Saturday, February 13, 2021

Moments of the Year 2020

Inspired by the now defunct Film Comment "Moments Out of Time" series and the great Roger Ebert's year end recap, this Moments of the Year list (now in its 22nd edition) represents indelible moments of my film-going year. It can be a line of dialogue, a glance, a camera movement or a mood, but they're all wondrous examples of a filmmaker and audience connecting emotionally.



 Bill Nighy and his predilection for fire place screens in “Emma.”

A gunshot and a dog scrambling from the scene. Haunted memories and regret that plague an informer in “The Traitor”

In "The Sound of Metal", the single scene of Mathieu Almaric and Riz Ahmed in a kitchen together as a father who knows more than he says, and his silence speaks volumes as he allows a couple to reunite for the last time.

A woman (Mackenzie Davis) walking down a hallway, casting a shadow and another light shadow eerily stalking behind her.   “The Turning”

The way Fay (Sierra McCormick) says “stop smiling” twice to her friend when she asks about Everett (Jake Horowitz)    “The Vast of Night”

Sarah Bernhardt (Rebecca Dayan) coming backstage to meet "Tesla" (Ethan Hawke) as if she's exiting a psychotropic rave

Black water slowly recessing in a toilet to reveal….. A thing.   “Amulet”

A kitchen pot rocking itself out after being thrown to the floor during a police raid.  “Mangrove”

The desperate faces fixated on an unknowing man (James Northern) as he peels an orange and then throws the peel to the floor, causing a small scuffle from the rabid group of poverty-stricken people.  “Mr. Jones”

Wisdom from Abel Ferrara in “Sportin’ Life” when he states “old keys don’t open new doors, man.”

Willem DaFoe initially going out to chastise a homeless man yelling in the street beneath his window, and the scene that unfolds afterwards between the two men.   “Tommaso”

In “Texas Trip”, the performance of body horror by Mother Fauker.

The badly drawn Obama tattoo.  “The King of Staten Island”

When Tutar (Maria Bakalova) states she wants a nice cage like her female neighbor. Cut to a woman in a cage giving us the finger in “Subsequent Borat MovieFilm”

The way the camera slightly shakes alongside Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) as she learns to shoot a gun in “I’m You’re Woman”

A wedding reception and the alleyway into a street. Regret and time passing slowly for two different people in “The Traitor”

"His House" and the anxiety of waiting for a flip of the light switch to a netherworld of terror

A dinner scene with a group of hearing impaired people having a conversation in sign language, and then an abrupt cut to allow us to hear the innate noise caused by all the hand gestures and mouthing. Just one of the ways sound design is used brilliantly in "Sound of Metal"  

Hands connecting from opposite sides of a subway pole. "Never Rarely Sometimes Always"

In "A White White Day", the simple time lapse of a house and field over an undisclosed amount of time as weather and the passage of time take its toll.

A radio controlled car.  "Train To Busan: Peninsula"

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