06 janvier 2007

TOP 2006

I'm reluctant to make my top this year because I don't have a favorite masterpiece... I feel I have yet to watch the best ones this year (Lynch, Tsai, Weerasethakul, Jia, Hong Sang-soo...).

I agree with Andy Horbal's blame of the list-mania, but I'd like to argue against "capsule summary" that simplify the opinion in few words as a year-end reminder. I'd rather post a bare list that functions as a mere barometer and can be compared with others. It shows how the year was perceived differently by critics, or how distribution was limited. A neutral assessment of the warmest recommendations.

Only 10 titles on my list got an official distribution in France, and most of the time a narrow exposition. Only 4 French films, truly original and inspired (one of them is made by a japanese director). 4 debut feature-length directors. 3 Documentaries.
But these are challenging films more interesting than the "commercial auteurs". I think they are exemplary formaly and thematically, to which I give more credit than the comfortable mannerism of older auteurs doing what they master within the safe codes of the genre. I think they deserve more support from critics and cinephiles, and should inspire future cinema to be more creative.

20 films, roughly in preferential order :

  • Our Daily Bread (2005/Nikolaus Geyrhalter/Autriche) DOC
  • Fantasma (2006/Lisandro Alonso/Argentine)
  • Lights in the dusk (2006/Aki Kaurismäki/Finlande)
  • Climates (2006/Nuri Bilge Ceylan/Turkey)
  • Dans Paris (2006/Christophe Honoré/France)
  • Drawing Restraint 9 (2005/Matthew Barney/USA)
  • Ten Canoes (2006/Rolf de Heer/Peter/Australie)
  • Juventude em Marcha / Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa/Portugal)
  • Hamaca paraguaya (2006/Paz Encina/Paraguay) Debut
  • La science des rêves (2006/Michel Gondry/France)
  • Into Great Silence (2006/Gröning/Germany) DOC Debut
  • Là-bas (2006/Chantal Akerman/Belgique) DOC
  • Sommer '04 (2006/Krohmer/Allemagne)
  • Flandres (2006/Bruno Dumont/France)
  • Un couple parfait (2005/Nobuhiro Suwa/France)
  • 12h08 East of Bucarest (2006/Corneliu Porumboiu/Romanie) Debut
  • Sangre (2006/amat Escalante/Mexique) Debut
  • Zemastan / It's Winter (2006/Rafi Pitts/Iran)
  • Sehnsucht (2006/Valeska Grisebach/Autriche)
  • Drama/Mex (2006/Gerardo Naranjo/Mexique)

Special Mentions : Bamako (2006/Sissako/Mali); Volver (2006/Almodovar/Spain) ; Klimt (2006/Ruiz/France); Conversations with Other Women (2005/Canosa/UK); To Get To Heaven First You Have To Die (2006/Usmonov/Tadjikistan); Coeurs (2006/Resnais/France); Renaissance (2006/Volckman/France); La Tourneuse de pages (2006/Dercourt/France); Requiem (2006/Schmid/Germany); 4h30 (2005/Royston Tan/Singapour); Anche Libero va bene (2006/Stuart/Italy); La Raison du Plus Faible (2006/Belvaux/Belgium); Tristram Shandy (2005/Winterbottom/UK); Two Thirty 7 (2006/Thalluri/Australia); Paprika (2006/Kon/Japan); Bubble (2006/Soderbergh/USA)

On my list last year : Lazarescu; The Sun; L'Enfant; Three Times; Battle in Heaven; Manderlay...

Major unseen potential nominees : Inland Empire; Still Life + Dong; Syndromes and a Century; I Don't Want to Sleep Alone; Woman on the Beach; Iraq in Fragments; Oxhide; The Power of Nightmares; Rescue Dawn; White Diamond; The Boss of It All; Half Nelson...

