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Our Number 1 Film(s) of 2020 [TALKING IMAGES]

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Our Number 1 Film(s) of 2020 [TALKING IMAGES]

#1

Post by St. Gloede »

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Scariest horror movie of 2020?

Yes, it's that time! Finally! The Talking Images team is ready to open up and talk through our top 10 favourite films of 2020 - and now, part 2, entirely dedicated to our number 1 film of the year is live.

Why did it take so long? Because we have worked around the clock to be able to see as many films as possible - to serve you, what could be our very best top films of the year episode yet.

You Can Listen to Our Discussion of Our Number 1 Favourite Film(s) of 2020 here:

Sounder: https://talking-images.sounder.fm/episo ... lm-of-2020

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3EblXM1N90svqCGEl2smb9

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/t ... 0540386545

You Can Listen to Part 1, covering our 10th to 2nd Favourite Picks of the Year Here:

Sounder: https://talking-images.sounder.fm/episo ... ms-of-2020

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3OIk6Y3UBNBRgKUg75UmhN

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/t ... 1542580739


Join the conversation

Questions from Part 1:
Spoiler
- List your top 10 of the year

- Tell us why you love them

- Comment on our picks

- And of course, tell us everything about the year that was (cinematically). Did Covid make the year weaker, did it help smaller films come to the surface and you're happy as a fawn or was there little to no difference for you? The latter we did not get into in the podcast - so we'd love to discuss it right here.
Questions for Part 2:
- Clearly we couldn't agree. What films, if any of our number 1 picks did you love?

- How strong is your love for your number 1 pick of the year?

- What's your Radu Jude success rate (if any?) and did Uppercase Print just take the meta elements "too far"?

- Is I'm Thinking of Ending Things Kaufman's best?

- How did you like the dream logic of Come True?

- Is The Father a horror movie, YAY or NAY? (and either way, how scary is it?)

- And finally, is there an odd similarity between the majority of our top pics?
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#2

Post by kongs_speech »

Kong's top 10

01) Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
02) Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee)
03) Bye Bye Morons (Albert Dupontel)
04) Berlin Alexanderplatz (Burhan Qurbani)
05) The Devil All the Time (Antonio Campos)

06) Dick Johnson is Dead (Kirsten Johnson)
07) Shiva Baby (Emma Seligman)
08) Beginning (Dea Kulumbegashvili)
09) Kajillionaire (Miranda July)
10) News of the World (Paul Greengrass)
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#3

Post by Good_Will_Harding »

Can't listen to the full episode right now, but I'll definitely give it a listen sometime later on!

- List your top 10 of the year

Tentatively:

Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Lovers Rock
Sound of Metal
Bad Education
The Assistant
Nomadland
The Father
Wolfwalkers
Soul
The Empty Man

- Tell us why you love them


All fairly self-explanatory IMO - with a few obvious exceptions, most of my picks appear on first glance to be more understated takes on somewhat weighty subject matter, which in a lot of ways I find much more striking than if they were more straightforward or (for lack of a better term) "preachy" about their respective premises. Most also appear to be light on a conventional A to B plot structure, which I suppose reflects the more mundane, slow moving nature of life outside the movies during 2020. Then there are two radically different yet equally impactful animated films, as well as one of the more creative and unsettling American horror films from recent memory.

- Comment on our picks

Haven't listened to your episode yet, though the frame of Promising Young Woman indicates it might come up during discussion :whistling: So on that film specifically, I liked it overall but found a lot about it to be half baked or unsatisfying in the end. Carey Mulligan's performance is great and I do appreciate the brutally dark turn during the climax - but the film never settled on a clear tone and was constantly back and forth between doing a riff on a modern romcom meet cute with a slight edge, or a vastly more toothless take on the I Spit on Your Grave-esque 'rape and revenge' picture. And no spoilers, but the very final note the film ended on felt extremely unearned and lessened a lot of the impact the prior ten to fifteen minutes had successfully landed. So overall, a good film and containing a lot of strong elements, but it unfortunately didn't amount to an entirely satisfyingly whole in the end for me, and was probably my least favorite of this past year's Best Picture lineup at the Oscars.

- And of course, tell us everything about the year that was (cinematically). Did Covid make the year weaker, did it help smaller films come to the surface and you're happy as a fawn or was there little to no difference for you? The latter we did not get into in the podcast - so we'd love to discuss it right here.

