THE ENTRIES


PART ONE

Antti Alanen
Michael J. Anderson
Geoff Andrew
Sean Axmaker
Martyn Bamber
Michael Bartlett
Paolo Bertolin
Pamela Biénzobas
Cis Bierinckx
Yvette Biro
James Brown
Thomas Caldwell
Michael Campi
Michelle Carey
Celluloid Liberation Front
Lesley Chow
Roberta Ciabarra
John Conomos
Jesús Cortés
Toni D’Angela
Michael Da Silva
Fergus Daly
Adrian Danks
Dustin Dasig
Winston Wheeler Dixon
Denny Dreher
Dzondunkellicht
Russell Edwards
William Edwards
David Ehrenstein
Wes Felton
Ted Fendt
Donal Foreman
Jean-Michel Frodon

PART TWO

Geoff Gardner
Antony I. Ginnane
Chiranjit Goswami
Jaime Grijalba
Lee Hill
Alexander Horwath
Florent Houde
Peter Hourigan
Cerise Howard
Christoph Huber
Dominik Kamalzadeh
Daniel Kasman
Christopher Kearney
Simon Killen
Rainer Knepperges
Bogna M Konior
Jay Kuehner
Adam Kuntavanish
Marc Lauria
Maximilian Le Cain
Dennis Leachman
Kevin B. Lee
Dennis Lim
JB Mabe
Fidel Jesús Quirós Maqueira
Miguel Marias
Dmitry Martov
Adrian D. Mendizabal
Peter Meredith
David W. Miller
Olaf Möller
Brent Morrow
Jorge Mourinha

PART THREE

Bill Mousoulis
Peter Nagels
Brad Nguyen
Andy Norton
Darragh O’Donohue
Michael Pattison
David Pearson
Antoni Peris
David Phelps
Jit Phokaew
Matías Piñeiro
Phoebe Pua
Bérénice Reynaud
Marcos Ribas de Faria
Peter Rist
Julian Ross
Marc Saint-Cyr
Dan Sallitt
José Sarmiento
Howard Schumann
Louise Sheedy
Christopher Sikich
Mark Spratt
Brad Stevens
Gina Telaroli
Rüdiger Tomczak
Peter Tonguette
Robert von Dassanowsky
Tomasz Warchol
Henry Welsh
Virginia Wright Wexman
Neil Young


ANTTI ALANEN 

Film programmer, critic, historian, Helsinki.

The best new films I saw January-November 2012

Hiljaisuus (Silence, Sakari Kirjavainen, 2011)
Canned Dreams (Katja Gauriloff, 2011)
Carnage (Roman Polanski, 2011)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)
Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011)
Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
Soundbreaker (Kimmo Koskela, 2011)
Eräänlainen rakkaustarina (My Little Window, Lauri-Matti Parppei, 2011)
Sodankylä ikuisesti 1-4 (Sodankylä Forever, Peter von Bagh, 2010)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog, 2010)
The Descendants (Alexander Payne, 2011)
Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Robert Guédiguian, 2011)
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (Peter Lord, 2012)
Dark Shadows (Tim Burton, 2012)
The Dictator (Larry Charles, 2012) the speech in defense of dictatorship is a satiric masterpiece
A Torinói ló (The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr, 2011)
Mario Ruspoli, prince des baleines et autres raretés (Florence Dauman, 2011)
Side by Side (Chris Kenneally, 2012)
Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010) the long version in three episodes
Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
Terraferma (Emanuele Crialese, 2011)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
Urbanized (Gary Hustwit, 2011)
1 Plus 1 Plus 1 – Sympathy for the Decay (Ilppo Pohjola, 2012)
Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012)
Sinivalkoinen valhe (When Heroes Lie, Arto Halonen, 2012)
Palme (Maud Nycander, Kristina Lindström, 2012)
Akkaansilta (The Akkaansilta Bridge, Juha Rinnekari, 2011)
De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard, 2012)

An intriguing year in blockbusters

The Hunger Games (Gary Ross, 2012)
The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb, 2012)
The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (Bill Condon, 2012)

Striking features: good directors, experimental elements, bleak visuals, dystopian visions, deranged protagonists, anti-heroes. The Twilight Saga is the most desolate of them all, a turning point in the mainstream cinema’s horror fiction: the identification figure is a monster, the plot is about saving the monster child, and there is practically no “normality” in the story.

Epic fraud, social injustice, and “after us, the flood” were recurrent themes, also in films like Arbitrage (Nicholas Jarecki, 2012).

Digital got better

A cold, bleak, and lifeless look was predominant, but there were exceptions. Margaret, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom were shot on 16mm, and the warm photochemical quality was successfully realised in the digital intermediate. Skyfall was the first James Bond film shot digitally, but it had a richer look than the two previous ones, which had gone through a bleak digital intermediate process.

Favourite comedy performance:

Ellen Page as Monica “who knows one line from every poem” in To Rome with Love (Woody Allen, 2012).

Book of the year:

David Bordwell, Pandora’s Digital Box, e-book, Madison, Wisconsin: The Irvington Way Institute Press, 2012

Most memorable discoveries and rediscoveries at retrospectives and festivals:

Universal Pictures Centenary: our tribute was to screen nine Robert Siodmak masterpieces from his film noir cycle
Die Weber (The Weavers, Friedrich Zelnik, 1927) 2012 restoration
Magde dhaka tara (The Cloud-Capped Star, Ritwik Ghatak, 1960) 2012 restoration
Komedie om geld (The Trouble with Money, 1936) newly restored
Kalpana (Imagination, Uday Shankar, 1948) 2012 restoration
Lewat djam malam (After the Curfew, Usmar Ismail, 1954) 2012 restoration
Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre (Paul Decauville, 1900) 2012 restoration
Vor fælles Ven / Our Mutual Friend (A.W. Sandberg, 1921) 2012 restoration
Moi syn (My Son, Yevgenii Cherviakov, Anna Sten, 1928) 2011 study DVD
The Spanish Dancer (Herbert Brenon, 1923) newly restored
The Jiří Trnka 2012 touring show from the Naródni filmový archiv (Prague)
Die freudlose Gasse (Joyless Street, G.W. Pabst, 1925) the 2012 colour print from Filmmuseum München
Kevade (Spring, Arvo Kruusement, 1970) the Estonian Film 100 touring show in 2012
Pohjalaisia (The People from Pohjanmaa / The People from the Plains, Jalmari Lahdensuo, 1925) 2012 restoration

The Descendants


MICHAEL J. ANDERSON

Joint PhD candidate in Film Studies and History of Art at Yale University, and proprietor of blogs Tativille and Ten Best Films.

I am limiting myself this year to 2012 North American commercial releases, out of somewhat unfortunate necessity. This “unfortunate necessity” resulted from my move away from the New York metropolitan area before this fall’s New York Film Festival (where since 2003 I have seen the majority of my annual “best of” choices). This meant that while I saw many of the best 2011 festival premieres in 2011, including the two finest commercial releases of 2012, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and The Turin Horse, I was unable to see a comparable selection of premieres in 2012, with the latest works by Kiarostami, Resnais, Haneke and a number of others awaiting me (I hope) in 2013. In other words, in 2012, I saw neither many of this year’s best commercial releases – four of the ten titles listed below were on my 2011 World Poll ballot! – nor the festival premieres that undoubtedly will dominate my colleagues’ selections.

In alphabetical order, the best North American commercial releases of 2012:

A torinói ló (The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr, 2011)
Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
Le Gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, 2011)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
In film nist (This Is Not a Film, Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2011)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)

Barbara


GEOFF ANDREW

Head of Film Programme at London’s BFI Southbank and the author of a number of books on the cinema. Regular contributor to Sight and Sound and contributing editor to Time Out London.

25 best new films:

  1. Amour (Love, Michael Haneke, 2012)
  2. Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, 2012)
  3. Toata Lumea din Familia Noastra (Everybody in Our Family, Radu Jude, 2012)
  4. What Is Love (Ruth Mader, 2012)
  5. Silence (Pat Collins, 2012)
  6. Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die, Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, 2012)
  7. V tumane (In the Fog, Sergei Loznitsa, 2012)
  8. Vous n’avez encore rien vu (You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Alain Resnais, 2012)
  9. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
  10. L’Enfant d’en haut (Sister, Ursula Meier, 2012)
  11. Al Juma al Akheira (The Last Friday, Yahya Alabdallah, 2011)
  12. Despues de Lucia (After Lucia, Michel Franco, 2012)
  13. Avalon (Axel Petersén, 2011)
  14. După Dealuri (Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, 2012)
  15. Après mai (After May, Olivier Assayas, 2012)
  16. Io e te (Me and You, Bernardo Bertolucci, 2012)
  17. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
  18. No (Pablo Larrain, 2012)
  19. Elefante blanco (White Elephant, Pablo Trapero, 2012)
  20. Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
  21. On the Road (Walter Salles, 2012)
  22. Everyday (Michael Winterbottom, 2012)
  23. Me and Me Dad (Katrine Boorman, 2012)
  24. Ji yi wang zhe wo (Memories Look at Me, Song Fang, 2012)
  25. Student (Darezhan Omirbaev, 2012)

Three great old films seen for the first time:

  1. Die Nibelungen (Fritz Lang, 1924)
  2. Gueule d’amour (Lady Killer, Jean Grémillon, 1937)
  3. Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1940) – the longer version screened in Bologna at Il Cinema Ritrovato.