12 commentaires:

Ouyang Feng a dit…

I,too, am not too positive with lists, but for me, it's more a personal reminder (not a consensual best). Also I am more into highlighting minor, under-exposed films than films made by internationally known directors. After all, new creations and original discoveries stay in our mind longer than the usual, expected films. Unfortunately, most of those films stay in the festival circuit, so few get a proper distribution.
Looking at your list made me realize how much I miss many non-Asian films! :p

HarryTuttle a dit…

I didn't even notice how few asian films make my list (only 2 out of 36 films cited). Cahiers also notes this lack of non-western films in their top10.
Usually Hong Sang-soo and Tsai are distributed in France after Cannes...
I saw Luxury Car, but it wasn't great.
I'll have to keep an eye out for your asian films recommendations ;)

Ouyang Feng a dit…

It's also because as I said these films mainly stay in the festival circuit. Even more when it comes down to documentaries. Most films that get distributed are the ones that had European co-production or strong, established Asian production.
It's a pity because some of them are really interesting and great pieces of work and do stand out from the conventional, coded films.
Luxury Car was okay, but if we compare to Orphan of Anyang, it's a bit disappointing.
Tsai's film will get released, same as for Hong's Woman on the Beach (but personally, perhaps I get tired of his films, but it's a bit faded) and also Jia Zhangke's Still Life. But they are known now.

Jo Custer a dit…

Ah, I'm glad I stopped by. My netflix queue just got considerably longer :)

You know, there has been a huge push in the last year or so in Pittsburgh to increase the showing of Asian cinema and the introduction of directors, but it is often hard to get anything foreign film-wise to really stick here, but especially when dealing with such two disparate cultures, it seems.

Ouyang Feng a dit…

Perhaps also because mainly only foreign films that are still close or related to the western cultures or that can be enough understood beyond the western cultural codes can get through. A foreign film will be distributed if this precise film will get an audience large enough, meaning that the audience won't be just critics, film academics... This means also that the film must contain enough "universal" themes and common ways of filmmaking and not remain only to its inner/domestic/local identity, culture, reference.
It's also based on western appreciations.

Anonyme a dit…

Harry, that's a marevlous and thoughtful list you've put together. While I didn't love all of those movies as much as you did, I can sense your love of cinema and of life in the list.

Thanks for your comments on my blog. One of my new year's resolutions is to be better about engaging in the "conversation." As I was telling someone the other day, I'm not a natural writer, so even sending an email (or leaving a comment) can feel like work. But I know the work is rewarding, and the conversation enriching.

I hope to join in the Contemplative Cinema Blog-a-thon. Maybe I'll try to write something about Still Life and Dong. I've resisted doing so, as I feel inadequate to the task. But next to Werckmeister Harmonies, those two Jia films are my favorite of the decade so far. Hopefully, you (and I) will get a chance to see them soon. Thanks again for the invitation.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Ouyang Feng,
I'm not too worried if films take a long time to go from festival to official release (I'm just a bit impatient), as long as they are distributed at all, even 2 or 3 years late! What is tragic is that some of them never make it to the public circuit...
There is a debate in Cahiers about the distribution in France. Theys ay there are too many films (and too few screens alocated to artfilms). There should be an alternate circuit to distribute films with little audience (with an alternate mode of projections), so they don't leave the screen if the public doesn't go en masse. I think one show per day instead of 6, in rotation with other small films would be better than no distribution at all.

I don't think we need "westernized" asian films... sure they won't make the box office of a blockbuster, like any artfilm niche, but there are cinephiles who are interested in discovering an unfamiliar cinema. But maybe we can discuss this point with your contribution to the blogathon. ;)

Hi Johanna,
Are these films already on Netflix?

J Robert,
Thank you very much for stopping by and dropping a comment. I know the feeling, I'm all over the place this week, with discussions in different places. It's crazy. I'm looking forward to your contribution to the blogathon!
I can't wait for the Jia films.

