I created a new permanent page for Unwatchable Films. It’s a specific thing – not just bad films, but truly unviewable ones that have a similar effect to a general anaesthetic. They have their own criteria, and are nothing like the ’25 films so bad they’re unmissable’ lists you often see. I am talking cinema CRIMEs here. Please contribute.
Over the last few months, I have managed to squeeze in enough thought-provoking films to think that my favourite medium is still alive and well. We drown daily in a such a stultifying rain of nonsense and noise that it sometimes it seems that any sign of intelligence must be a mistake. Here are some rays of hope.
Melancholia (dir. Lars von Trier): ***
We need to talk about Kevin (dir. Lynne Ramsay) *****
The battle of Warsaw: 1920 (dir. Jerzy Hoffman) ***
Incendies **** (dir. Denis Villeneuve)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy **** (dir. Tomas Alfredson)
The Skin I Live In **1/2 (dir. Pedro Almodovar)
The Debt ***1/2 (dir. John Madden).
This Australian film has much to recommend it. It maintains a dark, slow-burn tension for the duration, a by-product of characters who while being completely believable become less and less predictable as time goes on. In a way the film is a kind of trick: you are initially not sure if you are in for a gangster story (will there be a heist, or a gangland battle?), a psycho-drama, or a character study.
I have now mercilessly targetted friends around the world (and I’m not done!) for the list of ‘your 10 best films since 1980’, which can be seen on my film page. Some interesting trends are emerging. Firstly, the best of Hollywood has scored well on the lists of people with known subversive (i.e. artistic leanings)… The Matrix is doing well, as is Unforgiven, Pulp Fiction and Blade Runner. On the European side, we have heavy voting for Das Leven der Anderen (The Lives of Others), Cidade de Deus (City of God) and Amelie Poulin. Asian film just as strong, with Kar Wai Wong scoring with 2046 and In the Mood for Love.
It’s fun (for me at least) to connect the backgrounds of each person to the particular list of films they chose, both from a professional and geographical point of view. When this has gone on a bit longer, I may attempt a light-hearted statistical analysis!
A friend recently posted his 10 best on facebook (yes, I can’t avoid it since I need to find out when certain things are on in London that way). I challenged back, then he changed the rules to ‘only English language films’. Seems a pity to let my list go to waste, so…. in no particular order…. Continue reading