From Petite Maman to The Father to The Lost Daughter, our critic lists his top films of 2021 – and surveys the year in cinema. Have your say in the comments
This was the year that the cinema emerged, blinking, from its enforced hibernation, and the new James Bond film, which was beginning to feel like some sort of commercial or cultural myth, actually came out to tumultuous box office business. International film festivals were once again happening in reality. And some old debates and quarrels have been revived. Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux, who has decided against scheduling any films that did not have a big-screen cinema release, pointedly asked his audience at the opening press conference if Netflix has ever nurtured any directors from the beginning of their career.
Answer came there none – although Twitter was lively on the subject afterwards. But maybe 2021 was the time to put this argument to bed. The fact is that Netflix really is supporting major films by major film-makers, including what many believe to be the best of the year: The Power of the Dog, by Jane Campion.
Dune (dir. Denis Villeneuve)
The Green Knight (dir. David Lowery)
Azor (dir. Andreas Fontana)
Limbo (dir. Ben Sharrock)
Petite Maman (dir. Céline Sciamma)
No Time to Die (dir. Cary Fukunaga)
The Power of the Dog (dir. Jane Campion)
Drive My Car (dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
Nomadland (dir. Chloé Zhao)
West Side Story (dir. Steven Spielberg)