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Regulars / Review of the Year 2015

Review of the Year 2015: Top 25 Moving Image

From documentaries to stop motion animation, the hard-hitting to the totally trivial and filthy – this is what you were watching in 2015.

  • Homme-less-int-top Work / Film Mark Reay, the fashion photographer no one knew was homeless

    Looking at Mark Reay – handsome, immaculately groomed and sharply dressed – you would never guess the fashion photographer and former model had spent nearly six years sleeping rough on a New York rooftop. A regular shooting backstage at New York Fashion Week for Dazed, in his mid-20s he walked the runway for Versace, Moschino and Missoni, appeared in French Vogue and later on nabbed a small role in Sex and the City. A new documentary about his double life shot by friend and filmmaker Thomas Wirthenson, Homme Less comes out tomorrow.

    3
    Alexander Hawkins
  • Jon-rafman-its-nice-that-mainsqueeze2-web-res-list Work / Art Surreal, disturbing, NSFW and utterly thrilling: the work of Jon Rafman

    I really thought I was over art that involved things like sitting in ball ponds (see my review of the Carsten Höller show, for evidence of this.) That was until I saw the astonishing and very much NSFW new Jon Rafman show. Taking over multiple rooms and levels of the Zabludowicz Collection gallery in north London, the exhibition comprises a series of video works in strange and immersive settings: the ball pool, a seat that squeezes you (developed for children with autism, according to the gallery) and the set of a teenage girl’s bedroom spattered with green gloop.

    4
    Emily Gosling
  • Nudinits-its-nice-that-list- Work / Animation All hand-knitted stop motion follows the nude residents of Woolly Bush

    In one of the more surreal email missives I have received, Sarah Simi informed me of her equally surreal labour of love: an entirely hand-knitted stop motion animation set in a charming little town called Woolly Bush. All of its quaint inhabitants are totally starkers, save the odd pearly king hat, vicar’s collar or socks and sandals combo. Named Nudinits and animated by Ed Hartwell, the detail is extraordinary: from tiny bubbles on beer and a little cat poop to some woolled-up bible passages, nothing has been missed.

    5
    Emily Gosling
  • Awaytogo-main-int Work / Interactive Dedicate six minutes to this beautiful interactive web game, A Way To Go

    I very rarely struggle to start writing a post – but I have hit a bit of a wall with this. Bear with me while I try and get across the magnificence of this game. I just spent a while playing A Way To Go – a web game created by Vincent Morisset with the help of Caroline Robert, Philippe Lambert and Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit. I knew it was going to be super special before the gameplay started and it informed me that it “is an interactive experience for human beings between 5 and 105 years old. Maybe it lasts six minutes. Maybe it lasts forever.” Then it asks you to pretty much abandon your mouse. Abandon my mouse?! Are you crazy?! But you do, because you trust it. And then you’re in the forest and the game says to you: “Go on, make your way. Stop to see the smallest things. No one’s waiting, no one’s keeping score.”

    6
    Liv Siddall
  • Screen-shot-2015-02-10-at-14.31.20 Work / Miscellaneous Richard Turley talks about his work at MTV in our exclusive interview

    It was in April last year that news broke that Bloomberg Businessweek’s much-lauded creative director Richard Turley was leaving to join MTV as its first senior vice president of visual storytelling and deputy editorial director. It was hailed as a huge coup for the network but surprised some that a man who’d been such a passionate, brilliant and at times iconoclastic part of the magazine renaissance was leaving the print industry behind.

    7
    Rob Alderson
  • Main Work / Film Film: Gender roles reversed in French short film gone viral, Oppressed Majority

    There’s a reason why this French film has gone viral, and that’s because it’s bloody brilliant. A perfect example of a very simple idea executed to perfection, director Eleonore Pourriat has taken us to Paris where we follow a man around his normal day. As he goes about his chores the realisation slowly creeps in that this guy isn’t just a house-husband, he’s living in a world where the role of men and women has been switched. We watch him deal with prejudice, be sexually abused verbally and physically, and struggle in a relationship which he has little to no control over. So well-shot and perfectly timed it gives you goosebumps and spot-on enough to change your views on gender forever, this is an absolute triumph of a short film, and must be watched by everyone.

