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The UPP’s Top 10 Films of 2020

Posted: Wed 30 Dec

The UPP’s Top 10 Films of 2020

Needless to say, it’s been a strange year for film. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most cinemas in the UK were only able to show films for 5-6 months across the entire year. Despite this stop-start nature of running an independent cinema in 2020, there have still been plenty of great film releases to sink our teeth into.

Some films were able to play to audiences in cinemas, and many were exclusively made available online as the industry got to grips with producing, releasing, and promoting films during a global pandemic. So, with the year almost behind us, we decided to poll our staff and volunteers for their favourite films which we showed during 2020. So, without further delay, here are our Top 10 Films of the Year…

10. The Personal History of David Copperfield
Armando Iannucci does Dickens with a brilliantly assembled cast of British stars. Dev Patel starred as the lead in this inventive and wonderfully buoyant modern adaptation.

9. Babyteeth
Shannon Murphy’s debut about an ill teenager in the throes of young love was brilliantly acted, bittersweet, and - most importantly - left us all blubbing in our seats when the lights came up.

8. Les Misérables
No, not that one. Ladj Ly’s thrilling look at police brutality in an impoverished Parisian suburb was inspired by the director’s life experiences and won the Jury Prize Winner at Cannes Film Festival 2019. Essential.

7. 1917
Sam Mendes’s hard-hitting WWI drama took us into the heart of trenches and onto the terrifying battlefield in an immersive work of sweeping scale. A worthy winner of three Oscars and seven BAFTAs, including Best Film.

6. Uncut Gems
One of the most stressful films of the year, but also one of the most thrilling. Once in a blue moon Adam Sandler shows the world he can act (see also Punch Drunk Love) and the Safdie Brothers absolutely got the best out of him in this incredible crime drama.

5. Little Women
Timeless and timely, take a bow Greta Gerwig. Wonderful casting, beautifully shot and packed full of acting talent. All the makings of a modern classic.

4. Jojo Rabbit
Potentially a tough pitch (Nazi comedy featuring an imaginary Adolf Hitler?), but with Taika Waititi at the helm, we were in safe hands. Sweet, funny, and often very shocking. Winner of Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.

3. The Lighthouse
“Yer fond of me lobster aint' ye?” Robert Egger’s follow up to The Witch featured Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe going stir-crazy in a lighthouse. An incredible black-and-white two-hander which is as harrowing as it is hilarious.

2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
You’ll struggle to find a better-looking film this year. Céline Sciamma’s French period drama isn’t just a pleasure to look at though. The gorgeous cinematography and costume design are more than matched by astounding lead performances and an engrossing tale of romance for the ages. You’ll want to watch it again and again.

1. Parasite
Bong Joon-ho made history by making the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, and it’s easy to see why it took the top prize this year. A compelling tightrope walk of genres that balances comedy and horror, flawless performances from an incredible cast, brilliant camerawork, and a twisting-turning storyline which Hitchcock would have been proud of. A total triumph!

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