12 unforgettable films in a difficult year

By Javier Lopez Iglesiasprint (Translation from Spanish)


Assuming the subjectivity of any selection, they make up the one we propose from hoyesarte.com films destined to remain in the memory. Different genres, approaches, creativity, budgets, perspectives... for a select handful of proposals that demonstrate the richness of an art that has made us continue to feel and move in 2021, a year in which, also for cinema, circumstances have not been not easy at all. Here are our chosen ones: 12 unforgettable titles.




Directed by: Harry MacQueen



The strength of friendship subtly marks the second film by British director and actor Harry Macqueen from start to finish. Story of love / friendship between two people, wonderfully embodied in the actors Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci.  


Through a script in which sensitivity and good taste mark each of its scenes, Supernova brings us closer to the story of a pianist and a writer who, barely in his fifties, is encircling Alzheimer's disease. Given the situation, both decide to take a road trip in a motorhome to see friends and family again, visit those places they traveled in the past and, in the depths of the night, identify very distant stellar explosions, such as the enigmatic Supernova.


As their journey progresses, through dialogues that are both simple and full of meaning, they address their plans for the future, reveal their mutual secrets and, ultimately, celebrate, as perhaps they had not done so intensely before, the joy of feeling together.   


Neither syrupy nor gratuitously dramatic, Supernova flows naturally to talk about illness and uncertainty and pain and fear, but also and, above all, about the strength of friendship and love, capable of facing almost everything that throughout this endearing journey.


Crock of Gold: Drinking with Shane MacGowan


Director: Julien Temple



Frontman, vocalist and songwriter for The Pogues , Irish musician Shane MacGowan is the tortured, dazzling soul of Crock of Gold: Drinking with Shane Macgowan . Julien Temple directs and Johnny Depp produces the feature film that won the Special Jury Prize at the last San Sebastian Festival about the life and work of this troubled character. A documentary that exudes addiction and nostalgia. 


Through the immersion in the fast-paced journey through MacGowan's career, the images dive into the singer's past to fill each scene with a bittersweet vision in which the protagonist's addiction plays an important role. Although what ultimately gravitates over the whole is the genius of one of those moods that fly over good and evil and the established rules without caring one iota about that increasingly questionable concept of "political correctness".


The oblivion that we will be


Direction: Fernando Trueba



In principle, and with few exceptions, we are all doomed to oblivion. But there are those who rightfully insist on the opposite. In that idea and in the attempt to rescue the memory of his father, Héctor Abad Faciolince wrote El olvido que seremos, which Fernando Trueba turns into a film with a moving Javier Cámara in the role of the protagonist; the doctor and human rights activist Héctor Abad Gómez. A film about this humanist and philanthropist in the polarized and violent Medellín of the 70s.


With the positive charge of some of the classic filmmakers that Trueba admires, the film feeds on shots and approaches that evoke the best John Ford. He uses color and black and white to delve into the life and memories of the characters he portrays in his privacy and feeds on the absolute dignity that Cámara brings to his performance. From the gestures and gestures to the peculiar accent of his speech, the actor merges with the human being he plays. This is corroborated by relatives and those who personally knew the biographer. As a whole, the film constitutes an exercise in sensitivity and high-level cinema.


David Trueba signs the script for the adaptation of this feature film awarded with the Goya for the best Ibero-American film.


First Cow


Director: Kelli Reichardt



Before the American West was what we know today. Before the cowboys, the duels in the sun, the legendary rides, the sheriffs wearing their law stars. So… at the origin. That is where First Cow focuses his attention , the splendid proposal by director Kelli Reichardt that uses a pioneer cow in those lands to leave on the screen a sensitive and picaresque story of friendship. Then... when that world began to take shape.


Set in early 19th century Oregon around 1820, the film chronicles the complex friendship between cook Cookie (John Magaro) and King-Lu (Orion Lee), a mysterious Chinese immigrant who, after spending much of his youth exploring the world, finds his new home in the Oregon Territory.


Through the adaptation of the novel  The Half Life (2004) by Jonathan Raymond, the director's regular co-writer, Kelly Reichardt once again shows her ability to envelop the viewer through simple stories to which she gives the precise rhythm to capture the daily life and the vast and unsettling tranquility of primitive rural America. 




Direction: Maria Perez Sanz



A delicatessen . Everything is light and elegant, this intimate delight about the stay in Kenya of the writer Karen Blixen and her very special relationship with her Somali servant Farah Aden, a character with whom, despite the difference in culture and social class, she forged a friendship that she herself defined as the most important of her existence.  


In the antipodes of Out of Africa , Karen , focused exclusively on the brilliant and calm performance of Christina Rosenvinge and Alito Rodgers, moves away from the usual discourse of biopics . Consequently, the story of the events takes a back seat so that the calm vision of the day-to-day life of the characters he portrays takes center stage: the small gestures, the conversations, the laughter and concerns, the light corners in the communication between two people who, over and above multicultural differences that at first might seem insurmountable, respect each other and live in close proximity to mutual and deep affection.


Pérez's film delves sensitively and tactfully into the closest, most intimate part of the relationship, in which Karen and Farah do not speak to each other as mistress and servant, but as friends who do not keep secrets. A union in which the differences of birth and philosophy gradually dissolved before an ancestral understanding. A union that the writer herself referred to as “a creative conjunction”.


