Widely regarded as one of the most respected film critics’ opinion polls, Sight & Sound magazine has revealed Jordan Peele’s satirical horror Get Out as its film of the year.
Sight & Sound, the BFI’s international film magazine, has named Jordan Peele’s debut Get Out as the clear winner for “film of the year”. And for the first time film and TV critics, programmers and academics from all around the world have voted a TV series, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return, in 2nd place. Over 180 critics voted for their top five film, TV and artists’ moving image releases from the year with Lynch’s TV drama beating Luca Guadagnino’s coming of age film Call Me by Your Name to second place.
The much raved about horror film, Get Out, released in March, addresses race in America in a refreshing, funny and unflinching manner. Cult comedian Jordan Peele has spoken about the timing of his film, following the presidency of Barack Obama and the killing of Trayvon Martin by police, sparking race riots and civil unrest. While playing with classic horror film tropes, the film references the taboo of inter-racial couples, the slave trade, suburban racism and police brutality.
Race relations feature strongly in this year’s list, including in the documentary I Am Not Your Negro which was voted by poll contributors in joint 16th place. Directed and written by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck the documentary is based on American writer James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House which reminiscences about the civil rights leaders Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. among others.
Also in joint 16th is Dee Rees’ period drama, Mudbound. Set after the Second World War the film centres on legal racism and violence inflicted on black people in the American South. The film stars Mary J. Blige alongside Carey Mulligan, and following screenings on the festival circuit, including its European premiere at BFI London Film Festival, was made available through Netflix last month.
In second place, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return was highly anticipated following the 25 year wait since the iconic TV programme was last broadcast. Lynch is not the only major film director to be voted for in the poll for their high-end television work. Critics also voted David Fincher’s Mindhunter, based on the 1996 book Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by ex-FBI agents Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas. The second series of Top of the Lake: China Girl has also been voted for in the poll and is directed by award-winning Jane Campion.
LGBT films continue to make waves in mainstream cinema following Moonlight’s Oscar® success, Call Me by Your Name is the third and final installment in Luca Guadagnino’s Desire trilogy following I Am Love (2009) and A Bigger Splash (2015). Written by multi-award winning James Ivory the film chronicles the romantic relationship between a 17-year-old, Elio Perlman, and his father’s American student, Oliver.
In 12th place is 120 BPM which portrays the French branch of the AIDS activism group ‘ACT UP’ with force and passion, the film competed in the BFI London Film Festival’s Official Competition. Also in the poll’s top 20 in joint 14th is BFI-backed God’s Own Country. Coined as a ‘Brexit Brokeback Mountain’, the debut film from Francis Lee follows the relationship of a Yorkshire sheep farmer and a Romanian migrant worker.
Other BFI-backed films recognised by the poll’s top 20 include Lady Macbeth and You Were Never Really Here for which writer-director Lynne Ramsay won Best Screenplay and actor Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.
As the focus on gender in the industry continues to make headlines, the poll continues to recognise strong female filmmakers. Lucrecia Martel’s Zama, this year’s Sight & Sound Gala at BFI London Film Festival, is in 4th place followed by Valeska Grisebach in 5th place with her film Western and Agnès Varda in 6th place for the documentary Faces Places. Other female directed films include Claire Denis’s Let the Sunshine In starring prolific French actors Juliette Binoche and Gérard Depardieu.
Last year’s winner was the German-Austrian comedy Toni Erdmann from writer-director Maren Ade, followed by Academy Award Best Picture Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins and in third place Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert.