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Best of 2006

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:23 pm
by A
I think it`s about time that we start our own thread on the best films and movie experiences in 2006.
I`m currently on holidays and don`t have regular access to the internet, so it might take me a while to post my own lists (and they will be pretty extensive).
Meanwhile I`ll be glad to read yours.

And feel free to write as lot as you want about anything you want that is related to this topic. We don`t have to simply post Top Tens! How about best movie moments, best directors, your best time at the cinema, etc.?

[Edit]Title.

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:44 pm
by wpqx
Well 2006 was the first time I did an unintentional double feature, and more than once no less. The first time was back in May when the films playing were The Proposition and A Prarie Home Companion. I bought a ticket to The Proposition as this seemed the more interesting film of the bunch. While leaving the theater I looked over and realized that A Prarie Home Companion was playing one theater down, and was starting in about 20 minutes. Being one of those huge multi-plexes that you can easily get lost in, no one was the wiser. As it turned out A Prarie Home Companion wound up being far more enjoyable, and is somewhat bittersweet, because it now has the stigma of the only Altman film I was able to see on the big screen.

The next came not too long ago when I went to see The Fountain. Having had enormous expectations I was severely let down. Leaving the theater, I noticed that there wasn't much playing at this theater, let alone much to see. I went to the bathroom which was located on the other end, and while walking out I noticed that Bobby was playing, and I timed it so well that it was already half way through the previews. I sat down and this film that I may have completely bypassed otherwise has become the front runner as my favorite film of the year. Ironically enough The Prestige was playing right after this, but there are only so many hours you can sit in a theater.

Now the best of these incidents happened a few days after seeing Bobby and The Fountain. I timed a trip to Landmark's to see The Queen and Fast Food Nation, I literally planned to sneak in this time. Anyways The Queen ends and I'm completely unaffected. I leave and Fast Food Nation hasn't finished the previous showing. I call a friend and we kill the appropriate amount of time, then I go into the now empty theater. A few people go in with me, and then an usher follows us. I think like a guilty man that the jig is up, and I've been found out. Not quite, apparently there is a Co2 problem and the theater is being evacuated. Show your ticket stubs in the lobby and we'll give you a free pass for any show. Well I wander down there, and stand in line like veryone else. I show the man handing out the passes my ticket for a film that shows 3 hours ago, and sure enough I get a free pass anyways. So in reward for trying to sneak in a movie, I was given a free pass. And for what its worth yet again Fast Food Nation wound up being the better film.

I'll hold off a little on making my top ten list, as I just now got a membership to Facets again, and have a lot of catching up to do.

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:22 am
by arsaib4
I'm glad you decided to start this thread, A. Our own lists are what's most important here, and so I've edited the title and moved the other thread elsewhere.

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:49 am
by madhuban
How about best movie moments, best directors, your best time at the cinema, etc.?

Great idea A! This has been a good year for me and I've watched more current films (thanks to the festival) than I usually get to do. I'll get down to the list later. But, here are some random thoughts on "best movie moments".

For me, the three most poignant and cinematically striking moments in 2006 come from I Don't Want To Sleep Alone - the floating mattress that concludes the film, the making out with ridiculous gasmasks and a more muted moment where the characters watch a Tamil song sequence on television. The three moments, together, constitute an insight into urban alienation in its different aspects - alienation from the other, from language, from a sense of place and location, from the global city, and ultimately from a lived reality.

Stylistically, another great moment comes from a virtually unknown Indonesian film called Opera Jawa by Garin Nugroho. The familiar story of Sita's abduction by Ravana from The Ramayana is transformed and choreographed into a dreamlike dance sequence. Accompanied by gamelan, the stylised confrontation happens in a kind of ring made up with dried tender coconut. I have no words to describe this moment. It has to be seen to be believed! What an eye Nugroho has for the performing/movement arts and its cinematic representation.

Bordering on the disgusting and the grotesque, Tatsushi Omori's Whispering of the Gods (somehow reminiscent of Bunuel's Viridiana) concludes with a blow job in a monastery's chicken pen, amidst cartloads of chicken @#%$. Very disturbing closure to a provocative film.

