2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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swo17
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2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#1 Post by swo17 » Wed May 06, 2015 4:54 pm

VOTING IS CLOSED. RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE.

If you are reading this sentence, you are eligible to participate in our forum's latest decades lists project exploring the films of the 2000s. If you know anyone adventurous enough--on or off the forum--that you think would also enjoy participating, feel free to invite them as well.

Please PM me your list of what you believe are the top 50 films from the decade toward the end of the project. I will send confirmation that I have received your list after I have tabulated it. If you haven't heard from me within a day, you should follow up with me to make sure that I received your list. You may feel that you could compile a list of 50 favorite films from this period much earlier than the deadline, but it's still highly recommended that you engage in the discussions here. Don't keep your favorites a secret, and always be open to suggestions from others!


THE RULES

1) Each individual list is to comprise no more or less than 50 films, ranked in your order of preference (with no ties). If you haven't yet seen 50 films from the decade that you think are genuinely great (or even if you have), please take advantage of the resources listed below and participate in the ongoing discussions to find films that you can be proud to put on your list.

2) Any feature film, documentary, experimental film, short film, music video, TV miniseries, TV movie, TV special, or isolated episode from an anthology TV series released in the 2000s (2000-2009) is eligible.

3) The date given on IMDb is the relevant date for determining a film's year of release, even when it's clearly wrong (unless a special case is made below). If the film is not on IMDb and you say it was released during the 2000s, I'll take your word for it.

4) In certain cases, it may be appropriate for films that are technically separate to be combined, or for films that are technically combined to be separated. In such cases, you may vote for either a part or the whole, but bear in mind that all votes will be competing against each other (e.g. a vote for Ivan the Terrible Pt. 1 will not count toward the vote for Ivan the Terrible in the final tally). Generally, if multiple films are allowed to be combined for voting purposes, you should probably vote for them that way unless you are strongly opposed to doing so. The most common cases:

• Single-director multi-part films for which each segment was released separately (e.g. Feuillade's serials, Lang's two-part epics) may be considered as a single film. Films included in trilogies may not be combined.

• Variant edits: For films that exist in multiple versions (e.g. Welles' Mr. Arkadin, Rivette's Out 1), all votes that don't specify a "secondary" version will be counted toward the "primary" version.

• Portmanteau films: Each of the individual segments and the film as a whole are all separately eligible.

We may occasionally need to make a special case related to rule 3 or 4. If you are seriously considering including a film on your list that you have a question about in this regard, bring it up in this thread and we'll iron it out. However, I will not make any further exceptions during the last week of the project.

For more details about rules and procedures, please refer here.

Finally, though it is not strictly required, it is recommended that you include titles for films that you discuss in this thread in bold, as it will help the film titles stick out amidst all of the other information that will inevitably pile up in this thread. If you particularly like a film, you might even highlight it in another color.


ELIGIBILITY – REMINDERS / SPECIAL CASES

The following are examples of multi-part films/miniseries that are eligible to be voted for as a single film: Kill Bill, Grindhouse, Che, Flags of Our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima, Persian Series, Cinévardaphoto, The Tulse Luper Suitcases, The Cremaster Cycle, Band of Brothers, Generation Kill, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, No Direction Home

In some of these cases, you may feel strongly that you only want to vote for one part of the whole. You can do this, but again, just remember that all votes will be competing against each other (e.g. for all intents and purposes, Grindhouse, Planet Terror, and Death Proof are three completely separate films).

Even though the first parts of Brakhage's Persian Series started in the 1990s, the whole thing is eligible now.

Individual installments of Barney's Cremaster cycle have been eligible for the 1990s and 2000s projects. If you believe strongly that they should all be considered as a single film, you are welcome to vote for The Cremaster Cycle during this project.

The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy and cannot be voted for as a single film.

Benning's El Valley Centro and Honigmann's Crazy were recently reclassified as 1999 films on IMDb. Since they were classified as 2000 films throughout the 1990s project and most of this project, they are eligible now.

The following films may be cited as 2000s releases in some places, but not on IMDb, and so are not eligible for this list: Outer Space, Spectres of the Spectrum, Kikujiro, Horizontal Boundaries, La Vallée close, Shutter Island, Biutiful, In Camera (Palit), Audition, Margaret, The Virgin Suicides, Homo Sapiens 1900, The Wind Will Carry Us, Beau travail, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

The following films are cited as 2000s films on IMDb, and so are eligible for this list, regardless of what anyone else might say: Wings of Hope, My Voyage to Italy, Enter the Void, Extraordinary Stories, Un prophète, Dogtooth, White Material, Wild Grass, Fish Tank, I Am Love, Katalin Varga, Life During Wartime, Melody for a Street Organ, Our Beloved Month of August, Valhalla Rising, The Time That Remains, The White Meadows, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno, Incident by a Bank, At Sea, Alamar, Amer, About Elly, There's a Strong Wind in Beijing, Cántico das criaturas, Love Exposure, Double Tide, Bluebeard


RESOURCES

Past Forum Discussions
Discussion from the Forum's Prior 2000s Project
Defending of Sad Pandas from the Forum's Prior 2000s Project
Discussion from the Forum's First 2000s Project
Defending of Sad Pandas from the Forum's First 2000s Project
Discussion from the Forum's Genre List Projects
Discussion from the Forum's Shorts List Project
The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture 1969-Present
Dynamic Top Tens of 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009
Dynamic Consensus Lists for 2009
100 Russian and Eastern European Classics
Premium Cable Staples Worth Revisiting
Underrated Films from the '90s and '00s

Forum Discussions of International DVDs
African / Bulgarian / Chinese / Cuban / Czech / Dutch / Finnish / German / Hungarian / Indian / Italian / Norwegian / Polish / Romanian / South American / Swedish / Turkish / Ukrainian / Yugoslavian

Forum Discussions of Filmmakers Active During the 2000s
Woody Allen / Pedro Almodóvar / Robert Altman / Paul Thomas Anderson / Wes Anderson / Theo Angelopoulos / Shinji Aoyama / Aleksei Balabanov / Noah Baumbach / Bernardo Bertolucci / Leos Carax / John Carpenter / Claude Chabrol / Chen Kaige / Joel & Ethan Coen / Wes Craven / David Cronenberg / Adam Curtis / Joe Dante / Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne / Alex de la Iglesia / Claire Denis / Brian De Palma / Jess Franco / Phillipe Garrel / Terry Gilliam / Jean-Luc Godard / Peter Greenaway / Michael Haneke / Don Hertzfeldt / Hong Sang-soo / Dennis Hopper / Hou Hsiao-hsien / Shōhei Imamura / Otar Iosseliani / Shunji Iwai / Kim Ki-duk / Alexander Kluge / Hirokazu Koreeda / Harmony Korine / Kiyoshi Kurosawa / Spike Lee / Sidney Lumet / David Lynch / Guy Maddin / Terrence Malick / David Mamet / Michael Mann / Takashi Miike / Hayao Miyazaki / Lukas Moodysson / Errol Morris / Kira Muratova / Christopher Nolan / Nicolás Pereda / Roman Polański / Mohammad Rasoulof / Alain Resnais / Jacques Rivette / Nicolas Roeg / George Romero / Alan Rudolph / Raúl Ruiz / Martin Scorsese / Ousmane Sembène / Jerzy Skolimowski / Steven Soderbergh / Aleksandr Sokurov / Shinji Somai / Steven Spielberg / Jan Švankmajer / Quentin Tarantino / Béla Tarr / Bertrand Tavernier / Johnnie To / Jan Troell / Tsai Ming-liang / Shinya Tsukamoto / Gus Van Sant / Agnès Varda / Paul Verhoeven / Andrzej Wajda / John Waters / Apichatpong Weerasethakul / Wong Kar-wai / Edward Yang / Zhang Yimou

Guides Within This Thread
Do you feel you have an especially informed opinion about the work during the 2000s from a particular director, country, genre, etc.? Many people here would greatly appreciate your taking the time to prepare a guide for navigating through all that's available. (Though they do not necessarily need to be comprehensive.) Guides are especially welcome for extremely prolific directors/movements, or to summarize availability for films (such as shorts) that are often hidden away on releases for other films or only available on the web. Past examples: Director Guide, Country Guide, Genre Guide, DVD Availability Guide

domino harvey on Chabrol, Mamet
knives on Kaufman, Monteiro, Schrader & De Palma
The Narrator Returns on Soderbergh
mfunk9786 on P.T. Anderson
jorencain on Woody Allen
Shrew on Zhang Yimou, Chen and Tian, commercial Chinese cinema, Feng and Zhang Yang

AWAITING FURTHER GUIDES

External Resources
A list of films from the 2000s appearing on They Shoot Pictures, Don't They's Top 1000, 21st Century, or Doubling the Canon lists
(This list is by no means comprehensive, but can serve as a good reminder of some of the more prominent films that are eligible from this decade. Conversely, if you love a film that doesn't show up here, that might be a good indicator that it could use an extra push.)
National lists
Cahiers du Cinema's Top 10 lists for the decade
LoveHKfilms.com's Top 50 Hong Kong films of the decade

AWAITING FURTHER SUGGESTIONS

Recommended Reading

AWAITING SUGGESTIONS


FORUM MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS

Is there a film you love that you fear is under most people's radar? Try shining a light on it! To inaugurate a film into the spotlight section, just follow these three simple steps:

1. Make a post about the film discussing why you find it so exceptional.
2. Clearly indicate that you wish the film to be one of your spotlight titles.
3. Direct others to where the film can be found.

I'll keep track of all the spotlight titles here so that they can be easily referenced. You're welcome to have more than one spotlight title, but try not to have too many more, so it's manageable for everyone to be able to see them all. Remember: This might be the only time someone goes out on a limb to take one of your recommendations, so make it count!

Everyone is strongly encouraged to give each of these films the same chance that you would hope others would give your own spotlight titles.

Lake of Fire (Tony Kaye) (DarkImbecile)
As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas) (knives)
Songs for Dead Children (Brothers Quay) (knives)
Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhang-ke) (Shrew)
Down in the Valley (David Jacobson) (domino harvey)
Shirin (Abbas Kiarostami) (Tommaso)
Blind Shaft (Li Yang) (Lemmy Caution)
Gravity (Nicolas Provost) (swo17)
Spanky: To the Pier and Back (Guy Maddin) (swo17)
Head On (Fatih Akin) (jindianajonz)

AWAITING FURTHER SUGGESTIONS


DESPERATELY SEEKING SO AND SO

Is there a film you're dying to see but you've exhausted all possible avenues for finding it and still come up short? List it here and perhaps some kind soul will be able to direct you to a copy by PM. Please limit listings here to only a few films that you're most desperate to see.

swo17 and bamwc2 are seeking:
The Decay of Fiction (Pat O'Neill)

AWAITING FURTHER REQUESTS


***Please PM me if you have any suggestions for additions to/deletions from this first post.***

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domino harvey
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#2 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:50 pm

Not sure why they didn't merit inclusion in the first post, but here are the board Dynamic Top 10 Threads for this decade: 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009

I always find these threads helpful just for being able to spot and plan viewings of recurring titles I might not otherwise have sought out

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swo17
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#3 Post by swo17 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:08 pm

Hadn't occurred to me. Thanks for the suggestion.

