Compiled by Fiona A. Villella

The Entries


Diego Batlle

Fabien Boully

Michael Campi

Rose Capp

Anthony Carew

Jaime N. Christley

Tom Clay

Angela Costi

Denis Côté

Adrian Danks

Anne Demy-Geroe

Jorge Didaco

Claudio España

Hugo Gamarra Etcheverry

Geoff Gardner

John Gianvito

Antony I. Ginnane

André Habib

Ben Halligan

Top Ten 2002

by Acquarello

Springtime in a Small Town (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 2002)
Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)
Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhang-ke, 2002)
Oasis (Lee Chang-Dong, 2002)
Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002)
The Man Without a Past (Aki Kaurismäki, 2002)
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2002)
Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)
Iran Veiled Appearances (Thierry Michel, 2002)
From the Other Side (Chantal Akerman, 2002)

Honourable mentions:

Far From Heaven

Le Fils (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002) and The Turning Gate (Hong Sang-soo, 2002)

Favourite DVD releases (all restored):
Paramount’s Sunset Boulevard (US), Wellspring’s R. W. Fassbinder films (US), and BFI’s Ritwik Ghatak films (UK)

Favourite program:
New York Film Festival Companion Program at the Walter Reade: Celebrating Shabana Azmi

Acquarello is a NASA Design Engineer and author of the Strictly Film School website.

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Top Ten 2002

by Diego Batlle

Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2002)
Time Out (Laurent Cantet, 2001)
Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)
En construcción (José Luis Guerín, 2001)
Late Night Talks with Mother (Jan Nemec, 2001)
The Man Without a Past (Aki Kaurismäki, 2002)
Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass, 2002)
Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, 2002)
Lundi matin (Otar Iosseliani, 2002)
Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002)

Runners-Up (in no particular order)
Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)
24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)
Startup.com (Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim, 2001)
Take Care of My Cat (Jeong Jae-eun, 2001)
Le Fils (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002)
El bonaerense (Pablo Trapero, 2002)
Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhang-ke, 2002)
Madame Satã (Karim Aïnouz, 2002)
Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002)
Y tu mamá también (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001)

Diego Batlle is a journalist and film critic. He writes for La Nación in Buenos Aires among other magazines throughout Argentina and Spain. He is a member of Fipresci Argentina and a contributor to the anthology New Argentine Cinema (Fipresci Argentina and Editorial Tatanka, 2002).

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Two or three things: 2002

by Fabien Boully

I have scarcely been to the cinema for years. Is it allowable to give one’s opinion on the film year which has just ended having walked past such films as Ten by Abbas Kiarostami, Choses Secrètes (Secret Things) by Jean-Claude Brisseau, Demonlover by Olivier Assayas, O Principio da Incerteza (Principle of Uncertainty) by Manoel de Oliveira, Fantômas by Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Mishka by Jean-Francois Stévenin, Spider by David Cronenberg, Vendredi Soir (Friday Night) by Claire Denis, the Naufragés de la D17 (Shipwrecked on Route D17) by Luc Mollet… and so many other films? It cannot therefore be a classification, nor even a general impression of (even less a reflexion on) the lines of force or the sharpest tonalities of the year which has finished, that I am able to or that I even wish to give. What I would like is just to evoke two or three things which have stayed with me.

2002 was first of all the year when, after having seen the immeasurable Dream Work by Peter Tcherkassky in 2001, I had the compulsive need to discover The Entity (1982) by Sidney J. Fury. By chance, it just came out this year on DVD in France. Disappointing? Yes, of course, as for any film that you have dreamed of too intensely. But still, The Entity is an important film, because rare are the films which question the unconscious realm of feminine desire in such a direct and naked manner. 2002 is also the year when I could wax enthusiastic about a “legally blond” scatterbrain capable of showing futility in a vital and efficient way to “politically correct” America. 2002 is the year when, against all expectation, certain images from Roman Polanski’s The Pianist haunted me for days and nights on end. 2002 will remain the year when in France a (woman) philosopher specialising in the Republic and in political philosophy, on the payroll of the most repressive of right wing governments that this country has known for a long time, under the guise of reflecting on violence in television and other complaints played up largely by the press, used the figures of Jacques Rivette and Serge Daney and attributed utter nonsense to them. 2002 is finally the year of two great films: Le Fils (The Son), by the brothers Dardenne, an infinitely more radical and moving film than Rosetta (Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, 1999, Belgium), where the camera forces itself determinedly to slowly follow a man under stress (Olivier Gourmet), resulting in a heartrending image: he is framed in the same calmed field of focus, in the presence of his son’s killer; and La Vie Nouvelle (New Life), by Philippe Grandrieux who, amongst a thousand other decisive gestures, brings from Eastern Europe the vision of an archaic world which sets up a resonance with the deepest of our unconscious psychological substrata.

Translation by Inge Pruks.

Fabien Boully teaches Film Studies at the University of Paris X-Nanterre.

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Film Favourites 2002

by Michael Campi

Films that I saw for the first time in 2002 and which impressed me the most:
Bad Guy (Kim Ki-duk, 2001)
Funeral March (Joe Ma, 2001)
Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)
In Praise Of Love (Jean-Luc Godard, 2001)
July Rhapsody (Ann Hui, 2002)
Last Orders (Fred Schepisi, 2001)

The Man Who Wasn’t There (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2001)
Oporto Of My Childhood (Manoel de Oliveira, 2001)
The Son’s Room (Nanni Moretti, 2001)
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
Time Out (Laurent Cantet, 2001)
To Be And To Have (Nicolas Philibert, 2002)
The Turning Gate (Hong Sang-soo, 2002)
Under The Sand (François Ozon, 2001)
Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhang-ke, 2002)
Walking on Water (Tony Ayres, 2002)

Unknown Pleasures

Films that would challenge some of the above for inclusion if I hadn’t seen them before 2002: Camel(s) (Park Ki-yong, 2001), Flower Island (Song Il-gon, 2001), I’m Going Home (Manoel de Oliveira, 2001), Lan yu (Stanley Kwan, 2001), Lies (Sun-Woo Jang, 1999), Millenium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001), One Fine Spring Day (Hur Jin-ho, 2001), Take Care Of My Cat (Jeong Jae-eun, 2001), A Tender Place (Shunichi Nagasaki, 2000), Va Savoir! (Jacques Rivette, 2001), Weekend Plot (Ming Zhang, 2001), What Time Is It There? (Tsai Ming-liang, 2001), Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)

Other film pleasures during the last year included the King Hu double at the Melbourne Cinémathèque (Dragon Gate Inn [1967] and The Valiant Ones [1975]) and Demy’s charming La Naissance Du Jour (1980), while the burgeoning DVD supply enriched our experience with Feuillade’s Fantômas, Rivette’s Gang Of Four (1988) and Oliveira’s La Lettre (1999), to name but a very, very few. And finally a film quest was achieved when a small cinema in Barcelona provided a mint, a new 35mm print of Fritz Lang’s Moonfleet (1955), in the closing days of the year.

