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Thread: BEST FILMS OF 2012 (according to me)

  1. #1
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    BEST FILMS OF 2012 (according to me)

    It has taken me longer than usual to produce a list for 2012 because I had to catch up with many notable 2012 releases. I still have not seen 2 films that have many admirers: Tabu and Django Unchained. However, I've been able to watch the top 10 (or 11) at least twice so I feel confident about listing them in such a prominent place. Rankings within the "runners up" and "honorable mention" categories is not to be taken as definite. The differences between films in these categories is not of great significance. Note: I have ties at #1, #4, and #7, order in each is alphabetical. That is why Amour is listed before The Mill and the Cross, for example.

    Amour (France)
    The Loneliest Planet (USA/Germany)
    The Mill and the Cross (Poland-Sweden)
    The Turin Horse (Hungary)

    The Deep Blue Sea (UK)
    Las Acacias (Argentina)
    Once upon a time in Anatolia (Turkey)

    The Hunter (Iran)
    Neighboring Sounds (Brazil)
    This is Not a Film (Iran)


    Runners-Up
    The Kid with a Bike (Belgium-France)
    Post Mortem (Chile)
    Bernie (USA)
    Beasts of Southern Wild (USA)
    Moonrise Kingdom (USA)
    Oslo August 31st (Norway)
    Cosmopolis (Canada)
    Cafe de Flore (Canada)
    The Day He Arrives (So. Korea)
    Elena (Russia)
    Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
    Silver Linings Playbook (USA)

    Honorable Mention:
    Two Years at Sea, Keep the Lights On, Unforgivable, Walker, Waiting for Sugar Man, The Secret World of Arrietty, Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Sister, Barbara, Take this Waltz, Intouchables, Holy Motors, 4:44 Last Day on Earth, The Master, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye First Love, Rust and Bone, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, The Central Park 5, Keyhole.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-04-2018 at 07:47 PM.

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    I like most of these films but I haven't seen all of them. I might not put them in your order, but we all have our sympathies and inclinations.
    These I have not seen:
    The Hunter (Iran)
    Runners-Up
    Cafe de Flore (Canada)
    Honorable Mention:
    Two Years at Sea, Walker, The Secret World of Arrietty, Keyhole.

    I like the other ones and don't see any glaring omissions. Not with that many included. Good job in seeing them all, and good luck with finding Tabu and Django Unchained.

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    Thanks for your comments CK.
    The Hunter and Two Years at Sea have high metacritic scores. I am quite surprised that the Quebecois Cafe de Flore does not. These are the 3 films I would recommend to you (if you have time). I'm curious if you would agree with me that Cafe de Flore has been under-rated.

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    I can't enter the fray on CAFÉ DE FLORE because it's not available on Netflix. Neither is TWO YEARS AT SEA. THE HUNTER is. Now is not a very good time though. It would be better if it was on Instant Play but it's not. Barring unforeseen circumstances I'll probably see a new Iranian SFIFF film today at a SF preview screening, THE PATIENCE STONE.

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    It's very interesting to consider how Iranian filmmakers manage to make films (and the kind of films they manage to make) under strict governmental censorship and scrutiny. I look forward to your take on The Patience Stone.

    The US distributor of Tabu, Barbara, Sister, and Cafe de Flore is Adopt Films, which does not seem to be in the business of home video releasing. There are DVD and BluRay editions of the film marketed exclusively in Canada (region 1 also) that are available for purchase on Amazon. But no US rental outfit has it. Shame.

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    YEs, pity. I guess not many outside of festivals will get to see TABU here, then. I'd like to see CAFÉ DE FLORE, though I can live without it.