I'll just copy and paste my little summation from the 2020 yearly poll:

Despite the COVID of it all, I still managed to see about 150 current releases from the year (the number varies depending on which films count as 2019 or 2020 - ultimately not an important distinction in the long run). The amount of quality films wasn't a loss for me, so much as the absence of the theatrical experience. Of the high numbers of films seen from the year, I only managed to see about 1/3 of them on the big screen - probably less. But once awards season kicked into gear and vaccinations started happening more regularly in the US, I managed to catch up with more films on the big screen, including 7 out of the 8 Best Picture nominees from the most recent Oscars ceremony, and 11 of my current top 20 in this poll.
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#4

Post by beavis »

out of 115 features seen with production-year 2020, currently this is my top 10

Shirley  - 9
Ta fang jian li de yun  - 8,5
Possessor  - 8,5
Malmkrog  - 8,5
Mosquito  - 8,5
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn  - 8,5
Dasatskisi  - 8
Birds (Or How to Be One)  - 8
The Father  - 8
Umibe no kanojotachi  - 8

I'm loving them for various reasons, haven't got the time to go indepth now. Shirley is just the total immersive package of pure cinema: sounddesign, camerawork, productiondesign, music, actors, the writing... it worked on all my senses and I just was lost in its world. I love the director and her style, and this one was the best so far.

these 5 were the worst for me

Underwater  - 3,5
Aos Pedaços - 4,5
I Care a Lot - 4,5
The Rental - 4,5
Ya ne splyu - 5

Also agree with what Good_Will_Harding said on Promising Young Woman, and like it even less than he judges it; don't understand the love for that one at all. I'm hearing you talk about I Care a Lot on the podcast now... nobody mentions how much meanspirited bullshit if offers up the entire runtime...? :)
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#5

Post by Onderhond »

Finally managed to make a solid top 10 (meaning only 4* and up),even so it's still way too early for me. Still discovering 2018 films, so give it a year or two/three. Out of 251 films:

01. 4.5 - The Day of Destruction (Hakai no Hi - 2020)
02. 4.0 - Daughters (2020)
03. 4.0 - Gretel & Hansel (2020)
04. 4.0 - The Superdeep (Kolskaya Sverhglubokaya - 2020)
05. 4.0 - Possessor (2020)
06. 4.0 - Sleepless Beauty (Ya ne Splyu - 2020)
07. 4.0 - Mandibles (Mandibules - 2020)
08. 4.0 - Cadaver (Kadaver - 2020)
09. 4.0 - Crazy Samurai Musashi (2020)
10. 4.0 - Rundfunk: Jachterwachter (2020)

Mostly genre films so far, though the first two are a bit different (experimental/arthouse for the drama, core drama for the second).
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#6

Post by Ivan0716 »

1. The Forest of Love: Deep Cut
2. Malmkrog
3. Undine
4. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
5. The Cloud in Her Room
6. Shiva Baby
7. Red Post on Escher Street
8. There Is No Evil
9. Possessor
10. Shirley

Weak year for sure, but we had an insanely good run from 2017-2019, and 2021 is looking pretty good so far, so can't complain. When I saw the film cut of The Forest of Love, I thought it was middling Sono at most, but the miniseries convinced me it's his best work after Love Exposure, I don't remember anything about the film so I can't say why they hit so differently, and now that the miniseries exists I don't see any reason to revisit it.

Not seen Promising Young Woman, and it's not really on my radar neither.
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#7

Post by matthewscott8 »

I saw only 3 films from 2020, the pandemic really did for me in this regard as I am a really big cinema fan. It will be interesting to find out stuff here though!
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#8

Post by St. Gloede »

Good_Will_Harding wrote: ↑October 16th, 2021, 5:26 pm - Comment on our picks

Haven't listened to your episode yet, though the frame of Promising Young Woman indicates it might come up during discussion :whistling: So on that film specifically, I liked it overall but found a lot about it to be half baked or unsatisfying in the end. Carey Mulligan's performance is great and I do appreciate the brutally dark turn during the climax - but the film never settled on a clear tone and was constantly back and forth between doing a riff on a modern romcom meet cute with a slight edge, or a vastly more toothless take on the I Spit on Your Grave-esque 'rape and revenge' picture. And no spoilers, but the very final note the film ended on felt extremely unearned and lessened a lot of the impact the prior ten to fifteen minutes had successfully landed. So overall, a good film and containing a lot of strong elements, but it unfortunately didn't amount to an entirely satisfyingly whole in the end for me, and was probably my least favorite of this past year's Best Picture lineup at the Oscars.
As you might expect, some of us will strongly disagree with that - and luckily all of these points come up during the discussion with proper I depth debate (it is probably the film we spend the most time and thought on). I'll be really interested to hear your views on that discussion.
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#9

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: ↑October 16th, 2021, 7:02 pm Also agree with what Good_Will_Harding said on Promising Young Woman, and like it even less than he judges it; don't understand the love for that one at all. I'm hearing you talk about I Care a Lot on the podcast now... nobody mentions how much meanspirited bullshit if offers up the entire runtime...? :)
I thought we all praised it quite a bit for that. B)

-

Hope we can at least share/express why some of us love Promising Young Woman as well. Feedback on that section might be what I'm looking forward to the most now, given the above comments.
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#10

Post by peeptoad »

I'll try to listen later as well. I've got a remote work conference starting in about an hour (on a Sunday morning no less)...

If I add in a few movies that were effectively released in 2020, but delayed because of the pandemic, etc. then this is my top 10-
1. Cockroach (2020, Ai Weiwei)
2. Small Axe (2020, Steve McQueen)
3. Rocks (2019, Sarah Gavron)
4. Saint Maud (2019, Rose Glass)
5. The Courier (2020, Dominic Cooke)
6. His House (2020, Remi Weekes)
7. County Lines (2019, Henry Blake)
8. Promising Young Woman (2020, Emerald Fennell)
9. Possessor (2020, Brandon Cronenberg)
10. Calm with Horses (2019, Nick Rowland)

others I enjoyed-
11. My Octopus Teacher (2020, Pippa Erlich/James Reed)
12. Undine (2020, Christian Petzold)
13. Rizi (2020, Ming-liang Tsai)
14. Sound of Metal (2019, Darius Marder)
15. The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020, Jim Cummings)
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#11

Post by Good_Will_Harding »

St. Gloede wrote: ↑October 17th, 2021, 11:59 am Hope we can at least share/express why some of us love Promising Young Woman as well. Feedback on that section might be what I'm looking forward to the most now, given the above comments.
I know Kong has a strong affinity for it, to say the least. :turned: Someone turn on the signal!!
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#12

Post by St. Gloede »

matthewscott8 wrote: ↑October 17th, 2021, 10:41 am I saw only 3 films from 2020, the pandemic really did for me in this regard as I am a really big cinema fan. It will be interesting to find out stuff here though!
Good_Will_Harding wrote: ↑October 16th, 2021, 5:26 pm - And of course, tell us everything about the year that was (cinematically). Did Covid make the year weaker, did it help smaller films come to the surface and you're happy as a fawn or was there little to no difference for you? The latter we did not get into in the podcast - so we'd love to discuss it right here.

I'll just copy and paste my little summation from the 2020 yearly poll:

Despite the COVID of it all, I still managed to see about 150 current releases from the year (the number varies depending on which films count as 2019 or 2020 - ultimately not an important distinction in the long run). The amount of quality films wasn't a loss for me, so much as the absence of the theatrical experience. Of the high numbers of films seen from the year, I only managed to see about 1/3 of them on the big screen - probably less. But once awards season kicked into gear and vaccinations started happening more regularly in the US, I managed to catch up with more films on the big screen, including 7 out of the 8 Best Picture nominees from the most recent Oscars ceremony, and 11 of my current top 20 in this poll.
I think I'll choose to answer the question myself, and both of you at the same time - as the contrast of the two above messages is really interesting - and makes it clear that something out of the usual certainly happened.

I'm guessing from your post, Matthew, that you tend to watch most recent films at the cinema, and due to the lockdown in the UK you did not get that option. Is there any additional reason why you did not watch more online? And yes, hope our commentary gets you excited about many of these films.

Overall, I'm closer to you, Good_Will_Harding. I think that the number of great films did not really decrease - this should be more of an issue this year honestly, as 2020 films were mainly shot in 2019. The only thing that tweaked the year (in contrast to the alternative), which I believe I also commented on in the podcast, is the fact that a few big releases were moved from 2020 to 2021/2022, including The French Dispatch and The Way of the Wind - and with Wes Anderson and Malick often making my toplist - I would not be surprised if my top 10 would have been stronger with them.

