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Films Watched in 2020

David and I tend to delve into themes — such as watching films from a particular director, genre, era, or country, and 2020 was no different. While the movies on this list were made in such countries as Germany, Mali, Italy, Spain, Finland, Japan, South Africa, Poland, UK, Iran, France, and the U.S., we dove deep into Iranian films, particularly those by Asghar Farhadi, and Finnish films, especially those by Aki Kaurismäki. As a reflection of their brilliance, each of those films we rated at least 7.0 and 8.0.

The list below is in order of when we watched them — from most recent to the least recent. You’ll see our rating below (which are in whole numbers in keeping with IMDB’s ranking system, though I suspect we would increase or decrease some by .5 if we had our druthers). 

David and I rarely differ when it comes to which films we love and which are shite; I think the only exception on this list is The Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which I vehemently dislike and he really loves. Other than that, we’re pretty much in agreement.

Enjoy scrolling through the list, but I’ll save you the trouble of finding our favorites. Here are our Top 10 from 2020 (includes documentary series as well as feature films but not those we re-watched; Jaws always ranks high!): 

  1. Le Haine
  2. Nothing But a Man
  3. Blue Collar
  4. World War II in HD
  5. The Memory of Justice
  6. The Secret in Their Eyes
  7. Fireworks Wednesday
  8. The Idiot
  9. Seven Beauties
  10. Swept Away
  • Meet John Doe (1941) 5.0 Director: Frank Capra
  • The Holly and the Ivy (1952) 8.0 Director: George More O’Ferrall
  • Timbuktu (2014) 7.0 Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
  • The Address (2014) 7.0 Director: Ken Burns
  • My Octopus Teacher (2020) 8.0 Documentary Directors: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
  • Seven Beauties (1975) 8.0 Director: Lina Wertmüller
  • Conversation Piece (1974) 8.0 Director: Luchino Visconti
  • The Idiot (1951) 8.0 Director: Akira Kurosawa
  • Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972) 8.0 Director: Kinji Kukasaku
  • The White Reindeer (1952) 7.0 Director: Erik Blomberg
  • Rebecca (1940) 6.0 Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • A Quiet Place (2018) 8.0 Director: John Krasinski
  • The Sleeping Car Murder (1965) 8.0 Director: Costa-Gavras
  • Mulholland Drive (2001) 8.0 Director: David Lynch
  • Carriage to Vienna (1966) 8.0 Director: Karel Kachyna
  • Hour of the Gun (1967) 5.0 Director: John Sturges
  • The Heiress (1949) 8.0 Director: William Wyler
  • Claudine (1974) 7.0 Director: John Berry
  • Tombstone (1993) 7.0 Directors: George P. Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre
  • The Suspect (1944) 7.0 Director: Robert Siodmak
  • They Call Me Trinity (1970) 6.0 Director: Enzo Barboni
  • Nothing But a Man (1964) 9.0 Director: Michael Roemer
  • Blue Collar (1978) 8.0 Director: Paul Schrader
  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 7.0 Director: Peter Yates
  • The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970) 7.0 Director: William Wyler
  • The French Connection (1971) 7.0 Director: William Friedkin
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 8.0 for David; 6.0 for me Director: Steven Spielberg
  • The Match Factory Girl (1990) 8.0 Director: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Le Havre (2011) 7.0 Director: Aki Kaurismäki
  • The Other Side of Hope (2017) 7.0 Director: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Chinatown (1974) 8.0 Director: Roman Polanski
  • Deliverance (1972) 8.0 Director: John Boorman
  • Jaws (1975) 9.0 Director: Steven Spielberg
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972) 7.0 Director: Ronald Neame
  • No Man’s Land (I) (2001) 7.0 Director: Danis Tanovic
  • WWII in HD 9.0 (2009)
  • Sissi (1955) 7.0 Director: Ernst Marischka
  • They Were Five (1936) 8.0 Director: Julien Duvivier
  • Korczak (1990) 8.0 Director: Andrzej Wajda
  • Bone Tomahawk 7.0 (2015) 7.0 Director: S. Craig Zahler
  • Bigger Than Life 8.0 (1956) Director: Nicholas Ray
  • The Professional (1981) 6.0 Director: Georges Lautner
  • The Last Adventure (1967) 6.0 Director: Robert Enrico
  • Gettysburg (1993) 7.0 Director: Ron Maxwell
  • The Visit (1963) 7.0 Director: Antonio Pietrangeli
  • Beauty and the Devil (1950) 7.0 Director: René Clair
  • Hungry for Love (1960) 7.0 Director: Antonio Pietrangeli
  • La fin du jour (1939) 8.0 Director: Julien Duvivier
  • Swept Away (1974) 8.0 Director: Lina Wertmüller
  • The Salesman (2016) 8.0 Director: Asghar Farhadi
  • The Past (2013) 8.0 Director: Asghar Farhadi
  • Fireworks Wednesday (2006) 8.0 Director: Asghar Farhadi
  • Boudu Saved from Drowning 8.0 (1932) Director: Jean Renoir
  • Nine Queens (2000) 8.0 Director: Fabián Bielinsky
  • La Haine (1995) 9.0 Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
  • L’Enfance Nue (1968) 7.0 Director: Maurice Pialat
  • The Central Park Five (2012) 7.0 Director: Ken Burns
  • The Memory of Justice (1976) 9.0 Director: Marcel Ophüls
  • The Hunters (1977) 7.0 Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
  • A Hidden Life (2019) 7.0 Director: Terrence Malick
  • Mother of Mine (2005) 7.0 Director: Klaus Härö
  • The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) 8.0 Director: Juan José Campanella


