Editors’ Note
As readers may seek and search entries, rather than read from beginning to end, full titles, director credits and years of release have been included with each reference.

Several authors have added details about countries of origin. As these are hard to verify, given the complexities of international financing, no attempt has been made to standardise the information.

Finally, authors did not always supply the original film title, so they have been added by the Editors. Despite diligent efforts, inadvertent errors may have occurred.

Grateful thanks to all those who sent in entries.

Bill Mousoulis

Darragh O’Donoghue

George Papadopoulos

Alan Pavelin

Rui Pereira

Polona Petek

Alberto Pezzotta

Jit Phokaew

Andy Rector

Bérénice Reynaud

Marcos Ribas de Faria

Peter Rist

James Rose

Jose Sarmiento

Christophe Sorro

Mark Spratt

Brad Stevens

Richard Suchenski

Henrik Sylow

Josh Timmermann

Rüdiger Tomczak

Peter Tonguette

David Walsh

Nicola White

Deane Williams

Tim Wong

Bill Mousoulis

Melbourne-based film director and founding editor of Senses of Cinema.

When compiling these lists, I felt I couldn’t fill the lists with the traditional number of ten titles. I stuck with the titles that clearly divided themselves away from other ones, in all the categories. I wish I could’ve included an Australian work in the Best Films, but the main contenders (The Marey Project by James Clayden, Satellite by Ben Speth and High Noon Tide by Trevor Rooney, all 2005 works) just missed out. Also, coincidentally (or not coincidentally, of course), all seven of my Best Films have only screened once in Melbourne, at the Melbourne International Film Festival. None was released theatrically and it is doubtful they will be in the months ahead.

As for my Worst Film of the Year, I make no apologies! Emperor’s New Clothes indeed!

Best Films of the Year:

Yeoja, Jeong-hye

1. Yeoja, Jeong-hye (This Charming Girl, Lee Yoon-ki, 2004)
2. Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (Peter Tscherkassky, 2004)
3. L’Intrus (The Intruder, Claire Denis, 2004)
4. Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, Tsai Ming-liang, 2005)
5. L’Enfant (The Child, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2005)
6. Le Pont des Arts (Eugène Green, 2004)
7. Rois et Reine (Kings and Queen, Arnaud Desplechin, 2004)

Worst Films of the Year:

1. Look Both Ways (Sarah Watt, 2005)
2. The Symphony of Scenes (film/music performance by David Shea, 2005)
3. 9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom, 2004)
4. Masked and Anonymous (Larry Charles, 2003)
5. Vento di terra (Vicenzo Marra, 2004)

(Re)Discoveries of the Year:

1. Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Jacques Demy, 1964)
2. Philippe Garrel, especially Elle a passé tant d’heures sous les sunlights … (1985)
3. Martin Scorsese, especially Mean Streets (1973) and The King of Comedy (1983)
4. Abel Ferrara, especially The Addiction (1995) and The Blackout (1997)
5. ’Non’, ou A Vã Glória de Mandar (No, or the Vainglory of Command, Manoel de Oliveira, 1990)
6. Gone to Earth (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1950)
7. Australian underground: Forever (Ben Speth, 2005) and Adam and Eve (Paul Jeffery, 2001)

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Darragh O’Donoghue

Failed to complete his Ph.D. in French films and crime fiction. He is training to be an archivist.

My highlight of the year: Les Dennis as himself in Ricky Gervais’ under-rated Extras (2005). There’s nothing new in light entertainers exploring their ’dark’ sides, and there’s something self-gratifying in such public self-flagellation, but, for me, Dennis’ literal and emotional nakedness was painful.

I enjoyed the following new(ish) things in 2005:

Heimat 3 – Chronik einer Zeitenwende (Heimat 3 – A Chronicle of Endings and Beginnings, Edgar Reitz, 2005)
At times confusing bombast with Big Themes, Heimat, by dint of length and familiarity, is cumulatively involving in a way few films manage.

The Last Furlong (Kieran Carney and Tom Hall, 2005)
Critics suggest this comedy-drama doesn’t know what it wants to be; I found it amusing, curiously affecting and a rare Irish road movie (er, television programme).

The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon (BBC-British Film Institute, 2005)
And related M&K activities, such as the book, the DVDs and the regional tours (the Irish films were shown at the National Library, 10 November, and made my heart stop).

Les Premiers pas du Cinéma (Eric Lange and Serge Bromberg, 2003-4)

Rocky Road to Dublin (Peter Lennon, 1968)
Barely seen in Ireland since its first controversial, limited release.

Serenity (Joss Whedon, 2005)

Taxi zum Klo (Frank Ripploh, 1981)
Its first uncut UK release courtesy of FilmFour.

Team America: World Police (Trey Parker, 2004)
2046 (Wong Kar-Wai, 2004)
The Wild Blue Yonder (Werner Herzog, 2005)

Retrospectives, reissues and DVD releases enabled me to see works I should have caught years ago:

Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks, Leo Birinsky and Paul Leni, 1924)
Water Wagons (Del Lord, 1925)
Nana (Jean Renoir, 1926)
Asphalt (Joe May, 1929) and other releases in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema DVD series
Piccadilly (E. A. Dupont, 1929)
Champagne Charlie (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1944)
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (Robert Siodmak, 1945)
Blanche Fury (Marc Allégret, 1947)
Madame Bovary (Vicente Minnelli, 1949)
Whirlpool (Otto Preminger, 1949)
Macao (Josef von Sternberg, 1952)
A King in New York (1957, Charles Chaplin)
Mother India (Mehboob [Khan], 1957)
Hanyo (The Housemaid, Kim Ki-young, 1960)
Dama s sobachkoy (The Lady with the Dog, Iosif Kheifits, 1960)
Nise daigakusei (A False Student, Yasuzo Masumura, 1960)
Akai tenshi (Red Angel, Yasuzo Masumura, 1966)
Batman (Leslie H. Martinson, 1966)
Two For the Road (Stanley Donen, 1967)
Winnetou und Shatterhand im Tal der Toten (Winnetou and Shatterhand in the Valley of Death, Harald Reinl, 1968)
Brady’s Bargain (Spence Bros., 197?)
Trash (Paul Morrissey, 1970)
Blood for Dracula (Paul Morrissey, 1974)
Warum läuf Herr R. Amok? (Why Does Herr R Run Amok? (Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Michael Fengler, 1970)
McMillan and Wife (Leonard Stern, et al, 1971)
En Forarsdag i Helvede (A Sunday in Hell, Jorgen Leth, 1976)
Langrishe Go Down (David Hugh Jones, 1978)
Pennies From Heaven (Piers Haggard, 1978)
Mandi (Shyam Benegal, 1983)
Elephant (Alan Clarke, 1989)
As You Like It (Alexei Karayev, 1994)
The Oasis Video that Never Happened (Spike Jonze, 1997)
The Alcohol Years (Carol Morley, 2000)
Decasia (Bill Morrison, 2002)
Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2003)
Shameless (Jonny Campbell, et al, 2004).

As for stinkers, Michel Deville’s last, Un Fil à la patte (2005), is clumsy, ugly and conclusive proof that Georges Feydeau cannot be adopted for the screen.

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George Papadopoulos

General Manager of Melbourne-based independent film distributor, Accent Film Entertainment.

1. Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005)
2. Closer (Mike Nichols, 2004)
3. Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003)
4. Birth (Jonathan Glazer, 2004)
5. Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2005)
6. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Alex Gibney, 2005)
7. L’Enfant (The Child, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2005)
8. Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2005)
9. Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, 2004)
10. Sideways (Alexander Payne, 2004)

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Alan Pavelin

Has been interested in international cinema since the 1960s, and has been writing about it since the 1980s. He has a particular interest in the portrayal of religious themes in film, and wrote a small self-published book, Fifty Religious Films (UK, 1990).

The 10 best UK releases in 2005 that I have seen are:

1. Trilogia I: To Livadi pou dakryzei (Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow, Theo Angelopoulos, 2004)
The Greek master’s stunning powers of cinematography and choreography are undiminished.

2. Kôhi jikô (Café Lumière, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2003)
Some critics complained that, in this homage to Yasujiro Ozu, “nothing happens”. To my mind, everything happens; you just have to look.

The Sun

3. Le Chiava di Casa (The Keys to the House, Gianni Amelio, 2004)
A moving yet unsentimental humanist masterpiece from the Italian veteran.

4. Solntse (The Sun, Aleksandr Sokurov, 2005)
Unexpectedly absorbing episode in the life of the Emperor Hirohito, superbly acted.

5. Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, 2004)
Deserving Oscar-winner from the amazing septuagenarian.

6. 5×2 (François Ozon, 2004)
Clever backwards drama of a disintegrating marriage.

7. 2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004)
Stunning to look at, but did not, for me, quite live up to all the hype.

8. Sideways (Alexander Payne, 2004)
That rarity, a comedy worthy of the name, which sent pinot noir sales soaring.

9. Whisky (Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, 2005)
I hope all Finnish-style comedies from Uruguay are as good as this!

10. La Niña santa (The Holy Girl, Lucrecia Martel, 2004)
I’m not one of the over-enthusiasts for recent Latin-American cinema, but this is the best I have seen.

