Papiro & Mint is back with the last installment of the article A Decade in Film: 10 Years 100 Movies. Since 2019 marks the last year of the 2010 decade, I’ve decided to gather the 100 most important and influential movies of the last ten years. Divided into four parts, the movies were organized by release date and have been posted each week until now, covering their significance with a personal intake from each title. You can check the first part here, the second part here and the third part here.
As the movies of the last three years are still very fresh, it’s a little hard to tell how we’ll see their importance and significance in the years to come, making the last part of this article extremely difficult. Still, some of the titles mentioned here are already considered of great importance in the 21st Century cinema history. With that, I give you the last 34 most important and influential movies of the decade:
“The Student (2016)” by Kirill Serebrennikov
Considered by Papiro & Mint the best movie of 2016, The Student is a hidden pearl from Russia that talks about a young boy that becomes a feverish catholic and starts imposing his beliefs through the school that he goes to, shaking the educational system around him. More than that, The Student is a beautifully constructed film about fanaticism that tackles delicate subjects as religious ignorance, the responsibility of schools towards acceptance and homosexuality and free speech in Russia. Definitely not very known, but a very important movie from 2016.
“Manchester by the Sea (2016)” by Kenneth Lonergan
Nominated for 6 Academy Awards and having won an Oscar for Best Actor and Original Screenplay, Manchester By the Sea may seem like a regular drama, but it’s so perfectly made that is impossible to not consider it a great film. With a very touching story about loss and self-forgiveness, Kenneth Lonergan builds a film on the snowy harbors of an American city called Manchester, where a character name Lee Chandler must face his own demons. With an extremely subtle script and delicate direction, Manchester By the Sea is one of my favorites movies of the year for its deep and human touch.
“Personal Shopper (2016)” by Oliver Assays
Being definitely a movie that didn’t get the attention it deserved, Personal Shopper is an amazing study of the ghosts surrounding our daily lives. Also playing with the duality of screens in our modern world, Oliver Assayas’ movie is one of the few that plays with these contemporary subjects in a smart and fascinating way by telling the story of a medium who works for a celebrity in Paris and starts receiving messages from her dead brother and an anonymous person who may be following her. It’s one of the first movies where communication between characters and technological devices are extremely well made, being an important part of the film and irreversibly, history of cinema itself.
“La La Land (2016)” by Damien Chazelle
Without a doubt one of the most popular movies of the decade, La La Land is a beautiful homage to Hollywood cinema and classic musicals that received nothing less than 12 Oscar nominations. Being also a touching portrait of the rise of young artists and the sacrifices we must make to achieve our dreams, La La Land gave both Emma Stone and Damien Chazelle their first Oscars at a very young age. If you haven’t watched La La Land, you are probably part of a very limited list of people.
“Aquarius (2016)” by Kleber Medonça Filho
Being probably the most important Brazilian movie of the 2010 decade, Aquarius is an incredible movie about the last tenant of a building who won’t give up her place to a constructor company. More than that, the film is a beautiful odyssey about family and memories, and how all of our lives are attached to the place we’ve lived. I have no idea why Brazil didn’t send Aquarius to run for the Oscar, since it would have easily been nominated for Best Film, and even maybe, Sonia Braga’s incredible performance.
“Arrival (2016)” by Dennis Villenueve
In a year that the world was so divided, Arrival couldn’t have come in a better moment. Even though it still can be considered a movie about an alien spaceship who comes to earth, the film focuses on the importance of communication between civilizations, the division that screen creates between us and how perspectives are important when it comes to time and space. Maybe some of that will be more clear when you watch the film, but it’s impossible to deny that Arrival is one of the most different and unique sci-fi’s that came out this decade, especially because of Dennis Villenueve’s direction and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s haunting soundtrack.
“All These Sleepless Nights” by Michal Marczak
Another obscure movie from this list, All These Sleepless Nights it’s a hypnotic Malick-like film which boundaries between documentary and fiction are blurred out in a contemporary coming of age musical. Set in Warsaw, the movie follows the lives of Christopher and Michael who are trying to find their identities through parties and the relationship between other people. Not even close to being pretentious, the film is a beautiful and poetic odyssey that portrays a generation who has all the tools to discover their true self but still find it hard to grasp something true and meaningful.
