The best movies of 2023 (so far)

The best movies of 2023 (so far)

At halftime of this film year, a review – in alphabetical order – of the feature films that have thrilled us the most, in theaters

aftersun by Charlotte Wells

Let yourself be carried away by this moving debut feature, which follows a young woman trying to reconcile the memories she has of her father with those she has found, recorded by her camera during their summer vacation, when she was a teenager. The elliptical structure of the film may surprise at first glance, but it is also thanks to this original editing work that the director manages to bring out her sensitivity. And reach your audience. Much has been made of the accuracy of Paul Mescal (nominated for the Oscars) in front of the camera of Charlotte Wells, but his young partner, Frankie Corio, is just as remarkable. They perfectly illustrate this reflection on the passage of time, the fallible memory that one must rewind to better understand what one has really experienced. This is a work that will be remembered for a long time.

babylonby Damien Chazelle

Of course there is in babylon a form of homage, like a gesture of reverence to the golden age of Hollywood. But beyond that, the director of La La Land signs an effervescent new ode to the 7th art and its spectacular explosion in the Los Angeles of the 1920s. On a biblical scale, the 3h10 film questions our relationship to nostalgia, is infatuated with this era of decadence and excess exhilarating, and with the gaze of a transfixed lover, he films cinema as Pedro Almodóvar films women. The grandiose, disproportionate epic of Damien Chazelle touches on the sublime when Margot Robbie takes the light and deploys treasures of comedy, madness, emotion, to guide us in this euphoric excursion which borders on a masterpiece.

Beau is afraid by Ari Aster

Horror, comedy, both at the same time? After two movies Heredity And Midsommarwho had imposed him as a new little genius of filmic fear, Ari Aster superbly blurs the tracks with Beau is afraid. His third feature (very feature) is a psychoanalytical odyssey taking the form of an uninterrupted (and nerve-wracking) deluge of mind-boggling visions, like Philip Roth reviewed by the Polanski of Tenant and the Terry Gilliam of Brazil. The film left the general public indifferent, but, in a way, the commercial failure was almost part of the proposition of this radical and monstrous film.

Dog from the junkyard by Jean-Baptiste Durand

Raphael Quenard, mouth and temperament of French cinema – seen or just glimpsed here and there – literally explodes in Dog of the breakage. Tall, slender, charismatic, with a piercing gaze where mischief meets torment, where ardor illuminates outbursts. Let us quote ourselves: Somewhere between the Magimel of the beginnings and the eternal Dewaere, with a touch of madness in addition, which makes the slightest situation unpredictable. Facing Quenard, the always very good Bajon gives the reply with the gentleness that is his own, assuming the breath of the hurricane that rises in front of him. Dog of the breakage, the first feature by Jean-Baptiste Durand, is the story of a toxic friendship set in a medium-sized French town where the only horizon takes the form of a public bench. In this little nowhere, a miracle emerges. An electricity. One of the big surprises of 2023.

The Fabelmans by Steven Spielberg

Cinema never stops dying. It has been his lot since birth. A train that arrives full frame at La Ciotat station in the summer of 1895 and immediately, a slow agony. In 2023, magic Spielberg, who has always put the entertainment train back on track, returns to the origins of his passion. A train that is just derailing in Under the biggest marquee in the world by Cecil B. DeMille. Revelation for the child that he was and continues to be: the cinema helps to live, to grow, to see and perhaps also to support the shipwreck of feelings. The Fabelmans, it’s a magnificent fable on cinema as a postscript so as not to forget which planet we come from. Less than a year and a half after its West Side StorySpielberg in Daddy Nostalgie, signs a disturbing diptych on melancholy.

Drop of goldby Clement Cogitore

An enigmatic and breathtaking dive into the Barbès district, Goutte d’Or skillfully questions belief and human nature, through the trajectory of Ramses (Karim Leklou, once again immense), a charlatan seer who exploits people’s misfortune. Mixing genres (from sociological film to urban thriller) and blurring the tracks, the brilliant Clément Cogitore (Neither heaven nor earth) loses the spectator to better jostle him. One of Catherine Deneuve’s favorites of the year… and of the writing of First.

I will always see your faces by Jeanne Herry

It is one of the beautiful – and more than deserved – French surprise successes of this beginning of 2023. More than 1.1 million spectators went to discover this feature film where, after the adoption of the director of Pupille embraces a new social subject – little-known restorative justice – to celebrate once again the power of the collective capable of overthrowing the whole mountain. A film that reverses our anxiety-provoking times that highlights possible solutions instead of rehashing the same endless problems without ever being didactic and academic. And this also thanks to the virtuosity of the insane cast she has assembled, from Leïla Bekhti to Raphaël Quenard via Adèle Exarchopoulos, Miou-Miou, Gilles Lellouche, Elodie Bouchez, Dali Benssalah and even Fred Testot.

