10 May 2011

I had been meaning to update my Top 30 Films of the Decade to include films that I hadn't seen by January 2010, uninterested in debating when decades begin and end. I don't generally change much on old posts but I snuck Cristian Nemescu's California Dreamin' onto the original list and deleted a film that I saw on a particularly romantic evening when anything with a working projector would have made the list.

16a La Virgin de la Lujuria (2002) d: Arturo Ripstein. It would have been hard for me to have sought out the films that Ripstein, a Buñuel friend and collaborator, made with his wife, screenwriter Paz Alicia Garciadiego, until recent dvd releases, and I suppose it would have been good to have seen them earlier but it's been fun to save 'em for when I got to them. Garciadiego's scripts are arguably the best in the hemisphere, though they're best appreciated by Mexiphiles that like Beckett and Genet and can be tedious for others. La Perdicion de los Hombres is particularly claustrophobic and tedious, but that's sort of the point... a truly inspired script. Such is Life can hang with Pasolini's or Von Trier's Medea. Hard to choose one, but La Virgin is the most over the top and has apparently the biggest budget. Crazy Carnival.
16b California Dreamin' (2007) d: Cristian Nemescu. Armand Assante, Jamie Elman, Răzvan Vasilescu, Maria Dinulescu. Also called Endless (Nesfârșit), some of the scenes seem a bit endless because they were shot and assembled for coverage, and then the 27-year-old director died tragically in a car crash. In some scenes you find yourself saying, "OK, I get the joke/point" and it could/would have been halved in the editing room. Subversive political comedy of the age of NATO peacekeeping written by Nemescu, Tudor Voican, and Catherine Linstrum and a promising directorial career cut short. Marilena from P7.
21a Alamar (2009) d: Pedro González-Rubio. Natan Machado Palombini, Jorge Machado. A family film on my list.
21b Spoken Word (2009) d: Victor Nunez. Kuno Becker, Ruben Blades. Could have been below on my Films About Writers list but it's easier to put it here. Nunez operates the 16mm camera on all his films. Coastlines.
21c 35 Shots of Rum (2008) d: Claire Denis. Mati Diop, Alex Descas. Variety calls the classroom discussion referencing Frantz Fanon and Joseph Stiglitz "unnecessarily pedantic." White Material, The Intruder.
21d The Yacoubian Building (2006) d: Marwan Hamed. Adel Imam, Nour El Sharif. Alaa Al Aswany's novel marked a new era in Egyptian fiction and this sprawling 165-minute adaptation added to its cultural significance. Al Aswany was very active in the protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak and historians will assess what effect the novel and film had on them.
22b The Wedding Director (2006) d: Marco Bellocchio. Sergio Castellitto, Donatella Finocchiaro. Godard liked Bellocchio's early work and I swear by some of it - I like to sit back and feel like the director's a master and Bellocchio is one of the few that can deliver that. Film references, others may not like this one. My Mother's Smile.

Also, prompted by the folks at HTML Giant, my top 15 films about writers, in chronological order, not including writer-films that made my Top 15 like The Lady from Shanghai, The World of Apu, Stalker, Edvard Munch, and Alphaville:

Orpheus (1949, Jean Cocteau),The River (1951, Jean Renoir), La Notte (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni), Through a Glass Darkly (1961, Ingmar Bergman), Contempt (1963, Jean-Luc Godard), The Lonely Wife (1964, Satyajit Ray), Hunger (1966, Henning Carlsen), Claire's Knee (1970, Eric Rohmer), Adrift on the Nile (1971, Hussein Kamal), Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979, Francesco Rosi), The Singing Detective (1986, Jon Amiel), 36 Fillette (1988, Catherine Briellat), Uranus (1990, Claude Berri), The Dark Side of the Heart (Part 1, 1992; Part 2, 1992, Eliseo Subiela), Late August, Early September (1998, Olivier Assayas).

Update 5-11: I forgot about Resnais' 1977 film Providence, that inspirator for bipartite David Lynch story lines which is a no-brainer for the writer-film list but which I haven't seen in a while as it's not on dvd... but alas it's on Youtube, in, of course, that crazy language called English, scripted by David Mercer. I've surely forgotten something else as well. Update: Strick's Ulysses. Update 5-12: Sant Takuram, The Third Man, Madame Bovary (1949), Lawrence of Arabia, Zorba the Greek, I The Worst of All, The End of the Affair, Wojazek, The Farewell, La Petite Lili, Reprise.

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