Missing Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, 2002) and Le Fils (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002) were but two of my cinema regrets of the last 12 months.

Michael Campi has been in the spell of the cinema for half a century. He was involved with the film society movement, assisted with the former National Film Theatre of Australia and was a committee member of the Melbourne Film Festival in the 1970s. He feels as passionate about Beethoven and Mozart as Bresson and Mizoguchi.

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2002: The year in review

by Rose Capp

Only two weeks into the new year, but already the events of 2002 are receding disconcertingly quickly from memory. Looking back over the year in cinema however, there are many films from the last 12 months that will certainly not fade from view. The output from mainstream America was distinguished by a general lack of distinction—my selections for the most overrated and irredeemably bad films of the year are all Hollywood studio productions. In the former category, The Road To Perdition (Sam Mendes, 2002), A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard, 2002) and Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002), while the turkeys for the year would have to include two ill-advised Anthony Hopkins’ vehicles, Hearts in Atlantis (Scott Hicks, 2002) and Bad Company (Joel Schumacher, 2002), followed closely by the current release, the execrable Sweet Home Alabama (Andy Tennant, 2002).

Happily, two more modestly scaled American films made it into my top five selection for 2002. David Lynch made a typically intriguing contribution early in the 2002 season, with his wonderfully enigmatic Mulholland Drive (2001). Bringing all the weight of his febrile imagination to bear and building on his previous noir-inspired psychodramas (Blue Velvet, 1986 and Lost Highway, 1996), Lynch’s heady tale of memory loss and mistaken identity also incorporated a surreal, satiric take on the Hollywood dream factory. An absorbing study in cinematic obfuscation that elicited one of the standout performances of the year from Naomi Watts.


Where Lynch is arguably the aging enfant terrible of American independent cinema, actor Ed Harris made his directorial debut in spectacular fashion with his searing portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man, Pollock (Ed Harris, 2000). Taking the lead in this long cherished project, Harris’s performance both behind and in front of the camera was nothing short of thrilling. Another feature debut that rated as one of the highlights of my cinematic year was New Zealand director Christine Jeff’s moody, atmospheric coming-of-age drama Rain (Christine Jeffs, 2000).

Set in a backwater coastal town in the mid-1970s, this claustrophobic chamber piece explored a teenage girl’s sexual awakening, in the charged setting of her parent’s marriage meltdown. Stripped to the barest of dialogue essentials and effortlessly evoking the mood of summer holiday ennui, this beautifully shot film was distinguished by extraordinary performances all round, in particular from Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki as the teenage protagonist Janey.

If romantic dystopia defined Rain, a more optimistic take on the topic was central to Lone Scherfig’s delightful, bittersweet romantic comedy Italian for Beginners (2001). The first film directed by a woman under the rules of the Danish Dogma collective, Scherfig not only managed to subvert some of the more oppressive constraints of the Dogma credo, but somehow managed to reinvent an enervated Hollywood genre. Scherfig’s tale of disillusioned, 30-something characters brought together by Italian classes was in turn, amusing, disturbing and melancholic. The restrained hand-held style, subdued lighting and small but consistently surprising character revelations made this film a joy from start to finish.

Agnès Varda’s wonderful documentary The Gleaners and I (2000) rounds out my top five films for 2002. The doyenne of French cinema, Varda is at the top of her form in this oblique, whimsical take on the historical and contemporary significance of gleaning. Tackling the unlikely topic in a seemingly arbitrary style, Varda incorporates artistic, cultural and social commentary with her own, at times intensely personal ruminations about her role as an aging filmmaker and ‘gleaner of images and impressions’. Utterly engrossing stuff and documentary at its finest.

While I have only singled out five films in detail, there are many others that were memorable and made it on to my honourable mention list for 2002 including Together (Lukas Moodysson, 2000), YiYi (Edward Yang, 2000), The Circle (Jafar Panahi, 2000), Baise-Moi (Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, 2000), and last but not least, three Australian films The Tracker (Rolf de Heer, 2001), Walking on Water (Tony Ayres, 2001) and Wedding in Ramullah (Sherine Salama, 2001).

Rose Capp is a film reviewer for The Melbourne Times and ABC Radio, 774 Melbourne, and a freelance writer on film. She also co-edited the Senses of Cinema‘s Double Special Women’s Issue.

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Best and Worst

by Anthony Carew

Best films that got a local release:
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
2. The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001)
3. Waking Life (Richard Linklater, 2001)
4. The Powerpuff Girls Movie (Craig McCracken, 2002)
5. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
6. Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)
7. The Son’s Room (Nanni Moretti, 2001)
8. Heaven (Tom Tykwer, 2002)
9. Time Out (Laurent Cantet, 2001)
10. Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001)

Best films that didn’t:
1. Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001)
2. What Time Is It There? (Tsai Ming-liang, 2001)
3. Maelström (Denis Villeneuve, 2000)
4. Love/Juice (Kaze Shindô, 2000)
5. Manic (Jordan Melamed, 2001)
6. The State I Am In (Christian Petzold, 2000)
7. No Scandal (Benoît Jacquot, 1999)
8. Dark Water (Hideo Nakata, 2001)
9. My Mother’s Smile (Marco Bellocchio, 2002)
10. Paradox Lake (Przemyslaw Reut, 2001)

Worst films:
1. Mr.Deeds (Steven Brill, 2002)
2. Baise-Moi (Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, 2000)
3. Monster’s Ball (Marc Forster, 2001)
4. Sweet Home Alabama (Andy Tennant, 2002)
5. Samsara (Pan Nalin, 2001)

Anthony Carew lives in Melbourne. He plays basketball. Likes sorbet. And water. He writes about films. He really likes Julio Medem but no one else seems to. When he grows up, he hopes not to have grown up.

