Same As the Old Flesh [TITANE]

Titane

Rating ** Worth seeing

Directed by Julia Ducournau

Going strictly by the marketing and discussions that have surrounded Titane, one would think it impossible to sense a whiff of ambivalence or equivalence in the film or in Julia Ducournau. Already predestined to be enshrined as a take-no-prisoners whirlwind of sex and ultraviolence, it has been seized by hyperbole and outrage even more forcefully by the social media apparatuses than the average arthouse sensation. But as is so often the case, the most buzzworthy aspects of the film, its explicit provocations, have overshadowed the actual progression of the film.

It isn’t just that Titane is half gleefully gonzo body horror and half tender, unconventional family drama, though in pure runtime that might be the case. Ducournau gets through the bulk of her kills awfully quickly, frontloading most of her most outré, non-vehicular-pregnancy related material into something like 30 minutes. Additionally, calling it a breathlessly-paced thrill ride isn’t a terribly fitting description either: the first kill is as much focused on an almost clinical process of cleaning up as it is the hairpin in the head, and an equivalent amount of time is spent on Bertrand Bonello — basically a sight gag for the small percentage of people who know his directorial oeuvre — heating pasta as it is on the succession of murders in the house, as memorable as the image of a stool leg through someone’s face might be.

That still leaves at least an hour, and the vast majority of that is taken up by much subtler, tender, and thus less marketable elements. It’s well worth noting that much of the true parallels, genderfluidity, and even pain could have been conveyed without recourse to a serial killing spree or car-induced pregnancy. Alexia could simply have needed to go on the run for some impulsive crime, devised the same scheme to disguise herself as Adrien, and needed to do the same painful breast and stomach bindings. This feels especially relevant because of the fundamentally mundane yet deeply perverse nature of Vincent’s own body issues: a man on the opposite end of the age spectrum, subjecting himself to rituals of externally-induced regeneration and degradation equivalent to the virtual mask-wearing and performance that Alexia is enacting on a more overt basis.

Indeed, many of Ducournau’s most memorable images and moments — a talent which, from my hazy memory, she has improved upon considerably from Raw — don’t stem from its explicit body horror at all. The looming shadows in the parking lot, a few scenes of group dance that then shift focus to Alexia, and most of all fire — Titane is certainly explicit in drawing parallels between father and surrogate son, and one of the most effective lies in the almost holy, all-consuming way in which fire is featured and adapted throughout the film: a curling and implacable element, which is never shown truly extinguished on screen.

Vincent Lindon embodies that sense of a man being eaten alive by his obsessions and past so well, and more than any other element in the film, he displays that quick-witted, unpredictable range of emotions that Titane can sometimes lack. The dinner scene in which he attempts to get Alexia to talk, begins dancing with an amusing levity, then fights her in a manner that straddles the line between violence and play, succeeds precisely because Lindon is able to turn the somewhat abstract way in which his — and every other character, including Alexia — character has been written into a source of tension; instead of falling back on it as an excuse to exude menace 24/7, he takes his time to skillfully modulate his presentation, even within such a short span of time.

In contrast, Agathe Rousselle, while ably embodying the blasé, rebellious sociopath of Titane‘s first part, struggles some with the plentitude of ciphers placed upon her by Ducournau. Is Alexia actually a true serial killer prior to the beginning of the film? Is this really her first time with a woman (in one of the more effective graphic scenes, despite or perhaps because of its more typical outré nature)? Such questions ultimately aren’t important, and it’s a relief and something of a revelation when she transforms herself into Adrien and consequently settles into a much quieter, much more creepily compelling mode of performance. Of course she looks like herself when she was a child, getting that all-too-important metal plate put into her head, but the potential head-slapping obviousness of such an image is outweighed by its effectiveness on a purely photographic level, and her body movements and trepidation act as a perfect sounding board for Lindon’s stolid, outwardly assured persona; the clash between his established stardom and her screen ascension alone provides for a compelling throughline.

So it really is a true shame each and every time Titane cuts back to another scene of Alexia scratching away at herself, leaving deep scars, or leaking motor oil from her orifices; there’s even a very late recapitulation of car sex that feels thrown in entirely at random, perhaps in an attempt to remind the viewer of what the film had been up to before it plunged into more interesting and knotty territory. The pregnancy element seems to come and go whenever Ducournau feels that the viewer might be losing interest; something like twenty minutes go by at one point before a squeamish person would feel compelled to cover their eyes. Far be it from me to claim that a film like this is being unrealistic or not beholden to the rules that it has set for its world — this is, after all, a film that more-or-less begins with erotic dancers being mobbed by fans asking for autographs — but this is more a question of what the film is actually trying to say, whether it be regarding gender, sex, family, meat, and metal.

Without going into each element specifically, there is an incoherence that seems unproductive in all respects except family, which remains productively muddled to the very final image. Despite his statements to the contrary, Vincent’s level of dedication to his son despite the eventually-obvious nature of her deception remains in constant motion, hinging in the last scene on the statement of names, the interpretation of certain actions; the gender-bending here feels vital as well in further confusing the lines of performance and perception. Where the film falls is in trying to collide these thought-through, small-scale but graspable ideas to the plotline of a person being distended by an automobile fetus, which ostensibly remains one of the two driving elements of the entire film.

If I was being uncharitable, I’d say that Titane almost felt like it was initially conceived along similar lines as my hypothetical retelling of the second part as its own film, free of such fantastical elements, given the amount of time and care put into the interactions between Rousselle and Lindon. After this initial draft was written, whether from internal or external pressures, Ducournau could have lost her nerve and decided to add in this early bout of violence as a means of grabbing a wider audience’s attention and to sprinkle in bits of body horror throughout to avoid a sense of alienation on the part of gorehounds and the like.

Given Raw and her statements, this is unlikely to be the case, but it’s hard not to note that Titane ends in exactly the most logical manner that it could, with a final set of actions that could have easily be pulled off without the need for metal prosthetics. If the ending — effective, emotionally visceral, and genuinely moving as it is — is so legible in its intent, so removed in all the senses that matter from the surface provocations that have dominated the conversations surrounding it, might it not be the case that this purportedly out-of-this-world work bears a marked resemblance to the quiet dramas that it tries so hard to distinguish itself from?

Waves of Time [ISABELLA]

Isabella

Rating *** A must-see

Directed by Matías Piñeiro

Before Isabella, Matías Piñeiro’s films have almost been defined by their lack of anchoring images. Whether as a result of his segmented structures — adding and discarding characters and foci — or his tendency towards experimentation and formal gambits that are seldom repeated — think the brief use of negative photography in Hermia & Helena, or the opening surreal association football game in The Princess of France — his work has been caught up, usually for the better, in a youthful sense of currency, constantly moving forwards in his characters’ lives. Even the hopping time structure in Hermia is clearly segmented, the moves between Buenos Aires and New York City a conscious incorporation of the delightful inbetweenness experienced by its characters, perpetually on the move.

Not so in Isabella. Focusing on something like four moments or stretches of time — some separated by hours, some by years — Piñeiro abstracts the relations between not only the four stretches, but also the moments within each into their own sets of associated images. Often, the precise location of each discrete shot in connection with its narrative container is left to be filled in later, most notably with the recurring image of Agustina Muñoz walking on the streets, which repeats something like six times before she finally arrives at her audition.

Were this placed in a more forthrightly experimental film, it would likely be total catnip. As it stands, existing in one of Piñeiro’s typical narratives — notably more downbeat and ruminative than usual as it is — it begs the question of whether this playful and bewildering structure exists at odds with its central narrative. One of said anchoring images offers a way in: that entrancing, somehow practically-made light installation, which builds on its numerous inner rectangles to create an ultimately harmonious whole — so harmonious that when it is ruptured by María Villar walking around within it, it’s a legitimately shocking event.

Calling Isabella is perhaps too strong a statement to make, but there’s an evident design to the syuzhet that, as random as they may seem in the moment, eventually rises to form a coherent, moving arc of acceptance: Villar’s disappointment at losing the part, though evident from very early on, retains the same effectiveness when deployed at the end, and it makes the juxtaposition with her playful interactions with Muñoz at the fabula’s endpoint more charged with the memory of the past. And as his wont, Piñeiro throws in little moments that themselves rupture the texture, cast everything into a new light: the extraordinary moment when Villar almost fades out of existence, the dream represented by actual behind-the-scenes footage from “Sycorax,” his new short co-directed with Lois Patiño.

