2012 Film Log

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Johnny Guitar
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Re: 2012 Film Log

Postby Johnny Guitar » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:30 pm

That's an impressive list, Bizarre. Kotcheff rubbing elbows with Kirsanoff ...

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Re: 2012 Film Log

Postby bizarre » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:17 am

This is a collection of thoughts and writings on my favourite films this year. Warning - there will be spoilers! To start off, here is a rundown of my Top 10 favourite viewings, with capsule essays. Leading the way is a modernist masterpiece by Yoshishige Yoshida:

Much Japanese film of the 1960s found a fetish in the perceived ‘death drive’ of the contemporary youth culture. A parentless generation, scrabbling for a new set of values in the shadow of a mushroom cloud, they were depicted as strung between the urge to destroy and the urge to die. Yoshida’s film probes this idea and transfers the analogy onto a new theme: destroy or die? Fuck or be fucked over? The lives of two Taishō-era political radicals are contrasted with those of a pair of late-60s students who research, retell and roleplay their lives and philosophies. Sakae Ōsugi is an anarchist who believes in free love, Noe Itō is a feminist activist and his longtime mistress. The idealism of their politics short circuits in the shallowness of their sociomoral consciences as their attempts to create a society of ego backfire. Meanwhile, 40 years later, their cultural backdrop is a wasteland and their narrative heirs try to paint meaning using their genitals as brushes. Yoshida develops a storytelling counterpoint that culminates in a climax as radical in its formality as in its subject, all characters past and present meeting on the same narrative plane, resolving a mystery of the past and creating one for the future.

Kirsanoff stands out from the rest of the French Impressionist directors of the 1920s in that he probably came closest to achieving a purely sensory subjective cinema with this early featurette. A background in musical accompaniment for silents must have prepared him for the emulation of noise and colour he achieves in the rhythmic jigsaw of city scenes and the sad, quiet refrain he finds in Sibirskaïa’s fathomless eyes. We aren’t guided through this story because we are expected to be the consciousness behind those eyes: it is the gaping mouth of our madman father that threatens to swallow us up, it is our shadow we glimpse on the cobblestones as we cradle our child, staring into the Seine, knowing yet unwilling to know what we are thinking. And in the final retreat into the night it is on our skin that we see the reflections of city lights, will-o-wisps that promise a bright future but lead us only into the mire.

This is a beloved film, but it would be more appropriate to fear it - so jagged and apalled is its dissection of the American Dream and Small Town USA. This is about a man’s lifelong, thankless martyrdom to an ideal with nothing to offer him in return but shame and self-doubt. Stewart was the good old boy, watching him unravel is true horror. Capra’s widely publicised belief in happy endings meets the story system in an internecine agreement - perhaps an accidental one on the author’s part, but one that says more about the American community than It’s a Wonderful Life’s pop culture heritage as a sentimental classic would suggest. Because the smiles at George’s Christmas ‘homecoming’ are grimaces, the hugs are desperate graspings. He’s still trapped, and to understand that is to understand this film.

This film begins and ends in the same place, at the same time, with two separate deaths: one a murder, one a sacrifice. Both, in some awful way, cleansing. A romance scrapes away what separates a macho labourer from his emotional world, and the purity of his discovery overwhelms him. He can’t help but give himself away to ideals of love, honour and truth, but his surrender leaves him sensitive to forces that subvert these ideals. He must destroy them to preserve what is good - but will this act make him a hero or a villain? Prévert’s words sketch a moral maze, the clarity of the performances illuminate it one passage at a time. And Carné’s imagery, though black and white, seems to exist in living colour: twilit rooms, dusty sidestreets, the grime mottling factory windows - they all glimmer green, indigo and gold in the beams of streetlights.

It is strange - and probably the fault of archiving and exhibition troubles following its release - that this film doesn’t share the same standing as some of its New Hollywood thematic cousins. Like contemporary works by Coppola and Scorsese it has a fetish for examining a certain kind of toxically arrested masculinity, but it has a brutally aestheticised understanding of what pushes machismo over the edge towards emotional isolationism and violence. Kotcheff’s fever dream image of the Yabba, where our intriguingly passive lead finds himself, is that of a man’s oasis from responsibility - from regard for money, property, commitment or ‘rules’. A time warp where men live in a perpetually belligerent adolescence, an ego vacation that fills the protagonist’s ears with a grunting, lager-soaked siren song. An encounter with a fellow ‘exile’ threatens the central narrative stability and leads this snake of a story back to bite its own tale. Kotcheff’s and writer Evan Jones’s structure moves past classicism towards an almost biblical mode of storytelling. It is edited like shotgun fire and tastes like sweat and steel, blood and dust.

How far can you remove yourself from your roots? You can layer mask upon mask but underneath it all you’ll still have a face. At this point in his career Uchida had spent years making Milesian examinations of individual stories mutating over time and distance. This film, also translated as A Fugitive from the Past, can represent a culmination of this style of storytelling: part police procedural with an eye on class and economy, part Greek tragedy of love and spiritual fulfilment continuously darting out of reach, dodging our haunted heroes, rejecting before they can be rejected. An itinerant worker is caught up in the scheme of two robber-murderers, and ends up with their loot after they die during an escape attempt. Given shelter by a prostitute, he thanks her with the money and leaves her with his memory. This forks Uchida’s narrative across the ensuing decades; the stories of the robber and the prostitute encircling each other like a caduceus but never quite touching until a thunderstruck climax, where old identities break through new façades and flint against each other like firestarters. In one earlier scene, the prostitute is questioned by a detective on the whereabouts of her mysterious benefactor. She provides some variant of “he went that-away” and, in an act of unknowing symbolism, plugs her mouth with a daisy she’d been idly twirling between her fingers. “I’ll never talk to cops!” she spits out after he leaves. In Uchida’s labyrinthine narrative system this isn’t just a rebel yell from the depths of the Japanese feudalism, but an affirmation of the mentality that both gives impetus to a thousand individual journeys and prevents them from ever reaching their goal. Speak no evil.

Thud. Thud. Thud. Crack! Watching this film hurts. Stoker’s pain becomes your pain and the ringside jeers ring in your brain. Wise never did better than this, a boxing film almost in real time, double-taking between injury and retaliation as compulsively as picking a scab. The dynamism of the images and the furious cutting are not what make it brutal - they only emphasise the ruthless contrast between the desperate grasping for honour and the darkness of knowing the world doesn’t give a shit about your private moral struggle. Indeed, it will cage it and charge an entrance fee.

No other film of the time - and few from other times - said as much about urban alienation as this one. Stoker’s need to prove his goodness to his wife (and his honesty to himself) nearly destroys him. But as his body and dignity are dissected in the ring, Julie, his love, goes on an odyssey of her own, a green-mile walk down neon streets. The quietness and emptiness of her observations meet the emptiness and noise of his endeavours. It is only at the end of their journeys that they can meet again, and fill their shared void with broken love.