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Top Ten List and the Musings of an Obsessive Film-Watcher and Rather Undisciplined Student

by Jaime N. Christley

Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2002). This year I discovered the cinema of Alexander Sokurov. Seeing over 20 of his films and videos at New York’s Museum of Modern Art retrospective in February irrevocably altered the way I see movies. I didn’t encounter the director’s work again until half a year later, when I saw Russian Ark, a High-Definition digital film transferred to celluloid for theatrical presentation, projected on the enormous screen at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Sokurov’s achievement, which in some circles is seen as a mere gimmick, places a catalogue of Russian history on the plane of a spatial and temporal infinity (here represented by a 96-minute take that is not merely unbroken but, as it travels through the Hermitage Museum, also inquisitive, cautious, and graceful, indulging in the temptation to get lost in the rooms and corridors). The film experience, formed by the movements of the camera, the mise en scène, and the sound design, is as hypnotic and emotionally affective as a great symphony.

Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001). The word “imaginative” became limp from overuse this year, thanks to all the reviews of Miyazaki’s first movie since Princess Mononoke (1997). The creatures and scenery on display in this fairy tale are half the attraction; also worth celebrating are the filmmaker’s masterful skills as screen storyteller, the nimble editing, and what we would call, in a live action movie, camerawork.

Grin Without a Cat (Chris Marker, 1977/1993). Another history lesson on my list, this one courtesy of France’s senior film essayist and historiologist. Reams upon reams of historical data are condensed into a brief three-hour jaunt through the rise and fall of the European left, as well as its repercussions throughout Asia, South America, and the United States.

Biggie and Tupac

Biggie and Tupac (Nick Broomfield, 2002). Dirty laundry as cinema, and Nick Broomfield’s obsession. The documentary filmmaker who profiled “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss, serial killer Aileen Wuornos, explored domination and submission sex, and the death of rock star Kurt Cobain, turned his camera and microphone to the possible connections between the deaths of rap stars Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. Broomfield’s investigative style is slyly in-your-face rather than brazenly confrontational, tempered by a dry, unflappably cool demeanor, and it turns his interviewees into real cinematic spectacle. Television programs often promise candid, naked reality, but instead deliver sound bites, impatiently edited and scored for maximum demographic gratification. Broomfield’s documentary/investigation has more real eye-openers than, perhaps, he knows what to do with, and the experience is exhilarating and, to say the least, educational.

Changing Lanes (Roger Michell, 2002). My favorite Hollywood film of 2002 was a welcome surprise – what made it special was the amount of depth in the story, and texture to the characters. I liked that even some of the marginal characters were drawn like real individuals, not single-use machines from the screenplay manual. The story, about two men (Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson) who find themselves at each other’s disadvantage, is built on a gag structure worthy of the darkest Billy Wilder scenarios, and it’s more moving.

The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001)
Domestic Violence (Frederick Wiseman, 2001)
25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002)

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (George Lucas, 2002). This is where I sheepishly mutter something about “guilty pleasure,” right? Well, I’m not going to.

The 15 (or so) best old films that were new to me in 2002:

Floating Clouds (Mikio Naruse, 1955) and When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Naruse, 1960)
F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1975)
Make Way for Tomorrow (Leo McCarey, 1937)
The Man from Laramie (Anthony Mann, 1955) and Raw Deal (Mann, 1948)
One P.M. (Jean-Luc Godard and D.A. Pennebaker, 1969) and King Lear (Godard, 1987)
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (Robert Altman, 1976)
Days of Eclipse (Alexander Sokurov, 1988)
Counsellor at Law (William Wyler, 1933) and The Good Fairy (Wyler, 1935)
Day of the Outlaw (André De Toth, 1959)
I Shot Jesse James (Samuel Fuller, 1949) and Park Row (Fuller, 1952)
The Painter and the City (Manoel de Oliveira, 1956) and Abraham’s Valley (de Oliveira, 1993)
Hatari! (Howard Hawks, 1962) and To Have and Have Not (Hawks, 1944)
The Ladies’ Man (Jerry Lewis, 1961)
Wind Across the Everglades (Nicholas Ray, 1958)
Mammals (Roman Polanski, 1962) and What? (Polanski, 1973)

Other favorites from this year:
Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2002)
What Time is it There? (Tsai Ming-liang, 2001)
ABC Africa (Abbas Kiarostami, 2001)
I’m Going Home (Manoel de Oliveira, 2001)
Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)
Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001)
Monday Morning (Otar Iosseliani, 2002)
Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002)
Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
Les Destinées sentimentales (Olivier Assayas, 2000)
Undisputed (Walter Hill, 2002)
Signs (M. Night Shyamalan, 2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002)
The Happiness of the Katakuris (Takashi Miike, 2001)
Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet (Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Werner Herzog et al, 2002)
Friday Night (Claire Denis, 2002)
Gangs of New York (Martin Scorsese, 2002)
Femme Fatale (Brian De Palma, 2002)
The Projectionist (Michael Bates) (animated short film)
Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001)
Panic Room (David Fincher, 2002)

Pointedly absent (you know, instead of saying “overrated”), with apologies:
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, 2002), Road to Perdition (Sam Mendes, 2002), Catch Me If You Can (Steven Spielberg, 2002), Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002), *Corpus Callosum (Michael Snow, 2001), Solaris (Steven Soderbergh, 2002), Y tu mamá también (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001), Late Marriage (Dover Koshashvilli, 2001), Adaptation. (Spike Jonze, 2002)

Favorite series/retrospectives:
Positif Champions (Museum of Modern Art, ongoing), Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune (Film Forum), Alexander Sokurov (Museum of Modern Art), Robert Altman’s 1970s movies, Andrei Tarkovsky, and I’m still kicking myself for missing the Alexander Dovzhenko, Shin Sang-ok, and Kon Ichikawa retros.

Worst cinematic experience:
When good intentions suck hard: my pick for this year is the desecration, by one obscenely bad, live musical accompaniment, of F.W. Murnau’s masterpiece, Faust (1926), at the 40th New York Film Festival. Don’t get me started.

Jaime N. Christley is the editor, director, and chief contributor to filmwritten magazine, and is enrolled in New York University’s Cinema Studies program. He is a six-year veteran of the U.S. Navy.

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Best of 2002

by Tom Clay

Eligibility: Any film with a world premiere in 2002.

1. Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, Palestine)
Of such high quality that the Academy refused to even consider it for nomination, Suleiman’s film recalls Godard, Tati and Fellini at their best. Topical as hell, this also contains more invention, wit and life than the rest of the year’s releases combined.

2. Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran)
Removing the script and almost all sense of conventional direction, Kiarostami brings a new level of truth to his fiction. A director of lesser renown would have trouble getting this minimalist digital experiment beyond the walls of their own television set – but kudos to Kiarostami nonetheless.

3. Irreversible (Gaspar Noé, France)

Hollow, simplistic and juvenile… Irreversible must nevertheless be applauded for its sheer flamboyance and stylistic bravura. Consistently breathtaking in its Rope-like antics, this is the art-house equivalent of a rollercoaster ride – with added rape. The year’s ‘shallow masterpiece’.

4. La Vie Nouvelle (Philippe Grandrieux, France)

File with Irreversible and Demonlover under Gaulish avant-noir. With a minimum of plot and dialogue, Grandrieux and co. push at the boundaries of what is possible on 35mm film stock. The results are one-note, but photographically brilliant. I hate to think what this will look like on DVD.

5. Bowling For Columbine (Michael Moore, USA)

Not a great film, but an essential one. Amidst all the ad-hominem bluster, Moore somehow manages to provide the only effective opposition to the Bush administration west of the Atlantic. Further, his use of 9-11 footage is iron-necked, vital and rigorously poetic.

6. Marooned In Iraq (Bahman Ghobadi, Iran)

Another installment in Ghobadi’s saga of Kurdish life, Marooned In Iraq picks up where A Time For Drunken Horses left off, employing many of the same locations, shots and themes. Initially more humourous than its predecessor, this eventually only serves to heighten the quietly devastating denouement. Thoroughly depressing, in the best sense of the word.

7. Lilja-4-Ever (Lukas Moodysson, Sweden)

Also thoroughly depressing, though a little more obvious in its subject matter. Predictable and prurient, too… That Lilja-4-Ever still retains a great capacity to move is a testament to Moodyssohn’s sense of detail and the strong performances of his young actors.

8. Demonlover (Olivier Assayas, France)

Confused by Assayas’ narrative dislocations and shifting characterizations, critics deemed Demonlover the turkey of Cannes. In fact, this post-modern dream film shows what Mulholland Drive could have looked like had David Lynch not lost his nerve. No wonder Lynch’s Jury also failed to give Assayas his fair dues.

9. Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia)

Another flamboyant stylistic exercise, Sokurov is more principled than Noé in his strict one-take approach – though perhaps he limits himself as a result. This is nevertheless a unique cinematic experience, if a little opaque to those who didn’t study history.

10. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (George Lucas, USA)

With Gandalf the White busy preaching the benefits of pre-emptive action, Attack Of The Clones instead opts to warn us against such Machiavellian scheming (global or intergalactic). The digital mise en scène is unique and effective, too. “I killed them all. Not just the men, but the women and the children too.”

Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsey, UK), All Or Nothing (Mike Leigh, UK), 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, UK)

Oedipal bore award:
Spider (David Cronenberg, Canada)

Taranteenie award:
Cidade De Deus (Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles, Brazil/US/France)

Silver-spooner award:
Hukkle (György Pálfi, Hungary)

Birth of a Nation award:
Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, NZ/US)

Tom Clay is an independent filmmaker based in the UK. His first feature, Motion, has toured festivals and showcases worldwide, winning the award for Best Debut Feature at the 2001 Durban International Film Festival.

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2002 Movie Highlights from a Playwright’s Perspective

by Angela Costi

I seek from film what theatre cannot possibly give. I seek the great perennial quest across vast distances of cultural and physical terrain, where mountains, towers, bridges and forests take on pivotal characteristics, propelling the action and characters onward to doom or glory. Basically I seek travel. The great escape, so very far away from where I am. In place, in time, in race, in creed and code, so far away, and yet the story is basked in emotional truth and draws me in deeply:

O’ Brother, Where Art Thou’ (Coen brothers, 2000) on video
Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001) on big screen

Those two films also dramatically integrated landscape and soundscape into a visual dialogue. They took the mythological stories of Homer and Tolkien (respectively), and made them speak fluidly to my 21st century mind.

When a film inspires creativity then it has conjured magic. Two films last year, in separate ways, inspired my creative juices:

Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) on big screen
Zorba the Greek (Michael Cacoyannis, 1964) on video

The character of Amelie (Audrey Tautou) couldn’t be more different in personality and allure than the young widow, played by Irene Papas in Zorba the Greek, and yet they both had an intense introspection that was not aligned with their external worlds. Although, Amelie’s characteristics were dissected on screen for us to analyse, while the young widow was cloaked in mystery, it was the latter’s personality that overwhelmed me the most. The young widow’s life-balancing choice, to bed ‘the Foreigner’ (Alan Bates) and her tragic ending, is a story that simultaneously stirs primal instincts and outrages the heart.

Rather than Amelie as character, it was the incredibly idiosyncratic artistic approaches of her prospective boyfriend, Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) and that of her painter neighbour, ‘The Glass Man’, that were creatively contagious. The photo album of discarded railway passport photos, the capturing of every day laughter… the meticulous copying of a Renoir masterpiece that cannot ever be emulated… their approaches venerated the journey of artist, as the searcher of soul within that which society has labelled untouchable or beyond touch.

Finally, a film that was able to bridge the gap between intelligence and emotion beautifully through a story that is familiar to us all, that of the family and the impending wedding, without caricature, without contrived farce, without simplicity but rather through storytelling done so finely, so thoughtfully detailed, so refreshingly contradictory, so true:

Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2002) on big screen

I seek from a storyteller who depicts hybrid existence, that is, the traversing of two cultures, something more than what the collective cliché mind already knows. I seek to be informed, to be challenged or, at the very least, to be surprised. Monsoon Wedding did all three through its reassessment of the father figure, ‘the virginal bride’ portrayal, the male psyche in contest against the greater power of the female will.

Angela Costi is a Melbourne-based poet and playwright. She also has a Law/Arts degree and a diploma in Professional Writing.

