Ward joined Screen in 2015, and writes for Concrete PlaygroundSBS and others, and is on ABC Radio.


Source: 2019 CJ ENM Corporation, Barunson E&A


Top five

1. Parasite (Dir. Bong Joon Ho)

A smartly savage and savvy script is just the beginning with Bong’s twisty puzzle-box thriller. It walks the fine line between tightly wound mystery and sharp, astute societal statement with aplomb. The game cast, the exquisite production design, the masterful cinematography — they are all geared to perfection in this equally revelatory and entertaining exploration of class differences. Contact: CJ Entertainment
Read Screen’s review here

2. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (Dir. Céline Sciamma)

Crafting a film of immense and purposeful restraint, Sciamma is on blazing form with this swoon-inducing period-set romance, as aided by the exceptional work of stars Noémie Merlant and Adele Haenel. Contact: mk2 Films
Read Screen’s review here

3. Pain & Glory (Dir. Pedro Almodovar)

As well as wrangling a best performance out of a pitch-perfect Antonio Banderas, Almodovar’s characteristically vibrant and intense contemplation of life’s choices and regrets is a soulful, yearning and moving delight. Contact: FilmNation
Read Screen’s review here

4. Synonyms (Dir. Nadav Lapid)

Tightly coiled but unfurled with a loose yet spiky air, Lapid’s auto­biographical account of an Israeli in France is not forgotten easily — and nor is Tom Mercier’s virtuoso central performance. Contact: SBS International
Read Screen’s review here

5. True History Of The Kelly Gang (Dir. Justin Kurzel)

In Kurzel’s audacious fourth feature, bushrangers in dresses tear a foundational Australian myth to shreds — and, exceeding the potency of his stellar version of Macbeth, the results are electrifying. Contact: Memento Films International
Read Screen’s review here

Best documentary

Varda By Agnes (Dirs. Agnes Varda and Didier Rouget)

A fond farewell and an insightful, reflective piece, Varda By Agnes proves as thoughtful, illuminating, intimate and warm-hearted a swansong as Agnes Varda could have offered the world. It is a playful masterclass in how she turned her six-decade career into a masterclass itself. If only all filmmaking greats could say goodbye in such a beautiful fashion. Contact: mk2 Films
Read Screen’s review here

Overlooked gem

Disco (Dir.  Jorunn Myklebust Syversen)

From the feverish dance scenes filled with thrashing limbs and hair to the feeling of tension that permeates every frame, Syversen commandingly lures viewers into a claustrophobic world. The hollowness of religious extremism gets thrust into the spotlight and, as the teenager caught between her passion and her community, Josefine Frida Pettersen proves a compelling point of focus. Contact: New Europe Film Sales
Read Screen’s review here