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Archive for June 4th, 2016

by Duane Porter

Looking back at the films of last year. Adding another chapter to the ongoing history of cinema. A history of light and shadow, color and movement, music and sounds. Trying to look directly at the screen and see what is there without preconception or bias. These are the films that meant the most to me. A history of ancient China that unfolds with all the beauty of poetry and painting. A quirky homage to the screwball comedies of the past. A story of desire playing out during a time of repression. A documentary essay on aging, mortality, and the bond between a mother and daughter. A documentary/fantasy critique of the economic-political climate of modern Portugal. An action blockbuster that appealed to both the arthouse and the megaplex and even won a few academy awards. An avant-garde recreation of lost films from nearly a century ago. A highly personal spiritual quest that moves slowly through a beautiful world. A surprising single-take afterhours spree that suddenly morphs into a heist film. And even another cerebral sci-fi contemplation on humanity and artificial intelligence.

As is always the case, there are many films that I have been unable to see. Most notably, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendor, Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days, Hong Sang-soo’s Right Now, Wrong Then, Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart, Philippe Garrel’s In the Shadow of Women, and Andrzej Żuławski’s Cosmos. Any one of these might force a change in this line-up. But, as it stands today, these are my ten favorite films of 2015.

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1. The Assassin directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien

1_Assassin 2015WitD

Through diaphanous veils and reflections of candle flames hanging in the air, we see Lord Tian (Chang Chin) return to the side of Huji (Hsieh Hsin-Ying), his favorite concubine, after having confronted the assassin. She shows him a jade medallion she has found in their rooms that matches his own. (more…)

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