The woman does on Day One what she had done every day before it. She inspects her space thoroughly, walking the halls like Charon rowing the Styx. She dutifully prepares the hide-a-bed for her only love, her son. She cooks the dinner and cleans the dishes, and takes special care to scrub her mind of wants and dreams. On Day Two, however, things start to go wrong. She drops a spoon, she ruins a meal - the whirlwind of doubts in her head upset her coiffure and buffet her against the walls of her apartment. On Day Three she finds no other choice but to reverse her self-lacerating confusion; to unleash it on someone else: the one who put her here, in ‘her place’. Akerman’s film is a triumph of both theory and structure, ingenious in the way it revolutionises the condescending idea of closed space as ‘feminine’ and courageous in its exploration of the psychology in actions and lives that are seen as beneath, our outside, artistic concern. And true to its spirit, it treats Jeanne’s Day Three not with an implosion of pity but with an explosion of righteous anger, settling on a glow of respect.

Naruse’s career ended several years later but this is where his thematic trajectory climaxes: a shot of a face, inscrutable in the wake of a seismic loss. A moment’s stare and a sudden cut to THE END, a suicidal finality that shatters illusions of rehabilitation or reconciliation. The end of love, the end of a journey, the end of a life, the end of Japan. Hideko Takamine in Yearning, her tour de force, is Reiko, a quiet widow whose efforts running her late husband’s grocery are invisible to her higher-minded in-laws. Her brother-in-law Koji makes a nuisance of himself with crime and belligerence. The end of an era is approaching - big business is sweeping in and uprooting family-owned stores. Koji makes a confession that slices through Reiko’s workaday concerns, turning the mists of financial worry into the smoke from a repressed, perhaps subconscious love. Together they leave the city for a mountain resort. The stars will shine brightly for a moment and then they will go black. This is where Naruse leaves us, perched between beats of a heart that will never revive.

To watch Sans soleil is to be confronted with the impossibility of discovering (or creating) a concrete truth. Krasna’s correspondent - or muse - leads us down a rabbit hole, demanding we look into a tunnel of memory ringed by the strata of multiple gazes or subjectivities: Krasna’s, the storyteller’s, Marker’s, our own. The deferral of our own perception of the film to those of others both real and imagined reveals the mercurial nature of ‘remembering’. The documentary or travelogue, with its focus on the factual and the ‘real’, is subverted, becoming a scrapbook or illustrated brainstorm where the corporeal ‘event’ becomes ephemeral and psychic. When this hourglass has run out all that is left is the imprint of our emotions and our responses to the shifting ideas and images on screen: the sadness and beauty of realising that we can never truly hold on to what we see or know.


Here are my 20 favourite scenes from my 2012 selection:

#20 - Parallel workdays, Lonesome (1928, Fejös Pál - USA)
This joyous, elemental romance earns points in the formal inventiveness sweepstakes just a few minutes in, where the workdays of two soon-to-be lovers are juxtaposed with dazzling use of wipes on superimposed images, which shift the action within the frame like a Rubik’s cube.

#19 - Birth, Tulpan (2008, Sergey Dvortsevoy - Kazakhstan)
This is a modest, engaging pastoral for the most part, depicting life on the Kazakh steppe. It was shot over the course of month with its non-professional actors living together in a yurt. This lends it a curio factor but doesn’t necessarily impact the on-screen product until a marvelous formal sleight-of-hand kicks off the third act: the protagonist is forced to deliver a lamb alone in the desert. This unplannable event is shot in real time, requiring the actor to assist in the birth, and it becomes a landmark in the development of the central character. Documentary isn’t simply incorporated reflexively here - it is, and functions simultaneously with, ‘fictional’ representation and storytelling.

#18 - “One more, then we go home”, The Happiest Girl in the World (2009, Radu Jude - Romania)
An exposé on capitalism in suburban Romania written as a razor-sharp miniature, this retells one mind-numbing day in the life of a plain teenage girl called upon to shoot an advertisement as prizewinner of a soft drink promotion. Bitching and whining her way through the shoot, forced to drink gallons of the sickly product in question, she is an unlikeable character until a shockingly abusive announcement by her father swings the pendulum of audience engagement once again. The following scene, an extended long take in long shot that shows her and an increasingly exasperated crew struggling to finish the shoot, is almost unbearable in its tension

#17 - Café eavesdropping, Oslo, August 31st (2011, Joachim Trier - Norway)
The narrative and stylistic centrepiece of this Le feu follet adaptation, the peripatetic hero rests at a café and eavesdrops on his fellow diners’ conversations. The camera’s gaze picks out a couple and follows them throughout their day in a bewitching silent montage.

#16 - An encounter, The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton - UK)
The spooky second-act kickstarter that grinds the ghost story narrative into motion, Deborah Kerr’s nanny hides by a window during a game of hide and seek. Through a pane of glass a sinister face slowly moves into view, bloodcurdling and unforgettable.

#15 - The burial, The Catch (1961, Nagisa Ōshima - Japan)
The people of a rural Japanese village ‘inherit’ an African-American POW and subject him to steadily intensifying maltreatment and torture, ultimately resulting in his death. His potter’s field burial is performed by every member of the community - a bird’s eye of the casket slowly obscured by dirt thrown by dozens of hands. A breathtaking extended spectacle and a perfect summary of Ōshima’s thesis on Japanese society’s tendency to suppress and ignore collective guilts and traumas.

#14 - Packing plant robbery, Gun Crazy (1950, Joseph H. Lewis - USA)
This film’s most famous sequence - the single-take bank robbery - is a stunner, but I find the tension to be more carefully modulated in this later scene, where the deadly lovebirds rob the meat packing plant they’d been working in. This is pure adrenaline, and Lewis’ hyperkinetic direction ensures that we live in through our leads.

#13 - Fireworks!, All These Women (1964, Ingmar Bergman - Sweden)
An unfairly maligned comedy by Bergman, it is perhaps unfairly wedged between the Faith trilogy and Persona in its director’s filmography. Funny in that it seems to take pains to not be funny, its centrepiece is a kaleidoscopic, frantically edited sequence where a Disney Castle-esque mansion is set alight with fireworks. The pop art sensibility and free-jazz structural rhythm (some shots are cut together right-side up and upside down) anticipate tricks that Godard would start using a year later.

#12 - The hunt, Wake in Fright (1971, Ted Kotcheff - Australia)
A nighttime kangaroo hunt in the bush becomes the most animal and horrific example of the Yabba’s poisonous maleness.

#11 - “Taxi!”, Kinatay (2009, Brillante Mendoza - Philippines)
After a series of petty crimes leads him to complicity in the murder and dismemberment of a prostitute by a loan shark, the bewildered protagonist of Kinatay moves haltingly out of the night into a new day. Throwing up during his cohorts’ oblivious breakfast, he tries to take a taxi home. Its tire bursts, and he tries to hail a new one. He waits - and waits. The seemingly endless deferral of an ending is more tense than anything else in the film and spells out a message with a rockslide’s impact: you can’t go home again.