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Top 10 2002

by Denis Côté

The Man Without A Past (Aki Kaurismäki, 2002)
Le Fils (Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, 2002)
Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002)
Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass, 2002)
Être et avoir (Nicolas Philibert, 2002)
Roberto Succo (Cédric Kahn, 2000)
Lundi matin (Otar Iosseliani, 2002)
La vie nouvelle (Philippe Grandrieux, 2002)
Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhang-ke, 2002)
L’anglaise et le duc (Éric Rohmer, 2001)

Denis Côté is the film editor for ICI Weekly, a French publication based in Montreal, Canada.

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Top 10 for 2002

by Adrian Danks

Best new films receiving festival, one-off, premiere TV or non-commercial screenings in Melbourne:

To Be and to Have (Nicolas Philibert, 2002)
Film Ist 7-12 (Gustav Deutsch, 2002)
The Pilot/One in a Million Trillion (Errol Morris, 2001)
Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2002)
Dream Work (Peter Tscherassky, 2001)
What Time is it There? (Tsai Ming-liang, 2001)
Domestic Violence (Frederick Wiseman, 2001)
The Day I Became a Woman (Marzieh Meshkini, 2000)
Mist (Matthias Müller, 2000)
B-52 (Hartmut Bitomsky, 2001)

Bubbling under:
Secret Ballot (Babak Payami, 2001); The Orphan of Anyang (Wang Chao, 2001); The Lady and the Duke (Eric Rohmer, 2001); The Sweetest Sound (Alan Berliner, 2001); The Specialist (Eyal Sivan, 1999); Humphrey Jennings: The Man Who Listened to Britain (Kevin MacDonald); Down from the Mountain (Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker, Nick Doob, 2001); Accelerated Development: In the Idiom of Santiago Alvarez (Travis Wilkerson, 1999); Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer (Robert Trachtenberg); Love and Anarchy: The Wild Wild World of Jamie Leonarder (Brendan Young, 2001)

Ten best films commercially released in Melbourne that I actually got around to seeing:

Yi Yi

The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000)
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)
The Circle (Jafar Panahi, 2000)
Y tu Mamá También (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001)
Va Savoir! (Jacques Rivette, 2001)
Under the Sand (François Ozon, 2001)
Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002)
Ocean’s 11 (Stephen Soderbergh, 2001)
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
Favourite Retrospective Screenings:
Come & See (Elem Klimov, 1985), My Friend Ivan Lapshin (Alexei Gherman, 1986), The Valiant Ones (King Hu, 1975), Nouvelle Vague (Jean-Luc Godard, 1990) and the double bill of The Long Riders (Walter Hill, 1980) and Wild Bill (Walter Hill, 1995) at the Melbourne Cinémathèque; Oskar Fischinger retrospective at the Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF); restored prints of Sunday too Far Away (Ken Hannam, 1975) and The Money Movers (Bruce Beresford, 1979); Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973), The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 1978) and The Conversation (Francis-Ford Coppola, 1974) at The Astor; Workers Leaving the Factory (Harun Farocki, 1995) at the otherwise fairly lamentable Melbourne Underground Film Festival; the London Filmmaker’s Co-op Retrospective at MIFF, especially Line Describing a Cone (Anthony McCall, 1973) and my favourite film of the year in any context, The Girl Chewing Gum (John Smith, 1976)

Personal Cinémathèque discoveries:
The Elusive Pimpernel (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1950); Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931); Meanwhile… Somewhere (Peter Forgács, 1994); Lonely are the Brave (David Butler, 1962); The Fall of the House of Usher (Melville Weber and James Sibley Watson, 1928); All I Desire (Douglas Sirk, 1953); Kanto Wanderer (Seijun Suzuki, 1963); The Marriage Circle (Ernst Lubitsch, 1924); Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1947); The Wanderers (Philip Kaufman, 1979); Play Dirty (André de Toth, 1969)

Worst ‘new’ films (in least preferential order) seen in any context:
Behave (Bart Borghesi, 2002); The Happiness of the Katakuris (Miike Takeshi, 2001); The Trouble with Merle (Maree Delofski, 2002); The Majestic (Frank Darabont, 2001); Envy (Julie Money); Nabi: The Butterfly (Moon Seung-wook, 2001); Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell on Me (Nicholas Triandafyllidis, 2001); The Host (Nicholas Tomay, 2002); Wild Animals (Kim Ki-Duk, 1999); Roadkill (John Dahl, 2001); Mamadrama (Monique Schwarz, 2001); Marie-Jo & Her Two Loves (Robert Guédguian, 2001); My Beautiful Girl, Mari (Lee Sung-Gang, 2002); Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (Yoshiaki Kawajiri, 2001); The Queen of the Damned (Michael Rymer, 2002); Big Mama (Kon Ichikawa, 2001); The Hard Word (Scott Roberts, 2002); Bamboozled (Spike Lee, 2000); Willfull (Rebel Penfold-Russell); The Experiment (Olivier Hirschbiegel, 2001); and the two most pretentious films of the year, The Road to Perdition (Sam Mendes, 2002) and, unfortunately, Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001).

Australian Cinema

Love and Anarchy: The Wild Wild World of Jamie Leonarder (Brendan Young, 2001); Rainbow Bird and Monster Man (Dennis K. Smith, 2001); Walking on Water (Tony Ayres, 2002); The Road Back (Sam McGeorge, 2002); the temporality and look of Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002); opening sequence, soundtrack, David Gulpilil’s performance and epic scope of The Tracker (Rolf de Heer, 2002); cinematography and broad intentions of Rabbit Proof Fence (Phil Noyce, 2002)

Behave (Bart Borghesi, 2002); The Trouble with Merle (Maree Delofski, 2002); The Host (Nicholas Tomay, 2002); Willfull (Rebel Penfold-Russell); The Hard Word (Scott Roberts, 2002); Garage Days (Alex Proyas, 2002); pretty much all of the other performances in The Tracker (Rolf de Heer, 2002).

Adrian Danks is President and co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque, co-editor of Cteq: Annotations on Film, and Head of Cinema Studies at RMIT University, School of Applied Communication.

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2002 Highlights

by Anne Démy-Geroe

For me the highlights lay largely in retro viewing.

In terms of the experimental genre, there was Rotterdam’s gathering of the old garde – including Michael Snow, Peter Kubelka and Stan Brakhage – to celebrate a sensational and daring programme of retrospective and current work. It disstressed me enormously that I was unable to attend anywhere near what I would have liked.

