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


<< PART ONE
   << PART TWO


PETER NAGELS

Cinephile, librarian and dream researcher, Melbourne.

Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
Road to Nowhere (Monte Hellman, 2010)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Schakale und Araber (Jackals and Arabs, Jean-Marie Straub, 2011)
Correspondencia Jonas Mekas – J. L. Guerín (Jonas Mekas and José Luis Guerín, 2011)
La Glace à trois faces (The Three-Sided Mirror, Jean Epstein, 1927)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Liberal Arts (Josh Radnor, 2012)
Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh, 2012)
Safety Not Guaranteed (Colin Trevorrow, 2012)

Skyfall


BRAD NGUYEN

Film critic and editor of Screen Machine.
  1. No (Pablo Larraín, 2012)
  2. Kiseki (I Wish, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2011)
  3. Himizu (Sion Sono, 2011)
  4. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
  5. Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
  6. Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney, Takashi Miike, 2012)
  7. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  8. Prometheus (Ridley Scott, 2012)
  9. Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)
  10. Kokuriko-zaka Kara (From Up on Poppy Hill, Gorō Miyazaki, 2011)

There’s no doubt about it. The film of 2012 that provided the most piercingly accurate gauge of our current ideologico-aesthetic situation was Kony 2012 with its canny manipulation of youth culture, the drive for a global community, child-like whimsy and Apple Inc. utopianism — all as part of a project that has less to do with real social activism and more to do with the self-interested exploitation of our common desire for a better world. (Beasts of the Southern Wild might well come second after Kony 2012.)

The mystification of social relations by the aesthetics of the advertising industry provides the backdrop for viewing Pablo Larraín’s No, the funniest and savviest of recent political satires. How perfect for 2012 to give us both Kony 2012 and No, the latter of which functions as a critical analysis of the problematic politics of the former. Its story of the role of an advertising executive (played by Gael García Bernal) in the 1988 campaign to oust Pinochet from power in Chile poses the question: What is at stake for the Left in adopting the language of Hollywood, MTV and the advertising industry? It provocatively suggests that righteously disavowing this language is not necessarily the correct choice and it follows that we cannot completely disavow Kony 2012 for all its insidious manipulations.

No may not resolve the question it poses (one of the film’s strengths), but what it does do is renew our attention to the question of aesthetics and how they are and might be deployed.


ANDY NORTON

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Anderson delivers a beautifully quirky romantic comedy drama, in what is destined to become one of his best films in recent years. This boosts stellar performances from the leading child roles amongst the big names like Bruce Willis and Bill Murray, as well as some of the most innovative cinematography from an American film for a very long time.

Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
The iconic spy James Bond returns in what can be easily one of the best spy thrillers of the year, let alone one the best Bond films in this popular franchise. Mendes delivers an excellent concoction of thrills, suspense, and some comic drama, with an excellent performance from Javier Bardem.

The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
Despite some confusing plot-holes, this remains an excellent ending to what has been one of the most acclaimed super hero trilogies. Fans of Batman will appreciate the refreshing take on Bane, and Catwoman, amongst this spectacle of an action crime drama.

2 Days in New York (Julie Delpy, 2012)
This is one of the most refreshing and rewarding comedies in recent years. This boosts a stellar cast, with some real laugh-out moments that does not really on contemporary gross out humour to gain a cheap laugh.

The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012)
Marvel delivers one hell of a crowd-pleasing blockbuster, which certainly aims to please both old and new fans of these Marvel superheroes. With the right balance of action, and comic moments, this top-notch superhero film delivers the right kind of action-packed entertainment.


DARRAGH O’DONOGHUE

Top 5:

Damsels in Distress (2011, Whit Stillman)
“Sensible” people are irritated that Stillman films seem to be aimed solely at readers of the New Yorker. In fact, they belong to a radical, comic tradition of rigorous mise en scène, formalised talk and philosophical heft that includes Oliveira, Rohmer, Rivette and Eugène Green. 

Into the Abyss (Werner Herzog, 2011)
Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
Rowdy Rathore (Prabhu Deva, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)

Sui generisi:

The Thick of It, season 4, episode 6 [“Goolding Enquiry”] (Armando Iannucci, 2012)

With respect to:

The Angels’ Share (Ken Loach, 2012)
L’Apollonide – Souvenirs de la maison close (House of Tolerance, Bertrand Bonello, 2010)
Bad 25 (Spike Lee, 2012)
Bill Cunningham New York (Richard Press, 2010)
Betipul (2005-)
Borgen (2010-)
Chronicle (Josh Trask, 2012)
Hatufim (Prisoners of War, Gideon Raff, 2009)
Like Crazy (Drake Doremus, 2011)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Brad Bird, 2011)
New Girl (2011-)
Patience (After Sebald) (Grant Gee, 2011)
Revenge (2011-)
Silence (Pat Collins, 2012)
Some Girls (Adam Miller, 2012)
A Torinói ló (The Turin Horse; 2011, Béla Tarr)
La vida útil (A Useful Life, Federico Veiroj, 2010)

In memoriam:

It would have been nice if Yash Chopra, the Indian cinemas’ most important and influential director, had ended his career with another flawless masterpiece, but the last third of Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) gets bogged down in the plot mechanics it was so blithely ignoring. Nevertheless, the first part (in particular Chopra’s staging of the Tube station scene), A. R. Rahman’s score, and Anushka Sharma are outstanding, while the credit reel of Yashji on set had me in tears.

Duds and disappointments:

Un amour de jeunesse (Goodbye First Love, Miriam Hansen-Løve, 2011)
The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
From the Sea to the Land Beyond (Penny Woolcock, 2012)
Les hommes libres (Free Men, Ismaël Ferroukhi, 2011)
Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012)
Murder (Birger Larsen, 2012)
Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
Swimmer (Lynne Ramsay, 2012)

Keep the faith:

At the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Time Out of Mind exhibition (Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin, 31 May-2 September 2012), most of the moving image exhibits were projected in bad DVD transfers from film or video. Tacita Dean, however, insists that her films are shown on 16mm. Presentation Sisters (2005) revealed how degraded my vision had become under modern projection. It throbs with light, like stained-glass on a summer’s day. The grained images projected from a film strip were alive, sensual, moving. It confirmed that, for too long recently, going to the cinema was like looking at TV from outside someone’s window.

Best performance:
Matthew McConaughey has always been undervalued, but he gives a slinky display of physical and verbal menace in the otherwise schlocky Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2011). He’s a treat too in the fabulous Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012).

Fond hope:
Hasn’t the Firefly crew done well? The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012), Cabin in the Woods (2011, Drew Goddard; written by Whedon), Castle (Rob Bowman et al., 2009; starring Nathan Fillion and guest starring Adam Baldwin), Homeland (Michael Cuesta et al., 2011; starring Morena Baccarin) and Suburgatory (Alex Hardcastle et al., 2011; starring Alan Tudyk) all made 2012 a lot brighter than it should have been. But seriously guys, when are we getting Serenity 2?

Magic Mike


MICHAEL PATTISON

Writer for idFilm and Front Row Reviews.
  1. The Central Park Five (Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, 2012)
  2. Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
  3. Aurora (Cristi Puiu, 2011)
  4. Elena (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2011)
  5. Jagten (The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg, 2012)
  6. Dupa dealuri (Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, 2012)
  7. Äta sova dö (Eat Sleep Die, Gabriela Pilcher, 2012)
  8. También la lluvia (Even the Rain, Icíar Bollaín, 2010)
  9. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (Alex Gibney, 2012 USA)
  10. Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, 2012)

High points

Enjoying Fred Kelemen’s 1990s trilogy, on 35mm, at the AV Festival (north-east England); enduring Lav Diaz’s Melancholia and Century of a Birthing at the same event; Lawrence of Arabia‘s restoration; covering the London Film Festival with press accreditation for the first time.


DAVID PEARSON

Film, music and game blogger.
  1. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  2. Samsara (Ron Fricke, 2011)
  3. Tao jie (A Simple Life, Ann Hui, 2011)
  4. Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011)
  5. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
  6. Le Gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2011)
  7. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  8. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
  9. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
  10. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)
  11. Beautiful 2012 (Kim Tae-Yong, Tsai Ming Liang, Gu Changwei & Ann Hui, 2012)

ANTONI PERIS

Writer for Miradas de Cine and Transit.
  1. The Descendants (Alexander Payne, 2011)
  2. Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
  3. L’Apollonide – Souvenirs de la maison close (House of Tolerance, Bertrand Bonello, 2011)
  4. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011)
  5. Sangue do Meu Sangue (Blood of My Blood, João Canijo, 2011)
  6. The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
  7. Sueño y silencio (Dream and Silence, Jaime Rosales, 2012)
  8. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
  9. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  10. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
  11. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
  12. Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012)
  13. Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012)
  14. Homeland (TV series) (Various directors, 2011 –)

 

Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia)


DAVID PHELPS

Writer and translator who has contributed to numerous publications, including MUBI Notebook, Cinema Scope and Film Comment.