Even on this second viewing, Isabella was at times extremely elusive and even enervating, so willful in its time-hopping. But the overall serenity, captured so well in the installation and the rock-throwing ritual as the tide quietly ebbs and flows, remains compelling to the end.

2021 Festival Dispatch #1 Show Notes

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Subscribe to the podcast here.

Description
The first 2021 festival dispatch of the Catalyst and Witness podcast, devoted to exploring the films and format of the New York Film Festival, hosted by Ryan Swen. This covers the first week of the 2021 New York Film Festival, and features guests Forrest Cardamenis, Soham Gadre, Susannah Gruder, and Patrick Preziosi. (Edo Choi was also on the call but could not be included due to technical difficulties.)

0:00-34:08 – Part One
34:09-1:11:09 – Part Two

Housekeeping

  • Hosted by Ryan Swen
  • Conceived and Edited by Ryan Swen
  • Guests: Forrest Cardamenis, Soham Gadre, Susannah Gruder, Patrick Preziosi, Edo Choi
  • Recorded in Los Angeles, New York City, and New Jersey on Sudotack Microphone and MacBook GarageBand and Audacity and Zoom Recorder, Edited in Audacity
  • Podcast photograph from Yi Yi, Logo designed by Dan Molloy
  • Recorded October 1, 2021
  • Released October 5, 2021
  • Music (in order of appearance):
    • Our Beloved Month of August
    • Poison
    • The Souvenir

18th (1980): “The Earth Strikes Back” Show Notes

Table of Contents: Description, Corrections/Clarifications, Housekeeping, General, Main Slate, Ephemera, Recurring Directors, Recurring Countries, One-Time Directors, Debuts/Final Features, Festivals/Oscar Nominees, Events/Shorts/Panels, Discussions By Length, Specifications

poster

Listen to the podcast here.
Subscribe to the podcast here.

Description
The eighteenth episode of the Catalyst and Witness podcast, devoted to exploring the films and format of the New York Film Festival, hosted by Ryan Swen. This covers the eighteenth edition of the festival in 1980, and features special guest Shawn Glinis, host of the Wiseman Podcast.

0:00-16:20 – Opening
16:21-55:27 – Part One [Melvin and Howard to Special Treatment]
55:28-1:33:05 – Part Two [Confidence to Camera Buff]
1:33:06-2:27:51 – Part Three [Europa ’51 to Every Man for Himself]
2:27:52-3:20:37 – Part Four [Loulou to The Last Metro]
3:20:38-3:26:19 – Closing

Corrections/Clarifications

  • N/A

Housekeeping

  • Hosted by Ryan Swen
  • Special Guest Shawn Glinis
  • Conceived and Edited by Ryan Swen
  • Recorded in Roswell and Detroit on Sudotack Microphone and Audacity, Edited in Audacity
  • Podcast photograph from Yi Yi, Logo designed by Dan Molloy
  • Poster by Les Levine
  • Recorded July 4, 2021
  • Released September 23, 2021
  • Music (in order of appearance):
    • Melvin and Howard (opening night)
    • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (another favorite)
    • The Conductor (favorite of the first section)
    • And Quiet Rolls the Dawn (favorite of the second section)
    • Kagemusha (favorite of the third section)
    • Loulou (favorite of the fourth section)
    • The Last Metro (closing night)

General

  • Selection Committee: Richard Roud (program director), Richard Corliss, Molly Haskell, Susan Sontag, Tom Luddy (West Coast consultant), Mary Meerson (retrospective consultant)
  • Location: Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall
  • Prices: 4, 6; for opening and closing night 7.50 and 12
  • Films seen for the podcast:
    • Ryan
      • Seen before podcast watching period: N/A
      • Seen for the podcast: All available
      • Favorite films: Tih-Minh, Kagemusha, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Color of Pomegranates, Every Man for Himself, Loulou
      • Least favorite films: Nights at O’Rear’s
    • Shawn
      • Seen before podcast watching period: Melvin and Howard, Camera Buff, Once Upon a Time in the West
      • Seen for the podcast: The Conductor, Europa ’51, The Color of Pomegranates, Kagemusha, Every Man for Himself, Loulou, The Last Metro; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood rewatched
      • Favorite films: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Kagemusha, Loulou
      • Least favorite films: N/A
  • Discoveries of the festival: The Conductor, Bye Bye Brazil, And Quiet Rolls the Dawn
  • Unavailable films: The Handyman, Masoch, Quilts in Women’s Lives, Handicapped Love, Rush

Main Slate

Opening Night: Melvin and Howard (1980, Jonathan Demme)
September 26, 7:30 {Avery Fisher Hall}
Released 1980
The Handyman [L’Homme à tout faire] (1980, Micheline Lanctôt)
September 27, 12:30
Never released
Masoch (1980, Franco Brogi Taviani)
September 27, 3:00
Never released
The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980, Connie Field)
Also: Quilts in Women’s Lives (1980, Pat Ferrero)
September 27, 6:00
Released 1981/Never released
Bye Bye Brazil [Bye Bye Brasil] (1979, Carlos Diegues)
September 27, 9:00
Released 1980
The Conductor [Dyrygent] (1980, Andrzej Wajda)
September 28, 9:30
Released 1982
Special Treatment [Poseban tretman] (1980, Goran Paskaljević)
September 30, 6:15
Released 1982
Confidence [Bizalom] (1980, Szabó István)
September 30, 9:30
Released 1981
And Quiet Rolls the Dawn [Ek Din Pratidin/One Day Every Day] (1979, Mrinal Sen)
October 1, 9:30
Never released
Handicapped Love [Behinderte Liebe] (1979, Marlies Graf)
And: Here’s looking at you, kid. (1980, William Edgar Cohen)
October 2, 6:15
Never released/Never released
Sunday Daughters [Vasárnapi szülők/Sunday Parents] (1980, Rózsa János)
October 3, 6:15
Never released
Camera Buff [Amator/Amateur] (1979, Krzysztof Kieślowski)
October 3, 9:30
Released 1983
Retrospective: Europa ’51 [Europe ’51] (1952, Roberto Rossellini)
October 4, 9:00
Released 1954
Retrospective: The Martin Scorsese Color Show
Once Upon a Time in the West [C’era una volta il West/Once Upon a Time the West] (1968, Sergio Leone)
October 5, 4:30
Released 1969
The Color of Pomegranates [Nřan guynə] (1969, Sergei Parajanov)
October 6, 6:15
Never released
Kagemusha [Shadow Warrior] (1980, Kurosawa Akira)
October 6, 9:30
Released 1980
Every Man for Himself [Sauve qui peut (la vie)/Save Who Can] (1980, Jean-Luc Godard)
October 8, 6:15
Released 1980
Loulou (1980, Maurice Pialat)
October 8, 9:30
Released 1980
“Americana”
New York Story (1980, Jackie Raynal)
Rush (1980, Evelyn Purcell)
Nights at O’Rear’s (1980, Robert Mandel)
October 9, 6:15
Never released/Never released/Never released
The Constant Factor [Constans/Constant] (1980, Krzysztof Zanussi)
October 9, 9:30
Released 1983
Retrospective: Tih-Minh (1918, Louis Feuillade)
October 11, 10:30
Released 1920
Closing Night: The Last Metro [Le dernier métro] (1980, François Truffaut)
October 12, 8:30 {Avery Fisher Hall}
Released 1981

Ephemera

  • British Film Now: nine films representing several modes of production; $3 for each film

Recurring Directors
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/omnibus/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable), number of festivals with more than one film shown (when applicable); † indicates their last appearance, fraction in parentheses indicates number of features shown from oeuvre, features released in the eligible timeframe, features in oeuvre

  • Jean-Luc Godard: 1/1/14/18/2/5
  • François Truffaut: 1/1/8/8/5
  • Krzysztof Zanussi: 1/1/5/5
  • Kurosawa Akira: 1/1/4/4/1
  • Andrzej Wajda: 1/1/4/4/0/1
  • Maurice Pialat: 1/1/3/3
  • Jonathan Demme: 1/1/2/2/1†(2/34/34)
  • Carlos Diegues: 1/1/2/2†(2/21/21)
  • Sergei Parajanov: 1/1/2/2
  • Szabó István: 1/1/2/2
  • Krzysztof Kieślowski: 1/1/1/1
  • Roberto Rossellini: 0/1/1/3
  • Louis Feuillade: 0/1/0/2†(2/0/22)
  • Sergio Leone: 0/1/0/1

