Although cinema in 2018, and across the latter half of the past decade, was dominated by women and people of color masterclass directors from across the world, 2019 featured significantly less diversity across the international cinema stage. Domestically, notable films such as Joe Talbot’s “Last Black Man in San Francisco,” Jordan Peele’s “Us” and Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” made important marks on the American box office and proved these stories not only need to be told in the United States, but also American audiences will monetarily support minority voices in theatres.
However, international cinema dominated 2019 with expert filmmakers, such as Olivier Assayas, Bi Gan, Jean-Luc Goddard and Céline Sciamma, continuing their rapidly budding filmographies. Bong Joon-Ho found instant international success with his film “Gisaengchung (Parasite),” and his abroad fame quickly translated to massive box office success in the United States.
Although domestic award shows continued their form of snubbing worthy, thought-provoking or challenging films in their ceremonies, awardless foreign films filled the gap which American selections left out. While the most impactful of these films are unfortunately underrepresented within both awards and box office success, these films certainly impacted the medium in an overwhelmingly positive way and pushed the medium to new heights throughout the year.
Here is the collection of films which are not only my favorites of the year, but films which reached to new heights and passionately evolved the medium in 2019:
20. “Portrait de la jeune fille en feu” Written and directed by Céline Sciamma
19. “Gisaengchung” Written and directed by Bong Joon Ho
18, “Tous les dieux du ciel” Written and directed by Quarxx
17. “Marriage Story” Written and directed by Noah Baumbach
16. “La vérité” Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
15. “Ang hupa” Written and directed by Lav Diaz
14. “Dolor y gloria” Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar
13. “Her Smell” Written and directed by Alex Ross Perry
12. “Uncut Gems” Written and directed by Josh and Benny Safdie
11. “Atlantique” Written and directed by Mati Diop
10. “Le livre d'image” Written and directed by Jean-Luc Goddard
9. “Diqiu zuihou de yewan” Written and directed by Bi Gan
8. “Little Women” Written for the screen and directed by Greta Gerwig
7. “Doubles vies” Written and directed Olivier Assayas
6. “The Lighthouse” Written and directed by Robert Eggers
5. “The Climb” Written by Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, directed by Michael Angelo Covino
4. “A Hidden Life” Written and directed by Terrence Malick
3. “Bliss” Written and directed by Joe Begos
2. “Climax” Written and directed by Gaspar Noé
1. “The Beach Bum” Written and directed by Harmony Korine