Dec 23, 2019

Best Quest Films of 2019

A still from "Honeyland," one of my picks for "Best Quest Films of 2019"
“Best Quest Films of 2019"

My yearly selection of “best quest films” (in alphabetical order) is based upon the criteria I discuss in my recent book Cinematic Quests for Identity: The Hero’s Encounter with the Beast (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). Quests for identity and individuation are undertaken many times in a person’s life; at the movies (and in real life), all are heroic endeavors because the search for consciousness and meaning is a dangerous psychological and spiritual undertaking in patriarchal societies.

I should note that the rating of films is not the purpose of film criticism, nor of any scholarly or journalistic endeavor. Film criticism should educate audiences to the art form by pointing to movies that in some way possess cultural value. For me, that is the purpose of my yearly list. (My filmmaker interviews are indicated by links.)

Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts

Jia Zhangke’s Ash is the Purest White (

Deon Taylor’s Black and Blue

Laura Bispuri’s Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine, pg. 62,

Michela Occhipinti’s Flesh Out (pg. 63:

Tamara Kotevska’s Honeyland

Alex Holmes & Victoria Gregory’s Maiden

Gavin Hood’s Official Secrets

Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Cineaste’s Winter 2019 issue, now on newsstands)

Tom Harper’s Wild Rose

Best Quest Film with no U.S. distribution: Bora Kim’s House of Hummingbird