Thursday, December 31, 2009

50 greatest films & videos of the 2000's

frame enlargements from Robert Breer's What Goes Up

Here is my favorite 50 films made between 2000-2010.

One film per film-maker. In a very arbitrary order of preference:

  1. What Goes Up (2003) - Robert Breer
  2. Three Times (2005) - Hou Hsiao-hsien
  3. The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000) - Stan Brakhage
  4. Un Lac (2009) - Philippe Grandrieux
  5. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) - Jonas Mekas
  6. Poetry and Truth (2003) - Peter Kubelka
  7. Glider (2001) - Ernie Gehr
  8. Corpus Callosum (2002) - Michael Snow
  9. Miami Vice (2006) - Michael Mann
  10. Worldly Desires (2005) - Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  11. 'R Xmas (2001) - Abel Ferrara
  12. Yi Yi (2000) - Edward Yang
  13. Chats perchés (2004) - Chris Marker
  14. Ten Videos: 3 (2006) - Kyle Canterbury
  15. Le silence de Lorna (2008) - Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
  16. Va savoir (2001) - Jacques Rivette
  17. The Decay of Fiction (2002) - Pat O'Neill
  18. The Legend of Nile (2009) - Eytan Ipeker
  19. L'arrotino (2001) - Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub
  20. Two Lovers (2008) - James Gray
  21. Sobibór, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures (2001) - Claude Lanzmann
  22. Kedma (2002) - Amos Gitai
  23. A Talking Picture (2003) - Manoel de Oliveira
  24. Süt (2008) - Semih Kaplanoğlu
  25. İklimler (2006) - Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  26. Le Temps Qui Reste (2005) - François Ozon
  27. Still Life (2006) - Jia Zhang Ke
  28. Zodiac (2007) - David Fincher
  29. 30 Days of Night (2007) - David Slade
  30. Grizzly Man (2005) - Werner Herzog
  31. Ohio Postcard (2009) - Ekrem Serdar
  32. The Host (2006) - Bong Joon-ho
  33. Lachrymae (2000) - Brian Frye
  34. Eureka (2000) - Shinji Aoyama
  35. Breaking News (2004) - Johnnie To
  36. Vicdan (2008) - Erden Kıral
  37. Où gît votre sourire enfoui? (2001) - Pedro Costa
  38. Songs from the Second Floor (2000) - Roy Andersson
  39. EVO (2002) - Oliver Hockenhull
  40. La fille coupée en deux (2007) - Claude Chabrol
  41. Ten (2002) - Abbas Kiarostami
  42. The New World (2005) - Terrence Malick
  43. The Edge of Love (2008) - John Maybury
  44. Engulfment (3) (2009) - Adam Rokhsar
  45. Russian Ark (2002) - Alexander Sokurov
  46. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (2006) - Tsai Ming-liang
  47. La frontière de l'aube (2008) - Philippe Garrel
  48. Tatil Kitabı (2008) - Seyfi Teoman
  49. Buffalo Postcard (for Ekrem) (2009) - Can Eskinazi
  50. Orchard (2004) - Julie Murray

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Film-Makers' Cooperative faces eviction


"We don't want rosy films -- we want them the color of blood" it says, on the home page of The Film-Makers' Cooperative, an institution that is now in danger of being evicted from the small place it has in New York. The Coop, as it's known to most of us, is, as Fred Camper puts it, "one of the world's few pillars of genuine film art." Evicting the Coop isn't much different than evicting the Louvre Museum, or the Museum of Modern Art.

You can read Fred's words on the issue here. And here is the New York Times article.

Just reading the history of the Coop, written by Jonas Mekas, is bound to inspire anyone who deeply cares about moving images:
After looking into the existing film distribution organizations, and seeing how few of them were interested in our work, I came to the conclusion that the only thing to do was to create our own cooperative film distribution center, run by ourselves. When Cinema 16, at that time the most advanced avant-garde/independent film distribution organization, rejected Stan Brakhage's film Anticipation of the Night—an eye-opener and the beginning of a totally new, subjective cinema—this was the signal that something had to be done. On January 7th, 1962, I invited some 20 avant-garde/independent filmmakers to my Manhattan loft to discuss the creation of our own distribution center.



I worked at the Coop for two years and all that time I considered myself lucky to be a part of history. Inspecting, cleaning, repairing all those masterpieces by Robert Breer, Bruce Baillie, Stan Brakhage, Larry Jordan, Jonas Mekas, Hollis Frampton, Christopher Maclaine, Sidney Peterson, Michael Snow, Peter Kubelka, Peter Gidal, Joyce Wieland, Harry Smith (What a list, oh God!) and many many others, was a privilege. Again using Fred Camper's words, "the kinds of films the Coop distributes tend to base their art in the particular properties of celluloid, rather than simply as a conveyor of pictures, and thus must be seen on film."



I don't want to imagine a world without the Coop, and I wish good luck to everybody working to save it! And, to anyone who has a chance to work there, I strongly recommend it. Trust me, it will change your life!

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jonas Mekas's "Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR" (2009)


This is the first time I'm writing about something I haven't seen but I am very very excited about this. I read that it will be screened in Anthology Film Archives (my favorite place to see film in the world) tonight.

In a post to Frameworks, Elle Burchill wrote that Jonas just finished a 4 hours 49 minutes long video called Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR.

Jonas Mekas describes the video as
:
"The video is made up of footage that I took with my Sony from the television newscasts during the collapse of the USSR, with the home noises in the background. It’s a capsule record of what happened and how it happened during that crucial period as recorded by the television newscasters. It can be also viewed as a classic Greek drama in which the destinies of nations are changed drastically by the unbending, bordering-on-irrational will of one small man, one small nation determined to regain its freedom, backed by Olympus in its fight against the Might & Power, against the Impossible."

The last serious video work of Jonas Mekas I saw was A Letter from Greenpoint (2005)... What beautiful light, composition! A song sung on video!

One of the greatest moving-image artist alive releasing a new serious work is an event that deserves front-page exposure in all newspapers. Ezra Pound said "Literature is news that stays news." and this is true for all great art.

I truly hope somebody who sees the work will reply to this post.

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