an urgency and vitalness to their critiques. When online social media platforms and streaming services become so common place – whether they be Facebook, Twitter, Netflix – they become habits that reorient behaviours and thoughts. Here the Cahiers team becomes really critical. Especially in regard to how these technologies are designing and changing minds, which create addictions to their operations due to their constant gratification whether they be momentary engagement or ‘likes’. They don’t operate through discovery and imagination, protest or challenge but through habit and routine. There’s a submission and policing through their ambivalent ‘neutral’ interface. Delorme writes,
“Si tout nous est donné immédiatement, pourquoi accorder encore du prix à la patience? À la persévérance? À l’obstination? Au gout de la découverte et de l’exploration? Et de fait beaucoup deviennent incapables d’admirer ce qui demande de la curiosité, de l’exigence, de l’invention. L’indépendance est traité d’individualisme, et l’audace devient une faute de goût. Les nouvelles vertus seront tout le contraire: la réactivité, la souplesse, la disponibilité… Des mots très en vogue dans la novlangue du moment qui ne désignent en rien des vertus et qui masquent une tout autre réalité: l’obéissance, la lâcheté, la soumission.”
Jean-Philippe Tessé nicely concludes his contribution, “Contre l’ordre algorithmique, la cinéphilie comme désordre.” It’s a call for adventures and disorder. To disrupt routine and to get folks out of their bubbles. To encounter and experience others – a film, a public, a community – not as a social formation but as part of larger human community. Delorme really hits this home after the suicide of Oxana Shashko – one of the creators of FEMEN – as he writes, “Elle n’a pas laissé de lettre, mais sur Instagram, son dernier post nous brave: “You are fake.” Qu’est-ce qui prouve que nous ne le sommes pas? Que faisons-nous pour ne pas l’être?”
            So Cahiers becomes a place to think differently – away from laptops and cellphones – and to think about the world, the larger human community that everyone is a part of, through films. And Cahiers does this really well, I think.
            The Cahiers project is unique: it works through the curation of a limited selection of films. For every issue, for every month of the year, these are ‘the films to see’. It’s an affirmation that these are Cahiers films. They showcase them through a pop iconography. For example, last year they had Dolan, Spielberg, Anderson, Varda, Dumont and von Trier on their covers. They create events around these films as they give them the time and space to be thought through over many pages. Their lengthy features become a way for them to assert their priorities. They make particular arguments for the appreciation of the works in relation to a longer Cahiers history. They feature historical personalities that have been important to its past while also supporting the new eccentrics of French cinema (Mandico, Gonzalez, Dupieux).
Cahiers is very international as they try to connect to the world and explore new cinematographic territories. By travelling the world they expand their geography. In 2018 it reached a culmination with their special travelling issue, which focused on real locations and the films that had been set there. How do particular films and filmmakers see the world? Some examples of them include Apichatpong on Thailand, Muratova on Ukraine and Chahine on Egypt.
Their reviews of the Spielberg, Dumont, Godard and interview with von Trier offer interesting examples of particular Cahiers arguments and how through films they have a particular political relationship to the world.
            Spielberg’s The Post was really important for Cahiers in 2018 (it would make its top ten list) for its portrait of a press outlet in crisis and what it’s like running a paper. The emphasis is not so much on bearing witness to the times but on acting upon it and changing it. The Post is about the decision-making moment. Delorme’s editorial seems almost like a veiled self-portrait of what it’s like being a chief-editor, 
 “Enfin pour qui travaille dans la presse, Pentagon Papers est un cadeau enchanté. Du stagiaire qui court à sa mission jusqu’à la mise en acte de l’impression, c’est toute une chaîne qui est montrée avec un amour presque nostalgique. ‘Presque’ parce que l’aventure de la presse n’est pas finie, même si on n’en est plus très loin. Quand on voit les difficultés financières du distributeur de presse français Presstalis, on se demande quand les pouvoirs publics prendront la mesure du désastre en cours… Avec ce film ils applaudiront à la démocratie, à la liberation des femmes, au quatrième pouvoir, et ils retourneront pianoter candidement sur Twitter. Or le film nous rappelle ceci: qu’il ne peut y avoir de collusion entre la presse et un milieu. C’est aux mondanités que doit dire adieu Meryl Streep, c’est le prix de son indépendance. Et ceci: que la presse, son souci de vérité, d’intelligence, et de partage, et le temps de sa fabrication, de sa gestation, de sa pensée, est la seule condition pour que la communication n’emporte pas le monde dans sa frénésie.”
In their review of Coincoin et les Z'inhumains they make a particular argument about Dumont’s representation of refugees – a relevant world concern – that it’s not instrumentalizing or mocking but its positioned as part of a relationship of equality of people shaken up by a world that is in flux. Vincent Malausa and Jean-Philippe Tessé write,
“Quand le cinéma cherche un moyen de prendre en charge, par le documentaire ou la fiction, la question des migrants, Dumont, lui, se contente de prendre puissamment acte de leur présence, ici et maintenant, dans les paysages du Nord… Dumont se prive bien de tout propos à leur égard, parcequ’ici comme ailleurs il n’y a rien à dire, rien à redire: ils sont là, et la série rappelle en sourdine cette vérité qu’il n’y pas d’acceuil possible qui ne commence par prendre acte d’une présence. C’est bien ce qui est fait ici au-delà, c’est un autre temps, ce sont d’autres considération, mais qui n’appartiennent pas à la série.”
            The major event at Cannes 2018 was Godard’s Le livre d’image. In anticipation for it Cahiers featured the ’68 disruption with Godard and Truffaut on cover. The anniversary of France imagining itself a better future becomes for Delorme an opportunity to write about the divide between both the past and the present,
“Rarement commémoration aura finalement été aussi obscene, entre d’un côté la mythologie euphorique et exsangue et de l’autre un serrage de boulons sourd à la moindre revindication. Entre le tout était permis, et le plus rien n’est possible… Il ne faut pas pour autant rejeter la commemoration. Car penser 68, c’est penser de nouvelles manières de resister, d’imaginer et d’être ensemble, mais aussi l’ouvertures de nouveaux espaces.”
            And on Le livre d’image after it had premiered,
“Et toute la mélancolie des Histoire(s) du cinéma, ce deuil d’un siècle centre sur la guerre, se transforme en un discours d’urgence et d’alarme, un cri. Il fallait ce brouhaha, ce chaos, cette complexité pour que soudain une main tendue vers nous surgisse de l’écran et nous donne tout le courage du monde. En sortant de la sale, notre gratitude était immense.”
To conclude, von Trier offers some interesting remarks about his film The House That Jack Built
“Ce que je tourne, ce sont les ‘films qui manquent’ (missing films). Si vous prenez tous les films du monde, il resque quelques trous sur des idées qui n’ont pas été débattues ou qui vont peut-être trop loin. J’essaye de remplir ces trous.”
I find the idea of the missing film interesting and I want to posit that Cahiers is like the missing film magazine. There isn’t anything else really like it. It’s an object to think about and to dissent with. It organizes one’s relationship to the world through films. It’s for cinephiles and its political in a way that’s different than what you would usually see on social media or in cultural organizations. It’s home base in Paris accentuates the diversity of the films that it features. And it feels like it is at the forefront of something.  
If I needed to pick two word to describe the Delorme editorship of 2018 it would be glorious and angry. The two terms work together. Cahiers is a beautiful object with admiring reviews, but its authority only comes across through the intelligence of its writing and its critiques. That’s where it gets its substance. And their critiques have a way to infiltrate the things that it admires. It’s a reminder of the old adage: that you can only love if you can really hate. 
All of these things kind-of sum up what I think about Cahiers today. And I like them. I don’t want it to change. So I’m concerned about its future sale.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Le secret Rivette

Included in Jean-Luc Godard’s palimpsest Le livre d’image are photographs of Jacques Rivette and the title of one of his ultimate interviews “Le secret et la loi”. Though it’s an elusive allusion, it’s an important instance of Godard acknowledging the passing of his friend in 2016 in his own work (aside from a brief note to the Cinémathèque). It’s a tender gesture – one of sorrow and pride – as it’s a sign of lack due to regret and the missing of a friend and an act of solidarity to what they experienced together and their long history. 
Speaking to Alain Bergala, Godard remembered highly the esteem he held for Rivette:
“Rivette, lui, représentait une sorte de terrorisme cinématographique… J’aimais beaucoup un film et si Rivette disait ‘c’est de la connerie’ je disais comme lui. Il y avait un côté stalinien dans ces rapports-là. Avec Rivette, c’était comme s’il avait détenu la vérité cinématographique, différente de celle des autres, et pendant un temps j’ai accepté ça.”
This form of memorialization is part of a longer tradition for Godard of eulogizing his nouvelle vague peers who he had been friends with in the fifties: both in an enigmatic fashion, he would express his conflicting feelings towards François Truffaut in a special Cahiers issue “Le roman de François Truffaut” and he would make a short video-essay for Éric Rohmer. Now Rivette has been assumed.
The idea of the complot – conspiracy – is strongly present in Rivette’s film and his mysterious aura. There’s the Balzacian secret society in Out 1 (1971). There’s the elusiveness to Céline et Julie Vont en Bateau (1974) and Le Pont du Nord (1981), which don’t follow standard dramatic arches and conclusive resolutions. Rivette does something different and his private persona and his reticence for interviews and reluctance to re-publish his writing has only heightened his mystery. All of this recalls how Bulle Ogier, who had worked with Rivette on numerous films, speaks of him in the documentary Le veilleur,
“It’s hard to talk about Jacques Rivette because he’s so secret that if you say something about him or about his films or the way he works or lives, you feel terribly indiscreet, impolite… It would be in bad taste. A betrayal almost.”
Because he was so private, the publishing after his death of an anthology of his writing (and the same thing could be said about the opening up of the Chris Marker archives) seems somewhat indiscreet as it provides such an easy access point to his film criticism that he wished to remain obscure, even though there are some privileges of having them all in one place. 
The French publisher post-éditions, under the editorship of Miguel Armas and Luc Chessel, has recently published Jacques Rivette: Textes Critiques where you can find for the first time in one book ‘all’ of Rivette’s published film writing from his first essays in Bulletin du ciné-club du Quartier latin and Gazette du cinéma to the majority of it from Cahiers du Cinéma and Arts. There are long reviews to short capsules, top ten lists to unpublished writing; a long group essay “Montage” with Jean Narboni and Sylvie Pierre (1969) and “Le Secret et la Loi” by Hélène Frappat (1999). In terms of what it doesn’t have, you can’t find many of his interviews or the plethora of material that still makes his archive at the Cinémathèque française such a treasure trove (though even this, I suspect, is still lacking material).
What can be gleaned now from being able to go over the entirety of Rivette’s writing all in one place? First off: the pleasure of being around such a legendary cinephile, film critic and filmmaker. It needs to be said: Serge Daney was right about Rivette and Rivette was right about the films that he wrote about. For anyone who grew up with the Cahiers politique des auteurs and watched the films of Hitchcock and Hawks through their eyes there’s a real pleasure of re-reading and discovering some of Rivette’s original arguments and hyperbole.
On Howard Hawks: “L’évidence est la marque du génie de Hawks; Monkey Business est un film génial et s’impose à l’esprit par l’évidence” (“Génie de Howard Hawks”).
On Alfred Hitchcock: “Les films d’Hitchcock relèvent du secret professionnel… seul le metteur en scène, j’entends celui qui s’est posé les vrais poblèmes de son art, peut en pressentir la beauté” (“L’art de la fugue”).
On Roberto Rossellini: “S’il est un cinéma modern, le voilà” (“Lettre sur Rossellini”).
On Josef von Sternberg: “Anatahan, couronnement logique de l’oeuvre de Sternberg, est également le meilleur film japonais.”
            But beneath these claims Rivette is situating himself within a larger context of French film theory and criticism. There are reoccurring concepts that are interspersed throughout his writing such as realism, mise-en-scène, genius, liberty and modernity. There’s an evolution to his thought from participating in debates around cinégénie along the lines of Louis Delluc and Jean Epstein; to debates around realism along the lines of André Bazin and Maurice Schérer (Rohmer); and finally, to debates around structuralism along the lines of Roland Barthes and Claude Lévi-Strauss. All of the while implementing his own point of view. Rivette’s writing has the pointedness and authority of defining the films and filmmakers of his era. His film analyses are able to explain how these directors gives expression to an idea through their representation of the world. He would write on some of the most important filmmakers, dictating the Cahiers line as it was being conceived. I would highly suggest reading his pieces on Monsieur VerdouxUnder Capricorn and Les quatre cents coups.
Rivette’s first essay “Nous ne sommes plus innocents” (1950) is interesting for laying down many of his key theories that he would remain loyal to over time. In particular how through its focus on humans and their gestures there can be an existential position on the world that comes across. This is the réel and présence of a film, the focus on bodies and gestures, as opposed to conventional storytelling which is seen as superficial and formulaic. Rivettte described realism as:
“Inscrire simplement sur film les manifestations, le mode de vie et d’être, le comportement du petit cosmos individual… l’univers du créateur n’est que la manifestation, l’efflorescence concrète de son regard et de son mode d’apparaître.”
This idea, with some variation and adapting to specific refence points, reappears numerous times throughout his essays. For example, Rivette wrote on Jean Renoir’s use of improvisation,
“L’esprit d’improvisation anime en effet son oeuvre entière; mais se refuser à prévoir, filmer chaque plan suivant les seules nécessités de l’instant, ne sont pour lui qu’un moyen, pour appréhender le concret plus directement, sans intermédiaire, et dans toute sa spontanéité.”
            Though abstract, these excerpt from Rivette’s earliest texts read like a manifesto of what he would champion the most and bring to his own filmmaking practice: intimate behaviours of individuals, capturing the way of life of beings, an improvisational spirit, refusing preconceptions and the necessity of the instant in all of its spontaneity.
There’s an attempt in “Le Secret et la Loi” for Rivette to directly explain some of his ideas and what they mean for him. He presents his theory of film rather succinctly: narrative films circulate around laws and secrets. For Rivette la loi is,
“c’est-à-dire quelque chose qui est construit par la raison pour donner à l’homme ce qui va lui permettre de constituer, de prolonger, de faire survivre son humanité, c’est-à-dire, et là je continue à essayer de citer Legendre, ce qui va lui permettre de faire exister tant le sujet que la fiction, deux termes qu’il met sur le même plan.”
For Rivette le secret is,
“Mais secret au sens le plus fundamental: pour continuer à citer Paulhan qui dit qu’il ne faut jamais oublier que le propre du mystère est d’être mystérieux, ce secret-là est un secret de l’être, un secret que ne connaît pas le cinéaste, c’est un secret que le cinéaste porte sans le savoir, c’est le secret de choses très personnelles, très existentielles, très suggestives, et que le film se trouve porter: au-delà de ce que voulait consciemment le cinéaste, il dit des choses sur lui, et donc, à travers lui, sur l’humanité, choses qu’il n’avait pas la moindre intention de dire.”
            These points offer a way to re-read the anthology and Rivette’s body of work. He’s speaking about the symbolic and the super-ego to use Lacan’s terms. What social factors motivate behaviour in contrast to a subject’s most intimate and hidden desires. For the modern filmmakers that Rivette wrote about they were able to accomplish this. But what’s so great is that Rivette’s theory doesn’t leave you with anything tangible. This emphasis on the relation between both terms relies on the imposition of a point of view while simultaneously eluding mastery. It only leaves more questions unanswered, creates more thought and allows more mysteries to propagate. There are still new inquiries to be had. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Toronto on Film ! (Winter 2019 Season)

The idea behind the “Toronto on Film!” series is to share important and undervalued films that have been made in this country. It’s meant to be a cinémathèque for older films that aren’t necessarily recognized as classics but that are important historically, aesthetically and socially as a way to explore the richness and diversity of Canadian cinema and more specifically Toronto films. Instead of attempting any form of totalizing gesture to explain what Canadian cinema is (as per the tradition in many ‘official’ world cinema anthologies), this series begins with the specific: not only is its goal to introduce, show and discuss a ‘Toronto film’ but its project is quasi-archeological as the films that will be emphasized will ideally be outside of the public-domain, forgotten about and unearthed from the archives. By being specific, through starting the conversation around particular films and their directors, the aim of this series is to go against preconceived notions of Canadian cinema and to show its heterogeneity. Canadian film scholarship should be more than just the re-writing of twice-told clichés but instead it should be about bringing something out of the past to illuminate the present. It should involve showing the work and sharing it with others. It has to mean something for more than just one person.
The cinémathèque quality of the “Toronto on Film!” series comes from how it will program older work. As interesting as some new short- and feature-length films can be, there is a sense, in Toronto specifically and I reckon nation-wide too, that knowledge of Canadian film history is lacking and, if you’ve even gotten around to take a Canadian film course, too predicated on certain ‘mainstream’ titles. The idea that Canadian film history should be restricted to feature-length narrative films is also limiting. So instead “Toronto on Film!” will open itself towards alternative media objects: the short film, NFB documentaries and television. 
This is in response to a general apathy I see towards the topic of Canadian film history. It’s always sad to hear that folks don’t watch any Canadian films. It’s always sad to hear emerging Canadian filmmakers looking up to someone like Denis Villeneuve for inspiration or looking up to Netflix as a place for where they can make ‘universal’ content. This is how regional specificity gets loss and it erases such a rich and exciting film history to draw inspiration from. 

For example, last season we showed Glenn Gould’s Toronto (1979) with its filmmaker John McGreevy in attendance. In his best-known City Series, he would get famous guides to provide tours of the world’s urban metropolises: Elie Wiesel in Jerusalem, John Huston in Dublin and, in the work that we showed, Glenn Gould in Toronto. What makes the later so special is that Gould, who is known for his genius piano skills and reclusive temperament, opens himself up, with the help of McGreevy, to the simple pleasures and quotidian life of the city that he has always called home, while also expressing doubt and reticence towards its urban expansion. More people should be discussing McGreevy. His extensive filmography is well worth taking the time to explore. The archive for McGreevy Productions is available at Media Commons at the Robarts Library on the University of Toronto campus.

            The 2019 Winter Season of “Toronto on Film!” should be equally exciting as we’ll be focusing on the pioneering filmmakers Martin Defalco, Jennifer Hodge de Silva and Peter Lynch. 
Indigenous filmmaking in Canada is now more important and vital than ever. So I want to look back at one of the ground-breaking indigenous feature-length films: Martin Defalco’s 1975 NFB-produced narrative film, Cold Journey. It’s a film about the negative effects of colonialism and the violence of cultural erasure that took place through the federal residential school initiatives, which forced the separation of indigenous children from their parents and then punished them for holding on to their values and not assimilating. Martin Defalco has a unique approach that is noteworthy: he casted non-professional indigenous actors in the lead roles and remained steadfast to the necessity of bleakness to end the story. These traits would be held against the film at its initial release, along with a lack of a theatrical infrastructure, that led to it not reaching an audience. That Cold Journey was made back when it did is incredible. Defalco needs to be recognized as one of the master indigenous filmmakers alongside Gil Cardinal, Alanis Obomsawin and Zacharias Kunuk; and Cold Journey needs to be recognized as one of the masterpieces of Canadian cinema up there with Nobody Waved Good-bye (1964), La vie heureuse de Léopold Z (1965), Crime Wave (1985) and Loyalties (1987). 
Defalco’s work in general deserves a critical reappraisal for how it treated indigenous cultures and interests within the constraints of National Film Board projects. There are the more explicit works like The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of the Hudson's Bay Company (1972) that was co-directed with Willie Dunn, which deals explicitly with how social welfare and trading shops exploited indigenous communities; and Trawler Fisherman (1966) about the negative effects of industry expansion in the Northern Saskatchewan countryside that spoiled the water with high mercury levels and prevented and reoriented traditional fishing lifestyles. Defalco’s work presents indigenous communities with a great deal of care and dignity along with a rage and resourcefulness in regard to their maltreatment. You can also see how this permeates through environmental themes that keep resurfacing in his other work like Northen Fisherman (1966) and Class Project: The Garbage Movie (1980).
The availability of these works on the NFB’s website is part of a larger project to promote indigenous cinema, which has only been growing in the last few years. They currently have five of Defalco’s films online, even though there is still a lot more of it to make public. I also want to highlight Donald Brittain’s Starblanket (1973), on the young indigenous chief Noel Starblanket, which is part of this larger project. Starblanket is particularly relevant in regard to the film Cold Journey as he was the one who suggested to Defalco to make the film and he would have a small role in it. Defalco’s work shows such a great respect for the documentary and its form while also having a faith in its advocacy potential to create real social change. For these reasons alone, it makes Defalco one of the best filmmakers to have worked at the NFB. 

The “Toronto on Film!” screening at 2:30PM on Sunday, February 10th  should not be missed. It will spotlight the pioneer African-Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Hodge de Silva. Her most famous work is Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community (1983) that was co-directed with Roger McTair, which looks at the Jane and Finch community in Northern Toronto by focusing on the folks, most notably its Caribbean population, that are effected by structural injustices and police discrimination. Go watch this on the NFB’s website right now if you haven’t seen it yet. Cameron Bailey, who wrote the definitive essay on her writes, “Whether or not future histories of black filmmaking in Canada begin with Jennifer Hodge de Silva, they will have to acknowledge her importance.” It’s an injustice that not more of Hodge de Silva’s work is available. Luckily I found two works related to her at the Ryerson University Library: Toronto's Ethnic Police Squad (1979) and a documentary about her Jennifer Hodge: The Pain and The Glory (1992) by Roger McTair and Claire Prieto (both of whom are impressive filmmakers and authors in their own right). I’ll do my best to try to get a speaker to come. 

