25 November 2009

Millennium Mambo, Part 2-ish

Two more big lists have been published asserting the finest films of the decade. The haughtier of the two came from The Toronto International Film Festival Cinematheque, which surveyed a group of "film curators, historians, and festival programmers" and named, in a surprise move, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century the best film of the 2000s. I'm in agreement with almost their entire list, aside from Claire Denis' Beau travail (not because I don't absolutely adore the film, but because by my own regulations, it counts as a 1999 film) [Abbas Kiarostami's The Wind Will Carry Us falls into the same place for me], Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (which is fine, but doesn't need to be that high) and Elephant, which should not be listed above Gerry (or Paranoid Park, which isn't on the list). I also don't have much affinity for I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, I'm Not There., Alexandra or Saraband (from what I remember of it), but that's part of the joy in lists like these, no? The list is as follows, with plenty of ties, the US distributor if applicable is listed after the title for assistance:

01. Syndromes and a Century, 2006, d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/France/Austria, Strand Releasing

02. Platform, 2000, d. Jia Zhang-ke, China/Hong Kong/Japan/France, New Yorker Films

03. Still Life, 2006, d. Jia Zhang-ke, China/Hong Kong, New Yorker Films

04. Beau travail, 1999/2000, d. Claire Denis, France, New Yorker Films

05. In the Mood for Love, 2000, d. Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong/China/France, USA Films/Criterion

06. Tropical Malady, 2004, d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/France/Germany/Italy, Strand Releasing

07. (tie) The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu [Moartea domnului Lăzărescu], 2005, d. Cristi Puiu, Romania, Tartan Films
07. (tie) Werckmeister Harmonies [Werckmeister harmóniák], 2000, d. Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky, Hungary/Italy/Germany/France, Facets

08. Éloge de l'amour [In Praise of Love], 2001, d. Jean-Luc Godard, France/Switzerland, New Yorker Films

09. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile], 2007, d. Cristian Mungiu, Romania, IFC Films

10. Silent Light [Stellet licht], 2007, d. Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany, Palisades Tartan

11. Russian Ark, 2002, d. Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia/Germany, Wellspring

12. The New World, 2005, d. Terrence Malick, USA/UK, New Line

13. Blissfully Yours, 2002, d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/France, Strand Releasing

14. Le fils [The Son], 2002, d. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France, New Yorker Films

15. Colossal Youth [Juventude Em Marcha], 2006, d. Pedro Costa, Portugal/France/Switzerland, Criterion (unreleased as of yet)

16. (tie) Les glaneurs et la glaneuse [The Gleaners & I], 2000, d. Agnès Varda, France, Zeitgeist
16. (tie) In Vanda's Room [No Quarto da Vanda], 2000, d. Pedro Costa, Portugal/Germany/Switzerland/Italy, Criterion (unreleased as of yet)
16. (tie) Songs from the Second Floor [Sånger från andra våningen], 2000, d. Roy Andersson, Sweden/Norway/Denmark, New Yorker Films

17. (tie) Caché, 2005, d. Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany/Italy, Sony Pictures Classics
17. (tie) A History of Violence, 2005, d. David Cronenberg, USA/Germany, New Line
17. (tie) Mulholland Drive, 2001, d. David Lynch, France/USA, Universal Studios
17. (tie) Three Times, 2005, d. Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan/France, IFC Films

18. Rois et reine [Kings and Queen], 2004, d. Arnaud Desplechin, France, Wellspring

19. Elephant, 2003, d. Gus Van Sant, USA, HBO Films

20. Talk to Her [Hable con ella], 2002, d. Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, Sony Pictures Classics

21. (tie) The Wind Will Carry Us, 1999/2000, d. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran/France, New Yorker Films
21. (tie) Yi yi: A One and Two, 2000, d. Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan, Fox Lorber/Criterion

22. Pan's Labyrinth [El laberinto del Fauno], 2006, d. Guillermo del Toro, Mexico/Spain/USA, Picturehouse/New Line

23. (tie) L'enfant, 2005, d. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France, Sony Pictures Classics
23. (tie) The Heart of the World, 2000, d. Guy Maddin, Canada, Zeitgeist
23. (tie) I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, 2006, d. Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/Malaysia/China/France/Austria, Strand Releasing
23. (tie) Star Spangled to Death, 2004, d. Ken Jacobs, USA, Big Commotion Pictures

