2018 was a good year for cinema. Some really compelling stories made it to the cinemas and other platforms (while I am sure there are a million more that are yet to see the light of a camera’s lens). I am always excited to look back at my favorite ones from the year, as it is also a time to look at the future of cinema in the coming year.
Of all the films I watched in 2018, there were three films that really stood out for some brilliant storytelling. British Auteur Steve McQueen, who enthralled us with 12 Years A Slave, came back with a bang with Widows. Powered by brilliant performances by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo (and others), this heist film is a crime thriller set in Chicago and traverses patriarchy, our corrupt political system, racism, violence perpetrated by law enforcement with such nuance and finesse, that after an action packed two plus hours you are still left wanting for more.
Christian Petzold’s Transit was another take on one of the most revisited moment of 20th century history, retold in a contemporary setting. A man is fleeing the Nazi invasion of France, taking on a dead author’s identity. He is stuck in Marseilles, hoping to get on a ship to America. But this is not 1942 but 2018 and we see the film explore themes of displacement, migration, intolerance and lost love on so many poignant levels. It’s like the truth of intolerance and displacement of peoples hasn’t change in the past seventy years. It’s one of the most interesting narratives I have encountered in the recent past.
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda’s story with universal tonality was Shoplifters, that takes you into the world of a poor family that barely makes ends meet, but has a sense of happiness that only wanting can bring. When the family decides to give refuge to a homeless girl, the family faces an onerous situation that strikes at the heart of their bonds of family and solidarity. Shoplifters was an utterly satisfying cinema experience.
In 2018, one can’t expect new films to just be released in cinemas. So, this holiday season so many news films that are out in screens and on online platforms.
For family goers, another rendition of Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins Returns) is out, starring Emily Blunt in the lead role, supported by an ensemble cast of Lin Manuel Miranda, Ben Winshaw, Julie Walters, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth and even Meryl Streep. The king of American musicals Rob Marshall revisits this holiday classic, in what promises to be a colorful musical.
Another must watch The Green Book, a brilliantly crafted film directed by Peter Farelley. With outstanding performances by Mahershalla Ali and Viggo Mortensen, The Green Book explores racism in the 1960s through a fascinating lens of privilege, an unlikely friendship and learning from differences.
Brady Corbet’s musical drama Vox Lux has Natalie Portman playing the pop star Celeste and follows the superstar’s life over eighteen years.
Moonlight fame director Barry Jenkin’s new film If Beale Street Could Talk comes out on Christmas. Adapted from the James Baldwin novel of the same name, set in the early the 70s Harlem, Beale Street is a poetic romance between two young people, who are in love and soon to be parents. The film explores how their worlds respond to the happenings of their lives. Also out is Vice, the film that attempts to uncover (if there is anything left to, that is) the truth behind Vice President Dick Cheney’s ascent to becoming the most powerful man during George W. Bush’s presidency.
A film that has really caught the fancy of audiences and critiques alike is Yorgos Lanthimos new film The Favourite. After The Lobster, Lanthimos brings us a period comedy with powerful performances by Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman and Emma Stone.
The one film that I am really looking forward to is Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. This stunningly shot film set in 1970s Mexico explores the life of a middle-class family and their maid Cleo played by actress Yalitza Aparicio (who has no formal acting training). After its super successful run in the film festival circuit, the film is now available on Netflix.
Most of the films are
playing in a cinema nearby around Montreal.