Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Top 50 of 2017

If there is a theme in my favourite viewings from 2017 it is that I filled in many blind-spots or gaps in my personal viewing within the largely recognized canon of the greatest films ever made. How had I not seen Rebel Without a Cause? or The Umbrellas of Cherbourg? or Pretty in Pink? That last one is absolutely great and I'll hear no lip from anyone. There's also a recurring theme of melodrama which coincided with the Lincoln Center's recent retrospective series "Emotion Pictures", which was without a doubt the most cinematically fulfilling experience I've had this year with older movies. I don't live in New York, but I took it upon myself to watch loads of the films that were playing there from home and eventually wrote an article on the series for The Film Stage. Finally, and on a much sadder note we lost Jonathan Demme. When I grieve I tend to engage with the art they made as a way of coping, and I took it upon myself to watch a handful of his films that I already loved and a few that I hadn't seen before. It becomes exhausting characterising a year based on who we lost, but since Chantal Akerman passed away that's exactly how things have been in my case. On this list you'll see a lot of the canon, new experiences with old favourites like Jacques Rivette, and multiple films featuring Bob Dylan. So long 2017. May 2018 bring virtue and cinema.

*One note Films from 2016 and 2017 are not eligible. Everything else is fair game.

1. Up Down Fragile (Jacques Rivette, 1995)

2. Dogfight (Nancy Savoca, 1991)

3. Lola Montes (Max Ophuls, 1955)
4. Privilege (Yvonne Rainer, 1990)

5. Week-End (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)

6. Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)
7. Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984)
8. The Cranes are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957)

9. Shanghai Express (Josef Von Sternberg, 1932)
10. Scarlet Empress (Josef Von Sternberg, 1934)
11. When the Tenth Month Comes (Dang Nhat Minh, 1984)

`12. Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!!! The Heist (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1995)

13. Monterey Pop (D.A. Pennebaker, 1967)
14. Blue Steel (Kathryn Bigelow, 1990)

15. Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949)

16. Ley Lines (Takashi Miike, 1999)
17. Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944)
18. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964)

19. Film About a Woman Who... (Yvonne Rainer, 1974)

20. The Body Snatcher (Robert Wise, 1945)

21. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)
22. Dishonoured (Josef Von Sternberg, 1931)
23. By the Sea (Angelina Jolie, 2015)
24. Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)
25. Bride of Chucky (Ronny Yu, 1998)

26. Forget Me Not (Kei Horie, 2015)
27. Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, 1980)

28. L'atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)
29. Deep Cover (Bill Duke, 1992)
30. Graveyard of Honour (Kinji Fukasaku, 1975)
31. Rainy Dog (Takashi Miike, 1997)

32. The Tale of Zatoichi (Kenji Misumi, 1962)
33. Where Is My Friend's House? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)
34. Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956)

35. The Blue Angel (Josef Von Sternberg, 1930)
36. Industrial Symphony #1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted (David Lynch, 1990)
37. Morocco (Josef Von Sternberg, 1930)
38. The Young Master (Jackie Chan, 1980)
39. Brides of Dracula (Terrence Fisher, 1960)
40. Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)
41. The Funhouse (Tobe Hooper, 1981)
42. A Perfect Getaway (David Twohy, 2009)
43. Desire Me (Various, 1947)
44. The Tale of Zatoichi Continues (Kazuo Maori, 1962)

45. Quatermass and the Pit (Roy Ward Baker, 1967)
46. Renaldo and Clara (Bob Dylan, 1978)
47. Pretty in Pink (Howard Deutch, 1986)
48. The New Tale of Zatoichi (Tokuzo Tanaka, 1963)
49. Rouge (Stanley Kwan, 1988)
50. Gone With the Wind (Various, 1939)
Best Short Films
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (Jim Henson, 1977)
The Clown's Pup (Dave Fleischer, 1919)
Snow-White (Dave Fleischer, 1933)
Minnie the Moocher (Dave Fleischer, 1932)
Bimbo's Initiation (Dave Fleischer, 1931)
Koko's Earth Control (Dave Fleischer, 1928)