Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007: The Year in Film

2007 was one of the finest film-going years in recent memory. After a disappointing 2006 (at least for this writer), 2007 witnessed major new works from many of our finest Anglophone directors: David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher, Joel and Ethan Coen, Brad Bird, Noah Baumbach, and so forth. Indeed, the successes of the American cinema in 2007 has been one of the leading stories since their initial impact at Cannes this past May. Outside the English-language cinema, the continued prominance of the so-called Romanian "new wave" has continued to entrance critics (with the US premieres of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and 12:08 East of Bucharest), even if this nascent movement is not represented on any of Tativille's contributors' lists. Interestingly, a recent, unexpected upturn in the German cinema is indicated in both Lisa and my choices with our inclusions of the pictured Longing and Summer '04 (even as the higher profile The Lives of Others did not quite make the cut). Otherwise, 2007, at the local level at least, witnessed the appearance of a series of fine Southeast Asian pictures, including Syndromes and a Century (which our contributors saw in 2006 making it ineligable), I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, Opera Jawa and The Elephant and the Sea, among others.

Globally, Richard's list in particular gives the best indication of where world cinema might be at this specific moment. Personally, I cannot wait to see many of his preferences, especially the latest by one of our shared favorites, Jacques Rivette. As always, I will post my global favorites of 2007 once I have caught up with many of the more highly-touted works. Until then, here are the best pictures we saw during the past twelve months:

Michael J. Anderson, Ten Best Films
Lisa K. Broad, Ten Best Films
Emily Condon, Ten Best Films
Matt Hauske, Termite Art
Andrea Janes, Spinster Aunt
Pamela Kerpius, Scarlett Cinema
Maggie Lyon, Fourteen Seconds
Mike Lyon, Fourteen Seconds
Michael Polizzi, Fourteen Seconds
Matt Singer, Termite Art
Richard Suchenski, Ten Best Films
R. Emmet Sweeney, Termite Art
Karen Wang, Scarlett Cinema
Alberto Zambenedetti, Termite Art

Updated (1/1/08): Currently, the selections of the "year's best" are as follows: 1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Alberto, Karen, Pam), Flight of the Red Balloon (Mike A., Richard, Rob); 3. No Country for Old Men, (Matt S., Maggie), There Will Be Blood (Michael P., Mike L.); 5. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Lisa), I'm Not There (Emily), Nancy Drew (Andrea).


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Michael E. Kerpan Jr. said...

Still working on my (heavily Asian-tilted list). I still have yet to see a number of important contenders -- such as the new films of Rivette, Hou and Jia. Here's where I am right now.

Top of the top:

LEE Yoon-ki’s Ad Lib Night
LEE Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine
Kaurismaki’s Laitakaupungin valot / Lights in the Dusk
Bong’s Gwoemul / The Host, ZHANG Yibai’s Ye. Shanghai / Longest Night in Shanghai (best romantic comedy)
Jun Ichikawa’s Ashita no watashi no Tsukurikata (best film about schoolgirls and cellphones)
Hui’s My Aunt’s Postmodern Life (best film especially reliant on older performers)
Nobuhiro Yamashita’s Tennen kokekkô / A Gentle Breeze in the Village (best film about rural school kids)

(If I considered "Linda, Linda, Linda" or "Still Life" 2007 films, I would have to make rooom on my list for these.

Honorable mentions:

Im’s Old Garden
To’s Exiled
Hanawa’s Hatsukoi / First Love
Senbon’s Akai Kujira to Shiroi Hebi / Red Whale, White Snake
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Sakebi / Retribution
Shiota’s Dororo
Kawase’s Mogari no mori / The Mourning Forest
Herzog’s Rescue Dawn
Kaneko’s Death Note: The Last Name
Yamada’s Love and Honor
Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (best animated film)
Tominaga’s Pavilion Salamandre
LEE Sang-il’s Hula Girls
Nishikawa’s Yureru / Sway
Ogigami’s Kamome shokudo / Seagull Diner
Burton’s Sweeney Todd

All in all, I would have to rate 2007 as an exceptional year, at least looked at from my own particular perspective. I would note, my honorable mentions list contains only _some_ of the films I liked quite a bit.