- Cinematography by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen
- Directed by Josephine Decker
- Costume Design by Amela Baksic
Manifesting obsession is iffy. A performer can run wild with the motivation, but how do you convey it in a singular image? In Shirley, for a brief moment, Josephine Decker takes us inside the mind of her novelist. The protagonist is lost in her work, straining to envision her subject’s face, the missing college student Paula Jean Welden. Shirley can almost pull Paula out of her mind and onto the page, but as the mystery woman turns, her face softens out of focus. Whatever character she creates will belong to Shirley, not reality.
9. Sound of Metal
- Cinematography by Daniël Bouquet
- Directed by Darius Marder
- Starring Riz Ahmed
Watch a universe slip into oblivion. Riz Ahmed’s Ruben struggles to hold onto his life as his hearing disappears. Through his drumset, he attempts to rock the concept of sound back into his body. Daniël Bouquet’s camera pushes in on him, and the only thing that gets louder is the panic on Ahmed’s face. The shot lasts minutes, but the agony remains for much of the film’s brutal runtime.
8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
- Cinematography by Lukasz Zal
- Directed by Charlie Kaufman
- Production Design by Molly Hughes
- Costume Design by Melissa Toth
- Starring Jessie Buckley
The beginning of the end. We move toward Jessie Buckley’s Young Woman as she contemplates her imprisonment, shackled alongside her boyfriend. How long have they been together? A month? Six weeks? Maybe seven? As snow topples upon her and she snags a few flakes with her tongue, her head crumbles with worry. It’s about as perfect a start to a Charlie Kaufman adventure as you can get.
7. Birds of Prey
- Cinematography by Matthew Libatique
- Directed by Cathy Yan
- Production Design by K.K. Barrett
- Starring Jurnee Smollett & Ewan McGregor
As Ewan McGreggor’s crime boss slinks his way through his club, Jurnee Smollet’s Black Canary aims her song in his direction. She sends each lyric with the thrust of a blade, culminating in this grand gesture, a high note that boils martinis and shatters glass. Fury personified.
6. World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime
- Cinematography by Don Hertzfeldt
- Directed by Don Hertzfeldt
- Digital Compositions by Taylor Barron
Three episodes into his sci-fi short film series, Don Hertzfeldt reaches animation nirvana. What we see here is our poor, heroic stick figure David traversing the hellish wastelands of a planet he can barely comprehend because he’s been forced to remove chunks of his memory to maintain a message implanted in his brain when he was a baby. The corpse at his feet is a clone of himself, and in the distance, we can spot dozens upon dozens of similarly ill-fated copies. Such simplistic dread splashed atop a lovely, lavish hilly backdrop evokes both giggles and sorrow.
Related Topics: 2020 Rewind