art in all its forms

art in all its forms

1/1/10

A decade of great films

Ouch. Now that's a tough one: naming the best films of a decade. Most people miss the majority of great films in any given year, far worse over the course of a decade.

For me, 'the noughties' were filled with some really, really wicked films that were produced in era which began with questions of the threat of terrorism and ended with a black man sitting in the Oval office. In between, there was renewed concern over the role of technology in human society and of the impact of human beings on the environment. Somehow, all of these issues, if you look carefully, were reflected in the collective aesthic, film or otherwise. But anyhow, enough of that. Here are my personal favorites.

FIRST TEN:

1. Cache (2005)

It starts with deception. We see the exterior of a house; it is a typical suburbian street in a city. But then we realise that we are watching the image of a video; the video is being watched by two characters whose family home has been filmed over the course of a day. The footage has been placed on video and delievered in a mysterious package.

What follows is one of the creepiest films ever made. Michael Haneke's film is not a thriller; it is a dream. And the perfect metaphor for an inglorious moment in European history. Stunning.

2. In the Mood for Love (2000)

I've just finished re-watching Kar Wai Wong's 2000 masterpiece and I think I have a better idea as to why it works. The key is the film's first 15 minutes. We are introduced at breakneck speed to all of the film's narrative elements. Images coalesce; we begin to understand where this is all going. We think we come to a conclusion and then are left breathless when we realise we were right. Utterly captivating, poetic and bittersweet. In a decade where most cinematography appeared anonymous, this film made its cinematographer, Christopher Doyle, a star.

3. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Don't ask me what happens. We're all still trying to figure it out. When last I checked Naomi Watts was making out with Laura Harring on a couch in a house in Las Vegas. This film brought David Lynch back from the dead, proving that he was still relevant and was still capable of producing fresh, compelling mind f-cking work.

4. Bad Education (2004)

Film noir meets autobiography in Pedro Almodovar's darkest movie. The meeting is explosive. Plus, there's Gael Garcia Bernal in a Versace dress, complete with codpiece, as he lip syncs Osvaldo Farres' 'Quizas, Quizas, Quizas'. What more can a boy want? Watch the film's trailer here.

5. Talk to Her (2002)

A female bull-fighter, a tough guy who cries at crap modernist fringe theatre, a coma patient who comes back to life--this is the stuff of soap opera right? Not in the hands of Almodovar who may have been THE director of the decade, apart from Haneke. One of the greatest scores ever recorded comes from Alberto Iglesias.

6. Far From Heaven (2002)

Todd Haynes directed this searing indictment of the hypocrisy of American society. This is the 1950's melodrama no one dared to make in that era, realised, as Roger Ebert has noted, without a single ounce of irony. In so doing Haynes gave a cinematic voice to black and to gay people everywhere in a film which, with simple devices, challenged the language of the cinema itself.

7. Dancer in the Dark (2000)

No discussion of the films of the noughties is complete without mention of Lars Von Trier. Forget the politics, examine the achievement that is Dancer in the Dark. Selma is a poor immigrant who is secretly going blind. She needs to save all her money to pay for a surgery for her child. She tells a friend she is blind, but her robs her. Then, in a confrontation with said friend, friend is killed, Selma is blamed and then hanged. Oh, and its a musical, too. Bjork in the single most unforgettable performance of the decade.

8. Let the Right One In (2009)

Read more here.

9. Team America (2004)

I'm sorry, but puppets f-cking, puking and blowing things up? Awesome. Plus an unforgettable appearance by Kim Jong Il. Of all the Bush-era political films, this one was the best.

10. Birth (2004)

This is perhaps one of the most underated films of the decade. From the director of Sexy Beast, Jonathan Glazer, the film follows a delicate widow (played by Nicole Kidman) years after the death of her husband as she is about to marry someone else. The film caused controversy when it premiered at Cannes in 2004 due to a scene with Kidman in a bathtub with a little boy. It is actually a disturbing but oddly alluring film that sets up an implausible premise that nonetheless compells us to watch. The closing images are haunting and I have never been able to forget them. This was a sad but powerful elegy to love.

THE LIST IS LONG, SO:

City of God
The Piano Teacher
There Will be Blood
No Country for Old Men
Deathproof
Inglourius Basterds
Sideways
3-Iron
The Fog of War
Capturing the Friedmans
Tarnation
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Amores Perros
Lost in Translation
Broken Flowers
Mysterious Skin
Donnie Darko
The Prestige
Fight Club
Children of Men
Jackie Brown
Silent Light
Volver
Vera Drake
The White Ribbon
Elephant
Last Days
The Wrestler
25th Hour
Fahrenheit 9/11
Unbreakable
Were The World Mine

WHAT DID I FORGET? WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITES?

6 comments:

  1. 'Synedoche, New York' was great and 'Adaptation'...

    ReplyDelete
  2. @ Anonymous

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/12/the_best_films_of_the_decade.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. what about epics or trilologies? you left those out like Lord of the Rings,matrix and even the later Potter movies...as a matter of Fact I think from Chamber of Secrets to the latest installation of the Potter series were well done...
    while it is noteworthy to have a lot of the film noir on your list you need to remember there are many who have not seen great ones like Volver

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  4. Agnes Varda's 'THE GLEANERS AND I'
    & Werner Herzog's 'GRIZZLY MAN'
    could be on the list
    notable's... Cronenberg's 'EASTERN PROMISES'
    & Ang Lee's 'Brokeback Mtn' & 'LUST, CAUTION'

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love ''science of sleep '' with gael garcia bernal. also motocycle diaries with bernal.. and well all almodovar is amazing..

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  6. Usually the films drives me crazy. I love every kind of films.I think every film reflects many aspects of our lives. But i love most the simplicity with witch things are explained in every situation of the films.This is when buy viagra the pill is simply but the effect is really wonderful.

    ReplyDelete