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  • Writer's pictureEllen Cheshire

Ellen's Year in Film: 2023


With thanks to @letterboxd pro stats, compiling this end of year film lists so much simpler. I logged 832 films this year, 606 first-time watches, and 228 re-watches.

76 in cinemas, the rest at home. You can check out my letterboxd profile, cheshellen. And what a year it was!




I took part in some fab online community themed watches inc #precodeapril #shocktober #noirvember. I also created some of my own film viewing projects including #JeanHagenJune and #AroundTheWorldin80Movies.


In 1st, 2nd & 3rd spot on my most logged directors on letterboxd are Wes Anderson, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. A combination of revisiting all Wes Anderson's films for a talk I gave at Chichester Cinema at New Park and that he released 4 films in 2023 saw him zoom into first place. Whilst the BFI's Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger, a major UK-wide celebration of one of the greatest and most enduring filmmaking partnerships gave me the opportunity to see some of their films at cinemas and gave me the push to fill in some of the gaps. Here's my #CinemaUnbound thread on X. Anderson's repertory company of actors feature heavily in the most frequently watched actors. And although it looks like Tilda Swinton is the top slot, I actually watched 18 Jean Hagen films (one TV movie wasn't on letterboxd) plus a load of TV shows for my Jean Hagen deep-dive, #JeanHagenJune. There would have been a 3rd female director in the Top 10, Joan Kemp-Welch, as I watched 4 of her TV films of Noel Coward Plays from 1964 as part of my research for a talk on Noel Coward at Chichester Cinema at New Park. I didn't need to watch 34 films either starring or written by Coward for this, but I certainly wanted to!




And went to some wonderful independent cinemas


I gave 55 films released in UK cinemas or streaming 3 ½ - 5 stars. My Top 10 fave films released in 2023…

Anatomy of a Fall

Rye Lane

Barbie

The Eternal Daughter

Passages

Past Lives

The Eight Mountains

The Blue Caftan (pictured)

Women Talking

Oppenheimer



Top 4 first-time watches this year (pre-2023):

Wild Strawberries (1957, Ingmar Bergman)

Aftersun (2022, Charlotte Wells)

The Beaches of Agnes (2008, Agnes Varda)

A Slightly Pregnant Man (1973, Jacques Demy) (pictured)




My Top 4 favourite re-watches in a Cinema...

The Red Shoes (1948, Powell & Pressburger) (pictured)

Dial M for Murder in 3D (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)

House of Wax in 3D (1953, Andre de Toth)

Summertime (1955, David Lean)





I watched 165 films #directedbywomen, from the feature film first-time watches my top 4 were…

Little Fugitive (1953, Ray Ashley/Morris Engel/Ruth Orkin) (pictured)

Aftersun (2022, Charlotte Wells)

The Eternal Daughter (2022, Joanna Hogg) Anatomy of a Fall (2023, Justine Triet)




It was a really strong year for new releases of films with significan LGBTQ+ characters/plots. My top four were...

Passages (2023, Ira Sachs)

The Blue Caftan (2022, Maryam Touzani)

Strange Way of Life (2023, Pedro Almodovar)

Tár (2022, Todd Field)


And my top 4 pre-2023 films were...

Official Competition (2021, Duprat/Cohn)

Victim (1961, Basil Dearden)

Kamikaze Girls (2004, Tetsuya Nakashima)

Disobedience (2017, Sebastián Lelio)




Top 4 musical moments from films released in 2023...

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: Fearless Hero performed by Antonio Banderas

Magic Mike's Last Dance: Steamy Water Dance performed by Channing Tatum & Kylie Shea

Saltburn: Barry Keoghan dancing to Murder On The Dancefloor (Sophie Ellis-Bextor)

Barbie: I'm Just Ken performed by Ryan Gosling



Top 4 characters (from films watched in 2023) that I'd like to defend me in court.

Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) in Compulsion

Vincent Renzi (Swann Arlaud) in Anatomy of a Fall

Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) in Denial

Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) in Chicago




Top 4 most bonkers (in a good way) films released in 2023...

Renfield (2023, Chris McKay)

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023, Daley/Goldstein)

Polite Society (2023, Nida Manzoor) (pictured)

Waiting for Dali (2023, David Pujol)





Top 4 performances from 2023 releases...

Martin (Ben Whishaw) in Passages  (2023, Ira Sachs)

Sandra (Sandra Hüller) in Anatomy of a Fall (2023, Justine Triet)

Audrey (Monica Dolan) in Typist Artist Pirate King (2023, Carol Morley)

Ken (Ryan Gosling) in Barbie (2023, Greta Gerwig)





Top 4 performances in one film...

Letitia Wright & Tamara Lawrence as the older twins & Leah Mondesir Sim & Eva Arianna Baxter as younger versions of June and Jennifer Gibbons in The Silent Twins (2022, Agnieszka Smoczyńska)



Top 4 'they’re not in the film that much, but they can certainly steal every scene they're in' performances...

Frances McDormand as Scarface Janz in Women Talking (2022, Sarah Polley)

Tom Conti as Albert Einstein in Oppenheimer (2023, Christpher Nolan)

Matt Bomer as David Oppenheim in Maestro (2023, Bradley Cooper)

Michelle Yeoh as Joyce Reynolds in A Haunting in Venice (2023, Kenneth Branagh) (pictured)


Some other lists on letterboxd...



So that's my year in film! If some of your faves aren't here, let me know.

They may not have made my list as either:

a) we have different tastes

b) I've not seen it!

c) It's not been released in the UK (Poor Things opening soon - woo hoo!)



And BTW, I've still not seen The Fabelmans which closed out my look back at a Year in Films 2022!



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