While for the March event we’ll look at two of Peter Lynch’s film: the Toronto-centric short-film Arrowhead (1994), which stars Don McKellar, and also his newest film, Birdland (2018). This screening is organized by fellow film studies graduate student Meghan McDonald. The director will there in attendance for this screening to give an introduction and participate in a post-screening discussion. It will be at 2:30PM on Sunday, March 3rd at the Theater in Media Commons at Robarts Library.

            If you haven’t heard of or seen any of these titles I wholeheartedly recommend you check out at least one of the screenings. It’s what a Canadian open fault should look like.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Top Ten Films of 2018

David Davidson
1. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
2. Les Âmes mortes (Wang Bing)
3. L. COHEN (James Benning)
4. Sharp Objects (Jean-Marc Vallée)
5. Frost (Sharunas Bartas) and Leto (Kirill Serebrennikov)
6. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan) and On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong Sang-soo)
7. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier) and High Life (Claire Denis)
8. Coincoin et les z’inhumains (Bruno Dumont), Au poste! (Quentin Dupieux), Un couteau dans le coeur (Yann Gonzalez) and Madame Hyde (Serge Bozon)
9. The Other Side of Wind (Orson Welles), Eight Hours Don't Make a Day (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972) and Glenn Gould’s Toronto (John McGreevy, 1979)
10. My Thesis Film: A Thesis Film by Erik Anderson (Erik Anderson), Mouthful (Alfio Foti), A Woman’s Block (Rebeccah Love), Fail to Appear (Antoine Bourges), Firecrackers (Jasmin Mozaffari), Ian Lagarde’s Festival du nouveau cinema Cartes Blanches short film, The Stone Speakers (Igor Drljača), Spice It Up (Calvin Thomas, Lev and Yonah Lewis) and Norman Norman (Sophy Romvari)
***
Candice Beaith
- Anthropocene (Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier)
- Aquaman (James Wan)
- Bodied (Joseph Kahn)
- Green Book (Peter Farrelly)
- Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry)
- The Mule (Clint Eastwood)
- Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
- Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg)
- A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper)
- Through Black Spruce (Don McKellar)
***
Nick Little
- A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper)
- Annihilation (Alex Garland)
- Aquaman (James Wan)
- Avengers Infinity War (Anthony and Joe Russo)
- First Man (Damian Chazelle)
- Hereditary (Ari Aster)
- Mid90s (Jonah Hill)
- Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg)
- Revenge (Coralie Fargeat)
- Upgrade (Leigh Whannell)
***
Megan Widawski
- A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper)
- Hereditary (Ari Aster)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (David Yates)
- Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
- Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony Russo, Joe Russo)
- Widows (Steve McQueen)
- Assassination Nation (Sam Levinson)
- I Feel Pretty (Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein)
- First Man (Damien Chazelle)
- Venom (Ruben Fleischer)
***
Samuel Adelaar
- Milla (Valérie Massadian)
- Transit (Christian Petzold)
- Den of Thieves (Christian Gudegast)
- Djamilia (Aminatou Echard)
- Hemlock Forest (Moyra Davey)
- Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Travis Wilkerson)
- The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack)
- The Glass Note (Mary Helena Clark)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
***
Nicole Brenez
- Maré (Amaranta César)
- Djamilia (Aminatou Echard)
- Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival Trailer (Jean-Luc Godard)
- Un couteau dans le coeur (Yann Gonzalez)
- Film Catastrophe (Paul Grivas)
- L’Héroïque Lande. La Frontière brûle (Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval)
- Mues (Daniel Nehm)
- De cendres et de braises (Manon Ott)
- Down Claiborne (Moira Tierney)
- 8th Continent (Yorgos Zois)
Best screening ever: « Avec les G.M. et S., Bordel ! » de Lech Kowalski, Écran de Saint-Denis, February 10, 2018.
Most unforgettable introduction to a film: Valérie Massadian introducing Chantal Akerman’s D’Est, Cinéma du Réel, March 30, 2018.
Best press conference ever: Jean-Luc Godard, Cannes Film Festival, May 12, 2018
Most moving constructive conversation about a film: Boris Pollet, Dominique Païni, Yannick Haenel, Jean Narboni, Jean-Paul Fargier, around Jean-Daniel Pollet, Méditerranée/Bassae (published by Les Editions de l’Œil), Potemkine Bookshop, November 17, 2018.
***
Blake Williams
1. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
1a. Billabong (Will Hindle, 1969)
2. Climax (Gaspar Noé)
2a. Love It/Leave It (Tom Palazzolo, 1973)
3. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
3a. A Child’s Garden and the Serious Sea (Stan Brakhage, 1991)
4. more than everything (Kohlberger)
4a. Shape Shift (Scott Stark, 2004)
5. Words, Planets (Lertxundi)
5a. Daisy Kenyon (Preminger, 1947)
6. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
6a. The Text of Light (Stan Brakhage, 1974)
7. Fainting Spells (Hopinka)
7a. Hatari! (Howard Hawks, 1962)
8. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
8a. Starlight (Robert Fulton, 1970)
9. L. COHEN (James Benning)
9a. Tortured Dust (Stan Brakhage, 1984)
10. “Quantification Trilogy” (Jeremy Shaw)
10a. Flesh for Frankenstein (Paul Morrissey, 1973)
aa. High Life (Claire Denis)
ab. The Heartbreak Kid (Elaine May, 1972)
ac. Blue (Apitchatpong Weerasethakul)
ad. Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983, Ferdinando Baldi)
ae. Black Mother (Khalik Allah)
***
Federica Foglia
1. High Life (Claire Denis) 
2. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
3. Cities of Lost Things (Wi Ding Ho)
4. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski)
5. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
6. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
7. Anthropocene (Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier)
8. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
9. Mademoiselle de Jonquieres (Emmanuel Mouret)
10. Dog Man (Matteo Garrone)
***
Olivier Joyard
1. High Life (Claire Denis)
2. The Post (Steven Spielberg)
3. Plaire, aimer et courir vite (Christophe Honoré)
4. En liberté! (Pierre Salvadori)
5. Sauvage (Camille Vidal-Naquet)
6. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson) 
7. Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg) 
8. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
9. Un couteau dans le cœur (Yann Gonzales)
10. Les enfants du 209, rue St Maur, Paris 10e (Ruth Zylberman)
+ Girl (Lukas Dhont) 
+ a reborn film: Simon Barbès ou la vertu (Marie-Claude Treilhou, 1979)
***
Jean-Jacky Goldberg
1. The Post (Steven Spielberg)
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
3. Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)
4. Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (Abdelatif Kechiche)
5. Mes provinciales (Jean-Paul Civeyrac)
6. Leto (Kirill Serebrenikov)
7. High Life (Claire Denis)
8. Paul Sanchez est revenu! (Patricia Mazuy)
9. Sophia Antipolis (Virgil Vernier)
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
+ Mandy and Le livre d’image (unreleased in France)
***
Jean-Sébastien Chauvin
1. The Post (Steven Spielberg)
- Sophia Antipolis (Virgil Vernier)
3. Un couteau dans le cœur (Yan Gonzalez)
4. Hereditary (Ari Astier)
5. Paul Sanchez est revenu! (Patricia Mazuy)
6. La caméra de Claire (Hong Sang-soo)
7. Les garçons sauvages (Bertrand Mandico)
8. Cassandro the Exotico (Marie Losier)
9. Ultra Rêve (Yann Gonzalez, Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel, Bertrand Mandico)
10. Leto (Kirill Serebrennikov)
***
Charlotte Garson
- Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (Abdelatif Kechiche)
- Six Portraits XL (Alain Cavalier)
- Les quatre sœurs (Claude Lanzmann)
- Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
- Senses (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
- Happy As Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
- Shéhérazade (Jean-Bernard Marlin)
- En liberté! (Pierre Salvadori)
- Donbass (Sergei. Loznitsa)
- Le Grand Bal (Laetitia Carton)
***
Gaspard Nectoux
1. Madame Hyde (Serge Bozon)
2. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
3. Les Âmes mortes (Wang Bing)
4. On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong Sang-soo)
5. Grass (Hong Sang-soo)
6. Classical Period (Ted Fendt)
7. Senses (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
8. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
9. Un couteau dans le coeur (Yann Gonzalez)
10. Coincoin et les z’inhumains (Bruno Dumont)
11+. La Caméra de Claire, Paul Sanchez est revenu !, Mes provinciales, Le lion est mort ce soir and A Bread Factory, Part 1
***
Antoine Thirion
10
Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
• La flor (Mariano Llinas)
L. COHEN (James Benning)
• Roi soleil (Albert Serra)
Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
• An elephant sitting still (Hu Bo)
• Les Âmes mortes (Wang Bing)
• Classical Period (Ted Fendt)
• Transit (Christian Petzold)
• Hotel by the River (Hong Sang-soo)
+10
• Monelle (Diego Marcon)
• Blue (Apitchatpong Weerasethakul)
• Caniba (Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor)
• Milla (Valérie Massadian)
• Sophia Antipolis (Virgil Vernier)
• Film catastrophe (Paul Grivas)
• L'empire de la perfection (Julien Faraut)
• Better Call Saul Season 4 (Vince Gilligan)
• Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell)
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
***
Denis Côté
1. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
2. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
3. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
4. The House that Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
5. Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)
6. Donbass (Serguei Loznitsa)
7. Braguino (Clément Cogitore)
8. Hale County: This Morning This Evening (RaMell Ross)
9. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
10. Ray and Liz (Richard Billingham)
***
Mike Hoolboom
- Speechless by Salome Jashi.
A stunning, stirring, sober serial portrait movie. It was made shortly after the Russian invasion of Georgia, some years ago, but remains as hurtingly fresh as the moments filmed.
- Recreations by Jorge Lozano
One of this prolific artist's most personal statements, a one-shot romp through an abandoned drug dealer's home and a childhood flight.
- The Island by Alexandra Gelis.
Another portrait of the underclass by the most open-hearted filmer of the fringe. Awash in emulsion, a public gardener holds forth.
- Not Moldova, 1937 by Madi Piller.
A rich materialist tapestry of Jewish expulsion, her best yet.
- Greetings from Free Forests by Ian Soroka.
A detailed rhizomatic look at caves and resistance.
- What Madness by Diego Governatori,
A bravura autistic monologue set in Spain during the running of the bulls. Derrida wrote: Ethics means listening to the other in their own language.
- Shakedown by Leilah Weinraub.
Joyous, affectless, an insider's account of a lost queer scene on the coast.
- Hemlock Forest by Moyra Davey.
