Saturday, December 28, 2019


Top Ten Films in 2019

It's time for the annual top-ten list again. Here are the ten best films among the 339 feature-length narrative and documentary films I watched during the calendar year of 2019, no matter when and if a film was released in the US during 2019.

  1. The Guilty (Den skyldige | Denmark 2018 | in Danish | 85 min.)

    The writer-director Gustav Möller astonishingly composes a thriller set entirely inside a room where an emergency dispatcher receives a call from a kidnapped woman.

    The Guilty Official Site

  2. We the Animals (USA 2018 | 94 min.)

    The director Jeremiah Zagar crafts a lyrical and dreamy movie about three siblings living in poverty.

    We the Animals Official Site

  3. Joker (USA 2019 | 122 min.)

    Joaquin Phoenix's tour de force performance creates a mesmerizing character in the director Todd Phillips's psychological thriller.

    Joker Official Site

  4. Birthday (생일 | South Korea 2019 | in Korean | 120 min.)

    With powerful performances by the lead actors, the director Lee Jong-eon's (이종언) unapologetic tearjerker depicts the unbearable grief from the parents of the victims of the horrific Sewol ferry disaster (世越號沈沒事故) on 16 April 2014.

    Birthday Official Site

  5. Marriage Story (USA 2019 | 136 min.)

    The writer-director Noah Baumbach's outstanding divorce drama features a few of this year's best performances.

    Marriage Story Official Site

  6. A Dog Barking at the Moon (再见, 南屏晚钟 | China/Spain 2019 | in Mandarin | 107 min.)

    Loosely based on her own experience, the writer-director Lisa Zi Xiang (相梓) strikingly unwraps an engrossing family saga.

    A Dog Barking at the Moon Official Site

  7. The Harvesters (Die Stropers | France/South Africa/Greece/Poland 2018 | in Afrikaans | 104 min.)

    Etienne Kallos's beautiful directorial debut explores a boy's struggle with masculinity in South African culture after a street boy joins his family.

    The Harvesters Official Site

  8. Parasite (기생충 | South Korea 2019 | in Korean | 132 min.)

    The Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho's (봉준호) Palme d'Or winner brilliantly injects social commentary into an arresting and sometimes amusing story.

    Parasite Official Site

  9. So Long, My Son (地久天长 | China 2019 | in Mandarin | 185 min.)

    The sixth generation Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai's (王小帅) epic unfolds a heart-wrenching tragic tale in a couple's life that reflects the decades of social and economic changes in China since the '80s.

    So Long, My Son Official Site

  10. 1917 (UK 2019/USA | 110 min.)

    With stunning technical achievements, Sam Mendes's masterpiece "1917" (UK/USA 2019 | 119 min.) will guarantee you a breathtakingly immersive war experience. My review.

    1917 Official Site

Until next year...

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