It’s that time of year again, here are my favourite films that I have seen which came out in UK cinemas in 2016!
1. Kubo and the Two Strings
As a huge fan of LAIKA and of stop-motion animation in general, I was so excited when I discovered the poster for Kubo and The Two Strings. Even the screaming baby in the cinema when I finally went to see this amazing film couldn’t ruin it. The animation is incredibly detailed and yet again the studio pushes the boundaries of the medium. You can read my full review here.
2. Kate Plays Christine
I was lucky enough to see this at Berlinale in February and it has stuck with me ever since. Directed by Robert Greene, the film is a blend of fact and fiction. Taking on a documentary style the film follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil, who prepares to play Christine Chubbuck in a fake fictional film. Chubbuck is a newscaster who in 1974, became the first person to commit suicide live on air. The film explores the mirky waters of morality in acting and filmmaking but ultimately gives more questions than answers.
3. When Marnie Was There
The final Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There arrived in UK cinemas this year, anyone who knows me or has read my blog will know that I adore the films of Studio Ghibli so it is bittersweet to be writing about this at all. Bittersweet however, is the feeling of their final film. Based on a british book of the same name by Joan G. Robinson the film is whimsical and sad with stunning animation. A fitting end to my favourite animation company.
4. A United Kingdom
I was able to see this film during my first visit to the BFI London Film Festival. Directed by Amma Asante, A United Kingdom tells the story of the real-life marriage between Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), Prince of Bechuanaland and British office clerk Ruth Williams (Roasamund Pike) and the international conflicts their union caused. You can read my full review of it here.
Set in a remote Turkish village Mustang depicts the lives and struggles of five young orphaned sisters who are pulled out of school and locked away in their home to be trained to be wives after concerns are raised about their relationships with boys and the growing problem of their blossoming sexuality. Told through the eyes of the youngest sister it is an exploration of girlhood and of a conservative patriarchal society that fears it.
6. Your Name
This film was a surprise to me, I went in expecting a slightly silly but charming romance and got a beautifully crafted surreal tale of love and friendship that surpasses the odds. The characters are likeable and believable and the plot twist was unexpected. You were rooting for the leads in this film right up until the credits rolled.
This empowering and interesting documentary by Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami explores the life of Afghan refugee and aspiring rapper Sonita who when she is 15, is told that she is being sold as a bride for $9,000 in order for her brother to pay for a bride of his own. It blurs the line of what a documentary filmmaker is and documents a struggle for female identity. You can read an essay I wrote about the film and its links to female empowerment through music here and here.
This is another surprising and late addition to the list. Hindi film Pink is a courtroom drama starring Amitabh Bachchan as a lawyer fighting for 3 women who have been sexually assaulted by a highly connected young man and his friends. The film criticises the Indian criminal justice system as well as teaches a powerful message about consent and the demonisation of female sexuality. It’s an incredibly important film and I think it’s a shame it didn’t have a wider UK release.
9. The Red Turtle
I also saw this during my visit to the BFI London Film Festival, The Red Turtle is the first Non-Japanese collaboration from Studio Ghibli and it comes in the form of a wordless feature directed by Michael Dubok de Wit. You can read my full review of it here.
Finally, we finish with Victoria. As you probably know, (which I actually didn’t going in to the film) the whole film is one shot, one take and the plot pans out over the course of the length of the film. It’s thrilling to watch and takes so many unexpected twists and turns. You can read my full review of it here.
Honourable mentions: Moana, Everything Before Us and Room.