SEAN AXMAKER

Parallax View, Videodrone on MSN Movies.
  1. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  2. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)
  3. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
  4. Margaret/Margaret: Director’s Cut (DVD) (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011/2012)
  5. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
  6. Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
  7. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
  8. Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
  9. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  10. In film nist (This is Not a Film, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi, 2011)

The following could have made the list on another day or with another viewing: Yek Khanévadéh-e Mohtaram (A Respectable Family, Massoud Bakhshi, 2012), Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012), The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011), Life of Pi (Ang Lee, 2012), Hyde Park on Hudson (Roger Michell, 2012), La noche de enfrente (Night Across the Street, Raúl Ruiz, 2012), Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012), Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012), Jagten (The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg, 2012), Cloud Atlas (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, 2012).

Hands down the cinematic experience of 2012 for me was the American premiere of the complete restoration of Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927). It had played only four other times anywhere in the world since its debut over a decade ago. The Oakland screenings, with live accompaniment by Oakland East Bay Symphony conducted by Carl Davis, were an experience like no other: magnificent presentation, painstakingly exacting projection, live orchestra booming a dramatic score compiled, arranged and conducted by Davis. The density of Gance’s ideas, the frisson of his images and experiments in cinematic expression, and the complicated perspectives on the legacy of Napoleon have a weight that is undeniable. And watching the full 5 and 1/2 hour Napoleon with a live orchestra in a magnificent theatre elevates the film to a cinematic experience without parallel, and that experience electrifies the storytelling and imagery.

Moonrise Kingdom


MARTYN BAMBER

Contributor to Close-Up Film and Critic’s Notebook.

Favourite new releases premiered in the UK in 2012 (in alphabetical order):

Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Chronicle (Josh Trank, 2012)
Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman, 2011)
Dark Horse (Todd Solondz, 2011)
Detention (Joseph Kahn, 2011) – straight-to-DVD release in the UK
God Bless America (Bobcat Goldthwait, 2011)
Haywire (Steven Soderbergh, 2011)
Le Gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2011)
Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2011)
Marley (Kevin Macdonald, 2012)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012) – 70mm Version
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh, 2012)
War Horse (Steven Spielberg, 2011)
Wild Bill (Dexter Fletcher, 2011)


MICHAEL BARTLETT

Freelance film writer and subtitler, London.

Best new(-ish) films of 2012:

  1. Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto (Our Beloved Month of August, Miguel Gomes, 2008)
  2. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
  3. A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011)
  4. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
  5. Bir zamanla Anadolu’da (Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
  6. Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011)
  7. Le Gamin au Velo (The Kid with a Bike, Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne, 2011)
  8. Book chon bang yang (The Day He Arrives, Hong Sang-soo, 2011)
  9. Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
  10. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
  11. A Torinói ló (The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr, 2011)
  12. Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, 2012)
  13. O som ao redor (Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonca Filho, 2012)

Some sparkling runners-up…

Kari-gurashi no Arrietti (Arrietty, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2010), La Princesse de Montpensier (The Princess of Montpensier, Bertrand Tavernier, 2010), The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)

Guilty Pleasures:

My Amityville Horror (Eric Walter, 2012), Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)

Most disappointing or massively overrated:

Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, 2012), Mekong Hotel (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2012), Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012), The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)

Two beautiful restorations:

La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937), Mahanagar (Satyajit Ray, 1964)

Two best discoveries from the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna:

Man’s Castle (Frank Borzage, 1933), How a Mosquito Operates (Winsor McCay, 1912)

Three best re-discoveries from the Masters of Cinema:

Die Nibelungen (Fritz Lang, 1924)
Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)
Jigokumon (Gate of Hell, Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1953)

A Dangerous Method


PAOLO BERTOLIN

Festival programmer, Italy.

In 2012, I turned 36. Very appropriately, a film called 36 is among the 40 features (plus one medium length film) that first came to my mind when I was thinking of the films that meant something to me in the past twelve months or so.

40 Features

36 (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2012)
L’Âge atomique (Atomic Age, Héléna Klotz, 2012)
Après mai (Something in the Air, Olivier Assayas, 2012)
Atambua 39° Celsius (Riri Riza, 2012)
Baekya (White Night, Lee Song Hee-il, 2012)
Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die, Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, 2012)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
Florentina Hubaldo CTE (Lav Diaz, 2012)
Gangs of वासेपुर (Gangs of Wasseypur, Anurag Kashyap, 2012)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
L’Intervallo (The Interval, Leonardo di Costanzo, 2012)
Ixjana (Józef Skolimoski, Michał Skolimowski, 2012)
Ja Tozhe Hochu (Me Too, Alexey Balabanov, 2012)
Jungle Love (Sherad Anthony Sanchez, 2012)
Juvenile Offender (Beongjwi Sonyeon, Kang Yi-kwan, 2012)
Khanéh Pedari (The Paternal House, Kianoosh Ayyari, 2012)
Kibō no Kuni (Land of Hope, Sion Sono, 2012)
Leones (Lions, Jazmín López, 2012)
Mekong Hotel (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2012)
Myeongwangseong (Pluto, Shin Su-won, 2012)
Namyeong-dong 1985 (National Security, Chung Ji-young, 2012)
No (Pablo Larraín, 2012)
Paradies: Liebe (Paradise: Love, Ulrich Seidl, 2012)
Pascalina (Pam Miras, 2012)
Los pasos dobles (The Double Steps, Isaki Lacuesta, 2011)
Paziraie Sadeh (Modest Reception, Mani Haghighi, 2012)
Reality (Matteo Garrone, 2012)
Rebelle (War Witch, Kim Nguyen, 2012)
Ship of Theseus (Anand Gandhi, 2012)
Şimdiki Zaman (Present Tense, Belmin Söylemez, 2012)
Sinapupunan (Thy Womb, Brillante Mendoza, 2012)
Yokomichi Yonosuke (A Story of Yonosuke, Okita Shuichi, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Television (Mostafa Sarwar Farooki, 2012)
Tepenin Ardı (Emin Alper, 2012)
V tumane (In the Fog, Sergei Loznitsa, 2012)
Neukdae sonyeon (A Werewolf Boy, Jo Sung-hee, 2012)
Wo hai you hua yao shuo (When Night Falls, Ying Liang, 2012)

And a medium length film:

Light in the Yellow Breathing Space (Vimukthi Jayasundara, 2012)

Après mai (Something in the Air)


PAMELA BIENZOBAS

Chilean film critic and journalist, Paris. Co-founder of Revista de Cine Mabuse. Unlike most critics, she hates making these lists.

This is an extremely classic list. I’m sticking to ten films seen in 2012. A couple (Oslo and Wuthering Heights) had their world premiere in 2011 but I only saw them in 2012. They’re in alphabetical order.

Camille redouble (Camille Rewinds, Noémie Lvovsky, 2012)
El muerto y ser feliz (The Dead Man and Being Happy, Javier Rebollo, 2012)
Gloria (Sebastián Lelio, 2012) – I’m cheating here because the film is not finished, but the WIP still makes it to this list!
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
No (Pablo Larraín, 2012)
Oslo, 31. august (Oslo, August 31st, Joachim Trier, 2011)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Tepenin Ardi (Beyond the Hill, Emin Alper, 2012)
Wrong (Quentin Dupieux, 2012)
Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold, 2011)


CIS BIERINCKX

Film curator and critic, Belgium.

