I published a Top 5 films list over at Screen but it felt like I needed more more more. I do usually love doing a list but this year ranking films was quite tough, there’s parts of each of these films I adore and they are all very different.
My heart swooned with Past Lives, the most perfect debut feature in recent memory, and so that goes to the top of my personal favourites. I was SO glad to meet Celine Song when she came to present the film at Sundance London – no surprise it won our audience award, too.
It seems with a piece of art like The Zone of Interest that is needs to sit outside of usual lists, somehow. It’s just an extraordinary piece of cinema. I’ve seen it twice and ready for a third watch. Jonathan Glazer talks about making the film in this excellent Observer interview.
My favourite 10 films of 2023
The Zone of Interest
All of Us Strangers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood
Society of the Snow
25 more I especially recommend, in alphabetical order
Anatomy of a Fall
The Eternal Memory
How to Have Sex
The Iron Claw
The Promised Land
Talk To Me
Your Fat Friend
I’m sure I forgot a few and I haven’t seen everything.
A few more documentaries that expanded my mind in different ways: Blue Bag Life, 20 Days in Mariupol, Four Daughters, Total Trust, Innocence, Otto Baxter: Not a F’ing Horror Story, Apolonia, Apolonia, Fantastic Machine, Is There Anybody Out There?, The Deepest Breath, Wham!, and Still: A Michael J Fox Movie.
Fave TV: Succession and The White Lotus and The Bear like everyone else on the planet. And of course The Dog House which is the best show ever made in the history of the television.
Fave new podcast: The Film that Blew My Mind – hosted by the ever-charming ex-Sundance bosses John Cooper and Tabitha Jackson, talking to fun people about a film they adore, it's smart and joyful and funny and Cooper has great stories. Start with the Bridget Everett episode it’s excellent (and makes me think I should have listed Somebody Somewhere in favourite TV too).
Fave books: Notes on An Execution by Danya Kukafka and Frankenstein and Cleopatra by Coco Mellors and Yellowface by RF Kuang
Fave travels: Dogsledding in Tromso, Norway with Claire Willats, and sitting on the gorgeous empty beaches of Bald Head Island with Scotty, Grant and Erika
Fave purchase: my new double-sided Ninja airfryer and some especially good green tea I bought at the old-school A.C. Perch's Tehandel in Copenhagen (yes. I’m officially middle aged)
Fave meals: Fish & Chips at Tailend in St Andrews; calabash shrimp and hushpuppies at Waterfront Seafood Shack in Calabash, NC; the tempura prawns at the otherwise ridiculous Ivy Asia; Not a meal per se but the Basque Cheesecake at La Vina in San Sebastian also earns a mention -- first year I've actually braved the queues to try it and MAN it is lifechangingly delicious.
Fave music already shared in the WendyMix of course.