No, this is not a list to tell you that you should stop watching blockbusters. On the contrary: in case you don't notice, we love them in PHOTOGRAMS. However, there are films that live on the margins of the industry and that we usually overlook, blinded by the power of the latest Marvel or Disney releases. And while 'The Lion King', 'Joker', 'Avengers: Endgame', 'Aladdin' and 'Dumbo' have become the highest grossing films of the year in our country, many other titles have gone unnoticed by many of the viewers. They have lived with these blockbusters in the shadow of the billboard (where some have not endured more than a week) and now we want to claim them.
In this list you can find some of the best movies of the year, in a wonderful demonstration of the good health that independent cinema enjoys. Now we just have to devote a little more attention, to discover in his images and silences that genius of cinema, and its ability to open the borders of our mind, which often shines for his absence in Hollywood cinema.
For the first time, the Japanese Hirokazu Koreeda leaves the borders of his country to direct this French film with Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche Y Ethan hawke. The result is dazzling: a reflection on the relationship between art and life, between reality and fiction, with a history of metacine between shootings and rehearsals.
Criticism of 'The truth'.
Portrait of a woman on fire
Céline Sciamma He has signed one of the great cinematographic masterpieces of 2019. In it, he shows us two women floating between the original and the copy, between the truth and the representation, while they merge into a love story composed of looks, silences and gestures . An overwhelming, dazzling film with some images worthy of being hung in a museum.
Review of 'Portrait of a woman on fire'.
Until forever, my son
Wang Xiaoshuai He has composed with this film an essential chronicle of China. One that takes us to the 80's by the hand of two marriages, with which we go through the nearly three decades that separate us to understand the situation of the country today. A film that focuses on the small details to explain the great events, from the individual to the collective, in one of the essential titles of this 2019.
Critic of 'See you forever, my son'.
The always irreverent Albert Serra He has marveled again this year with a film where the sexual component explodes more than ever. The Catalan takes us back to the past, a few years before the French Revolution, to tell us the routines of a group of libertines fleeing from the ultraconservative government of Louis XVI. Its mission: export debauchery to Germany.
Criticism of 'Liberté'.
End of century
Best Argentine film in BAFICI, this film by Lucio Castro It is a small wonder that plays with time, memories and different forms of love. A movie that goes one step beyond 'Weekend' Andrew Haigh to reflect on how love relationships evolve, especially between two men.
Criticism of 'End of the century'.
Where is my body?
Netflix has released this year films as commented as 'The Irish' or 'Story of a marriage', but this animated french jewel that the platform acquired at the Cannes Festival has stolen our hearts. With a somewhat strange premise (an amputated hand that escapes from a laboratory in search of its body), it stands as an exploration of the loss and the search for one's own identity.
A great woman (Beanpole)
As bright as devastating, this Russian film directed by Kantemir Balagov It takes us to Leningrad in 1945, where the effects of World War II are lived in the streets of the city. Misery reaches the lives of two women, who try to get ahead.
Critic of 'A great woman (Beanpole)'.
You had never been told about the rise and fall of the Italian Cosa Nostra as it does Marco Bellocchio In this amazing film. The Italian director composes an uncrossed chronicle of how Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino) revealed all the secrets of the most powerful Italian mafia and won the enmity of a clan to which he used to belong.
Criticism of 'The traitor'.
Blinded by the light
It was time for someone to dedicate a musical to Bruce springsteen. The singer and his songs inspire the story of the protagonist of this film by Gurinder Chadha ('I want to be like Beckham') on the other side of the Atlantic, in England, and in a Hindu family that does not understand why The Chief has become the new God of young Javed.
Review of 'Blinded by the light'.
Ray & Liz
The photographer Richard Billingham He has always worked with his family memories. Thus, some of his most famous photographs have inspired his first film opera, a portrait of his disastrous parents wallowing in misery and filth on the outskirts of the English city of Birmingham. A blunt film and difficult to digest.
Review of 'Ray & Liz'.
No, this is not another adaptation of the musical that Tom Hooper took to the big screen in 2012, but a rereading of Victor Hugo's classic from the Parisian suburbs of today. The debutante Ladj Ly He draws his own experiences of crime in those areas on the outskirts of the French capital to compose an absolutely intense and sweeping 'Training Day' thriller, where violent outbursts take your breath away.