Miguel Gomes and Leos Carax made my film year with their fantastic and sublime films Tabu and Holy Motors (both 2012) while Michael Haneke’s sensitive chamber play Amour (2012) amazed with its content and his rigid direction. Another surprise of the year was undoubtly the cinematic symphony of light, colour and sound in Leviathan (2012) by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, while the dreamlike impressionist New Orleans story of one night, Tchoupitoulas by Bill and Turner Ross, delivered a finely tuned mix of staging and found footage. Other films that got me this year are Cate Shortland’s Lore (2012), the posthumously released Age is… by Stephen Dwoskin (2012), Wang Bing’s San zimei (Three Sisters, 2012), Benh Zeitlin’s Beast of the Southern Wild (2012), Joachim Lafosse’s A perdre la raison (Our Children, 2012) and După Dealuri (Beyond the Hills, 2012) by Cristian Mungiu … and finally I got to see Toshio Matsumoto’s Bara no sôretsu (Funeral Parade of Roses, 1969). A treat.


YVETTE BIRO

Professor Emeritus at New York University.

Best recent films for their innovative, restrained storytelling, proving the fullness of minimalism, defying genre canons.

  1. Dark Horse (Todd Solondz, 2011)
  2. Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011)
  3. Le quattro volte (Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010)
  4. Shirin (Abbas Kiarostami, 2008)
  5. Quelques heures de printemps (A Few Hours of Spring, Stéphane Brize, 2012)
  6. The Time That Remains (Elia Suleiman, 2009)
  7. Ovsyanki (Silent Souls, Aleksei Fedorchenko, 2010)
  8. Restless (Gus Van Sant, 2011)
  9. A Torinói ló (The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr, 2011)
  10. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  11. Into the Abyss (Werner Herzog, 2011)

Remastered: I Giorni Contata (Elio Petri, 1962)

Le Havre


JAMES BROWN

Project manager at Madman Entertainment, Melbourne. 

Kiseki (I Wish, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2011)
Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
No (Pablo Larraín, 2012)
Barfi! (Anurag Basu, 2012)
Correspondencia Jonas Mekas – J.L. Guerín (José Luis Guerín & Jonas Mekas, 2011)
Kahaani (Sujoy Ghosh, 2012)
Mercado de futuros (Futures Market, Mercedes Álvarez, 2011)
Undefeated (Daniel Lindsay & T.J. Martin, 2011)
Dredd (Pete Travis, 2012)


THOMAS CALDWELL

Writes film criticism blog Cinema Autopsy, reviews for the Breakfasters and Plato’s Cave on 3RRR 102.7FM, works on the programming team at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

Favourite ten films with a theatrical release in Melbourne, Australia in 2012:

  1. Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)
  2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)
  3. Weekend (Andrew Haigh, 2011)
  4. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  5. The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
  6. Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
  7. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
  8. Lore (Cate Shortland, 2012)
  9. Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, 2012)
  10. Frankenweenie (Tim Burton, 2012)

Honourable mentions:

  1. Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012)
  2. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
  3. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
  4. The Sessions (Ben Lewin, 2012)
  5. Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
  6. Le Gamin au vélo, (The Kid with a Bike, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, 2011)
  7. Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
  8. The Interrupters (Steve James, 2011)
  9. The Grey (Joe Carnahan, 2012)
  10. Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012)

Favourite ten films that had a public screening in Melbourne, Australia 2012, but not a full theatrical release:

  1. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  2. ParaNorman (Chris Butler & Sam Fell, 2012)
  3. Broken (Rufus Norris, 20121)
  4. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
  5. Ernest et Célestine (Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar & Benjamin Renner, 2012)
  6. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 2011)
  7. Kauwboy (Boudewijn Koole, 2012)
  8. Only the Young (Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet, 2011)
  9. Keyhole (Guy Maddin, 2011)
  10. La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser (The Legend of Kaspar Hauser, Davide Manuli, 2012)

Favourite ten retrospective screenings and re-releases in Melbourne, Australian 2012

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981) – re-released at The Astor Theatre
  2. America America (Elia Kazan, 1963) – The Melbourne Cinémathèque, Elia Kazan: The Outsider season
  3. Le temps retrouvé (Time Regained, Raúl Ruiz, 1999) – The Melbourne Cinémathèque, Immortal Stories: The Living Cinema Of Raúl Ruiz season
  4. Great Expectations (David Lean, 1946) – The Astor Theatre, David Lean Tribute
  5. Solyaris (Solaris, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972) – The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, (ACMI) Space on Film program
  6. Suddenly, Last Summer (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959) – ACMI First Look
  7. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, 1996) – ACMI First Look
  8. Brand Upon the Brain! (Guy Maddin, 2006) – ACMI, Nocturnal Transmissions: The Cinema of Guy Maddin program
  9. Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999) – The Melbourne Cinémathèque, Borderlines: Selected Works by Claire Denis season
  10. Hausu (House, Nobuhiko Ohbayashi, 1977) – ACMI, Nocturnal Transmissions: The Cinema of Guy Maddin program

La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser (The Legend of Kaspar Hauser)


MICHAEL CAMPI

Long captivated by the movies with involvement in non-commercial film exhibition in various capacities over the last forty years.

The films that meant the most in 2012

Aynehaye Rooberoo (Facing Mirrors, Negar Azarbayjani, 2011)
Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, 2012)
The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
Elena (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2011)
Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)
Margaret (long version) (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Mata tertutup (The Blindfold, Garin Nugroho, 2012)
Student (Darezhan Omirbayev, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Youzhong (Beijing Flickers, Zhang Yuan, 2012)

It has been a good year for South Korean cinema with such memorable films as:

Gast (Choked, Kim Joog-hyun, 2011)
Jam mot deuneun bam (Sleepless Night, Jang Kunjae, 2012)
Helpless (Byun Youngjoo, 2012)
Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
Romaenseu Jo (Romance Joe, Lee Kwangkuk, 2011)
Wan deuki (Punch, Lee Han, 2011)

In the last twelve months, the cinema has seen the passing of two celebrated figures from Japan. Their final works were appropriate testaments: Kaneto Shindo’s Ichimai no Hagaki (Postcard, 2010, made when the director had reached the age of 98) and Yoshimitsu Morita’s Bokukyu: A ressha de iko (Train Brain Express, 2011).

If my year hadn’t been interrupted by an untoward event, new work by the following might have been included as well: Leos Carax, David Cronenberg, Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami and Cristian Mungiu.

On the domestic viewing front exciting new disc releases included the Criterion set of three films by Jean Gremillon, just after their screenings at that real Cinema Paradiso, the Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna each year, and also Criterion’s superb Blu-ray tribute to Paul Fejos, especially Lonesome (1928). Other essential new discs included the German release of Ernest Lubitsch’s Das Weib des Pharao (1921).


MICHELLE CAREY

Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), Festival Reports Editor for Senses of Cinema and co-curator of The Melbourne Cinémathèque.

A particularly time-intensive personal and professional year meant I didn’t get to see as many films as I would have liked. As much as these (new) films below blew my mind and cinema remains my first love, I should also give gratitude to these wonderful television shows – TV being a relatively new (re)discovery for me, now that I have actual reception: The Thick of It, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie, Veep, Girls, Bored to Death, and Louis Theroux. And to all the festivals and cinema institutions that continue to program older titles on 35mm and within the context of contemporary cinema (Anthology Film Archives, The Melbourne Cinémathèque, Cinémathèque Française, Austrian Filmmuseum, Harvard Film Archive, MOMA etc).

And to the following films (in alphabetical order) and filmmakers, thank you:

Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012)
Bestiaire (Denis Côté, 2012)
The Capsule (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2012)
Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman, 2011)
Le grand soir (Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern, 2012)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser (The Legend of Kaspar Hauser, Davide Manuli, 2012)
Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)
La Maladie blanche (The White Disease, Christelle Lheureux, 2011)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
No (Pablo Larraín, 2012)
Palácios de Pena (Palaces of Pity, Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt 2011)
Seeking the Monkey King (Ken Jacobs, 2011)
O som ao redor (Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Tao jie (A Simple Life, Ann Hui, 2011)
Viola (Matías Piñeiro, 2012)
Walker (Tsai Ming-liang, 2012)

Amour


CELLULOID LIBERATION FRONT

A multi-use(r) name, an “open reputation” informally adopted and shared by a desiring multitude of insurgent spectators.

The biggest enemy of cinema, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – possibly the only country in the world than bans cinema from being made and exhibited – remains a close ally of the democratic western world in its charitable effort to export free speech worldwide. It’s now been a full year that the world of cinema lost its fiercest cinephile whose death was met with the kind of mass hysteria only Princess Diana used to get. The horror of democratic capitalism rages on, showing no signs of self-restraint. Cosmic militants Marker and Wakamatsu were called upon the gods of cinema to raise the level of conflict to heavenly heights. Hasta la victoria Chris & Kôji, siempre!

The unelected central committee of the Celluloid Liberation Front sends all its unconditional love to the whole Locarno Critics Academy brigade.

Films in the meantime continue to be a cruel, unjust and meaningless affair, just like life. The only thing we really have.