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domino harvey
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#4 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:31 pm

DIRECTOR GUIDE

CLAUDE CHABROL

Merci pour le chocolat (2000) RA/1 Cohen
La fleur du mal / the Flower of Evil (2003) R1 LionsGate (OOP) / R2 Claude Chabrol Collection Vol 2
La Demoiselle d'honneur / the Bridesmaid (2004) R1 First Run
L'ivresse du pouvoir / Comedy of Power (2006) R1 Koch Lorber
La Fille coupée en deux / A Girl Cut in Two (2007) R1 IFC (OOP)
Bellamy / Inspector Bellamy (2009) R1 IFC (OOP)

Late period Chabrol is a bit like wine-tasting: you have to appreciate the nuances and variation on the same idea, so just seeing one or two probably won't help you differentiate the best from the rest. Merci pour le chocolat is in the realm of the not quite effective, despite some clever playfulness with regards to Chabrol's liberal quoting of Secret Beyond the Door (which one character rents, in case it wasn't clear-- this is definitely apiece with Chabrol's philosophy of manipulating film critics by placing those source texts he wants invoked in discussion into the film itself). La fleur du mal is one of the two Chabrol films I'd strongly recommend from this decade, but it's the clearest example of Chabrol twinkling the piano keys, to steal Godard's expression. Lowkey to the point of catatonia, the film is one of Chabrol's most wicked normalizations of aberrant bougie familial interactions, with the class and manners taking on meaning far beyond the mere plot service. La Demoiselle d'honneur is Chabrol's best film of the decade, and his last masterwork. One of the most outwardly Hitchcockian films ever made by one of the most outwardly Hitchcockian directors not to be named Alfred Hitchcock, the film's concerns of lust and sacrifice are wickedly played with by Chabrol's smart and lean direction of what is a slick and clever "romantic" caper capped with one of the greatest (and sudden) "Oh fuck" endings ever.

Things go downhill pretty fast with Chabrol's final three features this decade (he also directed some shorter literary adaptations for French TV this decade, all of which are available subbed up on You Know Where). L'ivresse du pouvoir is the least Chabrol-y film he made in the last twenty years of his life, a tale of corporate intrigue that not even Isabelle Huppert can salvage. It's not a bad film, but it is an instantly forgettable one. Chabrol's widest release of the decade, La Fille coupée en deux, is pretty uneven in its depiction of class warfare as manifested in a sexual relationship, but it does feature one of those breakaway great comic perfs that occasionally pepper Chabrol's work thanks to Benoît Magimel, who gives a great and atypical (compared to his other films for Chabrol this decade) acting exercise that aims for the same back rows that Philippe Noiret played to decades earlier in Chabrol's Masques. Finally, and sadly, with a whimper, is Bellamy, a rather standard-issue policier with Gerard Depardieu as the titular inspector who rather lazily investigates a mystery in a spirit not far enough removed from a standard issue television crime drama.

My stated criticisms not withstanding, I really wouldn't discourage anyone from watching any of these films, but you might want to just stop with the one-two punch of the Flower of Evil and the Bridesmaid and pretend he went out on top.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#5 Post by knives » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:05 am

Must admit I have a different reaction to the two I've seen. The exact sleepiness of Flower of Evil basically did that to me with the Bougie play arounds not doing anything he hadn't already done with more pizzazz elsewhere, though I suppose the absence of pizzazz is your point. On the other hand while I agree it's nothing more then a basic genre exercise (and a less wacky retread of a few of Chabrol's films) Bellamy is such a fun way of exercising (and I'll admit one of the first Chabrols I ever saw) that it at least deserves an analogy to some of the having fun just being me films that people like Resnais and Polanski put out this decade. I don't know if I'll do my own guides this time around, but only as a result of little time.

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swo17
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#6 Post by swo17 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:12 am

I might mention that virtually all of Ben Russell's films from this decade can be viewed on his Vimeo channel. I particularly recommend The Red and the Blue Gods, The Twenty-One Lives of Billy the Kid, and Black and White Trypps Number Four.

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domino harvey
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#7 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:47 pm

Recent viewings for the project:

Get Smart (Peter Segal 2008) Yes, I would believe this remake of the TV series is a failure, with a cast of likable actors in roles I'm not quite sure they fit (other than Alan Arkin, who as always is playing Alan Arkin). Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart was a fine casting decision in theory, but this film's more of an action pic than expected and as a result, well, Carell (or his too-obvious body double) isn't any more effective in the movie's set-pieces than he is shoehorning in the requisite nods to the series' catchphrases (nothing dies quicker in this film than Carell trying to get in one of Don Adams' lines every twenty minutes or so). Anne Hathaway's finest moment is just wearing a sequin skintight dress and dodging lasers / ripping off Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment (Judges? We'll allow it). Perhaps there is a world out there where Anne Hathaway does fall for Steve Carell because he can dance with fat women and sincerely says things like "Hey, you don't need plastic surgery" during rare moments of non-explosions or punchlines, but it seems inordinately optimistic at best. While there are a few errant chuckles here or there, the only thing of significant note in the film are all the George W Bush and post-9/11 terrorism jokes, which are more plentiful than expected. It's an interesting little time capsule in that regard, and the only way to invoke the word "interesting" in conjunction with the film.

the Origin of Myths (Margaret Brown 2008) Though it mostly made me want to rewatch Treme, this is a strong documentary depicting the twin segregated Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, Alabama. The film's commentary on race isn't overpowering and is more gleaned through a series of comparison portrayals of each race's respective balls and preparations. The different reactions of the celebration's "royalty" to being included in each other's balls gives the best perspective into how each side sees themselves, and there's a sad sheen given to the various crumbs thrown at one side from the other.

