Archive for January, 2012

The End of the World?: The Year in Review

Posted: January 1, 2012 by antoniobunt in Angry Man, Neglected Sundays

My natural predisposition to the sense that bad things will happen is again acting. Maybe it’s a survival instinct to be detached from everything… except for the cinema: my only commitment now that I renewed my film-going vows in late 2010.

Anyway, politicians and economists have declared that this year will be worse than 2011 when they always tell us everything will be fine. Now I am really worried and I will not hold my breath waiting for things to be better. I’m not optimistic. But if we have a fistful of good films in the movie theatres, things can’t be that bad!

Unfortunately, my unemployment situation at the beggining of 2011 prevented me from going to see good films I have knowledge of so I can only make my list to a Top 5 of 2011. These are all films that were released comercially in Mexican movie theatres so I’m not including special features or forums.

Although The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick) is good, I think it more of an experimental film. Check my review in the Neglected Sundays page. True Grit was another remarkable film by the Coen Brothers but it’s still a remake. The cast is great and their performances make us forget the original one but it shows how weak the industry is by turning back to the old days in a “New Classicism” that is a reflection of that creative crisis Hollywood is living.

So, in no particular order (except the last one) here it goes:

5. Black Swan: Indeed a great film by Darren Arronofsky, top-of-the-line performances, the presence of Natalie Portman in one of those duality roles I like a lot, an exquisite camera work by Matthew Libatique makes this one of my instant favourites. With reminiscence of German Expressionism (the duality), this story is a great example of different states of mind and that we are very human and our dark side can emerge anytime.

4. In a Better World: Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier’s new film is a great example of a very human story. It questions if indeed Denmark (or other Developed Country) for that mater is really a haven or if it’s that different from the undefined country in Africa the character Anton works in as a doctor. Bier’s subjects are always present: pain, past, love, redemption, the eternal return. A remarkable film that touches the heart. No viewer will remain indifferent after seeing this film.

3. Beginners: What else can I say about this film? It’s incredible and if you don’t believe me, just click on my review on the Neglected Sundays page.

2. Midnight in Paris: It seems Woody Allen reinvents himself in every film and I guess this makes him the youngest filmmaker around even though he’s been active for mre that forty years now. He is one of my favourite filmmakers. This film is one of the most sad and nostalgic films he’s ever made and it has great values: Owen Wilson is a great Allen’s alter-ego, the roaring 1920’s atmosphere is remarkable, the love testament to Paris is very heart-felt and yet it feels melancholy oozing out the screen.

1. Alamar: I have never thought, even in my wildest dreams, to declare a Mexican film the best of 2011. This film breaks the boundaries between documentary and fiction creating a clear trend in filmmaking today: a true story told to Pedro Gonz├ílez-Rubio (the director of this film) that he later transformed it into a script to be later played in the film by non-professional actors that keeps the documentary feeling. A painful yet heartwarming story. If it plays in your country, don’t miss it! For me, the best film of 2011.

This was it for now. Hopefully, this year we’ll keep reviewing films and better yet: making them!

I don’t have my high hopes other than making my own projects and continue to support my filmmaking fellas in their own and leave Mexico for good. Fear, murder and uncertainty are the common denominators in this country that will keep for sure its old structures as this is an electoral year. The situation never changes and it goes for the worse.

Yet again, if we have movies, things can’t be that bad, after all, cinema has saved me in the past from my darkest times.

Anyway, I wish you a great 2012 (even though I begin to sound like Sam the Eagle from The Muppets lines above) because 2011 is now over and everything that passed is now like lost tears in the rain, like a flow of memories that melt:

and pay attention to the captions at the end of this clip:

I do wish for the best for my country, but history always corrects me.

Mexicans, wake up!!!

Have a nice week and remember: in the cinema, the man who always has the final word, is the guy who sells you the pop-corn!

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