While much of the American cinema scene in the 2010s was filled with comic book movies breaking box office records and Disney’s monopolistic tendencies slowly turning its overwhelming monetary success into a tight control on blockbuster films, a boom among independent films took place in the shadows.
Over the last 10 years and into the new decade, award shows continuously refused to represent the growing diversity in the film industry by leaving out worthy performances and films from women and artists of color. Yet, this lack of diversity evolved incredibly quickly through independent films and gave voices never before heard in the United States.
Accessibility to these arthouse films greatly improved over the decade as major international film festivals and small distributors realized this lack of diversity and greatly improved upon making sure these voices are heard. The mainstream American film industry still has much to improve in their current ideology, but great lengths were made within the independent and foreign scene.
The decade was an intriguing collection of new voices, but films from master directors such as Agnès Varda, Chantal Akerman, Jean-Luc Goddard, Paul Thomas Anderson and David Lynch displayed an interesting combination of new and old guard filmmaking.
Choosing an array of the de- cade’s best films is more than a difficult task — it’s nearly impossible to choose a selection which truly captures the new era that has been ushered in.
Here is a list of some of my personal favorites that defined cinema in the 2010s:
“Somewhere” (2010) Written and directed by Sofia Coppola
“Certified Copy” (2010) Written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” (2011) Written by Lynne Ramsay and Rory Stewart Kinnear, directed by Lynne Ramsay
“The Master” (2012) Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
“Spring Breakers” (2012) Written and directed by Harmony Korine
“To the Wonder” (2012) Written and directed by Terrence Malick
“Before Midnight” (2013) Written by Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater, directed by Richard Linklater
“The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears” (2013) Written and directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani
“No Home Movie” (2015) Written and directed by Chantal Akerman
“Carol” (2015) Written by Phyllis Nagy, directed by Todd Haynes
“Certain Women” (2015) Written by Kelly Reichardt and Maile Meloy, directed by Kelly Reichardt
“Everybody Wants Some!!” (2016) Written and directed by Richard Linklater
“American Honey” (2016) Written and directed by Andrea Arnold
“Personal Shopper” (2016) Written and directed by Olivier Assayas
“Moonlight” (2016) Written by Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Barry Jenkins
“The Florida Project” (2017) Written and directed by Sean Baker
“Faces Places” (2017) Written and directed by Agnès Varda
“Lady Bird” (2017) Written and directed by Greta Gerwig
“Twin Peaks: The Return” (2017) Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
“The Image Book” (2018) Written and directed by Jean-Luc Goddard