    8
    Liv Siddall
  • Wongping-doggylove-int Work / Animation Teenage lust, bowling and boobies in this rude animation by Wong Ping

    You know what it’s like when you’re of that age, when even the sight of certain pieces of fruit and veg can turn you on faster than you can say “wet dream.” Cantonese animator Wong Ping decided to take all of the cosmic lust he felt as a teenage boy, and channel it all into one seriously hot animation made exclusively for NOWNESS. Watch as a teenage boy becomes intensely obsessed with a girl in his class whose bosom is on her back, until he can take it no longer and starts placing objects in-between and and top of them without her noticing. Things get racy, then racier, but because it’s produced in Wong’s happy, colourful style, seeing people have sex and jerk off in the toilet isn’t even that weird. You know what is weird, though? Wong Ping’s interview over on NOWNESS, in which he says the first time he had a crush on a classmate he “sniffed inside her school bag and tried to lick her books. I was ashamed of myself and have suppressed my emotions ever since.” Okay…

    9
    Liv Siddall
  • Canada_tameimpala_int_list2 Work / Film Director collective Canada creates raunchy, psychedelic video for Tame Impala (NSFW)

    Spanish collective Canada has shot Australian band Tame Impala’s latest video for the track The Less I know The Better. The film is a raunchy and bizarre tale of high school lust and all the outrageous emotions that go with it. A mix of live action and animation, a love triangle between a basketball player, a cheerleader and the school mascot – an apeman called Trevor – plays out in slick technicolour all laced with Canada’s golden touch.

    10
    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Ely-dagher-itsnicethat-9 Work / Animation Ely Dagher’s hypnotic and erotic animated vignettes for Model 86’s EP (NSFW)

    Numbers on the back of varsity jackets count down, tiny bodies walk across taut bellies, legs swing open and shut, heads roll back in ecstasy, and doppelgängers look between each other’s legs in surprise. These are just a few of the weird and wonderful animated vignettes that Ely Dagher has dreamed up to accompany a new EP from Manchester-born producer Matthew Wilcock aka Model 86. No strangers to fruitful collaboration, earlier this year Ely’s short animated film Waves ’98 scored by Model 86 went on to win a Palme D’Or at Cannes.

    11
    Alexander Hawkins
  • Doug-hindson-disconnect-int8 Work / Animation Tearjerking animation explores our unhealthy relationship with technology

    Maybe it’s because it’s January and yesterday was officially the most suicidal day of the year, but something about this animation really threw me. It was something to do with the throbbing pain in my thumbs from playing too much Candy Crush Soda Saga (in bed, on the train, in the bath) and that numb-eyed sensation that comes from scrolling through Twitter like a dead person, and refreshing Facebook without even knowing I’m doing it. Technology, as much affection we have for it, is a barrage of information that we don’t know how to handle – and the amount of time we engage with it is spiralling out of control.

    12
    Liv Siddall
  • Jacob_t_swinney_itsnicethat_list Work / Film Amazing video of first and final film scenes shown at the same time

    While this video has already made the rounds a couple of times, we keep finding ourselves going back to this film by Jacob T. Swinney. Using 55 films, Jacob brilliantly supercuts the first and final frames of each and places them side-by-side. It’s a fascinating insight into the filmmakers’ decisions and the themes that weave their way into the big, blockbuster features. Some of the opening and closing shots are bewitchingly similar, some show progression or misfortune, and others simply use stunning imagery to grab our attention. From Silver Linings Playbook to The Usual Suspects, Jacobs simultaneously captures the anticipation and resolution felt when watching a film beautifully by placing these two moments next to each other.

    13
    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Hotchip-itsnicethat-main Work / Art + Music Pretty heartbreaking video epic for Hot Chip's new single

    Can’t think of the last time I watched a music video right through to the end without skipping. Is there some kind of term for that nowadays? A non-skipper? A skipless? Whatever. This is one of those. Shynola, the film team behind classics like Radiohead’s Pyramid Song and that famous Junior Senior video with the pixelated squirrel, have just released the new music video for Hot Chip’s comeback single, Need You Now.

    14
    Liv Siddall
  • List Work / Miscellaneous Sam Lyon's amazing Jelly Gummies GIFs!

    We recently came across Scottish artist Sam Lyon who resides in Dundee and makes these jiggling, nonsensical, fleshy GIFs. The creatures channel Flubber, sea cucumbers and those floppy little rubber sausages you used to get at school. The technical skill it must take to make them is beyond me I’m afraid, so I can’t shed any light on how this is done, but what I can say is that Sam’s style has the winning formula of hilarious, addictive and brand new. Every face-crease, every stomach bulge, every wobbly bit is so over-pronounced, and moves as if it’s full of goo. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, have you? You can see the inspiration behind these little guys over on Sam’s entertaining and brilliant blog. It’s also worth saying that anyone who codes a fried egg GIF on to their cursor is post-worthy in my book.