#10 - The abortion, Polisse (2011, Maïwenn - France)
Infectious but incoherent, Polisse is a tumult of competing narrative voices that only rarely manage to speak in perfect unison. This is one of those moments of clarity, a shattering emotional high from this messy movie: a cold-opened window into the late-term abortion of a rape victim’s miscarried fetus. The script tells us nothing about this girl’s past or pain, but Maïwenn is a sensitive dircetor and Alice de Lencquesaing (daughter of Louis-do, who also acts in the film) is some kind of acting genius, giving us a four-minute window of unblinkered empathy for the vicious and contradictory inferno of emotion contained in her eyes and the crack of her voice.

#9 - Vengeance, The Forbidden Christ (1951, Curzio Malaparte - Italy)
A critical exploration of the uncritical drive for vengeance, Malaparte’s only film - a stunner - pits friend against friend in the breathtakingly emotional and visually stunning climax. Here, the ‘forbidden Christ’ of the title martyrs himself completely in an attempt to absolve both his own sins and the sins of his oldest friend.

#8 - The storm, Straits of Hunger (1965, Tomu Uchida - Japan)
The centrepiece of Straits of Hunger’s hinged narrative closes the circuit of two stories and opens the gate for a new one: two lives that have orbited each other for so long meet, spark and die out, a history of crime ending with a crime, engendering a new odyssey of justice.

#7 - Storytelling, Paris, Texas (1984, Wim Wenders - Germany)
The sky, the road, and a lot of emptiness. A man meets a woman, and tells a story - and the emptiness makes sense. The distance we’ve been seeing is the years between them.

#6 - The kindness of strangers, Ménilmontant (1926, Dimitri Kirsanoff - France)
Nadia Sibirskaïa’s elemental waif has gone from country girl to suicidal street urchin in a cyclone of black and white colour, a silent cacophony. She sits on a park bench amidst her own emotional wreckage, and the man next to her, wordlessly, hands her a slice of bread. He looks away, wilfully ignorant of his own charity.

#5 - Call from Pookie, The Sterile Cuckoo (1969, Alan J. Pakula - USA)
I find it interesting that a character type - now known as the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ - had just been ‘invented’ when it was dissected so thoroughly in this small wonder of acting and storytelling. Pookie wants to be a force of nature, but she is just a person. A person with unbearable want and overwhelming need. Want and need that are laid bare in a 5-minute miracle of character building by the young Liza Minnelli, giving the most stunning aria of the best performance I’ve seen this year. We’ve seen the image and now we see the underpainting - splotchy and messy, the lines bleeding into each other.

#4 - Thunderstorm, Rapt (1934, Dimitri Kirsanoff - France)
Kirsanoff was a great experimenter and in this crucial period of transition between silence and sound he plays the great Trickster figure of film soundscapes, blurring the line between diegetic and non-diegetic, scrapping sync sound entirely in scenes to replace it with psychedelically Mickey Mouseing passages of music. A girl is kidnapped by a naïve mountain man as part of a territorial power play, but she soon gets the upper hand, manipulating him with her sexuality in the hopes of escaping to her own town and own lover. But the jagged glare of the lightning and the screeching chorus of thunder, rain on glass and toxic thoughts suggest there may be something genuine to her lusty masquerade.

#3 - George is upset, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra - USA)
This beloved holiday classic contains the single most stressful sequence I’ve seen this year. George Bailey, the “richest man in town” (get it?) is losing it all. A night of shattered illusions steers him home and he explodes, scolding his children for things they didn’t mean to do, stalking through his own house like a wounded animal. His life is falling apart, and we’re forced to watch the decomposition in real time.

#2 - “Temptation”, Violent Summer (1959, Valerio Zurlini - Italy)
Zurlini beckons melodrama with one hand, pushes it away with the other. Violent Summer is energised by this contradiction of stylistic interest, one which reflects its heroine’s own choice between messy love and tidy society. In this scene, a hypnotic dance plays out, eyelines scratching grooves in the ballroom floor, sexual and emotional interests cross to the tune of a song that could have been corny even by contemporary standards. We don’t need to see the sweat because it is coating the walls of our subjects’ minds.

#1 - Midnight rendez-vous, Spring in a Small Town (1948, Fei Mu - Republic of China)
I find it very interesting where filmmakers went to solve the problem of technological expenses or scarce sound-on-film stocks in the early sound era. Some of my favourite films - Lang's M, Kirsanoff's Rapt - offer interesting ways around this. In Asia of course the transition period lasted longer, and I assume that such problems provided difficulty for the crew behind the 1948 Chinese film Spring in a Small Town, which uses sparse sound effects, sync dialogue and a voice over but little else. Whether the hermetic soundscape of this film was imposed on it by a budget or technological issues or whether it was a conscious choice on the part of director Fei Mu, it complements the central drama perfectly.

The aftermath of the Second Sino-Japanese War - in a dilapidated manor the lonely Zhou Yuwen lives with her ailing husband Dai Liyan, her sister-in-law and their servant. Her marriage is lacking in real passion but she and her husband do seem to love each other. One day, her husband's childhood friend Zhang Zhichen returns to town. Zhang was Zhou's first love, unbeknownst to Dai. After a series of quiet scenes where the two former lovers politely dance around their now-inappropriate feelings, Zhou arrives at the guest house one moonlit night. Zhang lets her in, and the two nearly kiss. Zhang pulls away and leaves the guesthouse against the struggles of a protesting Zhou. Before Zhou can follow him, he turns around and locks the door from the outside. We see her anguished face behind a pane of glass. She begins beating on the glass, breaking it with her fist. The shattering of the glass is the only sound we've heard in over a minute - in a film that has developed a tight-lipped, stately emotionalism true passion breaks through in a gesture of breathtaking need and violence, and we suddenly realise that the heat of the torch they carry has the potential of burning through the veil of manners and morés which has been our view for the film's first hour, lichen on the walls of the decaying Dai mansion. The urgency of this gesture is shadowed by the tenderness of the following action - Zhang, a doctor, nursing and kissing Zhou's bleeding hand, again in silence, Zhou's unreadable expression visible only by the moonrays streaming through the window. Ever so politely, she says "thank you" - and the dance resumes.


My ten favourite characters from my 2012 selection!

#10 - “Babou”, played by Isabelle Huppert (Copacabana, Marc Fitoussi - 2010, France)
Copacabana is a film that is strictly ‘formula’ in enough ways to make you feel guilty for being so affected by the sensitivity and sincerity it shows. Huppert’s performance is not formula, and she elevates Babou from a ‘kooky’ role to a resourceful but flighty dreamer, a staunch individual whether she’d like to be or not, too fond of seeking the fair and the right to be truly cynical. We can understand what makes her an annoying mother, but Huppert makes it so much fun to be her that we couldn’t dream of being on someone else’s side.

