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Soundtracking: Hustlers

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Murtada Gives Thanks

Team Experience members were invited to give thanks this week so you'll be hearing from a few of us. Here's Murtada Elfadl... 

It’s that time again when we tell you lovely readers of The Film Experience what we’ve appreciated from all the stuff we watched in the past year. But first things first, I'm thankful for Nathaniel and The Film Experience. For the readers and those who engage in the comments, for this lovely oasis of a community.

And now for the movies, and the people behind them, who made me whoop with joy, cry silently in my seat and sometimes shake my head in amazement and awe.

• YouTube making "The Shallow" always available just a click away so I can watch as many times as I want and not just 200 like Andrew Dice Clay. Because just listening is not enough, I want to see Gaga and Bradley!

• The gut punch to the heart that Carey Mulligan gave me this year. On stage in Girls and Boys. On screen in Wildlife...

• For Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie’s expressive face and Ben Foster ‘s quiet and furious gravitas in Leave No Trace.

• For all the questions Burning adamantly refused to answer, for the intoxicating moody atmosphere and Steven Yeun's yawns.


• The way Rachel Weisz has with a cutting line and when cutting it on the dance floor in The Favourite.

• For Elizabeth Debicki’s facility with accents, her droll delivery of lines and the way she munches down on a hotdog that make that scene with the gun “the scene” in Widows.


• For El Angel which should've just been called Sexual Tension: The Movie, or even better "Relax Your Anus"... if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know why and if you haven’t what are you waiting for?

• That climatic monologue in Beautiful Boy, and for Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet sensitive performances… yes sometimes “we mourn the living.”

For the touching queer friendship at the heart of Can You Ever Forgive Me and for finding a new way to capture New York, a city that’s always in the movies.

• For John David Washington’s always perfect Afro and for his dancing skills in BlacKkKlansman. He's the star born in 2018.

• For Alice Rohrwacher and Hirokazu Kore-eda who showed us how to be kind with their exquisite handling of character and story in Happy as Lazaro and Shoplifters.

• ...and in Shoplifters for Sakura Ando’s wise and deeply felt performance that is without a doubt my favorite of the year.

• For finally seeing a James Baldwin book brought to screen and the fantastic work of Barry Jenkins and his collaborators on both sides of the camera in If Beale Street Could Talk.


Murtada Elfadl finally understood what magic was when he saw Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman. He’s been mesmerized by movies ever since. From Khartoum, Sudan he decided to move to New York City when he got a New Yorker subscription at the age of 15. Many years later, the city remains his favorite place, he just wishes more movies in Arabic played here. You can follow Murtada on Twitter. Read more from Murtada.

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Reader Comments (8)

I unthinkingly thought Murtada was a pretty girls name. A gorgeous guy is even better.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterWaps

Steven Yeun's yawns. YAAAAS great choice.

And I love your continual love for Shoplifters and Carey Mulligan. You help me love the latter more than I would on my own.

November 21, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Everything you said about Can You Ever Forgive Me, YES. And yes yes yes to John David Washington's perfect fro. :O)

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Completely agree with you regarding Carey. Girls and Boys knocked me sideways. A staggeringly gifted actress.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

JDW was good not worthy of too much high praise or nominations but did anyone hear Denzel speaking a lot of the time.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Nice choices Murtada. Well maybe not the Beautiful Boy praise, but particulary the love for Elizabeth Debicki, Shoplifters, and Carey Mulligan what a knockout on stage and screen.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMya

This list makes me want to watch that "Shallow" youtube again...

Great choices! I can't wait to see The Favourite and Roma.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Ditto on Steven Yeun's yawns in BURNING, a film I just saw a few days ago but am still thinking about...

Also, you and my other fellow TFE writers are making me even *more* anxious to see WIDOWS, THE FAVOURITE, and IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK than I already was. (And I was plenty!)

And yes, Denzel's son totally sounds like Denzel when he talks, it had me doing a constant double take. He looks quite a bit like him, too.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

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