Best
Fratelli (Gabriel Abrantes & Alexandre Melo, 2011)
La Folie Almayer (Almayer’s Folly, Chantal Akerman, 2011)
Sin Titulo (Carta para Serra) (Lisandro Alonso, 2011)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Resident Evil: Retribution (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2012)
The Forgotten Space (Noël Burch & Allan Sekula, 2012)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Louie: Season Three (Louis C.K., 2011-12)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
The Hole (Joe Dante, 2009)
The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2012)
April (Nathaniel Dorsky, 2012)
August and After (Nathaniel Dorsky, 2012)
Singing Photos (Silvia das Fadas, 2012)
The Three Stooges (Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly, 2012)
The Extravagant Shadows (David Gatten, 2012)
Departure (Ernie Gehr, 2012)
Whore’s Glory (Michael Glawogger, 2011)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
History Lessons By Comparison (Luisa Greenfield, 2010)
10,000 Coisas (João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, 2012)
Hahaha (Hong Sang-soo, 2010)
Blankets for Indians (Ken Jacobs, 2012)
Cyclopean 3D (Ken Jacobs, 2012)
Nervous Magic Lantern (Ken Jacobs & Aki Onda, 2012)
Monument Film (Peter Kubelka, 2012)
South Park: Season 16 (Trey Parker & Matt Stone, 2011-12)
Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
Wolfram, a saliva do lobo (Rodolfo Pimenta & Joana Torgal, 2009)
Saudade (Jean-Claude Rousseau, 2012)
anders, Molussien (differently, Molussia, Nicolas Rey, 2012)
Vous n’avez encore rien vu (You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Alain Resnais, 2012)
La noche de enfrente (The Night Across the Street, Raul Ruiz, 2012)
The Unspeakable Act (Dan Sallitt, 2012)
Deste lado da ressurreição (This Side of Resurrection, Joaquim Sapinho, 2011)
The Man Phoning Mum (John Smith, 2011)
1971-74 (Andreia Sobreira, 2011)
Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)
48 (Susana de Sousa Dias, 2009)
La Madre (Jean-Marie Straub, 2011)
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
Physical Instincts (Gina Telaroli, 2012)
Sp(eye) Gam3z (Gina Telaroli, 2012)
Dyut meng gam (Life Without Principle, Johnnie To, 2012),
Ici, là-bas, et Lisboa (João Vieira-Torres, 2012)
Walker (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2012)
Crazy Horse (Frederick Wiseman, 2011)
Flight (Robert Zemeckis, 2012)

Worst
Après mai (Something in the Air, Olivier Assayas, 2012)
Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)
Manhã de Santo António (Morning of Saint Anthony’s Day, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2012)
Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012)

Retrospectives I’m very grateful to have been able to see – and am grateful to the programmers for seeking film wherever possible:

Bitomsky/Ford (Hartmut Bitomsky & Cinemateca Portuguesa)
Jean Rouch (Jamie Berthe & Sam Di Iorio)
Internationalist Film (Nicole Brenez, Anthology Film Archives)
William Wellman (Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum)
School of Reis (Haden Guest, Harvard Film Archives/Anthology Film Archives)
Film After Film (J. Hoberman, MoMI)
To Save and Project (J. Hoberman and Josh Siegel, MoMA)
Jean Epstein (Sarah Keller & Jed Rapfogel, Anthology)
Aleksei German (Lincoln Center)
Robert Bresson (James Quandt, Toronto Cinémathèque/Film Forum/BAM)
Carmelo Bene (Jed Rapfogel, Anthology Film Archives)
Edgar Ulmer (Jed Rapfogel, Anthology Film Archives)
United We Stand, Divided We Fall (Federico Rossin, docLisboa)
Werner Schroeter (Josh Siegel, MoMA)

Next year is not looking so promising in New York, where exactly two institutions (Anthology & BAM) remain devoted to film on film and simply showing non-canonical auteurist series. Which is what makes the genuinely critical confrontations between works in the Bitomsky, Brenez, Guest and Hoberman programs exciting, and:

Alexander Horwath’s The Clock: or, 89 Minutes of ‘Free Time’
A pinnacle of that phantom art of film curation.

La noche de enfrente (The Night Across the Street)


JIT PHOKAEW

Cinephile, Bangkok, Thailand. 

Favourite foreign films

1. A Torinói ló (The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011)
2. Aarakshan (Prakash Jha, 2011)
3. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
4. Jean Speck (1860-1933) (Rouzbeh Rashidi & Jann Clavadetscher, 2011)
5. Himizu (Sion Sono, 2011)
6. Au fond des bois (Deep in the Woods, Benoît Jacquot, 2010)
7. Aje aje bara aje (Come Come Come Upward, Im Kwon-taek, 1989)
8. La fin du silence (The End of Silence, Roland Edzard, 2011)
9. Coupable (Guilty, Laetitia Masson, 2008)
10. The Great Cinema Party (Raya Martin, 2012)
11. Boule du suif (Ball of Fat, TV film from the series Chez Maupassant, Philippe Bérenger, 2011)
12. Return Ticket (Teng Yung-shing, 2010)
13. Guide (Vijay Anand, 1965)
14. Corporate (Madhur Bhandarkar, 2006)
15. Tusen gånger starkare (A Thousand Times Stronger, Peter Schildt, 2010)
16. Tin shui wai dik ye yu mo (Night and Fog, Ann Hui, 2009)
17. Yi ngoi (Accident, Cheang Pou-soi, 2009)
18. Walkower (Walkover, Jerzy Skolimowski, 1965)
19. Blue Notes (Bill Mousoulis, 2006)
20. Ekmeğim (My Profit, Hakan Ün, 2011)
21. Pa negre (Black Bread, Agustí Villaronga, 2010)
22. Nachmittag (Afternoon, Angela Schanelec, 2007)
23. Parts of the Heart (Paul Agusta, 2012)
24. Villa Marguerite (Denis Malleval, 2008)
25. Razzia sur la Chnouf (Henri Decoin, 1955)
26. Sinister (Scott Derrickson, 2012)
27. Home Work (Ho Fan, 1966)
28. La Résidence (Laurent Jaoui, 2010)
29. Cartouches gauloises (Summer of ’62, Mehdi Charef, 2007)
30. Student of the Year (Karan Johar, 2012)
31. Giulias Verschwinden (Julia’s Disappearance, Christoph Schaub, 2009)
32. A Formal Film in Nine Episodes, Prologue & Epilogue (Mario Pfeifer, 2011)
33. La mauvaise rencontre (The Traumatic Encounter, Josée Dayan, 2011)
34. Canh dong hoang (The Wild Field, Nguyen Hong Sen, 1979)
35. Unter dir die Stadt (The City Below, Christoph Hochhäusler, 2010)

Favourite Thai films

1. Dao tee mai fai (The Burnt-Out Star, Teeranit Siangsanoh, 2012)
2. Rahtree Sawasdi (Soraya Nakasuwan, 2012)
3. Karuehard sorn plearng (The Nervous, Warit Deepisuti, 2012)
4. Portrait of the Universe (Napat Treepalawisetkun, 2012)
5. Tam ka kon na moen (S.I.C.K, Pitchayakorn Sangsuk, 2012)
6. Mekong Hotel (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2012)
7. Padang Besar (I Carried You Home, Tongpong Chantarangkul, 2011)
8. Rug pa la (Is This Love, Tharinthorn Chenvanich, 2011)
9. Rug chan ya kid tueng chan (I Miss U, Monthon Arayangkoon, 2012)
10. Mai dai kho hai ma rug (It Gets Better, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, 2012)
11. Yes or No 2 rug mai rug ya gug leoi (Yes or No 2, Sarasawadee Wongsompetch, 2012)
12. 9-9-81 (Suthat Phawilairat, Pitak Ruangrojsin, Adirek Photong, Siriphon Prasatthong, Oliver Wolfson, Seri Lachonnabot, Nuttorn Kungwanklai, Thanyawan Hempanom, Pirun Anusuriya, Rapeepimol Chaisena, Disspong Sampattavanich, Kiattisak Wibunchat, 2012)
13. 36 (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2012)
14. Tae peang phu deaw (P-047, Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, 2011)
15. Sin maysa fon tog ma proiproi (In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire, Wichanon Somumjarn, 2012)

Favourite foreign short films

1. Coming Attractions (Peter Tscherkassky, 2010)
2. Cross (Marina Vroda, 2011)
3. Intet kan røre mig (Nothing Can Touch Me, Milad Alami, 2011)
4. Explorer (Pramod Pati, 1968)
5. Pasos (Steps, Lorena Zilleruelo, 2011)
6. Cagey Tigers (Aramisova, 2010)
7. Nang gabing maging singlaki ng puso ang bato ni Darna (Darna: A Stone is a Heart You Can’t Swallow, Jon Lazam, 2012)
8. Pulsation (Pieter Geenen, 2011)
9. Life Continued (Zhuang Ling, 1966)
10. Roghieh (Alysse Stepanian, 2009)
11. The Garden (Ann Steuernagel, 2010)
12. Praxis-8 (Dietmar Brehm, 2010)
13. Star (Alternative Version) (Choi Sai-ho, 2011)
14. Utama – Every Name in History is I (Ho Tzu Nyen, 2003)
15. Haikus for Karaoke (Roberto Santaguida, 2010)
16. Dust (Ivan Sen, 1999)
17. Einstein était un réfugié (Einstein Was a Refugee, Solange Cicurel, 2010)
18. 14-40 (Chu Meichun, 2011)
19. La gran carrera (The Great Race, Kote Camacho, 2010)
20. Snow White (Anca Oproiu, 2011)

