Wednesday, January 02, 2008

to a year gone




This past year was a strange one when it came to my film-viewing habits. Frustratingly, my cinephilia only seemed to manifest itself in intermittent waves (usually to watch something utterly new to me, going against my resolution to go back to 'basics' - older favourites - this past year) which is when I dug into my unwatched pile of mostly older films with a pure desire for filmic sustenance, knowing that I won't be watching another film for days... (which, in reality, at times, stretched on for a week, sometimes two). As a result of the utter unpredictability of my viewing habits, my blogging suffered a great deal in these past few months. As per usual, the resolution this year is to watch more, write more, particularly on films which don't get seen enough, written about enough... Consider the following lists of films as subjects of potential posts that swirled in my head, never materialising (at least, not in the year that is gone).

Favourite new-ish films/film events experienced in 2007, in alphabetical order:

Autohystoria (Raya Martin)
Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako)
Belle toujours (Manoel de Oliveira)
De son appartement (Jean-Claude Rousseau)
Honor de cavalleria (Albert Serra)
Je suis une amoureuse (Jocelyne Desverchère)
July Trip (Waël Noureddine)
Juventude em Marcha / Tarrafal (Pedro Costa)
Profit motive and the whispering wind (John Gianvito)
Quei loro incontri (Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub) - seen for the first time in late 2006, but I returned to this several times earlier in 2007.
The Search (Kyle Canterbury)
Les Signes (Eugène Green)
Silêncio (François-Jacques Ossang)
State Legislature (Frederick Wiseman)
Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke)
Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Tout est pardonné (Mia Hansen-Love)
The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom (Adam Curtis)
Unas fotos en la ciudad de Sylvia (José Luis Guerín)
Viscera (Leighton Pierce)
Zodiac (David Fincher)
...and not to forget the untitled performance of filmic transformations spliced with live musique concrète deep into the night by La Cellule d'Intervention Metamkine.

Special mention goes to Johnny Gaddaar (Sriram Raghavan), the pulpy throwback to James Hadley Chase, The Asphalt Jungle, and Dev Anand thrillers from the 70s; despite its many flaws, it's one of the most compulsively watchable mainstream Hindi films in years.

Older films - masterpieces and near-masterpieces - seen for the first time in 2007 (there's bound to be others that I'm forgetting, and I wouldn't be surprised if I suddenly realise that I've included films here which I actually saw before 2007. I should keep a record of the films I see, even if things like this don't really matter much) :

Sicîlia! (Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet, 1999)
La Nuit claire (Marcel Hanoun, 1979) - even without subtitles, this is one of the most extraordinary things I've ever seen. I look forward to a more 'politically-correct' encounter and hopefully a write-up in the future... Can 2008 finally be the year of Marcel Hanoun?
Le Lit de la vierge (Philippe Garrel, 1969)
Angel Face (Otto Preminger, 1952)
The Old Place (Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville, 1998)
Route One USA (Robert Kramer, 1989)
H Story (Nobuhiro Suwa, 2001)
Parpaillon (Luc Moullet, 1993)
Les photos d'Alix (Jean Eustache, 1980)
The Connection (Shirley Clarke, 1962)
Silvestre (João César Monteiro, 1982)
Sleepwalk (Sara Driver, 1986)
Transition de phase dans les cristaux liquides (Jean Painlevé, 1978)
Diary (David Perlov, 1983) / Jeune femme à sa fenêtre lisant une lettre (Jean-Claude Rousseau, 1984) / Le Filmeur (Alain Cavalier, 2005)
Certificate No. X (Pierre Clementi, 1967-75)
Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs, 2004)
'Rameau's Nephew' by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen (Michael Snow, 1974)
The Fall (Peter Whitehead, 1969)
Black God, White Devil (Glauber Rocha, 1964)
Love Affair: Or, The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (Dušan Makavejev, 1967)
Harold Stevenson #1 and #2 (Danny Williams, 1965)
Toutes les nuits (Eugène Green, 2001)
Trade Tattoo (Len Lye, 1937)
Sergeant Rutledge (John Ford, 1960)
Ixe (Lionel Soukaz, 1980)
Death Powder (Shigeru Izumiya, 1986)
The Power of Emotion (Alexander Kluge, 1983)
The Red Light Bandit (Rogério Sganzerla, 1968)
L'Acadie, l'Acadie?!? (Michel Brault, Pierre Perrault, 1971)

...and special mention goes to my late-night, back-to-back viewings of Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, 1964) and Strip Nude For Your Killer (Andrea Bianchi, 1975). I must watch more giallo!

And finally, for the sake of closure, here's my favourite music of '07, new and old:

Karen Dalton - Cotton Eyed Joe: The Loop Tapes/ Live in Boulder 1962
Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda and Ptah, the El Daoud
Suicide - Suicide ('77)
Robert Wyatt - Comicopera *best new album of the year, as far as I'm concerned. Everything leading up to and including 'Out of the Blue' is just jaw-dropping...
Marin Marais - La Folia (Purcell Quartet)
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Abida Parveen - Raqs-e-Bismil
The Pentangle - Sweet Child
William Basinski - El Camino Real
Hala Strana - Heave the Gambrel Roof
Death Ambient - Drunken Forest
M.I.A. - Kala
Me'Shell NdegéOcello - The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams
Earth - Hibernaculum
Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava
John Dowland - Complete Lute Works Vol. 1-5
Martha & the Muffins - This is the Ice Age
Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information
Throbbing Gristle - Part Two: The Endless Not

Happy 2008, all!!

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