Abderrahmane Sissako's Bamako provided two moments that made me ponder about the critical power of cinema. An old man, called in as a witness for the prosecution sits through many days of arguments against and for the World Bank. He comes up to the witness box towards the end and delivers a heartwrenching appeal, part song, part chant, that works in two ways. It is an appeal that works against the grain of the serious discourse throughout the film. But, it also draws attention to how language has been one of the most powerful tools of colonisation, much more potent than brute force. A brief chant/song (as opposed to lengthy discursive attempts) shows how language fails as a tool to combat the neo-colonialism unleashed by the World Bank. If Africa has to articulate itself, it has to address the politics of language.

The second moment from Bamako, is the hilarious pseudo-Western sequence of an imagined film, Death in Timbutktu starring Danny Glover and Elia Suleiman, that the villagers watch on television. Completely absurd, the insertion of this clip is a strong, though tongue-in-cheek, critique of the colonisation of the African mind by First World entertainment like Hollywood. It also pointed to the largescale representational use of Africa as an exotic locale and a painted backdrop by both the First World entertainment and arthouse creative industries under the guise of being sensitive to its cultures. Since I'd seen "Winter's Journey" and "Sounds of Sand", I couldn't but agree. Managing to do much more, in the space of these two moments, than any well-compiled postcolonial theory reader, the chant and Death in Timbutktu are testimony to the power of cinema.

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:18 am
by arsaib4
Both the Tsai and the Hugrohu (along with Encina's Hamaca Paraguaya, Apichatpong's Syndromes and a Century, Haroun's Daratt, Malatsi's Meokgo and the Stickfighter and Ghobadi's Half Moon) were commisssoned for Mozart's 250th anniversary under the banner "New Crowned Hope." Reportedly, they took inspiration from the master's "1791The Magic Flute," "the Requiem" and "La clemenza di Tito." Needless to say, I'm looking forward to these films.

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:56 am
by madhuban
I am also looking forward to the other films under the New Crowned Hope banner, especially, Apichatpong's Syndromes and a Century. Friends of a friend, who saw it, say that it tops their 2006 list

M

P.S. My boss met Garin Nugroho at a non-profit Asian network meeting in Kyoto before the Kerala festival. I have raved and ranted about Opera Jawa since I got back from Kerala and finally coerced him to write to Garin for a copy of the film

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:04 am
by arsaib4
Syndromes will come out in the U.S. next year (and so will the Tsai). Though I'd be very surprised if Opera Jawa gets a distribution deal.

I hope your effort pays off.

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:01 am
by madhuban
I'll be surprised too if it gets a release because it is a difficult film to get into and might even alienate the arthouse market because of the music. Gamelan is such a cultivated taste. It took me some 15-20 minutes to really get hooked. And, I was witness to a 500-seater theatre emptying out during the film. There were some 20 of us left at the end.

M

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 2:55 pm
by A
Sounds like a film that could be to my taste. But I always feel bad if people walk out of a film I consider (at least) interesting, although they have paid for it, and especially during a festival. This also happened a couple of times at the Berlin Film Festival this year.
By chance I got the opportunity to rewatch Reygadas` Batailla en el cielo in my hometown Ptuj (yes, it got theatrical distribution here ) and one third of the people walked out of it during the first 30 minutes, while another third seemed bored or laughed at it. Afterwards I talked with a few of those, who told me that they didn`t understand what the film was trying to say. Too bad that many people dismiss difficult films very fast and even more don`t even think about watching movies more than once...

I would like to see the films madhubam mentioned, and am anxious to see the Top list.

I`ll make mine later cause I`m going to watch Tykwer`s The Perfume today and maybe also Gibson`s Apocalypto. I`m currently staying with some friends and we won`t be doing much more besides watching movies today.
I think I`ll finish for now, as I have to catch ski jumping on TV.

Edit: Looks like well only watch Apocalypto and ski-jumping doesn`t start until 3:30.

Re: Best of 2006

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:28 pm
by arsaib4
Since I don't believe that Battle in Heaven is a very good film, the reaction isn't very surprising, though I agree that every film at least deserves a chance.

Looking forward to your thoughts on Perfume and Apocalypto.