Almost nearing the end of the year, “Spider-Man” had to come to return the pre-pandemic joy to the box office, but from the artistic point of view, the cinema of 2021 has not disappointed, with films like “The Power of the Dog”, by Jane Campion, the celebrated “Another Round” or “Parallel Mothers”, by Pedro Almodóvar. These have been some of the most outstanding international titles of the year.
•“The Power of the Dog”: Toxic masculinity is at the center of the film that has allowed a triumphant return to the cinema of the New Zealander Jane Campion -Silver Lion for Best Director in Venice-, who adapted the homonymous novel by Thomas Savage set on a ranch in Montana (United States). States) at the beginning of the 20th century. Benedict Cumberbatch especially shines the cast, along with Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons of this “postwestern” whose main attraction lies in its complex psychological portraits and a hypnotic and mysterious narrative. It garnered seven Golden Globe nominations, is sweeping top critics awards and is aiming high for the Oscars.
• “Nomadland”: The great winner of the Oscars of 2021 -Best film, Directed by Chinese Chloé Zhao and Leading Actress for Frances McDormand- is a poetic reflection on the crisis of capitalism in the United States. It is based on an investigation by journalist Jessica Bruder, who hit the road to uncover “the penultimate scam of the American dream” through the system’s expelled people who reside in caravans and lead nomadic lives.
•“Spider-Man: No Way Home “: The return of” Spider-Man “, two years after” Far from Home “and with the pandemic involved, has led to the return of the big box office. In less than a week it has grossed $ 600 million, making it the third best international premiere in history. A positive data although at the same time its overwhelming success has sunk the rest of Christmas premieres.
“No Way Home ”is a film full of surprises and stellar appearances in which they have collaborated Disney Y Sony -fronted by the rights of the superheroes of Marvel-, which has allowed the appearance of “Dr. Strange ”(Benedict Cumberbatch) with“ Spider-Man ”(Tom Holland), accompanied again by“ MJ ”(Zendaya), in a spectacular staging that excites fans.
• “Parallel Mothers”: Maternity, female sisterhood, chance and historical memory are themes that intersect in Pedro Almodóvar’s most political film, “Parallel Mothers”, which has had a more unanimous reception in countries such as France or United States than in Spain. He also already accumulates awards for the interpretation of Penélope Cruz and for the music of Alberto Iglesias (both point to an Oscar nomination).
Two single women of different generations, played by Cruz and Milena Smit, coincide giving birth to their children in the hospital, which generates a bond between them that will become more complicated as the plot progresses and in parallel the first struggle to find the remains of a great-grandfather shot at the beginning of the war.
“Another Round”: Best European Film of the Year and Oscar for International Film in the last edition, “Another Round” disloys the viewer with a story about four high school teachers who embark on an experiment: keep the level of alcohol in their body at the same level, during their daily life to show that it improves significantly.
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg and led by a brilliant Mads Mikkelsen, the film celebrates alcohol but at the same time leaves a seed of concern about the normality with which it is integrated into the day to day.
“Fire night”: Mexican Tatiana Huezo has left viewers breathless with this tremendous film that pictures the brutal violence that affects many regions of Mexico and which in this case focuses on the kidnapping and disappearance of young girls at the hands of criminal gangs.
Awarded in the section A certain look at the Cannes Film Festival, winner of the Horizontes Latinos de San Sebastián, “Noche de Fuego” is the representative of Mexico in the Oscar category for Best International Film, where it is already one of the 15 finalists.
“The Hand of God”: In his most intimate and emotional film, without losing his usual sense of humor and irreverence, Paolo Sorrentino evokes his Neapolitan adolescence and the birth of his cinematographic vocation. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in Venice, she has passed the first cut in the race for the Oscar, a prize that the director already won with “The Great Beauty” in 2014.
A film that conveys to the viewer the fascination with which the young Sorrentino observed everything around him: his city, his family and above all the arrival of Maradona as a Naples player, an event that would mark him in a way that was as definitive as it was unexpected. .
“Promising Young Woman”: Director Emerald Fennell is behind one of the most surprising debuts in recent years. Written and directed by her and starring Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman” swings between drama and black comedy and is one of the best films of the ‘MeToo’ era. Fresh and daring analysis of structural machismo, the script full of twists and turns was deserving of the Oscar.
“Titanium”: The originality and daring of Julia Ducournau’s proposal made it worthy of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, although it was left out of the fight for the Oscar for Best International Film. A complex story, which evolves from the fantastic, bordering on the ‘gore’, to the most moving drama. Too much for Hollywood, Ducournau dynamites gender stereotypes and reflects on motherhood and fatherhood and the relationship with one’s own body through the story of a dancer (Agathe Rousselle) with a titanium plate on her brain posing as the missing son of a firefighter.
“The Velvet Underground”: Todd Haynes pays tribute to “The Velvet Underground” in the musical documentary of the year, built around the band that Lou Reed led but also the spirit of the time, the films and the artistic world of the New York of the 70s, that of The Factory by Andy Warhol.
With only five albums, recorded between 1967 and 1973, the Velvet laid the foundations for everything that came after, from David Bowie to Patti Smith to the New Age and Haynes tells it in a film full of testimonies but also cinematic style, with a dizzying montage, with a split screen or turned into an image puzzle. At the moment, it is already among the finalists for the Oscar for Best Documentary.