Adrian Martin’s 2020 in Review: A year out of joint

Without entering a cinema since February, the film critic's viewing ranged globally, with favourites including sublime Australian shorts, old television comedy and new films from Steve McQueen, Pablo Larraín and Kosovo's Antoneta Kastrati.

Shakespeare was right: time is out of joint. I am surely not the only film critic to be experiencing strange effects of warping and distortion when I try to shake out the usual end-of-year list from my folder of accumulated notes. Feature films I saw ten months ago seem to have receded to the back of a dim tunnel, while some modest, digitally-shot shorts that emerged during the darkest period of lockdown are burned into my brain as if I had just seen them this morning. It’s like being caught in the middle of a zolly shot: you know, the type of tricky simultaneous zoom-in and track-out (or vice versa) where the world is both coming in too close and receding far away in the same movement.

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Adrian Martin
About the Author
Adrian Martin is a freelance film critic. Born in Australia, he created a unique role as an academic and public intellectual and is a key international figure in his field. His latest book is Mysteries of Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) and his website is