A culminating effort, punctuated with iPhone monologues the artist's embrace is wide and deep.
- Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams by Karrabing Film Collective.
The strangest and deeply moving thing I saw all year. Collective!
- Dislocation Blues by Sky Hopinka.
Framed by a trans dialogue, Standing Rock glimmers with hope and resistance in this essential artist's poetic reverie doc.
***
Dan Browne
- Biidaaban: First Light (Lisa Jackson)
- Becoming Animal (Emma Davie, Peter Mettler)
- Traje de Luces (Francisca Duran)
- Erodium Thunk (Winston Hacking)
- Terror Nullius (Soda_Jerk)
- Fainting Spells (Sky Hopinka)
- Fallen Arches (Simon Liu)
- Please step out of the frame (Karissa Hahn)
- The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack)
- The Air of the Earth in Your Lungs (Ross Meckfessel)
- A Return (James Edmonds)
- Instructions on How to Make a Film (Nazlı Dinçel)
- Dailies From Dumpland (M. Woods)
- God Straightens Legs (Joële Walinga)
- Saint Bathans Repetitions (Alexandre Larose)
- Territorio (Alexandra Cuesta)
- Second Star (Scott Fitzpatrick)
- The Text Of Light (Stan Brakhage)
***
Lydia Ogwang
1. Drift (Helena Wittmann)
2. Fainting Spells (Sky Hopinka)
3. The Nucleus of the Great Union (The Otolith Group)
4. Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)
5. ALTIPLANO (Malena Szlam)
6. Diamantino (Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt)
7. L. COHEN (James Benning)
8. Transit (Christian Petzold)
9. The Image You Missed (Donal Foreman)
10. Personal Problems (Bill Gunn)
11. Monrovia, Indiana (Frederick Wiseman)
12. Caballerango (Juan Pablo González)
13. My First Film (Zia Anger)
Honourable Mentions: Black Mother (Khalik Allah), August at Akiko’s (Christopher Makoto Yogi), Beychella
***
Jesse Cumming
1. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
2. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhang-ke)
3. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
4. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
5. Reason (Anand Patwardhan)
6. Asako I and II (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
7. Transit (Christian Petzold)
8. High Life (Claire Denis)
9. Kinshasa Makambo (Dieudo Hamadi)
10. Ray and Liz (Richard Billingham)
***
Jordan Cronk
1. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
2. High Life (Claire Denis)
3. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
4. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
5. La Flor (Mariano Llinás)
6. Les Âmes mortes (Wang Bing)
7. What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire? (Roberto Minervini)
8. Infinite Football (Corneliu Porumboiu)
9. The Arboretum Cycle (Nathaniel Dorsky)
10. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
***
Gabrielle Marceau
- Antigone (Tacita Dean
- First Man (Damien Chazelle
- Les Salopes or the Naturally Wanton Pleasures of the Skin (Renée Beaulieu)
- Let the Sunshine in (Claire Denis)
- Fainting Spells (Sky Hopinka)
- Lover for a Day (Philippe Garrel)
- Heartbound (Janus Metz Pederson, Sine Plambech)
- Vox Lux (Brady Corbet)
- King’s Dead (Dave Free and Jack Begert)
- A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
***
Ethan Vestby
1. The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood)
2. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
3. Transit (Christian Petzold)
4. Milla (Valérie Massadian)
5. Den of Thieves (Christian Gudegast)
6. Lover For a Day (Philippe Garrel)
7. A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
8. The Mule (Clint Eastwood)
9. Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
10. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
***
Alan Jones
- The Mule (Clint Eastwood)
- The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood)
- Den of Thieves (Christian Gudegast)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
- Annihilation (Alex Garland)
- Mile 22 (Peter Berg)
- The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
- The Other Side Of The Wind (Orson Welles)
- Mandy (Panos Cosmatos)
***
Will Sloan
1. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles) / Personal Problems (Bill Gunn)
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
3. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
4. Bodied (Joseph Kahn)
5. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
6. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
7. The 15:17 to Paris / The Mule (Clint Eastwood)
8. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
9. Let the Sunshine in (Clair Denis)
10. Wobble Palace (Eugene Kotlyarenko)
***
Ryan Krahn
1. Our Time by Carlos Reygadas (Mexico): The second part of an ostensibly autobiographical pairing with Post Tenebras Lux, Reygadas’ poetic exploration of trust, desire, and time is an allegorical tapestry and his most challenging—even daring—film to date.
2. In My Room by Ulrich Köhler (Germany): I’ve sometimes heard the creation stories of krautrock or the first wave of Detroit techno explained as a unifying myth of only tangentially-related figures. Likewise, I’ve wondered if the disparate but institutionally-related circle of dffb filmmakers collected under the name Berliner Schule was as much a school as it was a creation of film critics. Either way, its individual members (like Petzold, Grisebach, and Köhler’s partner Ade) have been collectively delivering some of their best work in recent years and this genre-hopping, apocalyptical adventure film continues the trend. The DVD-choosing/watching scene filled my heart.
3. Burning by Lee Chang-dong (South Korea): Dressed up as a moody mystery thriller, Burning is a film about the political tension between two South Koreas: one populist, traditional, angry; the other, American, ostentatious, capitalist. It beautifully articulates the uneasiness of our historical period—a time of two dead ends— and highlights the disappearance of any third option. Far and away the best Oscar nominee.
4. ALTIPLANO by Melena Szlam (Chile): The most outstanding short I saw from TIFF’s Wavelengths series was this beautiful experiment with texture and time set to shifting landscapes of the widest part of the Andes in Chile and Argentina.
5. Angelo by Markus Schleinzer (Austria): Every bit as unsettling and challenging a topic as as his first film, Michael, Schleinzer’s Angelo interprets the story of Angelo Soliman (a man bought as a slave and raised as an 18th Century Austrian nobleman) and presents a very contemporary lesson on the different ways colonial power operates to dominate, exoticize, and re-represent its perceived “other.”
6. Donbass by Sergey Loznitsa (Ukraine): With 3 films in 2018, Loznitsa had a prodigious year. I haven’t seen Victory Day, but The Trial and Donbass work together to highlight the complicated stories coming out of Russia and the Ukraine today. The Trial is a documentary repurposing of footage from Stalin’s show trials and Donbass is an acidic tour through the War in Donbass, every moment burnt into your memory and possibly false.
7. An Elephant Sitting Still by Hu Bo (China): I was lucky enough to catch Bela Tarr introduce this film at the TIFF screening I attended. Tarr tearfully euologized the death of his former student, Hu Bo, who killed himself before finishing his first feature film. The preface almost served as a caution to anyone unprepared to sit through a powerful, contemplative love poem to suicide. For the same reason, I can not blindly recommend this film: feel well before you see this. Had the haunting post-rock soundtrack by Hualun been released, it would have probably made my music list of this year.
8. Suspiria by Luca Guadagnino (Italy): Luadagnino creatively reimagines Argento’s masterpiece by boldly shifting its tone. It’s a move reminiscent of what De Palma’s Blow Out does to Antonioni’s Blow Up and a move sure to disappoint those who were comfortable with an unmoving picture of the original classic or of Guadagnino’s filmography.
9. A Faithful Man by Louis Garrel (France): This light-hearted story on the reflexivity of lust offers a comic twist on the usual love triangles Garrell tends to act in, whether it be in his father’s work or others. If Our Time is the red wine, this would pair nicely as the white.
10. Shoplifters by Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan): The way this film was marketed caused me to half expect a certain film festival brand of Hallmark humanism. So, I was pleasantly surprised with what turned out to be a quiet, touching, but never cloying film that was elevated by understated performances by the two child actors and an unfussy Haruomi Hosono score.
***
Mitch Greenberg
1. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
3. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
4. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhang-ke)
5. Hotel By the River (Hong Sang-soo)
6. Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh (Steven Brill)
7. Long Day’s Journey into Night (Bi Gan)
8. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
9. The Life and Death John F. Donovan (Xavier Dolan)
10. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos)
***
Marko Orlic
1. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
2. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski)
3. Lean On Pete (Andrew Haigh)
4. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
5. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
6. A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper)
7. Mid90s (Jonah Hill)
8. Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
9. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
10. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Honourable Mention: Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie), Happy As Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher), Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg), Wildlife (Paul Dano), The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos), Hereditary (Ari Aster), Vox Lux (Brady Corbet)
Best Canadian Film: Armie (Mark Cira) and Mouthful (Alfio Foti)
Best Films Not Released Yet: Our Time (Carlos Reygadas), Transit (Christian Petzold), High Life (Claire Denis), Sunset (László Nemes), Peterloo (Mike Leigh), Maya (Mia Hansen-Løve) and Black Mother (Khalik Allah).
Haven't gotten around to yet: Capernaum, The Wild Pear Tree, Madeline’s Madeline, Hale County This Morning This Evening, A Prayer Before Dawn, The World Is Yours, Private Life, The Kindergarten Teacher.
***
Gabrielle P. Leith
- Blindspotting (Carlos Lopez Estrada)
- Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
- The Chambermaid (Lila Avilés)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
- Mid90s (Jonah Hill)
- Free Solo (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)
- Love, Simon (Greg Berlanti)
- Love, Gilda (Lisa Dapolito)
***
Mark Cira
1. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
2. Cold War (Paweł Pawlikowski)
3. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
4. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
5. Our Time (Carlos Reygadas)
6. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
7. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
8. Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
9. American Dharma (Errol Morris)
10. Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg)
***
Alfio Foti
1. The Wild Pear Tree (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
3. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
4. Monrovia, Indiana (Frederick Wiseman)
5. Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry)
6. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
7. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
8. Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)
9. Transit (Christian Petzold)
10. High Life (Claire Denis)
Extras: Halloween and Hereditary
***
Brandon Wall-Fudge
1. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
2. Hotel by the River (Hong Sang-soo)
3. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
4. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
5. Transit (Christian Petzold)
6. Grass (Hong Sang-soo)
7. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
8. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
9. The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood)
10. High Life (Claire Denis)
***
Honorata Trojanowska
1. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
2. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
3. Transit (Christian Petzold)
4. Grass (Hong Sang-soo)
5. Our Time (Carlos Reygadas)
6. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
7. Long Day's Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
8. A Land Imagined (Yeo Siew Hua)
9. La flor (Mariano Llinas)
10. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhang-ke)
***
Richelle Charkot
1. Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry)
2. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
3. Cam (Daniel Goldhaber)
4. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
5. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
6. Sorry To Bother You (Boots Riley)
7. Climax (Gaspar Noé)
8. My Name is Myeisha (Gus Krieger)
9. The Man Who Feels No Pain (Vasan Bala)
10. Abducted in Plain Sight (Skye Borgman)
***
Peter Kuplowsky
- Annihilation (Alex Garland)
- A Bread Factory Part 1 and 2 (Patrick Wang)
- Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski)
- Den of Thieves (Christian Gudegast)
- Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
- Mangoshake (Terry Chiu)
- One Cut of the Dead (Shinichiro Ueda)
- Shirkers (Sandi Tan)
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
- Strike Dear Mistress, and Cure his Heart (Mickey Reece)
***
Nate Wilson
1. First Reformed (Paul Schrader) 
2. Unsane / Mosaic (Steven Soderbergh) 
3. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) 
4. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Koreeda) 
5. A Bread Factory, Part One and Two (Patrick Wang) 
6. Atlanta: Robbin’ Season (Donald Glover, Hiro Murai, Amy Seimetz) 
7. Vox Lux (Brady Corbet) 
8. The Other Side Of Wind (Orson Welles) 
9. Bodied (Joseph Khan) 
10. Mangoshake (Terry Chiu) 
11. Burning (Lee Chang-dong): But I was really tired and falling asleep through the second half, but still; fuck... that moment where he’s boning and he notices the sun across the wall… shit, like, fuck man… also Support The Girls was real good… and You Were Never Really Here, except that ending started rubbing me the wrong way after I saw it a second time… A Star Is Born peaked in the first hour, but still, wow, whatever lady gaga’s real name is. Fatal Pulse aka Night Pulse aka Untitled Yuppie Fear Thriller is the most destructive movie of the year. And Sorry To Bother You is wild, it’s that go-for-broke unkiltered silly first film that first time filmmakers don’t really get to make anymore. OK. Madeline’s Madeline, that was a cool movie, I saw it with my Mom. Wish I saw Den Of Thieves.