The older I get, the more I look for films which speak to me personally, and the less I want to see films which may be critically raved over but which have little personal appeal. I saw fewer than 5% of all new releases; the remaining 95% held little or no interest.

One trend I unreservedly deplore is the introduction of “real sex” into mainstream films: 9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom, 2004), Batalla en el cielo (Battle in Heaven, Carlos Reygadas, 2005). Paying non-actors (in two senses of the word) to copulate is prostitution, and to film them doing so makes it worse. Those critics who praised these films, possibly through fear of being thought “judgemental” or “politically incorrect”, should explain why they find this form of prostitution acceptable.

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Rui Pereira

Co-director of IndieLisboa – International Independent Film Festival and Head of Acquisitions at Atalanta Filmes.

Best films seen anywhere, in no specific order:

Saraband (2003) by Ingmar Bergman

Johanna (2005) by Kornél Mundruczó
For the discovery of a director and the surprising mixture of Expressionism and Opera

Chetyre (4, 2004) by Ilya Khrzhanovsky
The year’s punch in the stomach! A little unbalanced but definitely the work of a very talented director who’s still going to make his best film. And the work we had to have him at IndieLisboa.

Mysterious Skin (2004) by Gregg Araki
For the comeback of an almost forgotten director and for the confirmation that sometimes ageing is good.

Last Days (2005) by Gus van Sant
The end of a trilogy that confirms that, if it hadn’t been for the Hollywood flirt and we’d been friends forever, I’m almost forgiving him.

Broken Flowers (2005) by Jim Jarmusch
His Hollywood flirt? Nevertheless, still full of details and made with lots of love. And Bill Murray is great!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) by Tim Burton
This one has gone to Hollywood long ago, but he’s still able to surprise me every time. And I like it!

Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) by Miranda July
The funniest, craziest, absurdist film of the year! I have to meet her!

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2005) by Wes Anderson
The second funniest, craziest, absurdist film of the year!

Rois et Reine (Kings and Queen, 2004) by Arnaud Desplechin
Solid, consistent, breath-taking, deep but funny at the same time. Very French.

Alice (2005) by Marco Martins
The Portuguese revelation of the year! Surprisingly solid and consistent. Very sad. Great actor (Nuno Lopes) and soundtrack (Bernardo Sassetti)

Odete (2005) by João Pedro Rodrigues
A little unbalanced, probably because of the actress. Still, it’s the confirmation that O Fantasma (2000) didn’t happen by chance.

Eri, Eri, rema sabachitani? (2005) by Shinji Aoyama
UAU!

Un Couple parfait (2005) by Nobuhiro Suwa
The discovery of a director! We’ll do a retrospective next year at IndieLisboa and I’ll use it to see all of his previous films.

The Wayward Cloud

Bu san (Goodbye Dragon Inn, 2003) by Tsai Ming-Liang
What can I say? A master’s work!

Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, 2005) by Tsai Ming-Liang
The best porn, musical, artistic film of the year.

Films that I’ve failed to see, although I had so many chances (I’m sure I’ll do it in 2006):

A History of Violence (2005) by David Cronenberg
Batalla en el cielo (Battle in Heaven, 2005) by Carlos Reygadas
Hak seh wui (Election, Johnnie To, 2005) by Johnny To
Match Point (2005) by Woody Allen
Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times, 2005) by Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Surprise of the year:

The commercial re-release of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) in Lisbon.
Who’d guess that a film that’s screened every two months at the Portuguese Cinemateca would be seen by about 10,000 people in two months? Really, there are things in the Portuguese audiences that one finds hard to understand …

Best moments and other highlights of the year:

Being at Johanna’s screening in Cannes and noticing that the audience was abandoning the room little by little. The shock was bigger than curiosity.

Seu Jorge singing in Portuguese some of David Bowie’s greatest songs in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. And they work very well!

The new Argentinean cinema that we presented this year at IndieLisboa. The discovery (or confirmation) of a consistent cinematography.

Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, Tsai Ming-liang, 2005), last sequence.

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Polona Petek

Recently completed her PhD in the Cinema Studies program at the University of Melbourne.

Best films of 2005:

1. Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki, USA-The Netherlands, 2004)
2. Gegen die Wand (Head On, Fatih Akin, Germany, 2004)
3. Al-Jenna-An (Paradise Now, Hany Abu-Assad, France-Germany-The Netherlands-Israel, 2005)
4. Nochnoy dozor (Night Watch, Timur Bekmambetov, Russia, 2004)
5. Exils (Exiles, Tony Gatlif, France-Japan, 2004)
6. Mar adentro (The Sea Inside, Alejandro Amenábar, Spain-France-Italy, 2004)
7. Walk on Water (Eytan Fox, Israel-Sweden, 2004)
8. Lakposhtha hâm parvaz mikonand (Turtles Can Fly, Bahman Ghobadi, Iran-France-Iraq, 2004)
9. La Mala educación (Bad Education, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2004)
10. OldBoy (Park Chan-wook, Korea, 2003)

Worst films of 2005:

1. The Aviator (Martin Scorsese, USA-Japan- Germany, 2004)
2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton, USA-UK-Australia, 2005)
3. Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (John Pasquin, USA, 2005)

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Alberto Pezzotta

Born in 1965, Pezzotta writes for leading Italian newspapers, film magazines and movie encyclopædias, and watches at least half of the movies released every year in his country, one of the saddest and least civilized of Europe. His main interests, as cinéphile, are Italian cinema (in 2004 he wrote an essay about Damiano Damiani) and Hong Kong cinema..

In no particular order:

Heimat 3 – Chronik einer Zeitenwende (Heimat 3 – A Chronicle of Endings and Beginnings, Edgar Reitz, 2005)
Caché (Hidden, Michael Haneke, 2005)
Wild Blue Yonder (Werner Herzog, 2005)
Mary (Abel Ferrara, 2005)
Solntse (The Sun, Aleksandr Sokurov, 2005)

Best DVD:

The Big Red One – The Reconstruction (Samuel Fuller, 1980 and 2004)

The globalisation makes more movies visible – even Sud Pralad (Tropical Malady, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004) – has been shortly released in Italian theatres, together with all the titles quoted above, but creates also monsters, films d’auteur prêt-à-porter looking for cheap shocks like Batalla en el cielo (Battle in Heaven, Carlos Reygadas, 2005), Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, Tsai Ming-liang, 2005) and Manderlay (Lars von Trier). I’m sure most of the critics and audiences who loved these movies are way more honest than their directors. Luckily, I’m becoming too old and jaded for this kind of stuff, and I last read Georges Bataille in the ’80s.

Still have to see latest works by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Johnny To, Suzuki, Amir Naderi.

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Jit Phokaew

A Bangkok-based cinéphile.

Favourite films:

1. Afternoon Time (Tossapol Boonsinsukh, 2005)
Tossapol is a 23-year-old Thai filmmaker who has made about 80 short films during the past four years. Most of them are rarely shown. I have seen only seven of his films. Most of them are strange, uncompromising, minimalist and full of static shots, and they focus on ’feelings’ rather than ’story’. Afternoon Time is his first feature and is about a lonely girl in an almost empty restaurant. Its extreme slowness and lack of action might frustrate some viewers, but can please some fans of Jun Ichikawa or Marguerite Duras.

2. L’Expérience préhistorique (Christelle Lheureux, 2004)
L’Expérience préhistorique is a silent movie inspired by Gion no shimai (Sisters of the Gion, Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936). However, the story of L’Expérience préhistorique changes every time it is shown in a different country, because Lheureux asks a different guest from each country to create a new story to accompany her silent movie. When it was shown in Bangkok, the story was provided by Prabda Yoon, a famous Thai writer, and is about a male Japanese hostage in Iraq and people who are related to him.

