Archive for January, 2011

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My Favorite Films of the Past 24 Years

January 17, 2011

In the spirit of the NME which always recapped their best singles and albums of previous years under the banner “Lest We Forget,” here are my annual top choices for best film of the year ever since I started making such lists (when I was, of course, two).

2010 I AM LOVE (Luca Guadagnino, Italy)

2009 TWO LOVERS (James Gray, USA)

2008 A CHRISTMAS TALE (Arnaud Desplechin, France)

2007 THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES… (Andrew Dominik, USA)

2006 CLIMATES (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey)

2005 CACHÉ (Michael Haneke, France) *

2004 DOGVILLE (Lars von Trier, Denmark)

2003 GERRY (Gus Van Sant, USA)

2002 BLOODY SUNDAY (Paul Greengrass, UK)

2001 WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES (Bela Tarr, Hungary)

2000 DANCER IN THE DARK (Lars von Trier, Denmark)

1999 EXISTENZ (David Cronenberg, Canada)

1998 THE THIN RED LINE (Terrence Malick, USA)

1997 BOOGIE NIGHTS (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA)

1996 BREAKING THE WAVES (Lars von Trier, Denmark)

1995 INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA (The Brothers Quay, UK) **

1994 SATANTANGO (Bela Tarr, Hungary)

1993 NAKED (Mike Leigh, UK)

1992 A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY (Edward Yang, Taiwan)

1991 THE GARDEN (Derek Jarman, UK)

1990 THE DECALOGUE (Krzysztof Kieslowski, Poland)

1989 THE THIN BLUE LINE (Errol Morris, USA)

1988 DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES (Terence Davies, UK)

1987 WINGS OF DESIRE (Wim Wenders, West Germany)

* In retrospect, I would like to switch my 2005 vote with my #2 THE NEW WORLD (Terrence Malick, USA)

**Ditto for my 1995 #4 (I was way off!) HEAT (Michael Mann, USA)

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Best of 2010

January 16, 2011

Belatedly, these were my favorite new films seen in 2010, regardless of whether they had a US release or not or will have one in 2011. For sticklers, my “official” list of the best US releases of 2010 (in which Pedro Costa’s barely released Ne Change Rien, which I saw in ’09, was my favorite film of the year) was published in IndieWire a few weeks ago. It may not exactly tally up with this but don’t hold that against me. I found it harder than ever to rank these films and all I know for sure is that I loved watching everything listed here and highly recommend them all.

This also may be the one and only time that my favorite film of the year has my favorite poster of the year.

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 2010

1. I AM LOVE (Luca Guadagnino, Italy)
2. SYMBOL (Matsumoto Hitoshi, Japan)
3. FISH TANK (Andrea Arnold, UK)
4. THE ARBOR (Clio Barnard, UK)
5. ALAMAR (Pedro González-Rubio, Mexico)

6. BOXING GYM (Fred Wiseman, USA)
7. BLACK SWAN (Darren Aronofsky, USA)
8. ANOTHER YEAR (Mike Leigh, UK)
9. CATFISH (Ariel Schulman & Henry Joost, USA)
10. THE GHOST WRITER (Roman Polanski, UK)

20 runners-up (fiction), in alphabetical order:
The first two thirds of CARLOS (Olivier Assayas, France); CERTIFIED COPY (Abbas Kiarostami, Italy); COLD WEATHER (Aaron Katz, USA); ENTER THE VOID (Gaspar Noe, France); the first half of FILM SOCIALISME (Jean-Luc Godard, France); GREENBERG (Noah Baumbach, USA); THE ILLUSIONIST (Sylvain Chomet, France); MOTHER (Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea); NEVER LET ME GO (Mark Romanek, UK); REGRETS (Cedric Kahn, France); SCOTT PILGRIM SAVES THE WORLD (Edgar Wright, USA); THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (Juan José Campanella, Argentina); THE SOCIAL NETWORK (David Fincher, USA); THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal); TANGLED (Nathan Greno & Byron Howard, USA); TOY STORY 3 (Lee Unkrich, USA); THE TREE (Julie Bertuccelli, Australia); TRUE GRIT (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, USA); UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand); WHITE MATERIAL (Claire Denis, France)

12 runners-up (documentary), in alphabetical order:
THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF PHIL SPECTOR (Vikram Jayanti, UK); BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK (Richard Press, USA); 45365 (Bill Ross & Turner Ross, USA); JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK (Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg, USA); LAST TRAIN HOME (Lixin Fan, Canada/China); MARWENCOL (Jeff Malmberg, USA); THE OATH (Laura Poitras, USA); OCTOBER COUNTRY (Michael Palmieri & Donal Mosher, USA); RUHR (James Benning, Germany/USA); SLEEP FURIOUSLY (Gideon Koppel, Wales); THE TWO ESCOBARS (Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, USA); THE WHITE STRIPES: UNDER THE GREAT WHITE NORTHERN LIGHTS (Emmett Malloy, USA/Canada)

12 2009 releases I’m glad I caught up with in 2010:
AFTERSCHOOLAVATAR; BIG MAN JAPAN; THE DAMNED UNITED; EDEN LAKE; HUMPDAY; JULIA; LOOT; RICKY; THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE; 24 CITY; ZOMBIELAND

Best old films seen for the first time in 2010:

1. WELFARE (Frederick Wiseman, USA, 1975)
2. THE STORE (Frederick Wiseman, USA, 1983)
3. WORLD ON A WIRE (R.W. Fassbinder, W.Germany, 1973)
4. GUN FURY (3D) (Raoul Walsh, USA, 1953)
5. BLIND (Frederick Wiseman, USA, 1986)