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Thread: The best films of 2009

  1. #1
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    The best films of 2009

    1. (tie)
    GOODBYE SOLO (Ramin Bahrani) USA
    THE HEADLESS WOMAN (Lucrecia Martel) ARGENTINA
    3.(tie)
    LIVERPOOL (Lisandro Alonso) ARGENTINA
    PARQUE VIA (Enrique Rivero) MEXICO
    THE WHITE RIBBON (Michael Haneke) AUSTRIA/GERMANY
    6.(tie)
    24 CITY (Jia Zhang ke) CHINA
    35 SHOTS OF RUM (Claire Denis) FRANCE/GERMANY
    HUNGER (Steve McQueen) UK/IRELAND
    MUNYURANGABO (Lee Isaac Chang) USA/RWANDA
    OF TIME AND THE CITY (Terence Davies) UK

    RUNNERS-UP (Alphabetical order)

    AN EDUCATION (UK)
    AVATAR (USA)
    BRIGHT STAR (Australia/UK)
    BROKEN EMBRACES (Spain)
    ME & ORSON WELLES (USA/UK)
    SILENT LIGHT (Mexico)
    SUGAR (USA)
    UP (USA)
    THE WINDOW (Argentina)
    YOU THE LIVING (Sweden)

    Honorable Mention (Alphabetical):
    The Beaches of Agnes, Empty Nest, The Imaginarium of Dr.Parnassus, Le Danse, The Maid, Tony Manero, Precious, Red Cliff(uncut), Still Walking, Summer Hours, The Sun, Tetro, Two Lovers, Up in the Air.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 02-26-2010 at 12:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    Your list

    Fine List, Oscar. I am very happy to see Munyurangabo on there since I have not seen it on many lists (it was on mine). Missed: Lorna's Silence, Sin Nombré, Limits of Control, A Prophet and a few others I liked.

    Not thrilled about seeing "Of Time and the City" on there and was wondering why you had no comment to my review which dissed it.
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

  3. #3
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    A Prophet was not released in 2009; it was just released today, February 28, 2010.

  4. #4
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    Not thrilled about seeing "Of Time and the City" on there and was wondering why you had no comment to my review which dissed it.
    I read your review and found your descriptive statements to be quite accurate. Obviously I do not share your opinions about the film, otherwise I would not list in my top 10. Rather than enter into a debate, I considered posting a review of my own but did not find the time to write it. Basically, I think that Of Time and the City is precisely the film Terence Davies needed to make in order to be true to his experience of being a working-class, devoutly Catholic, gay youth in England during a certain era. He is entitled to feel bitter. However, I do not find the film nearly as bleak as you do. Davies peppers the footage with recurring images of smiling children at play. Certainly his recollection of how glorious it felt to have the boy he liked place a hand on his shoulder is not the only happy memory he shares with us. After reading your review, I thought to myself that you would prefer Davies' The Neon Bible, which is inspired by his late childhood, before the Beatles, before he felt a need to act upon his homosexual desires, and before he felt compelled to reconsider his strict Catholic upbringing.

  5. #5
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    Thanks

    Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment. I understand how you feel about the film.

    I don’t have a problem with the personal nature of the film and I can certainly relate to his feelings of isolation. However, life is tough for all of us. I don’t know of anyone that I could say has had an easy life. I also had a difficult and stressful childhood and adolescence but I never made New York wrong and can remember it with nostalgia and warmth and a feeling of connection.

    It is easy to succumb to bitterness but I think it is much more productive in the long run to hold our experiences as an opportunity for personal growth and development. That is not a "good for me" statement, just an example that there are different ways to hold one's experience. Bitterness and hatred are self-defeating and do not contribute to one's personal growth or to the lives of the people around you.

