A film critic for more than 55 years and Screen International’s critic-at-large, Fainaru has written for the title since 2001. Honorary vice-president of Fipresci, he is editor of Israeli film magazine Cinematheque.

More critics pick best films of 2017

The other side of hope berlin

Source: Berlin Film Festival

‘The Other Side Of Hope’

Top five

1. The Other Side Of Hope

Dir: Aki Kaurismaki
Aki Kaurismaki’s personal gift to the Trump era, this splendid humanistic tale treats one of the most urgent crises of our times with dry, laconic but uncompromising wit. It also requires the West to not only express their sympathy for the homeless survivors seeking a haven away from their homeland horrors, but to actually accept them as equals; a more complicated and longer commitment than they are willing to face. 
CONTACT: The match Factory 

2. The Shape Of Water

Dir: Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo Del Toro at his best. A perfect blend of modern fairytale, weird love story and political satire, with a touch of sci-fi and a solid dose of irony directed at America’s xenophobic manias. 
CONTACT: Fox Searchlight 

3. Loveless

Dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
A cruel, desolate and unforgiving portrait of Russia’s new middle class and its non-existent moral standards, as told through the experiences of a divorcing couple and their unfortunate young son. 
CONTACT: Wild Bunch 

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dir: Martin McDonagh
Martin McDonagh’s sarcastic, unflattering vision of small-town America is drenched in black humour and features a terrific performance from Frances McDormand. 
CONTACT: Fox Searchlight 

5. Foxtrot

Dir: Samuel Maoz
Painful and heartbreaking, this film offers the essential portrait of the Israeli experience; learning to live with tragedy and loss with no end in sight.
CONTACT: The Match Factory 

Best documentary

Faces Places

Dirs: Agnes Varda, JR
Join 88-year-old filmmaker Agnes Varda and muralist JR in a joyful trip through the French countryside, all dedicated to the charm and deep humanity of the simple people who populate the towns and villages they visit. Pure delight, ending with a well-deserved kick in the pants of her old pal Jean-Luc Godard. 
CONTACT: Cohen Media Group 

Undiscovered gem

My Happy Family

Dirs: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross
A lovely Georgian family picture with a great performance by Ia Shugliashvili. She plays a middle-aged teacher who moves out of the home she shares with her husband and three generations of the family, seeking her independence after years slaving away for her relatives. A hit on the international festival circuit, the film won the Golden Firebird Award at Hong Kong International Film Festival. 
CONTACT: Memento Films International