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35 Directors Pick Their Favorite Movies of 2016

Sure, they loved "Moonlight" too, but from "Popstar" to "Childhood of Leader" some of your favorite directors shine a light on 2016 movies that aren't getting discussed.

The Childhood of a Leader

“The Childhood of a Leader”

IFC Films

Matt Ross (“Captain Fantastic”)

"The Red Turtle"

“The Red Turtle”

A “Top 10” list is, by very definition, personal and utterly subjective of course — and this list is no different. These are NOT in any particular order:

1. “The Lobster”
2. “The Red Turtle”
3. “Sing Street”
4. “Gleason”
5. “High Rise”
6. “Louder Than Bombs”
7. “The Witch”
8. “Cameraperson”
9. “The Handmaiden”
10. “Arrival”

Honorable Mentions (all of which are equally excellent and could have just as easily ended up on the main list): “Manchester by the Sea,” “The Fits,” “Moonlight,” “Hitchcock and Truffaut,” “13TH,” “Weiner,” “Neon Bull,” “Hell or High Water,” “Loving,” “20th Century Women.”

I should have also included a long list of films that I still haven’t seen, films like “Silence” and “Toni Erdmann,” which may have ended up on the list, had I seen them.

Lastly, these are not traditional films, but worth seeing, as they’re every bit as good:

1. “The Night Of” (HBO)
2. “Lemonade”
3. Adam Curtis (BBC): “Nonlinear War” and “HyperNormalisation
4. Radiohead, “Daydreaming”

Radiohead (one of the best bands in the world) + PTA (one of the best filmmakers working today) =  Magic. First watch the music video:

Then for fun, watch this: “Radiohead: The Secrets of Daydreaming,” by Rishi Kaneria:

I have no idea if his analysis is pure conjecture (it just seems insane and impossible) or true. Or some combination of both, which is most likely. But it’s so much fun to consider.

Josh Safdie (“Heaven Knows What”)



1A.  “M.A.G.A.” for its brilliant portrayal of the story of Kek.

1. “HyperNormalisation” for showing us the ‘real’ shadows on the cave wall. Let’s keep Curtis alive for another 100 years please.

2. “OJ: Made in America” for its incredibly complicated and devastating portrait of black America.

3. “Voyage of Time” for its portrayal of consciousness through time and for a sensitive soul searching Dinosaur taking in a sunset while struggling with existentialism.

4. “Elle” for its punk romantic blood and of course Isabelle Huppert.

5. “Krisha” for its sheer style and for making one of the most artistically accomplished home movies of maybe all time.

6. “Lobster” for its high concept, execution, incredible use of animals and disdain for the way things are.

7. “Silence” for its deep dedication to “faith” especially in the 2016 landscape… for portraying a complicated colonialism in my second favorite country. Oh…and for showing me God in the form of morning tide.

8. “Green Room” for its camera work and practical effects. Also for resurrecting the dope/white power phenomena.

9. “America Honey” for its perfect casting and for embracing the corniness of teenage love in a truly ‘vertical’ way. I wish the film went deeper.

10. “Moonlight” for making me listen to Chocolate Genius’s “My Mom” track again, which I used to weep and listen to on repeat for days.

I didn’t see as much as I used to because of production & post. Still NEED to see a ton of stuff from the year including, “Cosmos,” “Embrace of the Serpent,” “Toni Erdmann,” “Childhood of a Leader,” and the double bill: “Kate Plays Christine” with “Christine.”

Dash Shaw (“My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”)

The Love Witch

“The Love Witch”

Oscilloscope Laboratories

These are in alphabetical order. I never saw “Toni Erdmann.”  I didn’t see a lot of key movies.

“The Bad Batch”
“Don’t Breathe”
“Fort Buchanan”
“Godzilla Resurgence”
“The Itching”
“The Lobster”
“The Love Witch”

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