Angel’s Fall

3. Slepa pega (Blind Spot, Hanna Antonina Wojcik Slak, 2002)
4. Melegin düsüsü (Angel’s Fall, Semih Kaplanoglu, 2005)
5. Madame X – Eine absolute Herrscherin (Madame X: An Absolute Ruler, Ulrike Ottinger, 1978)
6. À tout de suite (Right Now, Benoît Jacquot, 2004)
7. Das Schloss (The Castle, Michael Haneke, 1997)
8. The Assassination of Richard Nixon (Niels Mueller, 2004)
9. A Raíz do Coração (The Root of the Heart, Paulo Rocha, 2000)
10. Schultze Gets the Blues (Michael Schorr, 2003)
11. Zmruz oczy (Squint Your Eyes, Andrzej Jakimowski, 2002)
12. Hoteru haibisukasu (Hotel Hibiscus, Yuji Nakae, 2003)
13. Chetyre (4, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, 2004)
14. Ang pamilyang kumakain ng lupa (The Family That Eats Soil, Khavn, 2004)
15. Prípad pro zacínajícího kata (A Case for a Rookie Hangman, Pavel Jurácek, 1970)
16. Temporada de patos (Duck Season, Fernando Eimbcke, 2004)
17. Reconstruction (Christoffer Boe, 2003)
18. Violet Basil (Supamok Silarak, 2004)
19. Australian Rules (Paul Goldman, 2002)
20. Aries: A Poem for Katia (Faozan Rizal, 2004)

Favourite Documentaries:

1. Arbres (Trees, Sophie Bruneau and Marc-Antoine Roudil, 2002)
2. Innocence (Nisa Kongsri and Areeya Chumsai, 2005)
3. Rasinah: The Enchanted Mask (Rhoda Grauer, 2004)
4. Umma (Mother, Hohyun Joung, 2005)
5. Cease! Fire! (Saw Eh Doh Wah and Scott O’Brien, 2003)

Favourite short films:

1. Pamela, pour toujours (Alain Bourges, 2003)
2. Jim (Tosaporn Mongkol, 2005)
3. Muspilli (Stefan Popescu, 2004)
4. Relativity plus Quantum (Zart Tancharoen, 2004)
5. Playgirl (Michael Shaowanasai, 2005)
6. Afternoon (Poopaan Sornwismongkol, 2005)
7. Dinner (Sivaroj Kongsagul, 2005)
8. Dajang Soembi, Perempoean Jang Dikawini Andjing (Dajang Soembi, The Woman Who Married to a Dog, Daud Sumalong, 2004)
9. Associations (John Smith, 1975)
10. Company of Mushroom (Tan Chui Mui, 2005)

Three favourite cinematic trends:

1. Curious hybrids between documentary and fiction in Thai short films

Many Thai short films shown in 2005 are hybrids between documentary and fiction. Some filmmakers are not afraid any more to add a little bit of fiction or staged scenes in their documentaries. Some filmmakers observe their fictional characters as if they were real people, while others observe their real-life subjects as if they were fictional. Films in this broadly defined genre also include mockumentaries, fictions which depict daily lives of ordinary people, and many films which make me wonder if they are documentaries or fictions. Excellent Thai films in this category include Just a Second: The Khong Legend (Santiphap Inkong-ngam, 2003), Andaman (Sompot Chidgasornpongse, 2005), Smiles of the Fifth Night (Sonthaya Subyen, 2005), Life Show (Thunska Pansittivorakul, 2005), Earthcore (Chookiat Sakvirakul, 2005), Bud-dha-kala (Tanapol Virulhakul, 2005), Student (James Prutwarasin, 2005), A Half Life of Carbon 14 (Punlop Horharin, 2005), My Song Classroom (Benjaphan Rungsubhatanond, 2005), Sleeping Beauty (Manussa Vorasingha, 2005), Opportunities (Nitipong Thinthupthai, 2005), Undo Redo (Chatchai Suban, 2005), Tits & Bums (Santi Taepanich, 2005), The Audience (Tossapol Boonsinsukh, 2005), Ghost of Asia (Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Christelle Lheureux, 2005), Worldly Desires (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2005) and four films made by Uruphong Raksasad: The Longest Day (2005), The Musician (2005), Day and Night (2005) and The Bicycle Song (2005).

2. Horror films which depict female trauma or give no explanation

Some horror films do an excellent job of depicting female trauma: The Red Shoes (Kim Yong-gyun, 2005), Dark Water (Walter Salles, 2005), The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005), Slim Till Dead (Marco Mak Chi-sin, 2005), Bunshinsaba (Ouija Board, Ahn Byeong-ki, 2004), Yeogo goedam 3: Yeowoo gyedan (Wishing Stairs, Yun Jae-yeon, 2003) and The Maid (Kelvin Tong, 2005). And some of the best horror films show that evil needs no explanation: Hotel (Jessica Hausner, 2004), Boogeyman (Stephen Kay, 2005), Haze (Shinya Tsukamoto, 2005) and two segments directed by Kosuke Suzuki in the omnibus film Kaidan Shin Mimibukuro: gekijô-ban (Tales of Terror, 2004).

3. Female anguish and great performances

Some films portray female anguish very painfully and powerfully, and their success rely a lot on the enormous talents of their leading actresses. Some films in this category are about old women: Kagami no onnatachi (Women in the Mirror, Yoshishige Yoshida, 2002), Ladies in Lavender (Charles Dance, 2004), Bulutlari beklerken (Waiting for the Clouds, Yesim Ustaoglu, 2004), From Mom (Unchalee Thaingamsin, 2004). Some are about married women: La Femme de Gilles (Gilles’ Wife, Frédéric Fonteyne, 2004), Ve’Lakhta Lehe Isha (To Take a Wife, Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, 2004), The Syrian Bride (Eran Riklis, 2004), Rokugatsu no hebi (A Snake of June, Shinya Tsukamoto, 2002), 5×2 (François Ozon, 2004), Yasmin (Kenneth Glenaan, 2004). Some are about young girls: Meisje (Girl, Dorothée Van den Berghe, 2002), J’ai toujours voulu être une sainte (I Always Wanted to Be a Saint, Geneviève Mersch, 2003), My Summer of Love (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2004), Somersault (Cate Shortland, 2004), Cracker Bag (Glendyn Ivin, 2003).

Guilty Pleasures:

Guess Who (Kevin Rodney Sullivan, 2005), Arsène Lupin (Jean-Paul Salomé, 2004), Assault on Precinct 13 (Jean-Francois Richet, 2005), House of Wax (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2005) and Long Khong (Art of the Devil II, Ronin Team, 2005).

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Andy Rector

Critic and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. He can virtually be found at http://kinoslang.blogspot.com

In no particular order:

1. Shijie (The World, Jia Zhang-ke, 2004)
2. Histoire de Marie et Julien (The Story of Marie and Julien, Jacques Rivette, 2003)
3. Chats perchés (Chris Marker, 2004)
4. Essex Street Market (Ernie Gehr, 2004)
5. Professione: reporter (The Passenger, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975)
6. Noon Time Activities (Ernie Gehr, 2004)
7. The Big Red One: The Reconstruction (Samuel Fuller, 1980 and 2004)
8. Pas sur la bouche (Alain Resnais, 2003)
9. He Who Hits First, Hits Twice: The Urgent Cinema of Santiago (Santiago Alvarez, DVD release, 2005)
10. Trona (David Fenster, 2004)

The Curious Apparatus … Nevermore the cat (of Rivette’s film) carries the banner of the curious apparatus: Jia’s cell phones and walls, Resnais’ charade, Jack Nicholson’s tape recorder, Ernie Gehr’s M 16 (Kodak pocket camera used to shoot the above films in the early ’70s, then transferred to DV for editing) – as photographically haunted as Marker’s images are digitally so.

Trona … A comedy of the American landscape, an honest video about American failure, in the tradition of Jerry Lewis and Antonioni.

Dinosaurs … I’m still in awe. The children of the 1920s on the list are at the top of their game.

1912 … Samuel Fuller and Antonioni were born. US Marines invade Cuba for the Cuban Pacification Campaign, quell Black Rebellion and protect American interests.

Santiago Alvarez … Contra Cuban Pacification. This momentous occasion for film history, and its palpable feeling of victory for anti-imperialism, was barely talked about. Wake up!

Honourable Mention … Pilot for the television series Stella (David Wain, 2005). David Wain is the greatest American comedy director working today. He gets in four seconds what a Saturday Night Live comedy takes a whole feature to trudge through and, in the process, exposes our neurosis for conventions. With Wain, pace Rivette, brevity is back.

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Bérénice Reynaud

Author of New Chinas/New Cinemas (1999), Hou Hsiao-hsien’s A City of Sadness (2002) and Flying Women, Fighting Monks and Other Wonders in the Chinese Martial Arts Film (forthcoming). She teaches at the California Institute of the Arts, and is one of the curators of “Film at REDCAT”.

Being involved in personal research on Chinese cinema this year, I missed a lot of US commercial releases – some of them being quite excellent, I’m told – and may have ended on this list. Also, I had to leave a couple of films festivals before the screening of the new movies of two Asian masters, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Hong Sang-soo, and I feel my final selection may be skewed because of this.

The World

However, I have no regret putting Shijie (The World, Jia Zhang-ke, 2004) on top of my list: Jia Zhang-ke has proven himself to be one of the audacious, insightful and imaginative film creators not only in China but in world cinema as well, and his new film, with its ruptures in tone, its multi-polar, fractured narration, its ambitious yet melancholy theme, confirms this. Yet Jia is only one of many reasons for which Chinese cinema continues to astonish and seduce us: in my list of 40 titles, I have included 9 from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), 2 from Taiwan and 2 from Hong Kong (actually 3, since one of my entries is double).

I want to add a special kudo to the seemingly unstoppable achievements of Chinese independent filmmakers shooting in digital. With The World, Jia, once the champion of that trend, has reverted to 35mm and to collaborating with the official studio system. Yet, Niu pi (Ox-Hide, Liu Jiayin, 2005) and Hao da yi dui yang (Two Great Sheep, Lui Hao, 2004) were shot on digital, and Cha ma gu dao xi lie (Tea-Horse Road Series: Delamu, Tian Zhuangzhuang, 2004) with a combination of digital and 35mm.