Recurring Countries
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable)

  • USA: 5/7/66/87/4
  • Poland: 3/3/16/16
  • France: 2/3/100/120/16
  • Hungary: 2/2/12/12
  • Switzerland: 2/2/6/6
  • Italy: 1/3/37/45/4
  • Japan: 1/1/14/17/1
  • USSR: 1/1/7/8/2
  • Canada: 1/1/7/8
  • India: 1/1/7/7/1
  • Yugoslavia: 1/1/6/6
  • Brazil: 1/1/5/5

One-Time Directors

  • William Edgar Cohen
  • Pat Ferrero (short)
  • Connie Field
  • Marlies Graf
  • Micheline Lanctôt
  • Robert Mandel
  • Goran Paskaljević
  • Evelyn Purcell
  • Jackie Raynal (short)
  • Rózsa János
  • Mrinal Sen
  • Franco Brogi Taviani

Feature Debuts

  • Connie Field
  • Micheline Lanctôt
  • Robert Mandel
  • Evelyn Purcell
  • Franco Brogi Taviani

Festivals

  • NYFF World Premiere
    • New York Story
    • Nights at O’Rear’s
    • Rush
  • Cannes
    • Kagemusha (Palme d’Or)
    • The Constant Factor (Jury Prize, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury)
    • Special Treatment (Best Supporting Actress)
    • And Quiet Rolls the Dawn
    • Bye Bye Brazil
    • Every Man for Himself
    • Loulou
    • The Handyman (Directors’ Fortnight)
    • Sunday Daughters (Directors’ Fortnight)
  • Berlin
    • Confidence (Best Director)
    • The Conductor (Best Actor)
  • Venice
    • Europa ’51 (1952, International Award)
    • Melvin and Howard
    • Masoch (Officina veneziana)
  • Other
    • Camera Buff (Moscow, Golden Prize)
    • Handicapped Love (Solothurn)
  • N/A
    • The Color of Pomegranates
    • Here’s looking at you, kid.
    • The Last Metro
    • The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter
    • Once Upon a Time in the West
    • Quilts in Women’s Lives
    • Tih-Minh

Oscar Nominees

  • Melvin and Howard: Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actress (won), Best Supporting Actor
  • Kagemusha: Best Art Direction, Best Foreign Film
  • Confidence: Best Foreign Film
  • The Last Metro: Best Foreign Film

Events

events

Discussions By Length (Approximate)

  • 14:05 Once Upon a Time in the West (1:43:31-1:57:36)
  • 13:46 Tih-Minh [One Person] (2:54:53-3:08:39)
  • 13:04 Kagemusha (2:05:21-2:18:25)
  • 12:26 Camera Buff (1:20:39-1:33:05)
  • 11:57 The Last Metro (3:08:40-3:20:37)
  • 11:52 Loulou (2:28:51-2:40:43)
  • 10:03 Melvin and Howard (17:21-27:24)
  • 9:25 Every Man for Himself (2:18:26-2:27:51)
  • 9:24 Europa ’51 (1:34:06-1:43:30)
  • 8:44 The Conductor (40:21-49:05)
  • 8:35 “Americana” [One Person] (2:40:44-2:49:19)
  • 7:43 The Color of Pomegranates (1:57:37-2:05:20)
  • 6:24 Confidence [One Person] (56:26-1:02:50)
  • 6:21 Special Treatment [One Person] (49:06-55:27)
  • 6:15 Sunday Daughters [One Person] (1:14:23-1:20:38)
  • 5:48 And Quiet Rolls the Dawn [One Person] (1:02:51-1:08:39)
  • 5:32 The Constant Factor [One Person] (2:49:20-2:54:52)
  • 4:46 Here’s looking at you, kid. [One Person] (1:09:36-1:14:22)
  • 4:42 Bye Bye Brazil [One Person] (35:38-40:20)
  • 4:34 The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter [One Person] (30:35-35:09)
  • 3:09 Masoch [Unavailable] (27:25-30:34)
  • 1:06 The Handyman [Unavailable] (27:25-28:31)
  • 0:55 Handicapped Love [Unavailable] (1:08:40-1:09:35)
  • 0:27 Quilts in Women’s Lives [Unavailable] (35:10-35:37)

Specifications

  • Jonathan Demme, Melvin and Howard, 1980, 35 mm, color, stereo sound, 95 minutes, 1.85:1, English, USA.
  • Micheline Lanctôt, L’Homme à tout faire, 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 99 minutes, 1.85:1, French, Canada.
  • Franco Brogi Taviani, Masoch, 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 110 minutes, 1.85:1, Italian, Italy.
  • Connie Field, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, 1980, 16 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 65 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Pat Ferrero, Quilts in Women’s Lives, 1980, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 28 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Carlos Diegues, Bye Bye Brasil, 1979, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 100 minutes, 1.66:1, Portuguese, Brazil.
  • Andrzej Wajda, Dyrygent, 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 101 minutes, 1.37:1, Polish and English and French, Poland.
  • Горан Паскаљевић, Посебан третман, 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 94 minutes, 1.66:1, Serbo-Croatian, Yugoslavia.
  • Szabó István, Bizalom, 1980, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 105 minutes, 1.66:1, Hungarian and German, Hungary.
  • মৃণাল সেন, এক দিন প্রতিদিন, 1979, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 95 minutes, 1.37:1, Bengali, India.
  • Marlies Graf, Behinderte Liebe, 1979, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 124 minutes, 1.37:1, German, Switzerland.
  • William Edgar Cohen, Here’s looking at you, kid., 1980, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 51 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Rózsa János, Vasárnapi szülők, 1980, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 100 minutes, 1.37:1, Hungarian, Hungary.
  • Krzysztof Kieślowski, Amator, 1979, 35 mm and 8 mm, color, mono sound, 112 minutes, 1.37:1, Polish, Poland.
  • Roberto Rossellini, Europa ’51, 1952, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 118 minutes, 1.37:1, Italian, Italy.
  • Sergio Leone, C’era una volta il West, 1968, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 165 minutes, 2.35:1, English, Italy.
  • Սերգեյ Փարաջանով, Նռան գույնը, 1969, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 79 minutes, 1.37:1, Armenian, USSR.
  • 黒澤明, 影武者, 1980, 35 mm, color, 4-track stereo sound, 180 minutes, 1.85:1, Japanese, Japan.
  • Jean-Luc Godard, Sauve qui peut (la vie), 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 87 minutes, 1.66:1, French, Switzerland.
  • Maurice Pialat, Loulou, 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 105 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Jackie Raynal, New York Story, 1980, 16 mm, black-and-white and color, mono sound, 27 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Evelyn Purcell, Rush, 1980, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 48 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA. (?)
  • Robert Mandel, Nights at O’Rear’s, 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 45 minutes, 1.85:1, English, USA.
  • Krzysztof Zanussi, Constans, 1980, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 87 minutes, 1.66:1, Polish and English, Poland.
  • Louis Feuillade, Tih-Minh, 1918, 35 mm, black-and-white, silent, 418 minutes, 1.33:1, French, France.
  • François Truffaut, Le dernier métro, 1980, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 131 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.

Reviews by Year

This will only include reviews I have written for established outlets on the occasion of a new theatrical (or streaming) release, and for Taipei Mansions in the New Release column. Reviews will be placed in the festival section until their film receives a theatrical release announcement, after which the review will be placed in the appropriate theatrical release section, regardless of the review’s original context. Capsules, festival overviews, and entries as part of larger pieces will generally not be included, but films that are the impetus for pieces about larger, related subjects are included. Retrospective pieces will be listed in the bottom section.

