14 July 2006

100! Part 4: Anxiety, Ennui, and...

I'm actually really sick of this 100th post by now, but I'm not going to be like Lars von Trier and stop in the middle of it. Thankfully, this is the final quarter. These are twenty-five memorable films I've seen in the past two years of my life (some for the first time, others as pleasant re-evaulations). I am almost sort of embarassed looking at these posts -- am I diminishing my mystery? Here they are anyway. I've talked about The Brown Bunny, Mysterious Skin, and My Summer of Love enough -- so I spared them from this list. I also spared some of the more annoyingly A-list films from the list, as I'm both sick of this list and the "canon" was really only a huge part of my early college years. I apologize for the briefness and hurried-nature of these twenty-five, but my hindsight of the past two years is hardly in focus.

1. The Naked Kiss - dir. Samuel Fuller - 1964 - USA
"...nothing but the buck, the bed, and the bottle for the rest of my life." Jaw-dropping disbelief is probably my favorite emotion that cinema has ever allowed to escape out of my cold heart, and, in this regard, The Naked Kiss is one against which all others shall be judged.

2. Deconstructing Harry - dir. Woody Allen - 1997 - USA
"You take everyone's suffering and turn it into gold... literary gold." Enjoy it while you can; Deconstructing Harry is probably Allen's last great film.

3. Caché - dir. Michael Haneke - 2005 - France/Austria/Germany
Daunting and terrifying, Haneke's latest exposes deep-rooted guilt and fear in upper-middle class society, under the guise of a Hitchcockian thriller. Expect a more concise review later.

4. Showgirls - dir. Paul Verhoeven - 1995 - USA
"Must be weird not having people cum on ya." The Mommie Dearest or Valley of the Dolls of the 90s, though I'd seen it as an impressionable youth, I never fully understood the magic and unintentional genius that is Showgirls. For further Showgirls reading, check this.

5. Weekend - dir. Jean-Luc Godard - 1967 - France/Italy
"Mon sac de Hermès!" I've talked about this shit already.

6. The Raspberry Reich - dir. Bruce LaBruce - 2003 - Germany/Canada
"Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses." More on this later...

7. Before Sunset - dir. Richard Linklater - 2004 - USA
"Isn't everything autobiographical?" Before Sunset becomes less of a film about a dopey American boy and a blonde French girl reuniting than a document of the anxieties of aging and memory of Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Richard Linklater... and you.

8. Walkabout - dir. Nicolas Roeg - 1971 - UK
Jenny Agutter naked is only one of the many reasons to see one of Roeg's best films. It's an example of a film you pretty much "get" before you even get a third of the way through, yet, despite it all, you cannot resist its cinematic power.

9. In a Year with 13 Moons (In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden) - dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder - 1978 - West Germany
Die, tranny, die! Fassbinder wants you to suffer.

10. Grey Gardens - dir. Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer - 1975 - USA
"I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it, and had everything I wanted."

11. The Opening of Misty Beethoven - dir. Radley Metzger (Henry Paris) - 1976 - USA
Porno chic! Classy, funny, well-acted, and -- yeah, it's kinda sexy. While everyone remembers the horrid Deep Throat and the disappointing Behind the Green Door, The Opening of Misty Beethoven is the pinnacle of the 70s mainstream porno.

12. 3 Women - dir. Robert Altman - 1977 - USA
I still don't really get it, though I see it's relationship to Persona... and I love it.

13. La cérémonie - dir. Claude Chabrol - 1995 - France/Germany
I read some hilarious review of this film that said Chabrol tricks you into thinking it's "arty" because of its use of classical music, when, in fact, it's just a trashy French heep. I think that's why I liked it.

14. Hotel - dir. Mike Figgis - 2001 - UK
Mike Figgis is probably the most pretentious filmmaker to arise since Peter Greenaway. Honest, he makes Gus Van Sant look.... well... not pretentious. If you permit Figgis to go with whatever he feels like, you'll get to see Lucy Liu call Salma Hayek a dyke, Salma return by calling Lucy a ching-chong, John Malkovich get eaten (?), Saffron Burrows in a Victorian dress fuck Max Beesley in the ass, Chiara Mastroianni seduce a blind-folded woman, and David Schwimmer be annoying. Oh, wait, you're not interested in the latter, are you? Well, see it for the rest.

15. Tommy - dir. Ken Russell - 1975 - UK
"Can you hear me?" Even though who don't care for Russell or The Who can't deny the appeal of seeing Ann-Margaret in white pant-suit get sprayed by a fire hydrant of beans. Well, maybe, you do have to like Russell for that.

16. Elevator to the Gallows (L'ascenseur pour l'échafaud) - dir. Louis Malle - 1958 - France
Just fucking lovely. Miles Davis' trumpet and Jeanne Moreau's solemn walking of the streets of Paris were a match of the gods.

17. DiG! - dir. Ondi Timoner - 2004 - USA
"Yeah, I'll still buy their albums." DiG! works so well because instead of seeing a bunch of talking heads discuss how crazy Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre is, we actually get to see it. Madness and genius often go hand and hand.

18. Fando & Lis - dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky - 1968 - Mexico
I always found Fando y Lis to be endlessly more approachable than Jodorowsky's more famous El Topo. He was a man of lofty ambitions and bad karma.

19. Tropical Malady - dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul - 2004 - Thailand
Sublime.

20. Anatomy of Hell (Anatomie de l'enfer) - dir. Catherine Breillat - 2004 - France
"Parce que je suis une femme." Deconstruction without the distraction of humanity.

21. L'âge d'or - dir. Luis Buñuel - 1930 - France
Jaw-dropping disbelief, the runner-up. You know when people say, "it still shocks, eighty years later!" you never believe them. Well, believe me. Or don't. Saucy.

22. Punishment Park - dir. Peter Watkins - 1971 - USA
"That's all I hear: oink." "Constable McFilthycock" said that he saw Punishment Park at just the right time, and really, it's DVD rerelease last year was perfectly appropriate for the current political state. Plus, you love seeing hippies get killed.

23. Coming Apart - dir. Milton Moses Ginsberg - 1969 - USA
Like a more meta Cassavetes... no, wait. I really hate saying things like that. Coming Apart, with its static, one-take scenes, follows a man's own self-destruction from the point of view of his hidden camera, probably one of the most brilliantly theoretical uses of camera, subject, and point-of-view... and strangely lost in time.


24. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - dir. Russ Meyer - 1965 - USA
What's your point? "Of no return and you've reached it!" Genuinely sleazy and probably one of the more entertaining films I've ever seen. I've really grown sick of writing capsulized thoughts on films.

25. Fanny & Alexander - dir. Ingmar Bergman - 1982 - Sweden/France/West Germany
The television version only, please. And, now, onto smaller and better things...

1 comment:

Eric said...

Equus also has Jenny in a killer nude scene, you get to see more for a longer time. Though she's younger in Walkabout. Tough decision.