Sight and Sound reveals its best films and TV series of 2021

sight and sound best films and tv series 2021 - mediashotz

Sight and Sound, the BFI’s international film magazine, today announced that Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part II has been chosen as the Best Film of the Year. 

The Souvenir part II – Best film

Hogg’s glorious follow up to The Souvenir (2019) stars Honor Swinton Byrne, alongside Richard Ayoade, Tilda Swinton, Jaygann Ayeh and Harris Dickinson in this semi-autobiographical portrait of the birth of a filmmaker. 

This bittersweet film, rich with Hogg’s typically incisive understanding of people, was developed and produced with the support of the BFI Film Fund using funds from the National Lottery and premiered at this year’s BFI London Film Festival to wide acclaim. 

This is the second time Joanna Hogg has topped the Sight and Sound annual poll, following The Souvenir coming in first place in 2019 and the first time a woman has topped the Sight and Sound poll twice.

It is also a great time for British film, with this being the third year in a row where the poll has been topped by a British film.

Best film: The Souvenir Part II

It’s A Sin – Best TV series 

Also revealed today is Sight and Sound’s Best TV Series of the Year, the poll for which has been topped by Russell T Davies’ heartbreaking and poignant series It’s A Sin (Channel 4). 

Starring an incredible ensemble case that includes Olly Alexander, Callum Scott Howells, Lydia West, Omari Douglas, Nathaniel Curtis, Keeley Hawes and Neil Patrick Harris, It’s A Sin follows the story of AIDS in the 1980s, and charts the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends across a decade in which everything changed. 

Both the film and TV polls have been voted for by film and TV critics, programmers and academics who contribute to Sight and Sound.

Sight and Sound Editor in Chief Mike Williams said: “Congratulations to Joanna Hogg for topping our poll for a second time, becoming the first female director to do that. 

It's a Sin
Best TV series: It’s A Sin

“The list that she heads is wide-ranging and colourfully international, and it’s exciting to see such a plurality of voices being represented – proof if it were needed that while the pandemic may have impacted on the way we watch films, it’s not dimmed the brilliance of the people that make them. 

“The Souvenir Part II is a powerful and personal film about the art, love and struggle of filmmaking as much as a story about grief and identity, and in a year where so much talk has been about the struggles and recoveries of the industry, its victory feels particularly apt.”

More foreign language films 

After last year’s poll featured much fewer foreign-language films than usual (perhaps reflecting fewer opportunities for critics to see a broad-range of foreign-language films at festivals in 2020), the 2021 poll has seen a reversal of that shift. 

There are a wealth of films from international talent in the top ten, including five non-English language films and a further two films from stalwarts of world cinema making their English language debuts. 

The return of the festival circuit after over a year of lockdowns and uncertainty has once again allowed critics to see a huge variety of work, with many films that took top prizes at Festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and Venice making it into the top ten. 

It is not surprising that the pandemic’s impact can also be felt in the subject matter this year’s top three, with The Souvenir Part II, Petite Maman and Drive My Car all dealing with grief.

Sight and Sound’s Best Films of the Year sees over 100 international critics, programmers and academics who contribute to the magazine voting for their top ten films from the year. 

The full results are available online today and the full Top 50 is published in Sight and Sound’s Winter issue, available digitally on Monday 6 December and on newsstands from Thursday 9 December.

Sight and Sound’s top 10 films of 2021 are:

  1. THE SOUVENIR PART II (Dir. Joanna Hogg)
  2. PETITE MAMAN (Dir. Céline Sciamma)
  3. DRIVE MY CAR (Dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
  4. MEMORIA (Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  5. TITANE (Dir. Julia Ducournau)
  6. THE POWER OF THE DOG (Dir. Jane Campion)
  7. WHAT DO WE SEE WHEN WE LOOK AT THE SKY? (Dir. Aleksandre Koberidze)
  8. SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) (Dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson)
  9. ANNETTE (Dir. Leos Carax)
  10. WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY (Dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)

Sight and Sound’s top 10 TV Series of 2021 are:

  1.  IT’S A SIN (Channel 4)
  2. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (AMAZON PRIME)
  3. MARE OF EASTTOWN (HBO)
  4. THE NORTH WATER (BBC)
  5. TIME (BBC)
  6. SUCCESSION Season 3 (HBO)
  7. THE WHITE LOTUS (HBO)
  8. SQUID GAME (Netflix)
  9. WANDAVISION (DISNEY+)
  10. ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING (HULU / DISNEY+)