The Austin Chronicle

Josh Kupecki's Top 10 Films of 2020

"The outrage, the tragedy, the surprise"

By Josh Kupecki, December 18, 2020, Screens

In a year that saw usage of the word "unprecedented" second only to that of "pandemic" (with "Four Seasons Total Landscaping" not too far behind), 2020 lodged a number of monkey wrenches into the film industry. With movie theatres dark and empty, Hollywood studios and independent distributors didn't have much of a choice but to go all in with streaming and VOD. And while the outcry to this inevitability continues, it's not like we haven't been here before. The introduction of television, the collapse of the studio system, the advent of home video, and a dozen other harbingers all foretold the death of cinema, and they were all greatly exaggerated.

There are various pleasures derived from going to a movie theatre, but the one I miss is the sense of captivity that is hard (but possible) to replicate on the couch. It is surrendering yourself to a solitary sensory experience. For filmgoing is a solitary experience, no matter how many friends or strangers surround you. No distractions, no disruptions, nothing but a window into a new experience that has the unlimited ability to transport you anywhere. That desire, that longing, will never fade for me, and as I look over this list of films that resonated with me the most this year, I see the outrage, the tragedy, the surprise, the horror, the recognition, and above all, the joy that cinema offers as a continued catharsis to my soul.

1) City Hall

2) Collective

3) First Cow

4) Kajillionaire

5) Possessor Uncut

6) Beanpole

7) Swallow

8) The Whistlers

9) The Assistant

10) Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

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