At the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF): Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!, 8 programmes curated by Mark Webber covering ten years of the London Filmmakers Co-op. “The Expanded Cinema” programme, a projectionist’s nightmare to set up, contained works by Le Grice, Raban and Gill Eatherly among others, who “began to examine the light beam, its volume and presence in the room”. Hardened film buffs, visual artists and those new to the area were all seduced by Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone (1973), in which it takes 30 minutes for a point to expand to a circle.

Pistol Opera

Other discoveries/re-discoveries:

The early work of Joseph Losey, again the subject of a BIFF retro: Jeanne Moreau in Eva (1962) and Blind Date (1958) were the highpoints for me.
Maurice L’Herbier’s El Dorado (1921) on DVD (Thankyou Geoff Gardner).
Youssef Chahine’s Alexandria Trilogy in preparation for a brief visit to the city itself.

Current films:
Seijun Suzuki’s Pistol Opera (2002); Jia Zhang-ke’s Unknown Pleasures (2002) (I look forward to a second viewing somewhere soon); La Commune (Paris 1871) (Peter Watkins, 2001); Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

New Australian work:
Ivan Sen’s long-awaited first feature Beneath Clouds (2002); The Tracker (Rolf de Heer, 2002).

Anne Démy-Geroe is creative director of the Brisbane International Film Festival.

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Reflections on Cinema in 2002

by Jorge Didaco

We enjoyed a year rich in retrospective viewing in Brazil; here are some highlights:

Alberto Cavalcanti’s Went the Day Well? (1942). One of the highlights of an eclectic and brilliant career: gritty, realistic, urgent, savagely funny (and one of the best propagandistic films ever).

Jacques Becker’s Rue de L’Estrapade (1953). An unsung masterpiece: a film filled with delicious sexual games of jealousy, mildly dangerous flirtations and early discussions on gender.

Paulo César Saraceni’s A Casa Assassinada (1970). One of the most prominent figures of the Cinema Novo and one of his most painterly films: exquisite, languorous, sensual, and decadent.

Julien Duvivier. Not only the absolute master of the episodic narrative (and of the narative in episodes) but the father of the “film criminel”, a genre in which he produced some of his most memorable films and one of my personal favorites: L’ Affaire Maurizius (1954), with the inimitable Anton Walbrook as a lecherous queen trying to seduce the young, innocent and beautiful Jacques Chabassol, in a tale of sexual awakening, father-son relationships, love hurt by wrong choices, criminal unjustice and murder.

Other notable visions of the past: Save and Protect (Aleksandr Sokúrov, 1989), Sterne (Konrad Wolf, 1958), Seven Sinners (Tay Garnett, 1940), Les Maris, les Femmes, les Amants (Pascal Thomas, 1989), Pension Mimosas (Jacques Feyder, 1935), Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946), La Vérité sur Bébé Donge (Henri Decoin, 1951), L’Île au Trésor (Raul Ruiz, 1986), Mandy (Alexander Mackendrick, 1952), The Man Who Laughs (Paul Leni, 1928), Remorques (Jean Grémillon, 1939), Clownhouse (Victor Salva, 1989), L’Enfant de l’Hiver (Olivier Assayas, 1989), Le Coeur Fantôme (Philippe Garrel, 1996), Spetters (Paul Verhoeven, 1980), Nenette et Boni (Claire Denis, 1996), Parade (Jacques Tati, 1974), Charulata (Satyajit Ray, 1964), What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? (Blake Edwards, 1966), Cruel Story of Youth (Nagisa Oshima, 1960), I Can Get It For You Wholesale (Michael Gordon, 1951; how wonderful it was to discover this sublime women’s picture whilst reading of Mark Rappaport’s essay, “Abraham Polonsky’s I Can Get It For You Wholesale (1951) Reconsidered”, published in Senses of Cinema Issue 20 (May-June 2002) …

Best of current and recent releases, in no particular order:
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001), La Ville est Tranquille/Marie-Jo et ses Deux Amours (Robert Guédiguian, 2000/2002), Saint-Cyr (Patricia Mazuy, 2000), The Man Who Wasn’t There (Joel Coen, 2001), Aprés la Reconciliation (Anne-Marie Miéville, 2000), Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001), Le Soufle (Damien Odoul, 2001), The Devil’s Backbone/Blade II (Guillermo del Toro, 2001/2002), 8 Women (François Ozon, 2002), I’m Going Home (Manoel de Oliveira, 2001), K-19, The Widowmaker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2002), Quitting (Zhang Yang, 2001), L’Emplois du Temps (Laurent Cantet, 2001), Merci Pour le Chocolat (Claude Chabrol, 2000), Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002), Ali (Michael Mann, 2001), In Absentia (Brothers Quay, 2000), Love Me (Laetitia Masson, 2000), Combat D’Amour en Songe/Comédie de L’Innocence (Raul Ruiz, 2000/2000), Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002), The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001), Sade/Tosca (Benoît Jacquot, 2000/2001), Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (Shohei Imamura, 2001; also his episode in 11’09”01-September 11 (2002).

Most underrated and unjustly maligned film of the year:
Rollerball (John McTiernan, 2002)

A brief comment on Brazilian cinema:
Brazil, joining Mexico and Argentina, had a particularly good year; not only the worldwide successes of City of God (Fernando Meirelles/ Kátia Lund, 2002) and Madame Satã (Karim Aïnouz, 2002), but the more modest and equally satisfying Uma Vida em Segredo (Suzana Amaral, 2001), Eduardo Coutinho’s extraordinary documentary Edifício Master (2002) and especially veteran Julio Bressane’s Days of Nietzsche in Turin (2001), certainly one of the best of this or any year.

Jorge Didaco is a Brazil-based teacher and writer in theatre, performance and film.

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2002 Favourites

by Claudio España

Black Narcissus (Powell & Pressburger, 1947, Great Britain; San Sebastian Film Festival): The feminine libido is always present and active, even if another or The Other’s (God?) power attempts to conceal it under a religious habit, in an oppressive atmosphere, or out of the sight of society.

Road To Kafiristan (Piero and Fosco Dubini, 2002, Germany): A story that might have come straight out of Black Narcissus. In 1939 two German women drive to Kabul (!) where they seduce an Oriental woman before her husband by dancing a rumba with her. A film about the fight for femininity, the struggle to hold on to one’s womanhood, in a hostile and unpredictable environment.

