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PATRICK PREZIOSI

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Editor-in-Chief

Electric Ghost Magazine

Electric Ghost Magazine is an independent online film publication dedicated to heterodox navigations of transformative cinema. 

 

Run by cinephiles educated in film interpretation, we heed the medium's message, separate its wisdom from its blindness, and show how film can act as a guide to life.

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Tudor Close

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editor@electricghost.co.uk

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2017 In Review: On The Need for Tears & The Best Films of the Year

This Editor has a confession to make: he cried during more films of this year, 2017, than perhaps any other year of his existence. A tear descended his cheek as the central Spitfire in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ glides across the desolate stranded below, having sacrificed his fuel reserve so that others may continue the fight against Fascist tyranny. Here was a sacrifice that felt understated and human, devoid of histrionics, mawkishness or jingoistic nationalism, an emblem of hoi polloi heroism in a world where countless Churchill biopics attempt to make us believe that eccentric personalities – “Great Men” – win righteous wars.

 

He wept during the “No Man’s Land” sequence of Patty Jenkins’ ‘Wonder Woman’, a scene rightly singled out and aptly summarised by our own Sarah Ann Cattell in her review: "Diana, crouched low and steadfast, with bullets ricocheting profusely is, without doubt, the most powerful image of the entire film, as if she was deflecting years of systematic prejudice against women." Such an image of resilience took on even more prescience as the year advanced, with exposure of the horrific systemic abuse against women within our “Dream Factories” being revealed. Diana shows us the virtue of “naiveté”, idealism and optimism in a “logical” and cynical world and is truly an empowering hero to inspire and rally behind. 

Similarly, he sobbed during the final confrontation of ‘Battle of the Sexes’, as the final piece of dialogue foresees the inevitable victory of the freedom to love , whilst being tinged with an acknowledgement that it will come with hardship and cost. He most definitely bawled during the inordinately charming ‘Paddington 2’, a love-letter to London, diversity and community. It is a sorry state of affairs in which a CGI anthropomorphic bear telling us to, as Bill and Ted once put it, "be excellent to each other, " feels relevant and necessary (and has there ever been a better advertisement for a rehabilitative prison system?). He cried as The Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), shown at his lowest ebb in 'Logan', (re)discovers his humanity just at the point of his departure, and Officer K (Ryan Gosling) discovers his humanity for the first time by way of autonomy and tactile sensation in Denis Villeneuve’s phantasmagoric 'Blade Runner 2049'. And although it is still too early to discuss Rian Johnson’s 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' in detail devoid of spoilers, he whimpered and snivelled at its poignant examination of failed parentage and the necessary re-birth of hope and heroism.

 

In a year filled with egregious leadership, political chaos and moral confusion, where Fascists occupy parliaments across Europe and march in the streets of Republics, it were the simple, some may even say naive and trite, sentiments on screen that affected this editor most. Right now, they feel the most forgotten: the nobility of sacrifice, whether it be on the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 or in Los Angeles 2049; the fight against oppression, be it against the patriarchy on the tennis court in the 1970s or the fields of conflict during The Great War; the virtues of pluralism, exemplified by a talking bear in London today or a Galaxy Far Far Away. We are not beyond these sentiments, we are bound by them, and we see the consequences of such arrogance if we believe we are.

 

At Electric Ghost, we value cinema that makes us feel and encourages our empathy and compassion to surface. To feel, to cry, to reject dispassionate Order is to reject the Fascist principle, and we should all do it more. It’s more than likely that cinema concerns itself with themes of oppression, idealism, humanism, sacrifice and hope every year, but you’d forgive me for noting it’s sharp and piercing presence during this last one. You’d perhaps also forgive me for my sentimental gratitude, for while it’s been a year for great shame in cinema production practices, it’s also been a year to take great pride in the images and stories of the screen, its belief in idealism, and it’s decision to dig in and deflect the bullets of cynicism as we find a way out of the destructive No Man's Land that separates us. 

On a separate note, another cause for pride and celebration for us at Electric Ghost is our one year anniversary that the New Year will bring in January. In a short amount of time we are proud to have had representatives cover the BFI London Film Festival, Russian Film Week and the Zurich Film Festival and interview a number of exciting filmmakers, including Maya Vitkova, Alex Barrett, Tadhg O'Sullivan and more. All of this is made possible by the collective drive and voluntary contributions of the Electric Ghost team, who continue to share their passion and eloquence with the site and its reader. This Editor is grateful to them. Here, we present our collective top ten films of 2017.

 

- David Hughes, Editor-in-Chief.

 

1. Get Out (Jordon Peele)

2. Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)

3. The Florida Project (Sean Baker)

4. A Ghost Story (David Lowery)

4. The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook)

6. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)

7. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos)

8. The Disaster Artist (James Franco)

9. God's Own Country (Francis Lee)

10. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola)

 

 

Contributor Lists

 

David Hughes

1. Song to Song

2. Blade Runner 2049 

3. Logan

4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

5. Good Time 

 

Teodosia Dobriyanova

1. A Ghost Story 

2. Twin Peaks: The Return

3. The Florida Project

4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer 

5. Song to Song 

 

Max Redmond Smith

1. The Florida Project

2. The Beguiled

3. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

4. Thelma

5. Happy End 

 

Lizzi Sandell

1. Call Me By Your Name

2. The Handmaiden

3. Ingrid Goes West

4. Get Out

5. The Disaster Artist

 

Jessie Alex Carpenter 

1. Get Out

2. God's Own Country

3. It

4. Paddington 2

5. Dunkirk

 

Aurelien Noblet

1. A Ghost Story 

2. God's Own Country 

3. Thor: Ragnarok

4. Dunkirk

5. Call Me By Your Name

 

Alison Blankenhaus

1. Call Me By Your Name

2. A Ghost Story 

3. The Handmaiden

4. The Beguiled

 

Alexander Durie

1. Get Out

2. On Body and Soul

3. Call Me By Your Name

4. I Am Not Your Negro

5. Blade Runner 2049

 

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