“American Honey (2016)” by Andrea Arnold
Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival, American Honey is a 162-minute road movie about a young woman who decides to hit the road to sell magazines with a group of people to make money. More than that, Andrea Arnold’s vision towards the chase of the American dream on the 21st Century is extremely special for being a female British director, making this a very touching, realistic and subtle film about hopes and dreams of outcasts, and the reality of the American way of life.
“The Ornithologist (2016)” by João Pedro Rodriguez
Fernando is an ornithologist who is studying birds alone in nature. When he suffers an accident, he is found by two Japanese women who ties him up on a tree after calling him a “non-believer”. Once he manages to free himself, Fernando starts a magical and surrealistic journey into the forest where he will question his identity, body, and faith, resulting in one of the most intriguing, different and strange movies of 2016. The director described his film being as “transgressive and blasphemous reappropriation of the saint’s life”.
“Moonlight (2016)” by Barry Jenkins
Winner of Best Picture at the Academy Awards after a very funny moment where the presenters read the wrong envelope, Moonlight stands out for its representation of black and queer people in Hollywood cinema. It may not be my favorite from 2016, but we can’t deny the incredible direction of Barry Jenkins and James Laxton’s cinematography, which resulted in a very powerful film with 8 Oscar nominations.
“Elle (2016)” by Paul Verhoeven
Probably the most controversial movie of 2016, Elle is an incredibly sexy, modern and challenging film about a woman who keeps suffering sexual threats and assaults from a mysterious man. The more interesting thing about the movie though, is that the choices of the character are extremely transgressive, taking the movie to places where you would never imagine it would go. Isabelle Huppert is superb, and even though she didn’t get an Oscar for this film, it gave her a Golden Globe for Best Actress and Best Foreign Film for Verhoeven.
“Fire At Sea (2016)” by Gianfranco Rosi
Winner of the Venice Film Festival in 2016, Fire at Sea is a very subtle and strong documentary about the immigration problems on an Italian island. Focusing on the life of a young teenager and the immigrants who keep arriving every day, Gianfranco Rosi compares the lives of the two kids in a very unbiased way, exploring the differences between their choices, realities, and problems. Being sometimes a little hard to watch, Fire At Sea is a raw intake upon the immigration crisis that has started on this second decade of the 21st Century.
“Call Me By Your Name (2017)” by Luca Guadagnino
Considered the best movie of 2017 by Papiro & Mint, Call Me By Your Name is by far one of the most fantastic and beautiful movies of these last ten years. Based on the novel by André Anciman and adapted by James Ivory, the movie is a beautiful tale about the relationship between a young boy and a student in the summer of 1983, Italy. The way Luca Guadagnino creates his film is extremely special, with a beautiful cinematography by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom and amazing performances by Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (2017)” by Martin McDonagh
With seven Oscar nominations and having won the most major awards, I really don’t know how this film lost Best Picture for The Shape of Water. Being also a way better movie, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is as brilliant in every possible way. With an incredible original script and amazing performances by Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell and Martin McDonag, the film is a smart dark comedy about a woman trying to find justice after her daughter is raped, killed and burned alive, shaking up the local community by putting up three huge billboards with very enticing messages.
“God’s Own Country (2017)” by Francis Lee
Watched at the Rio International Film Festival, God’s Own Country has instantly become one of my favorites LGBT movies of all times. Being the debut film of Francis Lee, the story is a beautiful and touching portrait of a wild boy who is taught how to share love and kindness after an immigrant comes to stay at his farm. With incredible scenes of the English countryside and performances, God’s Own Country is a very special and natural intake of love between two men and what they can accomplish together.
“Foxtrot (2017)” by Samuel Maoz
Even though Foxtrot is a 2017 film, this movie is still being released on the big screen throughout the world, making its official release date a little confusing. Either way, we can’t ignore Samuel Maoz incredible film which format it’s literally made by the concept of the Foxtrot dance, that consists on a series of movements that always makes you return to the place where you’ve begun. With that, the story follows the story of a couple who receives the news that their son died during the war, starting a chain of events that will surprise you in incredible ways. Not mentioning the film’s great sense of humor and absurdity that makes Foxtrot one of 2017’s best movies.
“Phantom Thread (2017)” by Paul Thomas Anderson
If I had any doubt Paul Thomas Anderson was one of the best directors working today, Phantom Thread took any doubts I had in my mind. By telling the love story between a country woman and a very rigorous fashion designer, Thomas Anderson creates a tale of madness. Craziness towards the art we love, the people we love and what we do to keep these two things balanced. Passion makes us do crazy things, and Phantom Thread is a beautiful study of love and madness in a very creative and stylish way.
