Monday, January 2, 2012

Dustin's Top 10 Films 2011

2011 was the year I started regarding cinema a bit more seriously. It was not only because there were better crop of films out, but also because I've got a chance to talk to many of my heroes (thanks to press junket) and felt their passion for filmmaking firsthand. With the help of online film forum buddies and a brand new computer, I was able to watch many of films that were on my wish-list for the longest time. Along the way, I've (re)discovered some of the films and filmmakers that profoundly affected me (among many, Zulawski and Godard come to mind). My love for cinema was re-evaluated and recharged. It was a fruitful and educational year.

*I'd like to thank Leopold (if that is your real name) for directing me to many of new discoveries and being very supportive in everything. I owe you big time, brother.
*And for being amazing source of most of my cinema related activities.

Please click on the titles for full reviews

1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives - Weerasethakul
Languid, spiritual yet playful, Uncle Boonmee embodies everything I love about cinema right now.

My Interview with Joe

2. Melancholia - von Trier
Character study in grander scale, von Trier doesn't do it with self mutilations or bloody ejaculations this time, but with the demise of all living things. Definitely the most visceral film watching experience this year.

3. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (in 3D) - Herzog
Best use of 3D technology I've seen so far. Herzog's search for that 'ecstatic truth' takes him to a remote cave where 30,000 year old delicate cave drawings are kept. Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a contemplative, beautiful yet funny film in that absurd Herzogian way.

4. Curling - Côté
A nice surprise find. Saw it at NF/ND Series at MoMA this year. There are many great talents in French-Canadian cinema but Denis Côté stands out amongst, at least for me.

5. Project Nim - Marsh
Me Hug Nim.

6. Hanna - Wright
It is refreshing to see a film so unabashedly and knowingly embracing implausibility. The fast-pased actioner starring a pint-sized little girl is impeccably executed and a great fun to watch.

7. Certified Copy - Kiarostami
In Abbas Kiarostami films, you have to expect the unexpected. While contemplating on art and life, he takes you somewhere else entirely different from where you started. Pure Kiarostami Magic!

8. Meek's Cutoff - Reichardt
Understated and not providing any easy answers, Kelly Reichardt gets to do her Aguirre and it's the most welcoming news.

9. Super 8 - Abrams
80s nostalgia piece very well done. I was totally sold on it.

10. Shame - McQueen
With the subject matter about 25 years too late, Brit visual artist Steve McQueen pulls the two of the best performances out of his actors this year. Carey Mulligan's rendition of New York, New York alone is worth the price of admission.

Other fine films: Tomboy, Tabloid, Ringing in Their Ears, Sleeping Beauty, Into the Abyss...

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