    15
    Liv Siddall
  • Don't-hug-me-i'm-scared-it's-nice-that-list Work / Film They've done it again! Don't Hug Me I'm Scared is back, and it does not disappoint

    Thank the lord of all things deceptively cute and cultishly adored: filmmaker duo Becky and Joe are back with the fifth episode of much revered muppety weirdfest Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. As with its predecessors, these six minutes of joy (and gore) present what appears to be a kid-friendly dose of edu-tainment and warp it into something bordering on sinister and unabashedly acid-dream weird. This time it’s all about being healthy, and we’re given nuggets of wisdom like “the body is like a special house, with blood, hair and organs in the different rooms” where “the bad not healthy foods are very rude and must leave through the cat flap.” In a list that reads rather like the Butterfield Diet Plan, we learn that healthy foods include “bread, cream, white sauce and aspic,” all delivered to us by what seems to be a huge anthropomorphised steak.

    16
    Emily Gosling
  • Itsnicethat Work / Film Engaging short film follows the day to day life of a London drug dealer

    There’s a reason why a long pan-out is such a recurrent feature at the end of feature films: it reminds us that the characters we’ve been engrossed in for the past couple of hours are just some more tiny ants in the nest of a bigger picture. The same goes for zooming in at the start of movies, and for the concept of this short by Luke Carlisle that takes us fleetingly into the serene, somewhat surreal life of a London drug dealer. We swoop around his day-to-day activities on steadicams, watching him (David Ajala) like a hovering dragonfly as people get in and out of his car, and his phone vibrates on the table prompting a Pavlov’s Dog effect.

    20
    Liv Siddall
  • Main Work / Film Nice film shows artists Ana Kras and Devendra Banhart in their shared studio

    If you’re slightly unhappy in your day-to-day job and secretly feel that perhaps you should be doing something a tad more creative, look away now. This film leads you up whitewashed stairs to a gargantuan, high-ceilinged New York studio, inhabited by two well-known artists, Ana Kras and Devendra Banhart. We’ve featured Ana’s work a few times on the site for her beautiful, simplistic, friendly furniture design and works on paper.

    21
    Liv Siddall
  • Simpsons-vhs-its-nice-that-list Work / Animation The Simpsons intro remade in a hella weird 90s VHS style

    Yeah this has done the rounds this week, but we can’t resist. Hey, it’s Friday, and we love The Simpsons. If you’ve not seen it already, this is a very weird, bad-trip type project that reworks The Simpsons intro sequence in a trashy, 90s VHS video style that’s all about making things in Springfield a little more dystopian than they should be. Directed by Yoann Hervo and worked on by a team including Huge Moreno and sound designer Florian Calmer, the animation uses the show’s usual intro narrative but things are pretty warped and odd: faces are stretched, burning tyres abound and the couch is left eerily deserted. Peculiar and perfect stoner-boy fodder for the weekend, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    22
    Emily Gosling
  • Fka-twigs-int-list2 Work / Art + Music Watch a pregnant FKA twigs spawn a voguing extravaganza!

    FKA twigs has become the poster girl for everything that’s contemporary and cool. Her music is cutting edge, her style is unmatched and her videos always cause a stir. This new one is no different; directed by the artist herself in collaboration with Boots, Glass & Patron features a pregnant Twigs giving birth to a sea of colour in characteristically creepy settings. Cue a seriously heavy bassline, voguing in the woods and a cast of characters part human part cyborg who round things off nicely. If I’m honest the first minute or so almost lost my attention, but the rewards of the second half left me slack-jawed and wide-eyed. Now hold that pose for me…h3. Art + Music

    23
    James Cartwright
  • Superbowl%e2%80%93int-list Work / Advertising UPDATED – Our pick of the adverts from last night's Superbowl

    Last night in Arizona Superbowl XLIX took place, a sporting event that brings with it lots of cultural collateral – a much-hyped half-time show (with Katy Perry this year), some baffled Brits pretending they know what they’re talking about and loads of Twitter users doing that “superb owl” joke. It also means a huge amount of attention lavished on the adverts, and after showing you a selection of the pre-released spots last week, we’ve updated to bring you our pick of the whole lot.

    24
    Rob Alderson
  • Altos-adventure-int-list Work / Interactive Kiss goodbye to your free time; meet Alto's Adventure!

    Bad news guys, I’ve got a new game to tell you about that’s going to eat up all your free time and turn you into one of those dopey phone-tapping lunatics that stare at you all bug-eyed when you ask them to “Get the hell out of the WAY!” on the morning commute. I’ve not had this kind of crippling addiction since Monument Valley, but this one’s bitten me hard.

    25
    James Cartwright