26 films in 2020

I managed to avoid watching a single film released in 2020 this year – as with other things, lockdown has merely accelerated pre-existing trends. Nevertheless there was plenty to enjoy on different streaming services. In a shrewd and extremely welcome move, Netflix responded to the advent of Disney+ by making the entire Studio Ghibli back catalogue available, meaning I've now watched pretty much everything they've made. Although best known for Miyazaki's fantasy films, I found that some of the Studio's best work is in a realist vein – Whisper of the HeartOnly Yesterday and Ocean Waves are masterpieces comparable to Nausicaä and Mononoke.

For a couple of months I was subscribed to Mubi, which I used mainly to get to know the works of Céline Sciamma. I traded that in for a BFI Player subscription late in the year, which has a larger and more interesting selection of films, particularly if you're into arty schlock from France and Japan. This Chrismas has been a feast on the BBC iPlayer, where I've gorged on the very best of recent Disney/Pixar (Frozen, BraveInside Out, Moana) and Hollywood classics (Casablanca, Some Like It Hot, Singin' in the Rain).

Below is the list roughly in order of preference. I've succumbed and set up a Letterboxd account, partly in a futile attempt to work out how many films I've watched in my life (not that many, it turns out). I've started to jot down more casual thoughts on films over there, which don't deserve a full blogpost here. 

Yoshifumi Kondō - Whisper of the Heart [link]
Céline Sciamma - Portrait of a Lady on Fire [link]
Isao Takahata - Only Yesterday [link]
François Ozon - Swimming Pool [link]
Tomomi Mochizuki - Ocean Waves
Ken Russell - Crimes of Passion [link]
Yasujiro Ozu - Late Spring [link]
Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly - Singin’ in the Rain [link]
Céline Sciamma - Water Lilies [link]
Georges Franju - Eyes Without a Face [link]
Shinya Tsukamoto - A Snake of June [link]
Thom Eberhardt - Night of the Comet [link]
Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird [link]
Céline Sciamma - Girlhood [link]
Atom Egoyan - Chloe [link]
Damien Chazelle - La La Land [link]
Nobuhiko Obayashi - House [link]
Jean Rollin - Lips of Blood [link]
Ben Stiller - Reality Bites [link]
Tim Burton - Beetlejuice [link]
Tsai Ming-liang - The Wayward Cloud [link]
Hiroyuki Morita - The Cat Returns
John Hughes - Ferris Bueller's Day Off [link]
Alexander Payne - Election [link]
Masaaki Yuasa - Night Is Short, Walk on Girl [link]
Jim Henson - Labyrinth [link]

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