Entries in part 1:

Antti Alanen
Francisco Algarín Navarro
Michael J. Anderson
Geoff Andrew
Martyn Bamber
Lynden Barber
Michael Bartlett
Nicolas Bartlett
Conor Bateman
Gustavo Beck
Sean Bell
Pamela Biénzobas
Yvette Biro
Mimi Brody
Thomas Caldwell
Michael Campi
Michelle Carey
Nicolás Carrasco
Michael J. Casey
Celluloid Liberation Front
Carlo Chatrian
Lesley Chow
John Conomos
Adam Cook
Kieron Corliss
Jesús Cortés
Al Cossar
Aaron Cutler

ANTTI ALANEN

FILM PROGRAMMER, CRITIC AND HISTORIAN, HELSINKI.

Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
Le meraviglie (The Wonders, Alice Rohrwacher, 2014)
Eedenistä pohjoiseen (North of Eden, Virpi Suutari, 2014, documentary)
Paratiisin avaimet (Keys of Heaven, Hamy Ramezan, FI 2014, short film)
Sokurovin ääni (The Voice of Sokurov, Leena Kilpeläinen, FI 2014, documentary)
Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013)
Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa, 2014, doc)
Mannerheim kuulee (Mannerheim Hears, Nalle Sjöblad, 2014), Helsinki Film Festival – Love & Anarchy trailer, a parody remake of the bunker scene of Der Untergang
Les Croix de bois (Wooden Crosses, Raymond Bernard, 1931, Pathé 2014 restoration)

Adieu au Langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)

Adieu au Langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)

FRANCISCO ALGARÍN NAVARO

EDITOR LUMIÈRE MAGAZINE.

Not differentiating between films seen for the first or the second time, all true film-events:

…a Valparaíso (1964), La Seine a rencontré Paris (Joris Ivens, 1957)
3 Sóis (2009), Colocar o olho de peixe (2012), Colombo’s Column (2006), Eclipse ocular (2007), Ovo estrelado (2008), The Big Drinking Bout (2007), The Human Board (João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, 2009)
7th Cavalry (1956), Deadly Is the Female (1950), Terror in a Texas Town (1958), The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis, 1955)
A Countess from Hong Kong  (1967), A King in New York (1957), The Immigrant  (Charles Chaplin, 1917)
A Distant Trumpet (1964), A Lion is in the Streets (1953), Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942)
À l’ombre de la canaille bleue (In the Shadow of the Blue Rascal, Pierre Clémenti, 1986)
À propos de Venise (2013), Der Tod des Empedokles oder: Wenn dann der Erde Grün von neuem Euch erglänzt (The Death of Empedocles, 1987), Dialogue d’ombres (2013), Kommunisten (Jean-Marie Straub, 2014)
A Star is Born (1954), Rich and Famous (George Cukor, 1981)
A través de las ruinas (1982), Baltazar (1975), Film Gaudí (1975), Gamelan (1981), La escena circular (1982), Lux Taal (2009), Un enano en el jardín (1981), Vadi-Samvadi (Claudio Caldini, 1981)
A Walk (2008), Der Schmetterling im Winter (2006), Franz (2011), Halbmond für Margaret (2004), Hier ist es zur Zeit sehr schön (2006), In die Erde gebaut (2008), India (2005), Junge Kiefern (2011), Kopfüber im Geäst (2009), Im Park (2008), Maria (2011), Maria und die Welt (1995), OH! die vier Jahreszeiten (1988) Paulina (2011), Terzen (1998), To be Here (2013), Zuoz (Ute Aurand, 2008)
Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
Aimer, boire et chanter (Life of Riley, 2014), Muriel (Alain Resnais, 1963)
All that Heaven Allows (1955), There’s Always Tomorrow (1956), A Time to Love and a Time to Die (Douglas Sirk, 1958)
Alouette, je te plumerai (1988), Vincent mit l’âne dans un pré (et s’en vint dans l’autre) (Pierre Zucca, 1975)
Angel (1937), Cluny Brown (1946), That Uncertain Feeling (1941), Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)
Barn Rushes (1971), Blues (1970), Corn (1970), Doorway (1971), Four Shadows (1978),Harmonica (1971), Horizons (1973), Machette Gillette… Mama (1989), Mnemosyne Mother of Muses  (1987), Mouches Volantes (1976),Thought (1971),Tree of Knowledge (1981), Your Television Traveler (1991, Larry Gottheim)
Beijing 1988 (1988-2011), Bouquet 1-10 (1994-95), Bouquets 21-30 (2001-05), Impromptu (1989), Les Coquelicots (2000), Les Tournesouls (1982), Quiproquo (1992), Scènes de la vie française: Arles (1985), Scènes de la vie française: Avignon (1986), Scènes de la vie française: La Ciotat (1986), Scènes de la vie française: Paris (1986), Retour d’un repère (1979), Roulement, rouerie, aubage (1978), Voiliers et coquelicots (Rose Lowder, 2001)
blue mantle (2010), glow in the dark (january-june) (2002), lions and tigers and bears (2005-06), murmurations (2013), night light and leaping (2001), night side (2008), things we want to see (Rebecca Meyers, 2003-04)
Boyhood (2014), Dazed and Confused (1993), Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)
Berlin Tiger (2012), Narcissi (2013), Rose (Shiloh Cinquemani, 2013)
Boudu sauvé des eaux (Boudu Saved from Drowning, Jean Renoir, 1932)
Broken Tongue (Mónica Savirón, 2013)
By Pain and Rhyme and Arabesques of Foraging (2013), What Places of Heaven, What Planets Directed, How Long the Effects, or The General Accidents of the World (David Gatten, 2013)
Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1946)
Caprice (1967), Who’s Minding the Store? (Frank Tashlin, 1963)
Cattle Queen of Montana (1954), Pearl of the South Pacific (Allan Dwan, 1955)
Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
Cheyenne Autumn (1964), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), How Green Was my Valley (1941), Rio Grande (1950), Sergeant Rutledge (1960), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Sun Shines Bright (John Ford, 1953) 
Comanche Station (Budd Boetticher, 1960)
Cuerpo a cuerpo (Paulino Viota, 1984)
Designing Woman (1957), Father of the Bride (1950), Father’s Little Dividend  (1951), Home from the Hill (1960), Meet me in St. Louis (1954), Some Came Running (1958), Tea and Sympathy (1956), The Band Wagon (1953), The Long, Long Trailer (1953), The Reluctant Debutante (1958), Two Weeks in Another Town (Vincente Minnelli, 1962)
Dies Irae (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1943)
Duel in the Sun (1946), Northwest Passage (Book I – Rogers’ Rangers) (1940), Ruby Gentry (1952), The Wedding Night (King Vidor, 1935)
Eisbär, Passanten, Binsen, Brunnen,  Mädchen, Riesenrad, Flugzeuge II, Wasserfall, Unter den Seerosen, Weybridge, Feuerwerk (2006), Spiegelung, Innenhof,  Grauer Reiher II,  Drei Midtown-Skizzen,  Zelte am Kanal, Karpfen in Farbe schwimmend,  Grüner Ballon, Kettenkarussell, Netzwefer, Unter den Seerosen, Grabmäller,  Broadway, Pflasterzeichnen,  Golfhaus,  Bleierne Wellen, Schatten auf roter Wand, Schlittschuhlaufen, Warriors Mark, Louie,  Gletscher (2007), Vögel am Checkpoint, Ostberlin, Tunnel, Aus dem Empire State Building, Tortelloni, Wilde Wasser, Eisbär, Porte St. Denis, Columbis Circle, Rue Labat in Trauer, Moulin oder Spergelcafé, Hütte im Jardin tropical, Jardin tropical im Frühling, Portrait, Teetrinken, Roter Vorhang, Wassertanz II,  Für M., Schmetterlinge, Nach dem Feuer II,  Skulptur und Wasser, Nebel II, Winklerweiher, Wassertanz I, Nebel I, Künettegraben, Ingolstadt, Orangen, Mond und Sonne, Spinnweben und Fische (2010), Constellations (2012), Intensities (Helga Fanderl, 2014)
Envio 8 (2009), Envio 23 (2010), Envio 24 (2010), Envio 26 (Jeanette Muñoz, 2013)
February (Nathaniel Dorsky, 2014)
Flammes (Adolpho Arrietta, 1978)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Hatari! (1962), His Girl Friday (1940), Monkey Business (1952), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Rio Bravo (1959), Today We Live (1933), The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)
Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)
Himself as Herself (Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1967)
Husbands (John Cassavetes, 1970)
Im Wiener Prater (2013), Nec spe nec metu (2013), The Paris Poetry Circle (2013), Warum es sich zu leben lohnt (Friedl vom Gröller, 2013)
Instants (Hannes Schüpbach, 2014)
Jack Smith: Cologne, 1974 (Birgit Hein, 1974)
Ja-yu-eui eon-deok (Hill of Freedom, Hong Sang-soo, 2014)
João Bénard da Costa. Outros amarão as coisas que eu amei (João Bénard da Costa – Others Will Love the Things I Loved, Manuel Mozos, 2014)
Kaguyahime no monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata, 2013)
Kaze tachinu (The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki, 2013)
Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)
La Vie comme ça (Life the Way It Is, Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1978)
Le Jardin qui bascule (The Garden That Tilts, Guy Gilles, 1975)
Leave her to Heaven (John M. Stahl, 1945)
Macao (1952), Morocco (1930), The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg, 1934)
Manoel dans l’île des merveilles (Manuel on the Island of Wonders, Raoul Ruiz, 1984)
Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
Mes sept lieux (My Seven Places, 2014), Tentatives de se décrire (Boris Lehman, 2005)
Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt, 2013)
Night Noon (Shambhavi Kaul, 2014)
Nuits blanches sur la jetée (White Nights on the Pier, Paul Vecchiali, 2014)
O Velho do Restelo (The Old Man of Belem, Manoel de Oliveira, 2014)
Path of Cessation, Swimming Stone, Starlight, Vineyard IV (Robert E. Fulton, 1970)
Peeping Tom (1960), The Red Shoes (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
Photooxidation (Pablo Mazzolo, 2014)
Radio Adios (Henry Hills, 1982)
Renaissance Center / GM Tower (Nicky Hamlyn, 2012)
Run for Cover (1955), Wind Across the Everglades (Nicholas Ray, 1958)
Salomé (Werner Schroeter, 1971)
San Francisco (Anthony Stern, 1968)
Se eu fosse Ladrão… roubava (If I Were a Thief… I’d Steal, Paulo Rocha, 2013)
Sea Series (John Price, 2008-14)
Senso (Luchino Visconti, 1954)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Stage Fright (1950), The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935)
Square Dance, Los Angeles County, California, 2013 (Sílvia das Fadas, 2013)
Strangers When We Meet (Richard Quine, 1960)
The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)
The Bellboy (1960), The Family Jewels (1965), Three on a Couch (Jerry Lewis, 1966)
The Blue Gardenia (1953), While the City Sleeps (1956), You Only Live Once (Fritz Lang, 1937)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
The Gravediggers of Guadix (rushes) (Marie Menken, 1961)
The Greatest Show on Earth (Cecil B. DeMille, 1952)
The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946)
The Mammals of Victoria (Stan Brakhage, 1994)
The Ox-Bow Incident (William A. Wellman, 1943)
The Phenix City Story (Phil Karlson, 1955), Tight Spot (Phil Karlson, 1955)
Utskor: Either / Or (2013), We Had the Experience but Missed the Meaning (Laida Lertxundi, 2014)

