Laurence Anyways

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My first ever Dolan and I went into it with much trepidation. His style seemed so self-indulgent and overstuffed to me and the whole thing seemed like just the sort of thing I’m likely to hate and get angry over. But then this morning I realized it had Melvil Poupaud in it and that changed the equation a fair bit.

So, Yes. The film is extremely fussy and self-conscious and plays like a music video but both the writing of the central relationship as well as Poupaud and Clement’s performances give it genuine heart. I didn’t care for a bunch of the digressions – the drag queens, the crazy ball sequence (although they are both delicious to look at even if in a purely vapid way) and the stuff with the father and so on was just weird. But the film’s eschewing of the whole “Love will keep us alive” motto while still being achingly romantic and its portrayal of how relationships can stand in conflict with one’s own personal growth/goals is enough to make me endorse the film. Also, Poupaud is the most gorgeous man in the world <3

The Bakery Girl of Monceau

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One represented truth, and the other a mistake

Oh my. I blind bought the Moral Tales box set during the last B&N sale mostly thanks to my friends trip, fisticuffs and Sean – all pushing me to watch more Rohmer and I wanted to start 2013 off by opening the same. Turned out to be such a good decision because this is just such a perfect little film. It’s bittersweet tone encapsulates exactly what I crave from films. In <30 minutes, Rohmer captures all our little caprices and game-playing and silliness when it comes to relationships. The gliding camera, the voiceover that plunges us into the film, the way Rohmer plays with sound.. there’s so much to love here.

When A Woman Ascends the Stairs

Bars in the daytime are like women without makeup

This was so surprising in so many ways. For one, I wasn’t expecting such a light touch from Naruse somehow. I went into it expecting something more akin to The Life of Oharu (which is a film I really like) but Naruse’s handling of the material is quite different. Much of the film focuses on the quotidian details of Keiko’s life in the ginza bar and outside and it is through these every day moments that the film builds up to the emotional punch of the last half hour.

I also love the way Naruse uses the widescreen compositions to emphasize the claustrophobic congested interiors of the bar as well as to hint at the modernity and freedom that the rare outdoor shots (train stations and bridges) seem to signal. I also wasn’t really expecting that light jazzy soundtrack that works so well in the film. Such a lovely portrayal of life’s quiet relentless disappointments.

Best of 2009

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1. A Letter to Uncle Boonmee | Apichatpong Weerasethakul


2. White Material | Claire Denis


3. Everyone Else | Maren Ade


4. Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl | Manoel De Oliveira


5. Fantastic Mr. Fox | Wes Anderson


6. Hadewijch | Bruno Dumont


7. Inglourious Basterds | Quentin Tarantino


8. Yuki & Nina | Nobuhiro Suwa</strong


9. Bright Star | Jane Campion


10. The Limits of Control | Jim Jarmusch


11. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans | Werner Herzog


12. Oxhide II | Jiayin Liu

Top 100 2012 Edition

I just made a new Top 100 list as a submission for a consensus list on a film forum I post on. I’ve done this a few times before and it’s always really stressful picking between and ranking a whole bunch of films I love and respond to strongly etc. So this time, I chose to create my list Ignatiy Vishnevetsky style which means I used the method outlined in this article. I started with a list of nearly 500 films, ordered them randomly, assigned them each a random ID from 1 to 500 and then picked 100 random numbers in that interval using a random number generator. This is the list I ended up with.

I confess that I’m really happy with the list overall. The films/filmmakers featured on the list are totally representative of my tastes and a whole lot of the films that ended up on the list would’ve likely ended up in the Top 100 even if I did this more systematically etc. So here goes.


