Saturday, January 2, 2010

:::: FILMS OF 2009 ::::


Terrence Malick "The New World" Extended Cut - Rerelease (United States)
Nicolas Winding-Refn "Valhalla Rising" (Finland)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan "Three Monkeys" (Turkey)
Michael Haneke "The White Ribbon" (Austria)
Claire Denis "35 Shots of Rum" (France)
Jim Jarmusch "Limits of Control" (United States)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa "Tokyo Sonata" (Japan)
Steve McQueen "Hunger" (United Kingdom)
Ulrich Seidl "Import / Export" (Austria)
Jia Zhang-Ke "24 City" (China)
Laurent Cantet "The Class" (France)
Anders Østergaard "Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country" (Denmark)
Matteo Garrone "Gomorra" - (seen together with the film below) (Italy):
Paolo Sorrentino "Il Divo" - (as a double-bill socio-political portrait)

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 total defiance of both the director's known work and content
they both, in distinctively differing ways brought to modern narrative storytelling
and reinvented what we should expect from these directors (one the mischievous imp
of European cinema, the other a rare creative young voice in Hollywood, who somehow
was once again given a budget by the industry to realize one of his visions) and
brought the audience along on absurd, mind-bending, twisted, fantastical rides:

Lars Von Trier "Antichrist" (Denmark)
Richard Kelly "The Box" (United States)

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:

Lav Diaz "Melancholia" (Philippines)
Jacques Audiard "A Prophet" (France/Italy)
Sion Sono "Love Exposure" (Japan)
Tsai Ming-Liang "Visage" (Taiwan)
Gaspar Noe "Enter the Void" (France)
Claire Denis "White Material" (France)
Corneliu Porumboiu "Police, Adjective" (Romania)
Bong Joon-Ho "Mother" (South Korea)
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang "Nymph" (Thailand)
Brillante Mendoza "Kinatay" (Philipines)

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!