  

MICHAEL J. ANDERSON

FILM CURATOR, OKLAHOMA CITY MUSEUM OF ART. 
  1. Pardé (Closed Curtain, Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi, 2013)
  2. Jiao you (Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-liang, 2013)
  3. L’inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guirauide, 2013)
  4. Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan (Norte, the End of History, Lav Diaz, 2013)
  5. Plemya (The Tribe, Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014)
  6. The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)
  7. Manakamana (Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez, 2013)
  8. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
  9. Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
  10. Das merkwürdige Kätzchen (The Strange Little Cat, Ramon Zürcher, 2013)
  11. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
  12. National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman, 2014)
  13. Exhibition (Joanna Hogg, 2013)
  14. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
  15. A Spell to Ward off the Darkness (Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, 2013)
  16. Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa, 2014)
  17. L’image manquante (The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh, 2013)
  18. Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
  19. Aimer, boire et chanter (Life of Riley, Alain Resnais, 2014)
  20. Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, 2014)
  21. La Jalousie (Jealousy, Philippe Garrel, 2013)
  22. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
  23. Soshite chichi ni naru (Like Father, Like Son, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2013)
  24. Die geliebten Schwestern (Beloved Sisters, Dominik Graf, 2014)
  25. Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2013)

From top to bottom, one of the best film-going years in ages.

My criterion was simple: films I saw in cinemas, or saw period, in my new capacity as programmer, for the first time in 2014. All but three are 2014 US commercial releases: late 2013 premieres, Her and The Wolf of Wall Street, both of which I saw last January, and Plemya, one of the very few 2015 US releases I managed to see in advance of its theatrical run.

My biggest blind spot? Not yet having seen Adieu au langage in 3D. Leave it to Godard to make a film that 1) cannot be screened in many of the theatres that would love to show it, including my own; and 2) resists the geographical democratisation of film distribution – at least within the United States – brought on by the rise of streaming services. (I have seen it in 2D, for the very little that that’s worth.)

 

GEOFF ANDREW

SENIOR FILM PROGRAMMER 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.

Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
La Chambre bleue (The Blue Room, Mathieu Amalric, 2014)
Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa, 2014)
Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller, 2014)
Das grosse Museum (The Great Museum, Johannes Holzhausen, 2014)
Ukkili kamshat (The Owners, Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2014)
Des hommes et de la guerre(Of Men and War, Laurent Bécue-Renard, 2014)

And 15 further titles in more or less random order:

Le meraviglie (The Wonders, Alice Rohrwacher, 2014)
Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, 2014)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh, 2014)
Kuzu (The Lamb, Kutluğ Ataman, 2014)
Macondo (Sudabeh Mortezai 2014)
Stray Dog (Debra Granik, 2014)
Al doilea joc (The Second Game, Corneliu Poromboiu, 2014)
Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross, Dietrich Brüggemann, 2014)
Aimer, boire et chanter (Life of Riley, Alain Resnais, 2014)
Listen Up Phillip (Alex Ross Perry, 2014)
Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, 2014)

I don´t feel it was a particularly strong year, though there are unfortunately some films I´ve yet to see which might have made it in to my top 25. I am painfully aware I´ve seen very little from East Asia this year, and that is reflected in the list. But it did seem to be a good year for documentary.

Kis Uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)

Kis Uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)

MARTYN BAMBER 

CONTRIBUTOR TO CLOSE-UP FILM, CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK, AND SENSES OF CINEMA.

Favourite new release films from 2014 seen in the UK (in alphabetical order):

Belle (Amma Asante, 2013)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Earth to Echo (Dave Green, 2014)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
The Guest (Adam Wingard, 2014)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
Locke (Steven Knight, 2013)
L’étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps (The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, 2013)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Violette (Martin Provost, 2013)

 

LYNDEN BARBER

A SYDNEY-BASED FREELANCE FILM JOURNALIST AND SCREEN STUDIES TEACHER.

Top 12in alphabetical order (All titles released theatrically in Australia in 2014):

20,000 Days on Earth (Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard, 2014)
All is Lost (J.C. Chandor, 2013)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Charlie’s Country (Rolf de Heer, 2013)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013)
Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, 2014)
La vie d’Adèle (Blue is the Warmest Colour, Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)

Runner up 12 in alphabetical order (all titles released theatrically in Australia in 2014):

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix Van Groeningen, 2013)
Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014)
God Help the Girl (Stuart Murdoch, 2014)
Jodorowsky’s Dune (Frank Pavich), 2013
My Sweet Pepper Land (Huner Saleem, 2013)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Once My Mother (Sophia Turkiewicz, 2014)
The Two Faces of January (Hossein Amini, 2014)
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
Vi är bäst! (We are the Best!, Lukas Moodysson, 2013)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)

 

MICHAEL BARTLETT

FREELANCE FILM WRITER AND SUBTITLER BASED IN LONDON.