    I'm supposed to hold a full review till later on PATIENCE STONE because it is being released this summer by Sony, and so I've stashed away my longer review and at festival-time will just "preview" it in 100 words or so, but I can tell you my feelings are mixed. It's beautiful to look at, which is a bit odd given that it takes place in Kabul. The female star, Farahani, is a recent exile to Paris: Rihani came there many years ago, and it neither looks like not was made under the conditions of the usual Iranian films, besides which Rihani is Afghan, and wrote the book in French. They shot all the interiors in Casablanca, Morocco, and a stand-in was used for Farahani in the few Kabul exteriors (in a burqa you can't tell); the star has never been to Afghanistan. Some of the things you say apply, but this looks and feels more like a European film. In my full review I contrast it with A SEPARATION, which is more like what you're talking about, and to me has more of a vérité look, and atmosphere. A PATIENCE STONE seems very stylized. It was conceived in Paris, made from a Prix Goncourt-winning French novel or novella, adapted for the screen by Jean-Claude Carrière, then (maybe by Rihani) translated into Farsi, and shot in Morocco (where BLACK HAWK DOWN and ever other Mideast US movie was shot). As a French viewer commented on IMDb (it's been released in France) it's got lots of faults, but "it''s not crap either." Golshifteh Farahani (who's Iranian) is beautiful, though sort of a tomboy (she strongly reminded me of the young Joan Baez) and she has great assurance in her role, which is practically just one hour and forty minute monologue. I could interview Rihani and then I could write all I want about him and the film, but I don't do interviews.

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    I haven't done interviews but I can see how I may have to do that in the future in some capacity. I have moderated panels though...
    Thanks for your post. Enjoyed it. I look forward to your full review of Patience Stone at a future date.

    Purposes of post below: a) To celebrate that I've already seen many films this year that I love or like a lot. b) To compensate for not having posted a 2012 list until a few weeks ago. c) As a satirical gesture towards the precocious publishing of "best of year" lists when many authors have yet to see late-December movies or had sufficient time to reflect on the ones they've seen.


    BEST FILMS OF 2013

    1) Paradise: Faith (Austria)
    2) Before Midnight (USA)
    3) Beyond the Hills (Romania)
    4) Leviathan (USA)
    ---Like Someone in Love (France/Japan)
    ---Paradise: Love (Austria)
    7) Frances Ha (USA)
    ---Lore (Germany)
    ---Post Tenebras Lux (Mexico)
    10)After Lucia (Mexico)

    Runners-up:
    56 Up (United Kingdom), Blancanieves (Spain), No (Chile), Violeta Went to Heaven (Chile), The Gatekeepers (Israel), War Witch (Canada), Room 237 (US)

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    This is great, Oscar. You're not only up to date, -- you're even ahead of the game. So we can discuss films that are hot off the big screen -- somewhere, anyway. Some of these in your list haven't had US theatrical releases quite yet and some maybe are not getting them.

    It's extremely cool that you mentioned THE GATEKEEPERS whose contemporary political relevance re: US drone attacks and Presidentially sanctioned assassinations was pointed out in a New Yorker magazine book review just the other day, Steve Coll's "Remote Control: Our Drone Delusion.". THE GATEKEEPERS is looking like one of the year's most significant docs, by far.

    You continue to reveal a definite penchant for the long slog and the tough watch. You would have to agree BEYOND THE HILLS, LEVIATHON, and AFTER LUCIA are in that category. I don't think AFTER LUCIA lives up to expectations, but the other two do. Even BEYOND MIDNIGHT is relatively grim compared to its two charming predecessors. Going back to your belated 2012 list, TURIN HORSE, LAS ACACIAS, and ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA are all each in its own way long slogs. I do not see much point in any of them, but if an art house slog is what you're after, they unmistakably provide that with style.

    POST TENEBRAS LUX is something else again. It's exciting and stimulating, but I can see the point of Mike D'Angelo's concluding at Cannes last year that pending some revelations of hidden keys or secrets, he'd have to consider it not a success and a falling off after the excellent SILENT LIGHT. It's in a class by itself (POST TENEBRAS that is) and maybe best not put in any list, but something I'm glad to have watched. Manohla Dargis loved it. I'm glad to have films like this around. I'd like to write a review of POST TENEBRAS LUX but will have to watch it again to do that.

