Since I had my first blog about film and music, I love to make lists about the 10 bests of each year. Since then, it kind of has become my guilty pleasure, and now that Papiro and Mint has more views than ever, I wanted to make a special one.
2016 was a specially good year for me, but I understand it was a tough year for the world and of course this was reflected in the arts. At the same time, even though it wasn’t a good year for cinema, it was a year with good messages on them, and my list of the best movies of 2016 is very important on that aspect. Now, music definitely had a good year! I enjoyed listening to new bands and new releases throughout the year and I was hoping to make this list every time a good album came out. So let’s cut to the chase:
01. “The Student” by Kirill Serebrennikov
The Student came out at São Paulo International Film Festival and I considered being on this list because it was indeed released in 2016. More important than that, I believe it’s the most important movie of the year by talking about a student from Russia that goes crazy after converting himself as Christian and starts changing the whole school system by spreading messages of Jesus. The result is an intrigue and psychotic study of behavior and the importance of education upon society. Not mentioning is a Russian film, which kind of questions a lot about Russian traditions, comparing to the rest of the world.
02. “Manchester by The Sea” by Kenneth Lonergan
I’m so glad I’ve waited to watch this movie before I release this list because is, indeed, in my opinion, the second best movie of 2016. It’s not a story that will change your life, but the script and the way the story was told by Kenneth Lonergan it’s simply pure cinema. It feels like an indie film, but it has the shape and power of a masterpiece. It’s simple, fresh, beautiful and touching. Maybe it’s because I’m missing the winter so much here in Brazil, but still, for me, Manchester by the Sea is pure joy.
03. “La La Land” by Damien Chazelle
Everybody is going crazy over La La Land here in Brazil, which makes me kind of overwhelmed. But at the same time, is nice seeing everyone liking such an amazing movie with a great message after the year we had. So here is to La La Land and it’s a beauty! The references, with we have a post about it on the blog, are simply movies no one else talks about and as one of the characters of the movie says, “you like the real jazz, but how will you make people like the old jazz if jazz is about the future?”. And that’s what La La Land is about and why it makes such an amazing film.
04. “Aquarius” by Kleber Medonça Filho
Aquarius was probably the first good movie I watched in 2016, and that was September already. Nevertheless, Aquarius is pure cinema in its most beautiful form. Kleber Medonça Filho creates almost a ballet with his camera to tell the story of a woman who refuses to sell her apartment to a company who wants to rebuild the building where she lives, and all the story that comes with it. It’s a movie about our identity, memory, family, and music. Sofia Braga’s performance is beautiful to watch!
05. “Arrival” by Denis Villeneuve
Before I watched Arrival, I thought it was an overrated film. It looked like The Day the Earth Stood Still with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Thankfully, I was wrong, and that’s why the film stands as fifth on this list. The way the story is told is not that different from movies we’ve seen, but the soundtrack by Johann Johannsson is very intimidating, to say the least. Not mentioning Devis Villeneuve direction. Is a movie about communication and understanding who we are to help each other – a message that is desperately in need in 2016 and maybe that’s why it works so well, because of the fragile period we live in. Even so, it’s an outstanding science fiction movie.
06. “American Honey” by Andrea Arnold
I’ve been following Andrea Arnold since Red Road and when I watched the trailer for American Honey I couldn’t believe my eyes. This movie is about freedom and an underground view of what it takes to get the American dream. With an amazing realistic cinematography, American Honey tells the story of a girl who runs away from home to join a group of young adults to drive around the country and sells magazines. The film is a little too long, but at the same time, you could just keep watching forever as they sing and dance, travel through cities, meet new people and personalities. A lot of the actors never acted before and most of the scenes were improvised. And the fact Andrea Arnold is British and made a movie so realistic in America, is something to take our hats off.
07. “The Innocents” by Anne Fontaine
I wasn’t really planning to watch this movie, but I’m really glad I did. Most importantly, I think it’s really interesting no one is talking about it! The film tells the story of a convent of nuns in France after World War II that are raped by German soldiers and get pregnant. Even though they are trying to hide it, one of the sisters asks for the help of a doctor. Trying to do this in secret, the doctor comes to the convent every day to take care of them. The result of that is a brilliant and beautiful film about people helping each other and the confrontation of religion from very restricted people.
08. “Things to Come” by Mia Hansen-Love
Probably my favorite movie of 2016, Things to Come is an amazing picture of a woman who seems to have it all. A job she loves, a marriage with kids, a collection of books she wrote and students who worship her. Her world falls apart when her husband says he wants a divorce because she is seeing another woman. With that, the character who is played by Isabelle Huppert, needs to rebuild her life. It’s a movie about our transformation when life takes a different course than what we expected and the decisions we have to make. The message at the end of the movie, it’s even more incredible, because it’s extremely realistic and positive and I think it’s done in a simple and fresh way. A definite must watch!