2022

Theatrical Release
In Front of Your Face (Hong Sang-soo)
Introduction (Hong Sang-soo)

2021

Theatrical Release
The American Sector (Courtney Stephens & Pacho Velez)
Annette (Leos Carax)
Days (Tsai Ming-liang)
Isabella (Matías Piñeiro)
Labyrinth of Cinema (Ōbayashi Nobuhiko)
Life in a Day 2020 (Kevin Macdonald)
Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue (Jia Zhangke)
Titane (Julia Ducournau)
Wife of a Spy (Kurosawa Kiyoshi)
The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin) (C.W. Winter & Anders Edström)

Festival
“The Capacity for Adequate Anger” (Vika Kirchenbauer)
Come Here (Anocha Suwichakornpong)
“Dear Chantal” (Nicolás Pereda)
El Gran Movimiento (Kiro Russo)
“Inner Outer Space” (Laida Lertxundi)
Pebbles (PS Vinothraj)
Petite Solange (Axelle Ropert)
Radiograph of a Family (Firouzeh Khosrovani)
“‘The red filter is withdrawn.'” (Kim Min-jung)
A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces (Zhu Shengze)
Topology of Sirens (Jonathan Davies)

2020

Theatrical Release
Ham on Rye (Tyler Taormina)
I Was at Home, But… (Angela Schanelec)

2019

Theatrical Release
Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke)
The Competition (Claire Simon)
The Farewell (Lulu Wang)
Feast of the Epiphany (Michael Koresky & Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman)
La Flor (Mariano Llinás)
Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry)
Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov)
Transit (Christian Petzold)
Two Plains & a Fancy (Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn)
What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (Roberto Minervini)

Festival
Belonging (Burak Çevik)
Cenote (Oda Kaori)
Long Way Home (André Novais Oliveira)

2018

Theatrical Release
Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed)
Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony & Joe Russo)
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
The Commuter (Jaume Collet-Serra)
Crazy Rich Asians (Jon M. Chu)
Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
En el Séptimo Día (Jim McKay)
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)
Let the Corpses Tan (Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie)
Notes on an Appearance (Ricky D’Ambrose)
Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg)
Le Redoutable (Michel Hazanavicius)
The Wild Boys (Bertrand Mandico)

2017

Theatrical Release
Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott)
As You Are (Miles Joris-Peyrafitte)
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)
The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola)
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter)
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)
Bronx Gothic (Andrew Rossi)
Casting JonBenet (Kitty Green)
Cézanne et moi (Danièle Thompson)
Close Relations (Vitaly Mansky)
Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (Sydney Freeland)
Escapes (Michael Almereyda)
Faces Places (Agnès Varda & JR)
The Fate of the Furious (F. Gary Gray)
The Florida Project (Sean Baker)
A Ghost Story (David Lowery)
Graduation (Christian Mungiu)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (James Gunn)
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Juho Kuosmanen)
Harmonium (Fukada Kōji)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski)
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater)
mother! (Darren Aronofsky)
Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) (Robin Campillo)
The Ornithologist (João Pedro Rodrigues)
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas)
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Princess Cyd (Stephen Cone)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro)
A Skin So Soft (Denis Côté)
Spettacolo (Jeff Malmberg & Chris Shellen)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes)

Festival
2017 Local Sightings Shorts Program: Natural Experiments
Fail to Appear (Antoine Bourges)
“Let Your Heart Be Light” (Deragh Campbell & Sophy Romvari)
“Scaffold” (Kazik Radwanski)

2016

Theatrical Release
Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
Assassin’s Creed (Justin Kurzel)
Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
Fences (Denzel Washington)
The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook)
Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi)
La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
Live by Night (Ben Affleck)
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
Neruda (Pablo Larraín)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch)
Silence (Martin Scorsese)
Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
Tower (Keith Maitland)

Festival
Bad Black (Nabwana IGG)
Ma’ Rosa (Brillante Mendoza)
Scarred Hearts (Radu Jude)
Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu)
Two Lottery Tickets (Paul Negoescu)

Retrospective
Barbara (2012, Christian Petzold)
David Lynch Retrospective
Deep End (1970, Jerzy Skolimowski)
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003, Tsai Ming-liang)
Lost in the Mountains (2009, Hong Sang-soo)
The Love Eterne (1963, Li Han-hsiang)
Merry-Go-Round (1981, Jacques Rivette)
Oxhide (2005, Liu Jiayin)
Oxhide II (2009, Liu Jiayin)
Phoenix (2014, Christian Petzold)
Police Story (1985, Jackie Chan)
Police Story 2 (1988, Jackie Chan)
Some Divine Wind (1991, Roddy Bogawa)
The State I Am In (2000, Christian Petzold)
Trust (1990, Hal Hartley)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, David Lynch)
Wanda (1970, Barbara Loden)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy)

Human After All [ANNETTE]

Annette

Rating *** A must-see

Directed by Leos Carax

Yes, that opening. But not just “So May We Start,” which is as rousing, cheeky, and entrancing a first song as a film such as this could ask for. The film properly opens — after the far sillier spoken introduction — with a brief snatch of the French folk song “Au clair de la lune,” which leads into a shot of the outside of a Los Angeles studio at night. This image is rapidly overtaken by feedback manifested visually by red soundwaves, a motif carried into the studio itself, where musicians prepare to record, each burst of noise causing the camera to flicker, as shots are briefly overlaid on each other. This finally leads to Leos Carax calling over his daughter Nastya in French before introducing the first of many proper Sparks recordings.

Leaving aside the obvious narrative implications of a song called “By the light of the moon,” the credits specify that this is the “first recording of a human voice,” and that collision of traditions within a given medium course through Annette‘s veins. French and American, primitive paper recordings and high-tech digital audio, silent and sound cinema: these are the terms on which Carax is working, in which material reality coexists side-by-side with the unreal. In that sense, Annette’s central puppet deftly straddles the line between the two: a physical object that always feels uncanny.

The same could very much be said of Sparks’s music: I’ve listened to very little of their work otherwise, but the music on its own, while frequently catchy or at the very least an earworm, works here in large part because of its slipperiness, its integration with the dialogue. Henry’s first, abrasive show is a perfect introduction: slipping into no less than three, perhaps four songs over the course of about ten minutes, all moving with such abandon that it’s difficult to tell whether the songs are part of the act or part of the musical component. Of course, that slipperiness is inherent to the confrontations, arguments, and declarations of affections that speckle this film in musical form. But even more disorientingly, the actors’ intonations and recitations of dialogue often land in a phantom zone between speech and song, where it is throughly muddled whether a given line is meant to be part of a song or not.

Such ambiguity often doesn’t extend to the level of narrative, however, for better or worse. Despite its often extravagant scale, what with its globe-hopping scale, constant media intrusion, and apparently years-spanning timeline, Annette is ultimately a small, intimate film, detailing the fallout of the relationships of four broken people, though this is doled out in fits and spurts. Even with all the ruptures and dreamlike moments, there’s a fidelity to emotion that remains paramount, a belief in the tragedy of bonds ruptured by the strength of personal histories and forceful personalities.

Of course, that’s where Adam Driver comes in. The effect of his final scenes, hollowed out and eaten alive by his own actions, is at once startling and entirely in keeping with the arc of his performance. Throughout, he remains prowling and magnetic, and Carax’s camera responds in kind, circling him with the same intent watchfulness that Driver never lets up on. His voice is equally as implacable: sometimes rumbling and portentous, other times high and quavering, in a way wholly unpredictable.

Implicit in this willful disorientation of viewer’s expectations, at least with something that chooses not to establish a baseline aesthetic or reality, is a certain unevenness, only exacerbated by the fragmentation caused by some musical sequences as the film proceeds towards its last trajectory. Some of the treatment of the media, for example, feels straight out of the more parodic moments of Clouds of Sils Maria, and at certain points it’s difficult to ascertain exactly how far the musical concept can be pushed. But more often, Carax lands on images and moments that stun: operatic deaths overlaid on a rushing motorcycle ride, unusually restive shots of a house slowly decaying, and above all the central storm, which combines the thoroughly artificial and archaic rear-projection with water spilling out across the set. Such dichotomies are the lifeblood of Annette: the sacred and the profane, the violent and the tender; Carax incorporates all of these into sequences that stubbornly refuse to remain one or the other, and the finale, which openly confronts the devices that had powered the film prior by stripping them away to just two voices singing, feels pitch perfect.