Favourite Thai short films

1. Pimarn arkard (Celestial Space, Ukrit Sa-nguanhai, 2012)
2. Chingchung (Detest, Wachara Kanha, 2012)
3. Military Soldier Student the Military (Theeraphat Ngathong, 2011)
4. Sawan dudplang (A Posteriori, Kasiti Sangkul, 2012)
5. Induce Influences (Nutthatida Tohchoodee, 2011)
6. Madang Bo Sai (Phaisit Phanphruksachat, 1999)
7. Buntueg rug khong boongom (Memory of Love Boongom, Somghad Meyen, 2011)
8. Wannaporn Suenghiranyapruek (Methat Suenghiranyapruek, 2012)
9. Film from Lampang (anonymous, approximately 1971)
10. Kwam wang (Hope, Prasit Subjaksa, 2011)
11. Yindee tee dai roojug (Nice to Meet You, Watcharapol Saisongkroh, 2012)
12. Ying glai ying glai (So Close But So Far, Ranita Tintalay, 2012)
13. Dek nang Part 2 (Happy Time, Sarayut Vannagool, 2011)
14. Sud tang rug (Enfin, Sitthipong Wong-ard, 2012)
15. Level (Chulayarnnon Siriphol, Wachara Kanha, 2012)
16. The Void (Fari Tesprateep, 2012)
17. Krung rag (First Love, Teera Prachumkong, 2012)
18. Proverbs (Chompunutt Mayta, 2011)
19. Dubiety (Banyong Phoonsap, 2012)
20. Dites lui que je ne veux pas etre sous-titre (Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke, 2011)
21. Sanam deg len (Playgrounds, Weerapong Wimuktalop, 2012)
22. Fon ha fai (Time of the Last Persecution, Taiki Sakpisit, 2012)
23. On the Way (Teeraponk Panyakam, 2012)
24. Time Up (Jiraporn Saelee, 2012)
25. Ashes (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2012)
26. Jin (The Imagination, Sinsupa Treesungsuwan, 2012)
27. Off Scene (Eakarach Monwat, 2012)
28. Ngao fad (Twin Shadow, Amonsak Chatratin, 2012)
29. Rug rag pob (…Every Minute on the Street, Benjaphan Rungsubhatanond, 2012)
30. Pie nai jai (Inside of Me, Nattaphan Boonlert, 2011)
31. Harg boon mee jing (My Mother Folk Tale Part 1, Eakalak Maleetipawan, 2011)
32. Dust (Manasak Khlongchainan, 2012)
33. Reminisce (Thai Pradithkesorn, 2011)
34. Behind Behind Behind and Behind (Setthasiri Chanjaradpong, 2012)
35. Tang lueg khong Ja Daw (Ja Daw’s Choice, Tanit Jamroensuksakul, 2012)

Favourite documentaries

1. Jaroenporn mahadhamma nai sam loke: Chan ja pen chao naive (Develop Blessing Giant Dhamma in 3 Worlds: I’m Gonna Be a Naive, Viriyaporn Boonprasert, 2012)
2. Unter Schnee (Under Snow, Ulrike Ottinger, 2011)
3. Garn torsoo khong gammagorn ying rongngarn Hara (The Hara Woman Workers Struggle, Jon Ungpakorn, 1975)
4. Puisque nous sommes nés (Because We Were Born, Jean-Pierre Duret & Andrea Santana, 2008)
5. Forever (Heddy Honigmann, 2006)
6. Valentijn (Hetty Nietsch, 2007)
7. Cheonggyecheon Medley (Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, 2010)
8. Barn mai mee lektee (House Without Address, Abhichon Rattanabhayon, 2012)
9. Ter mai kho chun gor ja hai (I Will Give You What You Don’t Ask For, Meathus Sirinawin, Wachara Kanha, 2012)
10. Roti Man (Kittipat Knoknark, Napasorn Limchaiyawat, 2012)
11. Songhwan (Repatriation, Kim Dong-won, 2003)
12. Pleng one gerd (My Noon, Tossaphon Riantong, 2012)
13. An Escalator in World Order (Kim Kyung-man, 2011)
14. Muay (Boxing, Taraphong Ratchadawan, 2012)
15. Halleluyah kum sunya jarg prajao (Halleluyah, Uthaiwan Saragool, 2012)
16. World Without End (Basil Wright, Paul Rotha, 1953)
17. Sentang utogapai (Flood Way, Preecha Srisuwan, 2012)
18. Cities on Speed: Cairo Garbage (Mikala Krogh, 2009)
19. Burmese Butterfly (Hnin Ei Hlaing, 2011)
20. The Monkey Whisperer and His Dream (J. Michael Schumacher, 2011)
21. The Documentary of Cosplayer (Krittaporn Petchnamkeow, 2012)
22. Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup, Deden Ramadani, 2010)

Favourite animations

1. Bobby Yeah (Robert Morgan, 2011)
2. Fables (Sina Wittayawiroj, 2012)
3. The Factory (Ekarach Kaewmahing, 2012)
4. Chienne d’histoire (Barking Island, Serge Avedikian, 2010)
5. The Pub (Joseph Pierce, 2012)
6. Father and Daughter (Michael Dudok de Wit, 2001)
7. Okami kodomo no ame to yuki (Wolf Children, Mamoru Hosoda, 2012)
8. Jez Jerzy (George the Hedgehog, Tomasz Lesniak, Jakub Tarkowski, Wojtek Wawszczyk, 2011)
9. Haru no shikumi (The Mechanism of Spring, Atsushi Wada, 2010)
10. L’illusionniste (The Illusionist, Sylvain Chomet, 2010)

Favourite video installations

1. Class Room (Sutee Kunavichayanont, 2012)
2. You Were in My Dream (Isobel Knowles & Van Sowerwine, 2010)
3. Dance (Nipan Oranniwesna, 2012)
4. Re: Looking (Wong Hoy Cheong, 2002-2003)
5. Seventy Times Seven (Bindi Cole, 2011)
6. The Gaze (Julia Burns, 2007/2011)
7. Eye (of a Cyclist) (Wit Pimkanchanapong, 2012)
8. Home Delivery (Manon Taranurak, 2011)
9. My Grandpa’s Route Has Been Forever Blocked (Sutthirat Supaparinya, 2012)
10. Middle Ground (Than Sok, 2012)

Favourite TV series/mini-series

1. Romans d’ados 2002-2008 (Teen Stories, Béatrice Bakhti, 2010)
2. Les hommes de l’ombre (Frédéric Tellier, 2012)
3. George et Fanchette (Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe, 2010)

The Illusionist


MATÍAS PIÑEIRO

Argentinean filmmaker, based in New York.
  1. Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
  2. Quatre nuits d´un rêveur (Four Nights of a Dreamer, Robert Bresson 1971)
  3. San Diego Surf (Andy Warhol & Paul Morrissey, 1968)
  4. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)
  5. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  6. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
  7. Off Highway 20 (Katsuya Tomita, 2012)
  8. La Glace à trois faces (The Three-Sided Mirror, Jean Epstein, 1927)
  9. Penance (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2012)
  10. O som ao redor (Neighboring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012)
  11. Palácios de Pena (Palaces of Pity, Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt 2011)

PHOEBE PUA

Post-graduate student in the Australian National University’s film studies department.

Top 3:

3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012) for achieving technical brilliance while proving to be one of the most divisive films of the year.

2. This is Not a Film (Jafar Panahi, 2011/2) for reminding all who study, work, and make films why we do what we do.

1. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012) for its poised and unrelenting telling of difficult stories.

Bottom 3:

3. Snow White and the Huntsman (Rupert Sanders, 2012) for its insufferable and needlessly operatic composition.

2. Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012) for its uninspired attempts to take on solemn issues and being farcical instead of seductive.

1. Piranha 3DD (John Gulager, 2012) for disappointing its predecessor Piranha 3D (Alexandre Aja, 2010) and maiming the good name of the splatter film genre.

Special mention: Joseph Gordon-Levitt for his transparent over-acting in Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012)

In film nist (This is Not a Film)


BÉRÉNICE REYNAUD

Author, programmer, and teacher at the California Institute of the Arts.

One archival screening, one short, and 20 titles, in the order seen:

Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man (Ron Rice, 1963)
A rarely seen masterpiece of heroic (and totally silly) camp, starring Taylor Mead as the Atom Man, with cameos by Jack Smith, Julian Beck and Judith Malina. But who was Winifred Bryan, the sculptural black woman who plays the Queen of Sheba?

Walker (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2012, short)
A cinematic feat. Lee Kang-sheng pitted against Hong Kong. “Is Xiao Kang walking too slowly, or is the city moving too fast?”

