31/12/2019 – Another year, another bunch of great film and television! As I was busy making my own short film, I initially thought I didn’t get a chance to watch as much as I did last year. Looking back though, I seemed to have watched 98 films and 15 seasons of various television series this year. So… I guess overall not too bad 🙂

My runners up for 2019 are:

Time for the Top-10!

NO 10 – LEAVING NEVERLAND: A two part documentary that analyses in detail the sexual abuse inflicted on two young men by Michael Jackson. It’s hard to imagine watching this and still doubting whether the events actually took place or not. A harrowing but important watch.

NO 9 – YEARS AND YEARS: A six episode series that says so much about the current state of the UK, and the world as a whole. In its core, its a story about a dysfunctional family which we can all relate to. Yet, each episode takes us further into post-Brexit, a second term with Trump, a civil war in Ukraine with refugees in the UK, and even nuclear explosions – a world that is scarily not too far removed from the one we currently live in now. It’s geniusly put together, and never been so relevant.

NO 8 – ONE CHILD NATION: When I think of China, the first thing that pops into my mind is that its the place where families used to be allowed only child. After watching this documentary, it really puts the whole process into perspective – forced abortions, mandatory sterilisations and a dark industry for child adoptions. It goes to show that a state having total control over bodies will never be at our best interest.

NO 7 – THE KINGMAKER: Documenting the life of Imelda Marco, the first Lady of the Philippines, may seem like a boring subject matter at first. Yet, Imelda is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve watched in a long time. Rich, powerful, deceiftful, and potentially, a mass murderer. By telling the story of her life, the film impressively reveals the history of the country and the lead up to the current events that has led the people to elect Rodrigo Duterte as President.

NO 6 – THE NIGHTINGALE: I watched this film shortly after finishing the book ‘Thicker Than Water’ by Cal Flyn, which was a great companion piece in order to familiarise myself with Australia’s dark past of colonial genocide. Aisling Franciosi stars in this immensely dark story of brutality and revenge, and she is something special indeed.

NO 5 – HONEY BOY: Who would have thought a film written by Shia LaBeouf, one that is based on his own life story and where he plays his own father would turn out so good? Well, it did. Pretty damn good!

NO 4 – GIVE ME LIBERTY: An independent low-budget film that may not even make it to the theatres; one which I’m so glad to have caught at the London Film Festival in October. Filmed and edited with a frantic pace quicker than a Michael Bay production, this magical story that takes place in a run down American city (Milwaukee) is full of passion, excitement and love for humanity.

NO 3 – PARASITE: Bong Joon-ho, a master at analysing the society and the divide in rich and poor, once again has put together a film that blends multiple genres that tells one cohesive story. Imagine riding an unpredictable rollercoaster ride; risky but oh so exciting.

NO 2 – FOR SAMA: As the Syrian war continues on, those that live far away in safety feel more comfortable in ignoring it. This documentary brings back the immediacy and human side of the struggle to the forefront. The horror of the siege of exposions and carnage is at times unbearable, as the main characters – a couple and their child – document their daily lives in a makeshift hospital. There is one particular scene that involves a baby that is guaranteed to stick with you long after watching the film.

NO 1 – HONEYLAND: A bedridden mother and her daughter, in an empty village in rural North Macedonia, who survive by beekeeping. The drama that unfolds by simply following these two characters is pure cinema. It’s always hard to list films in a specific order, but Honeyland has stayed in my mind the most out of all the films this year.