Our Favourite Films of 2021
Jane Campion’s slow-burning but mesmerising picture is a perfectly modulated Western meets family drama with flawless visual compositions and performances so complex and nuanced that it feels as much thriller as period piece.
2. Drive My Car
Adapted from the Haruki Murakami short story writer-director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's stately-paced picture is a meditative, perfectly calibrated study of loss and acceptance.
Inspired by journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 book ‘Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century’, Chloé 'The Rider' Zhao’s picture is a soulful and insightful study of itinerant folk.
4. First Cow
American writer-director Kelly Reichardt’s loose adaptation of Jon Raymond’s ‘The Half-Life’ is the most satisfying refinement of her minimalist fable-like, thematically rich storytelling style to date.
5. Another Round
Danish writer-director Thomas Vinterberg’s puckish midlife crisis comedy drama may not have anything profound to impart about masculinity and/or drinking but it’s wildly enjoyable and played with infectious gusto.
Worlds removed from standard royal portraits, Pablo Larraín's biopic feels more like a Polanski psychological thriller, albeit with chinks of light.
7. Petite Maman
Deceptively modest and containing multitudes, Céline Sciamma’s profoundly touching fantasy chronicles a surprising encounter for a little girl following the death of her grandmother.
8. The Killing of Two Lovers
Writer-director Robert Machoian’s solo feature debut is an understated and economic but gripping study of wounded masculinity and marital disintegration.
9. Summer of Soul
A priceless document of 1969's Harlem Cultural Festival, featuring rousing performances from Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, BB King, Sly & the Family Stone.
Adapted from an 140-post tweet thread, Zola's social media-invoking skittering rhythms & brash 'n' flash screwball feel bracingly original and brilliant leads Taylour Paige & Riley Keough work hard for their dollars.