#9 - “Janice”, played by Regina Baff (Road Movie, Joseph Strick - 1974, USA)
Janice is the quintessential downtrodden woman, a hooker with a heart of gold, maybe - but stolen gold, and a heart that she keeps locked up for herself. She’s crafty if not smart - she hides her money in her wig and hides her motivations in her thrown-away insults. And she makes it her mission to avenge her abuse and that of every woman that has ever been in her situation. As hard as it is to identify with her actions it becomes easy to identify with what drives them: anger at the way a man’s world screws women over.

#8 - “Sidney Falco, J.J. Hunsecker & Susan Hunsecker”, played by Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster and Susan Harrison (Sweet Smell of Success, Alexander Mackendrick - 1957, USA)
Pepper, salt and sugar. Or maybe just salt, salt, salt. Two ravenous fish in the sea of business, and their smallfry prey with a spike in her gills. Falco is the imp whose heart you hope will never grow - when it almost does, you feel cheated, and when he’s given his comeuppance you’re almost disappointed. J.J. is a rock face from which pours a waterfall of bilge. And to call Susan a ‘damsel in distress’ is to belie the power ploy of her last-act emotional blackmail. Three great characters and three incredible performances to flesh them out - Curtis’ hot-poker staccato, Lancaster’s laconic bitterness and Harrison’s tremulous, soulful insularity fill out this circuit and keep the film cracking until the happy ending that seems appropriately blasphemous in context.

#7 - “Major Jack Celliers”, played by David Bowie (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Nagisa Ōshima - 1983, Japan)
A lot of this film is about the disrupting Western influence in the closed circuit of Japanese custom. How can a country exist outside of a country? Bowie as Celliers is the disrupting force, and boy is he disrupting: his androgyny and curious, halting charisma are so different from anything else in the film that he threatens to lopside it. Ōshima is too canny a director to allow that, of course, and he lets Jack develop as a standard against which the other characters can measure themselves, or look at themselves. His entrance is a shock to his system, his exit is like the zen death of a spiritual leader - which, in a way, is what he’s become.

#6 - “Constance Elsworthy”, played by Donogh Rees (Constance, Bruce Morrison - 1984, New Zealand)
I don’t really get into the whole ‘national pride’ aspect of criticism when it comes to homegrown films, but I do get proud when a Kiwi flick is strong enough to make the A-range of my own lists. Constance is an interesting beast - an RKO melodrama updated for colour and 1980s concerns. Constance herself wants to be in the movies. She likes the centre of attention, but she likes to be in it for the right reasons - she’s a primadonna, yes, but she becomes a victim as well, and the shrewd development of scenario and Rees’ fascinating star turn juggle the two modes of ‘women’s picture’ address with incredible poise. Constance is sensible but a bit too susceptible to illusion - which makes Morrison’s revitalising take on an old ending all the more tragic.

#5 - “Takichi Inukai & Yae Sugito”, played by Rentarō Mikuni and Sachiko Hidari (Straits of Hunger, Tomu Uchida - 1965, Japan)
Two crude, oddball personalities - a homeless man who finds himself the heir, accidental or not, of a small fortune, and the prostitute to whom he gives it - try hard to at least look like good citizens. They live their lives almost as in call-and-response although they are hundreds of miles apart. When they finally meet again their collision of personality shucks them of their borrowed skins. Doomed misfits and haunted could-have-been lovers.

#4 - “Jake LaMotta”, played by Robert De Niro (Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese - 1980, USA)
I find it interesting that Raging Bull has become such a figurehead of hypermasculine film fandom when it is one of the most critical of masculinity of all Hollywood films. LaMotta is the Great Wannabe, the boy whose inability to truly meet a masculine point of reference inspires him to try punching his way through the barriers of ego that separate him from ‘real manhood’. De Niro plays him like a wild animal, tired, hungry, confused and sexual in a rarefied way that borders on the gay and the incestuous. No one ever made, or played, a fuller portrait of the failure to ‘make passage’.

#3 - “Pookie Adams”, played by Liza Minnelli (The Sterile Cuckoo, Alan J. Pakula - 1969, USA)
Pookie isn’t a likeable character - in fact she can be downright unbearable. But she’s catnip for a certain kind of guy, the guy who can only see his path in life through tired, myopic eyes, and to some degree she realises this. She wants to be a goddess of love, someone whose personality can intrigue without necessarily being accessible. She wants to be loved, too, and loved wholly - too bad the persona she creates won’t allow for that. So she flagellates herself with her own constructed ego, and withers in the uncomprehending gaze of the boy on whose mirroring face she saw her own fantasies of self. Will she do it all again? Probably, because there’s no way out.

#2 - “Hossain Sabzian”, played by Hossain Sabzian (Close-Up, Abbas Kiarostami - 1990, Iran)
Can you play yourself? If you are made to ‘play’ yourself, does ‘yourself’ become a character? A role to be filled, approximated by some other personality? This man becomes a symbol of burning creative urge without outlet, and he becomes a figure seen through multiple lenses at once - the reenactment, the testimony, the ‘documentary’ ending. Sabzian may be an interesting person, or he may be an interesting character. What is impressive and interesting about Close-Up is that it never lets the audience choose which one.

#1 - “Lisa Cohen”, played by Anna Paquin (Margaret, Kenneth Lonergan - 2011, USA)
Margaret is a film defined by its contradictions. Lisa Cohen is a contradiction: smart yet unfathomably stupid, self-absorbed to the extreme yet truly wanting to atone, sexual but just a child. She’s playing out America in the aftermath of 9/11, hopeful to make a difference but mistargeting her righteous anger, hurling herself forward blindly like a ball in a batting cage. She’s a behemoth personality, and the film reflects her in structure and story. In this spirit, Paquin’s problems as an actor become the foundations upon which Lisa is built: a brittle, self-conscious performer playing a brittle, self-conscious performer. It’s perfect yet imperfect - which is perfect.


And my Top 10 endings from this year's selection! No commentary here, you'll have to watch the films yourself. ;)

#10 BLACK NARCISSUS (1947, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger - UK)

#9 OLDER BROTHER, YOUNGER SISTER (1953, Mikio Naruse - Japan)


#7 CLOSE-UP (1990, Abbas Kiarostami - Iran)

#6 A BLOODY SPEAR ON MOUNT FUJI (1955, Tomu Uchida - Japan)

#5 STRAITS OF HUNGER (1965, Tomu Uchida - Japan)

#4 HOUSE OF TOLERANCE (2011, Bertrand Bonello - France)

#3 THE SWORD OF DOOM (1966, Kihachi Okamoto - Japan)

#2 THE END OF EVANGELION (1997, Hideaki Anno & Kazuya Tsurumaki - Japan)

#1 YEARNING (1964, Mikio Naruse - Japan)

That's all, folks! Happy new year!

