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Thread: Best of 2013

  1. #1
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    Best of 2013

    There is permanence to this list because I've had time over the past months to watch films I missed in theaters. Several of the films I admire most barely can be said to have had a theatrical release: Paradise: Faith, The Future, Night Across the Street, Here & There, Viola, Faust, etc. The fact is that more films are available for viewing than ever before and that there are multiple ways to access them. People who live away from the top markets have never had it so good, finally there is no excuse not to watch documentaries, low-budget films, avant garde cinema, foreign-language movies, etc. Still, I am happily surprised that Fruitvale Station made over $16 million at the box-office. Those are blockbuster numbers for a cheap indie. And I'm happy that a movie in Oscar's top 10 received an Oscar (that does not happen often). There is also permanence to this list because I've had time to watch many of these wonderful pictures more than once. I notice that there are two films about religious extremism in my top 10 which may give the impression that I let ideology dictate my choices (which is different than saying that ideology is always relevant) but I have rewatched them and I'm convinced of their absolutely mastery of the art of film, especially Seidl's second film of his paradise trilogy Faith. I wish there was a less unpleasant masterpiece to put at the top, a film I could recommend to friends and family, but there isn't, not in 2013.

    Best Films of 2013

    1.---- Paradise: Love/Faith/Hope (Austria)
    2(tie) Before Midnight (USA)
    -------Fruitvale Station (USA)
    ------ Here and There (Mexico)
    5(tie) Beyond the Hills (Romania)
    -------Frances Ha (USA)
    -------The Future (Chile/Italy)
    -------Her (USA)
    -------Night Across the Street (Chile)
    -------You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (France)


    NUMBER ELEVEN (Alphabetical Order)

    American Hustle (USA)
    Blue is the Warmest Color (France)
    Faust (Russia)
    Hanna Arendt (Germany)
    Like Someone in Love (France/Japan)
    Lore (Germany)
    Museum Hours (Austria/USA)
    The Past (France)
    Post Tenebras Lux (Mexico)
    Renoir (France)
    Viola (Argentina)

    Also recommended: Gloria, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, 56 Up, Mother of George, What Maisie Knew, After Lucia, The Great Beauty, Nebraska, Blancanieves, No, Mud, Frozen, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Inside Llewyn Davis, An Oversimplification of her Beauty, Philomena, All is Lost, Behind the Candelabra, Violeta Went to Heaven, The Gatekeepers, War Witch, Room 237.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 05-29-2014 at 03:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    I edited the list to add the "also recommended" ones I had posted earlier (February I think) which now includes What Maisie Knew (USA, directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, check it out). I also decided, after watching Paradise: Hope, the last film in Ulrich Seidl's Paradise Trilogy, that all three films as a single project deserve the top spot, not Paradise: Faith by itself. In a year in which two of my most beloved filmmakers died, Alain Resnais and Raul Ruiz, it was comforting to discover a new hero. I had watched Seidl's Dog Days, which is interesting and provocative, and Import/Export, which is very good and a clear progression from the earlier film in its range of moods and the emotions it elicits. However, it is with Paradise that he truly emerges as a master, in my estimation. The Vienna-born Seidl (1952) had a long career working primarily as a documentarian that has served him well in his approach to fictional narrative films. I plan to watch his last documentary Jesus, You Know (2003), the only one available for viewing, as far as I know. Of course, I'll revisit the fiction ones often enough.

  3. #3
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    WHAT MAISIE KNEW was part of SFIFF2013 and I reviewed it then. Seidl's trilogy I found too downbeat and chose not to review.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-01-2014 at 12:32 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the link to your review of What Maisie Knew. Glad you also liked it. A perfect candidate for inclusion in one of those "best films on DVD you probably never heard of" books.

    I guess "downbeat" fits the Paradise trilogy although there is humor in Love and compassion and tenderness in Hope. Faith is closer to tragedy, and perhaps the most unforgettable and perfectly realized of the three films. I'll admit that every Seidl film, including Dog Days and Import/Export, has material that makes me uncomfortable because it broaches certain unpleasant issues, such as religious fanaticism and the socio-cultural implications of sex tourism, with piercing and devastating clarity.

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