RADIANT CIRCUS loves a “best of” list. With awards season well underway, we thought we’d publish one of our own, choosing the things that scorched our screen-loving eyeballs in 2016. Not everything premiered last year: 2016 was simply the year we stumbled greedily upon them.
1/7 BIG SCREEN – FIRST RUN
THE WITCH (2015) 1hr 32mins.
With its marvellous evocation of mood, magic and mystery, this malevolent movie crept under our skin – and stayed there – by allowing the audience’s fears to fester. Why does it win? Because of THAT goat. Fucking hell.
Honourable mentions: BONE TOMAHAWK / GOODNIGHT MOMMY / THE HATEFUL EIGHT / ROGUE ONE / ROOM
2/7 BIG SCREEN – REVIVAL
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) 1hr 19mins.
Relatively late in Universal’s horror cycle, James Curtis Haven’s stunning underwater sequences set this one apart as our creature admires his potential mate, swimming longingly underneath. Perfect movie monster mania. Why does it win? Because it’s a reminder of how simple fare can really satisfy.
Honourable mentions: THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE
3/7 SMALL SCREEN – BLU-RAY
EATEN ALIVE (1976) 1hr 27mins.
One of Tobe Hooper’s least appreciated works, EATEN ALIVE is a garishly shot melodrama filmed entirely on soundstages complete with a giant crocodile, a killer scythe and some stunningly gonzo performances. Arrow Video’s Blu-Ray release smacks the rainbow colours into the stratosphere and showers enough special features into the deal to satisfy any fan. Why does it win? Because we’ve re-watched it – loads.
Honourable mentions: THE BALLAD OF NARAYAMA / EVOLUTION / HARD TO BE A GOD / NIGHTMARE CITY / TURBO KID
4/7 SMALL SCREEN – GAMES
ATTACK OF THE FRIDAY NIGHT MONSTERS! A TOKYO TALE.
Ok, so this one is three years old but RADIANT CIRCUS downloaded it for the first time from Nintendo’s eShop in 2016. And we love it. Simple, effective, nostalgic. Why does it win? Because it’s like being in your own Studio Ghibli movie. With massive monsters. Magical stuff.
Honourable mentions: INTO THE BADLANDS
5/7 ART SCREEN
PRIMITIVE 2009 at TATE MODERN.
Movies aren’t our only source of adventurous moving pictures. TATE MODERN reopened its subterranean tanks in July 2016 with a permanent install of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s PRIMITIVE 2009. From the same body of work that gave rise to his sublime UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, PRIMITIVE 2009’s delicate multi-screen sci-fi slowly reveals its secrets. Why does it win? Because all art should be this absorbing.
Honourable mentions: STRANGELY FAMILIAR
RADIANT VERMIN at the SOHO THEATRE.
Sometimes the people we love on screen also do fabulous things off screen. Whilst we weren’t totally in love with his new play KARAGULA – a bold production of a “nearly there” play – RADIANT CIRCUS was bowled over by Philip Ridley’s RADIANT VERMIN at the SOHO THEATRE. A return of his 2015 satire about a young couple doing their bit for the housing crisis, performances and production left the audience shivering with shock as we stumbled out of the auditorium. Why does it win? Because, come the end, the audience was as breathless as the cast.
7/7 BEST OF THE BEST
AGNIESZKA HOLLAND IN CONVERSATION at the BFI.
One of those truly special moments when you get to sit back and soak up the wise words of one of your screen heroes. From her early years in Polish cinema to more recent blockbuster television in the USA (she has directed episodes of THE WIRE amongst others), Agnieszka Holland’s career is one of powerhouse creativity and storytelling. EUROPA EUROPA and OLIVIER OLIVIER are possibly our favourites. Why does it win? Because Agnieszka’s a genius.