Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Favorites 2007

Favorite new films (alphabetically):

  • At Sea (Peter Hutton, USA)

  • Black Book (Paul Verhoeven, Holland)

  • Fengming, A Chinese Memoir (Wang Bing, China)

  • Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan/France)

  • I’m Not There (Todd Haynes, USA)

  • Inland Empire (David Lynch, USA/France/Poland)

  • In the City of Sylvia (Jose Luis Guerin, Spain/France)

  • Lady Chatterley (Pascale Ferran, France)

  • The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat, France)

  • Paranoid Park (Gus van Sant, USA/France)

  • The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (Eric Rohmer, France)

  • Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)

  • Useless (Jia Zhang-ke, China)

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Favorite older films seen for the first time this year (chronologically):

  • Hangover Square (John Brahm, 1945)

  • Story of a Love Affair (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1950)

  • Tokyo Twilight (Yasujiro Ozu, 1957)

  • Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1976)

  • Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1977)

  • Ms. 45 (Abel Ferrara, 1981)

  • À Nos Amours (Maurice Pialat, 1983)

  • El Sur (Victor Erice, 1983)

  • Sombre (Philippe Grandrieux, 1998)

  • Films by Pedro Costa: In Vanda’s Room and Where Does That Hidden Smile Lie? (2000/2001)

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Revisited films that look better every time:

  • L’Age d’Or (Luis Buñuel/Salvador Dali, 1930)

  • They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1949)

  • Stromboli (Roberto Rossellini, 1950)

  • The Cloud-Capped Star (Ritwik Ghatak, 1960)

  • Bobby (Raj Kapoor, 1973)

  • Deewaar (Yash Chopra, 1975)

  • Films by Martin Arnold: Pièce Touchée, Passage à l'acte, Alone: Life Wastes Andy Hardy (1989/1993/1997)

  • Surviving Desire (Hal Hartley, 1991)

  • La Ceremonie (Claude Chabrol, 1995)

  • Domino (Tony Scott, 2005)

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And finally, 10 great writers I had been aware of but only started reading seriously this year:

  • Nicole Brenez: Abel Ferrara; "For it is the Critical Faculty that Invents Fresh Forms," in The French Cinema Book; essays in Rouge and Screening the Past.

  • Jean-Pierre Coursodon: 2-volume American Directors, with Pierre Sauvage.

  • Jonathan Culler: Literary Theory; Roland Barthes.

  • Fergus Daly: Leos Carax; on Maurice Pialat in Rouge and Hou Hsiao-hsien in Movie Mutations.

  • Paul Hammond: The Shadow and its Shadow; L'Age d'Or (BFI classics).

  • James Naremore: See this post.

  • Bill Nichols: Introduction to Documentary; Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary; Ideology and the Image; Movies and Methods, vols. 1 and 2 (editor).

  • Sam Rohdie: Antonioni; Montage; essays at Screening the Past.

  • Robert Stam: Film Theory: An Introduction; Reflexivity in Film and Culture: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard.

  • David Toop: Ocean of Sound; Exotica; Haunted Weather.

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A large survey at Screening the Past collects key contributions to the field--books, essays, DVDs, etc.--as nominated by numerous scholars/cinephiles including Dudley Andrew, Nicole Brenez, Thomas Elsaesser, Craig Keller, Bill Krohn, Adrian Martin, James Naremore, Andy Rector, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Paul Willemen.

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One or more of your favorites of 2007, in either films or books, old or new?

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Drawing: Ganesh, who is associated with new beginnings--Wish you all a great 2008!