2017 has been quite wonderful. I've worked on some cool projects with awesome colleagues. I've been surrounded by fascinating people and one beautiful soul entered my life this year as well. I'm grateful for all the love and emotions that I've felt. A lot has happened and this year has been more powerful than I could ever have hoped for. I've also come across some films that have moved me enourmously and listened to music that has had great impact on me and my everyday life. Here's my top 10 of 2017.
10. Silence (Paramount Pictures)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Country: Mexico, Taiwan, USA
161 minutes| Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, IMDb: 7,2
Martin Scorsese's Silence tells the story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) - at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden.
A beautifully shot film that delves powerfully into some deep questions about faith. This movie is unique and comes off like a spiritual, exploratory epic and a work of art with much more depth and insight than most movies I've seen this year.
9. Nelyubov / Loveless (Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Country: Russia, France, Germany, Belgium
129 minutes| Art House & International, Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, IMDb: 7,9
In LOVELESS, Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page - even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears.
Nelyubov is a complex and a deep portrait of a society in decay. This movie carries an absolutely powerful direction and a hauntingly beautiful cinematography. It has been an unforgettable experience, but it had a bit of too much destructive impact on me.
8. Princess Cyd (Wolfe Releasing)
Director: Stephen Cone
96 minutes| Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, IMDb: 6,5
Eager to escape life with her depressive single father, 16-year-old athlete Cyd Loughlin visits her novelist aunt in Chicago over the summer. While there, she falls for a girl in the neighborhood, even as she and her aunt gently challenge each other in the realms of sex and spirit.
It is an intelligent, light and peaceful coming-of-age movie which I would have loved even more if I was a teenager. Princess Cyd is gorgeous, sweetly sensitive vision of the ways in which a family, however defined, can bring us closer to the people we want to be.
7. Moonlight (A24 Films)
Director: Barry Jenkins
110 minutes| Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, IMDb: 7,5
The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man's struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.
Moonlight isn't supposed to give the viewer some grandiose finale or even answers, but simply present a narrative that we often don't see. And that's what makes this movie so simple, painful and outstandingly beautiful.
6. Paterson (K5 International)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Country: USA, France, Germany
115 minutes| Comedy, Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%, IMDb: 7,4
A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.
Paterson is the best Jim Jarmusch movie so far and I've always loved the philosophy behind his stories. Paterson is a man who is not looking for life to give him satisfaction but who brings satisfaction to it, a man who knows that satisfaction does not depend on accumulating things but in being grounded in who you are and what you can bring to the world. He comes to appreciate that poetry is not extraneous to life but that life itself is poetry.
5. Juste la fin du monde / It's Only the End of the World (MK2 Productions)
Director: Xavier Dolan
Country: Canada, France
97 minutes| Art House & International, Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%, IMDb: 6,9
After 12 years of absence, a writer goes back to his home town, planning on announcing his upcoming death to his family. As resentment soon rewrites the course of the afternoon, fits and feuds unfold, fueled by loneliness and doubt, while all attempts at empathy are sabotaged by people's incapacity to listen and love.
I think it's beautiful when creators explain more in shadows and silences than in dialogue and obvious visual cues. The film is aesthetically brilliant and allows the viewer to understand things only eyes can communicate. The movie constantly creates an emotional tension, which is something I experience rarely.
4. Wind River (Acacia Filmed Entertainment)
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Country: UK, Canada, USA
111 minutes| Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%, IMDb: 7,8
A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.
Wind River is gritty, depressing and absolutely thrilling. I was amazed by the story and the quality of both the performances and of the environment presented. This is and unmissable movie that has everything you could want in a murder/crime type of film.
3. Elle (SBS Productions)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Country: France, Germany, Belgium
130 minutes|Art House & International, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, IMDb: 7,2
A successful businesswoman gets caught up in a game of cat and mouse as she tracks down the unknown man who raped her.
Elle is a powerful and provocative movie. Many viewers have labelled it as 'perverted' but I believe that our sexuality is often more complex and devious than we'd like to admit. It is a really good twisted psychological thriller you don't get to see every day. Led by an outstanding performance from Isabelle Huppert, it is a skilfully structured and finely layered character study that's no easy sit for anyone, yet one can't deny its alluring quality.
