Every structure needs an outline. Every composition needs notes. Every fairytale needs a story.
A film is what we see: its frames, its motion, its colors, and its shadows. A film is also what we listen: its melodies, its noises, its moments of silence, and its voices. Yet, what would even a well-done motion picture be without a good script? Would it originate from a source of genuine ideas? Would it be addressed to someone?
This list features 10 of the best 2018 films, in relation to their elementary idealistic content, script symbology, contact with reality, and character development. All of the mentioned above parameters contribute to the occurrence of motion pictures of very high artistic quality and of priceless humanistic value all the same.
10. If Beale Street Could Talk
Based on the 1974 homonym novel by James Baldwin and directed by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk” effectively delivers the spirit of a 70s American society, as it honors love in its most palpable and sincere quality.
The story takes place in Harlem during the 1970’s, involving Tish and Alonzo, a long-standing couple in anticipation of their first child, whose life is disturbed after Alonso’s sudden arrest for rape. In order to prove her partner’s innocence, an undeterred Tish dares an unequal battle against her prejudiced community, calling to arms all of her inner forces and seeking help from the closest family members.
Apart from showcasing an outstanding directing virtuosity, which is reflected on the film’s imagery and stunning visual synthesis, Jenkins has achieved a remarkable script adaptation, capturing the atmosphere of a foregone ere in its wholeness and giving real flesh and bones to characters who existed and maybe still exist, fighting for their ignored treasures every day.
9. 3 Faces
It travels through time, it photographs the moment, and it patiently floats on a cosmic sea of toil as it stands still. The vast boat of circumstances and repressed souls of “3 Faces” is Jafar Panahi’s latest film.
Set in Iran of the present, it transparently visits the past but is always landed on this land’s troubled soils. The lines of “3 Faces” follow three Iranian women. All of them are actresses of different ages and all of them chase a both external and internal territory of serenity and reification of aspirations. These three symbolic women are found at different places of the same spinning wheel, moving with the same speed on the same endless round of an essentially unmovable vanity.
Deeply humanitarian, emotionally thorough and philosophical in its subtle move, this is one more film by Panahi dedicated to the people of Iran. Superbly written and defined by a both glaring and shadowy originality, “3 Faces” fairly won the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes film festival.
Topical in relation to its social circumstances and intertemporal in relation to the textures of its main characters, Carlos López Estrada’s first feature film “Blindspotting” proudly occupies a place among the best written films of the year 2018.
In its simple terms of storytelling and on a mundane landscape of commonly occurring conditions, this is a motion picture that was made for the sake of a humble yet all-important truth, steering clear from pretenses and artifices of void bedazzlements. Estrada’s cinematic debut deeply concerns countless individuals of the western world, touching the hardest and softest spots of their minds.
“Blindspotting” is the story of Collin and Miles, two more than real characters, who have always been troubled and disoriented, essentially facing difficulties in holding to the only unspoiled value of their life: friendship. The bleak reality that glares its teeth behind these two men, and the both sleek and faded surface of their portrait renders to the film an unfailing bourn.
7. The Favourite
If one attempts an introspection of Yorgos Lanthimos’s career, from his lesser-known debut in the big screens “Kinetta” until the present, the occurrence of “The Favourite” is a surprise. Progressively improving his scripts and character profiling, Lanthimos has focused on manifestations of psychological dysfunctions which pertain to maladies of modern societies: alienation, parental manipulation, sexual complexes and more.
One the other hand, his most recent work “The Favourite” is a period piece that principally deals with issues of power, a timeless flaw of human nature. Maintaining the grotesque and the sexual character of his rest works, this is a film much different in tone and thematic approaches.
Paradoxically, even in this case the Greek filmmaker employs an assemblage of absurd ingredients that pulls the rag from under the viewer’s feet once again. The specific difference here is the formation of a very tense yet very stable triangle of three main female characters. Each one of them is masterfully written, developed and performed. Set in the middle of the 18th century England stage, this triangle loses none of its power as the story unfolds to balance exactly where its meant to settle.
6. The Rider
As closer to reality as possible, casting non-professionals who were tasked to deliver the substance of their real lives, Chloé Zhao creates a film about those people that are bound with the loads that kill them. Her 2018 “The Rider” is the story of Brady, a poor cowboy who wants to do nothing else than participating in rodeo battles, even after facing death.
Brady Jandreau embodies Brady Blackburn, a cowboy who lives in South Dakota with an indifferent father and a younger sister. Brady makes a living exclusively by local rodeo races. After getting seriously injured during a race, he can’t imagine himself away from his fatalist profession, even though life seems to occupy a much different territory than his own.
On this breakthrough which trespasses an unchangeable American south, Zhao exposes to the viewer the most authentic aspect of a real-life drama. Although the plot is based on the hero’s accident, its hard core is found in the dispersed drama of his entire existence. More than analyzing the consequences of an ineffable accident, the film exhaustively and insightfully describes the deadlock of a representative life in a representative environment.