The Year 2016 was a year we’d all love to hate. Alright, ‘hate’ is too strong a word and there’s certainly too much of that in our planet already. Nonetheless, we might as well eschew 2016 A.D., reduce it into a blip or a little fart in the history of our species. For once again, more than any other year, humankind proved its incurable capacity for Grand Idiocy. As much as we’d all want to close our eyes and wish shit never really hit the fan, unfortunately it did and this year seared itself into our collective minds, lobbing us with twelve intolerable months of political, social, economic and existential clusterfuck.
Thank goodness for films. I don’t know about you but cinema got me through the worst of times, and this year proved no exception. When everything felt dim and barren, Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann single-handedly lifted me out of a hellhole and reminded me the very importance of humour in our lives. It made me want to fight the robotic mode of capitalism with laughter and silliness and levity. Then there’s Paul Verhoeven’s bolshy Elle, which is a bold reminder that we can all find empowerment in nonconformism. Additionally, there’s also Almodovar’s majestic Julieta, a film that believes healing and repair through facing our memories and embracing our past, and also Hansen-Løve’s wise Things To Come, which teaches us how to find happiness in the little things, even if life around slowly crumbles apart.
That no matter what shit we’re all going through right now, cinema of 2016 reminded us that Leonardo DiCaprio went through depths of frozen hell and got mauled by a bear in The Revenant, Blake Lively got mangled and gnawed and crippled by a shark in The Shallows, and it also starkly reminds us that real, actual people are enduring through war and the worst migrant crisis in recent human memory in Gianfranco Rosi’s wrenching Fire At Sea.
So we’d be fools not to appreciate that we made it through this year alive and well. Thus, let’s celebrate the cinematic moments of 2016 that remind us what it means to be human.