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Archive for March 7th, 2014

by Duane Porter

It’s been a great year for movies, even though there are quite a few I have yet to see. I try to limit my selections to those that had prominent premiers during the year 2013. For example, Kiarostami’s Like Someone In Love, Baumbach’s Francis Ha, and De Palma’s Passion have appeared on some 2013 lists. All three of these are in my top ten for 2012. Also, there are several films from 2013 that I am waiting to see, such as Claire Denis’ The Bastards, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy, Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin, and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. Any one of these may have the potential to alter my present list. So, with these reservations in mind, here is my list of the best films of 2013.

1. Before Midnight, Richard LinklaterImage

After putting his son on a plane for home, Jesse returns to his car and the waiting Celine. For the next ten minutes or so, in a scene evoking Rosselini’s Voyage to Italy and more recently Kiarostami’s Certified Copy, Celine and Jesse talk. The long take allows the conversation to flow with a naturalness not often encountered in American movies. It’s the talking that’s exciting, the banter, the arguing, the philosophizing, I could listen to them talk for hours.

Dinner time. The conversation continues. This time there are several couples, in a scene reminiscent of Rohmer’s Le rayon vert, talking of food, books, relationships, sex, and life itself. Mingling the perspectives of youth, midlife, and old age the consensus around the table seems to be that we are all just passing through. (more…)

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2441764

by Allan Fish

(USA 2003 170m) not on DVD

Call 555…

p/d/w  Thom Andersen  ph  Deborah Stratman  ed  Seung-HyunYoo

narrated by  Encke King

The wording of the title to Thom Andersen’s three hour visual doctorate thesis on his home town could act as its ultimate summarisation.  It’s Los Angeles, not LA.  There had been a film titled LA Plays Itself, of course; that infamous gay porn classic from 1972 which Andersen even includes and praises.  Yet Andersen spends some of his three hour address – actually spoken by Encke King – talking about how he hates the abbreviation and how Hollywood became complicit in the foreshortening of the name.  This attitude, pernickety in the extreme to outsiders, sums up Los Angeles’ curmudgeonly appeal.  It’s the prejudiced, jaundiced diatribe of a grumpy old man.  In some ways it’s reminiscent of Terence Davies’ later Of Time and the City, but twice as long and no less grouchy.

That in itself brings another thought, of Los Angeles as one of a series.  Say that the BFI commissioned, as they did the Century of Cinema series in 1995, a series of movie documentaries along the lines of Los Angeles, but with different locations.  Andersen talks of the difference between LA and New York, so New York’s an obvious one, with Marty Scorsese, but then how about London Plays Itself by Patrick Keiller, Paris Plays Itself by Godard or Rivette, Rome Plays Itself with Bertolucci, even Tehran Plays Itself with Mark Cousins?  Interesting concept, but one for another diatribe than this. (more…)

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