It would be useless to remark once again how strange this 2020 has been for cinema: it has been for anyone and for any sector, yet somehow there has been no shortage of great films, indeed in some cases there have been very great ones.
The films taken into consideration in the drafting of this article have all received a distribution in Italy in a period between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020: you will not find any distinction between movie theater and on-demand streaming services.
Finally, in warning you of the usual possible presence of small spoilers, we also want to mention separately the "case" Memoirs of an Assassin by Bong Joon-ho: the seventeen years of delay in the Italian distribution are not weighed at all by quality and quality. legacy of the film, a product not to be missed.
Josh Trank's Capone
Capone is the most disgusting type of body horror possible, the dramatic one, devoid of fantastic elements and all set on the decay of the real physique.
An insane project that feeds on the withering of its protagonist by sucking from him meat and memories, excrement and blood, and in this sense the key scene can only be that of the feces in the bed.
Lying alone in the most merciless moment of his sad existence, with the images conceived by Trank that release a disgust and a sense of resignation capable of enclosing the essence of the work, a character study putrid and necrophagous very close to Albert Serra's cinema without limits: be with The Death of Louis XIV it was told of the death of French cinema embodied by its symbol Jean-Pierre Léaud, then Hardy's Al Capone is an allegory of a Hollywood waiting for the end and the scene of the feces in the bed makes us smell it.
Onward at Dan Scanlon
In a film in which everything is alternative (universes, landscapes, cities, paths to follow, families to discover or rediscover), the most important animation studio of the last thirty years to close Onward chooses an epilogue in its own way. alternative.
The scene we have chosen to examine it is that of the final spell, when the film itself seems to conspire behind the protagonist so that he cannot enjoy the fruits of his adventure.
Perhaps only Pixar is able to find so much dignity, emotion and magic in failure. It does so with a sequence full of movement, suspense construction and (bittersweet) resolution of the action that literally takes your breath away.
The Invisible Man by Leigh Whannell
The Invisible Man embodies all of Whannell's talent for genre cinema and represents a massive work of setting up the image, a theorem on fear generated by what is hidden in the reverse and an essay on the construction of tension starting from the frame.
Here then is the scene to be extracted and remembered no doubt that of the first arrival of the Invisible Man, when our protagonist is alone in the room and the camera turns to the wall, providing the viewer with a shot that is only apparently "empty".
All the tension that will be released shortly thereafter, the film constructs it by framing nothingness, simultaneously creating insane doubts within the protagonist and great expectations in the viewer.
Roubaix, a light by Arnaud Desplechin
A polar so original that it escapes predecessors or terms of comparison, a film of multitudes (the city, black heart of increasingly black facts) and of intimacy (Léa Seydoux and Sara Forestier, the epicenter of everything) that tells the darkness in the light, it imitates genres while slowly becoming others and investigates, rather than to find a culprit, to understand the core of a love story and its most tragic end.
It is impossible to forget this incredible noir the final scene of the murder reconstruction, not only because all the knots come to a head but because - exhausted - the two protagonists finally throw off every mask and actually come to terms with the truth that most of all have repressed, that of the death of their relationship.
Léa Seydoux and Sara Forestier carry out all the construction work played up to that moment and it is as if Desplechin wants to frame them as they implode crushed by the feelings of their characters.
Richard Jewell di Clint Eastwood
Richard Jewell is proof that Clint Eastwood makes films as if they could change the world, and after the psychological masterpiece of Sully at almost 90 years old he stages a belly product that is an exaltation of simplicity, the strength of dignity and the pride of being American, especially when there is a fight against the United States itself and all its distortions.
So here is that the key scene is undoubtedly that of the mock interrogation, when Richard, a character we know to be totally innocent, casual and ordinary hero that the film has described to us from the beginning as zealous and with the almost simplistic dream of always being on the side of good, finds himself besieged by none other than the FBI , that is the symbol of the institution that he himself has always admired and of which he has always wanted to be a part.
In these seconds full of tension and great acting performances the film comes to represent in all respects Eastwoodian thought, sided on the side of the Americans before that of America.