Daughter of the Good Earth [THE WORKS AND DAYS (OF TAYOKO SHIOJIRI IN THE SHIOTANI BASIN)]

The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)

Rating **** Masterpiece

Directed by C.W. Winter & Anders Edström

Of course, the conception of an extended film like The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin) is inseparable from the experience of watching it, and that is true to an immense degree here, but one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about this film came immediately following the film, during the Q&A given by co-director C.W. Winter. He described the conception of the film as stemming from a documentary that he and co-director Anders Edström had been planning to make chronicling the last stretch of time in the life of Shiojiri Junji, the eponymous Tayoko’s husband and Edström’s father-in-law, who passed away roughly a week before they were planning to fly to Japan. After the funeral — shot and included in the film — Winter and Edström came up with the idea to make this film over the next year of theirs, Tayoko’s, and the village’s lives. The process was essentially conceived to act as both catharsis and do-over for Tayoko, who deeply regretted that the last year of Junji’s life was one of the only times that they had ever fought; Winter and Edström would give her the space to say the words she never had the chance to say, do the things she wished she could have done.

This information is present in substantive reviews and interviews of the film (like Lawrence Garcia’s review for Reverse Shot and Mark Peranson’s interview for Cinema Scope), but I hadn’t read them and so I experienced the peculiar feeling of recontextualizing close to an entire day of experience in the moment and yet, any worry about misinterpreting the film without this crucial information almost seems to fade away when confronted by the particulars of this mammoth work of intimacy, so concerned it is with operating according to its own drumbeat, sans annotation or inflection outside of what can be conveyed with film grammar, performance, structure, and other such cinematic devices.

There are a great deal of those in The Works and Days, which runs eight hours across five chapters of unequal length, each devoted to a season (beginning in winter), and designed to be shown in four parts with two fifteen-minute intermissions and one hour-long lunch break, in emulation of the work day. Within this span, aside from the slow death of Junji, which comes more and more to the fore as the film moves through its second half, attempts at establishing narrative or concrete throughlines are almost completely elided, so much so that the relationships of the forty-some characters within this are astonishingly tenuous and difficult to grasp. But this is very much part of Winter and Edström’s project, a kind of deep immersion founded upon the hybrid documentary-fiction form so en vogue in the current festival trends.

What quickly becomes apparent is that the film manages to downplay even those elements: each part begins with a black screen accompanied by a dense soundscape of natural sounds; Winter says that such a conceit is designed to acclimate the viewer to the change in season heralded by these interludes, and which additionally serves as magnificent breathers, pauses that feel compelling in the darkness of the theater. But the lack of human presence in what may very well be the majority of this film arises not long afterwards; what initially begins as seemingly standard establishing shots of nature reveals itself as a vital leg on which The Works and Days stands. The images of trees, skies, horizons, plants, streams, mountains, and exteriors are themselves not long: the film itself relies little on extended takes — which when they do appear are focused on conversation and storytelling — and the nature shots are even shorter, typically lasting in rhythmic fashion around five or six seconds. However, the sheer volume of them is impressed upon, though it isn’t applied in a punishing fashion, varying and interweaving with the actors’ performances.

And it is important that these be recognized as performances, and as a narrative, albeit one constructed with much the same process as a Hong Sang-soo film, if he was inclined to shoot thousands of shots of nature: scenes were written the night before or the day of their shooting, various obstacles were incorporated in the narrative, though the scattered, open, and almost improvisatory process of filming meant that the scenes ended up being filmed entirely achronologically. Of course, Pedro Costa might be a better comparison point: Edström had been regularly visiting the village for 21 years as a family member prior to beginning filming, and the process was undertaken in close collaboration with Shiojiri herself, along with her family and fellow inhabitants; it’s worth noting that Winter and Edström themselves have a fairly significant presence onscreen as family members, not as directors.

Still, Costa’s work, wedded at the hip to his intense chiaroscuro and desolate settings as it is, feels far different from what Winter and Edström are achieving here, and thus the length returns to the fore. At such a length, what is intended as a fictionalized recreation of the previous year of a woman’s life metamorphosizes into a near-documentary telling of the processes of living and cultivating, in a manner not dissimilar at all from the use of time (if not shot) duration as Jeanne Dielman, or, more perversely, The Mother and the Whore. What is, as in Rivette and Godard’s famous quotes, implicit in each film’s document of its creation and its actors becomes in the viewer’s mind explicit.

This isn’t to say that an uninflected non-fiction retelling was Winter and Edström’s goal at all. Indeed, The Works and Days is replete with devices that are intended to, if not break the viewer’s experience, then to question it, to augment the sense of a created world with blatant fictions and interventions. The casting of Kase Ryō, one of the preeminent cineastes’ actors of the past two decades, is certainly prominent, though he apparently plays a character with a different surname. But the more pervasive and fascinating break stems from Winter and Edström’s penchant for shooting in near-total darkness, where they trust that the Blackmagic’s digital sensor will pick up something that varies the black expanse. This often results in some truly stunning moments of abstraction, where a few pinpricks of light are all that can be seen, which hover in extended shots. Such moments could function in a similar way to the proliferation of images of nature, but they pop out of the texture with their sheer uniqueness.

Such openness to experimentation and variety is what makes The Works and Days such a rewarding and surprising experience. This even extends to the dedication to a single location, heralded by the title, which is disrupted by a train trip to Kyoto and, in one of the wildest production stories I’ve ever heard, a phone call to Sweden, in which two cameras rolling simultaneously capture an actual phone call taking place nearly 5000 miles apart. Two moments, one involving a sublimely uncanny dissolve effect and the other telling a story only in subtitles, come and go without acknowledgment. And of course, there is that soundtrack, whose dense, enveloping nature-based sounds belie the thorough mixing and sculpting done in post-production.

Winter and Edström’s use of these sequences doesn’t disrupt the astonishing mood sculpted throughout the film. Though they have disavowed the slow cinema label, it might be more accurate to say that the concept doesn’t rely solely on long takes and is more about a certain ethos, for which the emphasis on nature and work surely applies. Indeed, one scene early in the second part feels illustrative of what is so entrancing about The Works and Days, in which Tayoko walks through a series of rooms, as the film cuts to a different shot on each door closing. The artifice of the film is revealed in a moment as mundane as the rest of the film’s actions; though the film was frequently shot with two cameras, there are too many rooms for it to be a continuous action. The two impulses within the film are evoked simultaneously: the almost iconoclastic tendency to show the rhythm of the scene, aesthetic be damned, and the contemplative style, focusing in on one action and how it can say so much about its subject.

I realize now that I’ve said little about that subject, and suffice it to say that Tayoko is remarkable, in large part because of, even under such emotional circumstances, how willing she is to be part of the ensemble, which ranges from the quiet to the rowdy in a way that feels utterly true. Some of her most emotional moments come when she reads some of the diary entries she had actually written during the prior year; her reading is off-the-cuff, as if she is coming up with them in the moment. It is in the pauses of thinking, just before the stream of thoughts resume, that The Works and Days finds its focus, its reason for being, and it is glorious.

Simple Top Tens (Mid-Lengths Only)

Decades: 2020s, 2010s, 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, 1930s, 1920s, Pre-1920s

Main list.
A version of this without television episodes, YouTube material, music videos, and other non-film media objects.
A version of this with feature films only.
A version of this with shorts only.

