A letter from the Head Film Editor summarising this year’s film scene
2016 has been a disastrous and depressing year for many, and the unpredictable turbulence of world events has caused much divide and debate in the media. Luckily we are here in the comfort of the film section, where such issues can be brushed aside while we get cosy with a warm blanket, some popcorn and appreciate all the great film and television that 2016 has gifted us — this is with the exception of Black Mirror Series 3, which was essentially the film section’s version of Brexit.
My personal favourite film this year was the modern western Hell or High Water — something about it was intoxicatingly beautiful and profound, and has stuck with me. I was seduced by the cinematography and characterisations, and feel that it has been forgotten by many critics for the likes of Arrival and Captain America. Notable mentions go to Under the Shadow, a beautiful Iranian horror, as well as Nocturnal Animals, High-Rise and Everybody Wants Some!!.
We have also had a great year for documentaries, with Adam Curtis’ HyperNormalization taking centre stage — a dark insight into the corrupt world around us (perhaps even the film section has not been spared from the trauma of 2016 after all). Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie was yet another long-awaited documentary film that certainly lived up to standards.
Some of the section’s contributors have picked out their specific favourite moments in film and television this year, with Jake Sanders favouring the part in American Honey where “they sing along to Choices by E-40”, and Rosa Simonet having chosen “Any time when the camera lingers on Daisy Domergue in The Hateful Eight, particularly in the first hour of the film, or just Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight in general”. Sadly for contributor Luke Bull, no 2016 film or television show lived up to the legacy of Seinfeld. Understandable.
Diversity in television has been another highlight of the year, with The Night Of and Atlanta standing out for their originality and showing a move away from white-washed sitcoms of the past. Planet Earth II is also back on our screens, with David Attenborough providing some stability and joy in our ever-changing world.
I would finally like to thank the contributors who have all gone the extra mile this semester and made the section so consistently full of good content, as well as Deputy Editor Shema who has not only edited the section but also written many excellent articles. We have had a range of diverse articles, from reviews of lesser-known and international new-releases, coverage of the Jewish Film Festival, Q&As with directors and re-appraisals of old classics. This year has also seen the creation of the Mancunion Film Review Show, hosted by Alasdair Bayman and Jake Sanders. The show has provided a new platform for all things film, and hosted many guest speakers, most of whom also write for the section.
Here’s to a great new year, we will be back on the 30th of January with the next print issue but will still be posting articles and reviews online over the coming weeks so make sure to keep an eye out for those.
Head Film Editor