The Borderlands (Elliot Goldner, 2013)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Ja-yu-eui eon-deok (Hill Of Freedom, Hong Sang-Soo, 2014)
Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
Maps To The Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman, 2014)
Silence (Pat Collins, 2012)
Under The Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
 
Runners up

I found the following titles just as stimulating and entertaining as the ones above, but, for some reason, they haven’t lingered as powerfully in my memory. 

Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014)
L’image manquante (The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh, 2013)
L’inconnu du lac (Stranger By The Lake, Alain Guiraudie, 2013)
Independencia (Raya Martin, 2009)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)
Kaze tachinu (The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki, 2013)
Locke (Steven Knight, 2013)

Most ludicrously overrated films of the year

Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014)
Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014)

Three highly rated films that left me stone cold

Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
Trudno byt bogom (Hard to Be a God, Aleksei German, 2013)
La Sapienza (Eugène Green, 2014)

Best things to happen this year

Arrow Films’ superb Blu-Ray box set of Walerian Borowczyk’s early films. The publication of The Essential Raymond Durgnat (edited by Henry K Miller).

 

NICK BARTLETT

TEAM ASSISTANT AT BBC WORLDWIDE AND WRITER OF DEAD FINKS DON’T BLOG.

Blue Ruin (Jeremy Saulnier, 2014)

A subtle, understated thriller, that combines economic Walter Hillseque storytelling with a wryly dark sense of humour. There aren’t many twists (maybe one) and the plot unravels slowly but effectively, taking a look at the long-term effects of revenge from both sides. Short and to the point, with an outstanding central performance from Macon Blair as a character who really doesn’t want to be in a revenge thriller. Hands down the most gripping thriller of the year.

Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

The richest, most entertaining and original film that the Coen brothers have made since No Country For Old Men (2007), this is a touching (but never sentimental) look at folk music just prior to the emergence of Bob Dylan. Oscar Isaac absolutely nails the title role, giving a charismatic performance as a bitter, self-loathing musician, and the soundtrack is irrepressibly catchy.

The Double (Richard Ayoade, 2013)

An odd mixture of dark comedy and bleak dystopian fantasy that somehow works really well. Darker and more mature than Submarine, The Double is a memorably dystopian, nightmarish psychological fantasy, with some coldly funny dialogue which belies the film’s haunting premise and chilling moments. Featuring beautiful cinematography, some truly poetic editing and not one, but two excellent performances from Eisenberg.

Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)

The most heartfelt and tonally mature film Jonze has made yet, Her is a poignant film with a really tender performance from Joaquin Phoenix. The ambiguous but touching ending manages to avoid being a cop-out and remains a genuinely sweet message about the need for human relationships.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

The artificial backgrounds, centred shots, onscreen text and use of bright colours all let you know that you are watching a Wes Anderson film, but he manages to narrowly avoid the Tim Burton pitfalls by introducing several new elements into the mix. I think I have to accept that Anderson will never stray from his well-worn formula, but The Grand Budapest Hotel is a welcome change in overall tone, with beautiful cinematography, several tense set-pieces and a genuinely moving performance from Fiennes.

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

The scariest film of the year and one that achieves its scares by building up atmosphere and tension from the word go. First time director Kent has brought her A game to this film, with crisp cinematography, haunting set design and a script that is by turns both funny and haunting. The central performances are both much stronger than you would expect from a standard horror film, and the monster is original and more importantly, terrifying. Reminiscent of Repulsion and M.R. James, the result is not only the best horror film, but one of the best films of the year.

Under The Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)

A more mature film than the stylish Sexy Beast and the downright weird Birth, and more satisfying narratively than either, Under The Skin benefits from giving the audience enough credit to piece together most of the plot without overtly giving anything away. Visually one of the most beautiful films of the year, with some genuinely disturbing moments (The “processing” scene is one of those once seen, never forgotten sequences) and a surprisingly subtle performance from Scarlett Johansson, who manages to be both sympathetic and disarmingly creepy.

Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014)

A bit of an anomaly among the rest of Nolan’s work, Interstellar lacks the instant hook of something like Inception, the narrative tricks of Memento or The Prestige, or even the sheer entertainment value of the Dark Knight trilogy. That being said it is still an incredible experience, with awe inspiring cinematography, a beautiful score from Hans Zimmer and a predictably great performance from Matthew McConaughey. However, though it struggles manfully, it could easily, easily lose an hour.

Faults (Riley Stearns, 2014)

A darkly comic thriller with a genuinely unsettling tone which pervades throughout. The witty script is equal parts funny and sinister, and gives the audience no chance to predict what’s going to happen. Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Olstead give two compelling performances and the ominously ambiguous ending is chilling.

The Guest (Adam Wingard, 2014)

Playing out like a love letter to genre cinema, The Guest is Wingard’s best film, a no-holds-barred thrill ride pastiche of trashy 1980s pulp cinema, which refuses to take itself seriously and with twists that feel like you’re being let in on an amazing joke. Combing the aesthetics of Drive with John Carpenter style slasher films, The Guest features a knowing, clever script, an eclectic, retro soundtrack, a witty, clever script and an incredibly enjoyably tongue-in-cheek performance from Dan Stevens.

Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)

Gone Girl is filled to the brim with great performances, and Fincher’s characteristic washed out palette works to devastating effect, but the dialogue is constituted of speeches and does not reflect the way that real people talk. There are some stunning set-pieces – the segment in Desi’s mansion is expertly put together, and the climax is genuinely shocking – and some nice character touches, especially in the characterisation of the detectives and Tanner Bolt. Overall though, there’s too much telling, and not nearly enough showing. While an excellent film for those who haven’t or don’t want to read the book, Gone Girl doesn’t offer many surprises for those who have.

Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)

Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)

CONOR BATEMAN

MANAGING EDITOR OF 4:3, PREVIOUSLY WORKED AT SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL AND SBS. 

Top theatrical releases in Australia, 2014 

Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix van Groeningen, 2012)
Wadjda (Haifaa Al-Mansour, 2012)
La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 (Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013)
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt, 2013)
 
Top Australian festival releases, 2014 

Mahi va gorbeh (Fish & Cat, Shahram Mokri, 2013)
Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm, Xavier Dolan, 2013)
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (David Zellner, 2014)
Non-Fiction Diary (Jung Yoon-suk, 2014)
Appropriate Behavior (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)

Most overrated films, 2014 (Australian theatrical releases)

The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)
La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
Locke (Steven Knight, 2013)

 

GUSTAVO BECK

NEW YORK-BASED BRAZILIAN FILMMAKER, CURATOR AND CRITIC.
  1. Trudno byt bogom (Hard to be a God, Aleksey German, 2013)
  2. Kommunisten (Jean-Marie Straub, 2014)
  3. Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
  4. Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
  5. Brûle la mer (Burn the Sea, Nathalie Nambot & Maki Berchache, 2014)
  6. Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys in the Air (Phillip Warnell, 2014)
  7. Adieu au Langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
  8. Al doilea joc (The Second Game, Corneliu Porumboiu, 2014)
  9. Le Beau Danger (René Frölke, 2014)
  10. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)

 

SEAN BELL 

BLOGGER AT SEX AND THE ETERNAL CITY.

Top 10 Italian cinema/DVD releases for 2014:

Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Free of the usual dramatic arcs, Boyhood rambled over three hours, covering 12 years in a life of a family, but just like life, it was over all too soon. Watching the actors age naturally before us gave the film added pathos, but above all, Linklater and his fine cast proved that ordinary lives presented truthfully are inherently fascinating.

Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013)
Topping many a year’s best list in 2013 and deservedly nabbing Bruce Dern the Cannes Best Actor honour last year, Nebraska limped into Italian cinemas in late January where it played for precisely two weeks. Thank God then for DVD. I have now seen Alexander Payne’s small tale of forgiveness (forgiving yourself and forgiving your parents) three times and found myself laughing like a drain and being moved to tears every time. It is also responsible for a long overdue June Squibb revival.

Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
It could be because the blue and grey hued photography is so beautiful or because T Bone Burnett has curated such a wonderful soundtrack. It could be because Oscar Isaac makes you care about a selfish character who is his own worst enemy or because he is supported by such fine actors as John Goodman and F. Murray Abraham. It could be because Inside Llewyn Davis speaks with such wry sadness about being in the music industry or it could just be because of Ulysses the cat, but this is my favourite Coens’ film since Barton Fink.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
A sublime Russian doll of a film from a director as much in love with the medium as he is the past. Ralph Fiennes has done comedy before (In Bruges) but his performance here is a masterclass in comic timing. 

Locke (Steven Knight, 2013)
This taut one-hander shouldn’t work but it does largely due to Tom Hardy at his very best and the superb voice work from Olivia Colman and Ruth Wilson.

20 Feet From Stardom (Morgan Neville, 2013)
Essential viewing for music fans of all stripes – a documentary which gives overdue voice to some deserving voices. It’s the anti-X Factor – proper talent not in search of celebrity.

Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014)

The Lego Movie (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, 2014)

12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)

Mistaken For Strangers (Tom Berninger, 2013)

Worst:

There were some disappointments – L’inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiraudie 2013) Deux jours, une unit (Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014) – and interesting misfires – Maps To The Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014) but nothing truly awful, then again I didn’t see Transformers: Age of Extinction (Michael Bay, 2014).

Nebraska

Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013)

PAMELA BIÉNZOBAS

CHILEAN FILM CRITIC BASED IN PARIS.

Favorite-film lists are essentially arbitrary and also limited to an aleatory universe of choice. Therefore, to sort my way through, I decided to push both aspects even further, and arbitrarily decided to limit my list to documentaries seen during 2014 (including some that had premiered internationally earlier, but that had their theatrical release this year in France, where I live). And since the instructions said “at least 10”, I arbitrarily decided to go for 11.

As I eagerly look forward to catching up with some recent documentaries I still haven’t had the chance to see, these are “my” best non-fiction experiences of 2014, in alphabetical order.

20,000 Days on Earth (Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard, 2014)
I know that despite its originality and formal quality, it is made for lovers of Nick Cave’s music. I am one, so it was made for me. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have much appreciated it, but it would not be here.

Au bord du monde (On the Edge of the World, Claus Drexel, 2013)
Respect, dignity and humanity. And the awareness and lucidity of how to transmit that through cinema.

Costa da morte (Coast of Death, Lois Patiño, 2013)
A film you do not only watch and listen to. You can feel the wind and the breeze of the Galician coast on your skin.

E Agora? Lembra-me (What Now? Remind Me, Joaquim Pinto, 2013)
Had this list’s order not been alphabetical, it would have been on top. A masterclass on cinema, a concentrate of emotion and an ode to life, all in one.

Im Keller (In the Basement, Ulrich Seidl, 2014)
My first spontaneous reactions: i) It made me worry about my friends in Austria; ii) No matter how “normal” or “sane” you believe you are, you should never let Seidl film you.

Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa, 2014)
The most precise gaze imaginable.

National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman, 2014)
Not at all among Wiseman’s best, it still makes it among the year’s best.

San zimei (Three Sisters, Wang Bing, 2012)
(Though it was presented in Venice 2012, it was only released in France in 2014.) Life, like it or not.

Senkyo 2 (Campaign 2, Kazuhiro Soda, 2013)
The subject has evolved in a dramatic way, but just like in Senkyo, that camera is always placed in the exact place, exact angle, and makes the exact move, turning each seemingly simple shot into a dense comment on Japanese society.

Tepecik Hayal Okulu (A Dream School in the Steppes, Güliz Saglam, 2014)
A film about an artist requires a special quality to fascinate you even when you had no previous idea about that person’s existence or work. This homage to Ahmet Uluçay exudes love of cinema and life in an irresistible way.

The Return to Homs (Talal Derki, 2013)
Images beyond words.

 

YVETTE BIRO

ESSAYIST, WRITER AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY GRADUATE FILM SCHOOL.

Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh, 2014)
Czlowiek z nadziei (Man of Hope, Andrzej Wajda, 2013)
Retour à Ithaque (Return to Ithaca, Laurent Cantet, 2013)
Le Paradis (Alain Cavalier, 2014)
Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
Cavalier Express (Alain Cavalier, 2014)
Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)
Stray Dogs (Ming-Liang Tsai, 2014)
Still the Water (Naomi Kawase, 2014)

Reprises:

Minnie and Moskowitz (John Cassavetes, 1971)
L’enclos (Enclosure, Armand Gatti, 1961)

 

MIMI BRODY

FREELANCE FILM CURATOR, USA.

Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)
Ja-yu-eui eon-deok (Hill of Freedom, Hong Sang-soo, 2014)
Amour fou
(Jessica Hausner, 2014)
Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
Deux jours, une nuit
(Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014)

Plus three film discoveries from this year:

Her Man (Tay Garnett, 1930)
Daïnah la métisse (Dainah the Mulatto, Jean Grémillon, 1932)
Morgen beginnt das Leben (Life Begins Tomorrow, Werner Hochbaum, 1933)

 

THOMAS CALDWELL

DISCUSSES FILM ON 3RRR 102.7FM EVERY WEEK AND BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTIONS ON ABC RADIO NATIONAL ONCE A MONTH.

Favourite ten films with a theatrical release in Melbourne, Australia in 2014

  1. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
  2. Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014)
  3. Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2013)
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
  5. Yi dai zong shi (The Grandmaster, Wong Kar-wai, 2013)
  6. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
  7. La vie d’Adèle (Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
  8. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
  9. Tian zhu ding (A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke, 2013)
  10. Nymphomaniac (Lars Von Trier, 2013)

Honourable mentions

I thought this was a particularly strong year in cinema so here are fifteen more films, listed alphabetically, that have stayed with me for one reason or another:

52 Tuesdays (Sophie Hyde, 2013)
Big Hero 6 (Don Hall and Chris Williams, 2014)
Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014)
Charlie’s Country (Rolf de Heer, 2013)
The Dark Horse (James Napier Robertson, 2014)
Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, 2014)
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)
Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014)
Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
The Infinite Man (Hugh Sullivan, 2014)
Lucy (Luc Besson, 2014)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, 2014)

Favourite ten films not given a full theatrical release:

As usual, some of the best films I saw this year were not given a full theatrical release, but were still screened to Melbourne audiences at festivals or other special events.

  1. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
  2. Trudno byt bogom (Hard to Be a God, Aleksey German, 2013)
  3. Virunga (Orlando von Einsiedel, 2014)
  4. Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets (Florian Habicht, 2014)
  5. The Possibilities are Endless (James Hall and Edward Lovelace, 2014)
  6. Happy Christmas (Joe Swanberg, 2014)
  7. Jigoku de naze warui (Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Sion Sono, 2013)
  8. The Overnighters (Jesse Moss, 2014)
  9. Ping Pong Summer (Michael Tully, 2014)
  10. Housebound (Gerard Johnstone, 2014)
Charlie's Country

Charlie’s Country (Rolf de Heer, 2013)

MICHAEL CAMPI

LONG CAPTIVATED BY THE MOVIES WITH INVOLVEMENT IN NON-COMMERCIAL FILM EXHIBITION OVER MANY DECADES.