    I’ve always admired Terence Davies and his films “The Long Day Closes” and “House of Mirth” are among my favorites of the last 20 years. I agree that there are some beautiful moments in his latest film but for me, in spite of the exquisite poetry and music, I was unable to make the emotional connection that would have made it an experience I could relate to. The images for me are simply not strong enough to make the poetry meaningful as in, for example, “Wings of Desire”. Although I understand how you thought the film was beautiful, for me there can be no real beauty without forgiveness and love.
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

  6. #6
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    You're welcome. I consulted your list and learned that Sin Nombre is your favorite film of the year. I didn't like it as much as the 30 films I listed but, as you can see, I do appreciate it enough to want to watch it again. As an immigrant from Latin America, I obviously think that the film deals with important issues. Here's what I posted about it as a follow-up to CK's review:

    "Sin Nombre gets a lot of mileage out of the work of cinematographer Adriano Goldman (City of Men), art director Carlos Benassini (Apocalypto's set designer) and production designer Claudio Contreras (El Violin, Wonderful World). The extremely winning performances by Flores and Gaitan in the leading roles, and the commanding presence of the badass Tenoch Huerta Mejia, are huge assets. I would gladly watch it again if it comes back to a theater near me.

    I agree with the Dargis line you quote in your review. There something "sincere" about this effort that keeps it from becoming nearly as exploitative as the "violence porn" of City of God. The script's focus on the romance between Willy and Sayra in the second half is welcome, especially after a couple of over-the-top, violent scenes during the first half of the film. Something else I like about the film is its extreme economy. It shows a lot and covers a lot of dramatic material for a 96-minute movie."
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 02-28-2010 at 08:18 PM.

  7. #7
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    Harmony

    I have not seen LIVERPOOL (wanted to though), or heard of PARQUE VIA OR MUNGURANGABO -- wow! weird name! Also have not seen or heard of THE WINDOW. Of course you seek out Latin American films more successfully than I do and it may be apart from your natural interest that they're more accessible in the Miami area. I like a lot of your choices. GOODBYE SOLO, THE WHITE RIBBON, 35 SHOTS OF RUM, HUNGER, SILENT LIGHT are big favorites of mine, some from other years. SUMMER HOURS, TETRO, THE SUN, TWO LOVERS, also particular favorites of mine. I would not make an issue of the several that I don't particularly like except to reiterate as you know from before that I don't see why people are so crazy about OF TIME AND THE CITY, but my lack of enthusiasm is for other reasons than Howard's. Not sure I know what EMPTY NEST is. I know I've heard of RED CLIFF any maybe even seen it but now can't remember what it is. Oh yes--that Chinese costume battle movie. No, I found that just another one of many. But the main thing is that we are very much on the same page, more than we may realize since we so often focus on our differences.

  8. #8
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    This year I decided to submit a single list highlighting the films which I consider to be the very best. In previous years, I have listed 30 English-language, 30 Foreign-language, 20 Documentaries and 10 or so Undistributed films to reflect both my voracious film-viewing and my conviction that cinema is a very generous art. It is impossible for anyone to watch all the films released every year that deserve to be experienced and appreciated. However, when one lists 90 films as it has been my regular practice, the attention of the reader becomes diffused. So this year I decided to make a single list with three clear ranks based on my thorough evaluation of their merits (with the exception of 24 CITY and PARQUE VIA, I have seen every film in my Top 10 two or more times). An evaluation that cannot forgo an element of subjectivity. This reason alone would make it impossible for any two persons to agree on which films of any year are the best. I really enjoy queries regarding my rationale for including a given film, challenges to my choices, and finding out which films you guys are really passionate about (from your lists, reviews, comments). I agree with CK's "Harmony post" but I shall welcome any criticism regarding my judgment. I also shall not assume that anyone will share my taste when it comes to movies, and most everything else. What cannot be denied is that I proceed from a deep conviction that cinema is very important; that it is worth taking seriously; that it is well worth my time.

    Small Note: I listed 2 films which did not receive distribution in the US: Parque Via from Mexico and the uncut version of the Chinese film Red Cliff (released in the US in a significantly shortened version which is good but would not merit inclusion in among the 30 best films I watched all year).
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 03-04-2010 at 06:37 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by oscar jubis View Post
    Small Note: I listed 2 films which did not receive distribution in the US: Parque Via from Mexico and the uncut version of the Chinese film Red Cliff (released in the US in a significantly shortened version which is good but would not merit inclusion in among the 30 best films I watched all year).
    Ssorry I have not seen that version of Red Cliff. Maybe that's why the film impressed me as being pretty routine.

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