A Matter Of Life and Death (Powell & Pressburger, 1945, Great Britain; San Sebastian Film Festival): Is it possible that only language remains when death arrives, even if language has been forgotten and consigned to oblivion? This is an odd film about the power of the word and the meaning of its resilience. Death is the Word? Or Word is the Death?

Once Upon A Tractor (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, 1965, US; Mar del Plata Film Festival): A triumphant discovery of a film by Torre Nillson thought lost, even non-existent. It was found on a shelf in the United Nations cinematheque. Featuring a young Alan Bates, the discovery of this print completes the filmography of this great Argentine director.

Russian Arc (2002, Russia; Cannes Film festival): The dream to travel from the past towards the present (ah, Gilles Deleuze!) with a camera. Who is the subject of the enunciation – the camera or myself?

8 Women (François Ozon, 2002, France): This evocation of Douglas Sirk (I love melodrama) sent me straight to All That Heaven Allows and Tarnished Angels, on home video, of course. Color and Black & White, sublime!!).

Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001, US): This is about the fulfilled desire to be locked within a utopian labyrinth, with mirror walls which do not reflect myself but two other women who in turn do not recognise each other. For once, as in Borges, this labyrinth has no way in or out, it ends in the infinite.

Hable con ella (Talk to Her, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2002): Almodóvar challenges death, without a chessboard, and wins. All Almodóvar topoi are concentrated in this film. Curiously, Death’s proximity brings Life (when Love Is A Many Splendored Thing!, remember?)

The New-New Argentine Cinema (In general, Trapero, Caetano, Martel, Burman, Stagnaro, et al): While popular in festivals around the world, Argentine producers want to uproot them from their independence. And they are succeeding, almost without effort. In contrast to Powell & Pressburger, they remain uninterested in words, valuing the image, reality, and the human being. Almost without speaking.

Translated by David Barison and Alfredo Martinez.

Claudio España is critic and Professor in film theory at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

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2002 Film Favourites

by Hugo Gamarra Etcheverry

Commercial releases
Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001, US)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2001, US)
Día de entrenamiento (Antoine Fuqua)
Requiem for a dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000, US)
El hijo de la novia (Juan José Campanella, 2001, Argentina)

The Apple

Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001, France)
The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001, Germany)
Apocalypse Now Redux (Francis Ford Coppola, 2001, US)

Non-commercial releases:
In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2001, HK)
Luna papa (Bakhtiar Khudojnazarov, 1999, Tajikistan)
La comunidad (Álex de la Iglesia, 2000, Spain)
The Taste of Others (Agnés Jaoui, 2000, France)
The Girl At The Bridge (Patrice Leconte, 2000, France)
El bola (Achero Mañas, 2000, Spain)
The Polish Bride (Karim Traïdia, 1998, Holland)
The Apple (Samira Majmalbaf, 1998, Iran)
The Cup (khyentse Norbu, 2000, Butan)
Waking Life (Richard Linklater, 2002, USA)

Hugo Gamarra Etcheverry is Director of the Asuncion International Film Festival and film critic in Paraguay.

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Ten Best

by Geoff Gardner

Ten Best:
Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002)
Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass, 2002)
Brief Crossing (Catherine Breillat, 2001)
Delbaran (Albofarzi Jalili, 2002)
L’emploi du temps (Laurent Cantet, 2001)
Kandahar (Mohsin Makmahlbaf, 2001)
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
One Fine Spring Day (Hur Jin-ho, 2001)
Sauvage Innocence (Phillipe Garrel, 2001)
La vie est tranquille (Robert Guedigian, 2001)

Guilty Pleasures:
About a Boy (Chris and Paul Weitz)
K-19 The Widowmaker (Katherine Bigelow, 2002)

Ten Best on DVD:
Le Amiche (Michaelangelo Antonioni, 1955)
Il Gattopardo (Luchino Visconti, 1963)
Gohatto (Oshima Nagisa, 2000)
The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 1978)
Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961)
L’humanite (Bruno Dumont, 2000)
Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2000)
Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
The Orphic Trilogy (Jean Cocteau)
Le Trou (Jacques Becker, 1960)

The Shipping News (Lasse Hallström, 2002)
Charlotte Gray (Gillian Armstrong, 2002)

Geoff Gardner was once a film distributor and, 20 years ago, director of the Melbourne Film Festival.

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Cinema Highlights 2002

by John Gianvito

Films viewed (in no hierarchy):

Deux (Werner Schroeter, France, 2002)
Profit and Nothing But! (Raoul Peck, France, 2001)
One Fine Spring Day (Jin-Ho Hur, Hong Kong/South Korea, 2001)
Sauvage Innocence (Philippe Garrel, France, 2001)
Alambrista! (Robert M. Young, US, Revised Director’s Cut, 1978-2002)
From The Other Side (Chantal Akerman, France, 2002)
An Injury to One (Travis Wilkerson, US, 2002)
Demons (Mario O’Hara, Philippines, 2000)
The Road (Darejan Omirbaev, Kazakhstan, 2001)
H-Story (Suwa Nobuhiro, Japan/France, 2001)
The Navigators (Ken Loach, UK, 2001)
Solitude (Robin Schlaht, Canada, 2001)
Otello (Carmelo Bene, Italy, 2002)

Favorite comedy (& favorite romance) seen in 2002:
Où gît votre sourire enfoui? (Pedro Costa, France, 2000)

Favorite short film or video:
The Tower of Industrial Life (Alfred Guzzetti, US, 2000)
Lifeline (Victor Erice, Spain, 2002)

Favorite film-as-yet-unreleased (seen privately):
Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Anderson, US, 2003)

Favorite retrospectives:
Landscapes of the Soul: The Cinema of Alexander Dovzhenko (organized by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Alla Verlotsky)
Ermanno Olmi retrospective (Boston Museum of Fine Arts)
Naomi Kawase retrsopective (Infinity Festival, Alba, Italy)
Alexander Sokurov retrospective (organized by James Quandt, Cinémathèque Ontario and Jytte Jensen, Museum of Modern Art)

Favorite film magazines read in 2002:
CinemaScope (Canada), Cahiers du Cinéma (less indispensable still eminently worthwhile), Senses of Cinema (of course)

Favorite film festivals attended in 2002:
Rotterdam (everything I dreamed it would be; sets the bar for quality and diversity of programming) Maine International Film Festival (a little diamond in the highlands)

Films that I’ve been most unable to embrace or dismiss yet continue to reflect on (oddly, both desert survival films):
Life Without Death (Frank Cole, Canada, 2000)
Gerry (Gus van Sant, US, 2002)