Criticism of 'Les miserables'.
The daughter of a thief
The first opera of Bethlehem Funes It is sweeping, in large part, because of the relationship between its two main actors, father and daughter, both in reality and in fiction. Eduard Fernández Y Greta Fernandez They lead this story of poverty, survival and 'daddy issues' with incredible forcefulness. As much as that of the director in one of the best national films of the year.
Criticism of 'The daughter of a thief'.
The Galician filmmaker Eloy Enciso He has signed one of the most suggestive films of the year in our country, and, yes, about the Civil War and Franco. But the way he tells us about that era has nothing to do with what we have seen so far. It is a film that speaks from literature, in a state of deep reverie, playing with image and sound, with facts and memories.
Criticism of 'Longa noite'.
Nina Hoss she won the Best Actress award in the last edition of the San Sebastian Festival with this titanic interpretation of a music teacher who becomes obsessed with the talent of one of her students, to the world that her own personal life, as a mother and Wife, just staggering. A blunt film of the German Ina Weisse.
Criticism of 'The audition'.
Wall Street scammers
You should never judge a book by its cover, and there is no film to which this saying can be applied more in 2019 than to that of Lorene Scafaria. With a cast led by Constance Wu Y Jennifer Lopez, is a true story about strippers who, in the middle of the economic crisis, decided to take revenge against Wall Street in their own way.
Criticism of 'Wall Street Scammers'.
One cut of the dead
Without a doubt, the most horny and unexpected movie of the year. Become a phenomenon in Japan, where they claim it as their own 'Zombies party', this film by Shinichirô Ueda Play with the metacine and the zombies to make us laugh without stopping. A love letter to the art of making movies, especially gender.
Criticism of 'One cut of the dead'.
It is one of the big bets of North American indie cinema this year, although in Spain we have not paid much attention to it. The debut in the direction of Lulu Wang part of a very personal story, that of his own family and his conflictive relationship with his Chinese roots. That conflict is the one that adopts Awkwafina in fiction, with an emotional film, honest and fun.
Criticism of 'The Farewell'.
Alan Elliot He had a mission: to recover the recordings that Sydney Pollack performed the performances of Aretha Franklin in January 1972 (and that would be the origin of his famous album 'Amazing Grace' and turn them into a documentary that everyone could enjoy. The result is a stunning, intense and exciting documentary. Ninety minutes of pure musical pleasure.
Criticism of 'Amazing Grace'.
Reverse feminine of 'Supersalidos' for the contemporary world, this film (debut in the direction of the actress Olivia Wilde) gives off so much joy, youth and feminism that it can only be considered one of the great cinematographic miracles of the year. His teenage comedy is full of reflection, of horny but conscious look at two young women at a turning point in their lives and the friendship they share. Beanie Feldstein Y Kaitlyn Dever They are plethoric.
Review of 'Super nerds'.
Jury Prize in the Un certain regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, this Galician film signed by the promising Oliver Laxe ('Mimosas') is an explosion for the eyes and senses, a chronicle of a fire that burns the screen. This is how close the fire chamber is, which at the same time destroys and purifies the wetlands of Galicia.
Criticism of 'What burns'.
Released on Netflix in Spain, the debut of Mati Diop It stands as one of the most interesting movies of the year. Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival, tells the story of impossible love between two young people with the crisis of African refugees in the background and a surprising development that will take us to supernatural touches.
Criticism of 'Atlantique'.
Letters to Paul Morrissey
In this collection of short films, Armand Rovira Y Saida Benzal They write letters to the New York Factory member Paul Morrissey, while looking for the meaning of life in places like the Valley of the Fallen, movies like 'Chelsea Girls' or songs from Francois Hardy. An unclassifiable film that is among the most interesting of this year's Spanish harvest.
Review of 'Letters to Paul Morrissey'.
In the 90s
Who would have said that in Jonah Hill Was there a magnificent director? With this film, the actor of 'Supersalidos' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street' has debuted behind the cameras, and the result could not have been better. A 'coming-of-age' in a poor neighborhood, where skating becomes the escape route of its shy protagonist.