The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
After decades of sneaky Russians, dirty Muslims and Third World villains, the enemy comes once again from within and it’s aiming at the financial heart of western civilisation. Long live Bane and the People’s Republic of Gotham! Let a thousand of them rise!

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Psychic historical materialism for the silver screen: Anderson continues his fearless exploration of the dark recesses of the American Dream, this time focusing on the lucrative manipulation of weak consciousness.

O som ao redor (Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012)
Mendonça Filho’s debut feature displays an uncommon ability in registering the equivocal nuances of paranoia and making them visible to the spectator. A psycho-surveillance thriller about the benign dystopia of gentrification and its crime-free ghettoes in which the middle class is imprisoning itself.

O Batuque Dos Astros (The Drumming Beat of the Stars, Julio Bressane, 2012)
Still the wildest visionary (outside) of cinema (not) working today. May his drums beat on for long!

Compliance (Craig Zobel, 2012)
With this alarming tale of blind obedience, director Craig Zobel has realised a capital film on the infinite dangers of compliance, exposing the vicious pliancy authority — “legitimate” or not — relies upon. Good Germans speak English too.

Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2011)
The 21st century equivalent of Friedrich Engels’ The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Essential.

La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser (The Legend of Kaspar Hauser, Davide Manuli, 2012)
A film whose expressive thrust passes through your guts before hitting your head. Moving passages of operatic magnitude – where the epic pulse of techno music inflates the long shots with a visceral evocation – invest the spectator with the sheer force of vision.

Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
In Hunger a captive man would enlist his carnality at the service of liberation, in Shame a free man is imprisoned by his own body and neurotic sexuality. Iron discipline chained the Irish militant, addiction controls the free man; inner policing as opposed to repression, these are the themes asserting the topical relevance of Steve McQueen’s second feature.

No (Pablo Larrain, 2012)
It is only by emptying democracy of its assets, the film illustrates, that its successful establishment can be accomplished. The emotional tone of the film (ambiguously dour) and its bitter circularity make for an (un)usual tale of democratic triumph.

Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki, 2012)
Outside the gentrified humanism for “members only” and the gated communities of meritocracy, in the suburbs of a neglected humanity is this utopian archipelago uncontaminated by the toxic sludge of “civilised” living, graced by a Soave breeze of disenchanted hope.

O som ao redor (Neighbouring Sounds)


LESLEY CHOW

Film critic and associate editor of Bright Lights, and arts writer at Artinfo Australia.

Best films:

Elles (Malgorzata Szumowska, 2011)

The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)

Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)

Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, 2012)

Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)
In the past year several films, from Super 8 (J. J. Abrams, 2011) to The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011), have placed themselves at the beginnings of cinema. The best of them is this extraordinary film, which fuses the history of silent cinema with the rise of the blockbuster in the ‘70s. The surprise is that Hugo is as much an homage to Spielberg as it is to Méliès. Scorsese references not only the thrills of Spielberg’s E.T. (1982) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), but later works such as The Terminal (2004) and A.I. (2001) – the latter most explicitly in the casting of Jude Law as the father of robots.

Like The Terminal, Hugo is a vast apparatus which shifts its ready-made characters from level to level. Almost all of the characters are types: the lonely policeman, the scamp lost in the city, the flower girl with big eyes (Emily Mortimer, channelling Audrey Tautou). By using a blend of fresh imagery and hokey sentiment, Scorsese makes us feel that Spielbergian excitement once again, from the mending of an old man’s heart to the little boy gazing from behind the giant clock (a figure who is as much E.T. as the Happy Prince.)

This boy has an older female love interest, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who is the most spirited woman in all of Scorsese, never limited to token feisty outbursts like the wives in his Mafia films. In a move reminiscent of Copie conforme (Certified Copy, Abbas Kiarostami, 2010), Isabelle invites the unformed boy into her imagination. She alone knows what kind of plot they are playing out, thanks to a lifetime of reading and adventure games: she has all the fictional maps stored in her brain.

Who would have thought that the masterly Scorsese might be capable of this playful and impish film? It’s a pleasure to see this strict formalist embracing humour and novelty; there is so much delight over the impromptu recreations of Méliès. By restaging cinema from silents to 3D, the director points to his work as a curator, presenting his own version of film history.

Careless Love (John Duigan, 2012)
Why do so many of the best Australian films deal with prostitution? Like Sleeping Beauty (Julia Leigh, 2011) and Duigan’s own Winter of our Dreams (1981), this film manages to capture both intimacy and exposure, warmth and desolation.

Arcana (Henry Hills, 2011)

Weekend (Andrew Haigh, 2011)

This Must Be the Place (Paolo Sorrentino, 2011)

Haywire (Steven Soderbergh, 2011)

Best performances:

  1. Chris New in Weekend
  2.  J. Smith-Cameron in Margaret
  3.  Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea
  4.  Juliette Binoche in Elles
  5.  Jack Black in Bernie (Richard Linklater, 2011)
  6.  Cecilia Cheung in Dangerous Liaisons (Hur Jin-ho, 2012)
    What better way for an actress to come back from a scandal than by playing the sexual manipulator of all time? Cheung returns with a winning new take on Marquise de Merteuil. Doll-faced, with endearing dimples, this woman has the aura of a gentle girl; no-one sees her coming.
  7. Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike (Soderbergh, 2012)
  8.  Sean Penn in This Must Be the Place
  9.  Chris Rock in 2 Days in New York (Julie Delpy, 2012)
  10.  Eryk Lubos in To Zabic bobra (To Kill a Beaver, Jan Jakub Kolski, 2012)

Best puzzles:

  1. W.E. (Madonna, 2011)
  2. Café de Flore (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2011)
  3. This Means War (McG, 2012)
    Constructed by its director as an “ode to Billy Wilder”, this is a surprisingly loving attempt to fuse every genre currently in play. Cut off any slice and you’ll get a cross-section of spy comedy, ‘80s action flick, bromance, straight rom-com, and female sex farce.

Hugo


ROBERTA CIABARRA

Melbourne-based film programmer.

General release and film festival screenings in Melbourne and Sydney:

Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)
The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Alpeis (Alps, Yorgos Lanthimos, 2011)
Abrir puertas y ventanas (Back to Stay, Milagros Mumenthaler, 2011)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
L’ApollonideSouvenirs de la maison close (House of Tolerance, Bertrand Bonello, 2011)
Les bien-aimés (Beloved, Christophe Honoré, 2011)
Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, 2011)
Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die, Paolo Taviani & Vittorio Taviani, 2012)
Lore (Cate Shortland, 2012)
Reality (Matteo Garrone, 2012)

Documentary:

Hiver Nomade (Winter Nomads, Manuel von Stürler, 2012)
Escuela normal (Normal School, Celina Murga, 2012)

Retrospective:

Archangel (Guy Maddin, 1990), My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007) and Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) (Guy Maddin Selects), as part of ACMI’s Nocturnal Transmissions: The Cinema of Guy Maddin season*

Venice 2012:

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Après mai (Something in the Air, Olivier Assayas, 2012)
Bella addormentata (Dormant Beauty, Marco Bellocchio, 2012)
La cinquième saison (The Fifth Season, Peter Brosens & Jessica Woodworth, 2012)
The Weight (Jeon Kyu-hwan, 2012)
Queen of Montreuil (Sólveig Anspach, 2012)
Pieta (Kim Ki-duk, 2012)

Worst:

To Rome with Love (Woody Allen, 2012)
Utterly galling. Allen’s laziest, most cynical “Fall Project” yet. Way to squander the love after the mediocre but infinitely more charming Midnight in Paris.

*Full disclosure: season curated by my ACMI Film Programs colleague, Kristy Matheson.


JOHN CONOMOS

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SYDNEY COLLEGE OF THE ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY AND ARTIST, CRITIC AND WRITER.

These days the ‘waterfront’ that I cover in terms of the cinema is still the movie house, which for me, functions as a communal ‘ribbon dream’ jacuzzi. Festivals these days are increasingly atomising into boutique/niche affairs and the Internet /blogosphere is a Borgesian beehive of cinephilic discoveries and global conversations. But with the proverbial wheat we have much chaff that needs critical discernment, new paradigms of thinking, description and analysis, and new pathways of seeing and hearing how the old and the new and the future inform each other. Questions that are raised in Christopher Kenneally’s documentary Side by Side (2012), produced and narrated by Keanu Reeves, that probes the digitisation of the art and science of cinema and whether in a hundred years from now will these questions be just forgotten echoes. Who knows? One thing is for sure, the cinema we knew and encounter today is asking us: less dogma, nostalgia and binarism, and instead more curiosity, intuition, poetry and patience.