Dark Horse (Todd Solondz, 2011)
There is something like tenderness in the way Solondz deals with his characters, yet he hasn’t lost his nastiness. I find the combination quite alluring – and ultimately moving.

Wildness (Wu Tsang, 2012)
A drag queen joint in Los Angeles MacArthur Park recounts its memories in Spanish, haunted by the transgender performers and transgressive artists that partied there every Tuesday night.

Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)
About as close as one could be to being a masterpiece. Subverts the “anthropological documentary” from the inside out and gives a new meaning to the concept of beauty.

United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP (Jim Hubbard, 2012)
The most politically sophisticated documentary made about AIDS… because it’s not about AIDS, but about the activist group that set out to fight it within the cultural and political arena.

Laurence Anyways (Xavier Dolan, 2012)
Given a bigger budget and some “real” movie stars, Xavier Dolan effortlessly moves away from the sphere of the child prodigy, with an insightful variation on the art of being sexually in-between.

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Former youth prodigies and accomplices from the time of Boy Meets Girl (1984), Carax and Lavant reunite on a meditation on the nature of spectacle, the passing of time and classical cinema (signified by the great Edith Scob) being an apparatus as outmoded as the motor-car. Or maybe it’s human beings that are outmoded, cars and cinema surviving them.

the war (James Benning, 2012)
A corky and thoughtful compilation of YouTube tapes “embedded” by the Russian activist group Voina and the Pussy Riots, this is the one film that Benning has gracefully accepted not to show in public, following a (polite) request from Voina members fearing for their safety.

Après mai (Something in the Air, Olivier Assayas, 2012)
How to reconstruct something that you lived through? An intimate counterpoint to the early Carlos years.

Mei Jie (The Love Songs of Tiedan, Hao Jie, 2012)
Hao Jie follows his ground-breaking exploration of the sex lives of elderly bachelor peasants in Single Man (Guanggun’er, 2010) with the original, generous and musical study of an erotic obsession shaping the life of a folk singer in the Shanxi mountains.

Bad Weather (Giovanni Giammi, 2012)
A haunting documentary about a community of Pakistanese prostitutes threatened by an ecological catastrophe.

Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
Hong Sang-soo gives his usual macho-yet-inadequate Korean men something to think about: a triple encounter with a real diva, the sublime Isabelle Huppert. Guess who wins?

Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
A film that explores cinema’s unique capability to evoke the passing of time while eradicating it. Or: past colonialism as screen memory.

Wo hai you hua yao shuo (When Night Falls, Ying Liang)
A film that turned Ying Liang, in spite of himself, into a cause célèbre. The man only wants to make movies – but to make a film, in China, about the mother of a man sentenced to death, is an act of courage.

Fidaï (Damien Ounouri, 2012)
A generous insight into the hidden traces left by France’s last colonial war. Ounouri takes his great uncle back to the places where he once was a “fidaï” (killer) for the FLN (Algerian National Liberation Front).

San zi mei (Three Sisters, Wang Bing, 2012)
Nobody follows people with a DV camera like Wang Bing does. And nobody had ever filmed little girls living in dirt-poor conditions on the Yunnan Mountains with so much grace.

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Simply put, the loveliest film of the year. One that makes you believe again in the power of cinema, in the fact that the “child in us” does not have to be a whining idiot but may be smart, witty and have great lines of dialogue.

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
To be remembered for its elegant use of the 70mm format, great performances, and a sophisticated narrative arc.

Wadjda (Haifaa Al Mansour, 2012)
The first feature film to come out of Saudi Arabia. And it’s by a young woman. And it’s about women wearing the hijab, women being forbidden to drive, women waiting at home for a husband already plotting his next marriage, and a schoolgirl who wants to buy a bicycle.

Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
Nobody will ever replace Sean Connery, but this distant echo of You Only Live Twice (Lewis Gilbert, 1967) pushes the concept of franchise to an exhilarating new level – and it’s still a “Broccoli production”. (Albert R. Broccoli produced all the James Bond films till his death in 1996; his daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson continue the job). What a man, this Broccoli!

Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)
The best directed, probably the most intelligent, and yet the most disturbing film of the year. The controversy about whether or not it justifies torture is a dead-end issue. The real problem is the “effect of reality” produced by the film, so soon after the events that inspired it. Bigelow’s trademark, at the beginning of her career, was to insert a distance between the spectacle created and the gaze of the spectator, through humour, camp and various alienation effects. Here this critical distance is missing and the spectator, swept away, is no longer given the opportunity to think within or against the grain of the film.

The Love Songs of Tiedan


MARCOS RIBAS DE FARIA

Film critic, Brazil.

Only movies with commercial distribution in Rio de Janeiro:

  1. Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)
  2. Les bien-aimés (Beloved, Christophe Honoré, 2011)
  3. Weekend (Andrew Heigh, 2011)
  4. Un eté brulant (That Summer, Philippe Garrel, 2011)
  5. Faust (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2011)
  6. Headhunters (Hodejegeme, Morten Tyldum, 2011)
  7. Habemus Papam (We Have A Pope, Nanni Moretti, 2011)
  8. Beaufort (Joseph Cedar, 2007)
  9. Lawless (John Hillcoat, 2012)
  10. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)

PETER RIST

Professor of Film Studies, Concordia University, Montreal.

Many North American critics are proclaiming 2012 to be a very good year for cinema, mostly because of the Hollywood films released at the end of the year that are considered to be Oscar-contenders. To be sure, this is a better crop than usual, with the magical 3D of Life of Pi and Tony Kushner’s script for Lincoln standing out, but for me it wasn’t a good year at all, especially because of the virtual disappearance of “film” projection in Montreal. Now that the Forum complex has removed all the 35mm projectors from its 22 cinemas, we are left with only the Cinémathèque Québécoise, the three rooms of the Excentris and four venues at (my own) Concordia University that can show 35mm, 16mm and all formats of video. The Cinéma du Parc also continues to project 35mm prints when they can get them. I know people who travelled to Toronto just to watch The Master on 70mm, and so, I have to admit that, finally, we have probably lost our status as one of the great film cities, here. (Maybe if I had been able to watch P.T. Anderson’s film the way it should be seen, I would be more positive about it. As it is, I had to make do with 2K HD.) The highlights of my film year were trips to BAFICI 14 in Buenos Aires with a few students – where one venue was dedicated to showing 16mm experimental films! – and to the Giornate del Cinema Muto 31 (silent film festival) in Pordenone, Italy, which I’m now calling the “world’s last real/reel film festival.” Over 90% of their screenings were of 35mm prints, and it is great to know that many film archives are continuing to make film copies of their most recent restorations, even though they will be screened very rarely. I guess that Portugal is rapidly becoming the country du jour of cinema, with Tabu being the finest new fiction film I saw in 2012, while I finally got to see the 4 ½ hour version of Raúl Ruiz’s amazing Mysteries of Lisbon (on Blu-ray discs): it has still never had a theatrical screening in Montreal! In making a ten-best list, I realised that a few of the best titles appearing on other lists were on my “best of 2011” – Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Panahi’s This is Not a Film, and Tarr’s The Turin Horse—and I could easily have included many more than seven retrospective titles this year. Here it is, in no particular order, with five (actually seven) exceptional titles, and then the rest:

Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Seen on a black and white, 35mm print at BAFICI.

Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)
Arguably, the most effectively visceral documentary ever made.

Bestiaire (Denis Côté, 2012)
Another fine documentary, and the best Canadian film in a good year for domestic product.

Mistérios de Lisboa (Mysteries of Lisbon, 2010) / La noche de enfrente (Night Across the Street, 2012)
Both directed by Raúl Ruiz.

Prostoi sluchai (A Simple Case, Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1932) / Jenseits der Straße (Harbour Drift, Leo Mittler, 1929)
The best of Pordenone on 35mm.

The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)

In celebration of the Charles Dickens bicentenary; three beautiful Danish silent films directed by A.W. Sandberg for Nordisk: Vor Fælles Ven (Our Mutual Friend, 1921) / Store Forventninger (Great Expectations, 1922) on 35mm/Lille Dorrit (Little Dorrit, 1924) seen at Pordenone.

Two programs of 16mm shorts (Argentina, 1966–99), directed by Narcisa Hirsch at BAFICI

Corta (Felipe Guerrero, 2012)
A third new documentary!

Neotpravlennoye pismo (Letter Never Sent, Mikhail Kalatozov, 1960)
Seen at home on a Criterion Blu-ray disc.

Bestiaire


JULIAN ROSS

PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, commissioning editor of Vertigo Magazine and curator of film programs.