Highest achievers seen in 2014 in alphabetical order:

Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Camille Claudel 1915 (Bruno Dumont, 2013)
Gyeongju (Zhang Lu, 2014)
Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013)
The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)
Mahi va gorbeh (Fish & Cat, Shahram Mokri, 2013)
Love is Strange (Ira Sachs, 2014)
Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)*
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
Shuiyin Jie (Trap Street, Vivian Qu, 2013)
Violet (Bas Devos, 2014)

* At the time of writing, I have not seen Tom à la Ferme (Tom at the Farm, Xavier Dolan, 2013)

Other works that have been enriching and stimulating reminders of the power of the movies in 2014:

Amour Fou (Jessica Hausner, 2014)
Brma paemnebi (Blind Dates, Levan Koguashvili, 2013)
Huang jin shi dai (The Golden Era, Ann Hui, 2014)
Jiao you (Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-liang, 2013)
Na pian hu shui (Lake August, Yang Heng, 2014)
Tui na (Blind Massage, Lou Ye, 2014)
Ya-gan-bi-haeng (Night Flight, Leesong Hee-il, 2014)
Ye (The Night, Zhou Hao, 2014)

However the film which affected me the most was Nakinureta haru no onna yo (A Woman Crying in Spring, Hiroshi Shimizu, 1933) and presented in the final of three marvellous annual surveys of Japanese early sound films at the essential Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna during the European summer. A very early talkie for Japan and after which Shimizu directed more silent films, the film is said to have persuaded Yasujiro Ozu to direct his first sound film a couple of years later. The quiet emotional intensity of this melodrama focuses on two miners and a single mother bar hostess. The drama is conveyed so exquisitely in images and imaginative sounds that it was impossible for me to consider watching another film for the rest of that festival day. It will remain tantalising to ponder whether Shimizu could have seen Howard Hawks’ Tiger Shark, made the year before, which has a similar central male-female triangle but the emotions aren’t moving in necessarily familiar lines.

 

MICHELLE CAREY

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, CO-CURATOR, MELBOURNE CINÉMATHÈQUE AND AN EDITOR AT SENSES OF CINEMA.

P’tit Quinquin (L’il Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)
Trydno byt bogom (Hard to Be a God, Aleksei German, 2013)
Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry, 2014)
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2014)
Heaven Knows What (Josh & Benny Safdie, 2014)
Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
Xi you (Journey To The West, Tsai Ming-liang, 2014)
Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
Ja-yu-eui eon-deok (Hill of Freedom, Hong Sang-soo, 2014)
Pasolini (Abel Ferrar, 2014)
The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
Free Range/Ballaad Maailma Heakskiitmisest (Free Range/Ballad on Approving of the World, Veiko Öunpuu, 2013)
Appropriate Behavior (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
Buzzard (Joel Potrykus, 2014)
Saint Laurent (Bertrand Bonello, 2014)
Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
La Princesa de Francia (The Princess of France, Matías Piñeiro, 2014)
brouillard – passage #14 (Alexandre Larose, 2014)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)
Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, 2014)
Detour de Force (Rebecca Baron, 2014)
45 7 Broadway (Tomonari Nishikawa, 2013)
Photooxidation (Pablo Mazzolo, 2014)
The Unity of All Things (Alexander Carver & Daniel Schmidt, 2013)
Things (Ben Rivers, 2014)

Having now been enriched by cinema for over half my life, it’s humbling to see that my cinephilia is still on its journey. I’ve rediscovered, for example, the joys of independent American cinema, and there have been some excellent films at varying production levels from that country this year.

A personal highlight was being able to screen Out 1 – Noli me tangere (Jacques Rivette, 1971) at MIFF, and the accompanying video essays (by Adrian Martin & Cristina Álvarez, Kevin B. Lee & Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Chris Luscri & David Heslin) produced for it by Chris Luscri.

 

NICOLÁS CARRASCO 

STAFF WRITER AT DESISTFILM.

In no particular order:

The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan (Norte, the End of History, Lav Diaz, 2013)
Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
Trudno byt bogom (Hard to Be a God, Aleksei German, 2013)
Fantasmas de la ruta (Ghosts of the Road, José Celestino Campusano, 2013)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
P’tit Quinquin (L’il Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)
Cold in July (Jim Mickle, 2014)
Matar a un hombre (To Kill a Man, Alejandro Fernández Almendras, 2014)
Papusza (Joanna Kos & Krzysztof Krauze, 2013)
L’image manquante (The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh, 2013)
Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)
The Raid 2: Berandal (Gareth Evans, 2014)
Solecito (Oscar Ruiz Navia, 2013)
Oculus (Mike Flanagan, 2013)
Soshite chichi ni Naru(Like Father, Like Son, Hirokazu Koreeda, 2013)
Enemy (Denis Villeneuve, 2013)
Spirits in Season (Stephen Broomer, 2012)
A Movie by Jen Proctor (Jennifer Proctor, 2010-12)
Picture Particles (Thorsten Fleisch, 2014)
Soft in the Head (Nathan Silver, 2013)
Redemption (Miguel Gomes, 2013)
Foudre (Manuela Morgaine, 2013)

Honourable mentions:

Great films from Cordoba, Argentina: Tres D (Rosendo Ruiz, 2014), El último verano (Leandro Naranjo, 2014), Atlántida (Inés María Barrionuevo, 2014), and Ciencias naturales (Matías Lucchesi, 2014).

Great films from Bolivia: El corral y el viento (Miguel Hilari, 2014), Adelante (Miguel Hilari, 2014), Primavera (Joaquin Tapia, 2014), and Plato Paceño (Carlos Piñeiro, 2013).

Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)

Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)

MICHAEL J. CASEY

MOVIE CRITIC FOR BOULDER WEEKLY.

1. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
A movie where ambition is only matched by insight.

2. The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)
Emotionally devastating in every way possible.

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
Joy in three formats. Invention at 24 frames per second.

4. Life Itself (Steve James, 2014)
A document of a life lived.

5. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
Jarmusch answers the questions no one thought to ask.

6. The Lego Movie (Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, 2014) / Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2014)
The Hero’s Journey rendered as a comedy then as a tragedy.

7. Locke (Steven Knight, 2013)
A man, a plan and a car. Too bad life got in the way.

8. Keep on Keepin’ On (Alan Hicks, 2014)
A tale of two masters.

9. God Help the Girl­ (Stuart Murdoch, 2014)
Can a pop song save your life? Yes.

10. They Came Together (David Wain, 2014) 
Laughing out loud from start to finish

 

CELLULOID LIBERATION FRONT 

A MULTI-USE(R) NAME, AN “OPEN REPUTATION” INFORMALLY ADOPTED AND SHARED BY A DESIRING MULTITUDE OF INSURGENT SPECTATORS.

The CIA makes lists and so did the KGB, so why shouldn’t we?

The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)
A complex, multilayered and remarkably sharp film about the brutality of the greatest of all dreams.

Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014)
For its ethical integrity, intellectual honesty and moral courage. The rarest qualities to be found in a documentary.

The Postman’s White Nights (Andrei Konchalovsky, 2014)
A minimal epic with no theories to be proved but an almost ancestral understanding of life and its immovable dynamics.

Belluscone: Una Storia Siciliana (Franco Maresco, 2014)
The year’s greatest film by the world’s greatest living director.

Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
From paedo-celebrity culture to murderous self-obsession, the no longer repressed monsters of our daily horror are now ready for realism. There is no use for horror movies anymore, seems to insinuate a master of the genre.

Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
With his antiquated youthfulness the director lucidly frames the decadence of our dying culture and stages the most romantic funeral.

She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich, 2014)
The scripted alchemy of a heartfelt homage to the movies that once were coalesces into a film of rhythmic perfection.

Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara, 2014)
Damnation, perdition and the refusal of redemption. Ferrara’s cinema spews out from the gangrenous wounds of our putrescent world.

Sosialismi (Socialism, Peter von Bagh, 2014)
A film made in a place where none wants to go, let alone be found; the “wrong” side of history. The losing side.

The Humbling (Barry Levinson, 2014)
Al Pacino’s greatest performance since The Scarecrow.

Though I hesitate to keep “TV series” separate from “films”, primarily because I can hardly see any meaningful difference between the two, here are two stand-outs from this year’s serial output: House of Cards (Season 2) and Rectify (Season 2). 