2. Dunkirk (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Country: UK, Netherlands, France, USA
107 minutes| Action & Adventure, Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, IMDb: 8,2
Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
This is another masterpiece from Christopher Nolan and it blew me away. I was gripped from start to finish and I could actually feel the atmosphere of the war. There's not much character or plot development which was Nolan's intention. It's purely visual storytelling and relies on creating tension through Hans Zimmer's sensational score.
1. Manchester by the Sea (Amazon Studios)
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
135 minutes| Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, IMDb: 7,9
After the death of his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked to learn that Joe has made him sole guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Taking leave of his job, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea to care for Patrick, a spirited 16-year-old, and is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and the community where he was born and raised. Bonded by the man who held their family together, Lee and Patrick struggle to adjust to a world without him.
An exceptional study of grief and guilt. It's a film about someone who can't let go of his demons. These type of films don't come around that often and it takes focus and effort to come up with stories and themes that touch us so deep. Casey Affleck's performance in 'Manchester by the Sea' is just masterful. It took me a few days to snap out of this movie. This is a truly stunning film and one that will live with me for many years to come. The most real film of the year.
10. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (Polydor)
Genres: Rap & Hip-Hop
Kendrick Lamar can't probably make a bad album but this is his best so far. He's been taking inspiration from many musical genres and that's why it is easily his most listenable album for me.
9. Four Tet - New Energy (Text Records)
Genres: Dance & Electronic
This is a melodic, colourful, vibrant and guaranteed to sooth any soul. A truly brilliant and interesting piece of electronica.
8. Drake - More Life (Universal)
Genres: Hip-Hop & Rap
This mixtape is definitely one of his best albums. All 22 tunes are perfectly combined into a whole and I love every track.
7. Bonobo - Migration (Ninja Tune)
Genres: Dance & Electronic
A multi-layered and versatile album which is full of different moods and amazing vocalists who's participation makes every track even more enjoyable. A very smooth and fascinating album as good for the head as it is for the feet.
6. The XX - I See You (Young Turks Recordings)
Genres: Indie & Alternative
Beautiful, atmospheric and imaginative as always. It is different from their previous albums yet recognisablyThe XX at their finest.
5. Sampha - Process (Young Turks Recordings)
Genres: Dance & Electronic / Soul
This is an emotional experience and a really sad album. It is peaceful, beautiful, well crafted and produced. I love Sampha's voice!
4. The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic Records)
Genres: Indie & Alternative
Not as good as their last album, but an excellent follow up. Those two albums can actually be put together and it would play like a really great double album.
3. Miljardid - Kunagi Läänes (Universal)
Best Estonian album of 2017. I love the playful and great lyrics (or poems) as well as the distinct sound they have. "Olendid" is one of my most favourite songs ever.
2. Slowdive - Slowdive (Dead Oceans)
Genres: Indie & Alternative
Slowdive at its absolute best. Every song is fresh and sparkly, with a huge hint of nostalgia that reminds of their previous albums. It is wonderful, typical Slowdive, utterly faultless as expected.
1. Cigarettes After Sex - Cigarettes After Sex (Partisan Records)
Genres: Indie & Alternative
This album is stunningly beautiful. I've been listening to this since summer and just adore it. Fabulous ballads, love songs - call them what you will. It's like a concept album in many ways as similar pace and themes throughout. Best album of real songs I've heard for a very very long time. This is a album that draws you into a warm, atmospheric, sultry, sexy world that is filled with smoke and wine... Just brilliant and pure fire. According to Spotify, 'Each Time You Fall In Love' is my most played song of 2017.
Frankie Animal - Nightlights
Morrissey - Spent the Day in Bed
Lykke Li - Hold On, We're Going Home (2015)
I'm basically stalking Lykke Li but somehow I've managed to miss this great cover she's made of Drake's 2013 massive hit. I discovered this song in September and it has been one of the most played tracks this year. A soundtrack of my autumn for sure.
Pink Floyd - High Hopes (Pulse Live) (1995)
This fall I was led back to my big love - Pink Floyd. I hadn't been listening to them for a few years. So many great memories came back to me. An utterly uplifting and peaceful experience.
1. Movie: La La Land
1. Album: Solange - A Seat At The Table
1. Movie: Whiplash
1. Album: Ane Brun - When I'm Free
1. Movie: True Detective - Season 1
1. Album: The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
1. Movie: The Broken Circle Breakdown
1. Album: Arcade Fire - Reflektor
1. Movie: Intouchables
1. Album: Jessie Ware – Devotion
1. Movie: Beginners
1. Album: Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting