As a consequence of having a one-year-old child, this year I saw only ten films released in 2014. The only essential one was the unsettling and astounding Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer). Next in line were All Is Lost (J.C. Chandor), Frank (Lenny Abrahamson) and Calvary (John Michael McDonagh). Locke (Steven Knight) gave plenty of food for thought, in terms of scripting and character development.
Before my son was born I worried that I’d no longer have the attention span for ‘difficult’ cinema, but I was proved wrong. Being stuck in the house every evening has its benefits! My favourite films that I saw for the first time in 2014 include Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana and Diary of a Chambermaid, both subversive and compelling. For All Mankind (Al Reinert) was a revelation – how had I never seen this NASA Apollo footage before? I was blown away by the formal perfection of Ashes and Diamonds (Andrzej Wajda). Blue Is the Warmest Colour (Abdellatif Kechiche) and Stroszek (Werner Herzog) tie for the most engaging central performances. Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman) and Hunger (Steve McQueen) were the two films I found most unsettling. Other than For All Mankind, The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer) and The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris) were my favourite documentaries, both exploring the truth via artifice, although Hoop Dreams (Steve James) came close. Alongside Cat People (Jacques Tourneur), my most purely pleasurable film experiences this year were Hammer’s The Abominable Snowman (Val Guest) and The Nanny (Seth Holt).