There are also exciting first films that didn’t make it to the list but are being shown internationally and are worth more than a simple nod: Zhang Hanzi’s faux documentary on a Beijing female impersonator, Tang Tang (PRC, 2004; Hong Kong, Vienna); Ning Hao’s exploration of the Mongolian culture through children, Lü Cao Di (Mongolian Ping Pong, PRC, 2005; Berlin, Hong Kong, Vancouver); Yang Jin’s subtle variation on the life of a rural schoolteacher, Yi Zhi Hua Nainiu (The Black and White Milk Cow, PRC, 2004; Beijing, Vienna); Liu Hongqi’s absurdist urban tale, Hao Duo Dami (So Much Rice, PRC, 2005; Vancouver). Some of these films owe a lot to the mentorship of the irrepressible Cui Zi’en, film professor, gay activist and international cult figure, who turns out several feature-length digital movies a year – too numerous to be listed here; Xing xing xang xi xi (Star Appeal, 2005) and Wc Hu Hu Ha He (2005), to mention only two of the latest – and whose presence and inspiration is definitely affecting film culture in China.

Another point I noted is the presence of very different types of women in my list. Some have just finished their first features (Liu Jianyi, Keren Yedaya, Fien Troch, Chen Yin-jung), some are respected filmmakers (Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Claire Denis). Some are coming from the art world and/or performance art (Miranda July), some are experimental filmmakers previously known for an important body of short films (Betzy Bromberg, Jennifer Reeves). Some are young women completing their second feature (Lucretia Martel, Li Yu). Some are working in documentary (Kyung Hyun Kim, Beth Bird). They are Argentine, Belgian, Chinese, French, Iranian, Israeli, North American, South Korean or Taiwanese. I may be partial to films directed by women, but I effortlessly found 12 that were among my favourite films of the year, and none of them fall into the clichéd definition of “women’s cinema”. A cause for optimism.

Finally, I would like to mention the relentless, passionate efforts of Cheng-Sim Lim, UCLA Film & Television Archive Co-Head of Public Programming, who has put together a second instalment of the series “Heroic Grace” that is currently travelling, allowing more viewers to (re)discover classic Chinese martial-arts films. A lot of these films (from the Shaw Brothers collection) are now released on DVD, but Lim has insisted on more 35mm prints being struck and, when it wasn’t possible, located the last surviving print of some of these treasures. While some of the directors whose work she’s showing are already household names (King Hu, Zhang Che, even Wu Ma), one of the benefits of the series will be to put Chor Yuen/Chu Yuan on the list of internationally significant auteurs, with films such as Longmu Xiang (Cold Blade, 1970), Ai nu (Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, 1972), Liu xing hu die jian (Killer Clans, 1976), Tien ya, ming yue taoh (The Magic Blade, 1976), Chu liu xiang (Clans of Intrigue, 1977).

1. Jia Zhang-ke: Shijie (The World, PRC, 2004)
Absolutely the best film released this year in the US. The “savvy” professional spectators who keep mumbling that Jia never made another film as good as his first feature, Xiao Wu (Pickpocket, 1987), should take lessons from a brave, imaginative filmmaker who knows how to take risks and renew himself, while addressing some of the most acute issues of contemporary China.

2 Apichatpong “Joe” Weeraasethakul: Sud Pralad (Tropical Malady, Thailand, 2004)
Like good wine, Weeraasethakul is a filmmaker who keeps becoming more palatable as the years go by. Tropical Malady is his most magical, most sensual, most gay and most personal film so far – a gem for the happy few.

3. Betzy Bromberg: A Darkness Swallowed (USA, 2005)
Several years in the making, this densely structured experimental film, which intertwines haunting visual and aural textures with fleeting allusions to an unspoken trauma, deserves more than one viewing.

4. Gregg Araki: Mysterious Skin (USA, 2004)
Gregg Araki’s best film in years, maybe his best film ever. Always a poet apt at capturing the rhythm of adolescent bodies, Araki treads a fine line in this tale of child abuse remembered, avoiding cheap pity as well as homophobia.

5. Liu Jiayin: Niu Pi (Ox-Hide, PRC, 2005)
Playing at the boundary between rigorous mise en scène and faux cinéma vérité, 23-year old Beijing Film Academy student Liu Jiayin may well inaugurate a new age in independent Chinese cinema.

6. Three by James Benning: 13 Lakes (USA, 2004), Ten Skies (USA, 2004) and 27 Years Later (USA, 2004)
The ever-prolific experimental/structuralist filmmaker completed three films last year. They are now making their international round, unfolding their long static shots to challenge the viewers perception and sense of beauty.

7. Stanley Kwan: Yuen Ling-yuk (Centre Stage, restored digital version, Hong Kong, 1991 and 2005)
Restoration efforts have turned one of the best films of the 1990s into one of the best of 2005. This experimental biography of silent Chinese star Ruan Ling Yu won a Silver Bear for Maggie Cheung and remains a timeless classic.

8. Michael Haneke: Caché (Hidden, Austria-France, 2005)
What is hidden is not so much the camera capturing the characters’ every move as the complex resentments the members of this small nuclear family harbour for each other and which emerge in exquisitely written dialogues.

9. Tsai Ming-liang: Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, Taiwan-France, 2005).
One of the saddest movies I have ever seen, it also contains one of the most tender, most erotic scenes of contemporary cinema. It is silly at times, pornographic, metaphysical, ironical and unexpectedly moving.

10. Adam Curtis: The Power of Nightmares (UK, 2005)
The documentary that Bush and the neo-cons refuse to see could become one of the best organizing tools for the anti-war movement. It’s also a lesson in investigative journalism and spirited documentary filmmaking.

11. Lucrecia Martel: La Niña santa (The Holy Girl, Argentine, 2004)
An intelligent, sensitive, ground-breaking exploration of the intimate connection between mysticism and sensuality in a young girl, directed by a woman who has proven she knows how to shoot young girls.

12. Gu Changwei: Kongque (Peacock, PRC, 2005)
A masterful directing début by master cinematographer Gu Changwei – a multi-layered tale of hopes thwarted at the end of the Cultural Revolution: three siblings, two parents and a peacock that won’t open its tail.

13. Tian Zhuangzhuang: Cha ma gu dao xi lie (Tea-Horse Road Series: Delamu, PRC, 2004)
Named after a mule that fell to its death on the perilous “Tea Horse Route” between Yunnan and Tibet, a powerful meditation on the lifestyle and spirituality of non-Han minorities, by one of the greatest Chinese directors.

14. Claire Denis: L’Intrus (The Intruder, France, 2004)
A metaphysical tale on globalisation, eroticism, money, the dying body, longing and loss – a labyrinth which becomes more complex with every location – a shimmering mirror to the mysteries of the spectator’s psyche.

15. Liu Hao: Hao da yi dui yang (Two Great Sheep, PRC, 2004)
In this ironical story pitting petty bureaucracy against peasant stubbornness, Liu Hao has recreated the unlikely figure of a Keatonian hero treading the spectacular, arid landscapes of a small Yunnan rural community.

16. Zhang Lu: Mang zong (Grain in Ear, PRC-South Korea, 2005)
Fire is smouldering under the ice in Liu Lianji’s beautiful performance as a Korean-Chinese single mother selling kimchi on the outskirts of Beijing, and taking as much abuse as she can from life until the final, quiet explosion.

17. Wang Xiaoshuai: Qinghong (Shanghai Dreams, PRC, 2005)
Longing, parental discipline, forbidden dances with hooligans, amour fou, rape, execution: Wang lifts the grey curtains of a quiet socialist town in the late ’70s to reveal that China was already on the move.

18. Benoît Jacquot: À tout de suite (Right Now, France 2004)
Jacquot’s passion is to shoot women. In his best film in years, he’s found a fascinating story – that of a young woman seduced by a Bonnie-and-Clyde fantasy – to explore further the troubled waters of femininity.

19. Zézé Gamboa: O Heroi (The Hero, Angola, 2004)
In post-civil war Angola, people are trying to rebuild their lives while looking for something or someone they’ve lost. Sometimes they find it, sometimes they find someone else. Heroism is in small victories.

20. Mohsen Abdolvahab and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad: Gilane (Iran 2005)
A timely reminder of what the Iran-Iraq war, and later the US war against Iraq, felt from the point of view of disempowered Iranian peasants – as well as a tribute to the quiet resilience of women in time of war.

21. Hyun Kyung Kim: What Are We Waiting For? (South Korea-USA, 2005)
Through her sensitive, moving interviews with two South Korean women separated from their husbands by the war 50 years ago, the filmmaker reflects on how romantic expectations have shaped her own life.

