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The 20 Best Shots of 2020

Our favorite shots of 2020 stem from every genre and speak to the incredible rich creativity expressed in a year that was definitely not canceled.
Best Shots
By  · Published on December 22nd, 2020

15. She Dies Tomorrow

She Dies Tomorrow Best Shots

Amy Seimetz plants the viewer right atop the characters. She Dies Tomorrow features multiple portraits where the players stare down the camera’s barrel so we may consider the hell clouding their minds. If you knew for certain that you would die the next day, would you live your remaining minutes to their fullest or wallow in despair? Jay Keitel takes you through the question using a flush or radical colors. They wash over the screen and soak inside the audience. The experience is hypnotic, a little dizzying, and utterly inescapable.

14. Emma.

Emma Best Shots

Emma. is another film where the simple act of pause could result in a One Perfect Shot™. Selecting a single image is an act of excruciating, subjective judgment. This shot exquisitely captures our heroine’s feeling of love lost. Having danced the night before with Mr. Knightley, her romance for him simmers, but it was not to be. Here, Emma curls herself up in a nook, along her father’s painfully narrow hallway, and withers. Until spotted below, through the window, Mr. Knightley comes charging up her courtyard.

13. The Painter and the Thief

The Painter And The Thief Best Shots

The Painter and the Thief is an incredible documentary. One of those stories where if it were to be fictionalized, you would not believe it. Karl Bertil-Nordland is the drug-addicted thief who stole one of Barbora Kysilkova’s precious paintings while on display in a gallery. When she confronts him in court, rather than recoil at his facade, Barbora chooses to understand and discovers friendship through the understanding.

Here we witness Karl see Barbora’s portrait of him for the first time. The experience rocks him to the core. He’s reduced to tears and quivering skin. All they can do at the moment is embrace. This shot is a succinct documentation of the connective power of art.

12. The Forty-Year-Old Version

The Year Old Version Best Shots

Radha Blank, playing some iteration of herself, stares daggers into the mirror before her. She’s finally willed her play onto the stage. It’s not the version she necessarily imagined, but she is not the version she once imagined either. During intermission, she has a few seconds to ponder success and doubt. Into the bathroom rush a gaggle of her audience, and she flees for an empty stall to hide inside.

The Forty-Year-Old-Version is a DIY beauty. Eric Branco’s black-and-white cinematography is crisply defined, matching the mood and energy of Blank’s script. The film rests in this frame; a confrontation of self. You gotta get right with you before you can get right with anything else.

11. Insecure – “Lowkey Lost”

Insecure Lowkey Lost Sunset Joint Shot

Television rarely affords time to achieve perfection. This tiny blissful scene from the latest season of Insecure was seized in less than an hour. Crammed onto the balcony were Prentice Penny, Ava Berkofsky, and Issa Rae, plus the focus puller and the first AD. The only communication passed between the crew was the name of another movie: American Honey. With that fantastic flick in mind, the crew knocked it out of the park.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)