John Wick: Chapter 4by Chad Stahelski

125 corpses later, we are washed out, but happy. Keanu Reeves plays the trigger like crazy in a 158-minute global butchery, which concludes in the most grandiose of ways, in a bloody tourist journey in the heart of the most beautiful city in the world. Raw Action Jewel, John Wick 4 pushes the fighting film to its last entrenchments, reinventing the staging with each sequence, whether it is spinning around the Arc de Triomphe like a madman or climbing like a madman the stairs of the Sacré Coeur. The one-upmanship brought to the state of a work of art.

Misanthrope by Damian Szifron

Nine years later The New Savages, Damián Szifron returns with a thriller the likes of which have not been made since the end of the 90s. In Baltimore, one evening on December 31, an invisible sniper stashed on a roof shoots at random and kills dozens of people. A young cop (Shailene Woodley) and a gifted FBI agent (Ben Mendelsohn, in great shape) set off after him… Szifron carefully avoids clichés, puts tension in each shot and impresses with his management of space and verticality. We are not at the level Seven or silence of the lambsbut it’s still a very big piece of cinema.

my crime, by Francois Ozon

By reconnecting with the universe of 8 women And Vase with an adaptation of a play staged with a hyperstylized adaptation, François Ozon has also found the way to success. And through this story of friendship between two friends in trouble – one, a young actress without much talent, the other, a beginner lawyer – he signs a mischievous ode to sorority and casts a spell over the patriarchy while having fun. to draw parallels between the 1930s where the plot takes place and our present time without ever being pompous. A film with a cheerful amorality where the duo Rebecca Marder-Nadia Tereszkiewicz works wonders.

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin Thompson

Real aesthetic shock that smashes the retina, Across The Spider-Verse proudly takes overInto The Spider-Verse and pushes the sliders into the red. The film experiments with all styles of animation but without tensing the muscles, always with the fixed idea of ​​serving the narration. Result: a coming of age story epic, where Gwen steals the show from Miles Morales. Within a few lengths, Across The Spider-Verse meets perfection and puts a touch of old not possible to the competition.

On the Adamant by Nicolas Philibert

Twenty six years later The least of itthe director ofBe and to have devotes a new documentary to psychiatry by diving into the daily life of the Adamant, a barge located in the heart of Paris which welcomes adults suffering from psychiatric disorders by offering them a unique care setting including various cultural activities. Awarded a Golden Lion in Venice, Philibert celebrates this unique experience – and crowned with success – in 109 fascinating minutes (and without an explanatory school voice-over) where as a never intrusive confessor of patients and caregivers, his humanity bursts through the cracks. ‘screen

susume by Makoto Shinkai

susume is he better than Your Name ? From a pure musical point of view, of course, we cry much less in front of the first than in front of the second -monumental chialade based on time travel and Shinto tradition which in 2016 well deserved its place as the biggest box of the history of Japanese animated cinema. But susume seeks above all to be a great wrinkled of cinema, built along a dizzying road trip through Japan. A high school girl, a possessed three-legged chair and a cat-demon cross the archipelago to prevent its destruction: that’s what Suzume is, less a melodrama than an accomplishment of total entertainment, pop, hilarious, vertiginous… Better than Your Name ? And why not ?

Tar by Todd Field

Field took years to complete his third feature film as a filmmaker (the last, LittleChildren dated from 2006) And yet Tar is on time. “On time” for the cancel culture supposed to correct what needs to be corrected. It is the paradoxical tale of a progressive erasure, that of a superstar conductor with powers she believed to be unlimited. Kate Blanchett totally “hupperized” holds the film entirely under her control. Omnipresent, authoritarian, straight even in her vacillation. The staging resembles her like a blood sister. For service to wokism, Kate was awarded a trident: Coupe Volpi, Golden Globes and BAFTA. To say that it is deserved is a truism. We, we would also have given him an Oscar for making a fork.

The Three Musketeers – D’Artagnan, by Martin Bourboulon

One of the most anticipated French films of this first half of 2023 has kept its promises. Martin Bourboulon was able to revisit the work of Dumas without betraying it with the fine idea of ​​giving pride of place – while orchestrating effective fight scenes – to his four-star cast, both masculine (François Civil, Vincent Cassel, Louis Garrel & co) than feminine (Lyna Khoudri, Eva Green, Vicky Krieps). Make Three Musketeers a great actor’s film, here is a gesture that does not lack panache and makes you want to discover its second part, MiladyDecember 13.

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