Sunday, January 4, 2009

:::: FILMS OF 2008 ::::


Andrey Zvyagintsev "The Banishment" (Russia)
Pedro Costa "Colossal Youth" (Portugal)
Roy Andersson "You, The Living" (Sweden)
Ari Folman "Waltz with Bashir" (Isreal)
Jia Zhang-Ke "Useless" (China)
Koji Wakamatsu "United Red Army" (Japan)
Gustavo Spolidoro "Still Orangutans" (Brazil)
Lou Ye "Summer Palace" (China)
Aditya Assarat "Wonderful Town" (Thailand)
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang "Ploy" (Thailand)
Carlos Reygadas "Silent Light" (Mexico)
Tomas Alfredson "Let the Right One In" (Sweden)
Patrick Tam "After This, Our Exile" (China)
Frederick Wiseman "34 Documentaries by Frederick Wiseman" -Rereleased (United States)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul "Luminous People / Emerald : Short Films Collection" (Thailand)
Alex Gibney "Taxi to the Dark Side" (United States)

Though not consistent enough to warrant whole-hearted inclusion in the list above, these two films
are deserving of a notable mention. Distinct for both their adherence and inventive deviation from their
respective genre-film traditions, they both, in distinctively differing ways, reinvented pop culture movie
storytelling and brought the audience along on fantastical rides:

Andrew Stanton/Pixar (For the first 35 minutes alone) "Wall-E" (United States)
Matt Reeves (Excluding the last 15 minutes) "Cloverfield" (United States)

Contrary to a lot of the impressions I've read of this past year in cinema, I've seen some of the finest quality
(and quantity) of film this year, in a way that exceeds the past few that I can recollect. All of which, with the
exception of 3 or so, where in the theatre and most of those exclusively in SIFF, not to return for a theatrical
run. Which strikes me as confounding and frustrating that so much good film never found distribution and as a
product, never found its audience.

That said, again this year, the unseen films by a few directors of note that never made it over here
distributed stateside. I suspect a number of these would have made the list, if I actually had a chance
to see them:

Matteo Garrone "Gomorra" (Italy)
Hayou Miyazaki "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" (Japan)
Laurent Cantet "The Class" (France)
Steven Soderbergh "Che" (United States)
Steve McQueen "The Hunger" (United Kingdom)
Jia Zhang-Ke "24 City" (China)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan "Three Monkeys" (Turkey)

Respect and appreciation again go out to the Northwest Film Forum and SIFF (both the festival and the
theatre) for bringing many of these to the states, and making Seattle one of the major cities in the country
for catching the best in global film as an aspect of our urban cultural experience!