2018 was a difficult year that inspired an astounding number of exceptional art. We saw it in films, books, music, television, exhibitions, and more.
For your reading pleasure, here is Collage’s Best of 2018.
Best Film of 2018: Suspiria
Despite being a tad too long, the Suspiria remake from director Luca Guadagnino was one of the most unusual and artistic films this year. Guadagnino successfully reinvented the original story, rather than attempting to replicate or update the 1977 film. With a soundtrack from Thom Yorke, an interesting cast featuring a mesmerising performance from everyone’s favourite ice queen, Tilda Swinton (who plays three different characters in the film – try guessing which ones!) and the bitterly cold yet beautiful setting of Cold War-era Berlin, this film appears expertly crafted and visually stunning, with each element melding together to form a satisfying whole. Guaranteed to make you squirm and leave a lasting impression.
Best Song of 2018: “Tints” by Anderson .Paak, ft. Kendrick Lamar
The prelude single to his album released this year, ‘Oxnard’. The addition of Kendrick makes a good coupling of these two musical virtuosos. Really, it is the only upbeat tune I want to listen to on a summer’s day. The catchy melody and positive delivery of Paak instantly lifts the mood and elevates any car drive.
Best Album of 2018: Hive Mind by The Internet
This is their fourth full length album, how far they have come from their Odd Future beginnings. Syd’s vocals are smooth and have a good variance from upbeat to seductive. The tone of the album is bouncy yet there is still a subtle undertone of sensuality achieved throughout. It was impressive both melodically and lyrically, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. I’m keen to hear what they will release in the future.
Best Podcast of 2018: Teacher’s Pet
A few years ago, S Town made headlines as both a Faulknerian tragedy and a potentially unethical breach of journalistic ethics surrounding the treatment of deceased subjects. This year, while completely different subject matter, Teacher’s Pet, from The Australian’s Hedley Thomas, has similarly pushed the boundaries of the podcast medium. While there are other new pods with better production values, the social impact of TP renders it the most important (Australian) podcast of the year – a man has been charged with murder as a result of what Thomas uncovered, and the show has had to go on hiatus as Thomas is likely to be called as a witness. Whether you’ve been following the case or not, TP demonstrates the transition of journalism to pop culture.
Best TV Show 2018: Killing Eve
2018 (and, let’s be honest, 2016 and 2017) have been …. tough, politically speaking. Given the dark social, cultural, political and environmental situations globally, there was something joyous about watching Killing Eve, a BBC America miniseries by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and starring the excellent Sandra Oh. Following Oh’s Eve Polastri as she tracks a serial killer, Villanelle (Jodie Comer), across Europe, Killing Eve is a sophisticated, strange and sexy spy/serial killer thriller. What could be a standard thriller in other hands is made unique by Waller-Bridge’s writing, centring female relationships (friendships, mentorships, obsessions) in a quietly subversive way.
Best Exhibition of 2018: Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art
I found this year’s Biennial used space to great effect – whether tightly packed in the Art Gallery to create grotto-like installations, the larger main rooms used to to display eerily still panoramas, or contextually in the pairing of Tamara Dean and the MEB in the Botanic Gardens. The works were largely concerned with issues of Australian identity and interiority, and the strength of spatial exhibits in their relational quality – they can be as vague, symbolic or aesthetic as the visitor brings into them. Pairing the theme and works created a Biennial that was both topical and accessible.
– Tin Do
Best Play of 2018: In the Club
When three flirtatious women meet three rowdy football players celebrating their win in a nightclub, their inhibitions are left at the door, as the booming music and the alcohol take over and night begins to unravel. The play contains many gripping monologues as the women explicitly detail their past relations with the opposite sex, and plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments when the escapades of the night spiral. Patricia Cornelius’ writing is punchy and in-your-face. She addresses sexual assault upfront in a manner that doesn’t intend to have a moral or lesson behind it, but shows sexual assault honestly and explicitly, in all its ugliness. The set and lighting design were also incredible, as the stage filled up with ankle-deep water that the actors splashed and crashed through. The reflected light around the stage, heightened the chaos when the clubbers took to the dancefloor and settled in the darker moments, causing tension in the audience. I still find myself regularly reflecting on the play and its powerful performances.
Best Stand-Up of 2018: Tom Walker
Tom Walker is strange, but that’s the whole point. His comedy show that featured at the Garden of Unearthly Delights at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe Festival was my highlight of the year. Titled Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk, the show was a series of sketches. He made a Tetris game with his head, he pulled rude things out of the appropriately named bag, and had a weird approach to police horses. The show is a rollercoaster, you just have to sit back and let it happen. Luckily for Future You, Tom is back being weird at the Garden in 2019.
Best Non-Fiction Book of 2018: Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee
Bri Lee’s debut Eggshell Skull shook me to my core. Bri did things right: she went to Law School and got a top job as a Queensland Judge’s Associate. But things didn’t go as planned. After spending a year travelling around regional Queensland, uncovering how warped the justice system is when it comes to sexual abuse. She watched man after man get away with awful crimes and she decided it was enough. This book is part non-fiction, part memoir, and Bri’s leadership has been key to opening Australia’s eyes. I finished this book feeling uncomfortable, but it’s books like these that are most important.
Best Documentary of 2018: Three Identical Strangers
Director Tim Wardle skillfully blends archival material with current day interviews to deliver a powerful feature about three identical brothers separated at birth. Following a very public reunion and high profile appearances on late-night television shows, films, and advertisements, the brothers and their families investigate their adoptions and uncover the mendacious, Josef Mengele-like experiment behind their separation. A heartfelt study on the unshakeable bond between brothers despite unfortunate circumstances.
Best Fiction Book of 2018: Lullaby by Leila Slimani
If 2017 was the year of the cherubic Chalamets, 2018 will go down as the year of the nanny. From the Mary Poppins sequel no one asked for, to Peter Dutton’s au pair nightmare, and finally, Leila Slimani’s murderous domestic helper, the last twelve months have seen various nanny extremes in the media. Slimani’s tale of an unhinged nanny obsessed with the blissful, bourgeois lives of her employers is not simply an exploration on envy and resentment, but the vast inequalities plaguing French society. At a time of ongoing nationwide protests by the unwavering gilets jaunes, this novel perfectly captures the current mood of an angry people seeking recognition and humanity.
Best festival of 2018 – So Frenchy So Chic (SFSC)
After several years of listening to the eponymous French pop compilation CDs from Cartel Music, and pining after the lineups at So Frenchy So Chic music festivals in Sydney and Melbourne, I finally got to attend So Frenchy So Chic in its first Adelaide iteration in January 2018. Held at Pinky Flat on the banks of the River Torrens, the beautiful open-air park setting and dancing along to lyrics you can’t necessarily understand is reminiscent of Womadelaide, but the vibes are less hippy and more giant fancy picnic with a quintessentially French twist. So Frenchy So Chic is returning in 2019 with a wonderful all-female lineup and I can’t wait!
If you would like to write for Collage, do get in touch at email@example.com.