Brandon’s Twenty Favorite Old Movies of 2008

1. Five by Jacques Rivette:
Love on the Ground (1984)
The Story of Marie and Julien (2003)
Duelle (1976)
Noroit (1976)
La Belle noiseuse (1991)
Rivette movies take me to a unique place – he is closer to the dream world of David Lynch than he gets credit for. These were each excellent in their own way, and taken as a whole, they easily catapult Rivette onto my top-five favorite filmmakers list, if he wasn’t already there from Out 1 and Celine & Julie.

2. The Life of Birds (1998, David Attenborough)
Haven’t even finished this yet, and I never wrote anything about it, but some of my happiest times this year were sitting on the couch watching amazing videos of birds with Katy.

3. The Golden Coach (1953, Jean Renoir)
I mostly loved watching this for Anna Magnani, until that final scene when the whole movie hit me at once. Ooh, that final scene… I scanned back and watched it again… and again…

4. Brand Upon The Brain! (2006, Guy Maddin)
Maddin’s best film yet (or do I say that about all of them?). Will check out My Winnipeg in the new year… I expect it’ll be Maddin’s best film yet.

5. My Terence Davies double-feature of two days ago, Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992)

6. The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom (2007, Adam Curtis)
I thought this was fascinating, but apparently it’s all in the presentation because whenever I tried to tell people about it they tuned me out. I scanned back to the intro and watched it again… and again…

7. Judex (1963, Georges Franju)
Wasn’t expecting this to make a top-ten… I didn’t even think it was supposed to be very good. Happiest surprise of the list.

8. Ordet (1955, Carl Dreyer)
I don’t know where to put this on a list, because it seems above judgement. My liking it or disliking it is entirely beside the point. Nevertheless I liked it… very much.

9. The Devils (1971, Ken Russell)
Movie on the list which I most need to rewatch, since my video copy was so poor.

10. Faces (1968, John Cassavetes)
So intense, makes me sure that I need to rewatch the Cassavetes movies I did not like, because I was probably wrong about them.

11. The Milky Way (1969, Luis Buñuel)

12. Ruggles of Red Gap (1935, Leo McCarey)
13. The Smiling Lieutenant (1931, Ernst Lubitsch)
Two comedies I watched with Katy and have mentioned every week since, much to her confusion since she thought they were just pretty good.

14. Lovers on the Bridge (1991, Leos Carax)

15. Three by Chris Marker: A.K. (1985) and Chats Perches (2004) and Remembrance of Things to Come (2001)
I watched more than fifteen Marker films this year, and these were the standouts.

16. Tabu (1930, FW Murnau)
A visual poem, one of my favorite Murnaus yet.

17. Stavisky (1974, Alain Resnais)

18. Artists and Models (1955, Frank Tashlin)

19. Tales of Hoffmann (1951, Powell & Pressburger)

20. Redacted (2007, Brian De Palma)


Honorable Mentions:
At Five in the Afternoon (2003, Samira Makhmalbaf)
French Cancan (1953, Jean Renoir)
Guelwaar (1992, Ousmane Sembene)
Harlan County USA (1976, Barbara Kopple)
Holy Mountain (1973, Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968, Alain Resnais)
Manufactured Landscapes (2006, Jennifer Baichwal)
Mix-Up (1985, Francoise Romand)
My Night at Maud’s (1969, Eric Rohmer)
The Mystery of Picasso (1956, Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (2006, Sophie Fiennes)
Stuck (2007, Stuart Gordon)
Woyzeck (1979, Werner Herzog)


Bonus: Ten Favorite Shorts
1. The Wizard of Speed and Time (1979, Mike Jittlov)
2. Outer Space (and the rest of the Cinemascope Trilogy) 1999, Peter Tscherkassky
3. The Film To Come (1997, Raoul Ruiz)
4. Presto (2008, Doug Sweetland)
5. A Valparaiso (1963, Joris Ivens)
6. Le Franc (1994, Djibril Diop Mambety)
7. Mirror of Holland (1950, Bert Haanstra)
8. Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra (1928, Florey & Vorkapich)
9. Ten Thousand Years Older (2002, Werner Herzog)
10. Neighbors (1920, Buster Keaton)


And this year’s Annual WTF Awards, given to movies I think I’m supposed to have liked but couldn’t figure out why, go to horror Them, documentary Derrida, french arthouse thing The Regular Lovers, extreme satire The Ruling Class, avant-garde headache Presents and two shorts by Michael Robinson.

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