22. Li Yu: Hong Yan (Dam Street, PRC, 2005)
23. Stephen Chow: Kung Fu (Kung Fu Hustle, Hong Kong, 2004) and Benny Chan: San Ging Chaat Goo Si (New Police Story, HK, 2004)
24. Keren Yedaya: Mon Trésor (Or (My Treasure), Israel-France, 2004)
25. Kim Yong-gyung: Bunhongsin (The Red Shoes, South Korea, 2005)
26. Zhu Wen: Yun de Nanfang (South of the Clouds, PRC, 2003)
27. Beth Bird: Everyone Their Grain of Sand (USA, 2005)
28. Gus Van Sant: Last Days (USA, 2005)
29. Alain Guiraudie: Voici venir le temps (Time Has Come, France, 2005)
30. André Téchiné: Les Temps qui changent (Changing Times, France, 2005)
31. Miranda July: Me and You and Everyone We Know (USA, 2004)
32. Fien Troch: Een Ander zijn geluk (Someone Else’s Happiness, Belgium, 2005)
33. Kirby Dick: Twist of Faith (USA, 2005)
34. Sébastian Lifshitz: Wild Side (France, 2004)
35. Áron Gauder: Nyócker! (The District!, Hungary, 2004)
36. Im Sang-Soo: Geuddae geusaramdeul (The President’s Last Bang, South Korea, 2005)
37. Nakashima Tetsuya: Shimotsuma monogatari (Kamikaze Girls, Japan, 2004)
38. Chen Yin-jung: Shi qi sui de tian kong (Formula 17, Taiwan, 2004)
39. Jim Jarmusch: Broken Flowers (USA, 2005)
40. Ekachai Uekrongtham: Beautiful Boxer (Thailand, 2003)

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Marcos Ribas de Faria

Brazilian critic who writes for the website web4fun and was the film critic for the magazines Opinião, Jornal do Brasil, O Jornal, and Última Hora.

Here goes the Best 10 movies of the year seen in Brazil:

1. Clean (Olivier Assayas, 2004)
2. Last Days (Gus von Sant, 2005)
3. The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, 2003)
4. Notre Musique (Jean-Luc Godard, 2004)
5. Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus (Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures, Marcelo Gomes, 2005)
6. 2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004)
7. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
8. Stage Beauty (Richard Eyre, 2004)
9. Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)
10. La Captive (Chantal Ackerman, 2000)

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Peter Rist

Teaches film studies at Concordia University in Montréal and contributes regularly to the online journal, Offscreen.

As I have said on numerous occasions, any attempt at producing a Ten-Best list is tenuous and problematic. Even though I have watched new and retrospective films at a rate of about one per day, I realize I have missed many worthy contenders (mostly because they were never shown in my home town, Montréal).

Three Times

Overall, I don’t think it was a very good year for new films. It was better for retrospectives. I saw one phenomenally great new film, directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien (who else?), and a number of very good or very interesting new films. But I am still buzzing over the 23 Japanese silent films and fragments I saw at the 24th Giornate del Cinema Muto festival in Sacile, Italy, in October, most of which were encompassed by the tag “Shochiku 110 – Naruse 100”, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to see so many documentaries directed by Alexander Sokurov, which showed in Montréal in 2005 (mostly at the Cinémathèque Québeçoise, but also at the Goethe Institute), as well as four programmes of pre-revolutionary Iranian films shown amidst controversy at the recently mounted Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire. And, as always, I am very grateful that the Hong Kong International Film Festival shows such a wide range of new and old films from all over the world.

Following my suggestion last year that it might be useful to evaluate the significance of regional film production, I tip my hat this year to filmmakers working in Israel (and Palestine). I saw at least six features from this deeply troubled corner of the world in theatrical release in 2005, including: Keren Yedeya’s Mon Trésor (Or (My Treasure), 2004), a feminist, yet pessimistic work; Eran Riklis’ The Syrian Bride (2004), which won almost all the major awards at the 2004 edition of Montréal’s World Film Festival; Yaron Silberman’s moving documentary on a 1930s Jewish “ladies” swim team who return to Vienna for the first time, Watermarks (2004); Eytan Fox’s Walk on Water (2004); and Avanim (Raphaël Nadjari, 2004). All of these were, strictly speaking, 2004 films, but the two best were from this year: Avi Mograbi’s documentary, Nekam Achat Mishtey Eynay (Avenge but One of My Two Eyes, 2005), which suggests through associational montage that the roots of suicide bombing can be found in Jewish history (Masada) and myth (Samson); and the provocative fiction feature, Al-Jenna-An (Paradise Now, 2005), directed by Palestinian-in-exile Hany Abu-Assad.

It was yet another strong year for Chinese-language films, with “great” directors Wong Kar-wai – 2046 (2004) and “The Hand” in Eros (2004) – and Jia Zhangke – Shijie (The World, 2004) – getting films theatrically released in a number of countries, and with Tsai Ming-Liang’s sexually explicit Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, 2005) becoming a box-office hit in his native Taiwan! But 24 year-old Beijing Film Academy student Liu Jiayin’s Niu pi (Ox-Hide, 2005), the best “first feature” for quite a few years, veteran Tian Zhuangzhuang’s beautiful digital documentary, Cha ma gu dao xi lie (Delamu, 2004), and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times, 2005) were the real highlights for me.

Given all the talk about a disastrous Hollywood box office, it was a surprisingly good year for US film (especially if one considers Canadian David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence), and if there was a “film person” of the year award it could easily go to George Clooney for directing Good Night, and Good Luck, producing Syriana (Stephen Gaghan) and acting in both of them.

Best of 2005:

1. Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2005)
2. Oya (Parents, Shimizu Hiroshi, 1929), the greatest-ever advertising film? Mikio Naruse’s Koshiben gambare (Flunky, Work Hard, 1931) and Kagirinaki hodo (Street Without End, 1934), both from the Shochiku-Kamata studio.

The rest (in no particular order):

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, Canada-USA, 2005)
Le Père de Gracile (Lucie Lambert, Canada, 2005)

McDull, Prince of La Bun (Toe Yuen, Hong Kong, 2004)
Who would have thought that the most original new animation would come from Hong Kong.

Niu pi (Ox-Hide, Liu Jiayin, China, 2005)
Last Days (Gus Van Sant, 2005)

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Martin Scorsese, who now makes better television docs than theatrical feature films, USA, 2005)

Les Artistes du Théâtre Brulé (Rithy Panh, Cambodia-France, 2005)

Outer Space (1999) and Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine, two experimental shorts by Peter Tscherkassky (Austria, 2005), whose work was new to me!

Solntse (The Sun, Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia-Italy-Switzerland-France, 2005)
Nekam Achat Mishtey Eynay (Avenge but One of My Two Eyes, Avi Mograbi, Israel-France, 2005)
Al-Jenna-An (Paradise Now, Hany Abu-Assad, Palestine, 2005)

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James Rose

A freelance writer based in the UK and specializing in contemporary horror and science-fiction cinema.

The selection and text refers only to films released in the UK during 2005, and uses them to articulate what may be good quality genre cinema.

Phantastical Cinema 2005

Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
The Land of the Dead (George A. Romero, 2005)
Constantine (Francis Lawrence, 2005)
The Machinist (Brad Anderson, 2005)
The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (The Quay Brothers, 2005)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton, 2005)
The Jacket (John Maybury, 2005)

2005 saw the release of new films by two of the Horror genre’s most respected directors, David Cronenberg and George A. Romero. Cronenberg’s A History of Violence is perhaps the director’s most accessible work to date whilst successfully continuing his meditations upon the male condition, while Romero continued to give voice to the repressed in The Land of the Dead. Both films contained their fair share of violence (with Cronenberg’s realist approach invoking a more gut-wrenching response than Romero’s cannibalistic excesses) alongside their astute social commentary. It is perhaps Cronenberg’s realist approach to narrative, dialogue, cinematography, sex and violence that defines the better genre offerings of 2005, indicating that Horror cinema still has the ability to critically examine the lesser qualities of humanity. It is here that quality genre cinema can exist, be that in Horror, Science Fiction or the Phantastical. It is their grounding in reality that allows for emotional engagement and critical reflection, creating examples of contemporary cinema that is, ironically, accessible through its confrontational subject matter.

Batman Begins

In the continued climate of adaptation – from comics, novels and console games – it has been another uneven year. Of those adaptations of quality were Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cronenberg’s previously mentioned A History of Violence and, surprisingly Francis Lawrence’s Constantine. A peculiar mix of angels and demons and those caught in between, Constantine offers a series of increasingly bizarre tableaux (Gabriel’s wings unfolding before a blazing fire, the lobotomised demons of the underworld crawling through the debris of Hell, Constantine (Keanu Reeves) resurrecting himself by smashing a vial of holy water onto his chest and the Devil’s feet dripping with black oil) that pushes the film from a mere adaptation into something much more visually spectacular and into something much more horrifying. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory saw a return to form for Burton, whilst Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins was a departure from both the precedent sent sixteen years ago by Tim Burton (Batman, 1989) and from the current expectations of superhero cinema. Nolan’s interpretation and Christian Bale’s performance presents a psychological study of a man wracked with as much guilt as by revenge. Nolan’s Bruce Wayne seeks not transformation but a process by which to reveal his true self: identities shift and mature and result in a Batman that is a symbol not just of revenge but of rage under extreme control, one that has a justification that enables cathartic revelation. As such, Nolan’s film operates in a similar manner to Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, as both films present intense meditations on the nature of individualized approach to violent events.

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Jose Sarmiento

Studying Advertising at PUCP in Peru and has many film scripts in development. He will follow his Advertising studies with Film studies as a postgraduate in Madrid.