Posts: 566
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:35 am

2012 Film Log

Postby bizarre » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:17 am

This has been an incredible year for film-watching. I’ve had more first-time feature film viewings than ever before with 340 and I started and ended the year with two masterpieces - Kirsanoff’s Ménilmontant on January 1st and Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles on December 30th. I’ll be splitting my 2012 Round-Up into two parts - the ranked list, awards and the statistics here, and a Viewing Report that will contain write-ups of my favourite films, scenes, endings and characters in another note. I hope you’ve enjoyed the updates I’ve been providing throughout the year and I hope that you’ve gotten some great recommendations from them! I don’t know if I’ll be aiming for quite so many next year but I’ll definitely hope to break 300 for 2013.

As usual, I’m using a letter grade system:

A+ = masterpiece, instant consideration in ‘best of all time’ list
A = near-masterpiece
A- = excellent
B+ = great
B = very good with minor flaws
B- = good with flaws
C+ = about 50/50
C = mediocre with good aspects
C- = poor
D = really bad
F = execrable

Here we go!

01 Sans soleil (1983, Marker) A+
02 Yearning (1964, Naruse) A+
03 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, Akerman) A+
04 The Set-Up (1949, Wise) A+
05 Straits of Hunger (1965, Uchida) A+
06 Wake in Fright (1971, Kotcheff) A+
07 Le jour se lève (1939, Carné) A+
08 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Capra) A+
09 Ménilmontant (1926, Kirsanoff) A+
10 Eros + Massacre (1969, Yoshida) A+

11 Tokyo Twilight (1957, Ozu) A+
12 The Executioner (1963, García Berlanga) A+
13 Woman in the Dunes (1964, Teshigahara) A+
14 Raging Bull (1980, Scorsese) A
15 House of Tolerance (2011, Bonello) A
16 The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (1971, Brakhage) A
17 Ballad of a Soldier (1959, Chukhrai) A
18 Act of Violence (1948, Zinnemann) A
19 Rapt (1934, Kirsanoff) A
20 Close-Up (1990, Kiarostami) A

21 Margaret (2011, Lonergan) A
22 Bigger Than Life (1956, Ray) A
23 Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948, Ophüls) A
24 Memories of Underdevelopment (1968, Gutiérrez Alea) A
25 I Knew Her Well (1965, Pietrangeli) A
26 The Elegant Life of Mr. Everyman (1963, Okamoto) A
27 Wings (1966, Shepitko) A
28 The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, Welles) A
29 Three Stories (1997, Muratova) A
30 Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957, Tashlin) A

31 The End of Evangelion (1997, Anno & Tsurumaki) A
32 Black Narcissus (1947, Powell & Pressburger) A
33 Love (1971, Makk) A
34 The Oak (1992, Pintilie) A
35 Night of the Living Dead (1968, Romero) A
36 Tea and Sympathy (1956, Minnelli) A
37 Oslo, August 31st (2011, Trier) A
38 Dawn of the Dead (1978, Romero) A
39 The Innocents (1961, Clayton) A
40 The Insect Woman (1963, Imamura) A

41 Metropolis (1927, Lang) A
42 Empire of Passion (1978, Ōshima) A
43 The Sword of Doom (1966, Okamoto) A-
44 Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983, Ōshima) A-
45 Older Brother, Younger Sister (1953, Naruse) A-
46 Shadow of a Doubt (1943, Hitchcock) A-
47 Boy (1969, Ōshima) A-
48 La ciénaga (2001, Martel) A-
49 A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Songs (1967, Ōshima) A-
50 Xala (1975, Sembène) A-

51 Spring in a Small Town (1948, Fei) A-
52 Ossessione (1943, Visconti) A-
53 A Bloody Spear on Mount Fuji (1955, Uchida) A-
54 Pastoral: To Die in the Country (1974, Terayama) A-
55 Merry-Go-Round (1956, Fábri) A-
56 The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944, Sturges) A-
57 Earth (1939, Uchida) A-
58 Moving (1993, Sōmai) A-
59 Anzukko (1958, Naruse) A-
60 Kill! (1968, Okamoto) A-

61 Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988, Davies) A-
62 Moonrise (1948, Borzage) A-
63 Early Spring (1956, Ozu) A-
64 Landscape in the Mist (1988, Angelopoulos) A-
65 Cairo Station (1958, Chahine) A-
66 Crush (1992, Maclean) A-
67 They Made Me a Fugitive (1947, Cavalcanti) A-
68 Black Christmas (1974, Clark) A-
69 The Baby Carriage (1963, Widerberg) A-
70 Gun Crazy (1950, Lewis) A-

71 Black God, White Devil (1964, Rocha) A-
72 Late Autumn (1960, Ozu) A-
73 Kairat (1992, Omirbaev) A-
74 Amour (2012, Haneke) A-
75 Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947, Ozu) A-
76 Devi (1960, Ray) A-
77 A Page of Madness (1926, Kinugasa) A-
78 Paris, Texas (1984, Wenders) A-
79 Violent Summer (1959, Zurlini) A-
80 Suspiria (1977, Argento) A-

81 Holy Motors (2012, Carax) A-
82 Belle de Jour (1967, Buñuel) A-
83 Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973, Sarafian) A-
84 On Dangerous Ground (1952, Ray) A-
85 Miss Bala (2011, Naranjo) A-
86 Peeping Tom (1960, Powell) A-
87 La hora de los hornos (1968, Getino & Solanas) A-
88 Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Mackendrick) A-
89 Constance (1984, Morrison) A-
90 On the Town (1949, Donen & Kelly) A-

91 Vive L’Amour (1994, Tsai) A-
92 Scarlet Street (1945, Lang) A-
93 Lonesome (1928, Fejös) A-
94 The Forbidden Christ (1951, Malaparte) A-
95 I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932, LeRoy) A-
96 Fireworks Wednesday (2006, Farhadi) A-
97 Who Killed the White Llama? (2007, Bellott) A-
98 Nostalgia for the Light (2010, Guzmán) A-
99 Kandahar (2001, Makhmalbaf) A-
100 La petite Lise (1930, Grémillon) A-

101 The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922, Dulac) A-
102 Sound of the Mountain (1954, Naruse) A-
103 Blue (2001, Ando) A-
104 Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971, Hancock) A-
105 Hunger (1966, Carlsen) A-
106 Personal Best (1982, Towne) A-
107 Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972, Itō) A-
108 The Ghost of Yotsuya (1959, Nakagawa) A-
109 Each Night I Dream (1933, Naruse) A-
110 Julia (2008, Zonca) A-

