The Author's Best 20 Films of 2019

The author's best 20 films of 2019 (ranked considering direction, script, performances, cinematography, sound, editing, music, and art direction/production design) are from 15 different countries. Three are from France, and two each from Brazil, Turkey and Japan.

  1. Castle of Dreams (Iran) (2019) dir. Reza Mirkarimi. Winner of 3 major awards at Shanghai International Film Festival--a rare feat--Best Film; Best Director and Best Actor. Best Director and Best Actor awards won at the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, Turkey.
  2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France) (2019) dir. Céline Sciamma. Winner of Best Screenplay award at the Cannes film festival; the Gold Hugo award for the Best Feature Film at the Chicago film festival; Rare Pearl award at the Denver film festival; the Best European Screenplay writer award at the European film awards; Best feature film awards at the Hamburg and Rio de Janeiro film festivals.
  3. Vitalina Varela (Portugal) (2019) dir. Pedro Costa. Winner of the Golden Leopard for the Best Film and the Best Actress awards at the Locarno film festival; the Silver Hugo award at the Chicago film festival; Best Director and Best Actor awards at the Mar del Plata film festival; Best Film and Best Cinematography awards at Gijon Film festival.
  4. Beanpole (Russia) (2019) dir. Kantemir Balagov. Winner of the Best Director award and the FIPRESCI prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes film festival; the Silver Apricot award at the Yerevan film festival (Armenia); the Best Film award at the Montreal Festival of New Cinema; Impact Award at the Stockholm film festival; Special Jury Prize at the Lisbon and Estoril film festival; Best Actress award at the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.
  5. Bacurau (Brazil) (2019) dir. Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonca  Filho. Winner of the Jury prize at the Cannes film festival: Best Film, Best Director, and the Critics awards at the Lima Latin American Film festival; and the People's choice award at the Montreal Festival of New Cinema.
  6. About Endlessness (Sweden) (2019) dir. Roy Andersson. Winner of the Silver Lion for the Best Director at the Venice film festival: and the Best Visual Effects Supervisor award at the European Film Awards.
  7. God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya (Macedonia) (2019) dir. Teona Strugar Mitevska. Winner of the Gold Film Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin Film Festival; and the Best Actress award at the Seville European Film Festival.
  8. Commitment (Turkey) (2019) dir. Semih Kaplanoglu.  Winner of the Best Director award at Bosphorus Film Festival (Turkish national film festival) 
  9. Young Ahmed (Belgium) (2019) dir. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Winner of the Best Director award at the Cannes film festival: and the Best Screenplay and Best Editing awards at the Valladolid International Film Festival (Spain). 
  10. It Must Be Heaven (Palestine) (2019) dir. Elia Suleiman. Winner of the FIPRESCI prize in the main competition section and a Special Mention from the Jury at the Cannes film festival.
  11. Pain and Glory (Spain) (2019) dir. Pedro Almodovar. Winner of the Best Actor and Best Soundtrack awards at the Cannes film festival; and the Best Actor and Best Production Designer awards at the European film awards.
  12. Sorry We Missed You (UK) (2019) dir Ken Loach. Winner of the Silver Hugo award for the Best Actress at the Chicago film festival: the Audience award at the San Sebastian film festival; Best Narrative Feature Film award at the St Louis International Film Festival  and the Youth Jury award at the Ljubljana International Film Festival (Slovenia).
  13. Les Miserables (France) (2019) dir. Ladj Ly. Winner of the Jury prize at the Cannes film festival: European discovery award for director Ladj Ly at the European film awards; Best international film award at the Durban and Jerusalem film festivals; and the Audience award at the Athens film festival.
  14. The Fever (Brazil) (2019) dir. Maya Da-Rin. Winner of the Silver Hugo award for the Best Director at the Chicago film festival; the Best Actor award and the FIPRESCI prize at the Locarno film festival; and the Special Jury Award at the Thessaloniki film festival.
  15. By the Grace of God (France) (2018) dir. Francois Ozon. Winner of the Silver Bear for the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival; and Best Film award at the Stockholm film festival.
  16. The Truth (France/Japan) (2019)  dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
  17. Noah Land (Turkey) (2019) dir. Cenk Erturk. Winner of the Best Actor award and the Best Screenplay award at the Tribeca Film Festival (USA); and the Best Actor award at the Bosphorus Film Festival (Turkish national film festival).
  18. They Say Nothing Stays the Same (Japan) (2019) dir. Joe Odagiri. Winner of the Best Film award at the International Film Festival of Kerala.
  19. Tommaso (Italy/USA/UK) (2019) dir. Abel Ferrara.  Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Lisbon and Estoril film festival
  20. Balloon (China) (2019) dir. Pema Tseden. Winner of the Best Screenplay award at the Chicago film festival 
Films made in 2019 that missed the cut include Synonyms (Israel), Joker (USA), 1917 (UK/USA), The Irishman (USA), The Lighthouse (UK), Marriage Story (USA), Parasite (Korea), The Farewell (USA/China), The Two Popes (UK/Argentina/Italy/USA) and Passed by Censor (Turkey). (Click on the coloured titles of films to access the reviews of that film on this blog.) 

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