Playing Mona Lisa (Matthew Huffman 2001) Exhaustively thorough collection of romantic comedy cliches, this is a laugh-free affair about your standard issue career professional (Alicia Witt) who faces a breakup and loss of job prospects with a move back home. Of course her parents (Played by That Girl and Elliott Gould) live in the same city as her, so there's not even the traditional pleasures of relocating. That's indicative of the whole film, which can't be bothered to be anything but predictable and unlikely unless it's to make an even less interesting creative decision. The ostensible premise of the film, that the way to seduce men is to give out no emotions ala the Mona Lisa, is at least an idea, but the film utilizes this for maybe five minutes, and even that concept is predicated on the false idea that anyone who looks like Witt would have trouble attracting potential suitors. Harvey Fierstein is also in this so that he can participate in a third act reveal that is not nearly as clever or interesting as the filmmakers believed.

Ripley's Game (Liliana Cavani 2003) My fourth film adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith character and my least favorite (or tied with Purple Noon, maybe). While Malkovich is his usual unflappable self, the film he's in is so presentational and artless that it's no small wonder this went straight to cable in the states. There are few moments where things perk up, as when a series of protracted strangulations occur aboard the populated train, but overall the film is too respectful and pleased with its performances to lend the film anything but the most basic of crime flick elements.

Wide Awake (Alan Berliner 2007) Berliner's self-involved doc style leads to this diary of sorts concerning his night owl sleep tendencies and his attempts at rectifying them to a more traditional sleep schedule in anticipation of the birth of his son. Berliner often comes off as short-tempered and a bit obnoxious, which is the point I suspect, but there are enough interesting tangents and observations present to help sugar the pill of the narcissistic asides (though I gather these are the parts Berliner's fans enjoy most). My favorite moment in the film occurs when Berliner screens Nobody's Business for a bored-looking college auditorium filled to about 1/5 capacity and uses nightvision camera to film all the people who fall asleep during his movie!

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#8 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:06 pm

I just made a list of everything on Letterboxd I put that I gave at least 3 stars from that decade. I came up with 183 titles.

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swo17
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#9 Post by swo17 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:24 pm

3 stars out of 5? I'd have to like a film a lot more than that for it to have a chance at making my list.
domino harvey wrote:the Origin of Myths (Margaret Brown 2008) Though it mostly made me want to rewatch Treme, this is a strong documentary depicting the twin segregated Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, Alabama. The film's commentary on race isn't overpowering and is more gleaned through a series of comparison portrayals of each race's respective balls and preparations. The different reactions of the celebration's "royalty" to being included in each other's balls gives the best perspective into how each side sees themselves, and there's a sad sheen given to the various crumbs thrown at one side from the other.
Nailed it?

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#10 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:49 pm

I underestimated how much movie watching I did in my 20's.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#11 Post by zedz » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:32 pm

domino harvey wrote:That Girl and Elliott Gould
That's a Sundance-ready film title if ever I heard one.

I'm glad you liked The Origin of Myths. It's a fine film that tackles a Big American Subject with rare restraint and nuance. I don't know if I'll have room for it on my final 50, but it's in the morass of maybes.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#12 Post by zedz » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:41 pm

domino harvey wrote:Wide Awake (Alan Berliner 2007) Berliner's self-involved doc style leads to this diary of sorts concerning his night owl sleep tendencies and his attempts at rectifying them to a more traditional sleep schedule in anticipation of the birth of his son. Berliner often comes off as short-tempered and a bit obnoxious, which is the point I suspect, but there are enough interesting tangents and observations present to help sugar the pill of the narcissistic asides (though I gather these are the parts Berliner's fans enjoy most). My favorite moment in the film occurs when Berliner screens Nobody's Business for a bored-looking college auditorium filled to about 1/5 capacity and uses nightvision camera to film all the people who fall asleep during his movie!
Berliner IS obnoxious and overbearing in this film (especially in his 'I want to keep everybody in the house awake so I can document my sleeplessness!' mode), but to his credit he doesn't do any special pleading on his own behalf - he realizes he's being obnoxious and obsessive. I find the subject of the film really interesting, but I tend to shy away from his more narcissistic films (which must be a toss-up between this and The Sweetest Sound) so I came away somewhat ambivalent. If you can track down his recent First Cousin, Once Removed, however, don't hesitate. I think it's his best film by a wide margin, and in the context of a career that's been all about obsessively documenting himself and his family it's especially devastating.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#13 Post by zedz » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:41 pm

I'm not sure what I'll be offering up as a spotlight title just yet, but here are six films I think I voted for last time and will no doubt vote for this time that are - as far as I know - completely unavailable on DVD or BluRay, subtitled or un-. If anybody can prove me wrong, I'd be absolutely delighted. In the meantime, if you happen to stumble across a screening or streaming, they're all highly recommended.