111 Chikamatsu’s Love in Osaka (1959, Uchida) A-
112 Portrait of Jennie (1948, Dieterle) A-
113 Port of Shadows (1938, Carné) B+
114 Night and the City (1950, Dassin) B+
115 Road Movie (1974, Strick) B+
116 Repast (1951, Naruse) B+
117 Attack! (1956, Aldrich) B+
118 There Was a Father (1942, Ozu) B+
119 Yield to the Night (1956, Thompson) B+
120 Hideko the Bus Conductress (1941, Naruse) B+

121 The Catch (1961, Ōshima) B+
122 Underworld, U.S.A. (1961, Fuller) B+
123 Shoeshine (1946, de Sica) B+
124 Double Suicide (1969, Shinoda) B+
125 Syndromes and a Century (2006, Weerasethakul) B+
126 Dear Summer Sister (1972, Ōshima) B+
127 Kinatay (2009, Mendoza) B+
128 Brief Encounter (1945, Lean) B+
129 Onibaba (1964, Shindō) B+
130 Everyman (1975, Stelling) B+

131 The Happiest Girl in the World (2009, Jude) B+
132 The Headless Woman (2008, Martel) B+
133 All These Women (1964, Bergman) B+
134 The Heart of the Matter (1953, More O’Ferrall) B+
135 Something Is in the Water (1943, Oláh & Zilahy) B+
136 Reservoir Dogs (1992, Tarantino) B+
137 Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Sturges) B+
138 Weekend (2011, Haigh) B+
139 The Celebration (1998, Vinterberg) B+
140 Tokyo Trash Baby (2000, Hiroki) B+

141 The Ear (1970, Kachyňa) B+
142 Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1941, Ozu) B+
143 In the Realm of the Senses (1976, Ōshima) B+
144 Born to Kill (1947, Wise) B+
145 High Hopes (1988, Leigh) B+
146 Tulpan (2008, Dvortsevoy) B+
147 Quitting (2001, Zhang) B+
148 Criss Cross (1949, Siodmak) B+
149 Audrey the Trainwreck (2010, Ross) B+
150 Angel Face (1952, Preminger) B+

151 Hell in the City (1959, Castellani) B+
152 The Official Story (1985, Puenzo) B+
153 Actrices (2007, Bruni Tedeschi) B+
154 Gabbeh (1996, Makhmalbaf) B+
155 The White Reindeer (1952, Blomberg) B+
156 Our Daily Bread (1969, Kaul) B+
157 Laura (1944, Preminger) B+
158 The Nineteen Year-Old’s Map (1979, Yanagimachi) B+
159 Unfaithfully Yours (1948, Sturges) B+
160 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, Wiene) B+

161 Rebecca (1940, Hitchcock) B+
162 Forbidden Games (1952, Clément) B+
163 No-White (1983, Nepp) B+
164 Manèges (1950, Allégret) B+
165 Take Shelter (2011, Nichols) B+
166 It’s Your Fault (2010, Berneri) B+
167 The Phenix City Story (1955, Karlson) B+
168 The Sterile Cuckoo (1969, Pakula) B+
169 Silent Light (2007, Reygadas) B+
170 The Human Bullet (1968, Okamoto) B+

171 Chronicle of a Lonely Child (1965, Favio) B+
172 Hail the Conquering Hero (1944, Sturges) B+
173 Friend (1987, Kvinikhidze) B+
174 Jigoku (1960, Nakagawa) B+
175 In Another Country (2012, Hong) B+
176 The Big Combo (1955, Lewis) B+
177 When I Am Dead and Gone (1967, Pavlović) B
178 Dancing in the Rain (1961, Hladnik) B
179 The Life of Oharu (1952, Mizoguchi) B
180 Equinox Flower (1958, Ozu) B

181 Sara (1992, Mehrjui) B
182 Late Chrysanthemums (1954, Naruse) B
183 Blood on the Moon (1948, Wise) B
184 Calle Mayor (1956, Bardem) B
185 Straits of Chosun (1943, Park) B
186 A Hen in the Wind (1948, Ozu) B
187 Crazed Fruit (1956, Nakahira) B
188 Nosferatu (1922, Murnau) B
189 The Man Who Left His Will on Film (1970, Ōshima) B
190 Offside (2006, Panahi) B

191 The Heart (1955, Ichikawa) B
192 A Matter of Life and Death (1946, Powell & Pressburger) B
193 Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District (1956, Kawashima) B
194 Shame (1968, Bergman) B
195 Mandy (1952, Mackendrick) B
196 A Stranger Knocks (1959, Jacobsen) B
197 Wife! Be Like a Rose! (1935, Naruse) B
198 It Always Rains on Sunday (1947, Hamer) B
199 Pickpocket (1959, Bresson) B
200 Killing in Yoshiwara (1960, Uchida) B

201 Killer (1998, Omirbaev) B
202 Grand Illusion (1937, Renoir) B
203 Le amiche (1955, Antonioni) B
204 The Circle (2000, Panahi) B
205 Porco Rosso (1992, Miyazaki) B
206 Walkabout (1971, Roeg) B
207 To Sleep with Anger (1990, Burnett) B
208 Yang Yang (2009, Cheng) B
209 Green Fish (1997, Lee) B
210 Passenger (1963, Lesiewicz & Munk) B

211 So Long at the Fair (1950, Darnborough & Fisher) B
212 Pépé le Moko (1937, Duvivier) B
213 Beautiful City (2004, Farhadi) B
214 Eyes Without a Face (1960, Franju) B
215 Girl of the Night (1960, Cates) B
216 Mystery Street (1950, Sturges) B
217 Sudden Rain (1956, Naruse) B
218 Crime Wave (1954, de Toth) B
219 The Proud and the Beautiful (1953, Allégret) B
220 A Letter to Three Wives (1949, Mankiewicz) B

221 Germany Year Zero (1948, Rossellini) B
222 What Did the Lady Forget? (1937, Ozu) B
223 Possession (1981, Żuławski) B-
224 Playtime (1967, Tati) B-
225 Polisse (2011, Maïwenn) B-
226 Men and Women (1964, Khouri) B-
227 Dark Passage (1947, Daves) B-
228 Until They Sail (1957, Wise) B-
229 Copacabana (2010, Fitoussi) B-
230 The Munekata Sisters (1950, Ozu) B-

231 Two Cents Worth of Hope (1952, Castellani) B-
232 Young Adult (2011, Reitman) B-
233 American Hot Wax (1978, Mutrux) B-
234 Hôtel du Nord (1938, Carné) B-
235 Terri (2011, Jacobs) B-
236 Police, Adjective (2009, Porumboiu) B-
237 The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978, Olmi) B-
238 Blueprint of Murder (1961, Okamoto) B-
239 Somewhere in the Night (1946, Mankiewicz) B-
240 Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950, Douglas) B-

241 Lightning (1952, Naruse) B-
242 The Equation of Love and Death (2008, Cao) B-
243 Moonlight Whispers (1999, Shiota) B-
244 Force of Evil (1948, Polonsky) B-
245 Nabi (2001, Moon) B-
246 The Tin Drum (1979, Schlöndorff) B-
247 Water Lilies (2007, Sciamma) B-
248 Zabriskie Point (1970, Antonioni) B-
249 A Single Spark (1995, Park) B-
250 Libeled Lady (1936, Conway) B-

