The year 2019 was one of the best cinema years of the last decade. We’ve seen a lot of masterpieces and marvelous films that will be remembered and become classics.
Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour film “The Irishman” was screened on Netflix and won great acclaim; “The Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is considered by many to be a modern masterpiece; and “Joker” has been on top of the film agenda for a long time.
In short, it was a very high-quality year for cinema. Here are the 10 most rewatchable films of 2019.
10. Pain and Glory
“Pain and Glory” is one of the most personal and special films of Pedro Almodovar, who has made fearless films about gender, nationality, sexuality, society’s view on women, and has also been harshly criticized.
Veteran director Salvador Mallo, who stopped making films, often returns to the past. He travels back to the years of his childhood, the village where he lived with his mother, the hardships he experienced, his young love in Madrid, and the time he began writing that was an escape for him. The story undoubtedly carries strong autobiographical traces of Almodovar’s life.
Although Almodovar has a career with ups and downs, he is one of the most special directors living today, with the innovations and perspectives he has brought to the cinema. With all of that, “Pain and Glory” is nothing but a great opportunity to take a closer look at the life, dreams, contradictions, and passions of this great auteur.
It uses the power of the vague field between reality and fiction through constantly emphasizing on the cinema screen and the audience.
Almodovar adds a piece to the numerous masterpieces of the directors who shot their films based on their personal stories.
9. The Lighthouse
“The Lighthouse,” directed by Robert Eggers, who made one of the most exciting horror films of the 2010s with his first feature “The Witch,” is the most bizarre film on this list.
Thomas Wake, a former sailor, is a lighthouse guard on a mysterious island. Ephraim Winslow is sent to help this lonely guard on the island for years with his work. Thomas and Ephraim begin to work together, and a great and dark battle of power between these two men emerges.
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, in a duo which reminds Prometheus and Proteus, amaze with perhaps the most impressive performances of their careers, and this makes a tremendous contribution to the film’s atmosphere.
In addition to the power struggle between the two men, “The Lighthouse” also uses numerous toxic elements of the masculinity of the characters to escalate tension and imprison the atmosphere.
Setting the cinematic language to create a sense of dream, Eggers lifts the line between hallucination and reality as the film progresses. With its uncomfortable sound design, visual choices that keep the audience on their toes, and references and layered structure, it becomes one of the best films of the year.
8. The Souvenir
Joanna Hogg is absolutely one of the most underrated filmmakers today. And after “Unrelated” and “Archipelago,” in “The Souvenir,” Hogg manages to create an enormous impact once again.
“The Souvenir,” which won critical acclaim and Grand Prize of the Jury in the World Cinema section at the Sundance Film Festival, follows Julie’s relationship with the charismatic but unreliable Anthony, and her challenge against her protective mother to preserve her love.
This magnificent drama that tells its story from the first moment to the unforgettable finale in detail, breaking the clichés of love movies, is a shocking and emotionally intense experience.
It gives a subtle view into every aspect of life, but also becomes a powerful and unique narrative for those notebly interested in cinema as an art form.
The perfect final scene that focuses on the close relationship between cinema and reality, where the boundaries of the screen and life are intertwined, is a powerful enough factor to make it one of the most special films of the last year.
Returning from the 72nd Cannes Film Festival with the Grand Prix, Senegal’s Oscar nominee “Atlantique” is in fact the hardest film on the list. And what makes this film rewatchable is its intriguing and hypnotic atmosphere.
It tells the story of 17-year-old Ada, who lives in the suburbs of Dakar. When the workers in a futuristic skyscraper leave the country in hopes of a better future because they have not been able to get their money for months, Ada is led into an unexpected situation. Because Souleiman, the lover of Ada, is among them.
Concerned for Souleiman, Ada confronts the possibility of marrying a man she doesn’t like. As the opening of the skyscraper approaches, an unexplained epidemic in the city begins.
Offering an original perspective on the social problems in Senegal, “Atlantique” stands out with its beautiful cinematography and subtle sound design.
Its absorbing atmosphere is one of the biggest pluses of the film. And considering the self-questioning, while it reminds Lucrecia Martel’s “La Cienaga,” it also salutes Luigi Pirandello’s great book “One, No One and One Hundred Thousand.”
6. Marriage Story
Noah Baumbach, one of the most important representatives of American independent cinema, fascinates with his best film since “Frances Ha.”
“Marriage Story” focuses on the destruction of the human psyche and the sadness of unresolved dilemmas caused by strange legal procedures, blurred areas, and psychological and social pressures that emerge during the divorce phase.
Baumbach follows the story of both characters with patience and faithfulness and this gives an intimate atmosphere to the story that travels between conflicts and compromises.
Framing choices that emphasize the close bond between the two characters, as well as contrasts, the film outlines its unpretentious yet powerful cinematic language.
Aside from its original script, one of the most important reasons why the narrative can remain strong without the need for big moves is the great performances from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.