Top 8 Best Films of 2023

top 8 best films 2023

Celluloid Dimension’s Top 8 Best Films of 2023

*Honorable Mention: Master Gardener (Directed by Paul Schrader) Full Review

8. Thanksgiving (Directed by Eli Roth)

Thanksgiving is most likely Eli Roth’s first legitimately good film. That’s not necessarily why it merits a place here, but it does earn a spot on this list for doing what no modern slasher has ever done, and that’s stay true to the fundamentals. This is the most traditional slasher of the 21st century. It religiously follows all the crass conventions of the genre as if it had scrupulously studied its methodology and puts them into practice with masterful results. Plus, it contains the scene of a woman being slowly roasted alive in an oven, what more could you ask for. Thank you, Eli Roth, for understanding what the fans demand. Full Review

7. Asteroid City (Directed by Wes Anderson)

Wes Anderson mocking his naysayers made into a movie is one of the most beautiful jokes I’ve seen this year. Asteroid City is the ultimate dream of every admirer of the eccentric director, and the nightmare of every detractor of his idiosyncrasies. Wes Anderson proves once again that he has the potential to reinvent himself with his unique blend of humor, melancholy and romanticism. Formalist filmmaking carried out in the most picturesque fashion imaginable. Far from being one of Anderson’s best films, but very close to being one of his most provocative. Full Review

6. Infinity Pool (Directed by Brandon Cronenberg)

Mia Goth is the new queen of horror movies. This film finally convinces me of it. Brandon Cronenberg’s vicious, mind-bending Infinity Pool deserves to be hailed as a seminal piece of 21st century horror cinema. The plot artfully criticizes state totalitarianism by embroiling its characters in third world pandemonium. And simultaneously, it severely decries the flawed democracies of the first world. It is political horror at its most scathing and aggressive. Full Review

 

5. Strange Way of Life (Directed by Pedro Almodovar)

Ok. Maybe I’m cheating here because this is a short film and not a feature film. However, I’d be disappointed if I didn’t put Pedro Almodovar’s quirky queer western on Celluloid Dimension’s top 8 list of the year’s best films. It’s a wonderfully pithy 30-minute wistful drama fused with Almodovarian sensibilities. It qualifies as a revisionist western but also as a western melodrama. Either way, Almodovar deconstructs the most masculine genre of all with his trademark radical flair and colorful verve. One of the most essential films of the year. Full Review

4. El Conde (Directed by Pablo Larrain) 

Another Spanish-language film. It is more than certain that 2023 has been one of the best years for Spanish language cinema. This is another film that proves it. Pablo Larrain, the most proficient Chilean director working in the medium, crafts another anti-biographical marvel. Can you imagine if dictator Augusto Pinochet was an immortal bloodsucker soaring through the Chilean sky? If you can picture it then this movie is for you. A delectable, bloodthirsty satire about the most controversial character in Chilean political history. Larrain depicts in monochrome a hilarious fable that is as romantic as it is tragic in its metaphorical statements to the point of being more than a caustic spoof on the dictator; it is a satire on human lust for power. Sublime stuff. Full Review

3. When Evil Lurks (Directed by Demian Rugna)

To call it the best horror film of the year is an understatement; this is one of the most important films of the 21st century. Thematically intricate, bonkers and bone-chilling. This international Argentine/US co-production directed by Demian Rugna is pure philosophical shocker that manages to be both a fiendishly entertaining piece of horror and a pessimistic take on the postmodern secular world. The film interprets Nietzchean aphorisms with great intellect and alarming accuracy developing a pitch-black and thrilling supernatural storyline capable of engulfing you in one of the most nihilistic moods you will ever experience in the genre. Nietzchean in the best sense of the word, and downright audacious in its approach to horror filmmaking. Full Review

2. Chile ’76 (Directed by Manuela Martelli)

From historiographical perspectives it is always intriguing to watch films about major events in Chile’s political history. This is one of them, a film that is intellectually and emotionally enthralling. Manuela Martelli’s feature debut is a compulsively suspenseful examination of the post-coup Chilean nation and how the nascent Pinochet regime affects a bourgeois housewife. The story is minimalist, but the staggering use of off-camera space and an austere mise-en-scène layered with symbolism render it complex and superbly cinematic. I have never seen such a politically intense film approached from the domestic complex of a bourgeois Chilean family. This is supremely competent filmmaking and one of the most fascinating films about the human moral crisis in the midst of sociopolitical turmoil. Full Review

1. Close your Eyes (Directed by Victor Erice)

Victor Erice’s last feature film was in 1992, a documentary narrative/essay titled El Sol del Membrillo. It took 30 long years for the legend of Spanish cinema to finally return to the full-length format. I must say that the agonizing wait was worth it. This gargantuan conversational drama is cinema of the highest order. It is a profound analysis of the human memory and its relationship to the art of motion pictures. Poignant, dense and intimate, this is Victor Erice’s best film since The Spirit of the Beehive. And hands down my favorite film of 2023. Full Review 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matteo Bedon
About Author

When I'm not watching films, I'm writing about them.
Editor and Official Film Critic at Celluloid Dimension

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