Mank at David Fincher
A film about everything that stands between cinema - or the machine that creates - and the work that arrives on the screen, the disenchanted world that hides in the shadow of the white Hollywood sign, a fourth power today as then on the avenue of the sunset. In concluding what we have called his trilogy on post-truth, Fincher uses Mank to tell us about the Hollywood of yesterday but also that of today.
The scene to be extracted, remembered and kept for us is that of the last meeting between the characters of Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, which in its cuts of light provided by the splendid naturalistic location manages to perfectly frame everything that involves dedicating one's existence to making the lives of others into a film.
It is no coincidence that it is also one of the very few sequences to offer a change of location, moving away from the studio sets or from the "crime scene" (the bed on which Mank writes), Fincher detaches Herman and Marion from the reality he has set up up to that point. moment and places them in a situation detached from everything else, between the bucolic and the heavenly, to underline how much Mank's attack on William Randolph Hearst is premeditated in all respects.
A long journey into the night of Bi Gan
Second ambitious and bold work, eternally suspended between dream and reality, dreamlike landscapes of an urban and rural China, A long journey into the night is a work of the past and memories and a test of enormous strength and decadent pomp, an expressionist painting of watery depictions closed by a pindaric flight which is also an immense wager of direction in the attempt to create a reality dominated by the camera.
It would be easy to cite the hour-long sequence shot as the best scene in the film, but our innate romance can only push us to opt for the emotion crying scene in the movie theater: an already poignant moment in itself which, however, despite itself, over the course of the year has ended up collecting multiple meanings, all melancholy, for which the cry of Wan Qiwen (interpreted by the splendid Tang Wei) appears as the perfect catharsis.
Rough Diamonds by Josh & Benny Safdie
The most incredible innovation of the new film by the Safdie brothers, shot, expanded and refined from the previous one and equally amazing Good Times, is how through the editing and the rhythm of an unbridled direction he manages to fit exactly halfway between the realism of life and the excitement of filmed fiction.
The suspense is built in real time on news events, which break into the film and assault the protagonist before one or the other can react, and what remains for the viewer is the appearance of a flow of continuous improvisation, which however true improvisation is never.
This filmic approach serves to accumulate the pathos that the Safdies want to stage in their modern epic cinema, and it shines like never before. in the final sequence of the NBA game bet, when the film and the protagonist's destiny are built and climbed around real events.
It is thanks to the work of this type of cinema that the protagonist's epilogue seems determined not so much by a narrative instance as by the characters themselves, who, like real people, limit themselves to reacting to the events of the world in which they live.
It is an incredible moment that sublimates a unique way of conceiving cinematic storytelling.
Tenet di Christopher Nolan
The perfect example of Christopher Nolan's Tenet is the scene of the final war, able to move in two reverse directions at the same time with the red team going forward and the blue team going backwards, a two-way direction that in this sequence Nolan is able to keep in every frame easily switching from close-ups to total.
It is also difficult not to mention the scene showing the Protagonist reverse the flow of time for the first time: the image of John David Washington putting on a mask and widening his eyes in front of a totally new world seems to completely unconsciously summarize that of the spectator, hidden metacinematographically in the reverse shot beyond the screen, sitting in the room also wearing a mask order to attend a show never seen before.
High Life di Claire Denis
High Life by Claire Denis is a provocation to the taboos of the audiovisual and an art gallery of images of rare power, which together make up a work to be considered among the most hallucinated, shocking and enchanting sci-fi ever conceived for cinema.
In this sense it is very easy to return to the memory Juliette Binoche masturbation scene: in a few seconds Claire Denis, through a simulated sexual intercourse, seems to want to underline how nothing, on the ship that is the setting for his film, is untied from artificiality, neither sex nor conception, which will not happen naturally but through technology.
It is a dark, secret, sensual and disconcerting moment, hypnotic and frightening but also free and cathartic, an antithesis to the fruitfulness that the film seeks to venerate and exalt even if it is forced into the void of space.