In my favourite film of the year, Tsai Ming-liang provides a stunning summation of an extraordinary career (so far) while at the same time, reaches for new ways of expressing intimacy and isolation: The Wayward Cloud is the oddest, funniest, and the most emotional film of his career. Gustav Deutsch's Welt Spiegel Kino/World Mirror Cinema uses the silent cinema screen to project hypnotic performances of Deutsch's creation, and links them to three separate found-footage films wherein large groups of people are captured in slow-motion outside cinemas in Vienna, Portugal, and Indonesia, to create metahistory in three chapters, literally finding "the new in the familiar". Ilya Khrjanovsky's 4/Chetyre is possibly the greatest debut feature of the last couple of years - a maddening and nightmarish journey from urban to rural, night to day, the comfortable to the excrutiating. Take it as an allegorical exposition of contemporary Russian politics and culture, or simply as a surreal trip to an alien land, recalling the films of Béla Tarr and David Lynch (the film's brilliant sound design seems to directly recall the industrial landscape of Eraserhead). Outerborough is Bill Morrison's split-screen playground in Cinemascope: 1899 footage captured from the frontal and back POVs of a train crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is manipulated to create what can only be described as Music - in a film with no sound.
top ten films of 2005:
01. The Wayward Cloud (Tsai Ming-liang)
02. Mutual Appreciation (Andrew Bujalski)
03. A Tale of Cinema (Hong Sang-soo)
04. Caché (Michael Haneke)
05. Welt Spiegel Kino (Gustav Deutsch)
06. 4 (Ilya Khrjanovsky)
07. Land of the Dead (George A. Romero)
08. Outerborough (Bill Morrison)
09. L'Enfant (Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne)
10. Last Days (Gus Van Sant)
I need to see these films!: Les Amants réguliers (Philippe Garrel), The New World (Terrence Malick), I Am A Sex Addict (Caveh Zahedi), Mary (Abel Ferrara), The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach), Three Times (Hou Hsiao-hsien), Magic Mirror (Manoel de Oliveira, who turned 97 a few days ago), The Sun (Aleksandr Sokurov), Who's Camus Anyway? (Mitsuo Yanagimachi), etc. etc. etc.
2004 films seen-and-liked this year (in order of preference): L'Intrus (Claire Denis), The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson), I Heart Huckabees (David O. Russell), The World (Jia Zhang-ke), Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki).
Happy holidays, everybody!