***
Jordan Sowunmi
1. A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper)
2. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
3. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
4. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
5. The Kindergarten Teacher (Sara Colangelo)
6. Skate Kitchen (Crystal Moselle)
7. Sorry To Bother You (Boots Riley)
8. Widows (Steve McQueen)
9. Bodied (Joseph Kahn)
10. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
***
James Rathbone
Burning (Lee Chang-dong): Amazing performances, photography, plotting, saw it twice at the Lightbox and it was a very rewarding each time.
First Reformed (Paul Schrader): Scathing, black hearted, yet redemptive. Schrader back on his shit! Been thinking about climate change more since.
Good Boy (Fantavious Fritz): This short was my favourite moment of TIFF that asks the relevant question: Do all dogs really go to heaven?
Hereditary (Ari Aster): An incredibly competent debut and best horror film of the last few years. Toni Colette emphasizing the point that you can’t have great horror without great performances.
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson): Stunningly intricate, and beautiful. Not sure why people weren’t feeling this one, but I prefer Wesley’s animated stuff generally.
Failure To Appear (Antoine Bourges): A slice of life that falls between the lines.
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay): The year of art house directors making thrillers, and Lynne Ramseys’ entry goes all the way in its indictment of the current state of western politics. Look up “Jeffrey Epstein” if the premise seems implausible.
Laissez bronzer les cadavres (Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani): In a just world this tripped out flick would be in every cineplex blowing the minds of bad teen boys and girls across small town North America.
A Prayer Before Dawn (Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire): This movie doesn’t have international distribution in Canada, and maybe coming to Canada in 2019, but it’s a trip. A vivid nightmare of the hardest of knocks.
Widows (Steve McQueen): Some great performances and nice to see Stevey back in the saddle with a big budget. That said, I haven’t seen Shoplifters yet and I’m 90% sure that will take Widows place.
***
Adrian Patterson
1. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
2. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
3. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
4. The House That Jack Built (Lars Von Trier)
5. Widows (Steve McQueen)
6. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
7. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
8. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
9. A Fantastic Woman (Sebastian Lelio)
10. A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper)
***
Marcus Pinn
- Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
- Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- Personal Problems (Bill Gunn)
- The Rider (Chloé Zhao)  
- You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
- Lowlife (Ryan Prows)
- Monrovia, Indiana (Frederick Wiseman)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)  
- The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Honourable Mentions: Jeannette: The Childhood Of Joan Of Arc, Game Night, The Taste Of Cement, Cold War, Vox Lux, Upgrade, Widows, Black Panther, Friends Of Wonder, The Green Fog.
***
Sofia Bohdanowicz
- Too Late to Die Young (Dominga Sotomayor)
- Hoarders Without Boarders 1.0 (Jodie Mack)
- Ante mis ojos (Lina Rodriguez)
- Fausto (Andrea Bussman)
- Erased, ____ Ascent of the Invisible (Ghassan Halwani)
- L. COHEN (James Benning)
- Polly One (Kevin Jerome Everson)
- The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
- Black Mother (Khalik Allah)
- Hotel by the River (Hong Sang-soo)
***
Marisa Shepard
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)
- Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)  
- Mouthpiece (Patricia Rozema)
- Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
- Firecrackers (Jasmin Mozaffari)
- Skin (Guy Nattiv)
- BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
- Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
- Annihilation (Alex Garland)
- Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville)
- Rafiki (Wanuri Kahiu)
Honourable Mentions: Capernaum (Nadine Labaki), Hereditary (Ari Aster) and Filmworker (Tony Zierra)
***
Lola Landekic
1. Guaxuma (Nara Normande)
2. Shirkers (Sandi Tan)
3. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
4. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
6. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
7. The Load (Ognjen Glavonić)
8. Caroline (Logan George, Celine Held)
9. Can You Ever Forgive me? (Marielle Heller)
10. Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
Honourable Mentions: The Kindergarten Teacher (Sara Colangelo) Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker) and Enough (Anna Mantzaris).
***
Anna Swanson
- Transit (Christian Petzold)
- The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
- Paddington 2 (Paul King)
- Let the Sunshine in (Claire Denis)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
- You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
- Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Ol Parker)
- The Tale (Jennifer Fox)
***
Aleksey Matviyenko
1. Free Solo (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi): Loved this film. Absolutely riveting. My palms were sweaty just sitting in the theatre - even though I was tangentially semi-aware of what happens in the film, halfway thru I was not at all certain I could rely on my memory and I was sweating like a madman watching the events unfold. More surprising - I was sweating just as much watching the film for the second time. It is visually breathtaking, emotionally grounded, and downright hilarious at times. This is the kind of film that needs to be seen in theatres for your first viewing.
2. Un traductor (Rodrigo Barriuso, Sebastián Barriuso): I’m totally biased here, I’ll be honest. Rodrigo is a friend of mine. It’s about Ukrainian children battling post-Chernobyl radiation exposure. Another reason for my personal bias in favour of the films. And it’s shot in Cuba (ok, that aspect doesn’t bias me in either direction). It’s a highly personal story for Rodrigo and Sebastián. The ending is insanely moving. I’m sold on this film! It’s upsetting to me that this isn’t a Canadian film (technically) and that the Canadian film establishment is reluctant to embrace it (looking squarely at TIFF and Telefilm when I say this). This film is worth seeing on the sheer basis of - “look at what our fellow Canadian filmmakers are capable of producing!” It’s being embraced by the Spanish-speaking world even though nearly everyone involved in making this films lives in Toronto.
3. Green Book (Peter Farrelly): Love this movie. Mortensen and Ali are outstanding, individually and together.
4. First Man (Damien Chazelle): Everything I wanted it to be and then some.
5. The Load (Ognjen Glavinić): I can’t believe any Serbian money went into this film. It’s awesome. Takes time introducing the characters and revealing the story. Doesn’t pander to anyone. Been thinking back about this movie a lot after seeing it for the first time.
6. Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi): Masterfully crafted, gorgeously shot, and acted to perfection. The movie pays off on the first watch, and deserves a rewatch to catch every clue that one might miss on the first try.
7. Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson): An absolute delight, in every way.
8. They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (Morgan Neville): A very well made film. A bit surreal at times. Loved the BTS of Orson directing. Loved the ending. I suppose the only thing it was lacking for me is strong emotional attachment to any person involved in the story - not even Orson. I give credit to the film for being unapologetic about portraying Orson as a human being with good sides and deep flaws, rather than a “god of cinema” who shall not be criticized. The fact this exists at all is mind-boggling. HOW did they get a hold of any of that footage?! It’s somehow heart-warming to see that Orson Welles was simultaneously focused and completely scatterbrained with his ideas. The film went darker than I expected and some moments are utter and complete surreal WTF-ery. Generally wasn’t super into the “presenter telling us the story in a staged studio” cutaways.
9. Reserved for one of the films I haven’t yet seen.
10. Reserved for one of the films I haven’t yet seen.
Best thing I saw in 2018 that wasn’t a 2018 movie: The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci): Hilarious. 10/10, would death again.
Best guilty pleasure: Battlefish: A show that’s got both extremes - clever people doing clever things and truly un-clever people doing amusingly un-clever things.
Films that I presume could have made my top ten list, but ones I haven’t gotten around to seeing yet: Eighth Grade, Hearts Beat Loud, Three Identical Strangers, Vice, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Sorry to Bother You, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Cold War, A Quiet Place, Anthropocene, BlacKkKlansman, Roma, Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot, Climax.
