Sunday, 18 June 2017

The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century

The New York Times published this list recently although I'm still uncertain what the justification was, besides being roughly 1/6 of the way through the current century. Needless to say it drew quite a response. A recent critics poll by the BBC also came under a lot of scrutiny. At least with that list I considered the top 2 films (Mulholland Drive and In the Mood for Love) to be sound choices.

With all the innovations that cinema has undergone in recent times and the rules changing about what constitutes a "film" I'm often disappointed by the conservatism of large parts of the critical establishment and movie going public. While I like quite a few of the titles that the New York Times chose (Spirited Away, White Material, The Gleaners & I, A Touch of Sin) much of the selection seems to have been made based on a rather rigid view of what constitutes great cinema.

As a response I put together a list of my 25 selections. For the sake of variety I only allowed one title per director as some of my favourite filmmakers (Michael Mann, Johnnie To, Terrence Malick, Kiyoshi Kurosawa) have produced several outstanding works in recent times that when combined could easily take up more than half the list.

1. Pulse (2001, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
2. Miami Vice (2006, Michael Mann)
3. The New World (2005, Terrence Malick)
4. The Wind Rises (2013, Hayao Miyazaki)
5. Tomorrow We Move (2004, Chantal Akerman)
6. Lights in the Dusk (2006, Aki Kaurismaki)
7. Sparrow (2008, Johnnie To)
8. Battle Royale (2000, Kinji Fukasaku)
9. Paprika (2006, Satoshi Kon)
10. Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)
11. Lourdes (2009, Jessica Hausner)
12. Thirst (2009, Park Chan-wook)
13. Ghosts of Mars (2001, John Carpenter)
14. Arrietty (2010, Hiromasa Yonebayashi)
15. The Duchess of Langeais (2007, Jacques Rivette)
16. 20 30 40 (2004, Sylvia Chang)
17. Dredd (2012, Pete Travis)
18. Two Days, One Night (2014, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne)
19. 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011, Abel Ferrara)
20. Memories of Murder (2003, Bong Joon-ho)
21. Things to Come (2016, Mia Hansen-Love)
22. Confessions (2010, Tetsuya Nakashima)
23. TRON: Legacy (2010, Joseph Kosinski) - have to have at least one controversial choice in here.
24. Barbara (2012, Christian Petzold)
25. The Nice Guys (2016, Shane Black)

Monday, 29 May 2017

52 Films by Women - 2017

I heard about this campaign in 2016 and it seemed like a great idea. One of my film viewer resolutions this year is to see at least 52 films by 52 female directors. For whatever reasons, films directed by women still seem to be in the minority of general releases and perhaps more than any other other major position in the film industry it seems directing is the one role above all others that remains disproportionately low for women. Hopefully we're at a point where the contribution of female directors to cinema as an artform and entertainment is being more acknowledged and appreciated. Each year I find that many of the most exciting talents in film today are female directors and I hope the number of women behind the camera will grow in years to come. This viewing mission should allow me to discover more names and titles that I'd previously been unaware of as well as seeing lesser known works from established directors. I'll update this list throughout the year.

3/1/17: La chambre (1972, Chantal Akerman)
8/1/17: Madchen in Uniform (1931, Leontine Sagan & Carl Froelich)
20/1/17: The Last Mistress (2007, Catherine Breillat)

9/2/17: Love Crimes (1992, Lizzie Borden)
12/2/17: Men (1997, Zoe Clarke-Williams)
25/2/17: Old Joy (2006, Kelly Reichardt)
26/2/17: Slitch (2003, Dianne Bellino), Mutations (1972, Lillian Schwartz)

21/3/17: The Apple (1998, Samira Makhmalbaf)
22/3/17: Glimpse of the Garden (1957, Marie Menken)
30/3/17: Faust and Mephistopheles (1903, Alice Guy)
31/3/17: At Land (1944, Maya Deren)

12/4/17: 20 30 40 (2004, Sylvia Chang)
17/4/17: Father of My Children (2009, Mia Hansen-Love)
25/4/17: Lourdes (2009, Jessica Hausner)

5/5/17: Bringing Up Bobby (2011, Famke Janssen)
10/5/17: The Life of Death (2012, Marsha Onderstijn), The Falling (2014, Carol Morley)
29/5/17: The Black Dog (1987, Alison De Vere)
30/5/17: Lore (2012, Cate Shortland)

5/6/17: Gas Food Lodging (1992, Allison Anders)
8/6/17: Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962, Agnes Varda)
14/6/17: Orlando (1992, Sally Potter)
18/6/17: Bridges-Go-Round (1958, Shirley Clarke), Immer Zu (1997, Janie Geiser)
19/6/17: The Green Ray (2001, Tacita Dean)
21/6/17: Dark Touch (2013, Marina de Van)
24/6/17: Under the Skin (1997, Carine Adler)