Thursday, January 21, 2010

Directors of the Decade

Slant Magazine's best of the decade feature - and with it my ranking of the top 100 films of the last ten years - is still a couple of weeks away (in the meantime check out the site's great new look), but I wanted here to offer my list of the period's most significant filmmakers. Below are my top ten directors of the decade, the decade being defined per the common (if, incorrect) usage as 2000-2009. Jia Zhang-ke should be understood as my top choice - the rest are in alphabetical order. List of principal works include only those that I have seen.

Jia Zhang-ke

Principal works:

Platform (2000)
Unknown Pleasures (2002)
The World (2004)
Still Life (2006)
Dong (short) (2006)
24 City (2008)
Cry Me a River (short) (2008)

Olivier Assayas

Principal works:

Les Destinées Sentimentales (2000)
Demonlover (2002)
Clean (2004)
Boarding Gate (2007)
Summer Hours (2008)

Claire Denis

Principal works:

Beau Travail (1999 - released 2000)
Trouble Every Day (2001)
Friday Night (2002)
L'Intrus (2004)
35 Shots of Rum (2008)
White Material (2009)

Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Principal works:

Millennium Mambo (2001)
Café Lumière (2003)
Three Times (2005)
Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)

David Lynch

Principal works:

Mulholland Drive (2001)
Inland Empire (2006)

Lucrecia Martel

Principal works:

La Ciénaga (2001)
The Holy Girl (2004)
The Headless Woman (2008)

Jafar Panahi

Principal works:

The Circle (2000)
Crimson Gold (2003)
Offside (2006)

Jacques Rivette

Principal works:

Va Savoir (2001)
The Story of Marie and Julien (2003)
Don't Touch the Axe (2007)
36 Vues du Pic Saint Loup (2009)

Béla Tarr

Principal works:

Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)
The Man from London (2007)

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Principal works:

Mysterious Object at Noon (2000)
Blissfully Yours (2002)
Tropical Malady (2004)
Syndromes and a Century (2006)
Phantoms of Nabua (short) (2009)
A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (short) (2009)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Akerman, Global Lens and Katrina Dogs

If Chantal Akerman is one of the world's most important filmmakers, you'd never know it from the spotty availability of her work. At least things are starting to change thanks to a recent rash of DVD reissues beginning with last year's release of her 1975 masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles in a typically lavish two-disc set from Criterion. Icarus Films followed by issuing a DVD of her essential 1993 offering From the East and now, through their Eclipse imprint, Criterion fills out the picture of her early work with their three-disc Chantal Akerman in the Seventies. Now all we need is someone to make available her forgotten work from the '80s.

My consideration of the Eclipse set can be found at Slant which also features a review of Mine, a doc about Katrina survivors separated from their pets, and a re-posting of my take on A Room and a Half from last year's New York Film Festival. For the Voice, I cover MOMA's Global Lens series.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year Link Roundup

The holiday season behind us at last, the perpetual hangovers giving way to a measure of mental clarity, it's time to get back to business. And so, here's two weeks of pieces from Slant Magazine, the Village Voice and Artforum, the last featuring my review of early January's key release, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash's terrific sheep herding doc Sweetgrass. Catch it while you can at Film Forum.

Youth in Revolt (Slant Magazine)
Old Partner (Slant Magazine)
Streamers DVD (Slant Magazine)
Garbage Dreams (Village Voice)
Sweetgrass (Artforum)