“Dunkirk (2017)” by Christopher Nolan
It kind of saddens me that a lot of people don’t like Dunkirk since I think is probably one of the most epic movies of this decade. Shot entirely on film with IMAX cameras and with real planes and ships, Dunkirk is an orchestra of chaos, where Christopher Nolan did his best to portray the Dunkirk evacuation in the most realistic way possible. With an astonishing cinematography and sound design, the movie almost doesn’t have special effects, bringing cinema back to its purest form and essence. The result is simply beautiful to watch, but apparently, many people thought it wasn’t enough. Too bad for them, I must say.
“Lady Bird (2017)” by Greta Gerwig
I was really skeptical about this film when it came out, but fortunately, I was wrong. After building a very unique body of work, Greta Gerwig released her debut full of personality by portraying a coming of age story with many layers and textures about growing up and the relationship we have with the people who come along the way. Her debut was extremely praised, with 5 Oscar nominations, including for Best Director. I really loved Francis McDormand in Three Billboards but I was really expecting that Saoirse Ronan would win. However, the internet is a marvelous place where I can make my own awards and give to the people I want through the Papiro & Mint Awards.
“Winter Brothers (2017)” Hlynur Palmason
Another extremely obscure film from this decade, Winter Brothers was screened at the Sao Paulo International Film Festival where I had the opportunity to watch it. As the film went by, I couldn’t stop thinking about not only how brilliant it was but what a shame this kind of film was only screened at film festivals and probably wouldn’t have a commercial release in many countries. Either way, Hlynur Palmason’s film is a hypnotic tale about two brothers who keep clashing with their twisted and strange personalities, resulting in a very unique film with an outstanding mise en scene and cinematography. Without a doubt, one of my 2017 favorites.
“The Square” by Ruben Ostlund
Winner of the Palm d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and other major European awards, The Square is probably one of the most interesting contemporary films ever made. Telling the story of a curator of a museum who is about to start the exhibition of a piece called “the square”, that raises awareness of responsibility and political correctness upon the viewer; the curator embarks on a strange and absurd journey where such questions are thrown upon his life. As a result, Ruben Ostlund creates a very unique film that critiques both artistic world and the society we live in.
“120 Beats Per Minute” by Robin Campillo
Being by far one of the most powerful movies of 2017 and totally ignored by the Academy, 120 Beats Per Minute is a riot film about an AIDS activist group. Focusing on a young man who decides to join them during 1990, where people who had AIDS suffered a huge prejudice, the film follows the debates, protests, and lives of these people, which many of them were based on true stories. I don’t know how Manuel Pérez Biscayart didn’t get the prize for Best Actor in Cannes as this was probably the best performance of the entire year.
“Blade Runner 2049 (2017)” by Dennis Villenueve
Unlike most of the revivals of this decade – Mad Max, Star Wars, Jurassic World, etc – Blade Runner 2049 is an astonishing film that expands the world created by Ridley Scott while it homages its successor with an interesting, strange and surprising story. With a draw-dropping cinematography, production design and special effects, Blade Runner 2049 can already be considered a classic as important as the first one.
“Logan (2017)” by James Mangold
Before The Avengers changed the way super-hero movies were made, the universe of the X-Men was being explored since the year 2000, which resulted in nothing more than eight movies in total and the numbers are still counting. Logan does not only represent the ninth installment of the series, but its relevance also comes from the fact that it was probably the first R rated super-hero film ever made – if we can even fit this film into the “super-hero” category. Here, Wolverine receives a proper story, with a background that is not necessarily like most Marvel/DC films, becoming extremely special and at the same time tense, interesting and extremely special.
“The Shape of Water (2017)” by Guillermo Del Toro
Winner of Best Picture at the Academy Awards, The Shape of Water may not be the best movie of the year but it’s extremely important for what it represents. Being a love story told through the perspective of a mute, a closet homosexual and a sea creature made by a Mexican director, Guillermo Del Toro’s film couldn’t be more on point to make a statement on a year where Donald Trump had been elected and #MeToo was going around Hollywood. Not only that, but the cinematography, production design, and soundtrack are simply amazing, having received nothing less than 13 Oscar nominations.