251 Yojimbo (1961, Kurosawa) B-
252 Sister (2012, Meier) B-
253 Nightmare Alley (1947, Goulding) B-
254 Broken Embraces (2009, Almodóvar) B-
255 Just the Wind (2012, Fliegauf) B-
256 Revanche (2008, Spielmann) B-
257 Travellers (1992, Beyzai) B-
258 Notes of an Itinerant Performer (1941, Shimizu) B-
259 Katalin Varga (2009, Strickland) B-
260 Dancing in the Dust (2003, Farhadi) C+

261 Bicycle Thieves (1948, de Sica) C+
262 Braindead (1992, Jackson) C+
263 Jules and Jim (1962, Truffaut) C+
264 Innocent Saturday (2011, Mindadze) C+
265 Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957, Thompson) C+
266 Umberto D. (1952, de Sica) C+
267 Wish You Were Here (2012, Darcy-Smith) C+
268 Tomboy (2011, Sciamma) C+
269 Ngati (1987, Barclay) C+
270 Yaaba (1989, Ouedraogo) C+

271 The Whisperers (1967, Forbes) C+
272 The Awful Truth (1937, McCarey) C+
273 Pas douce (2007, Waltz) C+
274 The Captive City (1952, Wise) C+
275 The Public Enemy (1931, Wellman) C+
276 XXY (2007, Puenzo) C+
277 Angel at Sea (2009, Dumont) C+
278 The Cats (1965, Carlsen) C+
279 The Killer That Stalked New York (1950, McEvoy) C+
280 Crazy Heart (2009, Cooper) C+

281 The Band’s Visit (2007, Kolirin) C+
282 Carmen Comes Home (1951, Kinoshita) C+
283 The Bigamist (1953, Lupino) C+
284 Maria Full of Grace (2004, Marston) C+
285 The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964, Pasolini) C+
286 The Help (2011, Taylor) C+
287 Ikiru (1952, Kurosawa) C+
288 Confessions (2010, Nakashima) C+
289 Barbara (2012, Petzold) C+
290 Compliance (2012, Zobel) C+

291 Bridge to the Sun (1961, Périer) C+
292 The Prowler (1951, Losey) C+
293 Odds Against Tomorrow (1959, Wise) C+
294 The Whole Family Works (1939, Naruse) C+
295 Three Days (1991, Bartas) C+
296 Night Is My Future (1948, Bergman) C+
297 Sapphire (1959, Dearden) C
298 Quai des Orfèvres (1947, Clouzot) C
299 A Better Life (2011, Weitz) C
300 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986, McNaughton) C

301 Fat City (1972, Huston) C
302 A Petal (1996, Jang) C
303 Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956, Wise) C
304 The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1970, Haggard) C
305 Bashing (2005, Kobayashi) C
306 Max mon amour (1986, Ōshima) C
307 Untamed Woman (1957, Naruse) C
308 The House on Telegraph Hill (1951, Wise) C
309 Saving My Hubby (2002, Hyun) C
310 The Silver Fleet (1943, Sewell & Wellesley) C

311 Cutter’s Way (1981, Passer) C
312 Chronicle of an Escape (2006, Caetano) C
313 The Secret in Their Eyes (2009, Campanella) C
314 Crows (1994, Kędzierzawska) C
315 Edge of the City (1957, Ritt) C
316 Muscle (1989, Satō) C
317 The Ring Finger (2005, Bertrand) C
318 Rust and Bone (2012, Audiard) C
319 Rome, Open City (1985, Rossellini) C
320 The Toll of the Sea (1922, Franklin) C

321 Lady Killer (1937, Grémillon) C
322 17 Girls (2011, Coulin & Coulin) C
323 Meet the Feebles (1989, Jackson) C-
324 Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998, Maybury) C-
325 Aniki Bóbó (1942, de Oliveira) C-
326 Bad Taste (1987, Jackson) C-
327 Blind Beast (1969, Masumura) C-
328 Carnage (2011, Polański) C-
329 Dirty Girl (2010, Sylvia) C-
330 X-Men: First Class (2011, Vaughn) C-

331 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012, Joost & Schulman) C-
332 Happy Flight (2008, Yaguchi) C-
333 The Road I Travel with You (1936, Naruse) C-
334 The Motorcycle Diaries (2004, Salles) C-
335 The Birth of a Nation (1915, Griffith) D
336 Albert Nobbs (2011, García) D
337 City of God (2002, Meirelles) D
338 Paisà (1946, Rossellini) D
339 Easy A (2010, Gluck) D
340 La mujer de mi hermano (2005, de Montreuil) F

And the end-of-year awards!

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
*** Sans soleil
Straits of Hunger
The Set-Up
06 Wake in Fright
07 Le jour se lève
08 It’s a Wonderful Life
09 Ménilmontant
10 Eros + Massacre

Fritz Lang, for Metropolis
Chris Marker, for Sans soleil
Jacques Tati, for Playtime
*** Hiroshi Teshigahara, for Woman in the Dunes
Yoshishige Yoshida, for Eros + Massacre
06 Martin Scorsese, for Raging Bull
07 Chantal Akerman, for Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
08 Tomu Uchida, for Straits of Hunger
09 Dimitri Kirsanoff, for Rapt
10 Hideaki Anno & Kazuya Tsurumaki, for The End of Evangelion

Robert De Niro, in Raging Bull
Jean Gabin, in Le jour se lève
Van Heflin, in Act of Violence
*** Rentarō Mikuni, in Straits of Hunger
Per Oscarsson, in Hunger
06 Robert Ryan, in The Set-Up
07 Nino Manfredi, in The Executioner
08 Anders Danielsen Lie, in Oslo, August 31st
09 Trevor Howard, in The Heart of the Matter
10 Jean Gabin, in Port of Shadows

Setsuko Hara, in Tokyo Twilight
Sachiko Hidari, in Straits of Hunger
Zohra Lampert, in Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
*** Liza Minnelli, in The Sterile Cuckoo
Hideko Takamine, in Yearning
06 Anna Magnani, in Hell in the City
07 Marcia Gay Harden, in Crush
08 Nadia Sibirskaïa, in Ménilmontant
09 Barbara Rush, in Bigger Than Life
10 Regina Baff, in Road Movie

Jules Berry, in Le jour se lève
Griffith Jones, in They Made Me a Fugitive
*** Burt Lancaster, in Sweet Smell of Success
Joe Pesci, in Raging Bull
Robert Ryan, in Act of Violence
06 Edward Andrews, in The Phenix City Story
07 Elio Marcuzzo, in Ossessione
08 William Demarest, in The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
09 David Bowie, in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
10 Joeystarr, in Polisse