2005 was a great year for me. I suddenly discovered great new ways to get really underground and strange movies (here in Perú, we call the European and Asian movies “strange”), and they certainly are: we don’t get a lot of foreign films. So, here are a couple of lists for the year (in no particular order).

Best Movies (2005 commercial releases for Perú):

Caché (Hidden, Michael Haneke, 2005)
Reconstruction (Cristoffer Boe, 2003)
Ying xiong (Hero, Zhang Yimou, 2002)
Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, 2004)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson, 2005)
American Splendor (Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, 2003)

We don’t get a lot of quality films around, as you can see. Caché, for example, is a DVD title I got. The most ‘underground’ movie screened in Lima was Reconstruction. Thank god for festivals and DVDs.

Festival screenings, DVD titles:

Werkmeister harmóniák (Werckmeister Harmonies, Béla Tarr, Hungary, 2000)
Mia aioniotita kai mia mera (Eternity and a Day, Theo Angelopoulos, 1998)
Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)
L’Humanité (Bruno Dumont) – 1999
Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1997)
Mullholand Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
Underground (Emir Kusturica, 1995)
Code Inconnu: récit incomplet de divers voyages (Code Unknown, Michael Haneke, 2000)
Le Temps du Loup (The Time of the Wolf, Michael Haneke) – 2003
Rosetta (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 1999)
Monsieur Hire (Patrice Leconte, 1989)
Los Muertos (Lisandro Alonso, 2004)
Dogville (Lars Von Trier, 2003)
Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)
Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, 2003)
Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2004)
24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)

I saw TONS of other movies, but they’re far too old to be included here. Anyway, I have around 100 new titles to watch!

Worst or most overrated Movies:

The Aviator (Martin Scorcese, 2004)
Boring as hell … too bad for old Martin …

The Interpreter (Sydney Pollack, 2005)
Sydney Pollack has his good moments … this is not one of them.

White Noise (Geoffrey Sax, 2005)
I was forced to see this one … worst movie ever.

Mañana te Cuento (Eduardo Mendoza de Echave, 2005)
Peruvian cinema at its worst … a shame.

Frank Miller’s Sin City (Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, 2005)
The most overrated movie of the year by far … years of post-production to masquerade a sad fact … that there’s little interesting about the film. American Splendor, on the other hand, shows how comic adaptations should be done.

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Christophe Sorro

Lives in Retonfey, France, and works at the Médiathèque de Nilvange. He is a musician who plays drums and theremin for the band, Mesa of the Lost Women.

Allow me to tell you about my own little person or you won’t understand the reasoning behind my choices (you know about French pride, don’t you?). I’m French. I’m 33. I live in a small village in the countryside near a nice and dull bourgeois town (under 150,000 souls). I work in a Médiathèque (sort of big public library), where I can buy a lot of DVDs for the public and for myself!

I used to often go to the cinema as a student, watching films of all styles, age and nationality. But now that I’m working it’s become harder to spend time, money and energy driving to the city centre to see a film in the annoying conditions I’ve experienced so many times these past years (i.e., blurred projections, sound too loud or distorted, reels partly burned, heater off in winter, uproarious audience …). The modern way of life finally won over my patience for cinema onscreen (the exception being cinémathèques or confidential screenings). Perhaps it’s sad and upsetting, but it’s the truth. Yet, “les violons auront toujours raison” (“the violins will always be right”), French Libération columnist Louis Skorecky explains in one of his books (he’s a former friend of Serge Daney, who offered him work at Cahiers du Cinéma for a time and who’s been a film director as well). He pointed out that television broadcast (and I must add new film distributions, such as the forthcoming pay-per-see internet databases) are now ruling film exploitation the way Hitchcock guessed it would when he started to do his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television program in the 1950s. The major emotions now pass through this media. It’s so powerful that it excels in turning people into sheep in our Philip K. Dickian-controlled minds. Control the mass media and you will manipulate the mass by telling them their needs: Frank Capra’s State of the Union (1948) and Meet John Doe (1941), Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps (1956) and Le Tube (Peter Entell, 2001), a documentary where you see some early experiments for the commercials companies, which explains that light coming out from a television set goes directly through the eyes and hits the emotions brain area, while an image reflection on a cinema screen makes the thinking hemisphere of the brain work.

I don’t have television at home and I’ve found exactly what I needed: a good video projector! Now I am able to see the films I want in excellent conditions by hiring the projector from the Médiathèque and going to the cinema only when a film truly warrants it. With the arrival of the DVD, I was at first sceptical, but I have submitted to the DVD format, when well-mastered (pun intended).

King Kong

New films onscreen don’t really interest me, the same is true of music and literature. I prefer the originals to the pale copies. I won’t live long enough to see, hear or read all the pieces of art made on earth. Patrick Brion once said that when you think of the history of cinema, and you look back at the early decades of this industry, you have to realize that, because of the chemical instability of the films, most of the entire production has been destroyed forever. Try to imagine the kilometres of film footage; there have never been big decisions taken for film restoration at the same level as there’s been for writing. It means that we will simply never see hundreds of masterpieces (and thousands of really bad movies, as well). My position is to think we’d better try to save what can be saved from the past, instead of giving too much money to Pete Jackson to do another King Kong (2005) or Spielberg to do another War of the Worlds (2005). It’s useless. They are already masterpieces in their ancient form. There’s nothing to add but meaningless “special effects” and gorilla farts in the rear surround 5.1 loudspeakers. But I still hope everything has not been filmed yet.

Well, I guess you might not have a capital lesson from this list. I will comment on my choices, but I won’t do a film analysis or a clever course on film history as I’m not a specialist, just a modest movie-lover.

1. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (Guy Maddin, 2002)
I’ll start with this beautiful movie, which was commissioned for a Canadian television channel. I think I saw it this year on the cinema screen (or was it at the end of 2004?). Anyway, it had to be on the list (have a look at number 10 to see why the “loop is buckled”). It’s a modern ballet by Mark Godden filmed in black and white with some red blood stains (like the use of Technicolor in A Matter of Life and Death by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946, who also did a marvellous movie on classical ballet, The Red Shoes, 1948) and the sensual charge of this erotic tale is very well rendered. It’s silent and uses a Mahler composition for the score, with some intertitles and subtitles. The only reproach I have about Guy Maddin’s movie is about the choice of Zhang Wei-Qiang for the role of Dracula. Maybe it’s to set up the idea of an unappreciated migrant this modern Nosferatu could be. But I experienced some difficulties in believing the Carpathian mountains are situated in Asia instead of Romania!

2. White Zombie (Victor Halperin, 1932)
I knew about this film but had never watched it before. I found it better than Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931) with the same magnetic actor, Bela Lugosi. It’s probably the first movie dealing with the undead and its onirism must have inspired one my favourite director’s movie, Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie (1943).

3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah, 1974)
A friend offered me this Zone 1 DVD as we talked about Sam Peckinpah. We love The Getaway (1972) and I must have told him about my admiration for Jim Thompson’s novels. And, as Jean Tulard has written, this one is closer to the nihilist human darkness and the desperate humour of Jim Thompson than a real adaptation.

4. The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)
Well, this is an astonishingly odd English movie! Christopher Lee is fantastic! A humble policeman from the land is sent to an isolated isle where old pagan rituals will set him … on fire!

5. Vidange (Draining, Jean-Pierre Mocky, 1998)
Mocky is a controversial French filmmaker. After his brilliant social comedies of the ’60s and his politically disenchanted movies of the ’70s, he seemed to lose his verve, playing a provocative role without much conviction, although sometimes there are good scenes even in his uninteresting films. But this one is a forceful cynical comedy about the complicity of corrupted politics and Catholics being part of a European flesh trade (prostitution and money, because “flesh” exists in French as a slang word for “dough”). Mocky points out the loss of judicial independence in our so-called French democracy, with its now hypocritical motto of “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, brotherhood). His verve is back for the best!

6. Zhong kui niang zi (Lady Hermit, Ho Meng-hwa, 1971)
I saw or saw again some Shaw Brothers films and other typical sword movies from Hong-Kong this year. I won’t tell you about Da zui xia (Come Drink With Me, King Hu, 1966) or the more recent Ching Se (Green Snake, Tsui Hark, 1993). So, here’s another one where the female characters give all their strength. It’s fascinating, perverse, always twirling. I chose it because of the whip (oops!) …

7. Yukinojo henge (An Actor’s Revenge, Kon Ichikawa, 1963)
A typical Japanese vengeance screenplay with audacious filming of stage experiments to reflect the Kabuki theatre spirit inside a cinema tale.

8. Clunny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946)
I had a good laugh on this one and, as Hrundy V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers) says in The Party (Blake Edwards, 1968), “I love a good laugh, don’t you? It makes the world go round. It’s good to have a laugh. Wonderful … wonderful. Very good.” Thank you master Lubitsch! I’m so happy they’ve just put my favourite Lubitsch film on a French DVD edition, Heaven Can Wait (1943), with the sublime Gene Tierney. When Lubitsch touch touches the sky (hard to pronounce isn’t it?)!

9. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946)
I saw so many films noir that I couldn’t recollect this one. I put it on the list so that my favourite genre can be represented! But I can’t explain how I did manage to forget it as it is sensational. It’s so complex in its approaches to life itself. Last fact: Kirk Douglas’ first appearance.

10. Trollflöjten (The Magic Flute, Ingmar Bergman, 1975)
I’ll end with this Bergman Christmas-commissioned movie for the Swedish television channel (see the loop, hey?). I never thought I could be that focused on a filmed opera for television, as I’m not a fan of opera’s goofy stories or dull television images. But Bergman has done a really clever adaptation of the opera by showing us a rainbow of emotions on the audience faces attending the show. He releases the tension by showing us the backstage and funny habits of the actors during the entr’acte. And he’s so clever at placing the camera.

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Mark Spratt

Has a long working background in exhibition, cinema management, programming and freelance reviewing. The director of Potential Films, he has now been a distributor for more than ten years.

Top Ten (in order viewed): My choices are all based on very strong first and lasting impressions:

Darwin’s Nightmare (Hubert Sauper, 2004)
Welt Spiegel Kino (World Mirror Cinema, Gustav Deutsch, 2005)
Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki, 2004)
The Ax (Le Couperet, Costa-Gavras, 2005)
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
Keane (Lodge H. Kerrigan, 2005)
L’Enfant (The Child, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2005)
Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005)
Giù la testa (A Fistful of Dynamite, reconstructed version, Sergio Leone, 1971 and 2005)
Baby Face (Alfred E. Green, 1933) – the uncensored version representing a triumphant ’return of the suppressed’, with its additional ’before and after’ comparative scenes illustrating the hideous power of the Production Code and Legion of Decency.

Best Blockbuster:
Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)

Significant retrospectives:
The Fruit Chan retro at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2005, especially Xilu xiang (Little Cheung, 1999).
The Tomu Uchida retro at Rotterdam and MIFF, especially Tasogare sakaba (Twilight Saloon, 1955).

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Brad Stevens

Author of Monte Hellman: His Life and Films and Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision.

Films of the Year (in alphabetical order):

Land of the Dead

Alexander (Oliver Stone, 2004)
The Big Red One: The Reconstruction (Samuel Fuller, 1980 and 2004)
Kôhî jikô (Café Lumière, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2003)
Closer (Mike Nichols, 2004)
Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist (Paul Schrader, 2005)
Bu san (Good Bye, Dragon Gate Inn, Tsai Ming-Liang, 2003)
La Niña santa (The Holy Girl, Lucrecia Martel, 2004)
L’Intrus (The Intruder, Claire Denis, 2004)
Land of the Dead (George A. Romero, 2005)
Un Día de suerte (A Lucky Day, Sandra Gugliotta, 2002)
Tajuu jinkaku tantei saiko – Amamiya Kazuhiko no kikan (MPD Psycho, Takashi Miike, 2000)
Xiao cheng zhi chun (Springtime in a Small Town, Tian Zhuangzhuang, 2002)
Time of Her Time (Francis Delia, 1999)
Trilogia I: To Livadi pou dakryzei (Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow, Theo Angelopoulos, 2004)
20 Fingers (Mania Akbari, 2004)
2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004)
When Will I Be Loved (James Toback, 2004)

Retrospective Discoveries:

A Countess from Hong Kong (Charles Chaplin, 1967)
Il Diavolo in corpo (Devil in the Flesh, Marco Bellocchio, 1986)
Tengoku to jigoku (High and Low, Akira Kurosawa, 1963)
High Lonesome (Alan Le May, 1950)
Autostop rosso sangue (Hitch Hike, Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1977)
Gozaresh (The Report, Abbas Kiarostami, 1977)
Six Black Horses (Harry Keller, 1962)
Tabiate bijan (Still Life, Sohrab Shahid Saless, 1974)
The World Moves On (John Ford, 1934)

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Richard Suchenski

Film student at Yale University.

1. Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2005)
2. Caché (Hidden, Michael Haneke, France, 2005)
3. L’Intrus (The Intruder, Claire Denis, France, 2004)
4. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, Canada, 2005)
5. L’Enfant (The Child, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium, 2005)
6. Solntse (The Sun, Aleksandr Sokurov, 2005)
7. Trilogia I: To Livadi pou dakryzei (Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow, Theo Angelopoulos, Greece, 2004)
8. 2046 (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong, 2004)
9. Last Days (Gus Van Sant, USA, 2005)
10. Dare mo shiranai (Nobody Knows, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2004)

Runners-up (in rough order of preference):

Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2005)
Ten Skies (James Benning, USA, 2004)
Gabrielle (Patrice Chéreau, France, 2005)
Clean (Olivier Assayas, France, 2004)
Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, USA, 2005)
Moartea domnului Lazarescu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Cristi Puiu, Romania, 2005)
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Martin Scorsese, USA-UK, 2005)
Une Visite au Louvre (A Visit to the Louvre (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, 2004)
De Battre mon coeur s’est arrêté (The Beat that My Heart Skipped, Jacques Audiard, 2005)
Geuk jang jeon (A Tale of Cinema, Hong Sang-soo, 2005)

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Henrik Sylow

Film critic based in Denmark. He runs a website devoted to Takeshi Kitano.
www.kitanotakeshi.com
www.OnFilm.dk

Each year, I find that Cinema is becoming more and more apathetic. Completely indifferent with the product, Cinema no longer needs an audience, only consumers whom it can get to buy ticket. Films are only released theatrically because a DVD sells twice as much if released in theatres. The studios only use the most positive reviews, where all films are amazing, inventive and the best film of the year. No matter how bad a film is, it will always make a profit. The audience have become cash cows. And Hollywood wonders why audiences have begun staying away from theatres.

Each year, I desperately hope to see just one film that is everything Hollywood is not, which dares to become a failure, which dares to have balls and personality. Cassavetes once said that the artist must be willing to risk all in order to express himself. I want to see a film by such a someone, who dares to express themself, regardless of cost and consequences. I want films that are alive and able to take on everyone, instead of comatose American productions, which only steal our time and money.

Best of 2005:

1.Takeshis’ (Kitano Takeshi, Japan, 2005)
Kitano’s most personal and accomplished film to date. Everything Kitano is about is Takeshis’. Self-absorbed, reflective, confessional, Takeshis’ is 500% Kitano and shows why he is one of the greatest auteurs alive.

2. Pusher II (With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II, Nicolas Winding Refn, 2004)
Watching Pusher II, the milieu sequel to Pusher (1996), and almost as good as Pusher III (2005), Jang stands as the most daring Danish auteur to date, building upon Hubert Selby Jr and John Cassavates, daring to show sides of being human and society that we, even in our nightmares, would prefer not to know of.

3. Shijie (The World, Jia Zhang Ke, China, 2004)
Social alienation and existential angst of people, who are estranged by a contemporary China, changing far to fast to have a sense of purpose, except perhaps capitalism, where everything is an illusion.

4. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, Canada, 2005)
A perverted and deceptively simple homage to Anthony Mann, Fritz Lang and Howard Hawks, Cronenberg investigates the epidemiology of violence, family and the American dream.

5. Lakposhtha hâm parvaz mikonand (Turtles Can Fly, Bahman Ghobadi, Iran-France-Iraq, 2004)
A painful allegory about the pain of the Kurds, abused by Saddam Hussein and now exploited by the Americans, told through three children: Sattelite (Soran Ebrahim) – the now; Agrin (Avaz Latif) – the past; and Hengov (Hiresh Feysal Rahman) – the future.

6. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids (Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman, India, 2004)
7. Birth (Jonathan Glazer, USA, 2004)
8. L’Intrus (The Intruder, Claire Denis, France, 2004)
9. Last Days (Gus van Sant, USA, 2005)
10. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson, USA, 2004)

Worst of 2005:

1. Bølle Bob og Smukke Sally (Rune Bendixen, Denmark, 2005)
This is the worst Danish film ever made. This is one of the worst films ever made. It is so amateurish it defies our lowest expectations and the definition of the word.

2. Crash (Paul Haggis, USA, 2004)
A morale disguised as a film, Crash is half haunting elegy about how pointless it is to fight injustice and racism, half racist melodrama, reducing people to ethnic stereotypes, and so manipulative it talks down to people. Watch it back to back with Nazi films like Der Ewige Jude (Fritz Hippler, 1940) and watch how similar they are in rhetorics. Tasteless and disgusting.

3. Fantastic Four (Tim Story, USA, 2005)
An insult to Cinema. There is no real plot. Scenes are almost isolated from those prior and those following. Dialogue is laughable bad. It doesn’t even try to hide product placement; it even creates scenes only to promote products. It is so bad it makes Daredevil (Mark Steven Johnson, 2003) and Catwoman (Pitof, 2004) look like good films.

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Josh Timmermann

A film and music critic living in Southern Illinois. His writing may be found in Stylus Magazine, CineScene and Kitty Magik, as well as at his blog, JLT/JLT.