100. Senso (Luchino Visconti, 1954)


99. Boudu Saved From Drowning (Jean Renoir, 1932)


98. Pierrot Le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)


97. M (Fritz Lang, 1931)


96. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar, 1988)

The Scarlet Empress
95. The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg, 1934)


94. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)


93. The Beaches of Agnes (Agnes Varda, 2008)


92. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)


91. Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972)


90. Shaolin Soccer (Stephen Chow, 2001)


89. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2011)


88. Blow Out (Brian De Palma, 1981)


87. Hannah and her Sisters (Woody Allen, 1986)


86. Bad Lieutenant (Abel Ferrara, 1992)


85. Mauvais Sang (Leos Carax, 1986)


84. PTU (Johnnie To, 2003)


83. Beats Being Dead (Christian Petzold, 2011)


82. Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956)


81. The General (Buster Keaton, 1926)


80. Behindert (Stephen Dwoskin, 1974)


79. Kings and Queen (Arnaud Desplechin, 2004)


78. L’age d’or (Luis Bunuel, 1930)


77. Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922)


76. 24 City (Jia Zhang Ke, 2008)


75. The Flowers of St. Francis (Roberto Rossellini, 1950)


74. Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)


73. The 36th Chamber of the Shaolin (Chia Liang-lui, 1978)


72. Phantom of the Paradise (Brian De Palma, 1974)


71. Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju, 1960)


70. Partie de Campagne (Jean Renoir, 1936)


69. A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)


68. Effi Briest (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)


67. Days and Nights in the Forest (Satyajit Ray, 1970)


66. Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001)


65. Breaking News (Johnnie To, 2004)


64. Innocence (Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2004)


63. Shirin (Abbas Kiarostami, 2008)


62. Transe (Teresa Villaverde, 2006)


61. Singin’ In the Rain (Stanley Donen, 1952)


60. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)


59. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)


58. Je, Tu, Il, Elle (Chantal Akerman, 1976)


57. Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999)


56. Punch Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)


55. Only Yesterday (Isao Takahata, 1991)


54. Duvidha (Mani Kaul, 1975)


53. The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992)


52. The Idiots (Lars von Trier, 1998)


51. Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)


50. Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948)


49. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)


48. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino, 2004)


47. Goodbye South Goodbye (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1996)


46. Early Summer (Yasujiro Ozu, 1951)


45. Chungking Express (Wong Kar Wai, 1994)


44. I Fidanzati (Ermanno Olmi, 1963)


43. The Bad and the Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli, 1952)


42. Bandini (Bimal Roy, 1963)


41. Trust (Hal Hartley, 1990)


40. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)


39. Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997)


38. The Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax, 1991)


37. Viaggio in Italia (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)


36. Four Nights of a Dreamer (Robert Bresson, 1971)


35. Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1997)


34. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar Wai, 2000)


33. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)


32. Our Beloved Month of August> (Miguel Gomes, 2008)


31. The Red Shoes (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1948)


30. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)


29. The Young Girls of Rochefort (Jacques Demy, 1967)


28. Marseille (Angela Schanelec, 2004)


27. Los Muertos (Lisandro Alonso , 2004)


26. Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman, 1967)


25. The Terrorizers (Edward Yang, 1986)


24. Lancelot du Lac (Robert Bresson, 1974)


23. Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961)


22. Broken Lullaby (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)


21. The Tenant (Roman Polanski, 1976)


20. The Heart of the World (Guy Maddin, 2000)


19. Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)


18. The Double of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1991)


17. I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Ming-liang Tsai, 2006)


16. Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (Nagisa Oshima, 1967)


15. Lola Montes (Max Ophüls, 1955)


14. Miami Vice (Michael Mann, 2006)


13. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)


12. White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957)


11. Millennium Actress (Satoshi Kon, 2001)


10. Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl (Manoel de Oliveira, 2009)


9. The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, 2007)


8. Morocco (Josef von Sternberg, 1930)


7. The Sleeping Beauty (Catherine Breillat, 2010)


6. Pyaasa (Guru Dutt, 1957)


5. Two Drifters (João Pedro Rodrigues, 2005)


4. Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis, 2002)


3. La Bonheur (Agnes Varda, 1965)


2. Written By (Wai Ka-Fai, 2009)


1. Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002)

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