¿Dónde está Santa Claus?

As 2020 drew to a close amidst a global pandemic, many children were worrying that Santa wouldn’t be able to visit them this year thanks to travel restrictions and lockdowns in many parts of the world. This also caused Santa to deliver his presents to ICM a bit late. :sweat_smile: But what does a 1958 novelty Christmas song by a 12-year-old Latin kid have to do with this month’s official lists, you ask?

This Holiday Season we’ve got two new official lists for you: one for Mexican cinema, and one for Kids’ films. Both are areas of cinema that we’ve wanted to highlight on ICM for quite some time but could never find a suitable and recent list. Both of these lists were published in 2020, and we think they’re well worth the wait.

Continuing our recent string of Latin American additions we’re adopting a brand new Mexican list, and right after the country’s first Oscar win with *Roma* in 2019! Mexico has long been one of the major players in the region, with a broad popular film production that exploded during the Golden Age with revolution films, iconic melodramas, and the witty comedy acts of Cantinflas and Tin-Tan, and then continued during the next decades with a particular approach to genres like gothic horror and luchador films. Buñuel, Ripstein, Gavaldón, and Fernández are all well-represented with multiple films, while popular cinema from recent years is also highlighted with films from big names like Cuarón, del Toro, and González Iñárritu, but also new talents like Ruizpalacios and Huezo. Also included is more hermetic arthouse work, like Reygadas’s *Stellet Licht* . It’s the ideal place to start discovering all that this country has to offer. Check out Sector Cine’s Best Mexican Films of All Time (adopted from max-scl).

With most of us being stuck at home, now more than ever the holidays and extended school breaks are the perfect time to gather with the whole family around a movie. But the question of what to watch can very quickly lead to children forgetting the Christmas spirit or to wanting to watch Frozen for the zillionth time. If only there were a list to help pick a movie to watch with your kids… Luckily the good people at Pixar came to the rescue. They asked some of their renowned directors and story artists to make a list of recommendations to watch *with* kids. This resulted in a very eclectic selection of films: from two-minute shorts to the entire Harry Potter collection, from a classic Chaplin movie to the latest Spider-Man animation. While there was some initial hesitation to adopt a list made a by a studio, the contributors showed much constraint - maybe too much? - by only nominating one Pixar movie into the list ( *Toy Story* ). The original recommendations were split up in three lists; All Ages, 7 to 12 Years, and 12 Years and Over. After careful deliberation we decided to only adopt and combine the first two lists, to present to you a list of films suitable for kids of (almost) all ages. These aren’t just movies to put on for your kids to keep them quiet while preparing dinner, but movies to experience and discuss together with your children for some good ol’ family time. And even for those who don’t have kids, these movies may bring back the kid in you and hopefully leads to discovering new gems. Check out Pixar Directors Recommend: Films to Watch with Kids Under 13 (adopted from Fergenaprido).

Aside from these two new lists, a few others had their regular annual updates recently. Cahiers du cinéma picked their Top Ten of 2020, the US Library of Congress announced the 25 films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, and the European Award for Best Film was given out for 2020, kicking off this year’s award season.

Lastly, looking ahead to 2021, Marijn has been working on improving site functionality, and the next major improvement to be rolled out is revamping the search function (in both the live and beta version). This should roll out early next year, and save us all from accidentally opening The Dark Knight every time we search for a film. :)

2020 hasn’t been a great year, but 2021 looks to be more promising. We hope you still have the opportunity to watch films and spend the holidays with loved ones, even if it’s only through a screen - not being able to see everyone in person this year is a bummer, but it doesn’t have to mean that we value our relationships any less. Thank you for your continued support, and until next time: wash your hands, wear a mask, stay safe, and watch movies!

The iCheckMovies team

9 January, 2021