A Very Solid Dozen:

Good Night, and Good Luck

1. Sud Pralad (Tropical Malady, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)
2. Good Night, and Good Luck (George Clooney, 2005)
3. Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, Tsai Ming-liang, 2005)
4. Der Untergang (Downfall, Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004)
5. La Niña santa (The Holy Girl, Lucrecia Martel, 2004)
6. Kôhi jikô (Café Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2003)
7. Rois et Reine (Kings and Queen, Arnaud Desplechin, 2004)
8. Jarhead (Sam Mendes, 2005)
9. Shijie (The World, Jia Zhang-ke, 2004)
10. War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg, 2005)
11. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
12. Clean (Olivier Assayas, 2004)

And a Dozen Memorable Performances:

Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte – Clean
Bruno Ganz and Juliane Kohler – Downfall
Emmanuelle Devos and Mathieu Almaric – Rois et Reine
David Strathairn – Good Night, and Good Luck
Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line (James Mangold, 2005)
Song Kang-ho – Salinui chueok (Memories of Murder, Bong Jooh-ho, 2003)
Cillian Murphy – Batman Begins (Christoher Nolan, 2005)
50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (Curtis Hanson, 2005)
Alexis Dziena – Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005)

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Rüdiger Tomczak

Editor of the film magazine, Shomingeki.

1. Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times, Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2005)
Three different episodes in different times connected via the same actors. It is something like a summing up of the different currents in the films of one of the last masters of world cinema.

2. Amu (Shonali Bose, 2004)
3. Malerei heute (Painting Today, Stefan Hayn and Anja-Christin Remmert, 2005)
4. Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, 2004)
5. Die Glücklichsten Menschen der Welt (The Happiest People in the World, Shaheen Dill-Riaz, 2005)
6. Krisana (Fred Keleman, 2005)
7. Gespenster (Phantoms, Christian Petzold, 2005)
8. Kakushi-ken: oni no tsume (Hidden Blade, Yôji Yamada, 2004)
9. Hana to Alice (Hana and Alice, Shunji Iwai, 2004)
10. Black (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, 2005)

Even if this fact was almost ignored, 4 November this past year marked the 80th anniversary of one of the finest Indian film directors, Ritwik Ghatak (1925-1976). To the best of my knowledge, not one of the many festivals around the world honoured him with a retrospective. That would have been my retrospective of the year.

My personal discovery this year was the work of the Japanese animation studio Ghibli, films that I had ignored in previous years. This time I fell immediately in love, especially with all the films by Hayao Miyazaki.

My favourite film of this year was Mr. and Mrs Iyer by Aparna Sen (India, 2002), which I enjoyed fourteen times on DVD and with an outstanding performance by Sen’s daughter, Konkona Sen Sharma, who also appears in Amu.

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Peter Tonguette

Has written on film for a variety of publications, including 24fps Magazine, Bright Lights Film Journal, The Film Journal, and Senses of Cinema.

1. Triple Agent (Eric Rohmer, 2004)
2. Oliver Twist (Roman Polanski, 2005)
3. War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg, 2005)
4. Elizabethtown (Cameron Crowe, 2005)
5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Andrew Adamson, 2005)
6. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Nick Park and Steve Box, 2005)
7. The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, 2005)
8. Melinda and Melinda (Woody Allen, 2004)
9. Pride & Prejudice (Joe Wright, 2005)
10. Fever Pitch (Bobby and Peter Farrelly, 2005)

There were countless “old films” seen by me in 2005 which I want to count among my favourites of the year, including:

Charley Varrick (Don Siegel, 1973)
H. M. Pulham, Esq. (King Vidor, 1941)
Kiss Them For Me (Stanley Donen, 1957)
A Man For All Seasons (Fred Zinnemann, 1966)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1938)
Strangers When We Meet (Richard Quine, 1960)
The Tales of Hoffmann (Powell and Pressburger, 1951)
Until They Sail (Robert Wise, 1957)

But the very best film – new or old – I saw this year was Eric Rohmer’s Le Beau mariage (A Good Marriage, 1982). Combined with the high esteem in which I hold the aforementioned Triple Agent, it’s safe to say that, for me, 2005 was Rohmer’s year all the way.

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David Walsh

Arts editor of the World Socialist Web Site.

The Ten Best films released in a cinema in the US in 2005:

Paradise Now

Shijie (The World, Jia Zhang-ke, 2004)
Land of Plenty (Wim Wenders, 2004)
The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror (Audrey Brohy and Gerard Ungerman, 2005)
Gunner Palace (Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, 2004)
Salinui chueok (Memories of Murder, Bong Joon-Ho, 2003)
Al-Jenna-An (Paradise Now, Hany Abu-Assad, 2005)
Der Untergang (Downfall, Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004)
Good Night, and Good Luck (George Clooney, 2005)
Der Neunte Tag (The Ninth Day, Volker Schlöndorff, 2004)
The Constant Gardener (Fernando Meirelles, 2005)

The Ten Best undistributed films I saw in 2005:

Nuit noire, 17 octobre 1961 (October 17, 1961, Olivier Smolder and Alain Tasma, 2005)
La Trahison (Philippe Faucon, 2005)
Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon (Khalo Matabane, 2005)
China Blue (Micha X. Peled, 2005)
The Last Hangman (Adrian Shergold, 2005)
Gilane (Mohsen Abdolvahab and Rakhshan Bani Etemad, 2005)
Chemman Chaalai (The Gravel Road, Deepak Kumaran Menon, 2005)
Kenar-e roodkhaneh (The Riverside, Alireza Amini, 2004)
Off To War (Brent and Craig Renaud, 2005)
Yasmin (Kenny Glenaan, 2004)

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Nicola White

Has worked in independent exhibition and distribution for the past eleven years.

Best viewing for 2005, in no particular order:

Shijie (The World, Jia Zhang Ke, 2004)
Pusher II (With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II, Nicolas Winding Refn, 2004)
Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2005)
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
Les Amants Réguliers (Everyday Lovers, Philippe Garrel, 2005)
Salaam Namaste (Siddharth Anand, 2005)
Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki, 2004)
Decision at Sundown (Budd Boetticher, 1957)
Ochazuke no Aji (The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice, Ozu Yasujiro, 1952)
Tomu Uchida program at the Melbourne International Film Festival

Most Overrated:
(Sadly) 2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004)

Guilty pleasures/special mentions/revisits:

I Love You, Alice B Toklas! (Hy Averback, 1968)
Linda Linda Linda (Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2005)
Baby Face (Alfred E. Green, 1933)

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Deane Williams

Head of Film and Television Studies in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies at Monash University. He has written articles about documentary film and film history, and is writing Michael Winterbottom with Brian McFarlane for Manchester University Press’ British Directors series.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge (Rudy Burckhardt, USA, 1948)
The Pursuit of Happiness (Rudy Burckhardt, USA, 1940)
The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, USA, 2003)
The Proposition (John Hillcoat, Australia, 2005)
Darwin’s Nightmare (Hubert Sauper, Belgium, 2004)
Victim (Corrie Jones, Australia, 2004)
Lakposhtha hâm parvaz mikonand (Turtles Can Fly, Bahman Ghobadi, 2004)
Mar adentro (The Sea Inside, Alejandro Amenábar, Spain-France-Italy, 2004)
Gegen die Wand (Head On, Fatih Akin, Germany, 2004)
Vera Drake (Mike Leigh, UK, 2004)

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Tim Wong

Founder and editor of the New Zealand-based film publication, Lumière (discontinued in print), and its subsequent online offshoot, The Lumière Reader.

As a New Zealander, it’s not easy keeping pace with the rest of the movie world. The advent of DVD helps, but, mostly, I’m forced to wait patiently for the current cinema to trickle its way down to this end of the earth. Occasionally, our International Film Festival gets first dibs on stuff straight from Cannes. More often, the stretch can be anything up to a year. Sometimes, certain films don’t even make it this far at all.

The following spread of fours (catagorised appropriately) reflect just that: list-making slightly out-of-sync, collating the new and the not-quite-so-new. All are considered favourites (bar the “Overrated” section) and were seen either theatrically or on DVD in 2005.

Mysterious Skin

Theatrical:

2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004)
I Heart Huckabees (David O. Russell, 2004)
The Aviator (Martin Scorsese, 2004)
Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki, 2004)

Festival:

L’ Intrus (The Intruder, Claire Denis, 2004)
Shijie (The World, Jia Zhangke, 2004)
Rois et Reine (Kings and Queen, Arnaud Desplechin, 2004)
Caché (Hidden, Michael Haneke, 2005)

Rediscovered:

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort, Jacques Demy, 1967)
Love in the Afternoon (Billy Wilder, 1957)
The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (Roy Rowland, 1953)
They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1948)

Overrated:

Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005)
Kung Fu (Kung Fu Hustle, Stephen Chow, 2004)
King Kong (Peter Jackson, 2005)
Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei (The Edukators, Hans Weingartner, 2004)

Unreleased:

Le Temps du loup (Time of the Wolf, Michael Haneke, 2003)
Yeoja, Jeong-hye (This Charming Girl, Lee Yoon-ki, 2004)
“The Hand” episode of Eros (Wong Kar-wai, 2004)
Geuk jang jeon (A Tale of Cinema, Hong Sang-soo, 2005)

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