Top 10

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Frank Loesser’s 1947 classic song “On A Slow Boat to China” gets a new surreal life between a battle of will between a maladjusted sailor (Joaquin Phoenix) and a cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in this epic post-war narrative of sex, belief and control. Both Phoenix and Hoffman scorch the screen with their mesmeric performances.

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Nothing less than cinema being re-born in this unpredictably unclassifiable ‘cabinet of wonders’ of Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), a strange shadowy character, who travels between different parallel lives. Carax’s first film since 1999. The question is: are we ready for it?

Cosmopolis (David Croenberg, 2012)
Croenberg’s adaption of Don Delillo’s novel is a cyber-minimalist ‘ road movie’ that illustrates the stakes and costs of living in these post-humanist times. A ‘book end’ movie to Croenberg’s McLuhanesque Videodrome (1982).

Bernie (Richard Linklater, 2011)
Jack Black as the lovable, neatly dressed and manicured undertaker in a small Texan town is right on the money. A beautifully rendered performance by Black in this absorbing black comedy. Still waters run deep.

Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2011)
Kentucky Fried Chicken will have a totally new nasty meaning from now on.  Matthew McConaughey is brilliant as the rogue cop, as is Gina Gershon as the evil stepmother in this Southern dark gothic tale of debt, drugs and retribution. No one does ‘nasty’ as Friedkin does. This time with Russ Meyer in mind.

Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012)
A riveting documentary about the 70s rock ‘n roll singer Rodriguez who ‘disappears’ from cult critical acclaim to retreat to his savagely depleted home town of Detroit sticking to his uncompromised view of the world. Like Richard Press’s 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham New York this documentary is also about someone who creates not for fame and fortune – ‘the carnivore world of celebrity’ (Edna O’Brien) – but out of personal necessity.

The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
Davies’s rewarding adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s 1952 same-named play of obsessive love, agony and attempted suicide. Davies’s characteristically deft cinema-savvy storytelling is always dramaturgically potent to observe.

A Royal Affair (Nikolaj Arcel, 2012)
A historical costume drama that tells of the court of Christian V11 of Denmark in the 18th century that is rocked by adultery, insanity, sadomasochism and politics. Young Princess Caroline Maltida (Alicia Vikander), sister to the insane George 111 of Britain, and married to the mad king Christian V11 at 15 years old starts an affair with his chief minister Johann Struensee (Madds Mikkelsen). Mikkelsen is typically magnetic as the commoner who with the young Caroline start an “Age of Enlightenment” revolution across the nation.

The Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)
Think Little Britain or the “Carry On” comedies meet Georges Bataille and you have this very droll, wicked black comedy of sightseeing across old Merry England today. David Cameron’s ‘broken society’ in full view if you will. Our “Natural Born Killers” couple Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe), who mainly wrote the film, and who do their multiplying ghastly deeds is yet one more instance of a fundamental surreal impulse that informs English life.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (Matthew Akers, 2012)
One of the more interesting documentaries of late that deals with an artist. Who will blink first in this exploration of audience and performer, mind and body? This documentary focuses on the pioneering Serbian performance artist getting ready for her survey show at New York’s MOMA in 2010.

Finally, one more selection: Georges Franju’s La tête contre les murs (Head Against the Wall, 1958). I saw this very recently on DVD. Anything by Franju and I am cauterised to the spot. Surreal cinema at its best (along with Luis Bunuel, of course). A teenager is institutionalised in a mental asylum because he defies his wealthy father. To listen to Jean-Pierre Mocky on how this masterpiece came about (DVD supplement) is to see how we are indebted to him for commissioning the project! Oh, to see a Franju retrospective: perhaps too utopian a wish these days but you never know what mysteries this world of ours contains.


JESÚS CORTÉS

Spanish film writer for magazines and cinema sites such as Un blog comme les autres, Foco, Détour.

25 best new and relatively recent films I have seen during the past year

  1. Kærestesorger (Aching Hearts, Nils Malmros, 2009)
  2. 38 témoins (38 Witnesses, Lucas Belvaux, 2012)
  3. Restless (Gus Van Sant, 2011)
  4. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
  5. Les Chants de Mandrin (Smugglers’ Songs, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, 2011)
  6. O Gebo e a Sombra (Gebo and the Shadow, Manoel de Oliveira, 2012)
  7. Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Robert Guédiguian, 2011)
  8. Rapt (Lucas Belvaux, 2009)
  9. Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
  10. La Guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War, Valèrie Donzelli, 2011)
  11. Un été brûlant (That Summer, Philippe Garrel, 2011)
  12. Fais-moi plaisir! (Please, Please Me!, Emmanuel Mouret, 2009)
  13. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  14. Iti Mrinalini: An Unfinished Letter (Aparna Sen, 2010)
  15. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, 2012)
  16. Avé (Konstantin Bojanov, 2011)
  17. Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, 2011)
  18. Ang ninanais (Refrains Happen Like Revolutions in a Song, John Torres, 2010)
  19. Indigène d’Eurasie (Eastern Drift, Sharunas Bartas, 2010)
  20. Book chon bang yang (The Day He Arrives, Hong Sang-soo, 2011)
  21. Stake Land (Jim Mickle, 2010)
  22. Il gemello (The Triplet, Vincenzo Marra, 2012)
  23. Espion(s) (Nicolas Saada, 2009)
  24. The Lebanon Rocket Society (Khalil Joreige & Joana Hadjithomas, 2012)
  25. Trouble with the Curve (Robert Lorenz, 2012)

75 best older films seen for the first time in 2012

Paroma (The Ultimate Woman, Aparna Sen, 1982), Karin Ingmarsdotter (Karin, Daughter of Ingmar, Victor Sjöström, 1920), Banka (Elegy of the North, Heinosuke Gosho, 1957), Chances (Allan Dwan, 1931), Kundskabens træ (Tree of Knowledge, Nils Malmros, 1981), Viagem a os seios de Duília (Journey to Duília’s Breasts, Carlos Hugo Christensen, 1964), Wakare-gumo (Dispersed Clouds, Heinosuke Gosho, 1951), Kiiroi karasu (Yellow Crow, Heinosuke Gosho, 1957), Entotsu no mieru basho (Where Chimneys are Seen, Heinosuke Gosho, 1953), Ima hitotabi no (Heinosuke Gosho, 1947), Osaka no yado (An Inn at Osaka, Heinosuke Gosho, 1954), At kende sandheden (Facing the Truth, Nils Malmros, 2002), In jenen tagen (Those Days, Helmut Käutner, 1947), La Certosa di Parma / La Chartreuse de Parme (Mauro Bolognini, 1982), Setouchi munraito serenade (Moonlight Serenade, Masahiro Shinoda, 1997), Razzia in St. Pauli (Raid in St. Pauli, Werner Hochbaum, 1933), Onna no za (A Woman’s Place, Mikio Naruse, 1962), Casta diva (Carmine Gallone, 1956), Too Late for Tears / Killer Bait (Byron Haskin, 1948), Tall Man Riding (Lesley Selander, 1955), Civilization (Thomas H. Ince, Reginald Barker & Raymond B. West, 1916), Ani to sono imotô (A Brother and His Younger Sister, Yasujiro Shimazu, 1939), Tomorrow is Another Day (Felix E. Feist, 1951), Escape (Mervyn LeRoy, 1940), Haha wa shinazu (A Mother Never Dies, Mikio Naruse, 1942), The Sky’s the Limit (Edward H. Griffith, 1943), La strada lunga un anno / Cesta duga godinu dana (The Year Long Road, Giuseppe de Santis, 1958), The Eternal Sea (John H. Auer, 1955), Young Romance (George Melford, 1915), Bourbon Street Blues (Douglas Sirk with Hans Schonhërr and Tilman Taube, 1978), State Secret (Sidney Gilliat, 1950), Skønheden og udyret (Beauty and the Beast, Nils Malmros, 1983), That’s My Man (Frank Borzage, 1947), The Lion and the Horse (Louis King, 1952), Smoky (Louis King, 1946), This Woman is Dangerous (Felix E. Feist, 1952), La nave delle donne maledette (Ship of Lost Women, Raffaello Matarazzo, 1953), Un baiser, s’il vous plait (Shall We Kiss?, Emmanuel Mouret, 2007), Changement d’adresse (Change of Address, Emmanuel Mouret, 2006), Aarhus by Night (Nils Malmros, 1988), Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film (Ric Burns, 2002), The Enchanted Cottage (John S. Robertson, 1924), O canto do mar (Song of the Sea, Alberto Cavalcanti, 1952), L’ultima violenza (The Latest Violence, Raffaello Matarazzo, 1957), Trooper Hook (Charles Marquis Warren, 1957), When Strangers Marry (William Castle, 1944), Desert Hearts (Donna Deitch, 1985), Poto and Cabengo (Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1979), Possessed (Curtis Bernhardt, 1947), Smelje ljudi (The Horsemen, Konstantin Yudin, 1950), Cavale (On the Run, Lucas Belvaux, 2002), Schleppzug M 17 (Tugboat M 17, Werner Hochbaum & Heinrich George, 1933), La fracture du myocarde (Cross My Heart, Jacques Fansten, 1990), El canto del cisne (Swan Song, Carlos Hugo Christensen, 1943), Khandhar (The Ruins, Mrinal Sen, 1984), Le lait de la tendresse humaine (The Milk of Human Kindness, Dominique Cabrera, 2001), The Spoilers (Jesse Hibbs, 1955), Après la vie (Afterlife, Lucas Belvaux, 2002), Aki tachinu (Approach of Autumn, Mikio Naruse, 1960), Green Grass of Wyoming (Louis King, 1948), A Dangerous Profession (Ted Tetzlaff, 1949), Lebenszeichten (Signs of Life, Werner Herzog, 1968), Zemestan (It’s Winter, Rafi Pitts, 2006), Shotgun Stories (Jeff Nichols, 2007), Schastye vechnoy nochi (The Happiness of Eternal Night, Yevgeníi Bauer, 1915), Lettre d’un cinéaste à sa fille (Letter from a Filmmaker to His Daughter, Eric Pauwels, 2001), Mulberry Street (Jim Mickle, 2006), O menino e o vento (The Child and the Wind, Carlos Hugo Christensen, 1963), Crashout (Lewis R. Foster, 1955), Einleitung zu Arnold Schoenbergs Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene (Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematic Scene, Jean-Marie Straub, 1972), Nie wieder liebe! (No More Love!, Anatole Litvak/Litwak, 1931), Zur chronik von Grieshuus (Chronicles of the Grey House, Arthur von Gerlach, 1923/25), Poet (Boris Barnet, 1955), Panhandle (Lesley Selander, 1948), Los traidores (The Traitors, Raimundo Gleyzer, 1973).

