Best Things I Watched in 2013

Cinema, Dance June 24, 2014

I seem to check up on my website/blog about once a month. This month I discovered a draft post listing all the best movies I watched in 2013. I guess it’s all right to post it now, six months after the fact.

I’m fairly certain these are all movies I watched for the first time last year—nothing I re-watched, which, as it turns out, I do a lot these days.

For a brief moment I attempted to categorize these by genre but that didn’t work out. Also, it occurs to me to mention: I watch enormous quantities of television not accounted for in this list, partly because I don’t keep track, partly because the list of truly excellent television is pretty limited.

OK, some random comments may be found below, if I feel like it.

Robert Altman. The Company. USA, 2003.

Robert Altman. The Long Goodbye. USA, 1973.

Robert Altman. Thieves Like Us. USA, 1974.

Altman = my favorite American director. But I always assumed he sort of lost it during the ’80s and after. So The Company quite surprised me—and the video above is stunningly realized. It’s very much in the Altman scheme of things: the way you see and hear everything as it were. It is also unlike most recordings of dance I’ve seen, given that we experience the external conditions of the dance itself—the dispersed energy of the audience, the weather, the anxieties off stage—in this horizontal, cinematic way.

Aleksey Balabanov. Me Too. 2012.

Aleksey Balabanov. Me Too. Russia, 2012.

Balabanov’s last film, eerily prophetic.

Bong Joon-Ho. Memories of Murder. South Korea, 2003.

Vladimir Bortko. Heart of a Dog. Russia, 1988.

Catherine Breillat. Barbe Bleue. France, 2009.

Robert Bresson. Le Procès de Jeanne D’arc. France, 1962.

Robert Bresson. Une femme douce. France, 1969.

Tod Browning. Dracula. USA, 1931.

Luis Buñuel. Simon of the Desert. 1965.

Luis Buñuel. Simon of the Desert. Mexico, 1965.

Utterly strange, though saying this of a Buñuel film is like saying oranges are orange. Apparently, financial problems were responsible for part of the story line.

Brandon Cronenberg. Antiviral. 2012.

Brandon Cronenberg. Antiviral. Canada, 2012.

I’m not going to do a whole thing comparing Cronenberg Jr. to Cronenberg Sr. Sr. is easily one of my top three favorite living directors; he’s worked in a number of different genres and has a massive corpus to work through. Antiviral, on the other hand, is Jr.’s first feature film (he’s done two shorts and has a bunch of other credits according to IMDB). It’s very much in his father’s body horror tradition—you’ll want to be wary if you’re squeamish—and I think pretty provocative.

Bruno Dumont. Twentynine Palms. France/USA, 2003.

Bruno Dumont. Hadewijch. France, 2009.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. West Germany, 1974.

Aleksei Fedorchenko. Silent Souls. Russia, 2010.

René Feret. Le Mystère Alexina. France, 1985.

René Feret. Le Mystère Alexina. France, 1985.

The story of a young schoolteacher of mysterious gender who arrives at a new job; set in the mid-nineteenth century.

Peter Greenaway. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. 1989.

Peter Greenaway. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. UK, 1989.

I am incapable of describing this film, but it needs to be seen.

Werner Herzog. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Germany, 1979.

Werner Herzog. Into the Abyss. USA, 2011.

Ellen Houde, Albert & David Mayses, Moffie Meyer. Grey Gardens. USA, 1975.

Peter Jackson. Heavenly Creatures. New Zealand, 1994.

Alexander Jodorowsky. Santa Sangre. 1989.

Alejandro Jodorowsky. Santa Sangre. Mexico/Italy, 1989.

Insanity. Must watch.

Elem Klimov. Agony. USSR, 1981.

Insanity. Must watch.

Julia Leigh. Sleeping Beauty. Australia, 2011.

Mike Leigh. Naked. 1993.

Mike Leigh. Naked. UK, 1993.

Jennie Livingson. Paris is Burning. USA, 1990.

Takashi Miike. Audition. Japan, 1999.

Lucian Pintille. Next Stop Paradise. Romania, 1998.

Jacques Rivette. Céline et Julie vont en bateau. 1974.

Jacques Rivette. Céline et Julie vont en bateau. France, 1974.

Jacques Rivette. La belle noiseuse. France, 1991.

Must watch all Rivette, but especially Céline et Julie. (Random: Am I in thinking the two actresses look like they make up half of The Bangles?)

Tsai Ming-liang. The Wayward Cloud. 2005.

Tsai Ming-liang. The Wayward Cloud. Taiwan, 2005.

I’m actually not entirely sure what I thought of the film, but for the watermelon alone I must mention it here.

[Best Things I Read in 2013]

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