22 May 2009

The Decade List: Some Honorable Mentions for 2002

There's less than 10 days left in May, and I have at least eighteen more films I want to cover for 2002, which apparently was a pretty outstanding year for world cinema. Here are a few I won't get a chance to rewatch (unless you enthusiastically suggest that I should), and I've thrown together some babbling about a few of them. Forgive the rushed nature of this (and probably a few of the seventeen that I'm going to try to get to as soon as possible). They are in no particular order, though the annotated ones are at the top.

Ma vraie vie à Rouen [My Life on Ice] - dir. Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau

Like a fictionalized Tarnation, Ma vraie vie à Rouen examines the perils of growing up and sexual maturation via the digital revolution. Comprised of teenage Étienne's (Jimmy Tavares) video footage during one summer, Ducastel and Martineau (Jeanne et le garçcon formidable) evade some of Tarnation's faults (most of them involving director/subject Jonathan Caouette's self-obliviousness), and though Ma vraie vie à Rouen is a less compelling watch than Tarnation, it's smart and un-exploitive.

With: Jimmy Tavares, Ariane Ascaride, Jonathan Zaccaï, Hélène Surgère, Lucas Bonnifait
Screenplay: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau
Cinematography: Pierre Milon, Matthieu Poirot-Delpech
Music: Philippe Miller
Country of Origin: France
US Distributor: Wellspring

Premiere: 5 August 2002 (Locarno Film Festival)
US Premiere: 14 June 2002 (New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival)

25th Hour - dir. Spike Lee

As far as Spike Lee, Hired Director, films go, 25th Hour is quite good. It doesn't exactly right the wrongs of Bamboozled, but 25th Hour's power comes at the exact same time placement where Bamboozled descends into ludicrousness. It's hard not to notice the similarities between Anna Paquin's characters in this and the later Squid and the Whale, two strange acts of miscasting which turn her into a desirable teenage sexpot. The Squid and the Whale is probably the better of the two, in terms of Paquin perversion, if only because it re-teams the actress with Jeff Daniels, who previously played her father in the family-friendly Fly Away Home.

With: Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, Brian Cox, Anna Paquin
Screenplay: David Benioff, based on his novel
Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto
Music: Terence Blanchard
Country of Origin: USA
US Distributor: Touchstone

Premiere: 16 December 2002 (New York City)

The Good Girl - dir. Miguel Arteta

Effectively low-key, The Good Girl, director Arteta and writer White's follow-up to the dark-and-quirky Chuck & Buck, retained the discomfort and "edginess" of their first collaboration. Jennifer Aniston, as an unhappily married convenient store employee, is probably as good as she'll ever be. Like Anna Paquin, Jake Gyllenhaal does a repeat character and situation here, as a doofus teenager who starts an affair with an older married woman, as he did in Nicole Holofcener's blasé Lovely & Amazing from the previous year. While it's hard to choose Aniston over Catherine Keener, Aniston's attempt to rid herself of her increasingly irritating younger man is precisely what makes The Good Girl better than your average Hollywood actor-does-a-Sundance-flick..

With: Jennifer Aniston, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mike White, Zooey Deschanel, John Carroll Lynch, Deborah Rush
Screenplay: Mike White
Cinematography: Enrique Chediak
Music: Tony Maxwell, James O'Brien, Mark Orton, Joey Waronker
Country of Origin: USA/Germany/Netherlands
US Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Premiere: 12 January 2002 (Sundance)

Awards: Best Screenplay (Independent Spirit Awards)

Choses secrètes [Secret Things] - dir. Jean-Claude Brisseau

It's hard to nail Jean-Claude Brisseau's Secret Things down. It's at once pulpy erotica, social comedy, gender commentary and a supernatural horror/fantasy. While I'm still unsure what to make of the film, it's certainly engaging and successful on a few of those levels. After imprisonment, which was directly related to the casting sessions for this particular film, Brisseau made a follow-up, entitled The Exterminating Angels [Les anges exterminateurs], which (like Catherine Breillat's Sex Is Comedy is to Fat Girl) looked at the filmmaking process of Secret Things.