CARLO CHATRIAN

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE LOCARNO FILM FESTIVAL

Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)
P’tit Quinquin (Li’l Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Belye nochi pochtalona Alekseya Tryapitsyna(White Nights of the Postman, Andrey Konchalovskij, 2014)
Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry, 2014)
Kaguya-hime no monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Takahata Isao, 2014)
Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)

P'tit Quinquin (Li'l Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)

P’tit Quinquin (Li’l Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)

LESLEY CHOW

AUSTRALIAN FILM CRITIC AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF BRIGHT LIGHTS. ALSO WRITES ON MUSIC FOR THE QUIETUS.

Best films:

Abus de faiblesse (Abuse of Weakness, Catherine Breillat, 2013)

Under The Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
Not since Rabid (David Cronenberg, 1977) has a director so effectively worked the contrast between a gloomy, run-down city and erotic black magic. In Under the Skin, fascination comes in a series of kabuki-like trances, with Scarlett Johansson slithering across a polished floor.

Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
The rocky landscape of Cappadocia works as well for Ceylan as Stromboli did for Rossellini: as a severe backdrop for a group of isolated characters. But in this world, entropy isn’t silence: if anything, it means an endless series of conversations, with constant sighs and exasperation as people tussle over the moral high ground, trying to determine who possesses more insight or courage. There are small, insistent assertions of superiority by almost every character, accompanied by a good dose of evil eye. In Ceylan, people can even fight over who has greater humility, with both parties offering to back down before a couple of parting shots.

There is a perpetual state of war between the characters: verbal reprisals will be made for the tiniest slights, leading to the kind of nutty, no-win exchanges we often hear in Hong Sang-soo. Common tactics include purporting to speak in generalities while making digs at one person, or sticking to an “objective” view of life that happens to flatter one’s own interests. All the while, the camera gazes at people with a forensic intensity reminiscent of Hong. What does it mean if a holy man has sly eyes and a wheedling manner, or if a woman with an angelic face puts on a sour expression? How far do these traits go in obscuring or revealing character? It’s to Ceylan’s credit that, despite all of the tiresome point-scoring, we are compelled to know more.

The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)

John Wick (Chad Stahelski & David Leitch, 2014)
Like many great crime thrillers, John Wick depicts the rules of the game as they exist between elegant, po-faced men. To that end, there are at least twelve superb cameos from character actors, and an elating sense of skill and camaraderie – comparisons with Boorman and Melville aren’t out of the question. In its seamless moves between genre and art installation, this is a film Nicolas Winding Refn should envy.

Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)

Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara, 2014) 

Mahi va Gorbeh (Fish & Cat, Shahram Mokri, 2013)

Aimer, boire et chanter (Life of Riley, Alain Resnais, 2014)

The Two Faces of January (Hossein Amini, 2014)
Along with James Gray, Amini is one of the few working directors who gives classicism a good name. In this debut feature, he already has the exact touch of a master: knowing which images should hover over us, what we should be faintly aware of, and when it’s time to blast us with light.

 

JOHN CONOMOS

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SYDNEY COLLEGE OF THE ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY.

My following top ten list for this year is the result of what I have only seen in movie theatres, on television and watching DVDs. Anyway you look at it top ten lists are very subjective depending on one’s geography, personal circumstance and global exposure to film festivals, conferences and symposia. For me, though I have been familiar with the film and video essay form since the ‘70s and ‘80s, this year’s list contains a few recent examples of this proliferating genre.

I have disappointedly missed seeing Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language. As a rule I see everything Godard does because, to state the obvious, since the 1960s he has been one of cinema’s essential weathervanes.

Furthermore, I should add that besides my top ten list I have also cited a number of books that I have read this year and that have enriched and expanded my understanding and pleasure of cinema. For me, cinema is still life’s gift that keeps on giving.

The list is not in any order of preference.

  1. Patience (After Sebald) (Grant Gee, 2012)
  2. The Forgotten Space (Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, 2012)
  3. The Stuart Hall Project (John Akomfrah, 2013)
  4. Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014)
  5. Kış uykusu (Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)
  6. Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh, 2014)
  7. 20,000 Days on Earth (Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, 2014.
  8. Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
  9. Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
  10. Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014

The film books that have engaged me the most this year were:

Adrian Martin, Mise en Scène and Film Style, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014
Wayne Koestenbaum, The Anatomy of Harpo Marx, University of California Press, 2012
James Naremore, An Invention Without A Future, University of California Press, 2014
Henry Karl Miller, The Essential Raymond Durgnat, BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, 2014
Patrick Keiller, The View From the Train, Verso, 2013 

 

ADAM COOK

CRITIC AND PROGRAMMER FOR MUBI, CONTRIBUTOR TO CINEMA SCOPE AND OTHERS.

I find that efforts to link the year’s films together under some sort of thematic umbrella can often be in vain, but I couldn’t help notice once I assembled a list that most of my favourite movies from 2014 have a particularly interesting relationship with time. Maybe it’s too broad – cinema’s relationship to time is an inherent quality, the recorded image’s dynamic with temporality being a large component of what makes the medium compelling and relevant – but more than usual the films gathered in this top ten bring this relationship to light. In the following films, the passage of time, the tension between the moving image and its properties therein, the palpable, ever-present moment of what’s on screen at any given second versus the time to which it belongs (both in reality and the reality of the diegesis), is especially pointed. The way a shot, due to its own pace and duration, can expand and bend time to its will, time as we understand it is subservient to cinema’s powers, at least when at the hand of its masters. In Journey to the West, Tsai Ming-liang makes this one of the film’s subjects, the contrast between the serene slow walk of Lee Kang-sheng’s monk and Denis Lavant’s enigmatic figure and the busy Marseilles around them changing how we look at what’s in the frame, and in turn, what’s around us – as if time and space is something determinable by a state of mind. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel pays tribute to the power of fiction to process history and experience. Much has been said about what Richard Linklater’s Boyhood does, less a coming-of-age film than a passing-of-time film, studying the transience of years as they flow by. Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy is more minute in how it fixes its attention, lamenting the passing of moment to moment, seeing each as monumental as a year in themselves. Pompeii profoundly makes a moment of human beauty immortal in the face of nature’s indifference. In Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood looks at real life subjects that are contemporary to him, essentially looking at the years gone by of his lifetime, the pain, regret, highs, lows, nostalgia – not nearly enough has been said about how this film captures a sense of a life lived, and painfully/beautifully how quickly and brutally it happens. Continuity and time operate according to a different logic in the films of Hong Sang-soo, and his latest, Hill of Freedom, another effortlessly great movie, plays on this even more by revolving around a past we aren’t privy to. Left off of this list but deserving a mention, the Farrelly Brothers’ Dumb and Dumber To gets most of its power from the stalwartness of the film’s central relationship, and the irrelevance of time to its sincerity.

This collection of remarkable films point to that which may be most essential in the spirit of movie-going, not to pass time, but to expand it, even challenge it, to open up time and space, an act of resistance against the forces we otherwise remain bound to – a different way of navigating the world and ourselves.

  1. Xi you (Journey to the West, Tsai Ming-Liang, 2014)
  2. Kaguya-hime no monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata, 2014)
  3. Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
  5. La Jalousie (Jealousy, Philippe Garrel, 2013)
  6. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
  7. Pompeii (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2014)
  8. Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood, 2014) & American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, 2014)
  9. Dan shen nan nu 2 (Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2, Johnnie To, 2014)
  10. Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara, 2014) and Pasolini (Abel Ferrara, 2014)

Honourable mentions:

Ja-yu-eui eon-duk (Hill of Freedom, Hong Sang-soo, 2014)
Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
Kommunisten (Jean-Marie Straub, 2014)
Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)


KIERON CORLISS
 

DEPUTY EDITOR, SIGHT & SOUND.

