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The films I'm including on the list are films released in the US in 2011. They may have been released earlier in other countries.
1. The Tree Of Life (Malick)
!!!!! SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW SEE THIS FILM NOW !!!!!
2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Weerasethakul)
A beautiful film about the gradual disappearance of spirituality and economization of faith. A visual, metaphorical film.
3. Certified Copy (Kiarostami)
A film where a woman emotionally recovering from a divorce meets a writer who has written a book arguing that a copy can be as good as the original. It starts as a discussion over the value of copies, and turns into an act between the two where the writer plays the role of her ex husband and tries to resolve her issues.
4. Midnight In Paris (Allen)
Woody Allen's best film in over a decade. The film is about an American screenwriter in Paris, hitching along on his fiance's father's business trip, who wants to make the transition to serious literature and idealizes the 1920's in Paris. Every night, he's literally transported back to the 1920's, where he gets to interact with his idols. The film is hysterical if you get the references and works as a great satire on nostalgia.
5. Le Quattro Volta (Frammartino)
A four part visually driven film which shows the de-naturalization of industry.
6. Another Year (Leigh)
7. The Illusionist (Chomet)
8. Meek's Cutoff (Reichardt)
One of the slowest films I've seen all year, but emotionally complex and very beautiful.
9. Of Gods And Men (Beauvois)
10. My Perestroika
7. The Illusionist (Chomet)
So now not only are there two magician films that came out at the same time to confuse us, now there is a film with the same name as one of them...
Oh Gawd I watched the Tree of Life at the cinema (it finally came out over here in the UK) and it was such a wierd experience. It's very easy to be cynical about it and just deem it pretension (which is what I do some of the time) - indeed when the end credits started showing,some pockets of the audience just started laughing. But at the same time, you just can't ignore some of the beautiful cinematography that there is.
I don't really know what I think about it - it's both intentionally obscure yet at the same time utterly captivating. The "space scenes" including the wierd part with the dinosaurs were incredibly enjoyable, though at the same time, I felt it was part of a another film, with other themes. It's as if there was a huge underlying theme to the whole film which I missed, and it's left me feeling unsure whether I hated it or loved it.
My take on the film:
The family portion of the film is Sean Penn's stream of consciousness as he tries to process the fact of his brother's death. Rather than showing you the melodramatic events of his life as most films does, it shows you emotionally resonant episodes of the space in between those events. It sends images at you so fast that you are placed in the same frame of reference of the characters: You only have time to process and react to them on a base emotional level.
I've seen the analogy made, poetry is to prose as Tree Of Life is to film. That makes it sound pretentious, but I think it helps to approach the film with that idea in mind.
And it doesn't hurt that every shot of the film is really, really pretty.
Yesterday I saw Jodaeiye Nader az Simin / A Separation in the cinema, magnificent. It is an Iranian drama. The acting is superb and it's very interesting to get a somewhat realistic view of the Iranian society. The refreshing things is that all characters are really very human, flawed like they should be. Easily the best film I've seen from 2011 until now.
I'll make sure to try to see that if it becomes available to me.
Have you seen any Panahi films? I recommend The White Balloon, The Circle, and The Mirror.