Thursday, December 21, 2017


Top Ten Films of 2017

This crazy 2017 is almost over. But with a twitter troll still sitting in the White House doing damage to the nation and humanity, the nightmare is far from over. Watching movies can serve as both therapy and an escape. Luckily there are plenty of great films to watch. Once again, it's time to compose a top-ten list of feature films I saw in 2017. Because it's almost impossible to define the term "a film in 2017," as always, I stick with my own plain and simple rule: I select ten (no more, no less) best films from the 262 feature narrative and documentary films which I saw during the calendar year of 2017, no matter when and if a film is released in the US during 2017.

Here are the top ten best feature films during 2017. (Note that the Internet Explore browser doesn't support the reversed list as 10, 9, ..., 1, so you have to mentally reverse the list below, which shows the #1 film of 2017 on the very bottom.)

  1. The Square (Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark 2017 | in English/Swedish/Danish | 142 min. | My review)

    The acclaimed Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund's thought provoking "The Square" makes fierce social commentaries through an art project at a museum. If nothing else, the film makes you think about what you will do when you are stopped on the street and asked: "Would you like to save a life today?"

    The Square Official Site

  2. Plastic China (China 2016 | in Chinese | 82 min. | Documentary | My review)

    Chinese director Wang Jiuliang takes us to a place that's usually invisible in his heart-wrenching documentary "Plastic China." On a very micro level, this terrific documentary tackles the devastating environmental problem due to massive usage of plastic that impacts the lives of future generations.

    Plastic China Official Site

  3. The Coffin in the Mountain (心迷宫/殡棺 | China 2014 | in Chinese | 119 min.)

    Xin Yukun's impressive feature directorial debut "The Coffin in the Mountain" cleverly constructs its chain-reacted and twisted plot set in a rural Chinese village after a person is dead.

    The Coffin in the Mountain

  4. Motherland (USA/Philippines 2016 | in Tagalog | 94 min. | Documentary | My capsule review)

    With compassion and empathy, documentarian Ramona S. Diaz's "Motherland" gives us a jaw-dropping and intimate look at the operation behind the walls of the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, nicknamed "Baby Factory."

    Motherland Official Site

  5. Departure (UK/France 2016 | in French/English | 109 min.)

    Andrew Steggall's feature directorial debut "Departure" poetically conveys a teenager's complex feeling toward a local boy during his visit to Southern-France with his mom.

    Departure Official Site

  6. The Student (Ученик | Russia 2016 | in Russian | 118 min. | My capsule review)

    From start to finish, the Russian writer-director Kirill Serebrennikov unflinchingly confronts the issue of religious fanaticism in his captivating "The Student," and tells an extraordinary story about a high school student who starts a religious war in his high school.

    The Student Official Site

  7. Indignation (USA 2016 | 110 min.)

    The writer-director James Schamus's beautifully composed intelligent drama "Indignation" tells a rich and compelling story about a young Jewish boy who attends a conservative college in Ohio in the '50s.

    Indignation Official Site

  8. Land of Mine (Under sandet | Denmark/Germany 2016 | in Danish/German | 101 min. | My review)

    Danish writer-director Martin Zandvliet's thrillingly captivating and profoundly emotional World War II drama "Land of Mine" terrifically demonstrates that war does not only destroy lives and infrastructure, but it also provokes hatred and wipes out empathy. But despite the amount of demons wars might bring out from people, there is still hope for humanity to sustain.

    Land of Mine Official Site

  9. Dunkirk (Netherlands/UK/France/USA 2017 | 106 min. | My review)

    The director Christopher Nolan's intense "Dunkirk" brings you right into a war zone like never before.

    Dunkirk Official Site

  10. Call Me by Your Name (Italy/France/Brazil/USA 2017 | in English/Italian/French | 132 min. | My review)

    The Italian director Luca Guadagnino's splendid "Call Me by Your Name" offers us a perfect nostalgic escape from the dreadful reality and brings us back to the sensual first love experience and to an alluring Italy.

    Call Me by Your Name Official Site

Until next year...

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