Top ten in no particular order:

La sapienza (Eugène Green, 2014)
Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)
Sosialismi (Socialism, Peter von Bagh, 2014)
Kommunisten (Jean-Marie Straub, 2014)
Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014)
Sorrow and Joy (Nils Malmros, 2014)
Studien zu Monet (Klaus Wyborny, 1998-2014)
João Bénard da Costa – Outros amarão as Coisas que eu amei (João Bénard da Costa – Others Will Love the Things I Loved, Manuel Mozos, 2014)
P’tit Quinquin (Li’l Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)

Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)

Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)

JESÚS CORTÉS

SPANISH FILM WRITER FOR MAGAZINES AND WEBSITES: UN BLOG COMME LES AUTRES, FOCO REVISTA DE CINEMA, DÉTOUR AND SHANGRILA. CO-AUTHOR OF BOOK ON EUROPEAN FILMMAKERS, OJOS SIN ROSTRO (ÁRTICA, 2014)

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

Sorg og Glaede (Sorrow and Joy, Nils Malmros, 2013)
La Sapienza (Eugène Green, 2014)
Une autre vie (Another Life,Emmanuel Mouret, 2013)
J’enrage de son absence (Maddened By His Absence, Sandrine Bonnaire, 2012)
Cavalo Dinheiro (Horse Money, Pedro Costa, 2014)
Pas son genre (Not My Type,Lucas Belvaux, 2014)
Au fil d’Ariane (Ariane’s Thread, Robert Guédiguian, 2014)
Feng ai (`Til Madness Do Us Part,Wang Bing, 2013)
Nuits blanches sur la jetée (White Nights on the Pier,Paul Vecchiali, 2014)
Se Eu Fosse Ladrão… Rouvaba (If I Were a Thief… I’d Steal, Paulo Rocha, 2011)
Sosialismi (Socialism,Peter Von Bagh, 2014)
Aimer, boire et chanter (Life of Riley, Alain Resnais, 2014)
Cold in July (Jim Mickle, 2014)
Arrête ou je continue (If You Don’t, I Will,Sophie Fillières, 2014)
Uri Sunhi (Our Sunhi,Hong Sang-Soo, 2013)
Frammenti (Franco Piavoli, 2012)
La Noche de enfrente (Night Across the Street, Raúl Ruiz, 2012)
L’Image manquante (The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh, 2013)
Futatsume no mado (Still the Water, Kawase Naomi, 2014)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)
Phantom Power (Pierre Léon, 2014)
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery, 2013)
Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What is Before, Lav Diaz, 2014)
Un Château en Italie (A Castle in Italy, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, 2013)
Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
O Velho do Restelo (Manoel de Oliveira, 2014)
João Bénard da Costa. Outros amarão as coisas que eu amei (João Bénard da Costa – Others Will Love the Things I Loved, Manuel Mozos, 2014)
La Isla Mínima (Marshland, Alberto Rodríguez, 2014)
L’Amour est un crime parfait (Love is the Perfect Crime, Arnaud & Jean-Marie Larrieu, 2013)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013)

70 best older films, seen for the first time in 2014:

Tsuki wa Noborinu (Tanaka Kinuyo, 1955)
Amore Mio (My Love, Raffaello Matarazzo, 1964)
Smilin’ Through (Sidney Franklin, 1932)
Buon Natale… Buon Anno (Merry Christmas… Happy New Year, Luigi Comencini, 1989)
Internes Can´t Take Money (Alfred Santell, 1937)
Framed (Richard Wallace, 1947)
Jun’ai Monogatari (Imai Tadashi, 1957)
Private Lives (Sidney Franklin, 1931)
Guai ai Vinti (Raffaello Matarazzo, 1954)
King of the Royal Mounted (William Witney and John English, 1940)
Utage (Gosho Heinosuke, 1967)
Broken Marriage (Ishmael Bernal, 1983)
L’Authentique procés de Carl-Emmanuel Jung (The Authentic Trial of Carl Emmanuel Jung, Marcel Hanoun, 1966)
Gan (Toyoda Shirô, 1953)
Whiplash (Lewis Seiler, 1948)
Shunkinsho: Okoto to Sasuke (Shimazu Yasujirô, 1935)
Six et demi onze (Jean Epstein, 1927)
Two of a Kind (Henry Levin, 1951)
Jirô Monogatari (The Tale of Jiro, HiroshiShimizu, 1955)
Mogliamante (Wifemistress, Marco Vicario, 1977)
Yoman (David Perlov, 1983)
Woman in Hiding (Michael Gordon, 1950)
Puccini (Carmine Gallone, 1953)
Toute une nuit (All Night Long, Chantal Akerman, 1982)
Paraíso Robado (Stolen Paradise, Julio Bracho, 1951)
The Secret Bride (William Dieterle, 1934)
Slava – Nam, Smert’ – Vragam (Yevgeni Bauer, 1914)
En Djungelsaga (The Flute and the Arrow, Arne Sucksdorff, 1957)
Leonora dos Sete Mares (Leonora of the Seven Seas, Carlos Hugo Christensen, 1955)
If I Were Free (Elliott Nugent, 1933)
Cry Vengeance (Mark Stevens, 1954)
Trädgårdsmästaren (The Gardener, Victor Sjöström, 1912)
The Searching Wind (William Dieterle, 1946)
Black Widow (Nunnally Johnson, 1954)
La Vie à deux (Life Together, Clément Duhour, 1958)
The End of the Affair (Edward Dmytryk, 1955)
The Well (Leo Popkin and Russell Rouse, 1951)
South of St. Louis (Ray Enright, 1949)
Aïe (Ouch, Sophie Fillières, 2000)
Alba Regia (Mihály Szemes, 1961)
Tayna Vechnoi Nochi (The Mystery of the Eternal Night, Abram Room, Dimitriy Vasilev, 1956)
La Cobarde (Julio Bracho, 1953)
Night Editor (Henry Levin, 1946)
The Satan Bug (John Sturges, 1965)
Ondine (Neil Jordan, 2009)
Gentille (Sophie Fillières, 2005)
Mirt Sost Shi Amit (Harvest: 3000 Years, Haile Gerima, 1976)
Il Tradimento (Double Cross, Riccardo Freda, 1951)
The Fallen Sparrow (Richard Wallace, 1943)
The song of Avila (Jonas Mekas, 1967)
Das Tagebuch des Dr Hart (The Diary of Dr. Hart, Paul Leni, 1916)
Tre Storie Proibite (Three Forbidden Stories, Augusto Genina, 1952)
Preferisco il Rumore del Mare (I Prefer the Sound of the Sea, Mimmo Calopresti 1999)
Historia de un Gran Amor (Julio Bracho, 1942)
Souvenir d’Italie (It Happened in Rome, Antonio Pietrangeli, 1957)
Ginebra en los Infiernos (Jaime Chávarri, 1969)
Zona Roja (Pink Zone, Emilio Fernández, 1976)
Buenaventura Durruti, Anarquista (Jean-Louis Comolli and Ginette Lavigne, 2000)
Biette (Pierre Léon, 2011)
Gahanu Lamai (Sumitra Peries, 1978)
Gli Stregoni (Raffaele Andreassi, 1961)
Lost Book Found (Jem Cohen, 1996)
La Seconda Volta (The Second Time, Mimmo Calopresti, 1995)
The Devil and Miss Jones (Sam Wood, 1941)
Jitsuroku Abe Sada (A Woman Called Abe Sada, Tanaka Noboru, 1975)
Mat (Mother, Mark Donskoy, 1955)
Three Hours to Kill (Alfred L. Werker, 1954)
Eine Stunde Glück (Wilhelm Dieterle, 1931)
Spaceways (Terence Fisher, 1953)
I Am Suzanne! (Rowland V. Lee, 1933)

50 best among revisited:

