As the year comes to a close, there’s one group we’ve yet to hear from about the Best of 2017: the directors.
IndieWire has reached out to a number of their favorite filmmakers to share with us their lists and thoughts on the best of the year. From Benny Safdie breaking down the brilliance of “Nathan For You” to Alma Har’el shining a light on a new Arab cinematic wave to Justin Simien admitting he was filled with envious rage watching “Get Out,” 42 directors responded and offered a totally different perspective on 2017.
This Best of 2017 is dedicated to the spirit of Jonathan Demme, who last year took part in this poll and was an incredibly generous man, especially when it came to supporting his peers’ work.
The following appear in alphabetical order based on the director’s last name.
Pedro Almodóvar (“All About My Mother”)
“Phantom Thread” (Paul Thomas Anderson): A real feast. Even though the author confesses his fascination for mysterious love stories, there are no clues to follow this masterpiece by P.T. Anderson. Every sequence is a surprise. This film is the portrait of a genius, of his egocentricity and his contempt for everything that isn’t related to his work, and of the wonderfully ordinary woman who manages to tame him. The three protagonists deliver masterly performances. And Jonny Greenwood proves himself as the best composer of the year. If it is true that Daniel Day Lewis says goodbye to acting with this role, he does so brilliantly. He nails this role.
“Call Me by Your Name” (Luca Guadagnino): Everything is pretty, attractive, desirable and moving in this film. The boys, the girls, the breakfasts, the fruit, the cigarettes, the pools, the bikes, the open air dances, the 80s, the doubts, surrender and sincerity of the protagonists, the relationship of the protagonist with his parents. The authors (André Aciman, James Ivory and Luca Guadagnino) make a bet here for the passion of the senses and the embodiment of desire. The light of Lombardy and very particularly Timothée Chalamet are the biggest breakthroughs of this year.
“BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (Robin Campillo): This is a poignant story about a group of Parisian ACT UP activists in the early 90s. In addition to a splendid script, Campillo shows his great ability to direct ensemble scenes, they’re like out of a documentary. Extraordinary actors and iconic images, like a bloodstained Seine because of the death of young people caused by AIDS. There’s also a love story told with no melodrama or modesty, with death at the forefront. It surprised me this film didn’t make the cut into the shortlist for the Foreign Film category at the Oscars.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Martin McDonagh): The film with the best title of the year. A dark, unbreathable and pessimist story with the blackest humour. It’s a pleasure to get depressed with Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelsson and Sam Rockwell at their best.
More Picks from Pedro Almodóvar
Ana Lily Amirpour (“The Bad Batch”)