Friday, December 31, 2010

My Year in Film 2010, in Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Apologies in advance, dear readers; I was all set to do a detailed year-end round-up yesterday and today, and ring in the new year with the usual batch of resolutions tomorrow. But then real life intervened, as Real Life usually will do. So for now, at least, this image essay will have to suffice as a sum-up of my year in movies.

For much of this year, I shared the opinion of many that 2010 was a pretty middling year for movies. I thought the same of 2009. But then the same thing that happened towards the end of the year in 2009 happened this year: I took a closer look at my personal running list of films seen/rated, and I realized that there were a lot more worthy films than I had remembered. This year, I counted at least 30 new releases I had seen this year that I thought were interesting, challenging, pleasurable, horizon-expanding and so on. So maybe this wasn't so terrible a year for movies after all. As usual, the cinematic riches were there if you were willing to look past what Hollywood offered at the multiplexes. (Of course, not everyone reading this, I'm sure, would have necessarily access to said riches...but thanks to video-on-demand services such as, say, Netflix Instant viewing, there was plenty more available at the adventurous moviegoer's fingertips than ever before.)

Of all the new releases I saw this year, these 10 stood out the most. In alphabetical (read: unranked) order:


Others I liked:

My blind spots this year are legion—Lourdes, Alamar, Our Beloved Month of August, Blue Valentine...and yes, the latest Harry Potter, among many, many others. But while in previous years I might have panicked inside about how not-caught-up I was compared to other cinephiles/film critics offering up their Top 10 lists this time of year...this year, at about the midway point, I honestly began to care less and less about keeping up with the new releases the more time I spent catching up with classic films in repertory screenings. And now that I live in New York, I have much easier access to more of this stuff than I ever had before. It's come to the point where I'm starting to wonder whether I should even bother maintaining a Netflix account anymore!

Of the many cinematic discoveries I made through repertory screenings this year, these had the biggest impact on me. Again, in alphabetical order:

A Movie (1958)

Close-Up (1990)

Nightfall (1957)

Onward to more discoveries in the dark in 2011! In the meantime, feel free to comment on my picks (and omissions) in the comments section; I welcome the opportunity to elaborate on them there.

See you all next year!


Adam Zanzie said...

Any love for The Ghost Writer?

Kenji Fujishima said...

Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed The Ghost Writer a lot. In my mind, though, it's not much more than a skillful exercise in elegant craft; it doesn't hit me with the same force as the other titles I cited. But I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from seeing it.

Midnight Screening said...

That's a really cool collection of images. Man... How crazy was that Dogtooth film right?

Kenji Fujishima said...

Indeed; Dogtooth, in fact, may well be my favorite film from last year.

michelle said...

I knew through your tweets you saw a lot of movies. Now I have grasped how serious you are about movies by going through your blog a bit! I haven't seen Dogtooth but it has been recommended by others so with your rec, that's a clincher. I was also struck by A Brighter Summer Day. Who knew a 4 hour Taiwanese movie could be so engrossing!

Kenji Fujishima said...

Indeed! The richness of its novelistic detail is astonishing.