In this legal drama with thriller overtones thanks to which she became the third woman to win the Palme d’Or, Justine Triet features a novelist (Sandra Hüller, excellent) who, suspected of the murder of her husband, is tried in the presence of of his visually impaired son (Milo Machado Graner, prodigious). If it evokes Force majeure, by Ruben Östlund, for its hostile winter landscapes, its anxiety-inducing closed doors and the ambiguity that runs through it until the end, Anatomy of a Fall also comes close with its brilliant and nuanced analysis power relations existing within a couple.

Popular success of the year, Barbie is also an artistic success. First feat: Greta Gerwig’s film never gives the impression that we’re trying to sell dolls. Commercialism is even criticized on more than one occasion. The work is also proudly feminist. Although Barbies have been divisive for ages, the film conveys a clear message without being overbearing. The subtlety and good taste of the subject offer a delicious contrast with the colorful and garish aesthetics. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling bring to life characters whose comic potential we knew, but which had never been exploited.

A thriller with a clinical aesthetic carried by precise staging and an anxiety-provoking soundtrack, this third feature film by Pascal Plante (Lesfalse Tatouages, Nadia Butterfly) relates the meeting of two young women, one mysterious (Juliette Gariépy) , the other naive (Laurie Babin), obsessed with a serial killer (Maxwell McCabe Lokos). Inspired by the cinema of David Fincher and Michael Haneke, as well as the Arthurian cycle, the director offers a blood-curdling reflection on our relationship to images, our dependence on screens and our fascination with murderers.

Close, by Belgian Lukas Dhont, Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 2022, is a gem of an initiatory, autobiographical story, which stands out for its finesse, its intelligence, its subtlety and its mastery of what is left unsaid. The story of a close friendship between two boys, which falls apart at the start of adolescence when classmates suspect them of forming a couple, carries a dazzling emotional charge, perfectly balanced, of great truth. Filmed mainly with a hand-held camera, as close as possible to the characters, it is a powerful and sensitive film.

Jury prize at the most recent Cannes Film Festival, Dead Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki is an absolutely charming film of sadness and melancholy, featuring two solitary characters in Helsinki. A slightly offbeat proletarian romance, in the typical style of the filmmaker of The Man Without a Past and Le Havre: dark and deadpan humor, sober and minimalist production, improbable situations and funny dialogues. The Finn has fun this time with the codes of romantic tragicomedy, and we are as much touched by these thwarted loves as we are captured by the social portrait he paints.

What Hayao Miyazaki announced as his swan song is the summation film of a giant of the seventh art. We find in The Boy and the Heron all the elements (not just the four main ones…) which have made the style and reputation of Miyazaki and Studios Ghibli. Fantasy, ecological discourse, sublime animation. Mahito, an 11-year-old boy, leaves Tokyo after the death of his mother for the village where she grew up. There he meets a very special heron who will reluctantly become his guide to parallel universes. A splendor, beautifully done.

Anyone who has reservations about the effectiveness of restorative justice could well lose them by seeing this moving choral film by Jeanne Herry (Elle l’adore, Pupille). Benefiting from a cast playing its part to perfection, at the heart of which stands out the masterful Miou-Miou (mother of the filmmaker), I will always see your faces offers a gallery of nuanced and diverse portraits. So much so that, like the characters themselves, the spectator comes to forget who is the executioner, who is the victim. As if everyone were dropping their mask to reveal their humanity.

Bradley Cooper co-wrote and directed, while playing the lead role, Maestro, a splendid and moving film about the life (especially as a couple) of the famous American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. This inventive and inspired film on the theme of duality, conceived as a symphonic work, tells the story of 30 years of an atypical marriage. Bernstein, whom Cooper plays with panache, was bisexual. Carey Mulligan is exceptional as his wife, actress and activist Felicia Montealegre. We will say, in a pejorative way, that Maestro is calibrated for the Oscars. He will deserve all his laurels.

Todd Haynes’ new film tackles a “human and complex” story… to quote Elizabeth (Natalie Portman), who explains her film project to Gracie (Julianne Moore). She wants to understand the consequences of a love born illegally, between a mature woman and a teenager, in Savannah, Georgia. With his new film, Todd Haynes once again debunks the myth of the American dream. By thwarting the codes of American culture and Hollywood films. His work, both dark and luminous, reminds us that he is one of the most fascinating filmmakers south of the border. Brilliantly carried by a duo of extraordinary actresses, May December stays with us long after seeing it.

Korean-Canadian playwright Celine Song’s debut film, largely autobiographical, is astonishingly masterful. Past Lives (the title in the original version), a favorite of the last Sundance Festival, tells through three physical or virtual encounters, 12 years apart, a love story, from the first pre-adolescent emotions. There are accents of In the Mood for Love in the beauty of these simple and elegant shots, as in this philosophical and poetic story, subtle and touching, about the life choices we make and the reflection we they arouse when the past meets the present.

