Saturday, January 1, 2011

:::: FILMS OF 2010 ::::

Apichatpong Weerasethakul "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" (Thailand)
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)
Lu Chuan "City of Life and Death" (China)
Banksy & Shepard Fairey "Exit Through the Gift Shop" (USA)
Gideon Koppel "Sleeps Furiously" (UK)
Olivier Assayas "Carlos" (France)
Philippe Grandreiux "Un Lac" (France)
Jai Zhang-Ke "I Wish I Knew" (China)
Anand Tucker/ James Marsh/ Julian Jarrold "Red Riding Trilogy" (UK)
Anoch Suwichakornpong "Mundane History" (Thailand)

Looking outside the expected sources, finding new record labels and film distributors, making connections
between author, director and soundtrack that were previously inconceivable. Some of these combinations
generated exciting, unexpected new hybrids of styles, genres and form. The most vibrant of these
unexpected convergences being the work of French director Gaspar Noe's (visionary, yet flawed)
piece of psychedelic-pathos, "Enter the Void" (with soundtrack by Thomas Bangalter) an immersive,
mind-altering, multi-sensory, hyperkinetic, drugged-up Tokyo death fugue. Though there were other works
that achieved in more consistent, fully realized, qualitative ways, Noe's film stuck in the craw and refused to
be dismissed. Other directors further established themselves with their finest work yet, Weerasethakul, Sion
Sono and an unexpected historic drama from Assayas.

As it has for the past few decades, Scarecrow Video played an invaluable role as a resource for moving pictures
from around the globe, especially considerable for those of us enabled by all-zone/region Blu-Ray players.
This year's Seattle International Film Festival hosted only one or two of the films listed below, as opposed
to previous years, where SIFF dominated the field, screening most of the best films of the year during the
course of the festival. With indie cinemas closing around the nation, it was that much more important to
support the local theater opportunities such as the SIFF Cinema, the Landmark Theatre chain, the Grand
Illusion Cinema and the paramount indie screen in Seattle, the Northwest Film Forum. Many of the best films
seen this year, when they did come to the theater, had runs that lasted no more than a week. Others were
never to return to the cinema again or even as a domestic DVD release. By example, one of the single finest
films of this decade, the Cannes Palme d'Or award-winning "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past
Lives", which played in international film festivals around the country, still has yet to get a proper theatrical
run or even a DVD/online release (with rumors of it not appearing until as late as spring 2011). Again proving
the wisdom of getting out there, seeing the city and prioritizing the art/music/film that we're fortunate to have
in our urban cultural crossroads.

Lastly, the unseen films by a few directors of note that never made it over here distributed stateside or even
made a less-desirable appearance as an online release. I suspect a number of these would have made the
list, if I actually had a chance to see them:

Cristi Puiu "Aurora" (Romania)
Sergei Loznitsa "My Joy" (Russia)
Lee Chang-Dong "Poetry" (China)
Mohammad Rasoulof "White Meadows" (Iran)
James Benning "Ruhr" (United States)
Jerzy Skolimowski "Essential Killing" (Poland)
Sophie Fiennes "Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow" (UK)
Tetsuya Nakashima "Confessions" (Japan)
Anh Hung-Tran "Norwegian Wood" (Taiwan/Japan)
Koji Wakamatsu "Caterpillar" (Japan)
Tsui Hark "Detective Dee & The Mystery of the Phantom Flame" (China)