That said: delicious.


the lives of others


Direction: Mohammad Rasoulof



Written, directed and produced by the Iranian Mohammad Rasoulof, this lucid plea against the death penalty won the Golden Bear, the Jury Prize and the Exhibitors Prize at the Berlin Film Festival. However, it had to be his daughter who collected these awards because the director is under arrest and awaiting trial for showing through his films the repression exerted by the Government of his country.


The lives of others flow with determination, but without fanfare, through four independent stories of daily life in Iran marked by the death penalty and its impact on those who suffer it, those who execute it and those who are part of the environment of death. each other: the others.




Direction: Vladimar Jójannsson



Amazing Lamb. Rarely so just the adjective to refer to the disturbing debut behind the camera of the Icelandic Vladimar Jójannsson. Fantastic cinema to delve into deeply human themes; viscerally realistic. In this case, the irrepressible desire to be parents of the couple on which this story delves.


What is told brings us closer to María and Ingvar, a couple who live on a lonely island in Iceland on a farm where they care for a large flock of lambs. Their life works and, despite the loneliness of the place and the pain of having asked for their little one, both do not seem to need more than each other's company.


But everything will take another course when in one of the usual cattle deliveries they discover an unexpected newborn. A fantastic being whom they decide to raise as their own son. In principle, this new perspective brings a lot of happiness to their lives, but fate, -Mother Nature-, has not said the last word...


You cannot get away from the vision of this fable that leaves its mark wherever it is projected.


Another round


Direction: Thomas Vinterberg



Confusing at times and always interesting, this film is a brave, powerful and emotional reflection on the effects and consequences of alcohol consumption in people's lives. Without judgments, rhetoric or dogmatism, the film shows through the stories of its four protagonists the social problems of drinking so that each one considers how many rounds they decide to consume. At what point alcohol crosses the subtle border between life and death. 


Another round adopts in many sections a humorous tone that many will even find scandalous. Very anchored in today's real world, the film aims to be a polyhedral story that both provokes and entertains, makes one think, cry and laugh. And hopefully, as the director himself concludes, "leave something for pondering and debate." And without the intention of teaching, the film is also about how to feel alive and the multiple ways that each person hides and exercises to achieve that noble goal.


The daughter


Direction: Manuel Martin Cuenca



The desire to have offspring decisively marks the lives recounted in this drama full of meaning and skill by Manuel Martín Cuenca. Ever since La flaqueza del bolchevique , his first attempt at fiction, Martín Cuenca hasn't been hesitant when it comes to bringing to the screen themes that transgress the bonanzable image of the human being. La hija is no exception , another one of those proposals that, little by little, from less to more as is usual in his narrative, stir the viewer in his seat until he is breathless.


With a script signed jointly by Martín Cuenca himself and Alejandro Hernández on a plot by Félix Vidal, La hija, which at no time judges or censors, merely exposes, has attracted attention and praise as it passed through the San Sebastián festivals, Toronto and Seville. Spanish cinema of height. Very tall. I have to say it proudly once again.


Shorta. the weight of the law


Direction: Anders Olhom and Frederik Louis Hviid



Shorta is an Arabic term meaning "police". With that word Anders Olhom and Frederik Louis Hviid title a film that goes far beyond the fast-paced action starring two policemen who desperately try to survive trapped in a marginal neighborhood of a Danish city.


The story frames that part of present-day Denmark that draws a multicultural, segregated society full of racial tensions. Shot with a restless and disturbing pulse, Shorta vibrates, and it does not do it in search of mere spectacle, but with the confessed objective of its filmmakers to “place the viewer in the skin of all the characters, the police and the criminals. It is not about pointing out who is good or bad. There is no such Manichaean binarism because the concepts are blurred and it should be everyone who evaluates to what extent it is difficult to judge”.


Objective accomplished. Between races, extortion, threats and fear, a lot of fear, the film forces the viewer into the plot. When the lights come on, silence floats in the room. What could have resulted in one more action film acquires the reflective weight that the law demands.


the power of the dog


Director: Jane Campion



Campion breaks more than a decade of silence and signs a new and brilliant twist to the list of films that, intending it or not, distance a genre as classic as the western from its more conventional face. Based on the homonymous novel by Thomas Savage, the director raises a more than disturbing warp of conflicting feelings that reflect the vulnerable personalities of its protagonists. Between dazzling landscapes runs the tragic story of betrayal and desire of The power of the dog, which captures repressed feelings and capped emotions as a consequence of a strangely cloistered sexuality. Everything fits into what is narrated on a suffocating, rough and masculine background, in a nascent America of horizonless territories and primitive and extreme values.


Three floors


Directed by: Nanni Moretti



A three-story building as the casing of what the world houses. The new film by the Italian actor and director Nanni Moretti makes use of the inhabitants who inhabit that building to deal with universal issues of depth such as justice, guilt, selfishness, doubt, obsession or responsibility. The result is a magnificent and choral film.


Three families live in a three-story building. Throughout ten years, life forces its characters to face conflicts that affect the relationships between all of them: siblings, friends, parents and children, husbands and wives. The decisions that each of them will make reflect ethical issues that will have significant repercussions on their lives.


So simple and so complex. Three floors surrounds the viewer to, through a building and its inhabitants, make a subtle x-ray of some of the issues that weigh on human beings in any city, any country, any corner of our world.

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