Ten Favorite Films

  1. WAVELENGTH (Michael Snow)
  2. (NOSTALGIA) (Hollis Frampton)
  3. NIGHT AND FOG (Alain Resnais)
  4. ZORNS LEMMA (Michael Snow)
  5. SURVIVING DESIRE (Hal Hartley)
  6. SEVEN CHANCES (Buster Keaton)
  7. IT FELT LIKE A KISS (Adam Curtis)
  8. A DAY IN THE COUNTRY (Jean Renoir)
  9. THE HAND (Wong Kar-wai)
  10. THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE (Matías Piñeiro)

2020s

Best of the Decade

  1. THERE ARE NOT THIRTY-SIX WAYS OF SHOWING A MAN GETTING ON A HORSE. (Nicolás Zukerfeld)
  2. EDUCATION (Steve McQueen)

2020

  1. THERE ARE NOT THIRTY-SIX WAYS OF SHOWING A MAN GETTING ON A HORSE. (Nicolás Zukerfeld)
  2. EDUCATION (Steve McQueen)

2010s

Best of the Decade

  1. THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE (Matías Piñeiro)
  2. NO NO SLEEP (Tsai Ming-liang)
  3. THE GRAND BIZARRE (Jodie Mack)
  4. JOURNEY TO THE WEST (Tsai Ming-liang)
  5. A WORLD WITHOUT WOMEN (Guillaume Brac)
  6. CLASSICAL PERIOD (Ted Fendt)
  7. WATCHING THE DETECTIVES (Chris Kennedy)
  8. HEAVEN IS STILL FAR AWAY (Hamaguchi Ryūsuke)
  9. FOYER (Ismaïl Bahri)
  10. THE PETTIFOGGER (Lewis Klahr)

2019

  1. SUBJECT TO REVIEW (Theo Anthony)

2018

  1. THE GRAND BIZARRE (Jodie Mack)
  2. CLASSICAL PERIOD (Ted Fendt)
  3. FILM CATASTROPHE (Paul Grivas)
  4. NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE (Ricky D’Ambrose)
  5. LA CARTOGRAPHE (Nathan Douglas)

2017

  1. WATCHING THE DETECTIVES (Chris Kennedy)
  2. PROTOTYPE (Blake Williams)
  3. THE GREEN FOG (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson)

2016

  1. HEAVEN IS STILL FAR AWAY (Hamaguchi Ryūsuke)
  2. FOYER (Ismaïl Bahri)
  3. THE ILLINOIS PARABLES (Deborah Stratman)

2015

  1. NO NO SLEEP (Tsai Ming-liang)
  2. FIELD NIGGAS (Khalik Allah)

2014

  1. THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE (Matías Piñeiro)
  2. JOURNEY TO THE WEST (Tsai Ming-liang)
  3. JANUARY (Jhon Hernandez)

2012

  1. IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY (Don Hertzfeldt)
  2. VIOLA (Matías Piñeiro)

2011

  1. A WORLD WITHOUT WOMEN (Guillaume Brac)
  2. THE PETTIFOGGER (Lewis Klahr)
  3. SLOW ACTION (Ben Rivers)

2000s

Best of the Decade

  1. IT FELT LIKE A KISS (Adam Curtis)
  2. THE HAND (Wong Kar-wai)
  3. DISORDER (Huang Weikai)
  4. THROUGH THE FOREST (Jean-Paul Civeyrac)
  5. L’IDIOT (Pierre Léon)
  6. LOST IN THE MOUNTAINS (Hong Sang-soo)
  7. PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND (John Gianvito)
  8. LOOKING FOR TSAI (Patrik Eriksson & Erik Hemmendorff)
  9. DONG (Jia Zhangke)
  10. BLONDES IN THE JUNGLE (Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn)

2009

  1. IT FELT LIKE A KISS (Adam Curtis)
  2. DISORDER (Huang Weikai)
  3. LOST IN THE MOUNTAINS (Hong Sang-soo)
  4. BLONDES IN THE JUNGLE (Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn)

2008

  1. L’IDIOT (Pierre Léon)

2007

  1. PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND (John Gianvito)

2006

  1. DONG (Jia Zhangke)

2005

  1. THROUGH THE FOREST (Jean-Paul Civeyrac)

2004

  1. THE HAND (Wong Kar-wai)

2002

  1. LOOKING FOR TSAI (Patrik Eriksson & Erik Hemmendorff)

1990s

Best of the Decade

  1. SURVIVING DESIRE (Hal Hartley)
  2. THE MAMMALS OF VICTORIA (Stan Brakhage)
  3. XIAO SHAN GOING HOME (Jia Zhangke)

1995

  1. XIAO SHAN GOING HOME (Jia Zhangke)

1994

  1. THE MAMMALS OF VICTORIA (Stan Brakhage)

1991

  1. SURVIVING DESIRE (Hal Hartley)

Best of the Decade

  1. STANDARD GAUGE (Morgan Fisher)
  2. LES SIÈGES DE L’ALCAZAR (Luc Moullet)
  3. AMERICAN DREAMS (LOST AND FOUND) (James Benning)

1989

  1. LES SIÈGES DE L’ALCAZAR (Luc Moullet)

1984

  1. STANDARD GAUGE (Morgan Fisher)
  2. AMERICAN DREAMS (LOST AND FOUND) (James Benning)

1970s

Best of the Decade

  1. (NOSTALGIA) (Hollis Frampton)
  2. ZORNS LEMMA (Hollis Frampton)
  3. THE BENCH OF DESOLATION (Claude Chabrol)
  4. POETIC JUSTICE (Hollis Frampton)
  5. BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR (Joan Micklin Silver)
  6. ITALIANAMERICAN (Martin Scorsese)
  7. FROM THESE ROOTS (William Greaves)
  8. LIZA WITH A Z (Bob Fosse)
  9. THE INNER SCAR (Philippe Garrel)
  10. LA SOUFRIÈRE (Werner Herzog)

1977

  1. LA SOUFRIÈRE (Werner Herzog)

1976

  1. BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR (Joan Micklin Silver)

1974

  1. THE BENCH OF DESOLATION (Claude Chabrol)
  2. ITALIANAMERICAN (Martin Scorsese)
  3. FROM THESE ROOTS (William Greaves)

1972

  1. POETIC JUSTICE (Hollis Frampton)
  2. LIZA WITH A Z (Bob Fosse)
  3. THE INNER SCAR (Philippe Garrel)

1971

  1. (NOSTALGIA) (Hollis Frampton)

1970

  1. ZORNS LEMMA (Hollis Frampton)
  2. THE GRANDMOTHER (David Lynch)

1960s

Best of the Decade

  1. WAVELENGTH (Michael Snow)
  2. THE IMMORTAL STORY (Orson Welles)
  3. NOT RECONCILED (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet)
  4. BLACK GIRL (Ousmane Sembène)
  5. THE WAR GAME (Peter Watkins)
  6. SIMON OF THE DESERT (Luis Buñuel)
  7. THE KOUMIKO MYSTERY (Chris Marker)
  8. THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC (Robert Bresson)
  9. PASAZERKA (Andrzej Munk)
  10. SUZANNE’S CAREER (Éric Rohmer)

1968

  1. THE IMMORTAL STORY (Orson Welles)

1967

  1. WAVELENGTH (Michael Snow)

1966

  1. BLACK GIRL (Ousmane Sembène)
  2. TROUBLEMAKERS (Norman Fruchter & Robert Machover)

1965

  1. NOT RECONCILED (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet)
  2. THE WAR GAME (Peter Watkins)
  3. SIMON OF THE DESERT (Luis Buñuel)
  4. THE KOUMIKO MYSTERY (Chris Marker)

1963

  1. PASAZERKA (Andrzej Munk)
  2. SUZANNE’S CAREER (Éric Rohmer)
  3. JOSEPH KILIAN (Pavel Juráček & Jan Schmidt)

1962

  1. THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC (Robert Bresson)
  2. ANTOINE AND COLETTE (François Truffaut)

Best of the Decade

  1. NIGHT AND FOG (Alain Resnais)
  2. STATUES ALSO DIE (Alain Resnais & Chris Marker & Ghislain Cloquet)

1956

  1. NIGHT AND FOG (Alain Resnais)

1953

  1. STATUES ALSO DIE (Alain Resnais & Chris Marker & Ghislain Cloquet)

1930s

Best of the Decade

  1. A DAY IN THE COUNTRY (Jean Renoir)

1936

  1. A DAY IN THE COUNTRY (Jean Renoir)

1920s

Best of the Decade

  1. SEVEN CHANCES (Buster Keaton)
  2. SHERLOCK JR. (Buster Keaton)
  3. THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN (Germaine Dulac)
  4. MÉNILMONTANT (Dimitri Kirshoff)

1927

  1. THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN (Germaine Dulac)

1925

  1. SEVEN CHANCES (Buster Keaton)

1924

  1. SHERLOCK JR. (Buster Keaton)
  2. MÉNILMONTANT (Dimitri Kirshoff)

Favorite Films (Mid-Lengths Only)

Decades: 2020s, 2010s, 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, 1930s, 1920s, Pre-1920s

Main list.
A version of this without television episodes, YouTube material, music videos, and other non-film media objects.
A version of this with feature films only.
A version of this with shorts only.