    I have to admit I intentinoally skipped WAR WITCH (another grim watch) and ROOM 237 (a cinephile nut case study, which I heard about at Lincoln Center at the NYFF 2012). I've seen all your main choices except the Seidl and I have the chance to watch PARADISE: LOVE, but don't think the others in the PARADISE trilogy are getting a US theatrical release? BLANCANIEVES is at the Landmark Shattuck, Berkeley, currently and given its rave reviews I hope to be there. I loved Larraín's NO (NYFF 2012), ditto NEIGHBORING SOUNDS (ND/NF 2012). Have not seen VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN (Chile, doc, Sundance; short NYC release?) and had not heard of it till now. This year one of my favorite Latin American films is THEY'LL COME BACK (Brazil; ND/NF 2012, SFIFF 2012), also THE CLEANER/EL LIMPIADOR (Peru, SFIFF 2013). I have reviewed those.

    There is really nothing satirical in keeping a running list of current favorites, and watching it change as new and maybe better offerings come along. After all the big stuff that comes in December is largely Hollywood hype. If we steer clear of that brilliant films can be coming our way just as well in the early months of the year. It's really a sensible thing to keep a current list if one sees a lot of good films from many sources outside the cinemplex as you clearly do. By the way: Mike D'Angelo, whose keeping a current early list inspired me to start doing it, includes in his Best of 2013 current list no. 1 COMPUTER CHESS, no. 2 UPSTREAM COLOR, no. 3 BEFORE MIDNIGHT. I'd consider UPSTREAM COLOR a very personal mindblower in a class with POST TENEBRAS LUX, but a more finished, polished one. I'm not so sure about COMPUTER CHESS (SFIFF 2013-preview), but it will stand as in a class by itself.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-04-2013 at 10:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    You continue to reveal a definite penchant for the long slog and the tough watch. You would have to agree BEYOND THE HILLS, LEVIATHON, and AFTER LUCIA are in that category. Going back to your belated 2012 list, TURIN HORSE, LAS ACACIAS, and ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA are all each in its own way long slogs. I do not see much point in any of them, but if an art house slog is what you're after, they unmistakably provide that with style.
    I wonder if you are being sarcastic because I don't know anyone who is after a "slog" of any kind. The Turin Horse, Beyond the Hills and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia are long indeed (2.5 hours) while Las Acacias, Leviathan and After Lucia are not long at all (82-92 min). But obviously I did not find the experience of watching any of them to be laborious or tiring if I include them on a "best of" list. If watching a film feels like a long slog then I would not think of it as among the best of anything.

    On the other hand, I admit I found tough-to-watch the first two films in Seidl's Paradise series, particularly Faith, which I consider a masterpiece, and After Lucia, which illustrates a specific dynamic between fathers and daughters dealing with grief with great conviction and originality. They are tough to watch. I am perplexed by the inclusion of the 82-minute, breezy, delightful, uplifting Las Acacias in the previous paragraph.

    I have to admit I intentinoally skipped WAR WITCH (another grim watch) and ROOM 237 (a cinephile nut case study, which I heard about at Lincoln Center at the NYFF 2012).
    ROOM 237 is very interesting as a meditation on interpretation, specifically the need to establish a balance between "reading too much" and "reading too little", between being too fanciful and too concrete. There are "nut cases" in it but they never become the subject of Room 237. It keeps its focus on The Shining.

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    Sarcasm, yes, definitely. Needed at times. Contrary to what you say or seem to assume, many are after a slog, even I am sometimes. And I can go for a 'What?!?!' film sometimes, witness my high rating of HOLY MOTORS. However I have no use ultimately for TURIN HORSE or ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA. BEYOND THE HILLS is singlularly one-note and humorless, but I can see the value of it. Have not seen the Seidl ones yet. I know what ROOM 237 is about. Reports differ on what comes to predominate.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-07-2013 at 08:20 PM.

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