Monday, January 14, 2013

Top 20 Discoveries 2012

These are the choice cuts from the films I've seen in 2012 in no particular order

*click on the titles for full reviews

City of Pirates (1983) - Ruiz
city of pirates2
My first introduction to Raul Ruiz. Surrealistic and scatterbrained. Can't quite get my grip on him. Or you are not supposed to. I gave in to strange stories and visuals with my second Ruiz film 'Three Cowns and a Sailor'. But at the end it's City of Pirates which stuck with me more. More Ruiz please!

Poetry (2010) - Lee
Poetry is nothing like what I expected. High melodrama for sure, but it's understated and not afraid of reflecting life's nitty-gritty, ugly, awkward details. Much thanks to Yun Jeong-hie's performance as a sixty five year old woman trying to write poetry for the first time while struggling with whatever life throws at her, everything feels real and honest.

In Vanda's Room (2000) - Costa
Colossal Youth (2006) - Costa
As far as immersive film experiences blurring fiction and documentary are concerned, there is no other filmmaker than Pedro Costa I can think of. Costa's films remind me that there are still so much beauty left in the world, even in the worst circumstances.

Tren de Sombras (1997) - Guerin
tren de sombras 3
It's Guerin's masterful use of 'cinema as an investigative tool' that I admire so much. Playful and just plain gorgeous, much more so here than his better known In the City of Silvia.

Sing a Song of Sex (1967) - Oshima
It must've been something to be part of Japanese New Wave in the 60s. Must've been a wild and crazy time to live in! Audacious, pointy and uncompromising, Sing a Song of Sex stands out even among the best JNW films.

Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) - Bresson
Doesn't matter if it's a parable about Jesus. It's just a hauntingly beautiful film. Wiazemsky's sorrowful face is unforgettable.

Nouvelle Vague (1990) - Godard
Perhaps the most beautiful of all Godard films and also most romantic.

Running in Madness, Dying in Love (1969) - Wakamatsu
Another masterpiece of Japanese New Wave. Perversely tragic or tragically perverse- take your pick.

Remorques (1941) - GremillonImage
Gremillon's film is vastly different from its Hollywood counterpart in its day. I was surprised by its subtle writing and artistry. And Jean Gabin is the man.

Nostalghia (1983) - Tarkovsky
As he demonstrates time and time again, Tarkovsky's faith in humanity is demonstrated in a spectacular manner.

L'important c'est d'aimer (1975) - Zulawski
Romy Schneider gives it all in another one of Zulawski's emotional fireworks display.

Gespenster (2005) - Petzold
Perhaps the most haunting film by Petzold I've seen so far.

Our Beloved Month of August (2008) - Gomes
Whether it came about by accident or chance, I couldn't help falling for Miguel Gomes's loose, playful filmmaking.

The Red Shoes (1948) - Powell & Pressburger

Black Narcissus (1947) - Powell & Pressburger
Underneath the whole technical mastery, there is something very perverse about Powell & Pressburger films that rivals Hitchcock. But their films are much more refined, artistic and beautiful to look at.

Jai été au Bal (1989) - Blank
Dry Wood (1973) - Blank
I was delighted to have found Les Blank's music and booze filled Americana.

Le Pont des Arts (2004) - Green
Austere, sincere, bitter, funny, touching... and many more adjectives can be applied to Eugene Green's contemplation of power of art. Natasha Régnier shines as a classical singer.

Les Chanson d'Amour (2007) - Honoré
This is the film that made me reconsider watching musicals. Christophe Honoré appropriates the old into something that reflects modern world. And the result is this beautiful, touching ensemble piece.

Dustin's Top 10 Films released in 2012

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