With: Coralie Revel, Sabrina Seyvecou, Roger Miremont, Fabrice Deville, Blandine Bury, Olivier Soler
Screenplay: Jean-Claude Brisseau
Cinematography: Wilfrid Sempé
Music: Julien Civange
Country of Origin: France
US Distributor: First Run Features

Premiere: 16 October 2002 (France)
US Premiere: 9 April 2003 (Philadelphia International Film Festival)

Awards: French Cineaste of the Year - 2003 (Cannes)

May - dir. Lucky McKee

I've never been able to put my finger on why it is I always think I like the film May. It certainly has a lot on its side: a central character in the vain of Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion and Sissy Spacek in Carrie, plenty of dismemberment, a hilarious performance from Anna Faris as a salivating-at-the-mouth lesbian. If memory serves me correctly, May isn't entirely successful in its funny/tragic Dario Argento-inspired tale, but I seem to remember it quite fondly. Correct me if I'm wrong.

With: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Nichole Hiltz, Kevin Gage
Screenplay: Lucky McKee
Cinematography: Steve Yedlin
Music: Jaye Barnes Luckett
Country of Origin: USA
US Distributor: Lions Gate Films

Premiere: 13 January 2002 (Sundance)

Blissfully Yours - dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul

With: Kanokporn Tongaram, Min Oo, Jenjira Jansuda
Screenplay: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
Country of Origin: Thailand/France
US Distributor: Strand Releasing

Premiere: 17 May 2002 (Cannes)
US Premiere: 8 November 2002 (AFI Film Festival)

Awards: Un Certain Regard Award (Cannes)

Infernal Affairs - d. Andrew Lau, Alan Mak

With: Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chen, Sammi Cheng, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue
Screenplay: Alan Mak, Felix Chong
Cinematography: Andrew Lau, Lai Yiu Fai
Music: Chan Kwong Wing
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
US Distributor: Miramax Films

Premiere: 12 December 2002 (Hong Kong)
US Premiere: 24 September 2004

Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor - Tony Leung, Best Supporting Actor - Anthony Wong, Best Screenplay, Best Editing - Danny Pang, Curran Pang, Best Original Song - Ronald Ng, Lin Xi, "Infernal Affairs" (Hong Kong Film Awards)

The Quiet American - dir. Phillip Noyce

With: Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser, Do Thi Hai Yen, Rade Serbedzija, Tzi Ma
Screenplay: Christopher Hampton, Robert Schenakkan, based on the novel by Graham Greene
Cinematography: Christopher Doyle
Music: Craig Armstrong
Country of Origin: Australia/UK/USA/Germany/France
US Distributor: Miramax Films

Premiere: 9 September 2002 (Tornoto International Film Festival)
US Premiere: 22 November 2002

Madame Satã - dir. Karim Ainouz

With: Lázaro Ramos, Marcelia Cartaxo, Flavio Bauraqui, Fellipe Marques, Renata Sorrah, Emiliano Queiroz, Giovana Barbosa, Ricardo Blat
Screenplay: Karim Ainouz, Marcelo Gomes, Sérgio Machado, Mauricio Zacharias
Cinematography: Walter Carvalho
Music: Sacha Amback, Marcos Suzano
Country of Origin: Brazil/France
US Distributor: Wellspring

Premiere: 19 May 2002 (Cannes)
US Premiere: 17 January 2003 (Sundance)

Bord de mer [Seaside] - dir. Julie Lopes-Curval

With: Jonathan Zaccaï, Bulle Ogier, Ludmila Mikaël, Hélène Fillères, Patrick Lizana, Liliana Rovère
Screenplay: François Favrat, Julie Lopes-Curval
Cinematography: Stephan Massis
Music: Christophe Chevalier, Nicolas Gerber
Country of Origin: France
US Distributor: First Run Features

Premiere: May 2002 (Cannes)
US Premiere: 6 October 2002 (Chicago International Film Festival)

Awards: Camera d'Or (Cannes)

Cremaster 3 - dir. Matthew Barney

With: Matthew Barney, Richard Serra, Aimee Mullins, Paul Brady, Terry Gillespie
Screenplay: Matthew Barney
Cinematography: Peter Strietmann
Music: Jonathan Bepler
Country of Origin: USA
US Distributor: Palm Pictures

Premiere: 15 May 2002

1 comment:

Edson Coelho said...

I'm happy to see Madame Satã in your list.