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The Best of 2008

January 1, 2009

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF THE YEAR


1. A CHRISTMAS TALE (Arnaud Desplechin, France)
2. SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (Charlie Kaufman, USA)
3. FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, France)
4. THE WRESTLER (Darren Aronofsky, USA)
5. ZIDANE: A 21ST CENTURY PORTRAIT (Douglas Gordon and Philippe Pareno, France)


6. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (Cristian Mungiu, Romania)
7. ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD (Werner Herzog, USA)
8. BALLAST (Lance Hammer, USA)
9. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (Mike Leigh, UK)
10. MOMMA’S MAN (Azazel Jacobs, USA)

Ten-and-a-half runners-up, in alphabetical order: THE BANK JOB (Roger Donaldson, UK); LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Tomas Alfredson, Sweden); MAN ON WIRE (James Marsh, USA/UK); MARRIED LIFE (Ira Sachs, USA); MY WINNIPEG (Guy Maddin, Canada); PARANOID PARK (Gus Van Sant, USA); REPRISE (Joachim Trier, Norway); SECRET OF THE GRAIN (Abdel Kechiche, France); SNOW ANGELS (David Gordon Green, USA); SILENT LIGHT (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico) and the first half of WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, USA)

[Still haven’t seen: CHE, THE CLASS, WALTZ WITH BASHIR, WENDY AND LUCY]

Five Best Undistributed Films

in alphabetical order: FOSTER CHILD (Brillante Mendoza, Philippines) at New Directors; GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN (Paul H-O and Tom Donahue, USA) at Tribeca; THE HEADLESS WOMAN (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina) at the New York Film Festival; PLOY (Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand) at Rotterdam; TOUT EST PARDONNÉ (Mia Hansen-Love, France) at Rotterdam and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema

Best Kids Film

AZUR ET ASMAR (Michel Ocelot, France, 2006)

Best 2007 Release Caught up with in 2008

HELVETICA (Gary Hustwit, UK)

Best Old Films Seen For the First Time in 2008

VIOLENT SATURDAY (Richard Fleischer, USA, 1955); WINGS (Larisa Shepitko, USSR, 1966); SERIE NOIRE (Alain Corneau, France, 1979); FRANCISCA (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, 1981) and the programme of early Oliveira shorts at BAM

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3 comments

  1. AZUR is a better kids film than WALL*E? I gotta see it! Is WINGS as good as THE ASCENT?


  2. AZUR AND ASMAR looks like THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES. And, yes, my kids liked it more than WALL*E (though to be honest they probably liked HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 best of all). I haven’t seen THE ASCENT yet but I can’t wait.


  3. >>>TOUT EST PARDONNÉ (Mia Hansen-Love, France) at Rotterdam and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema<<<

    Saw this at Cannes in ’07 and brought it to the ChicagoIFF that year. Later during the day I viewed this, I saw lead Paul Blain (Victor) walking by himself near the theater. Very impressive debut. I’m sorry to see it still hasn’t found a distributor. Kudos to Hansen-Love for her use of Raincoats songs!



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