Halligan is Screen’s chief film critic and reviews editor.

pain and glory 3

Source: Manolo Pavón

‘Pain And Glory’

Top five

1. Pain & Glory (Dir. Pedro Almodovar)

After four decades of filmmaking, Almodovar is still full of surprises: this time it is a counterpart to the brash insights of his early career with a mature and affectingly humane snapshot of his life as lived semi-fictionally by an alter ego (Antonio Banderas). A deeply insightful portrait of the artist as an ageing man. Contact: FilmNation
Read Screen’s review here

2. The Irishman (Dir. Martin Scorsese)

At the risk of this list being made up of ageing auteurs in reflective mode, The Irishman is pure joy; like watching Scorsese’s family — with its rogue’s gallery of hopelessly recidivist uncles — enter a disgraceful old age. Contact: Netflix
Read Screen’s review here

3. The Souvenir (Dir. Joanna Hogg)

An open, gilded portrait of Hogg herself as a tentative young woman and artist whose voice does anything but falter here. Tom Burke is wonderful as her charismatic, feckless first love. I was swept away. Contact: Protagonist Pictures 
Read Screen’s review here

4. Monos (Dir. Alejandro Landes)

Tense and draining and winner (with Jojo Rabbit) for the year’s best ending as director Landes surgically dehumanises each and every one of his Colombian child soldiers — and their captive — and makes the viewer squirm in the judgment seat. Contact: Le Pacte 
Read Screen’s review here

5. Give Me Liberty (Dir. Kirill Mikhanovsky)

Another debut: a rush of adrenaline, a shot of energy into the Milwaukee night as a young paramedic struggles with his crazy extended Russian family and tries to ferry his patients through the city’s simmering race riots. Contact: Wild Bunch 
Read Screen’s review here

Best documentary

Amazing Grace (Dir. Sydney Pollack)

Just, simply, transportative: Aretha Franklin in all her glory, singing praise to the Lord who has blessed her so richly. Why did she not want it shown during her lifetime? Perhaps it was the overwhelming intimacy, which gives this documentary the sense of being a privilege as well as a joy to watch. Contact: Endeavor Content 
Read Screen’s review here

Overlooked gem

Fanny Lye Deliver’d (Dir. Thomas Clay)

After a long wait, this played in competition at the BFI London Film Festival. Clay’s interregnum drama with Maxine Peake and Charles Dance (in the middle of a remarkable late-career resurgence) is a daring dart between genre and period-perfect historical drama to the tune of authentic 17th-century instruments, all set in a muddy field in England. Contact: Coproduction Office
Read Screen’s review here