2012
In Search of the Other (Leonid Tsvetkov, 2012)
Priya (Alia Syed, 2012)
Nightfall (James Benning, 2012)
2012 Act 5. in 3D (Takashi Makino, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes) (2012)
Shelly Winters (Luther Price, 2010)
Self-Made (Gillian Wearing, 2010)
Two Years at Sea (Ben Rivers, 2011)
Abendland (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2011)
L’Anabase de May et Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi et 27 années sans images (The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images, Éric Baudelaire, 2011)

Retrospectives/Re-Performances
The Count (Peter von Bagh, 1971) at IFFR
Horror Film 1 (Malcolm Le Grice, 1971/2012) at Leeds Art Gallery
Chika Hiroba (Underground Square, Keiya Ouchida, 1970) at Nippon Connection
Melancholia (Lav Diaz, 2008) at AV Festival
The Illiac Passion (Gregory Markopoulos, 1967) at BFI Southbank
Handsworth Songs (John Akomfrah, 1986) at Close-Up Film Centre
Anna (Alberto Grifi & Massimo Sarchielli, 1975) at Tate Modern
The Movement of People Working (Phil Niblock, 1973-1991/2012) at AV Festival
Screen Play (Takahiko Iimura, 1963/2012) at Place M Gallery
Shlosha Yamim Veyeled (Three Days and a Child, Uri Zohar, 1967) at Tokyo FilmEx


MARC SAINT-CYR

Canadian film critic, contributor to Senses of Cinema, Midnight Eye, CineAction, and the Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow.

Après mai (Something in the Air, Olivier Assayas, 2012)
My personal crash course on Olivier Assayas this year, which included Kent Jones’ impeccable new volume on his career, first-time viewings of Clean (2004) and Boarding Gate (2007), and multiple viewings of the highly re-watchable Carlos (2010), culminated splendidly with the filmmaker’s latest (screened at the Toronto International Film Festival), a stirring and mature ode to the unpredictable course of history and youth’s transience.

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
In the spirit of films like Mulholland Drive (2001), O Lucky Man! (1973), and Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces, 2009), Holy Motors gleefully offers up a smorgasbord of cinematic delights, providing a refreshing reminder of the many pleasures of the movies. Spectacle, music, emotion, violence, humour, romance – Carax generously crams it all into an unapologetically nutty, fantastically entertaining package.

Kazoku no kuni (Our Homeland, Yang Yong-hi, 2012)
In her fiction feature debut, Yang Yong-hi continues to focus on the subject of her previous documentaries Dear Pyongyang (2005) and Sona, the Other Myself (2009): her family’s division caused by North Korea’s controlling regime, which prevents her older brothers from returning to Japan, where Yang lives and works. Tracking a Japanese man’s brief return visit to his family after living in North Korea for twenty-five years, Our Homeland portrays the frustration, pain, and sadness surrounding his difficult situation with an emotional potency I have rarely experienced during a film. From one scene to the next, it is never anything less than utterly compelling.

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Wes Anderson continues to prove himself to be one of contemporary cinema’s most significant humanist filmmakers with his newest artfully designed fable. Thankfully, with the warm reception Moonrise Kingdom has received, audiences are continuing to look past the take-it-or-leave-it tweeness of his patented style to appreciate just how gifted he is in creating flawed, relatable, and sympathetic characters.

L’Argent (Robert Bresson, 1983)
Thanks to Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox and its incredible retrospective of Robert Bresson’s work, I and other viewers were given the opportunity to see some of the French master’s most acclaimed and elusive films. Among the ones I saw (including Lancelot du Lac (1974) and Le diable probablement (The Devil Probably, 1977)), his acclaimed final film was perhaps the high point. Icy, economical, and hypnotic in its polished clarity, L’Argent cleanly fits alongside Aki Kaurismäki’s films as one of cinema’s truest depictions of money and its troubling relationship with humanity.

Kotoko (Shinya Tsukamoto, 2011)
Kotoko easily remains the most unsettling film I saw in 2012. This is due in equal parts to Shinya Tsukamoto’s mercilessly confrontational cinematic approach and Cocco’s lead performance as a mentally unbalanced single mother into whose skewed perspective the viewer is locked for the entirety of the film – a true twin tour-de-force.

Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
In 2012, I finally delved into the work of Hong Sang-soo. Along with Yeojaneun namjaui miraeda (Woman is the Future of Man, 2004) and Book chon bang yang (The Day He Arrives, Hong Sang-soo, 2011), In Another Country provided a welcome introduction to the South Korean auteur’s idiosyncratic way with actors, repetition, and relationships. Isabelle Huppert’s charming performance(s) within the newest film’s three episodes is a perfect ingredient in Hong’s breezy, highly amusing study of infatuation and cross-cultural displacement. I very much look forward to my second and third viewings.


DAN SALLITT

Filmmaker and film writer, New York.
  1. Die Wand (The Wall, Julian Pölsler, 2012)
  2. De jueves a domingo (Thursday Till Sunday, Dominga Sotomayor, 2012)
  3. Jam mot deuneun bam (Sleepless Night, Jang Kun-jae, 2012)
  4. O som ao redor (Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012)
  5. Marriage Material (Joe Swanberg, 2012)
  6. anders, molussien (Differently, Molussia, Nicolas Rey, 2012)
  7. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
  8. The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012)
  9. Vous n’avez encore rien vu (You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Alain Resnais, 2012)
  10. All the Light in the Sky (Joe Swanberg, 2012)
  11. Tepenin Ardi (Beyond the Hill, Emin Alper, 2012)
  12. Open Five 2 (Kentucker Audley, 2012)
  13. Tiger Tail in Blue (Frank V. Ross, 2012)
  14. Tower (Kazik Radwanski, 2012)

 

De jueves a domingo (Thursday Till Sunday)


JOSE SARMIENTO

Film critic, media manager, music producer and musician, Lima, Peru.

Cinema is more thriving than ever.

Exceptional Masterpieces

  1. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
  2. The Legend of Kaspar Hauser (Davide Manuli, 2012)
  3. Il se peut que la beauté ait renforcé notre resolution (It May be That Beauty has Reinforced our Resolve, Masao Adachi & Phillipe Grandrieux, 2011)

Masterpieces

  1. La Maladie blanche (The White Disease, Christelle Lheureux, 2011)
  2. May They Rest in Revolt (Figures of War, Syvain George, 2010)
  3. Faust (Alexander Sokurov, 2011)
  4. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)

Excellent

  1. Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
  2. Summer of Giacomo (Alessandro Comodin, 2011)
  3. Siberie (Joana Preiss, 2011)
  4. Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold, 2011)
  5. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  6. The Double Steps (Isaki La Cuesta, 2011)
  7. Walker (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2012)
  8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

Very Good

  1. Fragments (Sylvain George, 2011)
  2. The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar, 2011)
  3. On Death Row (Werner Herzog, 2012)
  4. The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (Marie Losier, 2011)
  5. Carnage (Roman Polanski, 2011)
  6. Habemus Papam (Nanni Moretti, 2011)
  7. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)

Good

  1. Klip (Clip, Maja Milos, 2012)
  2. Hors Satan (Outside Satan, Bruno Dumont, 2011)
  3. Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene (Sean Durkin, 2011)
  4. L’Âge atomique (Atomic Age, Héléna Klotz, 2012)
  5. Le Marin masqué (Sophie Letourneur, 2011)
  6. Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
  7. Face to Panty Ratio (Richard Kern, 2011)
  8. Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, 2011)

A plus from the vault of the new millennium

  1. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)
  2. Lourdes (Jessica Haussner, 2009)
  3. Geuk jang jeon (Tale of Cinema, Hong Sang-soo, 2005)
  4. Respite (Harun Farocki, 2007)
  5. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog, 2010)
  6. The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein (John Gianvito, 2001)
  7. La Vie au ranch (Chicks, Sophie Letourneur, 2009)
  8. Vapor Trail (Clark) (John Gianvito, 2010)
  9. Guest (Jose Luis Guerín, 2010)
  10. Double Take (Johan Grimonprez, 2009)
  11. Aita (José María del Orbe, 2010)
  12. Beket (Davide Manuli, 2008)
  13. Light is Calling (Bill Morrison, 2004)
  14. A Loft (Ken Jacobs, 2010)

HOWARD SCHUMANN

Freelance writer, Vancouver, BC.

1. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012)
Focussing on the fight to pass the 13th amendment outlawing slavery, Lincoln, in the brilliant performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, illuminates the man and the qualities of his leadership that carried the nation through a devastating civil war. Written by playwright Tony Kushner, Lincoln is a passionate tribute to his legacy of freedom. It is the kind of honest adult cinema that used to be commonplace but is now a rarity.

2. Oslo, 31. august (Oslo, August 31st, Joachim Trier, 2011)*
Honest, reflective, insightful, and intimate, Oslo, August 31st is a powerful and unforgettable study of a lost soul whose pain cannot be hidden, nor the hurt he has caused others. We can see the kindness in Anders’ heart but not the strength, or feelings of self-worth. The film is a powerful and unforgettable achievement and the performance of Anders Danielson Lie is masterful.

3. Le Gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2011)*
Marked by a stunningly natural performance from Thomas Doret who convincingly conveys a young boy’s innocence as well as his pain, the Dardenne brothers’ refusal to give in to sentimentality makes the film an intense and emotionally gripping experience. Though it appears to be grounded in the mundane, its unfettered grace raises it to a level far surpassing the limitations of the genre.

4. Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
A routine police investigation of a murder turns into a meditation on the human experience and the elusiveness of truth in Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s deeply felt Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, winner of the Cannes Jury Prize in 2011. Based on the experience of co-writer Ercan Kesal, a doctor who took part in the investigation of an actual murder twenty years ago, the film follows a dozen men as they hunt for a body during the course of one night. It is a film of profound intelligence that illuminates the richness of complex humanity.

5. Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012)
Searching for Sugar Man investigates the life of Sixto Rodriguez, a little known American folk-rock singer/songwriter in the tradition of Bob Dylan who released two albums in the early 1970s but failed to achieve any popularity. The film is an odyssey of discovery, even self-discovery that is profoundly inspiring. More than just about music and musicians, it is a film about the human condition.

6. De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard, 2012)
Rust and Bone is the story of two wounded people who form a bond based on recognition and acceptance of the others pain. Marked by outstanding performances by Marion Cotillard as a young whale trainer struggling to recover from a horrendous accident, and Matthias Schoenaerts as an ex-boxer unable to acknowledge or express his feelings. Though visceral, it is a film of intelligence and sensitivity.

7. Jagten (The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg), 2012)
Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt is the disturbing story of the false accusation of a kindergarten teacher of sexual abuse. It is a thought-provoking drama that makes us aware both of the vigilance needed to protect our children from predators, and of the crucial importance of following the precept that an individual is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

8. O som ao redor (Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012)
Neighbouring Sounds employs a wealth of cinematography and sound to chronicle the anxiety that permeates a middle-class street in Recife, Brazil’s fifth largest city. Winner of four major awards at the Gramado Film Festival in Brazil, it appears on the surface to be a typical crime drama but underneath it is a mixture of the existential ennui of Antonioni and the paranoia of David Lynch.

9. Bully (Lee Hirsch, 2011)*
Lee Hirsch’s heartbreaking documentary Bully focuses on three young students who have been subjected to merciless verbal and physical attacks during the school year and on the parents of two victims who committed suicide. Though it is difficult to watch and the tears may flow, Bully should be seen by everyone, kids, parents, teachers, and school administrators.

10. The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)*
Set in London just after the war, Terence Davies The Deep Blue Sea is filled with nostalgia for a world that is long past, but is also universal in its theme of loneliness and alienation. In its willingness to embrace turbulent emotions without flinching, the film allows us to look at our own life and the things that keep us apart from others.

11. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Moonrise Kingdom evokes a time when the simple experience of being alive filled us with wonder. Though it is offbeat as only a Wes Anderson film can be, the expression of his individual style is a sincere and heartfelt counter to the homogenised product emanating from Hollywood. The film expresses a longing that may strike a responsive chord with those who have ever felt the sting of being different.

12. Après mai (Something in the Air, Olivier Assayas, 2012)
The impact of the 1968 protests is still being felt in Paris three years later when Something in the Air begins. Assayas brings us back to a time when everything seemed possible and no film in recent memory has presented such an authentic view of the immediacy of the period. The feeling of change is electric and its mood is brilliantly reflected by the film’s lack of cynicism and condescension towards the aspirations of young people.

13. Noruwei no mon (Norwegian Wood, Tran Anh Hung, 2010)*
Based on the best-selling 1987 novel of Haruki Murikami, Norwegian Wood reflects the inner journey of 19-year-old Toru Watanabe (Ken’ichi Matsuyama), a journey that embodies the pain of love and loss, the tantalising embrace of death, the end of dreams, and the beginning of adult responsibility. The film builds a quiet power that ensnares us and leaves us to explore its meanings long after the final credits.

14. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012)
Based on the 2008 novel by Matthew Quick, David O. Russell’s offbeat comedy Silver Linings Playbook is the story of two damaged people who strive to help each other out of the emotional hole they have dug for themselves. Although it has some clichéd moments, it works because it is funny, genuine, and emotionally satisfying and its appealing performances allow us to believe in and root for its characters.

15. Life of Pi (Ang Lee, 2012)
Directed by Ang Lee and adapted for the screen by David Magee, Life of Pi is both an adventure story in the mold of Robinson Crusoe, a testament of faith, and a philosophical Rubik’s Cube that will keep you awake at night pondering its meaning. Whatever meaning you ultimately bring to it, however, the film is a sumptuous visual experience that combines a dazzling combination of state-of-the-art 3-D and CGI technology to breathtaking effect.

16. Under African Skies (Joe Berlinger, 2012)
Paul Simon’s return to South Africa to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his album Graceland is documented in Joe Berlinger’s exuberant Under African Skies. Though the reunion is a celebration, the film does not duck the resentment stemming from Simon’s 1985 South Africa trip that broke the United Nations cultural boycott. The music, however, remains an exhilarating artistic achievement that has lost none of its power.

17. Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo, 2011)*
Drug-related crime in Mexico is not a unique subject for films, but no film in recent memory has confronted the issue with such force as Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala, a devastating look into the collusion between drug-related gangs and law enforcement. It is a powerful thriller that serves to remind us of the depth of the problem that, the director says, lies in the set of values that continue to govern our culture.

18. Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, 2011)*
Tyrannosaur is a work of unnerving intensity and brutal realism, yet, in spite of its intermittent violent acts, it is a surprisingly quiet film that has moments of warmth and humor. While the film does not offer easy solutions, it allows us to discover the power to face our own demons, knowing that redemption does not lay in revenge, but only in acknowledging and taking responsibility for actions that may have caused harm to others.

19. Breakfast with Curtis (Laura Colello, 2012)
Breakfast with Curtis is the story of 14-year-old Curtis (Jonah Parker) who shuns school, has no friends, and rarely even looks up when his parents talk to him. The film depicts the young boy’s “seminal” summer where community support and interaction provides unexpected personal growth. It is a beautifully realised, touching, warm, funny, and downright lovely film.

20. Hoshi o Ou Kodomo (Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, Makoto Shinkai, 2011)*
According to Japanese anime director Makoto Shinkai, Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below is a study of “how people are connected” and the relationship between individuals. Although the film is designed primarily for a young audience, adult themes of love and loss abound in its story of mourning lovers attempting to reach out across the dimensions. Whether or not you have recently lost a loved one, you may find the tears hard to resist.

* Released in Canada in 2012

Honourable Mentions
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012), A Late Quartet (Yaron Zilberman, 2012), Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (Alison Klayman, 2012), La noche de enfrente (Night Across the Street, Raul Ruiz, 2012), The Forgiveness of Blood (Joshua Marston, 2011), The Flat (Arnon Goldfinger, 2011), Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012), Intouchables (Olivier Nakache, Eric toledano, 2011), Aqui y Alla (Antonio Méndez, 2012), Un amour de jeunesse (Goodbye First Love, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2011)

Disappointing
Cloud Atlas (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, 2012), The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012), Hearat Shulayim (Footnote, Joseph Cedar, 2011), We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011), Ruby Sparks (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, 2012).

Searching for Sugar Man


RAVI SHANKAR

World Cinema cinéphile and a film blogger. Working as an IT manager in Chennai, India.

My top 10 films released commercially in Chennai, India during 2012, arranged by date of release.

Nanban (Friend, Shankar, 2012)
A remake of 3 Idiots, perfectly adapted to regional audience from Shankar.

Dhoni (Prakash Raj, 2012)
Reflection of the middle-class India. A perfect recipe of father-son relationship.

Aravaan (Vasanthabalan, 2012)
Film depicting early 18th and 19th century Tamil Nadu.

Vazhakku Enn 18/9 (Case No. 18/9, Balaji Sakthivel, 2012)
A gem in Tamil film history, a film where the rich and poor sections of the society cross each other.

Naan Ee (I am a Fly, S. S. Rajamouli, 2012)
If you think a fly can create a roaring sound this film is a perfect example.

Madhubana Kadai (Liquor Shop, Kamala Kannan, 2012)
A film that mirrors the current social changes going on in Tamil Nadu, India.

Attakathi (Card Board Knife, Pa Ranjit, 2012)
Film about Chennai suburbs Romeos.

Naan (Me, Jeeva Shankar, 2012)
Tamil thriller comes to an age with a musical.

English Vinglish (Gauri Shinde, 2012)
A bilingual film, set in NYC, shows the eagerness and a mad attachment for English language among urban Indian people.

Pizza (Karthik Subburaj, 2012)
Horror film without much gore and a little twist in the end.

Just like an Indian curry dish, the list is filled with all kinds of genres – comedy, romance, drama, horror, thriller, et al. The additional bonus is almost all have good musical numbers.


LOUISE SHEEDY

PhD candidate in Cinema Studies at the University of Melbourne and President of the Melbourne Cinémathèque. 