Criticism of 'In the 90'.
The Argentinian Pablo Trapero He immerses himself again in reflections on the family in this amazing film, in which two sisters will have to live together on the family farm (which gives its name to the film) when his father suffers a heart attack and stays in a coma. Gathered in a small space, memories and grudges begin to surface, but also to heal.
Criticism of 'The stillness'.
One of the strangest and irreverent movies of the year. Directed by Ali Abbasi, He became nominated for an Oscar (for Best Makeup) and was established as one of the titles of the season, with a love story between two fantastic and different beings seeking their place in the world.
Criticism of 'Border'.
The director of the Oscar-winning 'Son of Saul', Lazé Nemes, continues to surprise with its ability to evoke historical times in a shocking and profound way. There was no doubt that that prime opera portrayed the Holocaust, but in this second feature film it plays the ambiguity of a confusing story to take us to a moment of the fall of the aristocracy, just before the First World War.
Criticism of 'Sunset'.
The days to come
Being a mother, father, couple, friends, enemies, strangers … There are processes in life that look like a roller coaster, and pregnancy is one of them. María Rodríguez Soto Y David Verdaguer they know it, because they offered that (real) moment to Carles Marqués-Marcet to compose this beautiful film that breathes authenticity, emotion and complexity.
Critic of 'The days to come'.
Again, science fiction is the setting for a portrait of the relationships between parents and children. Only now, for a change, it's a mother (Eva Green) and his daughter, how conciliation is sometimes an unattainable utopia. The director Alice Winocour It permeates this story of sensitivity and mystery, of questions that still have no answer.
Criticism of 'Proxima'.
Helena Tavern Look at the refugee crisis with a different, clean and very critical look. In the Mediterranean, a border made of water between two very different worlds, the lives of those who seek prosperity are lost. In this documentary we go into the lives of those people who survive despite everything, refugees living in a constant 'pause'.
Criticism of 'Stranded'.
The third wife
Awarded at the Toronto Festival, this Vietnamese film takes us to the rural environment of the nineteenth century and the strict rules that applied to women and their role in society. Ashleigh mayfair it follows the story of the third wife of a rich landowner, and how she is forced to face certain aspects (such as motherhood) for which a 14-year-old girl is not prepared.
There is nothing like live music. And there is no one like Bruce springsteen. The singer-songwriter presents his most recent album, 'Western Stars', with this documentary that immerses us in one of his concerts, where we see why so many people call him El Jefe.
Without a doubt, one of the most controversial and complex films of the year. A '2001: An odyssey in space' with huge dildos and lots of semen. French filmmaker Claire Denis He has not disappointed in his first American film, for which he has had Robert Pattinson Y Juliette Binoche, and explore a different face of science fiction.
Criticism of 'High Life'.
Between documentary and fiction, Galician Diana Toucedo he portrays the mysticism of his homeland through suggestive images and sounds, contrasts between tradition and modernity, and a youth that drowns in rural environments full of ghosts.
Diana Toucedo and Galicia of the contrasts in 'Trinta Lumes'.
In this movie of Ciro Guerra Y Cristina Gallego We see again how the drug trafficking business started in Colombia, but in a way in which 'Narcos' could not even dream. A different look at a crucial historical moment for the country, which began in the 70s, when in the United States the hippie culture embraced the use of marijuana.
Criticism of 'Summer birds'.
Marcelo Martinessi It swept the Berlin Festival with this portrait of two women in their 60s, who begin to question certain aspects of their lives. Born in well-being environments, and with a quiet existence thanks to the heritage of his family, now something seems empty. A portrait full of looks and silences.
Criticism of 'The Heiresses'.
Mirai, my little sister
Mamoru Hosoda He is one of the great masters of contemporary Japanese anime, and each new movie is an occasion not only to prove it, but above all to celebrate it. With this new film, he gets into the psyche of a small child mixing fantasy and reality, to understand how the relationship with the new tenant of the house is born and develops.
Criticism of 'Mirai, my little sister'.
Olivier Assayas He knows how to build stories about silences and mysteries (as in 'Personal Shopper' or 'Journey to Sils Maria'), but with this film he showed that sharp and funny dialogues are also very good. With Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet, among others, reflects on culture in the internet age, on social networks and the survival of paper.