09. “It’s Only the End of the World” by Xavier Dolan
One of the most painful things for me this year was to wait for this movie to come out. My friend was actually in Cannes and watched this film with Xavier Dolan, which made me freak out even more. But the end of the year I was finally able to watch it and I was totally surprised by what I saw. It’s a movie with a lot of film grammar, different meanings with several open questions, which is something totally different from what Xavier Dolan is used to making. Because of that, is a very mature film, very beautiful and very poetic. Probably the most artistic movie of the year, and I can’t wait to watch it again to find out other secrets in the story. Simply incredible!
10. “Belgica” by Felix Van Groeningen
The number 10 was kind of hard for me because I could easily put Nocturnal Animals; I, Daniel Blake; or even Sing Street. However, I’m going to put Belgica because first, no one is talking about it, and second, it’s a very special movie for me. The film tells the story of two brothers who decide to open the coolest bar in Ghent, Belgium. However, the personality of one of the brothers makes the relationship between the brothers very difficult, affecting how they should run their business.
The movie is amazing, thrilling, exciting and with an amazing soundtrack. Not mentioning the photography and the acting is beautiful. What touches me the most, though, is that I went to Belgium this year and actually went to Ghent. I visited the two places where they shot the film and had a beer there. Not only that, I saw the actor Stef Aerts at the train station while I was leaving Belgium. All of that plus the fact this movie really got into my head, makes me put Belgica as one of the best films of 2016.
One of my most famous posts this year was The Best Albums of 2016 (So Far). Finally, I release the official list, which it has meaningful changes:
01. “Everything You’ve Come to Expect” by The Last Shadow Puppets
It was hard to say what is THE best album of 2016 because we had a lot of amazing albums this year. So I decided to put Everything You’ve Come to Expect by The Last Shadow Puppets for a sentimental reason. It came out during my last days living in the United States and the album stroke me a lot during that time. Not mentioning the album brings back a lot of the ’60s and 70’s vibe in France, which was something that I was enjoying a lot through movies at that time. So there it is!
02. “Dreamland” by Wild Belle
This was probably the record I listened the most in 2016. Way more sophisticated than their first album, Wild Belle proves that they are not playing around and improve their sound in this sophomore release with rich elements of extremely good taste. Mixing indie, rock, reggae, funk, ska, and jazz, Dreamland is one of the coolest albums of 2016.
03. “Ash & Ice” by The Kills
I’ve been listening to The Kills since their amazing sophomore album No Wow and they have never let me down when it comes to surprising me. Releasing an amazing album each time, Ash & Ice for the first time goes a step back when it comes to innovation. Still, it’s an amazing record, celebrating their own roots with a sonority that resembles their early work with an experience of a decade.
04. “Blonde” by Frank Ocean
I’ve never really liked Frank Ocean, however, it’s impossible to deny that Blonde is one of the most important records of the year. Transforming R&B into something entirely new, Frank Ocean’s new release it’s probably one of the most original things that we’ve heard this year, with an attitude and message that somehow translate the world we live now. It’s an auteur record, mixing and experimenting with elements in creative ways that will make you feel amazed.
05. “Trick.” by Jamie T
Another extremely important comeback after an eight-year gap, Jamie T finally meets up with his sound again in this follow-up after his dark and strange third record released last year. Bringing back the best elements of the indie rock’n roll era of the 2007’s, Jamie T mix those elements with punk and hip-hop in a youthful sound but with the maturity of a grown up. Probably his best album so far!
06. “Mystére” by La Femme
I have already heard La Femme’s new album when I made my first post, however, I was still thinking about the new 17 track release. After a while, I discovered how good it was and how much I played throughout the year. Calmer than their first release, Mystére is an album that lives up to its name. It’s mysterious, sexy, dark, psychedelic and fun. Not sure if it’s better than Psycho Tropical Berlin, but definitely more mature.
07. “Woman” by Justice
I could swear Justice’s new album wasn’t going to be that good but I’m glad I was totally wrong. Definitely the best album of the band, Woman has several of the most incredible tracks of 2016. Here, they went back to their first album roots with rock elements from the second record, creating a perfect balance of disco music with rock’n roll. Can’t stop listening to it.
08. “City Club” by The Growlers
Julian Casablanca transformed the sound of The Growlers into something more pop and catchy in City Club, but still without taking away the true essence of the band. Even though that doesn’t sound very good, is, in my opinion, the best album of the band so far.
09. “Hills End” by DMA’S
From all the new indie rock bands that are born and forgotten every year, DMA’s seem to promise quiet enough by embracing the 80’s vibe and the 90’s rock’n roll scene from England. Even though they are from Australia, the boys seem to know their references, making a quality album that knows how to differ from most bands out there that are trying to do the same sound. A great debut album!
10. “How to Be a Human Being” by Glass Animals
Glass Animals first album was pretty good, but I think there was something missing that the band tried to say but failed on doing so. Here, the Animals finally seem to achieve their full potential, modernizing the genre where so many bands died on the way (MGMT, Klaxons). Hopefully, they will stay strong as this incredible and beautiful album that is with no doubt one of the best of 2016!