Top 10

  1. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
    Electrifying critique of late capitalism as only the master knows how. Fucked up road movie turned inside-out with a script of perfection and formal virtuosity. Oh Dave.
  2. Abrir puertas y ventanas (Back to Stay, Milagros Mumenthaler, 2011)
    Mumenthaler has mastered gesture, intimacy and subtlety of character through small moments, razor sharp yet light and economic dialogue, spoken through a great ensemble of incredible acting talent. Just wonderful.
  3. Paradies: Liebe (Paradise Love, Ulrich Seidel, 2012).
    Showing the psychologies of mutual exploitation that occurs when wealthy westerners choose to play in “the dark continent”. Hyper-realism that rubs your face in both sides’ underbellies mixed with occasional formal flourishes for calculated moments of distanciation. Seidel is a gifted dialectician.
  4. Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Sang-soo Hong, 2012)
    Everything you’d hope from a collaboration of this kind. One that sees the director’s trademark subtly and sensitivity placed alongside Isabelle Huppert’s blistering skillset to make a film as insightful as it is playful.
  5. Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, 2011, screened at MIFF 2012)
    A great actor proves he’s also a gifted writer/director. A heart-wrenching look at domestic violence through the clarity and brutality of its kitchen-sink heritage. Leads Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman deserve Oscars, but won’t get them.
  6. Kiseki (I Wish, Hirokazu Koreeda, 2011, screened at MIFF 2012)
    Master of moments has gone to town in this oh-so-tender string of tiny, charming instances that together form a potent and spirited reminder of the enchantment of childhood. And all without stepping into the land of twee. Sighs abound.
  7. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
    Haneke has made a monument to the heroism inherent in lifelong partnerships and the indignities of old age and as such, the film’s title echoes through every scene. Stunning in every sense.
  8. Tao jie (A Simple Life, Ann Hui, 2011). There’s a real melancholy and beauty to this gracefully humble character study. Delicate layers of trust, power, intimacy and tradition are all peeled back and examined by Hui’s careful hand as she explores the bond between a successful movie producer and his life-long maid, expertly and sensitively played by Andy Lau and Deanie Ip.
  9. The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2012)
    Meta squared, mega fun. A clever love letter to the horror genre and satirical insight into the labyrinthine possibilities of generic evolution.
  10. Broken (Rufus Norris, 2012)
    Deftly flits between hilarity and heartbreak as Norris takes a trip into a suburban London cul-de-sac, makes everyone’s life intertwine in such an original way that the contrivance is easily forgiven.

Special mention goes to:

  1. L’exercice de l’État (The Minister, Pierre Scholler, 2011, screened at MIFF 2012)
    French minister for transport the surprisingly fascinating subject of an emotional study of politics-as-job.
  2. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Lorene Scafaria, 2012)
    The unlikely comic pairing of Knightly and Carell with a talented writer/director have resulted in a very funny yet poignant take on the now well-worn apocalypse genre.
  3. Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (Matthew Ackers & Jeff Dupre, 2012)
    I was sceptical as to what HBO would do this one but the director managed, through all the HBO perfection, to give real insight not just into the personality that is the ‘grandmother of performance art’ but the nature of her work as well. No small task.

Retrospective highlights:

Mannen på taket (Man on a Roof, Bo Widerberg, 1976)
A cracking crime drama, beautifully paced, fabulous characters, expertly executed. Screened at MIFF 2012.

The Savage Eye (Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers & Joseph Strick, 1960)
Cine-poetry par excellence, in non-fiction form. A dark exploration of 1950s urbanity. Heaven. Screened at the Melbourne Cinémathèque, April 2012.

Disappointment

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, released 5 July 2012) Not that I had particularly high hopes for this indie darling but the praise that this film is caked in disturbs me. Poverty porn with glitter on it.

Finally, a special place reserved for The Master. I’ve been waiting to see this on 70mm, a date coming up after the writing of this list. Am assuming it’s going to end up there somewhere. If not, it can fit under the disappointment section as hopes are sky high.

Paradies: Liebe (Paradise: Love)


CHRISTOPHER SIKICH

Teacher, photographer, cinephile, Philadelphia.

As a microcosm of cinema in 2012, my list of the finest celluloid achievements can be reduced to a core concern of creation and destruction. This is depicted on a literal artistic scale, as in the richly rewarding Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, in the environmental apocalypse of ironically gorgeous melting glaciers in Chasing Ice, and in the extreme metaphor of the end of maybe even cinema itself in The Turin Horse.

  1. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (Alison Klayman, 2012)
  2. A Torinói ló (The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr, 2011)
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
  4. Chasing Ice (Jeff Orlowski, 2012)
  5. Cloud Atlas (Tom Twyker, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski, 2012)
  6. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
  7. Brooklyn Castle (Katie Dellamaggiore, 2012)
  8. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012)
  9. Red Hook Summer (Spike Lee, 2012)
  10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (David Gelb, 2011)

MARK SPRATT

Director of Potential Films, Melbourne.

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011) extended version
Chaharshanbe-soori (Fireworks Wednesday, Asghar Faradi, 2006)
No (Pablo Larraín, 2012)
Dareun naraeseo (In Another Country, Hong Sang-soo, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Io e te (Me and You, Bernardo Bertolucci, 2012)
Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold, 2011)
Aynehaye Rooberoo (Facing Mirrors, Negar Azarbavjani, 2011)
Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, 2012)

Runners up that would replace some of the above on other days:

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
Les Adieux à la Reine (Farewell, My Queen, Benoît Jacquot, 2012)
The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2011)
Bernie (Richard Linklater, 2011)

Aside from the well-noted fact that more superior long-form drama (and comedy) can be found on television than in cinemas, the two most interesting motion picture experiences I had in 2012 were in galleries: The Clock (Christian Marclay, 2010), a staggering and hypnotic achievement of which I still have some of its 24 hours to catch up with, and two multi-screen installations by Candice Breitz: “Him” and “Her” in which many scenes from the films of Jack Nicholson (in Him) and Meryl Streep (in Her), isolate the actors from their filmic background leaving the actors to speak to and interrogate each other across space and time on many themes of character, identity, success, failure, anger and disappointment. Both the Barclay and Breitz works seem to be ways of processing 110 years of cinema in fascinating new ways.

No


BRAD STEVENS

Author of Monte Hellman: His Life and Films and Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision.
  1. 4:44 Last Day on Earth (Abel Ferrara, 2011)
  2. A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011)
  3. Un été brûlant (That Summer, Philippe Garrel, 2011)
  4. J. Edgar (Clint Eastwood, 2011)
  5. Life Just Is (Alex Barrett, 2012)
  6. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)
  7. Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
  8. Carnage (Roman Polanski, 2011)
  9. War Horse (Steven Spielberg, 2011)
  10. Wild and Precious (Bill Mousoulis, 2012)

Retrospective discoveries:

  1. Kotan no kuchibue (Whistling in Kotan, Naruse Mikio, 1959)
  2. Aki tachinu (Approach of Autumn, Naruse Mikio, 1960)
  3. Tsuam to shite onna to shite (As a Wife, As a Woman, Naruse Mikio, 1961)
  4. Onna no za (A Woman’s Place, Naruse Mikio, 1962)
  5. Play It As It Lays (Frank Perry, 1972)
  6. The Queen’s Guards (Michael Powell, 1961)
  7. Up the River (John Ford, 1930)
  8. The Guns of Fort Petticoat (George Marshall, 1957)
  9. Die verliebte Firma (The Company’s In Love, Max Ophuls, 1932)
  10. Uski Roti (Our Daily Bread, Mani Kaul, 1970)
  11. Arigato-san (Mr Thank You, Shimizu Hiroshi, 1936)
  12. Kodomo no shiki (Four Seasons of Childhood, Shimizu Hiroshi, 1939)
  13. Kanzashi (Ornamental Hairpin, Shimizu Hiroshi, 1941)
  14. Itsuwareru seiso (Clothes of Deception, Yoshimura Kōzaburō, 1951)
  15. Onna no saka (A Woman’s Uphill Slope, Yoshimura Kōzaburō, 1960)

GINA TELAROLI

Gina Telaroli uses images and text to examine movies and made the feature film Traveling Light.

The best films I saw in 2012 and probably for years to come. Pairings and lists, organised horizontally and vertically and however else makes sense. All films seen for the first time and on 35mm.

Gallant Journey (William Wellman, 1946) / Buffalo Bill (William Wellman, 1944)
Starman (John Carpenter, 1984) / Prince of Darkness (John Carpenter, 1987)
La pyramide humaine (Jean Rouch, 1961) / Horendi (Jean Rouch, 1972)
Les aventures de Robert Macaire (Jean Epstein, 1925)/ Pasteur (Jean Epstein, 1922)
Trás-os-Montes (António Reis & Margarida Cordeiro, 1976)/ Jaime (António Reis, 1974)
Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943) / Murder! (Alfred Hitchcock, 1930)
Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944) / The Pirate (Vincente Minnelli, 1948)
The ‘Burbs (Joe Dante, 1989) / Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante, 1989)
You Were Never Duckier (Chuck Jones, 1948) / Fastest with the Mostest (Chuck Jones, 1960)

And….

For film as object and as experience: Eniaios Cycles 6,7,8 (Gregory Markopoulos) / Monument Film (Peter Kubelka, 2012)

For the fact that some of the best movies are still only available on film: Young Eagles (Wellman, 1930) / Reaching For the Sun (Wellman, 1941)

For making the most of digital formats and sharing amongst friends: Adieu au TNS (Jean-Luc Godard, 1998) / Dernier Soupir (Jean-Claude Rousseau, 2011)

For the times – when the state of repertory cinema and politics inspires and depresses me in equal measure: Cinetract Series, #’s 1-3 (David Phelps, 2012)


RÜDIGER TOMCZAK

Publishes the film magazine shomingeki since 1995 and still tries to keep it going.