***
Lev Lewis
1. First Man (Damian Chazelle)
2. I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History As Barbarians (Radu Jude)
3. Monrovia, Indiana (Frederick Wiseman)
4. Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
6. Transit (Christian Petzold)
7. L. COHEN (James Benning)  
8. Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh (Steven Brill)
9. Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg)
10. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
***
Courtney Small
1. Widows (Steve McQueen)
2. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
3. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
4. Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
6. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
7. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
8. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
9. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
10. Transit (Christian Petzold)
***
Ben Gordon
1. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
2. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
3. A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
4. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
5. Widows (Steve McQueen)
6. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
7. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
8. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
9. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
10. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
***
Evan Jerred
1. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
2. The Fireflies Are Gone (Sébastien Pilote)
3. The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling (Judd Apatow)
4. Beautiful Things (Hettie MacDonald)
5. Climax (Gaspar Noé)
6. The Wild Pear Tree (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
7. Mon Boy (Sarah Pellerin)
8. Border (Ali Abbasi)
9. Duck Butter (Miguel Arteta)
10. Interiør (Reed Van Dyk)
***
Lars Aumueller
- A Simple Favor (Paul Feig)
- Annihilation (Alex Garland)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)
- Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Free Solo (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)
- Hereditary (Ari Aster)
- Transit (Christian Petzold)
- Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville)
***
Edouard Sivière
I missed Burning, Les Garçons sauvages, Les Âmes mortes, and more. And I will not watch Une affaire de famille and Leto until January. So you can publish this one:
1. Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (Abdelatif Kechiche)
2. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
3. Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
4. Le Poirier sauvage (NB. Ceylan)
5. Amanda (M. Hers)
6. The House that Jack built (Lars von Trier)
7. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
8. Trois visages (J. Panahi)
9. Les Frères Sisters (J. Audiard)
10. The Post (Steven Spielberg)
***
Oriane Sidre
1. Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) / Invasion
2. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
3. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)
4. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
5. Una Questione Privata (Vittorio Taviani, Paolo Taviani)
6. Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird)
7. The Post (Steven Spielberg)
8. The Rider (Chloé Zhao)
9. Woman at War (Benedikt Erlingsson)
10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
***
Vinz J. Orlof
1. Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (Abdelatif Kechiche)
2. Contes de juillet and L'île au trésor (Guillaume Brac)
4. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
5. Les Garçons sauvages (Bertrand Mandico)
6. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
7. Amanda (Mikhaël Hers)
8. Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen)
9. Coincoin et les z'inhumains (Bruno Dumont)
10. Bécassine (Bruno Podalydès)
***
Fred Jeanne
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
- Les Âmes mortes (Wang Bing)
- Diamantino (Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt)
- Sophia Antipolis (Virgil Vernier)
- Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- L’Île au trésor (Guillaume Brac)
- Un couteau dans le coeur (Yann Gonzalez)
- Les Garçons sauvages (Bertrand Mandico)
- The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
- On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong Sang-soo)
- Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
- Takara, la nuit où j’ai nagé (Damien Manivel and Kohei Igarashi)
- High Life (Claire Denis)
- La Saison du diable (Lav Diaz)
- Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
- Cassandro the exotico! (Marie Losier)
- Les Bonnes Manières (Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra)
- Climax (Gaspar Noé)
- Mademoiselle de Joncquières (Emmanuel Mouret)
***
Maxime Boess
1. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
2. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
3. Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz)
4. Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)
5. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
6. Une prière avant l’aube (Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire)
7. Utøya 22 juillet (Utøya 22. Juli), Erick Poppe
8. Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
9. Girl (Lukas Dhont)
10. Jusqu’à la garde (Xavier Legrand)
***
Adrian Martin
Living in the Past (alphabetical order):
- Day of the Outlaw (Andre De Toth, 1959)
- The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Paul Newman, 1973)
- Eight Million Ways to Die (Hal Ashby, 1986)
- Faisons un rêve (Sacha Guitry, 1936)
- Muriel (Alain Resnais, 1963)
- Red, White and Zero (especially the Lindsay Anderson and Tony Richardson episodes, 1967)
- The Swimmer (Frank Perry, 1968)
- 10.30 P.M. Summer (Jules Dassin, 1966)
- That's Life! (Blake Edwards, 1986)
- Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
***
Ben Harrison
1. Mid90s (Jonah Hill)
2. Blowin' Up (Stephanie Wang-Breal)
3. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
4. Transit (Christian Petzold)
5. Gloria Bell (Sebastian Lelio)
6. Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker)
7. The 15:17 To Paris (Clint Eastwood)
8. L. COHEN (James Benning)
9. Shakedown (Leilah Weinraub)
10. Let the Sunshine in (Claire Denis)
***
Connor Jessup
1. Mirai (Mamoru Hosoda)
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
3. Transit (Christian Petzold)
4. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
5. High Life (Claire Denis)
6. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
7. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
8. Too late to die young (Dominiga Sotomayer)
9. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
10. Paddington 2 (Paul King)
***
Matthew Stein
- Monrovia, Indiana (Frederick Wiseman)
- Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
- Paddington 2 (Paul King)
- Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski)
- Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
- Too late to die young (Dominiga Sotomayer)
* Other Side of the Wind (Welles) is an achievement but unrankable.
***
Pat Mullen
1. Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville)
2. Destroyer (Karyn Kusama)
3. A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
4. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
5. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
6. Birds of Passage (Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra)
7. Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
8. American Animals (Bart Layton)
9. Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
10. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
***
Vadim Rizov
1. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski)
2. Asako I and II (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
3. The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack)
4. In My Room (Ulrich Köhler)
5. Maya (Mia Hansen-Løve)
6. Extinction (Salomé Lamas)
7. Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)
8. Rojo (Benjamín Naishtat)
9. América (Chase Whiteside, Erick Still)
10. Ada Kaleh (Helena Wittman)
***
Violet Lucca
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
- John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Julien Faraut)
- Let the Sunshine in (Claire Denis)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Cocote (Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
- Milford Graves Full Mantis (Jake Meginsky, Neil Cloaca Young)
- The Young Karl Marx (Raoul Peck)
Old masters: Personal Problems, Other Side of the Wind, and Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day
***
Adam Nayman
On the whole, it’s probably healthier that I saw fewer new movies in 2018 than any other year since I started working as a critic way back in 2001; a combination of a new beat (writing primarily for a mainstream-oriented American website) and being beat (finishing a book, teaching multiple courses at different institutions, having a toddler) meant that I fell behind early and got lapped entirely around the time of TIFF, when failing to catch key titles by old favourites and hyped newcomers alike. On top of it all, a number of the films I did see out of a combination of personal interest and professional obligation were, either relative to expectation or on their own terms, profoundly disappointing: Maya, Non-Fiction, Peterloo, Roma, Vice, Hold the Dark, American Dharma, and others.
Of course, I did see movies that I liked and even loved, but looking over the lists I submitted to different publications, I was mostly just frustrated at how closely my pick hewed to consensus -- not because I distrust my own taste (or that of my colleagues) but because I don’t think I gave myself the chance to stray too far. That’s why, in lieu of a top 10, I’ve submitted a list of fifteen movies I regretted missing in 2018, each of which I hope to see before 2019 is over.
Fifteen Films I Regret Missing: Bisbee ‘17 Cities of Last Things, Les Âmes mortes, Drift A Family Tour La Flor The Grand Bizarre In Fabric Jinpa The Load Manta Ray Minding the Gap Monrovia, Indiana Shakedown The Wild Pear Tree.
***
Chandler Levack (Freelance film critic Globe and Mail, CBC Arts and filmmaker, We Forgot to Break Up)
1. Eighth Grade by Bo Burnham: I will never ever recover from seeing this movie.
2. Mid90s by Jonah Hill: Currently studying every shot, edit, performance choice and song cue like it’s the Torah and I’m getting ready for my Bat Mitzvah.
3. A Star is Born by Bradley Cooper: The Cameron Crowe-st movie of 2018 and thank god for that; I love chemistry and I love STAR POWER and I love MUSIC MAN; all I do is sing “Shallow” in the shower and wait for Bradley Cooper to tenderly touch my nose.
4. Shirkers by Sandi Tan: A tragic, desperately sad and powerful story that is unfortunately the story of many female filmmakers; what a truly beautiful documentary.
5. Hereditary by Ari Aster: After I watched this movie at the CineStarz in Côte-De-Neiges, I went to bed with the lights on pretty convinced that Toni Collette was going to murder me? Ari Aster may have ruined Muriel’s Wedding for me but it was worth it. A horror film that understands that the scariest thing of all is inherited generational trauma.
6. Support the Girls by Andrew Bujalski: I love, love, love, LOVE this movie and everything Andrew Bujalski has ever done!!!
7. Game Night: Seriously man! Don’t sleep on Game Night or you will miss the greatest performance of the year by Jesse Plemons.
8. Roma by Alfonso Cuarón: I watched this at TIFF 18 and remembered that cinema is about images.
9. Gloria Bell by Sebastian Leilo: Romantic, funny, and sad.
10. First Reformed by Paul Schrader: You have to love this movie or you don’t love cinema at all.
11. Maison Du Bonheur by Sofia Bohdanowicz: Truly inspired by everything that Sofia makes and the great impressive power she has telling compassionate stories about the ways in which women make their way in the world.
Giving mad shoutouts to:
1. Sook-Yin Lee’s Octavio is Dead!
2. Molly McGlynn’s Mary Goes Round
3. Cinema Moderne, your favourite new movie theatre in Mile End, Montreal
Other media I loved:
1. Atlanta Season 2: The “Teddy Perkins” and “Champagne Papi” episodes haunt my soul.
2. Childish Gambino’s music video for This is America: 2018 was such a bad year for music videos AND YET Hiro Murai continues to astound and amaze.
3. Insecure Season 3: The best episode this season was “Fresh-like,” directed by Stella Meghie, featuring a glorious Rohmer-esque walk and talk. I liked that the main plot of the season involved being ghosted. This show is so relatable and well-written and really takes its time.
4. Succession on HBO: I am absolutely FLOORED by this show and the bananas performances and writing. Like Arrested Development and King Lear had an absolutely demented baby.
5. Big Mouth Season 2: Is it weird that I cried like 12 times watching a cartoon about pre-teens and their penises? David Thwelis’ Shame Monster was a brilliant addition.
6. The “Free Churro” episode of BoJack Horseman: New heights of animation include a 30-minute monologue at someone else’s funeral!
7. Mariamo Diallo’s Hair Wolf: Everyone needs to watch this incredibly stylish and intelligent short film that won the Midnight Madness prize at Sundance.
8. Charlie Tyrell’s My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes: A heartbreaking short documentary currently shortlisted for an Academy Award that simply articulates the pain of losing a loved one through all the weird shit they leave behind.
9. Docking by Trevor Anderson: Must be seen to be believed.
10. Santiago Menghini’s Milk: A sublime and very scary short film that echoes Under The Skin.
11. Wild Wild Country: All I thought about this summer was how much easier my life would be if I could wear burgundy and worship Osho. This is a phenomenal series about all the demented ways people find meaning in their lives, and the cinematic details, mostly involving salad bars, are burned into my brain forever. It also features my new favourite Facebook friend, Philip Toelkes!
12. Judd Apatow’s The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling: Judd Apatow’s four-and-a-half hour documentary is a true tribute to his late friend and mentor, as well as a beautiful primer on how to be an artist and a human being.
P.S. The best concert I saw was John Maus live at Lee’s Palace where he took all our collective pain inside him like some sort of Giver, the best novels I read was Elif Batuman’s The Idiot and Catherine Fatima’s Sludge Utopia, and the best thing I ate was a snail gratin with heirloom tomatoes at Joe Beef! Au revoir to 2018, a very wonderful year for cinema and friendship.
