10. Frantz, directed by François Ozon
Acclaimed French filmmaker François Ozon, responsible for movies such as “8 Women” (2002) and “In the House” (2012), delivers a powerful drama surrounding the death of a soldier after World War I. Starring Pierre Niney and Paula Beer, the movie shows an enigmatic Frenchman who is found laying flowers on a man’s grave by the fiancé of this deceased soldier. Approaching grief and regret in a very poetical way and with beautiful black-and-white cinematography, Frantz is another great film from Ozon in this decade and a film that should definitely be checked out.
9. Argentina, directed by Carlos Saura
Directed by one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of Spain, “Argentina” is a beautiful documentary that approaches Argentine folklore, the music and the artists from this South American country. With an amazing set design and a great use of Argentinean music, this film from Carlos Saura, who directed a great documentary called “Flamenco” more than 20 years ago as well as brilliant films such as “Cria Cuervos” (1976) and “Carmen” (1983), is one that must be seen by any cinephile. Using an atmosphere and sets that emulate a theater, and with great choreography and music, “Argentina” is one of the greatest documentaries of the year.
8. Okja, directed by Joon-ho Bong
From the exhibition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival to its worldwide premiere on Netflix, “Okja” is not only a good movie but also one of the responsibles for lighting a good debate about how movies are consumed nowadays. This Netflix production directed by Joon-ho Bong, a filmmaker responsible for movies like “The Host” (2006) and “Mother” (2009), follows the story of a little girl, Mija, who is friends with a sweet and gigantic animal called Okja. With great performances by Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano, “Okja” is a moving film that is surely among not only the best original productions by Netflix, but also in directors Bong’s career.
7. Joaquim, directed by Marcelo Gomes
At the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, acclaimed Brazilian director Marcelo Gomes, mostly known for his films “Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures” (2005) and “I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You” (2009), premiered his new film “Joaquim”, which approaches the story of a national hero from Brazil. The lead character, Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, was a dentist who became the only member of an insurgency against the Portuguese exploration of gold in Brazil to be executed.
6. Lady Macbeth, directed by William Oldroyd
Marking the debut of director William Oldroyd in feature films, “Lady Macbeth” is a movie adapted by Alice Birch from the novel “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District”, written by Russian author Nikolai Leskov. Following the story of Katherine, a woman living a loveless marriage to a man much older than her who has an affair with a worker from her property, “Lady Macbeth” has one of the most intriguing female characters from 2017.
5. On the Beach at Night Alone, directed by Sang-soo Hong
Starring renowned actress Min-hee Kim from “The Handmaiden” (2016) and “Right Now, Wrong Then” (2015), and written and directed by Sang-soo Hong, “On the Beach at Night Alone” is a film about an actress spending some time in a town by the sea while she reflects about her relationship with a married film director. With a dreamy atmosphere and great mise en scène filled with brief but effective moments of humor, without ever forgetting the main introspective tone of this narrative, “On the Beach at Night Alone” can surely be considered among the greatest works of Hong.
4. The Lost City of Z, directed by James Gray
Another great 2017 film screened at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, “The Lost City of Z” was one of the movies from the Berlinale Special section. Directed by James Gray, a filmmaker responsible for amazing films like “We Own the Night” (2007) and “Two Lovers” (2008), the film stars Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson. Being the best performance in Hunnam’s career so far and another great film by the brilliant James Gray, one of the best writers/directors of his generation who is curiously not as praised as he should be, “The Lost City of Z” is a film that anyone who loves cinema should not miss this year.
3. The Woman Who Left, directed Lav Diaz
One of the greatest exponents of Slow Cinema, Lav Diaz is a filmmaker from the Philippines that started his career in the 90s and developed a cult following from his slow-paced and very long masterpieces like “North, the End of History” (2013) and “A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Misery” (2016). In 2016, his film “The Woman Who Left” won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and at 3 hours and 46 minutes, it is not hard to understand that the movie would face problems in the distribution department. Still, this is another amazing film directed by Diaz that needs to be checked out.
2. Endless Poetry, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Surrealist icon Alejandro Jodorowsky continues what is supposed to be a trilogy that started with “The Dance of Reality” (2013) with “Endless Poetry”, a film that follows his own story during the time when he was a young man becoming a poet in Chile, while he was facing the limits imposed to him. With a great performance by Adan Jodorowsky as Alejandro, this is a great film about youth with some of the most memorable scenes of the year. “Endless Poetry” has an outstanding setting, directing and an unique visual that allows us to explore the most intimate aspects of the youth of a director who, without a doubt, left a great mark on film.
1. Afterimage, directed by Andrzej Wajda
The last film from one of the best filmmakers in the history of Poland, “Afterimage” is a brilliant goodbye from one of cinema’s greatest directors. The film follows the story of acclaimed painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski, an artist who was persecuted by the Soviet regime for opposing social realism, an art movement that glorified the values of communism, and, even though he was one of the most acclaimed artists in Poland, he ended up losing everything. With an amazing performance by Boguslaw Linda as Strzeminski, “Afterimage” is a film about art and repression, but mostly about how pieces of art are able to survive oppression and might even develop new meanings after that.