50 best among revisited

Advise and Consent (Otto Preminger, 1962), Anne of the Indies (Jacques Tourneur, 1951), Akasen chitai (Street of Shame, Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956), The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949), The New Centurions (Richard Fleischer, 1972), The Greatest Show on Earth (Cecil B. DeMille, 1952), Shanghai Express (Josef von Sternberg, 1932), The Hustler (Robert Rossen, 1961), Liberté, la nuit (Philippe Garrel, 1983), The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941), The Fall of the Roman Empire (Anthony Mann, 1963), The Glass Menagerie (Paul Newman, 1987), Big Wednesday (John Milius, 1978), Efter repetitionen (After the Rehearsal, Ingmar Bergman, 1983), L’etrangleur (The Strangler, Paul Vecchiali, 1972), Babae sa breakwater (Woman of Breakwater, Mario O’Hara, 2002), Sången om den eldröda blomman (Song of the Scarlet Flower, Mauritz Stiller, 1918), American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973), The Chapman Report (George Cukor, 1962), O passado e o presente (Past and Present, Manoel de Oliveira, 1971), Bird of Paradise (Delmer Daves, 1951), Ekstase (Ecstasy, Gustav Machatý, 1933), Soliaris (Solaris, Andrei Tarkovskíi, 1972), An American Tragedy (Josef von Sternberg, 1931), The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 1978), While Paris Sleeps (Allan Dwan, 1932), Dyn amo (Stephen Dwoskin, 1972), Filming “Othello” (Orson Welles, 1978), Un lugar en el mundo (A Place in the World, Adolfo Aristarain, 1991), Stolen Holiday (Michael Curtiz, 1937), Naked Alibi (Jerry Hopper, 1954), Identificazione di una donna (Identification of a Woman, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982), Ljubavni slucaj ili tragedija sluzbenice P.T.T. (Love Affair, or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator, Dusan Makavejev, 1967), Leo (José Luis Borau, 2000), Love Tapes (Wendy Clarke, 1979), Irezumi (Tattoo, Yasuzo Masumura, 1966), I walk alone (Byron Haskin, 1947), Garden of evil (Henry Hathaway, 1954), Tormento (Torment, Raffaello Matarazzo, 1950), Barbara (Nils Malmros, 1997), Who’s Minding the Store? (Frank Tashlin, 1962), Il regista di matrimoni (The Wedding Director, Marco Bellocchio, 2006), Now, Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942), Gentleman’s Agreement (Elia Kazan, 1947), O Quinto Imperio – Onten como hoje (The Fifth Empire, Manoel de Oliveira, 2004), So Dark the Night (Joseph H. Lewis, 1946), The Mothering Heart (David W. Griffith, 1913), Maya darpan (Mirror of Illusion, Kumar Shahani, 1972), Río abajo / On the Line (José Luis Borau, 1984), Martin (George A. Romero, 1976), Voici le tems des assassins (Deadlier than the Male, Julien Duvivier, 1956).

Tabu


FERGUS DALY

Writer of a piece on film noir in issue 10 of online journal Experimental Conversations.

Best films seen in 2012

Dark Shadows (Tim Burton, 2012)
Faust (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2011)
The Future (Miranda July, 2011)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
“Lotus Community Workshop” (Harmony Korine) segment of The Fourth Dimension (2012)
Margaret (Kenneth Lonergen, 2011)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Post-Fordlandia (Megs Morley & Tom Flanagan, 2011)
Silence (Pat Collins, 2012)
Take this Waltz (Sarah Polley, 2011)
This Must Be the Place (Paolo Sorrentino, 2011)
The Three Stooges (Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, 2012)
Tiny Furniture (Lena Dunham, 2010)

Overall, an improvement on 2011 and a confirmation that, not for the first time in history, most of the great filmmaking is coming from North America.


TONI D’ANGELA

Founder and editor-in-chief of La Furia Umana.

4:44 Last Day on Earth (Abel Ferrara, 2011)
Legs open to the vertigo.

Jajouka, quelque chose de bon vient vers toi (Eric & Marc Hurtado, 2012)
The world is greater than our ideas.

The Girl with Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2012)
Capitalism is the killer.

Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)
The light of the soul.

Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel)
Sea song.

Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
The wound that bleeds… to open.

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Vive le cinema!

Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, 2011)
Love is coming and it will be a storm.

Seeking the Monkey King (Ken Jacobs, 2012)
Modulations and distortions produced by the flexible accumulation that requires further flexibility and versatility.

Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2011)
Hell is never full.


MICHAEL DA SILVA

Graduate of the University of King’s College.

Creating the list below was very difficult. Unlike past years when paring down the list seemed impossible, I had difficulty finding 10 films to fill the slots this year. I lived in three different locations this year, two of which offered limited film selection. As a result, I saw fewer new releases this year than in most years of my adult life. The following list can thus be read as an educated film viewer’s guide to the mainstream English language films of 2012. Hollywood-averse readers may find it useful to know which Hollywood films are worth viewing.

A further limitation comes from the earlier World Poll deadline this year. I often watch many of the year’s awards contenders during the finals weeks of the year, so I am certain that I have yet to watch many of my favourite films released in 2012. In early 2012, for instance, I saw two very good 2011 releases, A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011), Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, 2011) and We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011). I did not see Footnote (Joseph Cedar, 2011) until mid-2012. I expect to likewise see some very good to great films in the final weeks of 2012 and early 2013.

There is a wide gap between the first film on my list and those that follow it. I only saw one 2012 release that I can unequivocally deem an instant classic that transcends its moment in time. Well-made action movies and political films otherwise dominate my list.

My list of the top ten (primarily English) films of 2012 is as follows:

  1. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
  2. Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, 2012)
  3. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012)
  4. The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2012)
  5. Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012)
  6. Bernie (Richard Linklater, 2011)
  7. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
  8. Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)
  9. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
  10. Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012)

The worst new non-sequel film I saw this year was Savages (Oliver Stone, 2012). While I generally enjoy David O. Russell’s work, I thought Silver Linings Playbook (2012) was the year’s most overrated film. To Rome with Love (Woody Allen, 2012) was the most disappointing new release of 2012.

The Master


ADRIAN DANKS

Director of Contextual Studies (including Cinema Studies), School of Media and Communication, RMIT University. Co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque and co-editor of Senses of Cinema.

