Kevin Rakestraw’s Top 15 Films of 2020

Next up on our year-end wrap-up is Kevin‘s top 15 films of 2020. To hear Kev-dog talk more about the year we’re all glad is ending, check out this week’s podcast and for more top 2020 lists click here.

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#10 – THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (Matthew Rankin)

A ridiculous re-imaging of the early years of the former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, brilliantly played by Dan Beirne, through an inventive mix of German Expressionism and Melodramatic films of the early days of cinema with phenomenal production and art design.

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#09 – RESIDUE (Merawi Gerima)

Incredible filmmaking that turns mundane events into magical, emotionally-affecting moments of brilliance. The prison visit sequence towards the end is, without a doubt, scene of the year.

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#08 – BACURAU (Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles)

A political statement that’s part action film, part mystery thriller as a remote village fights back against the foreign capitalists and the local powers that sold them out.

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Sidney Flanigan & Talia Ryder are phenomenal as Hittman delivers another humble gut punch with another affecting drama that does so much with very little.

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#06 – FIRST COW (Kelly Reichardt)

Low-stakes thriller that plays extremely tense given it revolves around a couple of fellas and their stealth milking operation and fried treats. Like an incredibly comfortable, worn-in cardigan of a film.

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#05 – GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY (Yang Mingming)

A mother-daughter relationship that is mostly steeped in mutual dislike and disgust that slowly changes over time given their respective circumstances and the indignities that they endure. An exciting piece of filmmaking weaving between light-hearted carefree & emotional heartbreak in quiet transitions.

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#04 – JALLIKATTU (Lijo Jose Pellissery)

Exhilarating piece of filmmaking with an enthralling rhythmic score that matches up with the fast-paced editing at times while patient, long takes are deployed when the time is right. Evolving slowly over time from farcical comedy into utter depravity without threshold crossing fanfare.

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#03 – TIME (Garrett Bradley)

The editing, the score, the camera angles, the ebbing and flowing between different points in time are all done to perfection as one would expect from Bradley.

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#02 – THE GRAND BIZARRE (Jodie Mack)

A culmination and expansion of Mack’s fabric short films now coupled with an upbeat, mood enhancing score as patterns and fabrics travel all across the world draped over various landscapes acting as a pseudo-documentary of their own lifespan.

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#01 – TALKING ABOUT TREES (Suhaib Gasmelbari)

A slice-of-life doc following four older Sudanese filmmakers as they try to revive the cinematic experience in Sudan that looks at the past, present and future of cinema in Sudan while also simply being a spectacular document of male friendship.


#12 – FOURTEEN (Dan Sallitt)

#13 – GUAXUMA (Nara Normande)

#14 – DEERSKIN (Quentin Dupieux)

#15 – CEMETERY (Carlos Casas)

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