24. The World, 2004, d. Jia Zhang-ke, China/Japan/France, Zeitgeist

25. (tie) Café Lumière, 2003, d. Hou Hsiao-hsien, Japan/Taiwan, Wellspring
25. (tie) The Headless Woman [La mujer sin cabeza], 2008, d. Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/France/Italy/Spain, Strand Releasing
25. (tie) L'intrus [The Intruder], 2004, d. Claire Denis, France, Wellspring
25. (tie) Millennium Mambo, 2001, d. Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan/France, Palm Pictures
25. (tie) My Winnipeg, 2007, d. Guy Maddin, Canada, IFC Films
25. (tie) Saraband, 2003, d. Ingmar Bergman, Sweden/Italy/Germany/Finland/Denmark/Austria, Sony Pictures Classics
25. (tie) Spirited Away, 2001, d. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, Studio Ghibli/Disney
25. (tie) I'm Not There., 2007, d. Todd Haynes, USA/Germany, The Weinstein Company

26. Gerry, 2002, d. Gus Van Sant, USA, Miramax

27. (tie) Distant [Uzak], 2002, d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey, New Yorker Films
27. (tie) Dogville, 2003, d. Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/UK/France/Germany/Norway/Finland/Netherlands, Lionsgate
27. (tie) The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001, d. Wes Anderson, USA, Touchstone/Criterion

28. (tie) Alexandra, 2007, d. Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia/France, Cinema Guild
28. (tie) demonlover, 2002, d. Olivier Assayas, France, Palm Pictures

29. (tie) Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, 2001, d. Zacharias Kunuk, Canada, Lot 47 Films
29. (tie) Goodbye, Dragon Inn, 2003, d. Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan, Wellspring

30. (tie) Longing [Sehnsucht], 2006, d. Valeska Grisebach, Germany, N/A
30. (tie) Secret Sunshine, 2007, d. Lee Chang-dong, South Korea, N/A
30. (tie) Vai e Vem [Come and Go], 2003, d. João César Monteiro, Portugal/France, N/A
30. (tie) Far from Heaven, 2002, d. Todd Haynes, USA/France, Focus Features

So to tally... directors with more than one showing: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (3), Hou Hsiao-hsien (3), Jia Zhang-ke (3), Gus Van Sant (2), Todd Haynes (2), Tsai Ming-liang (2), Aleksandr Sokurov (2), Claire Denis (2), Guy Maddin (2), the Dardenne brothers (2), Pedro Costa (2). Only 5 of the 54 are unavailable on DVD in the US, though both Pedro Costa films are planned (or at least strongly rumored) to be coming from Criterion. However, in looking at the list, there is a wave of sadness, seeing studios that are no more like New Yorker Films, Wellspring/Fox Lorber, USA Films, Lot 47 Films and Picturehouse, as well as ones that have fallen from grace but still existing in a smaller form like Palm Pictures and (meh) Miramax and New Line. Of course, a number of fabulous distribution studios have opened throughout the past ten years, from Cinema Guild, IFC Films, Benten Films and Oscilloscope as well as Palisades Tartan's restarting of the Tartan library, which brought Silent Light to screens this year. The biggest showing though for the studios still thriving would have to be Strand Releasing, who released 5 of the films above, including the "newest" of the lot, Lucrecia Martel's brilliant The Headless Woman [La mujer sin cabeza]. I wonder if it's an oversight that no 2009 film made the list or if the TIFF crowd was being overzealous with getting that list out. Also, notice only 2 documentaries and 1 short made the list, something I'm sure a handful of other lists will make up for.

Anyway, onto List #2 for Time Out New York, which polled a number of Big Apple-ish film critics, including Andrew Grant, Karina Longworth, Aaron Hillis and Kevin B. Lee (their individual top 10s can be found via this link). The list rounded to 50, but I'll only post the top 30 here, so you can check out the write-ups and #31-50 on their site.

