Partycrashers: 2017 in Review

Our series of video dispatches from film festivals by critics Michael Pattison and Neil Young wraps up the year in cinema.
Michael Pattison, Neil Young
Partycrashers is an on-going series of video dispatches from critics Michael Pattison and Neil Young.

Partycrashers has never exactly been metronomic in its regularity, but even by our eccentric standards the timings of the last few editions has been... erratic: five months between our report from the Curtas festival of Vila do Conde, northern Portugal, in July 2016 and the year-end pre-Christmas round-up recorded in Newcastle, then an 11-month "hiatus" until our report from the Post/Doc festival of Porto, northern Portugal, then a gap of less than two weeks before this year-end pre-Christmas round-up recorded in Newcastle. We may be unpredictable chronologically; geographically somewhat less so, it seems.
And, as has become something of an unwanted Partycrashers tradition, we have—the last twice—been bedeviled by technical mishaps, perhaps an inevitable consequence of our ingrained "one-take" preference (we're more Eastwoodian than Kubrickian in this regard). The camera used for our 2017 survey cut us off somewhere in the vicinity of our full-flow prime, meaning that we didn't get to shine a spotlight on those many worthy films—of various lengths—which didn't obtain UK distribution over the last 12 months. We therefore present our top tens below, in text form, Neil excluding what would have been his #2 pick (Valeska Grisebach's Western) on the basis that it is reportedly set for British arthouse release some time in the first half of 2018. Onward, upward!
NEIL
  1. Araby (João Dumans and Affonso Uchoa, Brazil)
  2. On Generation and Corruption (Takashi Makino, Japan)
  3. Dead Centre (Michael Pattison, UK)
  4. Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman, USA)
  5. The Rabbit Hunt (Patrick Bresnan, USA)
  6. Wishful Thinking (Allan Brown, Canada)
  7. Room for a Man (Anthony Chidiac, Lebanon/USA)
  8. Rubber Coated Steel (Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lebanon/Germany)
  9. Swamp [Tierra Mojada] (Juan Sebastia Mesa, Colombia)
  10. Everything (David O'Reilly, USA/Ireland)
MICHAEL
  1. Transitions (Aurèle Ferrier, Switzerland)
  2. Impassenger (Ben Pointeker, Austria)
  3. The Nothing Factory (Pedro Pinho, Portugal)
  4. A Brief Excursion (Igor Bezinović, Croatia)
  5. Araby (João Dumans and Affonso Uchoa, Brazil)
  6. 2+2=22 [The Alphabet] (Heinz Emigholz, Germany)
  7. Ruins Rider (Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt, Canada/Montenegro)
  8. Once There Was Brazilia (Adirley Queirós, Brazil/Portugal)
  9. The Third Option (Thomas Fürhapter, Austria)
  10. Jean-Luc Nancy (Antoinette Zwirchmayr, Austria)

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