Morphia (Balabanov) - The late, great modern Russian filmmaker actually had a decent representation of his work available on DVD, but not the film I'd class as his best, a dark and stylish tale of a rural doctor during the Civil War who becomes hooked to his own supply. A chilling portrait of addiction, but also a grand, ingenious period film.

Paper Soldier (German) - German Jr, that is, and a completely different animal than his confrontational father. This is a large-scale, old-fashioned, serious Cinemascope arthouse film, of the kind hardly anybody makes any more. Another dislocated doctor comes adrift in the middle of nowhere: this time he's charged with overseeing the Soviet space programme in Kazakhstan (call the camel wrangler!) in the early 60s. Just great filmmaking all around. His earlier The Last Train is damn near as good. It's about - let's see - a dislocated doctor coming adrift in the middle of nowhere (the frontlines, WWII). His latest, the very mildly sci-fi, time-hopping Under Electric Clouds, is also terrific, and I can't remember any doctors in that one, but at any rate it will have to wait until next time.

Melody for a Street Organ (Muratova) - Hansel and Gretel go to Kiev! Muratova has made some of the greatest films of the last fifty years, but hardly any of them (and none of the greatest ones) are available on home video. This is one of her best, a colourful, pitiless modern fable that's a little like Fellini with rigour, and sharp satirical teeth. Probably the ultimate anti-Christmas film as well. Eligible and available with subs (if you can find a stockist of the Ruscico DVD) is Chekhovian Motifs, a really terrible place to start with Muratova (that won't be making my list), but at least it will give you an idea of just how strange and original and offputting she can be.

South of the Clouds (Zhu) - An older guy gives in to nostalgia and finds himself gently but firmly trapped there. Very lowkey, but compelling. Kind of like Hong Sang-soo surrendering to his Kafkaesque dark side (but with better cinematography).

Sound Barrier (Naderi) - This scrappy no-budget American feature by semi-forgotten pioneer of the New Iranian Cinema Amir Naderi (The Runner, Wind Water Dust) seemed a bit strained and overdone when I first saw it, but it's a film I've never been able to forget. For what seems like forever, a deaf-mute child sits in a storage locker, obsessively playing audio cassette after audio cassette. Which he can't hear, and which makes him immensely frustrated. What seems like a relentless exercise in absurdism very gradually evolves into an actual narrative. which actually makes a kind of sense. But what I'll never shake is the utter intensity of that kid, and his rage at being locked out of experience.

Crazy (Honigmann) - I've gone on about this fantastic documentary many times (documentaries and war discussions at the very least). Heddy Honigmann is one of the great modern documentary filmmakers and any and all of her works are worth tracking down. Forever from 2006, in which she films visitors to the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, is available on DVD and is superb.

I was prepared to include Nobuhiro Yamashita's A Gentle Breeze in the Village on this list, but discovered it was available on Japanese BluRay with English subs (supposedly). I've ordered it and will report back if it turns out to indeed be subbed.

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domino harvey
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#14 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:47 pm

FYI for those with the will and the way: All of those films except Morphia are available via That Site Which Shall Not Be Named (and subbed, where applicable)

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swo17
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#15 Post by swo17 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:52 pm

Actually so is Morphia/Morfiy/Morphine.

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TMDaines
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#16 Post by TMDaines » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:39 am

Here are handy IMDb lists of the results of the first and second round of the 2000s list project.

The first one is really whacky because of when it was made, serving as first half of the decade list with a couple of films from 2005. I hope we will do a clean first half of the 2010s next year (2010-2014).

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#17 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:22 am

Just looked back at my previous 2000s list. Put it down to early fickleness, but I'm expecting some big shifts. Whilst the top two placings for Hidden and In The Mood For Love are unshakeable, I'm feeling much fonder for some of the films at the bottom end of my list (Two Lovers, In The City of Sylvia, XXY) than others closer to the top. And where I've chosen two films by the same director, I'm immediately thinking that the previously lower placed film will do better then the higher placed one. Head On over The Edge of Heaven? The Beat That My Heart Skipped over A Prophet?

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Tommaso
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#18 Post by Tommaso » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:30 am

These imdb lists are very helpful, especially as the old 2000 list here didn't give the directors' names which made it occasionally difficult to identify a film if you didn't know its international or US distribution title. Thanks, TMDaines.

Incidentally, the two films which were #1 and #2 on both these older lists are also #1 and #2 on my current provisional list (though in reverse order), and I can't imagine this will change in the course of this project. So, am I getting mainstream or what?! ;)

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DarkImbecile
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#19 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:25 am

Spotlight: Lake of Fire (Kaye, 2006)

In reviewing the last version of the 2000s list, I noticed that Tony Kaye's powerhouse documentary on abortion in America was toward the back end of the also-rans, which may be because it's been widely seen and largely dismissed, but which I suspect is because it's one of those movies that people tend to find reasons not to watch. Famously shot over many years and without narration or a clear point of view (though I've heard some people argue "It's so clearly pro-/anti-...", including a couple who were viewing it together, shared the same opinion on the issue going in, and nearly parted ways over their differing interpretations of the film's intent), the breadth of the film and the presentation of its subjects is such that I found my sympathies being pulled in one direction or the other depending on the scene. Also (in)famous at the time of its release was the footage of abortions in progress, which may also have to do with why it isn't particularly widely available to find and difficult to persuade even those otherwise interested to watch.