Each cooking class is fully interactive. While I am demonstrating, you can chime in with comments, questions, and ooohs and ahhhs the entire time. Not only does this increase connection among the students, both my assistant and I see your questions and make sure we answer all of them.
You can participate in the class using Zoom on your computer, tablet or mobile device.
Upon completing your registration, you receive your confirmation email, which includes the link to our Zoom class, along with information and recipes. Each class is officially a go once a minimum number of slots are filled — at which time the recipes appear on the document. My goal is to have the recipes available to you at least 5 days before the class to give you enough time to order / shop for ingredients, should you choose to cook along.
While I love to see the faces of my students, the use of video during the live class is optional. NOTE: Even if you opt to show your video, for the class recordings, which go out to the general public as on-demand classes, NO ONE'S video is shown except for mine.
We do our best to prepare you in advance so you are ready for when the class begins. If you have issues during the class, my assistant is there to help you. Sometimes it's an issue on the user side, and when there's an issue on my side, we do our best to mitigate it right away. One of the benefits of live classes is that they're in real time, which means it's a live feed. Sometimes technical issues are out of our control, but so far, we've never had any real issues that took away from the purpose of the class.
Absolutely! Unless something goes horribly wrong (and it rarely does), each class is recorded, and students receive the class recording within 2 days of the live class.
While I do send a reminder email out a couple days before our class, I encourage you to add the class to your calendar as soon as you register.
Some students love being able to cook along; some students love to just watch. It is entirely up to you how you want to enjoy the class.
You can decide in advance which dishes you want to cook along with. You might choose to cook along for just one of the dishes or all of them. Whatever you decide, I suggest you have your mise en place all ready. That is to say, have all the ingredients measured and prepped as much as possible. (Mise en place is a French culinary phrase meaning "everything in its place.”)
Ultimately, what we take away is based on what we give, so I encourage you to be present and engaged in the class. But, for my part, if you know me, you know I'm pretty passionate about many things, and I can’t help bringing my love of food, history, language, animals, film, literature, and food lore to each class. My aim is that you walk away with a richer understanding of food, cooking, and eating than before you arrived. More than that, you will get helpful step-by-step instructions about each dish I'm demonstrating and a clear up-close view of all the ingredients and procedures. The best part is that I, too, make mistakes, and you see me make them live in real time. That's how we learn the most.
I'm thrilled to say that many students are regulars and repeats, and you will no doubt get to know some fabulous people when you attend these classes. I encourage engagement and follow-up, including posting photos, questions, and comments on our private Facebook page. Many friends and family members join from different cities, then share a virtual meal with each other once the class is over. (That makes my heart sing.) So, yes, despite being online the classes foster connection.
I have found that 90 minutes is the ideal amount of time to spend in a virtual class. It gives us time to settle in and for you to ask questions throughout without feeling rushed. It also gives us time to enjoy an occasional bonus cocktail by our resident mixologist (my adorable husband), but we like to honor your time and keep the classes to 90 minutes.
Absolutely! Once you are registered and the class is a go, you are officially enrolled. That means the recipes, resources, video recording, and even the chat transcript are yours to enjoy. You will receive a follow-up email whether you are in the live class or not.
Because the value of the classes includes exclusive recipes and resources as well as the live class / video recording, once a class is officially a go and you get access to the recipes, you cannot be refunded. However, if the class does not meet the minimum sign-up threshold and I cancel the class, you have the option of getting a full refund or switching to a different class. (This is one of the reasons I don't share the recipes until I know we've reached the minimum threshold.)
After the live class is over and enjoyed by students in real time, each class gets converted into an on-demand class so that others may enjoy the recipes, resources, and video recording. Most live classes become on-demand classes within 2 days.
No animal products are ever used in my recipes, so yes, all the classes are vegan / plant-based, which means nothing that comes out of or off of an animal. I've written three cookbooks (The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, and Color Me Vegan), and two lifestyle books (Vegan’s Daily Companion and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge), which also include recipes. I'm also always testing and developing new recipes (as well as modifying and perfecting old ones) to make sure students get the best, clearest, easiest-to-follow recipes — qualities that have become trademark in my work.
While living compassionately and consciously is not about being perfect, and while some students may not have access to the same bulk stores and package-free ingredients as me, I make an effort in my classes to use (and promote) as little packaging and plastic as possible, which is why so many of my recipes and menus are for how to cook and bake homemade and from-scratch!
My classes span a huge range, and your suggestions are always welcome: *Different types of cuisines (Italian, Thai, Asian, Mexican, etc.) *Particular ways of cooking and eating (Quick & Easy, Oil-free, By Color/Phytochemicals, ) *Cooking with specific appliances (Air-Fryer, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker / Crockpot, etc.) *Homemade from scratch (Seitan, Tempeh, Tofu, Miso, Nut Cheeses, Nut Butters, etc.) *Various holidays and seasons (Mother’s Day, Easter, Passover, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Summer, Fall, etc.) *Focused on meals (Packed Lunches, Breakfast, Brunch, Fancy Dinner, Quick Dinner, etc.) *Cooking with specific foods/ ingredients (Aquafaba, Beans, Spices & Herbs, Greens, Lentils, Grains, etc. *Baking from scratch (Pizza Dough, Breads, Pretzels, Bagels, and Biscuits, Cakes, Pies, Cobblers, etc.) *And everything in between.
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