I did not struggle with access to films, and if anything it got easier. I am not in a country with a film culture, so I rarely have the opportunity to see anything of interest here even before Covid. Therefor I am always dependent on waiting for home video releases, streaming, etc. With more films being available online right away, I ended up in a better situation where I usually am with playing catchup after the year has ended - and I ended up seeing far more new films than before. Granted, that was also in large part due to prepping for this podcast - along with ICMFF.

As it stands now I would say my toplist of 2020 is not the best toplist I have for a year from this decade, but also not the weakest - and as usual, I can expect more peals to make their way to the surface over the coming 2 or so years.
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#13

Post by mightysparks »

Don't have a top 10 yet but almost:

1. Psycho Goreman
2. The Hunt
3. Palm Springs
4. Anything for Jackson
5. A Quiet Place Part II
6. Slaxx
7. Hunter Hunter
8. Come True
9. The Father

Covid made zero difference to the year. I don't really go the cinema anyway but cinemas were only shut for like 4 weeks or something. Haven't seen much from 2020 and although I haven't seen a lot of favourites, most stuff I've seen has been decent.
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#14

Post by matthewscott8 »

St. Gloede wrote: ↑October 18th, 2021, 1:22 pmI'm guessing from your post, Matthew, that you tend to watch most recent films at the cinema, and due to the lockdown in the UK you did not get that option. Is there any additional reason why you did not watch more online? And yes, hope our commentary gets you excited about many of these films.
I am pernickety about streaming, I really hate it when a sound goes wrong because of a glitch (usually a bump in a continuous note) or when a HD movie starts off in SD, or if black screen, flame or water is pixellated. I always used to find Fred Camper's insistence on the cinema astonishing, but I am starting to get more Camper-ian as I grow older. I have a fast internet, but Amazon Prime seems to glitch a lot nonetheless. I have MUBI, which is better, but I guess somehow I felt like watching old cinema, that contemporary was too much in the time of COVID, I wanted something more poetic.
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#15

Post by Lakigigar »

Slowly watching more, but haven't seen enough.

1. Possessor - 4.5*
2. WolfWalkers - 4.5*
3. My Octopus Teacher - 4.0*
4. Promising Young Woman - 4.0*
5. Soul - 3.5*
6. Nomadland - 2.0*

SHORT:
Puparia - 4.0*

11 films on my watchlist: Quo vadis, aida?, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, Red Post on Escher Street, Minari, Do You Like Brahms?, It's okay not to be okay, Palm Springs, She Dies Tomorrow, Druk, Days & Come True.
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#16

Post by Dimitris Psachos »

I'm not much of a ranking fan when it comes to marking down which of my favorites I prefer best, so I'll just post them in order of what I feel I'm more attached to (until I change their order :lol: )

5 stars

1) The Metamorphosis of Birds - Catarina Vasconcelos
2) The Woman Who Ran - Sang-soo Hong
3) Wolfwalkers - Tom Moore, Ross Stewart
4) Days - Ming-liang Tsai
5) Beasts Clawing at Straws - Yong-hoon Kim
6) Ballad for a Pierced Heart - Yannis Economides

(between 4,5 and 5 stars)

7) Berlin Alexanderplatz - Burhan Qurbani

4,5 stars

8) Pari - Siamak Etemadi
9) Manor House - Cristi Puiu
10) Promising Young Woman - Emerald Fennell

Honorable Mentions (all 4,5 stars)

11) Demon Slayer: Mugen Train
12) True Mothers - Naomi Kawase
13) Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue - Zhangke Jia
14) Asia - Ruthy Pribar
15) Veins of the World - Byambasuren Davaa

Priority Watchlist (the list will arguably change after having seen some of these)

A Whisker Away
American Utopia
Birds (or how to be one)
Bloody Nose Empty Pockets
City Hall
The Cloud in her Room
The Day of Destruction
Digger
Father (not THE Father, I found that to be a competent work, but wasn't highly impressed by the result)
Her Socialist Smile
Identifying Features
Irradiated
Light in the Tropics
Love Song 1980
Minamata Mandala
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
The Real Thing
Red Post on Escher Street
Sisters with Transistors
There Is No Evil
Undine
Voices in the Wind
Wife of a Spy
The Year of the Discovery
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#17

Post by St. Gloede »

2020 Stats

I love statistics so I wanted to see how my statistics looked for 2020 films. Usually, when I do stats like this, I'm looking at films seen in a specific year - so interesting to look how the films from one individual year breaks down.