Either way, this will almost certainly be the only documentary which finds its way onto my list, because watching it for the first time (this was actually the first movie I ever watched on Netflix streaming, back when that service emerged) was a viscerally, emotionally, and morally provocative experience that reinforced some of my preconceptions and undermined others in a way that few films, fiction or otherwise, ever have. It's also a fascinating film to discuss with others, as it seems to present a kaleidoscopic array of different angles and reads depending on the viewer, seemingly regardless of their position on the issue going in or the intensity with which that position is held; I see that it was the topic of some differing viewpoints in the Films of Faith thread fairly recently. The film certainly has its imperfections, and the prominence of these sticking points in a viewers ultimate opinion of the film is again widely variant; however, no one I know who has seen it has denied the intensity or value of the experience even if they walked away dissatisfied.

Anyway, as grueling as a three-hour, primarily black-and-white documentary on abortion may sound, Lake of Fire is absolutely worth watching for anyone with an interest in the topic, documentaries generally, or just powerful film-making, and a DVD is available for $3.99 on Amazon, and some second-tier streaming options appear to exist if necessary. As a side note, this film cries out for a loaded special edition, though my emails to Criterion raising this point over the years have gone without reply.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#20 Post by bamwc2 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:01 pm

I'll second DarkImbecile's endorsement. In fact I thought about making Lake of Fire my spotlight. This frees me up a bit.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#21 Post by knives » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:24 pm

Thanks Daines. Somehow seeing the poster art makes it much easier to read.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#22 Post by bamwc2 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:35 pm

In case anyone is looking for some ideas for the project, here are my "To See" lists for the decade. I should get started tonight.

2000: As I Was Moving Ahead Occassionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas), Barking Dogs Never Bite (Joon-ho Bong), The Child and the Soldier (Seyyed Reza Mir-Karimi), The Claim (Michael Winterbottom), Common Wealth (Alex de la Iglesia), La Commune (Paris, 1871) (Peter Watkins), Dead or Alive 2: Birds (Takashi Miike), Eureka (Shinji Aoyama), Faithless (Liv Ullmann), Ferocious Saint Lord of the Gobi (I. Nyamgavaa), From the Notebook of… (Robert Beavers), The Isle (Kim Ki-Duk), Land of the Wandering Souls (Rithy Panh), Love Torn in a Dream (Raúl Ruiz), Lumumba (Raoul Peck), Mysterious Object at Noon (Apichatpong Weerasethakul), Séance (Kiyoshi Kurosawa), Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Andersson), Vertical Ray of the Sun (Tran Anh Hung), A Virgin Striped Bare by Her Bachelors (Hong Sang-soo)

2001: 24 Hour Party People (Michael WInterbottom), All About Lily Chou-Chou (Shunji Iwai), The American Astornaut (Cory McAbee), Brotherhood of the Wolf (Christophe Gans), The Circle (Jafar Panahi), Distance (Koreeda Hirokazu), A Fine Day (Thomas Arslan), La Libertad (Lisandro Alonso), The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (Larry Blamire), The Man Who Wasn’t There (Joel Coen), The Milk of Human Kindness (Dominique Cabrera), Porto of My Childhood (Manoel de Oliveira), Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle (Raoul Peck), Session 9 (Brad Anderson), The Swamp (Lucrecia Martel), Tokyo Marigold (Jun Ichikawa), Workers, Peasants (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub)

2002: 8 Women (François Ozon), Back Against the Wall (James Fotopoulos), Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Sijie Dai), Cremaster 3 (Matthew Barney), Decay of Fiction (Pat O’Neill), Demonlover (Olivier Assayas), Domestic Violence (Frederick Wiseman), In My Skin (Marina de Van), Infernal Affairs (Andrew Lau and Alan Mak), May (Lucky McKee), My Mother's Smile (Marco Bellocchio), Rabbit Proof Fence (Phillip Noyce), Sunshine State (John Sayles), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Chan-wook Park), Tangos voles (Eduardo de Gregorio), Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (Bernardo Bertolucci, et al.), West of the Tracks (Wang Bing)

2003: 21 Grams (Alejandro González Iñárritu), Café Lumiere (Hou Hsiao-hsien), Come and Go (João César Montiero), Corn in Parliament (Jean-Stéphane Bron), Distant (Nuri Bilge Ceylan), Goodbye Lenin (Wolfgang Becker), Gozu (Takashi Miike), Love and Diane (Jennifer Dworkin), Memories of Murder (Joon-ho Bong), Niki and Flo (Lucian Pintilie), The Return (Andrei Zvyagintsev), Los Rubios (Albertina Carri), S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine (Rithy Panh), Shara (Naomi Kawase)

2004: 3-Iron (Kim Ki-Duk), The 3 Rooms of Melancholia (Pirjo Honkasalo), 13 Lakes (James Benning), 2046 (Wong Kar Wai), Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy Saw (Wakamatsu Koji), Did Wolff von Amerongen Commit Bankruptcy Offenses? (Gerhard Friedl), Evolution of a Filipino Family (Lav Díaz), The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (Asia Argento), The Holy Girl (Lucrecia Martel), I Heart Huckabees (David O. Russell), Innocence (Lucile Hadzihalilovic), Maqbool (Vishal Bharadwaj), The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson), Les pont des Arts (Eugène Green), Regular Lovers (Philippe Garrel), Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs), Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (Theo Angelopoulos), Woman is the Future of Man (Hong Sang-soo), Une visite au Louvre (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub)