12 favourite “new films” screening somewhere in Melbourne in 2012:

Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die, Paulo and Vittorio Taviani, 2012)
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011)
The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
Entre temps (Ana Vaz, 2012)
Hail (Amiel Courtin-Wilson, 2011)
Into the Abyss (Werner Herzog, 2011)
Mad Men series 5 (2012)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Mercado de futuros (Futures Market, Mercedes Álavrez, 2011)
No (Pablo Larraín, 2012)
Patience (After Sebald) (Grant Gee, 2011)
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

3 honourable mentions:
The second half of Miguel Gomes’ Tabu (2012) – the often droll, surprising and even moving combination of Raúl Ruiz and Wes Anderson (though such easy comparisons are unfair to Gomes) did not make up for the listless and drab opening 50 minutes (even if retrospectively justified); Le sommeil d’or (Golden Slumbers, Davy Chou, 2011); We Were Here (David Weissman and Bill Weber, 2011)

Highly overrated (by some, anyway):

Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)
Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012)

Worst film of the year (by a country mile):

Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman, 2011) – that first name leaves open so many opportunities for critical affirmation or despair. I’ll take the latter.

Retrospective highlights:

Wild River (Elia Kazan, 1960)
Seen in a wonderful 35mm print at the Melbourne Cinémathèque (admission: I’m co-curator), this now qualifies for me as the director’s greatest film and one of the most sensitive, vulnerable and remarkable works of the transition between classical and post-classical cinema.

William Kentridge: Five Themes at ACMI
I was always fairly underwhelmed by Kentridge’s earlier animations (and still am). But the larger scale works presented in this beautifully presented exhibition profiled an artist who has moved far beyond those somewhat sophomoric early works.


DUSTIN DASIG

Professor, writer, Training Director, Philippines.

Best film of the year:

Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Runner-up: Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

Best performance-actor:

Denis Lavant, Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Runner-up: Eddie Garcia, Bwakaw (Jun Robles Lana, 2012)

Best performance-actress:

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour (runner-up: Rachel Mwanza, Rebelle (War Witch), Kim Nguyen, 2012)

Best direction of a film:

Leos Carax, Holy Motors 
Runner-up: Michael Haneke, Amour

Best screenplay:

Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012) Runner-up: Joseph Cedar, Hearat Shulahim (Footnote, Joseph Cedar, 2011)

Notable films:

  1. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)
  2. Bwakaw (Jun Robles Lana, 2012)
  3. Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die, Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, 2012)
  4. Chico and Rita (Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal, & Fernando Trueba, 2010)
  5. The Descendants (Alexander Payne, 2011)
  6. Hearat Shulahim (Footnote, Joseph Cedar, 2011)
  7. Kiseki (I Wish, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2011)
  8. Las acacias (Pablo Giorgelli, 2011)
  9. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
  10. Rebelle (War Witch, Kim Nguyen, 2012)

Best politically themed film:

Rebelle (War Witch, Kim Nguyen, 2012)

Best use of music (original song or revival) in a film:

Chico and Rita (Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal, & Fernando Trueba, 2010)

Worst film of the year:

Arirang (Kim Ki-duk, 2011) & Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)

Holy Motors


WHEELER WINSTON DIXON

Ryan Professor of Film Studies, Coordinator of the Film Studies Program, Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and Editor in Chief, with Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, of the Quarterly Review and Film and Video.

Ten films that really impressed me, all released in 2012, in no particular order:

In film nist (This is Not a Film, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi, 2011)
The Queen of Versailles (Lauren Greenfield, 2012)
Bernie (Richard Linklater, 2011)
Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
How to Survive a Plague (David France, 2012)
The Invisible War (Kirby Dick, 2012)
Wild Bill (Dexter Fletcher, 2011)
Side by Side (Christopher Kenneally, 2012)
Les Adieux à la reine (Farewell, My Queen, Benoît Jacquot, 2012)

There were a lot of excellent documentaries this year – as there were last year – and all of the films on my list certainly had their moments. I found myself drifting back though, to Lars von Trier’s Melancholia or J. C. Chandor’s Margin Call (both 2011), films that, for me, were really transcendent experiences. None of the films above, with the possible exception of the mesmeric Tabu, really came up to that level. That said, This is Not a Film signals a new era in do-it-yourself cinema, smuggled out of Iran on a flash-drive hidden in a birthday cake, proving that you don’t need much in the way of physical materials to make a compelling film; all it requires is genius and a talent for improvisation under pressure. Killing Them Softly is perhaps the most conventional film here, but it still packs a punch. Side by Side, though also veering towards the quotidian, nevertheless addresses the most central issue facing cinema today; film or digital. Really, it isn’t a contest any more; digital has won. Film is gone.

But just last week, I was running a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) in my film history class, which looked sharp, hard and glossy; and then a 35mm print of another film, which seemed, in comparison, warm, romantic and inviting. There’s no use bemoaning the death of film, though; it’s an accomplished fact. Christopher Nolan is still carrying the torch for celluloid, but it won’t be long before 35mm vanishes completely – something I predicted as far back as 2000 in a lecture in Stockholm, when one theatre in New York switched, even back then, to all digital projection. The Jazz Singer (Alan Crosland, 1927) opened in one theatre, as well; within two years, silent films were gone. It’s taken digital longer to gain market dominance, but when one looks at the cost savings for the studios in shipping, storage and print costs, as well as the level of control DCPs give the majors – DCPs must be unlocked by KDMs (Key Delivery Messages) for each screening, so studios always know where and when their films are being screened – the shift was ultimately inevitable.

So it’s a digital world, and film – as we knew it – is no longer part of the landscape. That’s the major story for 2012, and a host of aesthetic and pictorial values vanish with the switch. But sheer economics drive the process, and film is above all a very costly medium. So with distribution and advertising costs rising, to say nothing of above-the-line budgets, mainstream fare will continue to rule the multiplex, while most of the films listed here played only “selected theaters”, and never reached the general public. That’s another problem, and for that, there seems no solution in sight.


DENNY DREHER

Toledo, Ohio, USA.
  1. Adaminte Makan Abu (Abu – Son of Adam, Salim Ahamed, 2011)
  2. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  3. Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012)
  4. Comme si nous attrapions un cobra (As If You Were Catching a Cobra, Hala Alaballa, 2012)
  5. English Vinglish (Gauri Shinde, 2012)
  6. Francis Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)
  7. Gaosu tamen, wo cheng baihe qu le (Fly With the Crane, Rui Jun Li, 2012)
  8. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson 2012)
  9. Rundskop (Bullhead, Michael Roskan, 2011)
  10. Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh, 2012)
  11. Tao jie (A Simple Life, Ann Hui, 2011)

 

Frances Ha


DZONDUNKELLICHT

Dzondunkellicht’s work engages with the intersecting qualities of cinema, philosophy and aesthetics.
  1. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)
  2. Seeking the Monkey King (Ken Jacobs, 2011)
  3. La Madre (Jean-Marie Straub, 2012)
  4. The Extravagant Shadows (David Gatten, 2012)
  5. Age Is… (Stephen Dwoskin, 2012)
  6. Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas, 2012)
  7. 11·25 jiketsu no hi: Mishima Yukio to wakamono-tachi (11:25 The Day He Chose His Own Fate, Kôji Wakamatsu, 2012)
  8. Perret in Frankreich und Algerien (Perret in France and Algeria, Heinz Emigholz, 2012)
  9. Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
  10. Peleh Akhar (The Last Step, Ali Mosaffa, 2012)
  11. Sueño y silencio (Dream and Silence, Jaime Rosales, 2012)
  12. Monument Film (Peter Kubelka, 2012)
  13. Bestiaire (Denis Côté, 2012)
  14. San zimei (Three Sisters, Wang Bing, 2012)
  15. Vous n’avez encore rien vu (You Aint Seen Nothin’ Yet, Alain Resnais, 2012)
  16. La noche de enfrente (Night Across the Street, Raúl Ruiz, 2012)
  17. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  18. A última vez que vi Macau (The Last Time I Saw Macao, João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata, 2012)
  19. View From the Acropolis (Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, 2012)
  20. The Fiercer The Fire The Longer The Spoon (Bruce McClure, 2012)