*** Ineko Arima, in Tokyo Twilight
Arletty, in Le jour se lève
Susan Harrison, in Sweet Smell of Success
Machiko Kyō, in Older Brother, Younger Sister
Octavia Spencer, in The Help
06 Adèle Haenel, in House of Tolerance
07 Isuzu Yamada, in Tokyo Twilight
08 Alice de Lencquesaing, in Polisse
09 Yukiko Todoroki, in Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District
10 Mariclare Costello, in Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Raging Bull
*** Sweet Smell of Success
The Sterile Cuckoo
Wake in Fright
06 Letter from an Unknown Woman
07 Yield to the Night
08 Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
09 Lolly-Madonna XXX
10 They Made Me a Fugitive

Le jour se lève
*** Margaret
The Executioner
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
Tokyo Twilight
06 Sans soleil
07 Personal Best
08 Act of Violence
09 Close-Up
10 To Sleep with Anger

Early Spring
House of Tolerance
I Knew Her Well
*** Lolly-Madonna XXX
06 The Phenix City Story
07 Fireworks Wednesday
08 The Executioner
09 Sweet Smell of Success
10 Hell in the City

Dawn of the Dead
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
*** Playtime
Woman in the Dunes
06 Letter from an Unknown Woman
07 Black Narcissus
08 Double Suicide
09 Meet the Feebles
10 Killing in Yoshiwara

Ballad of a Soldier
*** Letter from an Unknown Woman
Portrait of Jennie
Yang Yang
06 Blue
07 Distant Voices, Still Lives
08 Shame
09 Eros + Massacre
10 Dancing in the Rain

Black Narcissus
Crazed Fruit
*** House of Tolerance
Letter from an Unknown Woman
06 The Help
07 Metropolis
08 Everyman
09 Broken Embraces
10 Chikamatsu’s Love in Osaka

La hora de los hornos
Sans soleil
The Elegant Life of Mr. Everyman
The End of Evangelion
*** The Set-Up
06 I Knew Her Well
07 Ménilmontant
08 Wake in Fright
09 Dawn of the Dead
10 Love

*** Braindead
Holy Motors
Raging Bull
The Insect Woman
06 Bad Taste
07 Max mon amour
08 The Set-Up
09 Straits of Hunger
10 House of Tolerance

La hora de los hornos
*** Rapt
Sans soleil
The Set-Up
06 The Innocents
07 Devi
08 Oslo, August 31st
09 La petite Lise
10 Late Autumn

Bad Taste
Dawn of the Dead
*** Metropolis
Rust and Bone
06 Suspiria
07 Possession
08 The Birth of a Nation
09 The Ghost of Yotsuya
10 Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion

And the stats!

I have seen:
13 A+s (4% of year’s viewings)
29 As (9%)
70 A-s (21%)
64 B+s (19%)
46 Bs (14%)
37 B-s (11%)
37 C+s (11%)
26 Cs (8%)
12 C-s (4%)
5 Ds (1%)
1 F (0.29%)

As anyone I’ve harassed with my year-long updates knows, I’ve been tackling my stat-making month by month. Based on the percentage of A-range viewings, this is the quality of the filmwatching months I’ve had this year:

01 NOVEMBER - 46% of 26 viewings (#1 - Wake in Fright)
02 MARCH - 42% of 26 viewings (#1 - Le jour se lève)
03 FEBRUARY - 40% of 20 viewings (#1 - Raging Bull)
04 AUGUST - 38% of 26 viewings (#1 - Straits of Hunger)
05 JULY - 36% of 36 viewings (#1 - Sans soleil)
06 DECEMBER - 35% of 26 viewings (#1 - Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles)
07 MAY - 34% of 41 viewings (#1 - The Set-Up)
08 JANUARY - 30% of 30 viewings (#1 - Yearning)
09 JUNE - 27% of 30 viewings (#1 - Close-Up)
10 APRIL - 24% of 21 viewings (#1 - Eros + Massacre)
11 SEPTEMBER - 23% of 31 viewings (#1 - Tea and Sympathy)
12 OCTOBER - 22% of 27 viewings (#1 - Love)

I have seen:
1 film from the 1910s
8 films from the 1920s
18 films from the 1930s
48 films from the 1940s
66 films from the 1950s
51 films from the 1960s
27 films from the 1970s
21 films from the 1980s
24 films from the 1990s
42 films from the 2000s
34 films from the 2010s

I’ve seen at least one film from every year 1930-2012. The year I’ve seen the most films from is 2011 (17) followed by 1948 (12), 1952 and 1956 (11 each), 2012 (10), 1959 and 2009 (9 each), 1947, 1950 and 1992 (8 each), 1957, 1960, 1961, 1964, 2007 and 2010 (7 each) and 1968, 1969 and 2008 (6 each).

The director I paid the most attention to this year was Mikio Naruse, with 14 films viewed. Runner-up was Yasujirō Ozu with 10, followed by Nagisa Ōshima (9), Robert Wise (8), Kihachi Okamoto and Tomu Uchida (5 each), Preston Sturges (4), Ingmar Bergman, Marcel Carné, Vittorio de Sica, Asghar Farhadi, Peter Jackson, Michael Powell* and Roberto Rossellini (3 each) and Yves Allégret, Michelangelo Antonioni, Henning Carlsen, Renato Castellani, Jean Grémillon, Alfred Hitchcock, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Akira Kurosawa, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Alexander Mackendrick, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Lucrecia Martel, Nobuo Nakagawa, Darezhan Omirbaev, Jafar Panahi, Otto Preminger, Emeric Pressburger*, Nicholas Ray, George A. Romero, Céline Sciamma and J. Lee Thompson with 2 each.
* I saw one film directed during Powell’s solo career and two directed by Powell and Pressburger as a directing team.

This year I have seen films from a total of 265 directors, included in which are 10 directorial teams. They represent 55 countries.

I have seen:
86 films from the USA
71 films from Japan
35 films from France
21 films from the UK
16 films from Italy
10 films each from Argentina and Iran
6 films each from Germany, New Zealand and South Korea
5 films each from Hungary and Sweden
4 films from Romania
3 films each from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Spain and the former USSR
2 films each from Belgium, India, Poland, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, Switzerland and Taiwan
and 1 film from each of the following countries: Austria, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the former state of Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Israel, former unified Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, the former Republic of China, Senegal, Slovenia, Thailand and the former state of Yugoslavia

Languages - English (128), Japanese (70), French (33), Spanish (19), Italian (13), Farsi (10), German, Hungarian and Russian (6), Chinese, Korean and Swedish (5), Portuguese (4), Danish and Romanian (3), Kazakh and Polish (2) and Arabic, Bengali, Bergamasque, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Lithuanian, Moré, Norwegian, Plautdietsch, Serbian, Slovene, Tagalog, Thai and Wolof with 1 each. I have also seen 3 silent films without intertitles.

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