2005: The Aura (Fabián Bielinsky), Black Sun (Gary Tarn), The Call of Cthulhu (Andrew Leman), The Descent (Neil Marshall), Hard Candy (David Slade), I Am (Dorota Kedzierzawska), Linda Linda Linda (Nobuhiro Yamashita), Malerei heute (Anja-Christin Remmert and Stefan Hayn), Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt), Our Daily Bread (Nikolaus Geyrhalter), Paradise Now (Hany Abu-Assad), Reefer Madness: A Movie Musical (Andy Fickman), A Short Film About the Indio Nacional (Raya Martin), Stranded in Canton (William Egglestone), Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chan-wook Park), Volver (Pedro Almodóvar), Water (Deepa Mehta), Who’s Camus Anyway (Mitsuo Yanagimachi)

2006: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (Jonathan Levine), Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako), Before I Forget (Jacques Nolot), Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Scott Glosserman), Daratt (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun), Heremias (Lav Díaz), Quei loro incontri (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub), Rang De Basanti (Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra), The Road (Jiarui Zhang), Rome Rather Than You (Tariq Teguia), Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo)

2007: Aaja Nachle (Anil Mehta), The Banishment (Andrei Zvyagintsev), Cargo 200 (Aleksey Balabanov), Casting a Glance (James Benning), Death in the Land of Encantos (Lav Díaz), The Decomposition of the Soul (Nina Toussaint and Massimo Iannetta), In the City of Sylvia (José Luis Guerín), Johnny Gaddaar (Sriram Raghavan), Love Songs (Christophe Honoré), [Rec] (Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza), RR (James Benning), Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton), Tout est Pardonné (Mia Hansen-Løve), You, the Living (Roy Andersson)

2008: 28 Weeks Later (Jaun Carlos Fresnadillo), Afterschool (Antonio Campos), An Extraordinary Study in Human Degradation (Patrik Eriksson), Eden Lake (James Watkins), Gabbla (Tariq Teguia), The Good, the Bad, and the Weird (Jee-Woon Kim), ¬ The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel), Martyrs (Pascal Laugier), Melancholia (Lav Díaz), Modern Life (Raymond Depardon), Pontypool (Bruce McDonald), Ramchand Pakistani (Mehreen Jabbar), Sea Point Days (François Verster), Teza (Haile Gerima), This Night (Werner Schroeter), La vida loca (Christian Paved)

2009: Amer (Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani), Change Nothing (Pedro Costa), Episode 3: Enjoy Poverty (Renzo Martens), Great Speeches from a Dying World (Linas Phillips), House of the Devil (Ti West), Independencia (Raya Martin), Last Train Home (Lixin Fan), The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne), Mademoiselle Chambon (Stéphane Brizé), No One Knows About Persian Cats (Bahman Ghobadi), Oblivion (Heddy Honigmann), Petition (Zhao Liang), Two Legged Horse (Samira Makhmalbaf), Wild Grass (Alain Resnais)

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#23 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:31 pm

DAVID MAMET

Lakeboat (Dir: Joe Mantegna, 2000) Screenplay only R1 MTI (OOP)
State and Main (2000) R1 New Line (OOP)
Hannibal (Dir: Ridley Scott, 2001) Screenplay only R1/A MGM
Heist (2001) R1 Warners
Spartan (2004) R1 Warners / RB Germany
Edmond (Dir: Stuart Gordon, 2005) R1 First Independent
Redbelt (2008) R1/A Sony

Though well-merited in his reputation as a writer, the four films he directed this decade cement him in my mind as one of our most valuable and yet eternally undervalued directors. Heist, Redbelt, and Spartan will all make my list, and my hats off to those who can find space for State and Main as well.

Lakeboat finds Mamet regular Joe Mantegna directing Mamet's own adaptation of his minor play concerning a bunch of old men aboard the titular vessel razzing a younger new employ (played by the playwright's brother) with regards to women and the mysteries of life. This is all grizzled veterans stuff and Mantegna mostly plays it straight, though there are a few flashbacks that didn't need to be filmed as accompaniment to assorted tales of debauchery. This is a filthy movie, even for Mamet, but it's all right as far as disposable entertainments go. Mamet goes light and frothy in State and Main, which is probably one of the more mainstream-baiting and palatable films to bear the director's mark. This superior Hollywood satire is filled with classic lines and barbs and a gaggle of fine perfs from the usual suspects, and Mamet's attacks manage to balance venom with sincerity in a commendable fashion. No such praise, or any praise, can be leveled at Hannibal, a work-for-hire that Mamet scribbled out while prepping State and Main and then refused to work on a second draft, with the whole affair eventually being written by Steve Zaillian, though Mamet retains screen credit. So it's really just here in this lineup for completeness sake. Even though Mamet's version of the film (which is quite easy to find online) isn't that good, the half-hearted CSI-ish freak show we get isn't much better. I don't think the Silence of the Lambs is an unimpeachable or untouchable classic, so I have no problem with an exploitative sequel in theory, and don't mind the total tonal shift from the previous film to this one. But it would have been better for all involved if they'd made a good movie and not this faux-naughty collection of silly (and laughably tame) gore scenes hinged on poor taste as a replacement for any conventional narrative pleasures.