The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
Beloved Infidel (Henry King, 1959)
Ensayo de un Crimen (The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, Luis Buñuel, 1955)
Two Rode Together (John Ford, 1961)
The Sun Shines Bright (John Ford, 1953)
La Fille du Puisatier (The Well-Digger’s Daughter, Marcel Pagnol, 1940)
A Distant Trumpet (Raoul Walsh, 1964)
Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
El Sol del Membrillo (The Quince Tree Sun, Víctor Erice, 1992)
Ruggles of Red Gap (Leo McCarey, 1935)
Major Dundee (Sam Peckinpah, 1965)
The Leopard Man (Jacques Tourneur, 1943)
Barbara (Nils Malmros, 1997)
The Naked and the Dead (Raoul Walsh, 1958)
Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (Alphaville, Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
China 9, Liberty 37 (Monte Hellman and Tony Brandt, 1978)
Kauas Pilvet Karkaavat (Drifting Clouds, Aki Kaurismäki, 1996)
Oubliemoi (Forget Me, Noémie Lvovsky, 1994)
Mata au hi Made (Til We Meet Again, Imai Tadashi, 1950)
The World of Suzie Wong (Richard Quine, 1960)
La prima notte di quiete (Indian Summer, Valerio Zurlini, 1972)
Scandal Sheet (Phil Karlson, 1952)
The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953)
The Trap (Norman Panama, 1959)
Ariane (Paul Czinner, 1931)
Je t’aime, Je t’aime (I Love You, I Love You, Alain Resnais, 1968)
Karl May (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1974)
L’Immorale (The Climax, Pietro Germi, 1967)
The Law and Jake Wade (John Sturges, 1958)
Yellowstone Kelly (Gordon Douglas, 1959)
Bell Book and Candle (Richard Quine, 1958)
Shakha Proshakha (The Branches of the Tree, Satyajit Ray, 1990)
Tong nien wang shi (A Time to Live, A Time to Die, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1985)
Not Wanted (Ida Lupino and Elmer Clifton, 1949)
Hangman’s Knot (Roy Huggins, 1952)
Murder! (Alfred Hitchcock, 1930)
Backfire (Vincent Sherman, 1950)
Il ladro di bambini (The Stolen Children, Gianni Amelio, 1992)
Texasville (Peter Bogdanovich, 1990)
The Man from Colorado (Henry Levin, 1948)
Drenge (Boys, Nils Malmros, 1977)
L’étrange Mme X (The Strange Madame X, Jean Grémillon, 1951)
Trouble Along the Way (Michael Curtiz, 1953)
What Do You Think? (Jacques Tourneur, 1937)
Last Chants for a Slow Dance (Jon Jost, 1977)
En Kärlekshistoria (A Swedish Love Story, Roy Andersson, 1970)
Szegénylegények (The Round-Up, Miklós Jancsó, 1966)
The Bottom of the Bottle (Henry Hathaway, 1956)
Solas (Benito Zambrano, 1999)
Never Say Goodbye (Jerry Hopper, 1956)
 

AL COSSAR 

PROGRAMMER, MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.

Favourites January-December 2014, alphabetised. These films are those seen in multiplexes in Melbourne, queued for at far-flung festivals, or acquainted elsewhere and in-between. Some old at the start of this year, some new to the end. Many missed, and more to be acquainted with, but this is the most of what captured my curiosities this year:

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014)
Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014)
Turist (Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, 2014)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
P’tit Quinquin (Li’l Quinquin, Bruno Dumont, 2014)
Kaguyahime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata, 2014)
Magical Girl (Carlos Vermut, 2014)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Olive Kitteridge (Lisa Cholodenko, 2014)
The Overnighters (Jesse Moss, 2014)
Relatos salvajes (Wild Tales, Damián Szifrón, 2014)
Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2013)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
Tu dors Nicole (You’re Sleeping, Nicole, Stéphane Lafleur, 2014)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)

Minor Notes (Some explaining to do):

Re: Relatos Salvajes and Whiplash: Sometimes the rush and rhythm of an audience amplifies the detail in great storytelling, and these two films, fully formed as they may be to watch alone, were also some of the best “collective” viewing of the year. Relatos Salvajes played the 2000 odd-person screening at which I saw it like an agreeably sadistic maestro, provoking a near non-stop in-room score of gasps and laughs that was a joy in itself to hear.

Re: Tu Dors Nicole – Lucid beauty, meandering and precise.

Re: Deux jours, une nuit, The Overnighters, Snowpiercer: All a compelling, divergent kind of contemporary – in the case of Deux jours, une nuit, an economy of story and structure that moved me greatly. Snowpiercer, the polar (PUN INTENDED) opposite kind of film, used the bluster of the blockbuster format in dark, ridiculous, and wholly exciting ways to deliver an upfront but exacting 99% revenge fantasy. The Overnighters, by contrast, looked downstream into the limits of our own compassion, and while it might have been set in far-away North Dakota, but it’s a film that made me think about Australia in close, comparable ways.

Re: Magical Girl: The more distance I have from this film, the more it burrows into the dark cracks in my mind. Sleek, with a kind of brutal understatement to it; noir-ish, in a way that feels unfamiliar.

Re: Calvary: Lose the alphabetical ordering, yell at me to pick a favourite, and this is it. I was one of the seeming few wholly unconvinced with McDonagh’s The Guard, but I loved this film. I couldn’t shake its sadness, its wit, its perfect last shots. It’s a quiet story contemplating the depths of faith and sacrifice, one that also stars Dylan Moran in full snark mode as a confrontational, rich, bastardly bastard. Full marks.

Re: Li’l Quinquin, Olive Kitteridge: Event television now naturalised within the film festival world – Dumont’s hilarious, wilfully askew Quinquin launching in long-form at Directors Fortnight this year, now going into US theatrical release in early 2015; Olive Kitteridge similarly premiering at Venice. Both expansive, assured storytelling, both boasting some of the year’s best lead performances; both making perfect sense surrounded by the ‘larger canvases’ of film storytelling, as equals, and in many cases, more. 

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014)

AARON CUTLER

FILM CRITIC AND PROGRAMMER WHO KEEPS A CRITICISM WEBSITE, THE MOVIEGOER.

My most pleasurable film-going event of last year came on 17 October at the Centro Cultural São Paulo with a DCP projection of the new film Le Beau Danger. The German director René Frölke’s third feature-length work offers a documentary portrait of Norman Manea, a still-active septuagenarian Romanian writer who was sent to a concentration camp as a child during the Second World War, left his Communist birth country voluntarily as an adult, andhas lived in the United States for many years since.

Manea’s novels, short stories, and essays have been translated into over twenty languages, a spreading-out that Le Beau Danger emphasises as we see and hear its small, owlish leading man engage with present-day interlocutors across several countries about his life and art. These scenes of a person cheerfully opening himself up to others appear both in black-and-white and in colour, and are rendered both in 16mm and in DV.

They emerge and recede in dialogue with a series of unusual silent images: White, grain-heavy text plates upon which run passages from Manea’s writing. The words give glimpses of young people pursuing each other through woods, and come sometimes as single phrases, sometimes as long blocks of lines. They can be read or else allowed just to wash over a viewer with softly shimmering shapes that evoke long journeys taken, along with lingering temptations of return.

The film’s title comes from Michel Foucault’s phrase for the traps encountered when aligning an author with his work. Throughout Le Beau Danger, we are called upon to imagine how Manea and his words might actually fit each other, whether through transmission, reconciliation, or otherwise. We are also led to read ourselves into his stories, and to consider how someone might ease the pain of exile by turning the world into his home.

Here are ten strong additional film works that I watched in 2014:

Alentejo, Alentejo (Sérgio Tréfaut, 2014)
Ang mga tigmo sa akong pagpauli(Riddles of My Homecoming, Arnel Mardoquio, 2013)
Biganeh (Stranger, Bahram Tavakoli, 2014)
Copacabana, Mon Amour (Rogério Sganzerla, 1970), in a new restoration from Mercúrio Produções
For Michael Brown (Travis Wilkerson, 2014)
Una giornata particolare (A Special Day, Ettore Scola, 1977) in a new restoration from CSC – Cineteca Nazionale di Roma in collaboration with Surf Film
Monument Film (Peter Kubelka, 2012) a dual-projection work consisting of 1960’s Arnulf Rainer and 2012’s Antiphon
Sea Series #9 (John Price, 2013)
Sleeping District (Tinne Zenner, 2014)
Songs from the North (Soon-Mi Yoo, 2014)

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