“Wonder Woman (2017)” by Patty Jenkins
And when women couldn’t have a better chance to raise awareness against sexual assault and representativeness inside the Hollywood community, Wonder Woman came out not only as the first female super-hero ever, but it kind of became as a statement with Patty Jenkins directing and Gal Gadot on the lead. If being a great movie wasn’t enough, the whole character of Wonder Woman is constructed as a smart, strong and independent woman who is constantly defying the concepts of our society, especially the psychiatry. For that, the presence of Wonder Woman on this list is extremely important.
“mother! (2017)” by Darren Aronofsky
By far one of the most controversial movies of this decade, Darren Aronofsky’s mother! created a love-or-hate relationship between the cinephile community. By tackling subjects such as society, religion, mother nature and feminism, mother! follows the story of several uninvited guests that arrive on a couple’s house, resulting in a film full of metaphors that are open to many interpretations and contains so many emotions that are impossible to define the movie in one word. I personally think is a very interesting movie, but I still prefer the other films from the director. Even so, mother! is a must watch so you can have an opinion about it.
“Cold War (2018)” by Pawel Pawlikowski
We start the year of 2018 with the amazing Cold War, which even though it just came out on the movies, it’s already an extremely important and relevant title. Winner of Best Director at Cannes Film Festival and making cinema history for being nominated for Best Director, Cinematography and Foreign Film at the Academy Awards, Cold War is an 84-minute film that covers 20 years of the relationship between a composer and a singer. With an impeccable black and white cinematography, Pawel Pawlikowski’s movie is a twisted love story set on the streets of Poland, Russia, and Paris, embracing music as a mean of communication, resulting in one of the best movies of 2018.
“Happy as Lazzaro (2018)” by Alice Rohrwacher
Is a shame Happy as Lazzaro didn’t get much recognition after leaving Cannes Film Festival, which got the award for Best Script. Being on Netflix in most countries, the film is a beautiful dream-like tale about a boy named Lazzaro who befriends the rebel son of the family he works for. When he decides to hide from the family, Lazzaro pretends he doesn’t know anything, which results on a journey through memory, time and space. Alice Rohrwacher’s mise en scene is so interesting and unique that is impossible not to fall in love for this movie and the secrets its magic holds.
“Roma (2018)” by Alfonso Cuarón
Probably the most important movie of 2018, Roma won the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival and it keeps moping all major prizes in most award ceremonies, resulting with 10 nominations at the Academy Awards. Written, directed, produced and shot by Cuarón himself, Roma is a beautiful and artistic voyage through memory and childhood, where we follow the story of a maid working for a middle-class family in Mexico. Even though the script of the film is simple, the format Cuarón builds his film is monumental, with very long takes and an outstanding cinematography, taking his time to tell his story and let the spectator enter these characters lives.
“The Favourite (2018)” by Yorgos Lanthimos
When I’ve first watched The Favourite, I must admit I was a little disappointed. I love Yorgos Lanthimos and his movies, but something in his newest piece seemed to be missing. After recently rewatching it with more time to analyze and digest what I was seeing, I must say I became a little more optimistic about this film, even though I still prefer his previous works. One way or the other, The Favourite is an absurd film with an incredible cinematography, production design, cast, and costume. It received nothing less than 10 Bafta and Oscar nominations and the fact the film itself is kind of an anti-period piece, makes The Favourite very worth watching.
“A Star Is Born (2018)” by Bradley Cooper
I really wasn’t expecting anything from this film, which is probably why I loved it so much. Being also the most talked about movie of the year, A Star is Born is a powerful musical directed by Bradley Cooper starring Lady Gaga, who also composed the songs with the actor. Despite being a story that has been told three times in the past, Bradley Cooper makes the film extremely modern and relevant, resulting in a beautiful and touching drama about fame and loss, which gave both Oscar nominations.
“Hereditary (2018)” by Ari Aster
Probably one of the most original horror movies of the decade, including one of this year’s best performances by a female actress; Hereditary is very unique for its original script, which takes you to different places in forms that we have never seen before in a genre film. Mixing themes of death, loss, family and religion, Ari Aster’s debut is an incredible voyage through absurdity and fear, resulting in one of the best horror movies of this decade.
“Black Panther (2018)” by Ryan Coogler
Nothing seems more right than finishing this article with Black Panther, the first super-hero movie made entirely with African-American actors which were also the first Marvel movie to be nominated for an Academy Award of Best Picture. Even though I thought it was just a good super-hero movie, Black Panther’s relevance and importance come through the representativeness that stands within the Hollywood and the cultural and political question it raises by imagining the development of a country that has been exploited since the beginning.