I've long enjoyed Heist, Mamet's twistiest con film concerning old pro Gene Hackman being forced into pulling off an elaborate robbery that doubles back on itself so many times it's kind of miraculous, but never considered it anything more than a passable trifle. Yet it's the Mamet I return to most, and every viewing puts me in mind of how wonderfully Mamet peppers his dialog here with maybe his most quotable collection of hip posturings and too-cool witticisms, turned up to eleven even for Mamet. I also think it's a superior example of the kind of modern noirs people should be focusing on when they look at contemporary re-engagements with the genre. I used it as the final film the last time my students and I studied over forty noirs in-depth for our genre studies course, and it was hugely popular and met nearly every marker we'd set for examining the genre. So, I recommend it strongly for both this list and the forthcoming Noir Redux.

Spartan is Mamet's stab at the political conspiracy film, with a typically playful Val Kilmer performance and a strong sense of structure (Mamet talks often of having studied the Hollywood masters when figuring out how to be a director, and a lean and efficient film like this shows his attention to functionality-as-style) and some pertinent social commentary. It too is essential viewing for the list. However, Stuart Gordon's adaptation of Mamet's one act play Edmond is just about the most unnecessary film of the decade, an ugly adaptation of Mamet's ugliest (and second-worst) play that doesn't expand upon the bizarre source material enough to validate its own existence. But all is forgiven by the time Mamet delivers Redbelt, which is the quintessential Mamet film, synthesizing his mastery of filmic art while delivering his latest tale of con-jobs and reversals. Mamet's editing choices are completely in-step with the best of the studio system, and the old style is a perfect fit for the only surface-level newness of what is a familiar and welcome tale of deceit and honor lost and regained.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#24 Post by zedz » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:19 pm

bamwc2 wrote:In case anyone is looking for some ideas for the project, here are my "To See" lists for the decade. I should get started tonight
In the laziest of all possible worlds I'd just annotate other people's lists.

Well, look where we are!

I don't know if I'll make it through all of the films, but here are the ones on bam's list that I've seen from 2000:

As I Was Moving Ahead Occassionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas) - Great film, on a par with Mekas' other extended diary films.

Barking Dogs Never Bite (Joon-ho Bong) - Probably my least favourite Bong, but that's still a pretty high standard. I think all of his films this decade should be seen. Memories of Murder will be making my list.

The Claim (Michael Winterbottom) - Meh. I kind of admire Winterbottom for his wilfully diverse filmography, but I don't think he's yet done really first rate work in any genre. He's aching to be making another McCabe and Mrs Miller here, but it falls well short. A for effort, though.

La Commune (Paris, 1871) (Peter Watkins) - A hugely impressive feat, but a pretty stodgy viewing experience for me. Watkins seems to get more and more concerned about the Grand Conspiracy Against Peter Watkins with every film, and you find all sorts of unnecessary cant cluttering up this film and The Freethinker. Which is a shame, because the idea for this film is more than strong enough to stand on its own (though maybe not for six hours).

Eureka (Shinji Aoyama) - Very impressive, great looking film that I need to watch again for this round of voting.

Faithless (Liv Ullmann) - If you're really desperate for a Bergman hit this time around (though personally I don't really think this is a Bergman decade), this is a better bet than Saraband.

The Isle (Kim Ki-Duk) - I found this kind of intriguing at the time, but all the seeds of pretension and misogyny that turned me completely off his later films are already there. I'm in no hurry to revisit this or any of his films.

Love Torn in a Dream (Raúl Ruiz) - Will almost certainly be the strangest film you see for this project. One-of-a-kind doesn't even begin to describe it, as the premise (conveniently explained in the first ten minutes) sounds completely unfilmable. Turns out it isn't quite.

Lumumba (Raoul Peck) - Seemed like a pretty standard biopic to me at the time, and I rapidly forgot just about everything about it.

Mysterious Object at Noon (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) - Fascinating idea for a film, but I find it less interesting in execution than it could have been. It's a kind of narrative Exquisite Corpse, wherein the direction of the story is determined by a series of random interviewees. So the film is beholden to the invention of the participants, and some of them are too tentative (barely progressing beyond what's already happened), or too extravagant (completely ignoring what went before), or don't seem to get the premise of what they're participating in. But that's the nature of an experiment: you don't necessarily know the outcome until you do it.

Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Andersson) - This was gobsmacking on release, with no prior knowledge of Andersson's style. Now I prefer his (funnier) follow-up, You, the Living, which will be getting my vote. The trilogy will be out on Blu from Artificial Eye soon, so hold out for that if you're interested.

Vertical Ray of the Sun (Tran Anh Hung) - Wildly praised at the time, but I found it just pretty and dull, and felt basically the same about his previous features. Very, very pretty though.

A Virgin Striped Bare by Her Bachelors (Hong Sang-soo) - Hilarious, formally inventive romantic comedy that will be riding high in my top ten. Hong has never made a bad film, but he hasn't made a better one than this since.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#25 Post by knives » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:39 pm

And to make for three mentions in a row I'll have As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty as my spotlight. It's not his most thematically deep film, but the quiet way that he manages to capture a life lived exactly in the fashion of the title is a joy that feels like it needs the full 90 years with the actual five hours seeming like nothing but a blink. If for whatever reason that comes across as too long then how about the Quays' Songs for Dead Children available on the BFI Blu for Svankmajer's Alice. It's quintessentially Quay with a love for experimental music, here represented by Steve Martland and some truly haunting A Capella, forming an equally experimental broken doll narrative who's movement means more then what it strings together.

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