01. Mulholland Drive, 2001, d. David Lynch, USA/France, Universal Studios
02. There Will Be Blood, 2007, d. Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, Paramount Vantage/Miramax
03. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004, d. Michel Gondry, USA, Focus Features
04. The New World, 2005, d. Terrence Malick, USA/UK, New Line
05. In the Mood for Love, 2000, d. Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong/China/France, USA Films/Criterion
06. Yi yi: A One and Two, 2000, d. Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan, Fox Lorber/Criterion
07. Dogville, 2003, d. Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/UK/France/Germany/Norway/Finland/Netherlands, Lionsgate
08. Zodiac, 2007, d. David Fincher, USA, Paramount
09. A Christmas Tale [Un conte de Noël], 2008, d. Arnaud Desplechin, France, IFC Films/Criterion
10. Friday Night [Vendredi soir], 2002, d. Claire Denis, France, Wellspring
11. Spirited Away, 2001, d. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, Studio Ghibli/Disney
12. American Psycho, 2000, d. Mary Harron, USA/Canada, Lionsgate
13. Inland Empire, 2006, d. David Lynch, USA/Poland/France, Absurda
14. Trouble Every Day, 2002, d. Claire Denis, France/Germany/Japan, Lot 47 Films
15. Domestic Violence, 2001, d. Frederick Wiseman, USA, Zippora Films
16. Punch-Drunk Love, 2002, d. Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, Columbia Pictures
17. Gosford Park, 2001, d. Robert Altman, UK/USA/Italy, Universal Studios
18. Femme Fatale, 2002, d. Brian De Palma, France/USA, Warner Bros.
19. I'm Not There., 2007, d. Todd Haynes, USA/Germany, The Weinstein Company
20. The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein, 2001, d. John Gianvito, USA, Extreme Low Frequency Productions
21. Brokeback Mountain, 2005, d. Ang Lee, USA/Canada, Focus Features
22. Synecdoche, New York, 2008, d. Charlie Kaufman, USA, Sony Pictures Classics
23. The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu [Moartea domnului Lăzărescu], 2005, d. Cristi Puiu, Romania, Tartan Films
24. I Heart Huckabees, 2004, d. David O. Russell, USA/Germany, Fox Searchlight
25. Inglourious Basterds, 2009, d. Quentin Tarantino, USA/Germany, The Weinstein Company/Universal Studios
26. Kings and Queen [Rois et reine], 2004, d. Arnaud Desplechin, France, Wellspring
27. Oldboy, 2003, d. Park Chan-wook, South Korea, Tartan Films
28. Before Sunset, 2004, d. Richard Linklater, USA, Warner Independent
29. Songs from the Second Floor [Sånger från andra våningen], 2000, d. Roy Andersson, Sweden/Norway/Denmark, New Yorker Films
30. Children of Men, 2006, d. Alfonso Cuarón, UK/USA/Japan, Universal Studios

While Time Out's list is certainly more US-centric than TIFF's, I can't find much bad to say about a list that includes Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale in the top 20 (and even included one film I'd never heard of: The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein... another highlight of checking out lists as these, if only that particular DVD wasn't already out-of-print). I don't know how I feel about Inglourious Basterds as the highest ranked 2009 film (and, in fact, the only one). The remainder of the list contains some real surprising and/or underrated treasures like Ramin Bahrani's Man Push Cart, Michael Mann's Miami Vice and Lukas Moodysson's Lilya 4-ever [Lilja 4-ever], as well as some contemptible ones like The 40-Year-Old Virgin (and, yeah, Donnie Darko). The only film that absolutely does not belong on the big 30 is I Heart Huckabees, while a few dangle on that line (American Psycho, Brokeback Mountain), keeping my personal preference against a couple out of the mix. So here's to the close of the '00s! More list, I'm sure, are on hitting the "printer" right now. I can't wait to hear what Cahiers du cinéma rounds up.

3 comments:

teabag central said...

The great tragedy of the The Toronto International Film Festival Cinematheque list is that the vast majority of film fans will never get to see these films. They are not on general release, on DVD or shown on TV. Our lives are poorer for that.

Joe said...

At least in the US, almost all of the films have been released at some point on DVD. Unfortunately, with New Yorker Films closing its doors, a handful of these are out-of-print and maybe harder to find. Sad that movies less than 10 years old can be difficult to come by. However, by my research, only In Vanda's Room, Colossal Youth, Longing, Secret Sunshine and Vai e Vem have never made it to video on the US.

However, teabag, as you're in the UK, you'll be happy to know that Artificial Eye is releasing Longing sometime in 2010 on DVD; and it's available in Germany with English subtitles. I don't think you should have that much trouble finding at least 75% of these through Amazon or LoveFilm, or even though Region 2 import.

Linden Arden said...

At least one of the Costa films will be getting a Region 2 (or perhaps even a Region 0?) release in the new year from Eurkea!/Master of Cinema. I don't know which of the films they're planning to release at this stage, or if it will be an ongoing thing, like their Murnau or Pialat collections, but either way it's something to look forward to.