The Best Films of 2020

Admittedly I used the pandemic as an opportunity to watch older films rather than new ones, erasing some major blindspots for myself (including The Red Shoes, Ordet, Céline and Julie Go Boating, and Dekalog) and revisiting several of my favorite pictures (The Big Heat, Alice in the Cities, and Stagecoach).  Unfortunately, I have yet to see Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow and Sam Pollard’s MLK/FBI, both movies I hope to watch soon.

Of the new releases I did see in 2020, nothing instantly captivated me like The Irishman did in 2019 or First Reformed in 2018.  Perhaps it’s because I viewed a majority of these movies on my laptop rather than in theaters,* which almost certainly inhibited the sensory immersion that a big screen provides.  Yet all of the following movies helped make 2020 more bearable for me, and I suspect several will be more rewarding upon future viewings.

  1. Days (Tsai Ming-Liang)
  2. Hopper/Welles (Orson Welles)
  3. The Woman Who Ran (Hong Sang-soo)
  4. The Tango of the Widower and its Distorting Mirror (Raúl Ruiz)
  5. Deerskin (Quentin Dupieux)
  6. Heimat is a Space in Time (Thomas Heise)
  7. Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa)
  8. I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhangke)**
  9. Family Romance, LLC (Werner Herzog)

* Rest assured, my readers, the ones I did see in theaters (entries 5, 7, 8, and 9) I watched pre-quarantine.

** Although originally screened in China in 2010, I Wish I Knew had received its U.S. theatrical release earlier this year.

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