Included in Sight and Sound‘s January 2017 issue and on its web site. — J.R.
1. Best Films
The Day Before the End
Director(s): Lav Diaz
La Mort de Louis XIV
Director(s): Albert Serra
The first on my list, a short, I caught at the estimable Filmadrid; the third, a documentary by a former FilmFactory student of mine, I saw via a Vimeo link. Worthy runners-up would include João Nicolau’s John From, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship, and Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s Journey to the Shore – and perhaps certain other contenders I haven’t yet caught up with.
2. Best DVDs and Blu-Rays
Nico Papatakis Box Set (France, 1963-92) (Gaumont Vidéo, DVD).
I Want to Live! (U.S., 1958) (Twilight Time, Blu-Ray)
Electra, My Love (U.K., 1974) (Second Run Features, Blu-Ray).
Early Murnau (U.K., 1921-1925) (Masters of Cinema, Blu-Ray box set)
Marcel Hanoun: Les Saisons (France, 1968-1972) (Re:Voir, DVD)
Five exemplary releases condemned to obscurity by their resistance to being summarized in sound bites:
A comprehensive portrait of a singular filmmaker from Ethiopia and Greece (not simply a Greek, any more than Barack Obama is simply black), with excellent extras subtitled in English; a powerful piece of melodramatic filmmaking from Robert Wise that justifies its opening endorsement by Albert Camus; the first Miklós Jancsó Blu-Ray accorded to an exhilarating, colorful Hungarian musical pageant than unfolds in just a dozen shots; an essential package of five beautiful silent German features with many clarifying extras; and a neglected cycle of films by a major French independent.