Honorable mentions

  1. O Gebo e a Sombra (Gebo and the Shadow, Manoel de Oliveira, 2012)
  2. Los ultimos christeros (The Last Christeros Matias Meyer, 2012)
  3. A vingança de uma mulher (A Woman’s Revenge Rita Azevedo Gomes, 2012)
  4. Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (Lav Diaz, 2012)
  5. Malaventura (Michel Lipkes, 2011)
  6. Nana (Valérie Massadian, 2011)
  7. Ensayo final para utopía (Dress Rehearsal for Utopia, Andrés Duque, 2012)
  8. Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, 2012)
  9. Silence (Pat Collins, 2011)
  10. Walker (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2012)
  11. Low Life (Nicolas Klotz & Elisabeth Perceval, 2011)
  12. Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
  13. Sudoeste (Southwest, Eduardo Nunes, 2012)
  14. De Jueves a Domingo (Thursday Through Sunday, Dominga Sotomayor Castilla, 2012)
  15. Los salvajes (The Wild Ones, Alejandro Fadel, 2012)
  16. Corta (Cut, Felipe Guerrero, 2012)
  17. La Lapidation de Saint Étienne (Pere Vilà i Barceló, 2012)
  18. V tumane (In the Fog, Sergei Loznitsa, 2012)
  19. Csak a szél (Just the Wind, Bence Fliegauf, 2012)
  20. După dealuri (Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, 2012)
  21. Canicula (Jose Alvarez, 2011)
  22. The War (James Benning, 2012)
  23. Küf (Mold, Ali Aydin, 2012)
  24. Lal gece (Night of Silence, Reis Çelik, 2012)

Best Retrospectives

  1. Peter Nestler @ Goethe Institut London
  2. Werner Schroeter @ the HFA
  3. Jean Epstein @ IFFR 2012 & MIFF 2012
  4. Jean Rouch @ Anthology Film Archives & FIAF NYC
  5. Marcel Hanoun @ Cinéma Saint-André des Arts, Paris.

RUSSELL EDWARDS

Film Critic, SBS On-line, Metro Contributing Editor, Sydney.
  1. Tsui no shintaku (A Terminal Trust, Masayuki Suo, 2012)
  2. Accession (Michael J. Rix, 2012)
  3. Compliance (Craig Zobel, 2012)
  4. Kahaani (Sujoy Ghosh, 2012)
  5. Pieta (Kim Ki-duk, 2012)
  6. Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012)
  7. Vulgaria (Pang Ho-Cheung, 2012)
  8. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
  9. Hwacha (Helpless, Byun Young-joo, 2012)
  10. Namyeong-dong 1985 (National Security, Chung Ji-young, 2012)

Leos Carax’s Holy Motors just misses inclusion in my best of 2012 list for those moronic talking cars which appear in its last moments. However, I’m willing to accept the cars is a clever joke I just didn’t get… as soon as someone explains it to me.

Worst Films: Miguel Gomes’ Tabu (2012) and Im Sang-soo’s Donui mat (The Taste of Money, 2012).

Pieta


WILLIAM EDWARDS

Long time film fanatic who lives in Sydney.
  1. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  2. The Sessions (Ben Lewin, 2012)
  3. Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Robert Guediguian, 2011)
  4. The Descendants (Alexander Payne, 2011)
  5. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  6. Paradies: Liebe (Paradise: Love, Ulrich Sedil, 2012)
  7. Dead Europe (Tony Krawitz, 2012)
  8. Lore (Cate Shortland, 2012)
  9. Outing (Sebastian Meise & Thomas Reider, 2012)
  10. Hitler’s Children (Chanoch Zeevi, 2012)

Overrated films of the year

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)
Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, 2011)

Worst of the Year

To Rome with Love (Woody Allen, 2012)
The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
Lawless (John Hillcoat, 2012)
The Raven (James McTeigue, 2012)
Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, 2011)
Machine Gun Preacher (Marc Forster, 2011)


DAVID EHRENSTEIN

Author of The Martin Scorsese Picture, Open Secret: Gay Hollywood, and Masters of Cinema: Roman Polanski.
  1. Keep the Lights On (Ira Sachs, 2012)
  2. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  3. Un été brûlant (That Summer, Philippe Garrel, 2011)
  4. The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2012)
  5. How To Survive A Plague (David France, 2012)
  6. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
  7. Bernie (Richard Linklater, 2012)
  8. Laurence Anyways (Xavier Dolan, 2012)
  9. United in Anger: A History of ACT-Up (Jim Hubbard, 2012)
  10. The Sessions (Ben Lewin, 2012)

Laurence Anyways

 


WES FELTON

Freelance film journalist and contributor to Senses of Cinema.

Favourite new theatrical releases from 2012 seen in the USA (in alphabetical order)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
Holy Motors (Léos Carax, 2012)
The Life of Pi (Ang Lee, 2012)
Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (Matthew Akers & Jeff Dupre, 2012)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
In film nist (This is Not a Film, Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2012)
We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2012)

Favourite video releases from 2012 in the USA (in alphabetical order)

Jean Grémillon During the Occupation (Remorques, 1941; Lumière d’été, 1943; Le ciel est à vous, 1944) Eclipse Series 34, Criterion Collection
A Hollis Frampton Odyssey (Hollis Frampton, 1966-1979) Criterion Collection
Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade, 1915) Kino Classics
Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon, Georges Méliès, 1902) Flicker Alley
Moses und Aron (Moses and Aaron, Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, 1975) New Yorker Films

Cinematic Experience of the Year

Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)
In March of 2012 the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presented Kevin Brownlow’s 5 ½ hour restoration of Abel Gance’s masterpiece, which was the American premiere of the score conducted by Carl Davis at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California. Gance’s “Polyvision” three-screen finale is something truly extraordinary.

Beasts of the Southern Wild


TED FENDT

Translator, occasional critic, filmmaker, New York.

In no particular order, all seen in cinemas for the first time in 2012.

The Unspeakable Act (Dan Sallitt, 2012)
Book chon bang yang (The Day He Arrives, Hong Sang-soo, 2011)
Nana (Valérie Massadian, 2011)
anders, Molussien (differently, Molussia, Nicolas Rey, 2012)
East Hastings Pharmacy (Antoine Bourges, 2012)
Itchkeri Kenti: Les fils de l’Itchkerie (Florent Marcie, 2006)
The Happy Years (William A. Wellman, 1950)
Paths to Paradise (Clarence G. Badger, 1925)
Grandeur et décadence d’un petit commerce du cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 1986)
Geronimo: An American Legend (Walter Hill, 1993)


DONAL FOREMAN

Irish filmmaker and critic living in New York City. Currently in post-production on his first feature film, Out of Here.

For a few reasons, 2012 is a hard year for me to appraise in cinematic terms. Firstly, I didn’t get to see as many new movies as usual because I was busy making my own first feature. Secondly, having shot that film, I feel more acutely John Cassavetes’ generous assertion, “Anyone who can make a film, I already love”. But, thirdly, and on the other hand, my increasingly palpable sense of time’s scarcity and fragility has me seeing movies that are just “good” as just not good enough. I want cinema as event – not the IMAX 3D kind of event, but one that marks a subjective rupture in some way, that redraws the map, opens up new possibilities, and reminds me of why I should bother making films and how I might try to do so differently.

So here’s a list of ten movies/projects/experiences that – even if just for me, just for a moment – redefined, revived or re-ignited the concept of cinema and its possible futures.

Tell Me Lies (A Film About London) (Peter Brook, 1968) – restored and re-released as part of MOMA’s To Save and Project festival
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
The Comedy (Rick Alverson, 2012)
The online critical journal La Furia Umana.
Open Five 2 (Kentucker Audley, 2012)
No Budge Films website
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
The Youtube accounts of bidsprinkhaanII, whateverhte, Rick Petaccio and Kurt Walkur, among others.
“Anatomy and Destiny: Sex in the Future/Sex in the Past”, a media-performance talk by Tom McCormack at Spectacle Theatre.
Serge Daney: Itinéraire d’un “Ciné-fils” (Pierre-André Boutang & Dominique Rabourdin, 1992)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

Cosmopolis


JEAN-MICHEL FRODON

Film critic at slate.fr and professor at Paris Sciences Po.

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Both an accomplishment and a step forward, rooted in the love for cinema and defying the coming times, as dark and as promising they may be. 

Lawrence Anyways (Xavier Dolan, 2012)
Bold and emotional, unpredictable and perfectly true to its characters and their motivations, supported by extraordinary acting. 

Leviathan (Lucien Castaing Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)
If the word “groundbreaking” ever meant something, it applies to this reinvention of cinema power to poeticise relation between men, animals, ocean, sky and the invisible, in a completely revolutionary way.

Saudade (Tatsuya Tomita, 2012)
From the local to the universal, an extraordinary complex yet easily accessible cinematic translation of the forces that reshape and threaten contemporary societies.

Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Poetry and politics, romanticism, infinite love for characters and a sharp vision of a self-destructive world.

Also Hong Sang-soo, Olivier Assayas, Brillante Mendoza, David Cronenberg, Abbas Kiarostami, Marco Bellocchio, Benoît Jacquot, Alexandr Sokurov, Manoel de Oliveira…

PART TWO >>

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