The fact that the most recent film by Terrence Malick is postponed for spring 2013 and that I was unable to see it this year is the biggest disappointment of this year.

1. Kazoku no kuni (Our Homeland, Yang Yonghi, 2012)
Yang´s third film (also her third masterpiece) and first fiction film stayed with me since its world premiere at the International Forum of Young Cinema, February 2012. Again (like my last year’s Number 1 The Tree of Life) a very personal, obviously autobiographical film. And it fits by the way quite well into Adrian Martin’s definition of “great events and ordinary people” in his wonderful essay on Malick’s masterpiece The Tree of Life.

2. Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2012)
For my part Scorsese’s finest film since Age of Innocence.

3. No Man’s Zone (Toshi Fujiwara, 2011)

4. Parabeton Pier Luigi Nervi and Roman Concret (Heinz Emigholz, 2012)

5. Golden Slumber (Davy Chou, 2011)
A kind of requiem for the lost history of Cambodian Cinema.

6. 1700 Kelvin (Anamika Bandopadhyay, 2012)
A passionate, angry and heartbreaking film about massacres in West Bengal against villagers made with no budget.

7. Madhabilata (Paramita Das, 2012)
I am happy enough to have found this film, a personal experimental essay which evokes in me the films by Trinh T. Min-ha and Terrence Malick at the same time.

8. For Ellen (So Yong Kim, 2012)

9. Feature Film (Juhui Kwon, 2012)
A first long film which promises a new master.

10. Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)

As I am a late bloomer among personal discoveries, I just recently saw Patricio Guzman´s masterpiece The Battle of Chile (1975-79), which had quite an impact. It is not only a precious document of the last days of the Unidad Popular without the least trace of embellishment. It is also a memory of what the world has lost when the Pinochet’s coup d’état destroyed a social movement so close to realising its utopias, which just failed against tanks, machine guns and bombs. The last part really blew me away. Workers, peasants, probably most of them illiterate kept the industry of the country together despite attacks including international boycotts and terrorist acts from the fascists. It is hard to imagine in our present neoliberal order, but it is a fact that the poorest among the poorest people participated in building a new Chile on a level most left-wingers never dared to dream of. It is hard to bear that cinematographer Jorge Muller Silva was murdered by the Pinochet dictatorship one year after the coup d’état.

For Ellen


PETER TONGUETTE

Has written on film for many publications, including Sight & Sound, Film Comment and The Wall Street Journal.

1. Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman, 2011)
2. Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011) [extended cut]
3. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012)
4. Carnage (Roman Polanski, 2011)
5. Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
6. Haywire (Steven Soderbergh, 2011)
7. Dark Horse (Todd Solondz, 2011)
8. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
9. Trouble with the Curve (Robert Lorenz, 2012)
10. To Rome With Love (Woody Allen, 2012)


ROBERT VON DASSANOWSKY

Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, an independent producer, and the editor of New Austrian Film (with Oliver Speck, 2011), Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds: A Manipulation of Metacinema (2012), and World Film Locations: Vienna (2012).

Top ten films of 2012 (in no particular order)

Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World, Detlev Buck, 2012)
En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair, Nikolaj Arcel, 2012)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012)
De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard, 2012)
Hannah Arendt (Margarethe von Trotta, 2012)
Les adieux à la reine (Farewell, My Queen, Benoît Jacquot, 2012)

Very honourable mentions

Die Wand (The Wall, Julian Pölsler, 2012) Little Deaths (Ruth Lingford, 2010), Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012), Menschen (Sarah R. Lotfi, 2012), Spanien (Spain, Anja Salomonowitz, 2012), Hitchcock (Sacha Gervasi, 2012), L’Ambassadeur et moi (Jan Czarlewski, 2011).

Argo


TOMASZ WARCHOL

Teaches film studies at Georgia Southern University and runs a film program in Savannah, Georgia.
  1. In Darkness (Agnieszka Holland, 2011)
  2. Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
  3. Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012)
  4. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  5. The Sapphires (Wayne Blair, 2012)
  6. Elena (Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2011)
  7. Hodejegerne (Headhunters, Morten Tyldum, 2011)
  8. Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley, 2011)
  9. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012)
  10. Chico i Rita (Chico & Rita, Javier Mariscal, Tono Erando & Fernando Trueba, 2010)

# 1,2,6, 7, 8, and 10 were not released into US theatres until 2012. For that reason I could not include a few new ones because they have not yet been released on my side of the globe (Berberian Sound Studio, Spring Breakers, Barbara, The Hunt, Sister, Angels’ Share, Django, etc).


HENRY WELSH 

Best films from Canada:

Esimésac (Luc Picard, 2012)
Camion (Rafaël Ouellet, 2012)
Inch’allah (Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, 2012)
Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, 2011)
Columbarium (Steve Kerr, 2012)
Hors les murs (Beyond the Walls, David Lambert, 2012)
La mise à l’aveugle (Simon Galiero, 2012)
Over My Dead Body (Brigitte Poupart, 2012)
Tout ce que tu possèdes (Bernard Émond, 2012)
Another Silence (Santiago Amigorena, 2011) 


VIRGINIA WRIGHT WEXMAN

Professor Emerita of English and Art History at the University of Illinois, Chicago and author of A History of Film (now in its seventh edition) and other books on cinema. Her website Film Festival Tourism welcomes comments. 

This year I made it to Palm Springs, Sundance, Todos Santos, Wisconsin (Madison), TCM (Los Angeles), Cinema Ritrovato (Bologna), Wood’s Hole, Venice, Chicago, and Savannah. The following are some of the highlights:

Best new international cinema:

  1. The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011) (Wisconsin)
  2. Dupa dealuri (Beyond the Hills, Christian Mungiu, 2012) (Chicago)
  3. Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die, Taviani Brothers, 2012) (Chicago
  4. Le gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2011) (Palm Springs)
  5. Violeta se fue a los cielos (Violeta Went to Heaven, Andrés Wood, 2011) (Sundance)
  6. Après mai (Something in the Air, Olivier Assayas, 2012) (Venice)
  7. Kapringen (A Hijacking, Tobias Lindholm, 2012) (Venice)
  8. Äta sova dö (Eat Sleep Die, Gabriella Pichler, 2012) (Venice)
  9. Linhas de Wellington (Lines of Wellington, Valeria Sarmiento, 2012) (Venice)
  10. Io sono Li (Shun Li and the Poet, Andrea Segre, 2012) (Chicago)

Best revivals:

Girl Shy (Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, 1924) (TCM)
The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh, 1930) (Bologna)
American Dreams: Lost and Found (James Benning, 1984) (Venice)
Stromboli (Roberto Rossellini, 1950) (Venice)

Best retrospectives:

Raoul Walsh, Lois Weber (both Bologna)
Unknown Film Noir (TCM)

Best live musical accompaniments:

Timothy Brock’s lyrical symphonic score for Prix de beauté (Augusto Genina, 1930), Bologna’s opening night film screened in the Piazza Maggiore.

Donald Sosin supplementing his piano accompaniment to The Mystery of the Hindu Image (Raoul Walsh, 1914) with eerie chanting at climactic moments. (Bologna)

Neil Brand’s rousing, expertly modulated score for What Price Glory (Raoul Walsh, 1926) (Bologna)

Gabriell Thibaudeau’s performing his new score for The Thief of Bagdad (Raoul Walsh, 1924), accompanied by a local violinist. (Bologna)

Robert Israel’s rollicking orchestral score for Girl Shy. (TCM)

Festival awards:

Best filmmaker turnout (at screenings I attended): Venice
Best fest venue: Sundance Cinemas (Wisconsin)
Worst fest venue: Pala Biennale (a tent with port-a-potties) (Venice)
Best program notes: Bologna
Best fest promo reels: Bologna, TCM, Todos Santos
Most charming festival director: Sylvia Perel (Todos Santos)
Most beautiful surroundings: Venice, Savannah
Most enthusiastic audiences: Todos Santos
Best festival volunteers: Sundance, TCM
Longest lines: Sundance

Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die)


NEIL YOUNG

Film critic and Co-Director of the Bradford International Film Festival.

2012 world premieres

Era Uma Vez Eu, Verônica (Once Upon a Time Was I, Veronica; Marcelo Gomes, 2012)
Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)
Project X (Nima Nourizadeh, 2012)
Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)
Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012)
Ya tozhe khochu (Me Too, Alexei Balabanov, 2012)

2012 UK releases

Elena (Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2011)
Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)

2012 retrospective/archive discoveries

Belarmino (Fernando Lopes, 1964) Viennale, October
The Man Who Would Be King (John Huston, 1975) Viennale, October
Pickup On South Street (Samuel Fuller, 1953) Paris rep-house screening, April
Reise in Amerika – Highway 40 West (Highway 40 West, Hartmut Bitomsky, 1981) LIFFe Ljubljana, November
Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator, Juraj Herz, 1969) New Horizons Wrocław, July
The Thing From Another World (Christian Nyby, 1951) Viennale, October
The Unknown (Tod Browning, 1927) FIDMarseille, July

END.

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