The American note (Killers of the Flower Moon in original version), an epic western about greed, villainy, racism and dehumanization, tells the incredible and yet true story of the Osage Nation, considered at the beginning of the last century as the most rich in the world per capita. Martin Scorsese features his two favorite actors, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, together for the first time. But it is Lily Gladstone who is the cornerstone of this plot with overtones of socio-political thriller. The masterful film review of a great master at the top of his art.

Big winner of the most recent César Evening, with seven awards (including best film and best direction), La nuit du 12 by Frenchman Dominik Moll tells the story of an unresolved investigation surrounding femicide. Clara, a 21-year-old young woman, is burned alive in the street, while returning from a party with friends. Like Laura Palmer from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, the victim is a ghost whose presence is constant in the story. A disturbing, intelligent and nuanced film, which deals with toxic masculinity, but also with the unconscious bias of police officers.

Oppenheimer’s qualities are numerous. Outstanding cast, led by Cillian Murphy in the greatest role of his illustrious career. Deconstructed story, but clear and engaging. Soundtrack, by Ludwig Göransson, as brilliant as it is anxiety-inducing. Composition both sober and rich. Even more impressive is the power of immersion. Christopher Nolan delivers stunning and fascinating, but often cold, films. Here, he tells the true story of a man and his loved ones, giving us the impression of being a privileged witness. This sensation reaches its height during the famous explosion scene, which has already marked the history of cinema.

Golden Lion of the last Venice Film Festival, Poor Things (the original title) features Emma Stone in the role of an Englishwoman from a surreal Victorian era, brought back to life after a suicide attempt by a mad scientist (Willem Dafoe) who transplants a baby’s brain into him. She gradually discovers the pleasures of the flesh and what is less glamorous about human nature. The Greek Yorgos Lanthimos distills his irresistible black humor in this subversive fable about hypocrisy, of adults and men in particular, which has the overtones of a feminist pamphlet against patriarchy.

Having found a solid ally in screenwriter Éric K. Boulianne, Francis Leclerc delivers a faithful adaptation of Stéphane Larue’s formidable autobiographical novel, The Diver (Le Quartanier, 2016). In fact, we find in this learning story, carried by the assured voice of Marc-André Grondin and a thunderous soundtrack, the heat of a kitchen during the gunshot, the rigor of the Montreal winter and the disarray of the young player. Opposite Henri Picard, perfect as the shy and tormented Stéphane, Charles-Aubey Houde proves to be the great revelation in the role of the gargantuan Bébert.

Easily the superhero film of the year, Spider-Man – Across the Spider-Verse (the original title) would definitely win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film if not for The Boy and the Heron. The previous part, Into the Spider-Verse, landed it in 2019 and its sequel is visually and narratively superior. In our review, we wrote that it’s as if the script opens the door to a world after only allowing us to look out the window. It is vast, colorful, diverse; simply wonderful. The conclusion will come later than expected, but our patience will certainly be rewarded.

Monia Chokri’s enjoyable third feature film subverts romantic comedy stereotypes to better expose female desire. Without artifice or taboos. When Sophia (Magalie Lépine-Blondeau), an urban intellectual and philosophy teacher, meets Sylvain (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), a handyman with a lumberjack look at her chalet, it’s love at first sight! She leaves her partner and orderly life for this love that was initially clandestine, then lived out in the open. With its careful staging, its comic and brilliant dialogues, Chokri offers a work that is both naturalistic and poetic. To the universal message.

With patience and tenderness, filmmaker Nicolas Philibert looked into the activities of the L’Adamant day psychiatric center in Paris to produce a series of touching portraits of his patients. Both a political and poetic work, the film, winner of the Golden Bear at the last Berlin Film Festival, is a call against the dehumanization of modern psychiatry. In the pure tradition of direct cinema, Philibert offers an essential and deeply humane film. Driven by listening, empathy and mutual assistance. Something like a utopia specific to the seventh art. A magnificent, artisanal and warm film.

A fantastic vampire film with black humor, coupled with a sensitive and touching coming-of-age story, Humanist Vampire Seeks Consenting Suicide, Ariane Louis-Seize’s first feature film, is a particularly successful balancing act between drama and comedy, on a subject as serious and delicate as suicide. Sasha (Sara Montpetit), a recalcitrant teenage vampire who refuses to give in to her bloodthirsty nature, meets Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard), the bully of her classmates, who wants to put an end to it. They make a pact and bring to life an original comedy, sometimes melancholy, sometimes hilarious.

The new film, freely autobiographical, by Nanni Moretti has the effect of a beautiful reunion with an old comrade. Both funny and melancholy, joyful and nostalgic, Toward a Radiant Future is first and foremost a plea for the magic (and survival) of auteur cinema. An art that the Italian director sees as the ultimate utopia of our crazy century. A film of love and anarchy filled with warmth and hope. The work of a free and critical man facing the excesses of the Netflix era.