Criticism of 'Double lives'.
Rita Azevedo Gomes He has composed a work of art in motion. A concatenation of 'tableaux vivants' as few are seen in the cinema today. The Portuguese reminds us of the power of images, exhibits a strong influence of painting (included Velázquez) and portrays a historical moment while reflecting on the female psyche.
Criticism of 'The Portuguese'.
Buñuel in the labyrinth of the turtles
Luis Buñuel He is an indispensable part of our cinephile history, and a very important figure in cinematic surrealism. Beside Salvador Dali, back in the 1930s, he modeled the limits of the movement, not without obstacles from the historical reality of our country. Salvador Simó adapt the comic from Fermin Solis in this animated film, which portrays the filming of the movie 'Las Hurdes, land without bread' (1933).
Criticism of 'Buñuel in the labyrinth of turtles'.
An elephant sitting still
It has been one of the most commented films among independent film circles, and not only because it lasts about four hours: for many, it is one of the best films of the year. It is the debut of There was, who committed suicide at the age of 29 during the post-production of the film, adding a little more sadness to the already melancholic portrait of his characters.
Review of 'An Elephant Sitting Still'.
The best Chinese movies in history.
Live fast, love slowly
The 90s were marked, in the gay community, by the AIDS crisis. Christophe Honoré He lived the time and lost many friends, and in his new film he wanted to return to that time to look at it from a different perspective, with a lot of 'joie de vivre'. With the romance between a sullen writer and a student discovering life, he composes a beautiful human portrait.
Criticism of 'Live fast, love slowly'.
The attraction for the dangerous dominates the protagonist of this film of Michael Pearce, BAFTA prize for the best debut, which walks in the limits between the real and the fantastic to talk about the emotional growth of a teenager tired of the constrictions of her native island.
Ruben Brandt, collector
The most interesting animation of the year is not in the big producers. This is made clear by up to three titles on this list, where this adventure directed by Milorad Krstic, where a psychoanalyst lives tormented by a series of famous paintings, which he will decide to steal to help him possess his own trauma.
Criticism of 'Ruben Brandt, collector'.
Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival, the actor's directorial debut Ethan hawke It could not have been more satisfying. It tells the real life of the country singer and songwriter Blaze foley, in a different and daring way, selecting people and periods of their history to get a less cerebral and more spiritual portrait.
Criticism of 'Blaze'.
The hidden city
Through a symphony made of images, sounds and lights, Victor Moreno He composes one of the most fascinating Spanish films of the year. As he did in 'Edificio España', he explores the places where we don't usually look (in this case, the sewers of Madrid) to reflect on our history and our collective psyche.
'The hidden city' in the sewers of Madrid.
The Nom Pen (Cambodia) of 1975 was not a beautiful place to live. Even less for a four year old. The war exploded to plunge the country into a spiral of violence, which in this animated film by Denis Do records.
Criticism of 'Funan'.
Camille Vidal-Naquet He has been able to play the right keys in this wonderful film, which explores something rarely seen in the cinema (male prostitution) focusing on the inner processes of its protagonist and subverting all our expectations.
Criticism of 'Wild (Sauvage)'.
Long trip to the night
The second Chinese film on the list is not far behind in its transgressions, which in this case means playing with a format we thought was dead. 3D takes on a new life in the second part of this film of Bi Gan, where a man desperately searches for the woman he is in love with. A long trip, yes, but dazzling.
Criticism of 'Long Journey to the Night'.
The (un) education of Cameron Post
TO Desiree Akhavan You have to follow it closely. Winner of the Best Film Award at the Sundance Festival, her latest work addresses the existence of centers of "rectification" of sexual orientation, when this is not the "normal" (ie heterosexuality). Through a group of young people forced by their parents to attend, we will discover the horror they hide.
Critic of 'The (un) education of Cameron Post'.
The woman of the mountain
Icelandic Benedikt Erlingsson, which surprised the cinephile scene in 2013 with the irreverent 'Of horses and men', has once again found the praise of European critics with the story of a singing teacher who declares war on the aluminum industry, which is leaving terrible Pollution levels in the country.
Criticism of 'The woman of the mountain'.