Reis and Guerra’s Djon África is a travelogue, broadly covering the numerous corners of the island nation of Cape Verde while a journey of self-discovery plays out concurrently with Miguel inhabiting the role of main character and an unknowing host, of sorts, treated like a tourist in his own homeland.
Perhaps, the most hindering aspect of the film would be its structure, which is comprised of six separate storylines, shuffled throughout the film with occasional overlap and interaction, and (to a certain extent) the characters who inhabit that structure.
Here is a list of what I believe to be the best films of 2017; or, more specifically, the first half of my list of best films from 2017 along with one honorable mention for a grand total of 51 films. A mix of features and shorts, theatrical and online releases, anywhere from Mubi, Festival Scope, NoBudge, Vimeo, Flix Premiere, Topic, or Refinery29 (including one from our own website). Streaming links provided in some instances.
Yesterday saw the publication of what I believed to be the standout male performances from 2017 while today’s list is a rundown of the most impressive female performances of the year. And, much like yesterday’s list, this overview will also feature a number of omissions for various reasons, mainly my inability to see certain films. Cynthia Nixon in Terence Davies’ A Quiet Passion comes to mind and one that I have seen show up on several lists.
As always, I’m sure there are a number of performances missing from my list due to the simple fact that I have yet to see them, performances such as Timothée Chalamet’s role in Call Me by Your Name or Gary Oldham’s portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. I’m sure that these two specific performances, along with others not mentioned here, will be discussed and praised sufficiently that their lack of inclusion will be overlooked.
With Paul Taylor being a cinematographer, working on recent releases such as The Winds That Scatter and Wake Me When I Leave, it is not surprising that his first foray into directing would focus exclusively on visuals in order to convey his narrative, ridding the film from the constraints of dialogue effectively redirecting all focus onto the movements and body language of the actors in an attempt to present an unadulterated production of visual storytelling, stripped bare of the extraneous proving the power of purified imagery.
Tension abounds in writer/director Theodore Collatos’s latest feature, Tormenting the Hen, as nearly every discussion and/or interaction is laced with potential avenues providing offense and/or judgments, even the more inconspicuous and trivial subjects up for discussion harbor the possibility of illuminating surprising truths and viewpoints. With his script, Collatos has crafted a proverbial minefield for his characters to navigate, one that is laden with opportunities to weaponize any and all words and the hazards of crafting conclusions about others with incomplete information.
In his debut, Cameron Bruce Nelson has managed to present an effective portrait of humility in slow burn, a case study on the matter of adaptability as the nature of Sal’s situation remains in a constant state of flux, trying in earnest to readjust until finally realizing that he may not belong or be able to make do as nature decisively states its dominance emphatically. A bittersweet tale occupying the margins of the in between, in between the dusk of unrealized, cast off dreams and the threshold of promise and new beginnings.