Seen: 118
Average rating: 6.98/10

English language: 43
Directed by Women: 27
Animation: 7
Black & White: 9

Country stats:

US: 25
France: 13
UK: 12
Japan: 7
Canada: 4
-
Serbia: 3
Poland: 3
Argentina: 3
Germany: 3
Romania: 3
Spoiler
China: 2
Czech Republic: 2
Greece: 2
Iceland 2
India: 2
Iran: 2
Ireland: 2
Portugal: 2
Russia: 2
Spain: 2
-
Angola: 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina: 1
Brazil: 1
Bulgaria: 1
Chile: 1
Denmark: 1
Georgia: 1
Italy: 1
Mexico: 1
Netherlands: 1
Netherlands Antilles: 1
Nigeria: 1
South Korea: 1
Sri Lanka: 1
Taiwan: 1
The Democratic Republic of Congo: 1
Tunisia: 1
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#18

Post by Teproc »

Ooh, I can't resist some stats talk. 2020 was overall a weaker year for me, both in quantity and in "quality", but let's see.

Seen: 71
Average rating: 6.06/10

English-language: 29
Directed by women: 18
Animation: 5
Black & White: 2

Country stats (I don't know how Chris does it, but I manually assign a country to each film according to my infallible judgment, and only one country for every film):
Spoiler
United States: 27
France: 26
South Korea: 3
Germany: 1
Belgium: 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina: 1
Ivory Coast: 1
Denmark: 1
Spain: 1
Ireland: 1
Japan: 1
Mexico: 1
Palestine: 1
Portugal: 1
Romania: 1
United Kingdom: 1
Russia: 1
Switzerland: 1
Kind of surprised at how low those numbers are for Japan or the UK, but then again it's still a recent year, and the US/France proportion tends to go down as time passes and these films make their way to my screens, be it in theaters or at home.
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#19

Post by Arkantos »

Still haven't seen enough to get a proper top ten list, but these are the 2020 films I rate as 4/5 (other than #1, which is my only 5/5 of 2020 thus far):

1. Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
2. Shiva Baby (Emma Seligman)
3. Minari (Lee Isaac Chung)
4. De slag om de Schelde (Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.)
5. Psycho Goreman (Steven Kostanski)
6. The Father (Florian Zeller)
7. High Ground (Stephen Johnson)
8. My Salinger Year (Philippe Falardeau)

Overall...
Seen: 13 features, 1 short, 1 miniseries
English language: all of them
Directed by women: 3

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#20

Post by Onderhond »

Inspired by Letterboxd, I've been busy building my own stats pages. This is the one for 2020. Still in beta, don't expect it to work well on mobile, it's also lacking some data left and right, but the core is already there.

In short:
Seen: 252
Average rating: 2.95/5

Countries:

Country#seenCountryaverage
USA104Ireland3.60
Japan042Russia3.50
China034Taiwan3.30
China034Taiwan3.30
UK027Japan3.23
Canada019France3.19
France008Australia3.10
Russia006China3.09
Hong Kong006UK3.06
Taiwan005South-Korea3.00
South-Korea005Hong Kong3.00
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#21

Post by cinewest »

I haven't seen much from 2020, but I have just watched an outstanding film from Ivory Coast / France called La nuit des rois (Night of the Kings) that is setting the bar for me.

I actually wanted to watch another African film called. It's Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection, which looks amazing, but I couldn't find it with subtitles, so I switched to the one above, and it turned to be better Thant I expected.

Sophisticated filmmaking pretty much coming from every part of the globe nowadays...
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#22

Post by Cinepolis »

Not a single favorite from this year so far. I've only seen 22 feature films, though. My two favorite releases of 2020 would probably be "Beasts Clawing at Straws" and "Identifying Features". The average rating of the year is roughly 6.23/10.

Covid didn't really have an impact on me. I almost never go to the cinema (the last time was March 2020). Maybe it even helped my film watching of this year since recent movies hit streaming services extra early.
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#23

Post by St. Gloede »

Part 2 is live and our number 1s of the year have been released? Which picks do you like/dislike the most? We struggled to agree on all but 1.
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