2020

  1. THERE ARE NOT THIRTY-SIX WAYS OF SHOWING A MAN GETTING ON A HORSE. (Nicolás Zukerfeld, Argentina)
  2. EDUCATION (Steve McQueen, UK)

2019

  1. SUBJECT TO REVIEW (Theo Anthony, USA)

2018

  1. THE GRAND BIZARRE (Jodie Mack, USA)
  2. CLASSICAL PERIOD (Ted Fendt, USA)
  3. FILM CATASTROPHE (Paul Grivas, France)
  4. NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE (Ricky D’Ambrose, USA)
  5. LA CARTOGRAPHE (Nathan Douglas, Canada)

2017

  1. WATCHING THE DETECTIVES (Chris Kennedy, Canada)
  2. PROTOTYPE (Blake Williams, Canada)
  3. THE GREEN FOG (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson, USA)

2016

  1. HEAVEN IS STILL FAR AWAY (Hamaguchi Ryūsuke, Japan)
  2. FOYER (Ismaïl Bahri, Tunisia)
  3. THE ILLINOIS PARABLES (Deborah Stratman, USA)

2015

  1. NO NO SLEEP (Tsai Ming-liang, Japan)
  2. FIELD NIGGAS (Khalik Allah, USA)

2014

  1. THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)
  2. JOURNEY TO THE WEST (Tsai Ming-liang, France)
  3. JANUARY (Jhon Hernandez, USA)

2012

  1. IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY (Don Hertzfeldt, USA)
  2. VIOLA (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)

2011

  1. A WORLD WITHOUT WOMEN (Guillaume Brac, France)
  2. THE PETTIFOGGER (Lewis Klahr, USA)
  3. SLOW ACTION (Ben Rivers, UK)

2009

  1. IT FELT LIKE A KISS (Adam Curtis, UK)
  2. DISORDER (Huang Weikai, China)
  3. LOST IN THE MOUNTAINS (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)
  4. BLONDES IN THE JUNGLE (Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn, USA)

2008

  1. L’IDIOT (Pierre Léon, France)

2007

  1. PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND (John Gianvito, USA)

2006

  1. DONG (Jia Zhangke, China)

2005

  1. THROUGH THE FOREST (Jean-Paul Civeyrac, France)

2004

  1. THE HAND (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong)

2002

  1. LOOKING FOR TSAI (Patrik Eriksson & Erik Hemmendorff, Sweden)

1995

  1. XIAO SHAN GOING HOME (Jia Zhangke, China)

1994

  1. THE MAMMALS OF VICTORIA (Stan Brakhage, USA)

1991

  1. SURVIVING DESIRE (Hal Hartley, USA)

1989

  1. LES SIÈGES DE L’ALCAZAR (Luc Moullet, France)

1984

  1. STANDARD GAUGE (Morgan Fisher, USA)
  2. AMERICAN DREAMS (LOST AND FOUND) (James Benning, USA)

1977

  1. LA SOUFRIÈRE (Werner Herzog, West Germany)

1976

  1. BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR (Joan Micklin Silver, USA)

1974

  1. THE BENCH OF DESOLATION (Claude Chabrol, France)
  2. ITALIANAMERICAN (Martin Scorsese, USA)
  3. FROM THESE ROOTS (William Greaves, USA)

1972

  1. POETIC JUSTICE (Hollis Frampton, USA)
  2. LIZA WITH A Z (Bob Fosse, USA)
  3. THE INNER SCAR (Philippe Garrel, France)

1971

  1. (NOSTALGIA) (Hollis Frampton, USA)

1970

  1. ZORNS LEMMA (Hollis Frampton, USA)
  2. THE GRANDMOTHER (David Lynch, USA)

1968

  1. THE IMMORTAL STORY (Orson Welles, France)

1967

  1. WAVELENGTH (Michael Snow, Canada)

1966

  1. BLACK GIRL (Ousmane Sembène, France)
  2. TROUBLEMAKERS (Norman Fruchter & Robert Machover, USA)

1965

  1. NOT RECONCILED (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, West Germany)
  2. THE WAR GAME (Peter Watkins, UK)
  3. SIMON OF THE DESERT (Luis Buñuel, Mexico)
  4. THE KOUMIKO MYSTERY (Chris Marker, France)

1963

  1. PASAZERKA (Andrzej Munk, Poland)
  2. SUZANNE’S CAREER (Éric Rohmer, France)
  3. JOSEPH KILIAN (Pavel Juráček & Jan Schmidt, Czechoslovakia)

1962

  1. THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC (Robert Bresson, France)
  2. ANTOINE AND COLETTE (François Truffaut, France)

1956

  1. NIGHT AND FOG (Alain Resnais, France)

1953

  1. STATUES ALSO DIE (Alain Resnais & Chris Marker & Ghislain Cloquet, France)

1936

  1. A DAY IN THE COUNTRY (Jean Renoir, France)

1933

ZERO FOR CONDUCT (Jean Vigo, France)

1927

  1. THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN (Germaine Dulac, France)

1925

  1. SEVEN CHANCES (Buster Keaton, USA)

1924

  1. SHERLOCK JR. (Buster Keaton, USA)
  2. MÉNILMONTANT (Dimitri Kirshoff, France)

“Polls” Lists/Commercial Releases (Ineligible Films Only)

Decades: 2020s, 2010s, 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, 1930s, 1920s, Pre-1920s

Main list.
A version of this without films released more than two years after their premiere year.
The feature films I have seen that are not listed in the main list.

2021

  1. Duelle (une quarantaine) (1976, Jacques Rivette)
  2. Tale of Cinema (2005, Hong Sang-soo)
  3. Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (2000, Hong Sang-soo)
  4. The Power of Kangwon Province (1998, Hong Sang-soo)
  5. Two Lottery Tickets (2016, Paul Negoescu)

2020

  1. Yourself and Yours (2016, Hong Sang-soo)
  2. The Hole (1998, Tsai Ming-liang)
  3. Hill of Freedom (2014, Hong Sang-soo)
  4. Raining in the Mountain (1979, King Hu)
  5. I Wish I Knew (2010, Jia Zhangke)
  6. Mercury in Retrograde (2017, Michael Glover Smith)

2019

  1. The Fate of Lee Khan (1973, King Hu)
  2. Police Story (1985, Jackie Chan)
  3. The Competition (2016, Claire Simon)
  4. Police Story 2 (1988, Jackie Chan)
  5. Grave of the Fireflies (1988, Takahata Isao)

2018

  1. Legend of the Mountain (1979, King Hu)
  2. Cold Water (1994, Olivier Assayas)
  3. The Great Silence (1968, Sergio Corbucci)
  4. The Rise and Fall of a Small Film Company (1986, Jean-Luc Godard)

2017

  1. Taipei Story (1985, Edward Yang)
  2. Daughter of the Nile (1987, Hou Hsiao-hsien)
  3. Chung Kuo – China (1972, Michelangelo Antonioni)

2016

  1. A Touch of Zen (1971, King Hu)
  2. Dragon Inn (1967, King Hu)
  3. The Terrorizers (1986, Edward Yang)
  4. Belladonna of Sadness (1973, Yamamoto Eiichi)
  5. Only Yesterday (1991, Takahata Isao)
  6. Là-bas (2006, Chantal Akerman)
  7. Los Sures (1984, Diego Echeverria)
  8. Mekong Hotel (2012, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  9. On the Silver Globe (1988, Andrzej Żuławski)

2015

  1. Out 1: Noli me tangere (1971, Jacques Rivette)
  2. Rebels of the Neon God (1992, Tsai Ming-liang)

2014

  1. Archipelago (2010, Joanna Hogg)
  2. Chantal Akerman, From Here (2010, Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Ferreira)
  3. Unrelated (2007, Joanna Hogg)

2012

  1. We Won’t Grow Old Together (1972, Maurice Pialat)
  2. Battle Royale (2000, Fukasaku Kinji)

2011

  1. A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang)
  2. Historias extraordinarias (2008, Mariano Llinás)

2010

  1. House (1977, Ōbayashi Nobuhiko)
  2. C.R.A.Z.Y. (2006, Jean-Marc Vallée)

2008

  1. As Tears Go By (1988, Wong Kar-wai)
  2. The Exiles (1961, Kent Mackenzie)

2007

  1. Ten Skies (2004, James Benning)

2006

  1. Sátántangó (1994, Tarr Béla)
  2. Army of Shadows (1969, Jean-Pierre Melville)

2005

  1. Pulse (2001, Kurosawa Kiyoshi)
  2. The Century of the Self (2002, Adam Curtis)
  3. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002, Park Chan-wook)
  4. Joint Security Area (2000, Park Chan-wook)
  5. Funny Ha Ha (2002, Andrew Bujalski)

