Best of the Arts 2011-2015

24 March 2016

Best of the Arts 2011-2015

Here it is. Unequivocally decided. The Big Issue's official verdict on the best arts contributions in the fields of Film, DVDs, Music and Books (as decided by our arts editors) from the last five years. Clear your schedule, you will soon have many many things to watch, read and listen to. 


FILM – Rebecca Harkins-Cross/Rochelle Siemienowicz

2015 – Leviathan: “This is Zvyagintsev’s magnum opus, at once grand and forbidding.” 

2014 – Boyhood: “Linklater finds both poignancy and beauty in that most universal of experiences: life itself.” 

2013 – The Act of Killing: “Not since Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 holocaust epic Shoah has a filmmaker provided such profound insight into human savagery.” 

2012 – The Master: “The film’s individually impeccable elements don’t quite add up to the whole Anderson promises, but The Master still eclipses everything else released this year.” 

2011 – Melancholia: “An exhilarating work, Melancholia never abandons the human elements.” 


DVD – Anthony Morris

2015 – Girls: The Complete Season 4: “Lena Dunham’s HBO series…was never quite as groundbreaking as the early opinion pieces claimed, but what it did manage to do was grab the attention of people who like talking about television online.” 

2014 – The Simpsons: Season 17: “we’re tipping out cap because, much like DVDs themselves, still being around after all this time is an amazing achievement.” 

2013 – Behind the Candelabra: “The liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra was a telemovie on the HBO network, while in Australia it was released in cinemas before getting a DVD release.” 

2012 – Luck: The Complete First Season: “The racetrack centred HBO series…was well received in the US, yet created no buzz in Australia.” 

2011 – Captain America: “The kind of rip-roaring 1940s-style pulp adventure that stands up well against the classics of its kind.” 


MUSIC – Doug Wallan

2015 – To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar: “Lamar…has been hailed as a top MC for years, but even his biggest fans probably didn’t expect this singular, instant classic.” 

2014 – Ghettoville, Actress: “Ghettoville doubles as the wasteland that awaits if our society continues down a no-return path of environmental self-destruction and crippling wealth disparity.” 

2013 – I See Seaweed, The Drones: “Hearing a band this great push themselves this far is a rare thrill.” 

2012 – Swing Lo Magellan, Dirty Projectors: “Despite the sharp lurches of opener ‘Offspring Are Blank’, Swing Lo Magellan flows like gushing poetry.” 

2011 – Let England Shake, PJ Harvey: “Even by her own lofty standards, this eighth solo studio album is a masterpiece.” 


BOOKS – Thuy On/ Chris Flynn

2015 – The World Without Us, Mireille Juchau: “an extraordinary, graceful feat of literary prowess that works equally on a line-by-line basis as it does on a more panoramic scale.” 

2014 – Foreign Soil, Maxine Beneba Clarke: “Clarke knows all about rhythm, timing and ellipsis and she applies that to her debut collection of stories.” 

2013 – Burial Rites, Hannah Kent: “It would be all to easy to sensationalise such a bloody story but, for the most part, Kent’s prose is restrained and quiet.” 

2012 – This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz: “This is short-story writing at its best – fizzing and popping with energy.” 

2011 – The Cook, Wayne Macauley: “What a pleasure it is…to witness an Australian writer with the satirical chops to beat pop culture at its own game, while quietly inheriting Peter Carey’s throne.”