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8 of the best films of 2024 so far, according to BBC critics

8 of the best films of 2024 so far, according to BBC critics

Critics Nicholas Barber and Caryn James pick the cinematic highlights of the year so far.

BBC film critics Nicholas Barber (NB) and Caryn James (CJ) pick their biggest films of the year so far.

They include war-torn America, a wonderfully scary story about a nun, and a shocking crime drama starring Kristen Stewart.

The numbers in the list below do not represent a ranking order. They were only included to separate the films more clearly.

1. The beast

I left The beast thinking “this is the weirdest movie I’ve seen since then Poor creatures“. But I had also loved the feature film.

French director and screenwriter Bertrand Bonello presents a creative and bold film about love, memories, pain and artificial intelligence (AI).

It takes place across three time periods, all featuring different versions of the characters Gabrielle and Louis, played by Léa Seydoux and George MacKay.

In the harsh and scary year 2044, artificial intelligence can be used to erase painful feelings, including heartbreak. But that requires reliving those memories to erase them.

Gabrielle begins the trial, which takes her to Belle Époque Paris, France. There she has an unhappy marriage and George feels a disturbing attraction towards her.

In 2014, she also moved to Los Angeles (USA), where she takes care of a house while he pursues her.

Passing through different eras, The beast It’s the kind of crazy story that might not seem coherent at first glance, but it’s so full of unexpected twists and rehearsed moves – as happens when Gabrielle and Louis are trapped in the flooded basement of a doll factory in Paris – that it ends up be captivating all the time. (CJ)

Immacolata: 'wonderfully scary'

two. Immaculate

American actress Sydney Sweeney is the producer as well as the star of this wonderfully scary horror film about an American novice who discovers that all is not as it seems in an Italian convent.

Immaculate It could easily have been a catchy, low-quality film, but it’s (far) superior in several ways: from bold comments about how men treat women to the cinematography, which is reminiscent of Renaissance religious art.

But the most surprising thing is the desire to take everything to the most extreme limit possible. There are countless moments when you’re watching and you think “no… they won’t get there… they won’t get there…” – and they do. (NB)

3. Civil war

Reactions to this film have been almost as polarized as the divided country it depicts. This is a sign that its director, Alex Garland, has touched a raw nerve by showing his imaginary vision of the United States in the near future, with the country immersed in civil war, ruled by a fascist president.

A central character in the plot is the photojournalist played by Kirsten Dunst. She and her colleagues (Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, and Stephen McKinley Henderson) put themselves in great danger by witnessing and reporting the actions around them.

Garland makes this action visceral and explosive, placing guns and tanks on the streets of Washington DC and creating violent face-to-face encounters in the seemingly calm countryside.

But the most heartbreaking aspect of the film is the way it neatly and convincingly places fiction one step away from the real world.

Some viewers have noted that Garland could have created a more acute political conflict, but for me the film is scary enough with its vision of a possible war-torn future. (CJ)

Love Lies Bleeding: Love Bleeding: 'fun and creative'

4. Love lies bleeding: love bleeds

Kristen Stewart’s character has a miserable life at firstand Love lies bleeding: love bleedsas often happens with the characters played by the actress.

While running a shady small-town fitness club, avoiding her gangster father (Ed Harris), she tries in vain to convince her sister (Jena Malone) to end her abusive marriage.

But everything changes when a charismatic traveler, played by Katy O’Brian, arrives in town, on her way to a bodybuilding competition in Las Vegas, USA. The sparks and fireworks of hot sex, intense violence and total madness explode.

Movie noir LGBT, stylish and darkly humorous, from British director Rose Glass (who made her film debut with the acclaimed horror film Saint Maud (2019), Love lies bleeding: love bleeds is the funniest and most creative crime thriller film since Good behaviour (2017) – which, among other things, featured Stewart’s Twilight partner Robert Pattinson. (NB)

The Chimera: 'exuberant' footage

5. The Chimera

The films of the Italian director Alice Rohrwacher – like a great fairy tale Happy Lazarus (2018) – have a touch of magical realism.

Set in Tuscany (Italy) in the 1980s, The Chimera it is one of his best works. It walks the line between dream and realism with a rich texture.

Josh O’Connor plays Englishman Arthur, who works with a gang of local grave robbers to find ancient artifacts in Etruscan tombs and sell them on the black market.

Sad and ragged, Arthur is recovering from the loss of his love, Beniamina. In the words of another character, he searches her underworld for “a door to the afterlife” and, at times, seems to find it.

Rohrwacher has an eye for finding beauty in ruins, both in the large, dilapidated house where Beniamina’s mother (Isabella Rossellini) lives and in Arthur himself.

The script presents continuous movements, with dangers, crimes and escapes from the police.

But the film is marked by O’Connor’s performance – moving and subdued, yet charismatic – and Rohrwacher’s elegant vision, exuberantly filmed by the great director Helene Louvart. (CJ)

My Robot Friend: animation

My robot friend It’s a unique cartoon. The production is Franco-Spanish, but pays a nice homage to the vibrant New York of the 80s.

The animation follows the style of a 2D picture book, but full of small details. Although there is no dialogue, the work is full of insight and wisdom.

The cartoon revolves around a dog and a robot and is a rich study in loneliness and human companionship.

Adapted from the graphic novel by Sara Varon and directed by Pablo Berger, this Oscar-nominated gem tells the charming story of two friends who find joy and comfort in each other’s company and must discover whether they can live apart. (NB)

I, Captain: 'true, penetrating and eloquent'.

7. I, Captain

Few migrant dramas are as moving, humane and suspenseful as this one. I, Captain describes the treacherous journey of a 16-year-old boy who leaves Senegal in search of a better life.

The film earned Matteo Garrone (from the series Gomorrah2014-2021) the best director award at the 2023 Venice Film Festival in Italy – and, for amateur star Seydou Sarr, the best young actor award.

Sarr plays the fictional character Seydou, a kind boy determined to reach Italy together with his cousin Moussa. And each stage of the journey presents a different danger.

They cross the Sahara with a group of other migrants. When a woman dies, Seydou sees her slip through the air, as if reality were too big to internalize.

In Libya Seydou is arrested and tortured. And, on the last leg of the journey, he has to pilot a boat full of migrants to Italy, hence the name I, Captain.

With relatively few words, Garrone and Sarr create a real, insightful and eloquent film about a character whose story portrays the plight of millions of people around the world. (CJ)

I, Capitano is available in Brazil on Google Play and Apple TV.

Perfect Days: Character Study

8. Perfect days

Maybe you didn’t imagine that someone who cleaned public toilets for a living could find the secret to happiness. But Perfect daysby director Wim Wenders, firmly defends this idea.

The Japanese-language film, from the German director and screenwriter, is a hypnotic character study. He accompanies Hirayama (Kōji Yakusho) to the Japanese capital, Tokyo, as he carries out his cleaning duties, waters plants, reads novels, listens to American rock and photographs trees – all in silence, with the same pride and diligence. .

Indications appear here and there of how Hirayama’s life has changed and how it might change even more in the future. But the heart of the film is a documentary-style meditation on the serenity of an existence reduced to its essential points.

And the public toilets in the film are so well designed Perfect days they could very well turn them into tourist attractions. (NB)

Perfect Days is available in Brazil on Amazon Prime Vídeo and Apple TV.

Read the original version of this report (in English) on the site BBC Culture.

Source: Terra

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