This was not the greatest year for new releases but there were some fine and powerful dramas and documentaries. One positive aspect was that nearly half the films that I saw at a cinema were on 35mm. Less positive was for D-Cinema; only 4 or 5 DCPs were in 4K; this despite distributors bragging on a many occasions that the source was a ‘4K restoration’.
Our Little Sister / Umimachi Diary (Japan 2015).
This was a sheer delight: one of the best films of the decade.
Dheepan (France 2015).
A fine and socially conscious drama, combining realism and imagination.
Son of Saul / Saul fia (Hungary 2015).
Rarely have I experienced such intense drama: a European Holocaust film with real substance.
Taxi / Taxi Teheran (Iran 2015).
Simple, actual, funny and fascinating.
Victoria (Germany 2015).
Impressive use of digital technology and the style completely fitted the drama.
The Pearl Button / El botón de náca (Chile, France, Spain, Switzerland 2015).
Visually superb and politically sharp.
I enjoyed Amy Adams in the fine science fiction film Arrival (Canada, USA 2016). And Nellie’s cross-gender performance as Marvin in Paterson (USA 2016) certainly deserved the Palm Dog: unfortunately posthumously.
A fine restoration in 35mm:
Kean / Edmund Kean, Prince Among Lover / Kean ou Désordre et Génie, France 1924
Restored by the Cinémathèque française with tinting restored by Náradni filmavŷ archiv.
An impressive preservation of a film print:
By the Gosfilmofond of a nitrate print of Ramona (USA 1927) and screened at the George Eastman Nitrate Weekend.
Two great discoveries of the Year:
A Japanese Tragedy / Nihon no higeki (1953)
At the Sheffield Showrooms, a rare Japanese film drama.
Laughter in Hell, USA 1933.
Effectively a pre-code movie and the most intense and brutal chain-gang film that I have seen.
For the Parkway Cinema in Barnsley for screening The Hateful Eight (USA 2015) from a 70mm print in the full 2.76:1 ratio.
The Cinémathèque française deserve a further commendation: a friend told me that they declined to licence a theatrical screening of a title sourcing digital video.
The worst film:
London Has Fallen (UK, USA, Bulgaria 2016).
In my defence there was a dearth of interesting titles that week.