Yes, we haven’t seen Cats or Rise of the Skywalker yet, but the vast majority of 2019 releases have now been released and with that, we have one of the most notable year-end lists. Sight & Sound, the BFI’s international film magazine, have unveiled their 50 favorite films of the year, topped by Joanna Hogg’s magnificent drama The Souvenir, which world premiered Sundance Film Festival at the start of 2019.
Featuring ballots from 100 international critics, programmers and academics who contribute to the magazine, the list also includes new films from Bong Joon Ho, Martin Scorsese (who produced Hogg’s film), Quentin Tarantino, Céline Sciamma, Pedro Almodóvar, Jordan Peele, Claire Denis, the Safdies, and more.
One of the most welcome surprises in the top 10 is Mark Jenkin’s visionary fishing village drama Bait, which I greatly enjoyed at New Directors/New Films earlier this year, and it’s still seeking U.S. distribution. A pair of the greatest films of the list, Vitalina Varela and Martin Eden, have thankfully been picked up and will be arriving next year stateside.
Check out their top 20 below.
20. Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello)
19. Hustlers (Lorena Scafaria)
18. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)
17. The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers)
16. Midsommar (Ari Aster)
15. For Sama (Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts)
14. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)
13. Monos (Alejandro Landes)
12. Uncut Gems (Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie)
11. High Life (Claire Denis)
10. Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa)
9. Us (Jordan Peele)
8. Bait (Mark Jenkin)
7. Atlantics (Mati Diop)
6. Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar)
5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma)
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
3. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)
2. Parasite (Bong Joon Ho)
1. The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg)
See their full top 50 here.