2004

  1. Days of Being Wild (1990, Wong Kar-wai)
  2. Shaolin Soccer (2001, Stephen Chow)

2003

  1. Platform (2000, Jia Zhangke)

2002

  1. A Grin Without a Cat (1977, Chris Marker)

2001

  1. Cure (1997, Kurosawa Kiyoshi)
  2. The River (1997, Tsai Ming-liang)

1999

  1. Close-Up (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)

1998

  1. Fallen Angels (1995, Wong Kar-wai)

1995

  1. I Am Cuba (1964, Mikhail Kalatozov)
  2. Hyenas (1992, Djibril Diop Mambéty)
  3. Lessons of Darkness (1992, Werner Herzog)
  4. Pushing Hands (1991, Ang Lee)

1994

  1. The Devil, Probably (1977, Robert Bresson)

1993

  1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Miyazaki Hayao)

1992

  1. Andrei Rublev (1966, Andrei Tarkovsky)
  2. La Paloma (1974, Daniel Schmid)

1990

  1. American Boy: A Portrait of Steven Prince (1978, Martin Scorsese)

1989

  1. Peking Opera Blues (1986, Tsui Hark)
  2. Castle in the Sky (1986, Miyazaki Hayao)

1988

  1. Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978, Chantal Akerman)
  2. Violence at Noon (1966, Ōshima Nagisa)

1987

  1. The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (1978, Raúl Ruiz)
  2. Class Relations (1984, Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet)
  3. Barravento (1962, Glauber Rocha)

1985

  1. Night and Fog in Japan (1960, Ōshima Nagisa)

1984

  1. Cruel Story of Youth (1960, Ōshima Nagisa)
  2. A Bigger Splash (1973, Jack Hazan)

1983

  1. Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, Chantal Akerman)
  2. Camera Buff (1979, Krzysztof Kieślowski)
  3. The Constant Factor (1980, Krzysztof Zanussi)

1982

  1. Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)
  2. Without Anesthesia (1978, Andrzej Wajda)
  3. La commare secca (1962, Bernardo Bertolucci)

1981

  1. India Song (1975, Marguerite Duras)
  2. Like a Turtle on Its Back (1978, Luc Béraud)
  3. Made in U.S.A (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)
  4. The Lady Without Camelias (1953, Michelangelo Antonioni)
  5. Land of Silence and Darkness (1971, Werner Herzog)
  6. Camouflage (1977, Krzysztof Zanussi)
  7. Illustrious Corpses (1976, Francesco Rosi)

1980

  1. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
  2. Floating Clouds (1955, Naruse Mikio)
  3. The Middleman (1976, Satyajit Ray)
  4. L’Âge d’Or (1930, Luis Buñuel)
  5. The Apple Game (1977, Věra Chytilová)

1979

  1. Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)
  2. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)

1978

  1. Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974, Jacques Rivette)
  2. A Geisha (1953, Mizoguchi Kenji)
  3. Italianamerican (1974, Martin Scorsese)
  4. A Doll’s House (1973, Joseph Losey)

1977

  1. F for Fake (1973, Orson Welles)
  2. Alice in the Cities (1974, Wim Wenders)
  3. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)
  4. Ossessione (1943, Luchino Visconti)
  5. Conversation Piece (1974, Luchino Visconti)

1976

  1. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  2. La Chienne (1931, Jean Renoir)
  3. Solaris (1972, Andrei Tarkovsky)

1975

  1. La Rupture (1970, Claude Chabrol)
  2. Just Before Nightfall (1971, Claude Chabrol)

1974

  1. Death by Hanging (1968, Ōshima Nagisa)
  2. Charulata (1964, Satyajit Ray)
  3. The Ceremony (1971, Ōshima Nagisa)
  4. Lucía (1968, Humberto Solás)
  5. Partner. (1968, Bernardo Bertolucci)
  6. The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1966, André Delvaux)

1973

  1. An Autumn Afternoon (1962, Ozu Yasujirō)
  2. Playtime (1967, Jacques Tati)
  3. Memories of Underdevelopment (1968, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea)
  4. Days and Nights in the Forest (1970, Satyajit Ray)
  5. The Adversary (1970, Satyajit Ray)
  6. Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (1969, Ōshima Nagisa)
  7. The Spider’s Stratagem (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci)
  8. Happiness (1935, Aleksandr Medvedkin)

1972

  1. Late Spring (1949, Ozu Yasujirō)
  2. Tokyo Story (1953, Ozu Yasujirō)
  3. L’Amour fou (1969, Jacques Rivette)
  4. Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968, Alain Resnais)
  5. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969, Marcel Ophuls)
  6. Le Samouräi (1967, Jean-Pierre Melville)

1971

  1. La Collectionneuse (1967, Éric Rohmer)
  2. The Crucified Lovers (1954, Mizoguchi Kenji)
  3. The Nun (1966, Jacques Rivette)
  4. Black Peter (1964, Miloš Forman)

1970

  1. The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (1966, Roberto Rossellini)
  2. Au hasard Balthazar (1966, Robert Bresson)
  3. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967, Jean-Luc Godard)
  4. Mouchette (1967, Robert Bresson)
  5. Pasazerka (1963, Andrzej Munk)
  6. Raven’s End (1963, Bo Widerberg)

1969

  1. Pierrot le fou (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
  2. Sansho the Bailiff (1954, Mizoguchi Kenji)
  3. Lola Montès (1955, Max Ophuls)
  4. Simon of the Desert (1965, Luis Buñuel)
  5. Black Girl (1966, Ousmane Sembène)
  6. Not Reconciled (1965, Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet)
  7. The Round-Up (1966, Jancsó Miklós)
  8. Walkover (1965, Jerzy Skolimowski)
  9. Six in Paris (1964, Omnibus)
  10. Intimate Lighting (1965, Ivan Passer)

1968

  1. Red Beard (1965, Kurosawa Akira)
  2. Les Carabiniers (1963, Jean-Luc Godard)
  3. Accattone (1961, Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  4. Identification Marks: None (1964, Jerzy Skolimowski)
  5. Fists in the Pocket (1965, Marco Bellocchio)

1967

  1. The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Buñuel)
  2. Le Petit Soldat (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)
  3. The Burmese Harp (1956, Ichikawa Kon)
  4. The Big City (1963, Satyajit Ray)
  5. She and He (1963, Hani Susumu)

1966

  1. Le Joli Mai (1962, Chris Marker)

1965

  1. The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962, Robert Bresson)
  2. Chronicle of a Summer (1961, Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin)

1964

  1. The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936, Jean Renoir)
  2. Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945, Robert Bresson)
  3. A Woman Is a Woman (1961, Jean-Luc Godard)

1963

  1. Pickpocket (1959, Robert Bresson)
  2. The Bad Sleep Well (1960, Kurosawa Akira)

1962

  1. Mr. Arkadin (1955, Orson Welles)

1961

  1. Throne of Blood (1957, Kurosawa Akira)
  2. Elevator to the Gallows (1958, Louis Malle)

1960

  1. Ikiru (1952, Kurosawa Akira)

1959

  1. Aparajito (1956, Satyajit Ray)

1958

  1. Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)

1956

  1. Awaara (1951, Raj Kapoor)

1955

  1. Othello (1951, Orson Welles)

1954

  1. Diary of a Country Priest (1951, Robert Bresson)
  2. La Ronde (1950, Max Ophuls)

1951

  1. The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947, Preston Sturges)

1950

  1. The Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
  2. A Day in the Country (1936, Jean Renoir)
  3. Angels of Sin (1943, Robert Bresson)

1949

  1. Enamorada (1946, Emilio Fernández)

1947

  1. L’Atalante (1934, Jean Vigo)
  2. Zero for Conduct (1933, Jean Vigo)

1943

  1. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933, Fritz Lang)

1929

  1. Nosferatu (1922, F.W. Murnau)