Anne Bancroft, Ava Gardner, Billie Holiday, Chuck Berry, David Lynch, Fats Domino, Fences, From the Land of the Moon, Harry Dean Stanton, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Jackie, Jeanne Moreau, Julie London, L.A. Witch, Lana Del Rey, Louise Brooks, Loving, Lust for Life, Mudbound, Pandora's Box, Star Wars, The Last Jedi, The Navigator, Twin Peaks
For me, this year was dominated by the return of Twin Peaks, reaffirming David Lynch’s status as the most daring filmmaker of our time. Dark, playful and thrilling, it once again pushed the outer limits of television.
Twin Peaks was also a musical event, spawning two soundtrack albums and terrific Roadhouse performances from The Chromatics, Rebekah Del Rio and many others. While 2016 was marked by loss, this year brought a tentative sense of renewal. Lana Del Rey gave us the latest chapter in her songbook, Lust for Life.
Hurray for the Riff Raff meshed Nuyorican vibes with protest lyrics in The Navigator, while newcomers L.A. Witch embraced West Coast garage rock. My favourite reissue was the soundtrack to New Orleans, the 1948 movie featuring Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday.
Among this year’s new films, I liked Jackie, From the Land of the Moon, Loving, Fences, Mudbound, and of course, The Last Jedi. My favourite rediscoveries were Agnès Varda’s Vagabond, and Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. I’m hoping to catch up with The Florida Project, Certain Women, Lucky, I Am Not a Witch, and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool; and I’m looking forward to Lady Bird, Mary Shelley, Mary Magdalene and You Were Never Really Here.
Julie London and Anne Bancroft got the biographical treatment this year, while a BFI study of Pandora’s Box and a tribute to Ava Gardner were also published.
We said goodbye to Chuck Berry and Fats Domino, two maestros who, thanks to my dad’s record collection, formed a large part of my musical education; and screen icons Jeanne Moreau and Harry Dean Stanton. If there’s really a blue heaven, let’s hope they’re all sharing a dance (and a smoke!)