Ouyang Feng a dit…

To tell you the truth, probably not even 1/8 of the films screened in international festivals will get a release especially if the films didn't get any support/funding from a western festival, western institutions or a western co-productions. Then, if I take the case for China, rare would be true entire independent films (I'm not talking about Jia Zhangke's films anymore) to be distributed in the west, they mainly stay in the festival circuit, and it's not even representative if we compare to the amount of films being made. Also, the word independent hasn't got the same impact, meaning in the west than in China.
I'll go a bit more into it with the blogathon (since my subject deals with independent Chinese films, actually more about documentaries and their characteristics, which will include contemplative attitude).

I think one of the problem with distribution in France or more like showing films in cinema, it's as soon as you want to screen a film in a cinema, the film has to be registered to the CNC, and has its "visa d'exploitation". So the alternative is to screen unregistered films in art spaces, or alternative spaces (but even then, if one sticks to the law, any public screening has to be registered to the CNC, and unfortunately, this is in the way how it's going, until not it was tolerated but perhaps not for that long...).
I've heard that the director of CNC was pleased of this year because much more people went to the cinema... but to see what ?

HarryTuttle a dit…

Cahiers 2006 top10
1) Coeurs (Resnais)
1) The Sun (Sokurov)
3) The Host (Bong)
4) Lady Chatterley (Ferran)
5) Un Couple Parfait (Suwa)
6) Ces Rencontres Avec Eux (Straub-Huillet)
6) The Lady In The Water (Shylaman)
6) Truman Capote (Miller)
9) The Departed (Scorsese)
10) The Flags of Our Fathers (Eastwood)
10) The New World (Malick)

Cahiers Readers 2006 top10
1) Lady Chatterley (Ferran)
2) The Departed (Scorsese)
3) Coeurs (Resnais)
4) Volver (Almodovar)
5) The Sun (Sokurov)
6) Miami Vice (Mann)
7) Marie Antoinette (Coppola)
8) Flandres (Dumont)
8) Il Caimano (Moretti)
8) Dans Paris (Honoré)

HarryTuttle a dit…

Telerama Best of 2006

- Volver (Almodovar)
- The Comedy of Power (Chabrol)
- The Wind Shakes The Barley (Loach)
- Brokeback Moutain (Lee)
- Il Caimano (Moretti)
- Lazarescu (Puiu)
- Dans Paris (Honoré)
- Walk The Line (Mangold)
- Anche libero va bene (Stuart)
- Little Miss Sunshine (Frais/Dayton)
- La Raison de Plus Faible (Belvaux)
- Brick (Johnson)
- Le Pressentiment (Darroussin)
- U (Solotareff/Elissalde)
- C.R.A.Z.Y. (Vallée)

HarryTuttle a dit…

2006 PRIZE OF Listenners of RADIO BROADCAST Le Masque et La Plume

1) Lady Chatterley (Ferran)
2) Je vais bien ne t’en fais pas (Lioret)
3) Cœurs (Resnais)
4) Indigènes (Bouchareb)
5) Changement d’adresse (Mouret)
6) Dans Paris (Honoré)
7) La science des rêves (Gondry)
8) Fauteuil d’orchestre (Thompson)
9) Les fragments d’Antonin (Le Bomin)
10) The Comedy of Power (Chabrol)

1) Volver (Almodovar)
2) Little Miss Sunshine (Frais/Dayton)
3) Brokeback Moutain (Lee)
4) The New World (Malick)
5) The Wind Shakes The Barley (Loach)
6) The Queen (Frears)
7) Babel (Inaritu)
8) C.R.A.Z.Y. (Vallée)
9) Truman Capote (Miller)
10) The Departed (Scorsese)

Jo Custer a dit…

Nah, but I always ckeck back on a good list...from your top 20, only La science des rêves (2006/Michel Gondry/France) was available, but the following were saveable:

Climates, Ten Canoes, Into Great Silence, Flandres,12h08 East of Bucarest

I'll keep checking back to fatten the queue. Cheers!