In part two of our look back at 2012’s movie offerings, Charlotte Rowland celebrates the indie and world cinema triumphs that warmed hearts and outshone their big budget competition...
In a year crowded with big names and big promises, the quality film-making was to be found elsewhere – in independents, foreign films and unknown actors. And (without big advertising or production budgets) they're still only just filtering through to the general public.
The signs were there at the very start of the year. Cast your mind back to January and the film everyone was talking about was The Artist. It’s success was cemented after its huge awards haul at the Oscars. The absence of dialogue, the humour, the dancing, the romance - the dog! It was a truly charming and unusual French delight.
Two of the best dramatic films of 2012 were in French: Amour and The Kid With A Bike. Both told deeply moving, self-aware tales of humanity. The first deals with love and its confrontation with old age, illness and death. The latter examined the relationship between a son and his parents. As ever, foreign language films struggled to get noticed. Beasts of the Southern Wild, was a low-budget film that had a little more success, gradually spreading into more local cinemas. It was an astonishing piece with a magical subject, plenty of poetic beauty and stand out performance from its five-year-old star.
2012 had little to offer in the shape of comedies, both of the romantic and ridiculous variety. There were two films that bucked this trend. The recently released Sightseers was a very British black comedy. It tells the tale of a hilariously deranged caravanning couple, who begin a killing rampage around the countryside. The film is pure comedy gold, but no doubt completely incomprehensible to foreign audiences.
Finally, for a decent rom-com, forget the horrors of What to Expect When You're Expecting or Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Technically released in 2011,Your Sister's Sister finally received fair recognition in 2012. Emily Blunt starred in this largely improvised comedy/drama. It offered a more authentic take on relationships than the typical Hollywood rom-com clichés.
So there we have it - 2012 in film. From our December vantage point, we could bemoan being bombarded with the same famous actor or actress in every big blockbuster. Or we could celebrate how the underdogs and innovators have outshone them. Given the time of year, I think I'll opt for the more optimistic latter!