***
Laura White
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- The Day After (Hong Sang-soo)
- The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
- First Man (Damien Chazelle)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
- Let the Sunshine in (Claire Denis)
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
- The Rider (Chloé Zhao)
- A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
***
Tim White
1. The Day After (Hong Sang-soo)
2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
3. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
4. First Man (Damien Chazelle)
5. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
6. Les Âmes mortes (Wang Bing)
7. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
8. Western (Valeska Grisebach)
9. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
10. Unfriended: Dark Web (Stephen Susco)
***
C.J. Prince
1. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
2. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
3. Transit (Christian Petzold)
4. Relaxer (Joel Potrykus)
5. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
6. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski)
7. Obscuro Barroco (Evangelia Kranioti)
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
9. First Stripes (Jean-François Caissy)
10. Donbass (Sergei Loznitsa)
Honourable Mentions: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos), Game Night (John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein), Thunder Road (Jim Cummings), A Bread Factory Part One: For The Sake of Gold (Patrick Wang), Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker), Leave No Trace (Debra Granik), Annihilation (Alex Garland), The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack), Hereditary (Ari Aster), People's Republic of Desire (Hao Wu), Dovlatov (Alexey German Jr.), Unfriended: Dark Web (Steven Susco)
***
Niles Schwartz
1. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
2. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
3. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
4. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
5. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
6. The Rider (Chloé Zhao)
7. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)
8. Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)
9. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)
***
Samuel Bréan
- Classical Period (Ted Fendt)
- The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, Galen Johnson, Evan Johnson) 
- In Fabric (Peter Strickland) 
- Leave No Trace (Debra Granik) 
- Porte sans clef (Pascale Bodet) 
- The Rider (Chloé Zhao) 
- Sophia Antipolis (Virgil Vernier) 
- Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley) 
- The Wind (Emma Tammi) 
- Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
***
Kurt Walker
1. Personal Problems (Bill Gunn)
2. Asako I and II (Ryūsuke Hamaguchi)
3. Jinpa (Pema Tseden)
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
5. Jessica Forever (Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel)
6. Killing (Shin’ya Tsukamoto)
7. Microhabitat (Jeon Go-woon)
8. Hanagatami (Nobuhiko Ōbayashi)
9. Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (Tsui Hark)
10. MadManWedding_remix 2018 (Miguel Mantecon)
***
Charlotte Selb
1. Transit (Christian Petzold)
2. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
3. Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhang-ke)
4. Chaos (Sara Fattahi)
5. The Trial (Maria Augusta Ramos)
6. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
7. Happy As Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
8. Unas Preguntas (Kristina Konrad)
9. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
10. The Load (Ognjen Glavonić)
***
Ariel Esteban Cayer
1. Transit (Christian Petzold)
2. Luz (Tilman Singer)
3. Asako I and II (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
4. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
5. Amiko (Yoko Yamanaka)
6. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
7. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
8. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
9. Chained for Life (Aaron Schimberg)
10. Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)
11. Relaxer (Joel Potrykus)
12. A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
13. Last Letter (Shunji Iwai)
14. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhang-ke)
15. Microhabitat (Jeon Go-woon)
16. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
17. La casa lobo (Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León)
18. Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)
19. Jinpa (Pema Tseden)
20. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski)
***
Apolline Caron-Ottavi
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Une affaire de famille (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- En guerre (Stéphane Brizé)
- Climax (Gaspar Noé)
- The Trial (Maria Augusta Ramos)
- Fugue (Agnieszka Smoczyńska)
- I Love You Daddy (Louis C.K.)
- Touch Me Not (Adina Pintilie)
- Thunder Road (Jim Cummings)
- Beautiful Things (Giorgio Ferrero)
Mention extra: Red Dead Redemption II (Rockstar Games)
***
Julien Fonfrède
1. Ultra pulpe (Bertrand Mandico)
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
3. Seder-Masochism (Nina Paley)
4. Climax (Gaspard Noé)
5. I Love you Daddy (Louis C.K)
6. Touch me Not (Adina Pintilie)
7. En guerre (Stéphane Brizé)
8. Fugue (Agnieszka Smoczynska)
9. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
10 La Casa Lobo (Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León)
***
Eliú Abel
- Abaton (Nathaniel Dorsky)
- Epilogue (Nathaniel Dorsky)
- Elohim (Nathaniel Dorsky)
- Monody (Nathaniel Dorsky)
- Trois gouttes de mescal dans une coupe de champagne (Teo Hernández)
- Grappe d´yeux (Teo Hernández)
- Le Voyage Au Méxique (Teo Hérnandez)
- Season of The Devil (Lav Díaz)
- Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
- Armageddon 2 (Corey Hughes)
- Infinite Football (Corneliu Porumboiu)
- Grass (Hong Sang-soo)
- Drown Among The Dead (Rubén Gutiérrez)
- Beyond Beach (Claire Winter)
- Tokyo Vampire Hotel (Sion Sono)
- Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
- Our Time (Carlos Reygadas)
- First Man (Damien Chazelle)
- Baronesa (Juliana Antunes)
- Grandeur et Decadence (Jean Luc Godard)
- The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
- Restos de Viento (Juliana Montemayor)
- The Dust Channel (Roee Rosen)
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Nobuhiro Suwa)
***
Steven Erickson
1. Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Travis Wilkerson)
2. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
3. Revenge (Coralie Fargeat)
4. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
5. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (RaMell Ross)
6. Cam (Daniel Goldhaber)
7. 24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami)
8. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
9. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
10. Fatal Pulse (Damon Packard)
***
Neil Bahadur
1. First Man (Damien Chazelle)
2. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhang-ke)
3. Shadow (Zhang Yimou)
4. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
5. Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg)
6. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
7. Season of the Devil (Lav Diaz)
8. Our Time (Carlos Reygadas)
9. People of the Lake (Jean-Marie Straub)
10. The Mule (Clint Eastwood)
11. Les Âmes mortes (Wang Bing)
12. Transit (Christian Petzold)
13. The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood)
14. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
15. Black Mother (Khalik Allah)
16. Aquaman (James Wan)
17. CAM (Daniel Goldhaber)
18. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
19. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
21. Widows (Steve McQueen)
22. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujawlski)
23. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
24. High Life (Claire Denis)
25. A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
26. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
***
Simon Ennis (Lunarcy!, You Might As Well Live, and the upcoming Engraved on a Nation: Man vs. Machine – check your local listings in early 2019).
Because I missed virtually all of TIFF this year as I was shooting my new movie, I’m doing it the old fashioned way: Top Ten Films of 2018 (“2018" defined by their Toronto theatrical release).
- Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
- Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- Border (Ali Abbasi)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Maison Du Bonheur (Bohdanowicz)
- BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
- Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
- You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
- The Death of Stalin (Iannucci)
Bonus: The non-theatrically released but awesome The Other Side Of The Wind (Orson Welles)
***
Hugh Gibson
1. Transit (Christian Petzold)
2. 4 Years in 10 Minutes (Mladen Kovacevic)
3. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
4. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
5. The Museum of Forgotten Triumphs (Bojan Bodruzic)
6. In My Room (Ulrich Kohler)
7. Kinshasa Makambo (Dieudo Hamadi)
8. Fausto (Andrea Bussmann)
9. The House that Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
10. Ray and Liz (Richard Billingham)
Notably missed: Notes on an Appearance, La Flor, Les Âmes mortes, Monrovia, Indiana, If Beale Street Could Talk, Non-Fiction, Shoplifters, Hale County, Minding the Gap, Ava.
***
Julian Carrington
1. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson) + Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- In My Room (Ulrich Köhler)
- The Rider (Chloé Zhao)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- Transit (Christian Petzold)
- Western (Valeska Grisebach)
- What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire? (Roberto Minervini)
***
Adam Litovitz
- Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
- Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz)
- Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
- How to Talk to Girls at Parties (John Cameron Mitchell)
- Let The Sun Shine In (Claire Denis)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (Stephen Nomura Schible)
- The Other Side Of The Wind (Orson Welles)
- Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Travis Wilkerson)
- Western (Valeska Grisebach)
- Transit (Christian Petzold)
***
TOFilmCritic
1. Welcome to Marwen (Robert Zemeckis): Do you ever get that feeling when you just have to stand against creation-by-committee cinema, and stan (no "d") for those who go against that mentality? Then welcome to the genuinely subversive and masterful Marwen, motherfuckers.
2. Den of Thieves (Christian Gudegast): You guessed it: I am Christian Petzold.
3. Burning (Lee Chang-dong): If you don't agree with me, I will burn Toronto to the ground. It's atrocious that we're even having this conversation.
4. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski): Haven't seen it, but if you say so.
5. Zama (Lucrecia Martel): More like, come to mamma.
6. Wildlife (Paul Dano): Only putting it on here because it never opened in Toronto and thus I feel superior for having gained access to it regardless.
7. First Man (Damian Chazelle): It's about grief, what don't you understand?
8. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley): Just as I like my lists: Messy and unfocused. Armie Hammer, tho.
9. Mind the Gap (Bing Liu): Nobody saw this except me. Checkmate.
10. Hereditary (Ari Aster): Boo!
***
Adam Cook
1. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski)
2. What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire (Roberto Minervini)
3. Infinite Football (Corneliu Porumboiu)
4. Monrovia, Indiana (Frederick Wiseman)
5. Transit (Christian Petzold)
6. L. COHEN (James Benning)
7. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
8. Burning (Lee Chang-Dong)
9. Asako I and II (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
10. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
And ten more in alphabetical order:
- Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhang-ke)
- Fausto (Andrea Bussmann)
- The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack)
- Green Book (Peter Farrelly)
- Happy New Year, Colin Burstead (Ben Wheatley)
- Hotel by the River (Hong Sang-soo)
- Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
- Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)
- Season of the Devil (Lav Diaz)
- The Waldheim Waltz (Ruth Beckermann)
Favourite Repertory Screening: Eight Hours Don't Make a Day (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
***
Noah Taylor
- Annihilation (Alex Garland)
- Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony and Joe Russo)
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
- Game Night (John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein)
- Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard)
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
- They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (Morgan Neville)
- Widows (Steve McQueen)
***
Zac Goldkind
1. The House that Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
2. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
3. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
4. Let the Sunshine in (Claire Denis)
5. Claire's Camera (Hong Sang-soo)
6. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
7. Mamma Mia: Here we Go Again (Ol Parker)
8. Jeannette: The Childhood Of Joan Of Arc (Bruno Dumont)
9. Milla (Valérie Massadian)
10. The Dreamed Path (Angela Schenelec)
Honourable Mentions: Maison du Bonheur (Sofia Bohdanowicz), PROTOTYPE (Blake Williams), Scarred Hearts (Radu Jude), Burning (Lee Chang-dong), Kaala (Pa. Ranjith), Private Life (Tamara Jenkins), Blue (Apitchatpong Weerasethakul) and If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
***
Mehdi Pilehvarian
1. I Do Not Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians (Radu Jude)
2. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
3. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
4. Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)
5. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
6. Transit (Christian Petzold)
7. Our Time (Carlos Reygadas)
8. Touch Me Not (Adina Pintilie)
9. Donbass (Sergey Loznitsa)
10. Lover for a Day (Philippe Garrel)
11. Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry)
12. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
***
Sean Patrick Kelly
1. Widows (Steve McQueen)
2. Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville)
3. In the Fade (Fatih Akin)
4. Exit Music (Cameron Mullenneaux)
5. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
6. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
7. My Name Is Myeisha (Gus Krieger)
8. Three Identical Strangers (Tim Wardle)
9. A Quiet Place (John Krasinki)
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
***
Brendan Prost
1. Lean On Pete (Andrew Haigh)
2. What You Gonna’ Do When the World’s On Fire? (Roberto Minervini)
3. The Rider (Chloé Zhao)
4. Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
5. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)
6. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
7. First Reformed (Paul Schraeder)
8. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
9. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
10. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles) 
Honourable Mentions: Green Book (Peter Farrelly), Outside In (Lynn Shelton), Unfriended: Dark Web (Stephen Susco), The Weekend (Stella Meghie), You Were Never Really Here (Lynn Ramsay). 