Films I wish I had seen in 2002 of those I had the chance to:
La vie nouvelle (Philippe Grandrieux, France, 2002)
From the branches drops the withered blossom (Paul Meyer, Belgium, 1960)

Favorite film books that came into my hands during the year:

Rows and Rows of Fences/Ritwik Ghatak on Cinema (Seagull Books, 2000)
Bertolt Brecht, Cahiers du Cinéma and Contemporary Film Theory by George Lellis (UMI Research Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1982)
Jeune, Dure et Pure! (Nicole Brenez, Christian Lebrat, Cinémathèque Française, 2001)
Cassavetes on Cassavetes (Ray Carney, Faber and Faber, 2001)
Emile de Antonio – A Reader (Dan Streible and Douglas Kellner, University of Minnesota Press, 2000)
Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic struggle Against Corporate Media (Robert W. McChesney & John Nichols, Seven Stories Press, New York, NY, 2002)

John Gianvito wrote, directed and produced The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein (2001).

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Top 10 Films 2002

by Antony I. Ginnane

Femme Fatale

Eligibility: US releases in 2002

8 Mile (Curtis Hanson)
Auto Focus (Paul Schrader)
Ararat (Atom Egoyan)
Blood Work (Clint Eastwood)
Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes)
Femme Fatale (Brian De Palma)
Gangs Of New York (Martin Scorsese)
Hable Con Ella (Pedro Almodóvar)
Spider (David Cronenberg)

Antony I. Ginnane is a producer, distributor and commentator based in Los Angeles, USA and Melbourne, Australia. He is also President of IFM Film Associates, Los Angeles.

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Top Ten 2002

by André Habib

Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)
Le Fils (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002)
La vie nouvelle (Philippe Grandrieux, 2002)
Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokourov, 2002)
Kedma (Amos Gitaï, 2002)
Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
Yellowknife (Rodrigue Jean, 2002)
Un homme sans l’Occident (Raymond Depardon, 2002)
Solaris (Steven Soderbergh, 2002)
*Corpus Callosum (Michael Snow, 2001)

A major 2002 highlight for me was the Béla Tarr retrospective in Montreal, during the summer of 2002, and the Michael Snow cycle at the Cinemathèque Québécoise.

André Habib is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at the University of Montreal. He is also a critic for the Montreal-based online journal Hors Champ. In 2001, he completed his master’s thesis on Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma.

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2002 Film Favourites

by Ben Halligan

This year’s revelation, wholly unexpected inspite of the director’s considerable abilities as a filmmaker, was Biggie and Tupac (Nick Broomfield, 2002). This ramshackle investigation into the messy, mysterious ends of two rappers in the mid-1990s makes for an incisive and arresting film, and one specific to 2002. Broomfield, possibly even unwittingly, stumbles across questions of principal importance, illuminating the dark machinations of corruption, complicity and media manipulation at the heart of Bush’s America. The way in which Broomfield synthesises the reportage techniques of Jack London (he frequently cites The People of the Abyss as an influence) and the on-screen investigative skills of Inspector Clouseau is both beguiling and allows for access to things otherwise unseen and unsaid. Here the microcosm effortlessly becomes the macrocosm (unlike in Michael Moore’s sprawling Chuck Heston epic) and delivers an astute and searing commentary on wider society. Yet the film remains worthy of the humanity that Broomfield evidently found in (much of) the music of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. And who would have thought that Broomfield, of all people, would have his finger on the zeitgeist?

Dudley Moore and Spike Milligan passed away this year but their legacy has been particularly apparent: British television satire (operatically self-loathing, the full-blown hang-over of the Blairite “Cool Britannia” idiotology) has never been as barbed or as funny.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to see it, Jamie Doran’s embattled documentary Massacre at Mazar is clearly essential viewing.

Best films of 2002:
1. Éloge de l’amour (Jean-Luc Godard)
2. Elégie de la Traversée (Aleksandr Sokurov)
3. Kandahar (Moshen Makhmalbaf)
4. Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokurov)
5. La Pianiste (Michael Haneke)
6. All or Nothing (Mike Leigh)
7. 11′ 9” 01 – September 11 (Various)
8. Ten (Abbas Kiarostami)
9. Italian for Beginners (Lone Scherfig)
10. À Ma Soeur! (Catherine Breillat)
11. Gosford Park (Robert Altman)
12. La Chambre du Fils (Nanni Moretti)
13. Sweet Sixteen (Ken Loach)
14. Dark Blue World (Jan Sverák)
15. Last Orders (Fred Schepisi)
16. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch)
17. Amen (Constantin Costa-Gavras)
18. Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (Shane Meadows)

Best documentaries of 2002:
1. Biggie and Tupac (Nick Broomfield)
2. The Little Red Tram (Alexei Jankowski)
2. London Orbital (Iain Sinclair / Chris Petit)
3. Palestine Is Still The Issue (John Pilger)
4. A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake (Jeroen Berkvens)
5. The Tramp and the Dictator (Kevin Brownlow / Michael Kloft)
6. Dogtown and Z Boys (Stacy Peralta)

Best short:
Inside an Uncle (David Cairns; Tartan Smalls)

The Office (second series; BBC)
I’m Alan Partridge (second series; BBC)

Finisterre (St Etienne, ICA and other locations)

The End of the Human Voice (Francesco Vezzoli, Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool)

Festival event:
Lucian Pintilie and Peter Watkins retrospectives (Leeds International Film Festival)

Books (film/media-related):
The Spirit of Terrorism by Jean Baudrillard, Verso Books
British Horror Cinema by Steve Chibnall and Julian Petley, editors, Routledge
Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future
by Hamid Dabashi, Verso Books
Fellini Lexicon by Sam Rohdie, British Film Institute

“Class Analysis and Feeling Mean A Great Deal: Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman”, David Walsh, World Socialist Web Site review, No. 9, April – May 2002, p. 66-68; or http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/dec2001/gosf-d28.shtml

A Festschrift for Raymond Durgnat, Adrian Martin, editor, Senses of Cinema, Issue No. 20, May-June 2002; http://sensesofcinema.com/contents/02/20/contents.html#durgnat

Benjamin Halligan’s critical biography of Michael Reeves will be published by Manchester University Press in their British Film-Makers series in Summer 2003.

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