by Marina González
Here’re my Top 5 Films of 2016.
1. L’économie du couple (After Love)
Belgian filmmaker Joachim Lafosse captures and shows in painfully realistic and accurate fashion what happens during the breakup of a marriage in which people do not love each other anymore but are fated to know and understand each other through all the loveless torture. The economic crisis and house-of-cards style of family economy aids the director in telling the story of a couple that don’t love each other anymore and have to weather the situation while reconstructing their lives.
2. La Propera Pell
Directed by Isa Campo and Isaki Lacuesta, this movie is different, magnetic, organic and supported on ambiguity and the expression (or lack thereof) of the characters and their story. A movie about emotional violence that speaks of the wounds of the past. The snowfall and the mountain are an active part of the movie, adding to a disquieting atmosphere. The camera nears the characters almost uncomfortably and achieves an interesting result in tone and style.
3. Tarde para la ira
A wonderful directing debut by Raúl Arévalo, one of the youngest and most acclaimed actors working today in the Spanish cinema. He knows what he’s after and the execution is flawless and without hesitation – direct while at times contained. This is a thriller with a voice of its own and hails a promising future in Arévalo’s career as film director in the times to come.
Pedro Almodóvar’s new movie is about contention, emotion, silence, the sea and above all pain. The way he frames each shot is perfect, unconsciously overtaking us and allowing us to enter in his particular universe. It’s not the finest movie in his career nor does it surprise excessively but it doesn’t disappoint either and delivers a touching story about lost souls that do not know how to find their way back home.
5. I, Daniel Blake
At 80 years old Ken Loach is just as energetic in vindicating his trademark social cinema. Despite the criticisms of many in light of the sameness of his recent output, he continues to perform a style of his own, knowing exactly what he wants to communicate and agitating the viewer’s conscience in order to make them reflect about a world that is progressively unequal and unconcerned about our fellow man. Loach isn’t characterized for his subtlety and shows reality crudely (through his worldview seems to sweeten with each passing movie). With a great many touching scenes aiming for the heart, this movie is the kind of cinema we need.
Marina González / Writer (Madrid, Spain – 1985) She graduated in Mining Engineering from the Madrid Politécnica and now works at a renewable energy company, fighting against climate change. She became a film buff during college, splitting her time between books on energy & fuels and film seminars. She began reviewing in 2014, covering the San Sebastián film festival.