15. She Dies Tomorrow
- Cinematography by Jay Keitel
- Directed by Amy Seimetz
- Starring Kate Lyn Sheil
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.
- Cinematography by Christopher Blauvelt
- Directed by Autumn de Wilde
- Production Design by Kave Quinn
- Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne
- Starring Anya Taylor-Joy
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
- Cinematography by Kristoffer Kumar & Benjamin Ree
- Directed by Benjamin Ree
- Starring Karl Bertil-Nordland & Barbora Kysilkova
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
- Cinematography by Eric Branco
- Directed by Radha Blank
- Starring Radha Blank
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”
- Cinematography by Ava Berkofsky
- Directed by Prentice Penny
- Starring Issa Rae
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.
Related Topics: 2020 Rewind