Special Mentions – Non-Distributed Films: Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry), Climax (Gaspar Noé).
***
Eric Marchen
1. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
3. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
4. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)  
5. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos)
6. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
7. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
8. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
9. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
10. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
***
Jade Hurlbut
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
- Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed)
- Bird Box (Susanne Bier)
- Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
- Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird)
- Three Identical Strangers (Tim Wardle)
- Next Gen (Joe Ksander, Kevin R. Adams)
***
Jason Tyrone
1. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
2. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
3. A Quiet Place (John Krasinki)
4. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
5. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
6. Widows (Steve McQueen)
7. Crazy Rich Asians (Jon M. Chu)
8. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (David Slade)
9. A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
10. Avengers: Infinity Wars (The Russo Bros.)
***
Megan Moffat
1. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
2. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
3. Revenge (Coralie Fargeat)
4. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
5. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
6. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
7. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
8. Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci)
9. Thoroughbreds (Cory Finley)
10. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
***
Jason Wilson
1. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
2. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
3. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
4. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
6. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
7. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)
8. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
9. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
10. The Old Man and the Gun (David Lowery)
11. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
12. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
13. The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard)
14. Revenge (Coralie Fargeat)
15. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
16. The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci)
17. Widows (Steve McQueen)
18. Thoroughbreds (Cory Finley)
19. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
20. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
***
Leora Heilbronn
1. The Handmaid's Tale Season 2
2. Sharp Objects (Jean-Marc Vallée)
3. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
4. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham) / Everything Sucks!
5. Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville)
6. Hearts Beat Loud (Brett Haley)
7. Widows (Steve McQueen)
8. Kidding Season 1
9. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2
10. A Quiet Place (John Krasinki)
Honourable Mentions: Any time Tessa Thompson was on screen in anything, any time Brian Tyree Henry was on screen in anything, Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns, Becks, Blockers, Glow Season 2, Maniac, The first half of A Star Is Born and the first half of Vox Lux, Tully, Roma, Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby in The Hate U Give, Olivia Colman in The Favourite, Dina Shihabi in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Danielle Brooks in Orange is the New Black Season 6, Maddie Baillio in Dumplin', any time Julia Garner was on screen in anything.
***
Adriana Floridia
- Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
- Mid90s (Jonah Hill)  
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Hereditary (Ari Aster)
- BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
- Assassination Nation (Sam Levinson)
- Widows (Steve McQueen)
- Vox Lux (Brady Corbet)
- At Eternity’s Gate (Julian Schnabel)
***
Jesse Hawken
1. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
3. The Other Side Of The Wind (Orson Welles)
4. Den of Thieves (Christian Gudegast)
5. The 15:17 To Paris (Clint Eastwood)
***
Kevin Laforest
1. Creed II (Steven Caple Jr.)
2. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos)
3. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
4. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
5. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
7. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
8. Bodied (Joseph Kahn)
9. Climax (Gaspar Noé)
10. Paddington 2 (Paul King)
***
Ben Soper
1. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
2. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
3. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
4. Sorry To Bother You (Boots Riley)
5. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
6. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
7. Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)
8. Game Night (John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein)
9. In Fabric (Peter Strickland)
10. Widows (Steve McQueen)
***
Corey Pierce
1. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
2. Paddington 2 (Paul King)
3. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
4. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
5. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
7. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
8. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
9. Bad Times at the El Royale (Drew Goddard)
10. Blindspotting (Carlos Lopez Estrada)
***
Kurt Halfyard
1. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
2. Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
3. Widows (Steve McQueen)
4. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
5. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
7. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
8. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
9. Luz (Tilman Singer)
10. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
***
Barry Hertz
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Widows (Steve McQueen)
- You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
- First Man (Damian Chazelle)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
- Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)
- The Other Side Of The Wind (Orson Welles) and Shirkers
- Free Solo (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi) and Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
- Maison du Bonheur
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti, Rodney Rothman)
***
Eric Bizzarri
- Black Panther (Ryan Coogler): Black Panther provides a fresh spin on Marvel's often formulaic narrative formula. The film has a very rich and compelling story complimented with superior visuals and a standout cast, most notably Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong'o.
- Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville): Fantastic. A poignant, and enlightening story of the brilliant father-figure and underestimated, Fred Rogers and beyond. The film blends emotion and information perfectly while reminding you, above all else, to BE KIND.
- A Quiet Place (John Krasinki): Tense and very natural at enacting the element of surprise. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt give fantastic performances. John’s deft Direction and strong script define him, clearly, as a rising Director.
- Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird): Outstanding animation, effective storytelling with the reminder and introduction of old/new, makes The Incredibles 2 satisfy expectations, but also gives the sequel a reason to exist.
- A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper): Cooper's eye is incredibly poignant, delivering wonderful performances, specifically Gaga, and discussing timely issues accompanied with hard hitting original songs and beautiful visual composition.
- Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham): This film brings a sigh of relief, as it may remind you that you weren't all that weird in 8th grade. Take a breath, you were so cool. Un-formulaic, unexpected events keep this film moving forward. If you've been through 8th grade, you need to see Eighth Grade.
- Ben Is Back (Peter Hedges): Ben Is Back's direct storytelling and exceptional performances from Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges make this film a huge win.
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins): Gorgeous visuals and deft direction make this film a pure win for Jenkins, whom doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
- Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda): Be patient. Shoplifters delivers this rare humanism that we don't see often, providing an ultimately satisfying, engaging and emotional journey for a family we become deeply rooted in. What a treat.
- Searching (Aneesh Chaganty): An original and timely premise matched with full-bodied characters make Searching a huge win. It's consistently engaging, throwing twists and turns at you from every corner. A nerve-wracking suspense thriller.
Honourable Mentions: Private Life, Avengers: Infinity War, Green Book, Three Identical Strangers, Hereditary, Ready Player One, Tully, Roma.
***
Cody Lang
- Annihilation (Alex Garland)
- Blackkklansman (Spike Lee)
- The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
- The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
- Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
- Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)
***
Mark Barber
1. The Strangers: Prey at Night (Johannes Roberts)
2. Happy End (Michael Haneke)
3. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
4. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
5. A Simple Favor (Paul Feig)
6. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
7. The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci)
8. Widows (Steve McQueen)
9. Halloween (David Gordon Green)
10. Paddington 2 (Paul King)
***
Adrien Alexander Benson
1. The Rider (Chloé Zhao)
2. Birds of Passage (Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra)
3. The Old Man and The Gun (David Lowery)
4. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
5. Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
6. Outlaw King (David Mackenzie)
7. Blockers (Kay Cannon)
8. The Haunting of Hill House (Mike Flanagan)
9. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)
***
Shahbaz Kh
1. Screwdriver (Bassam Jarbawi)
2. 24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami)
3. Three Faces (Jafar Panahi)
4. Terror Nullius (Soda Jerk)
5. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Koreeda)
6. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
7. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
8. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
9. El Angel (Luis Ortega)
10. I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (Radu Jude) and Styx (Wolfgang Fischer)
Honourable mentions: Blindspotting (Carlos Lopez Estrada), Tigers Are Not Afraid (Issa Lopez) and Prey (Dick Maas)
***
Isiah Medina
1. Ready Player One 
2. Kanye West on TMZ, May 1st 
3. Burning 
4. About Lulu and Nana: Twin Girls Born Healthy After Gene Surgery as Single-Cell Embryos 
5. Creed II 
6. The Post 
7. The Story of Adidon 
8. The Grand Bizarre 
9. Nanterre Personne 
10. Words, Planets 
+ 1986 Summer
***
Patrick Devitt
1. Cover Girl (Sara Cwynar)
2. Kids See Ghosts (Camp Flog Gnaw) [Livestream]
3. The Mule (Clint Eastwood)
4. A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga)
5. The House That Jack Built – Cannes Cut (Lars Von Trier)
6. SAD! [XXXTENTACION]
7. Who Is America? Season 1 (Sacha Baron Cohen)
8. A24’s Under the Silver Lake (Spring 2017 Cut)
9. Wil-o-Wisp (Rachel Rose)
10. STOP TRYING TO BE GOD (Travis Scott)
***
Jake Howell
1. First Reformed (Paul Schrader) 
2. Skate Kitchen (Crystal Moselle) 
3. Burning (Lee Chang-dong) 
4. Bisbee ’17 (Robert Greene) 
5. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski) 
6. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles) 
7. Transit (Christian Petzold) 
8. Minding the Gap (Bing Liu) 
9. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham) 
10. Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)
***
Paolo Kagaoan
- Beyoncé: Live at Coachella (Beyoncé)
- Nanette (Madeleine Perry, John Olb)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Won't You Be My Neighbour? (Morgan Neville)
- Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)
- Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
- Leading Lady Parts (Jessica Swale)
- Dirty Computer (Emma Westenberg) 
- Free Solo (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
***
Daniel Reynolds
1. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay) 
2. First Reformed (Paul Schrader) 
3. The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (Henry Dunham) 
4. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski) 
5. Burning (Lee Chang-dong) 
6. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham) 
7. The Old Man and the Gun (David Lowery) 
8. Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson) 
9. First Man (Damien Chazelle) 
10. Won't You Be My Neighbour? (Morgan Neville) 
Honourable Mentions: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón), The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
***
Kendall Grant (Absurdity and Serenity)
1. Burning (Lee Chang-dong) 
2. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda) 
3. The Wild Pear Tree (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) 
4. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski) 
5. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik) 
6. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón) 
7. Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas) 
8. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos) 
9. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher) 
In a League of its Own: The Americans (Joe Weisberg) 
Honourable Mentions: Climax (Gaspar Noé), Support the Girls (Andrew Jarecki), Birds of Passage (Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra), In Fabric (Peter Strickland), The Tale (Jennifer Fox), Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson), We the Animals (Jeremiah Zagar), Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker) 
Top Documentaries: Free Solo (E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin), Minding the Gap (Bing Liu), Three Identical Strangers (Tim Wardle)
***
Thomas Loree
1. 15:17 to Paris (Eastwood) 
2. Roma (Cuaron) 
3. The Mule (Eastwood) 
4. Won't You Be My Neighbour? (Morgan Neville) 
5. Hereditary (Ari Aster) 
6. The Crown seasons 1 and 2 (misc.) 
7. I Am Not Your Negro (Peck) 
8. Ma loute (a.k.a. Slack Bay) (Dumont) 
9. Killing Eve (misc.) 
10. Bohemian Rhapsody (Singer)