A longtime contributor, Romney also writes for Film Comment, Sight & Sound and The Observer, and teaches at NFTS.


Source: Li Tienan/Dongchun Films

‘So Long, My Son’

Top five

1. So Long, My Son (Dir. Wang Xiaoshuai)

Spanning decades, this rich family saga deals with seismic social and economic change in a way that is complex, sensitive and all the more emotionally eloquent for its restraint. Beautifully acted, by the end it achieves a positively Proustian depth of melancholy. Contact: The Match Factory 
Read Screen’s review here

2. The Irishman (Dir. Martin Scorsese)

A stunning return to form for Scorsese and an extraordinary reunion for a group of actors on their late-period mettle. Meticulously detailed, witty and emotionally incisive, a superb redrafting of mob movie tropes. Contact: Netflix
Read Screen’s review here

3. Parasite (Dir. Bong Joon Ho)

The most sheerly entertaining film of the year set in glossily crafted trick-box décor and spiked with shock reversals. A positively Buñuelian treat. Contact: CJ Entertainment
Read Screen’s review here

4. I Was At Home, But (Dir. Angela Schanelec)

A hugely distinctive sleeper that has implanted itself in my consciousness since its Berlin debut. German writer/director Schanelec offers an enigmatic, poetic contemplation of family, loss and Shakespeare. Contact: Deutsche Kinemathek

5. Vitalina Varela (Dir. Pedro Costa)

Costa continues his portraiture of Lisbon’s Cape Verdean community, with Varela (both actress and protagonist) attaining the grandeur of an opera heroine in a film of characteristic austere beauty. Contact: Optec Filmes
Read Screen’s review here

Best documentary

For Sama (Dirs. Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts)

A film of outstanding immediacy and heroism, comprising Al-Kateab’s own footage recording the bombardment of Aleppo in 2016 and presented as a personal testimony addressed to her young daughter Sama, born during the events described. Intensely moving, and as gripping as a real-time thriller, exemplary in its observational rigour and tenacity. Contact: Autlook Filmsales
Read Screen’s review here

Overlooked gem

Divine Love (Dir. Gabriel Mascaro)

From the director of Neon Bull, a superbly imaginative dystopian evocation of a near-future Brazil and the rise of an evangelical cult devoted to preserving the bonds of marriage, whatever it takes. Eerie, satirically trenchant and shot in euphorically vivid colour by Diego Garcia, it is a perfect film to help illuminate its nation’s dark immediate future. Contact: Memento Films International
Read Screen’s review here