The Guardian newspaper is putting together its official ‘best of the year’ list, chosen and voted for by a panel of reviewers, editors and writers (shorthand for whoever happens to be in the office), however, the most revealing lists are often the individual ones, less concerned about ultimate accolades and more to do with what resonates with a particular reviewer.
‘Pah, what do critics know about anything’ I hear you scream as you spit out your fifth coffee of the day. Well, Peter Bradshaw is the Guardian’s resident film critic and he does have an eye for the artistic within film, his personal best of the year is worth checking out at The Guardian website.
What we are most interested in however, is his 10 best cinematographers of 2018. His list reveals cinematographers from around the world, working on everything from blockbusters to breakout genre films:
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma (dir Alfonso Cuarón)
Benjamin Loeb for Mandy (dir. Panos Cosmatos)
Benoît Debie for Climax (dir Gaspar Noé)
Laurie Rose for The Escape (dir Dominic Savage) and Journey’s End (dir Saul Dibb)
Rachel Morrison for Black Panther (dir. Ryan Coogler)
Agnès Godard for Let the Sunshine In (dir. Claire Denis)
Charlotte Bruus Christensen for A Quiet Place (dir John Krasinski)
Linus Sandgren for First Man (dir Damien Chazelle)
Rui Poças for Zama (dir Lucrecia Martel)
Andrew Dunn for The Children Act (dir Richard Eyre)
So the first thing that hit me is how busy Laurie Rose always seems to be, reflected by having two films in the list The Escape and Journey’s End, films that both tell deep and melancholic tales in every frame. Then there is the artistry of Charlotte Bruus Christensen that revitalised the rural romanticism of Far From The Madding Crowd – here recognised for the gripping A Quiet Place – a movie that is surely instrumental in a shift in perception of the horror genre.
At the top of the list is Roma, chronicling year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. This is the world that Alfonso Cuarón grew up in and is being hailed as a classic, receiving critics awards worldwide, Golden Globe nominations and tipped as an Oscar favourite. Could it be one of the new wave of movies that get an Oscar whilst getting a limited big screen release? It’s a Netflix baby, streaming from the 14th December.
Mention must be made of Benjamin Loeb, as he throws the audience into an insane, utraviolent yet visually engrossing world in the Nicholas Cage starring Mandy. Cage goes the Full-Cage in this super saturated trip.
Black Panther garnered much respect for telling a story that honoured and celebrated the culture and significance of Africa. It was also one of the best Marvel movies to date, Rachel Morrison made it epic and epochal. Little wonder that it out grossed the supposedly much bigger Avengers: Infinity War at the US domestic box office – not by a huge margin ($700 million to Infinity War’s $678.8 million), but Avengers was the culmination of the stories being told in 10 years of Marvel films with all the heroes in. That a film set in Africa with a black cast made more money in the US is a fantastic thing. It might also be down to Black Panther actually being fun, compared to the poe faced grimness of Infinity War.
Maybe we should do a top ten…