2010 in Review

Five Best Films I saw in December

Alphabetical order and First Time Viewings Only

Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami)

Code Unknown (Michael Haneke)

Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)

The Getaway (Sam Peckinpah)


10 Filmmakers to Explore and Discover in 2010 – Results

Every year I set out to see new and exciting films, I set out a precise plan that I hope to follow… but as you can see, things don’t always work out quite as I’d hope. That being said, I made some definite progress on Resnais, though the majority of those watches were of his shorts. It’s also amazing considering how many hundreds of films I watch, I can’t even put aside the time to watch a single Ruiz, Despleschin, Robbe-Grillet or Hellman. My own fault.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

December 31st 2009: 1 seen

December 31st 2010: 4 seen

Gilles Carle

December 31st 2009: 1 seen

December 31st 2010: 2 seen

Arnaud Despleschin

December 31st 2009: 1 seen

December 31st 2010: 1 seen

Alain Resnais

December 31st 2009: 1 seen

December 31st 2010: 8 seen

Alain Robbe-Grillet

December 31st 2009: 0 seen

December 31st 2010: 0 seen

Raoul Ruiz

December 31st 2009: 0 seen

December 31st 2010: 0 seen

Carl Theodor Dreyer

December 31st 2009: 2 seen

December 31st 2010: 3 seen

Jerry Lewis

December 31st 2009: 0 seen

December 31st 2010: 1 seen

Monte Hellman

December 31st 2009: 1 seen

December 31st 2010: 1 seen

Robert Bresson

December 31st 2009: 0 seen

December 31st 2010: 2 seen


These lists are not necessarily made up from ALL the films I’ve seen this year, for a variety of reasons, I am just using films that have been included in my monthly “5 or 10 best films”. So, I might be missing out in terms of certain performances in particular that were spectacular but were featured in sub-par films.

10 Favourite Female Performances

Barbara Sukowa in The Marriage of Maria Braun (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

Faye Wong in 2046 (Wong-Kar Wai)

Harriet Andersson in Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman)

Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata (Ingmar Bergman)

Isabelle Huppert in Violette Noziere (Claude Chabrol)

Juliette Binoche in Cache (Michael Haneke)

Lillian Gish in Way Down East (D.W. Griffith)

Marie-Josee Croze in Maelstrom (Denis Villeneuve)

Nadine Nortier in Mouchette (Robert Bresson)

Vanessa Howards in Girly (Freddie Francis)

10 Favourite Male Performances

Bill Murray in Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis)

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi)

Elias Koteas in The Adjuster (Atom Egoyan)

Gunnar Bjornstrand in Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman)

Harvey Keitel in Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese)

Jack Lemmon in Missing (Costa-Gavras)

Jean-Nicolas Verrault in Maelstrom (Denis Villeneuve)

John Gilbert in The Big Parade (King Vidor)

Robert Carlyle in Ravenous (Antonia Bird)

Tony Leung in 2046 (Wong-Kar Wai)


Filmmaker of the Year

Michael Haneke


Top 20 Films Seen in 2010

20. Sombre (Phillipe Grandrieux)

19. High School (Frederick Wiseman)

18. Code Unknown (Michael Haneke)

17. Beau Travail (Claire Denis)

16. Opera (Dario Argento)

15. Ravenous (Antonia Bird)

14. The Adjuster (Atom Egoyan)

13. Kiss me Deadly (Robert Aldrich)

12. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)

11. Lazybones (Frank Borzage)

10. Gimme Shelter (Albert Maysles & David Maysles)

9.  Cache (Michael Haneke)

8. Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese)

7. The Civil War Trilogy (Robert Enrico)

6. What Have they done to Solange? (Massimo Dallamano)

5. 2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)

4. The Big Parade (King Vidor)

3. Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman)

2. Maelstrom (Denis Villeneuve)

1. The Marriage of Maria Braun (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

As you may have guessed, I purposefully omitted 2010 releases. My definite list of favourite films and performances for 2010 releases should be on its way by mid February, when I’ve managed to catch up on foreign flicks and movies I have missed for one reason or another. As well as giving me ample time to write little blurbs.


Staying with tradition though, here are the filmmakers I hope to be more familiar with by the time 2011 is finished. I am completely unfamiliar with all of these, with exception of Etaix, who I’ve seen a single short from his filmography and Jerzy Kawalerowicz, who directed one of my favourites, Mother Joan of the Angels. If you have any recommendations for starting points, don’t hesitate!

Alezandr Sokurov

Carlos Saura

Jacques Rivette

Jean Epstein

Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Peter Greenaway

Philippe Garrel

Pierre Etaix

Raoul Ruiz

Satyajit Ray


4 responses to “2010 in Review

  1. If you haven’t seen any Epstein, his Chute de la Maison Usher isn’t too hard to find.

    Sokurov: Russian Ark is the obvious starting point.

    Greenaway: hard to say cos it’s probably a decade or more since I last saw his films (had a friend at university who was a huge Greenaway nut, so I saw most of his 80s/90s features under his influence), and he’s a hard one to recommend anything by. I’d say go for Prospero’s Books but I don’t think it’s on DVD anywhere. Failing that, The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover.

    Ray: only seen Pather Panchali (didn’t like) and The Music Room (did like, but don’t know its availability).

  2. Sokurov: Days of Eclipse. That’s the one. You’ve already got the image. Following that, his non-narrative films are great as well, or his narrative-documentaries, or whatever you call them, but I still prefer The Second Circle and Mother and Son. His comedies are rather insane, including Painful Indifference and Moloch. His middle period stuff that’s hard to find is coming out on DVD from Cinema Guild (the best there is, at the moment), so those should have fantastic transfers and be amazing. It’s a good year for Sokurov watching.

    Greenaway: I’ve seen all of his features between The Falls and Tulse Luper now, and he’s easily one of my two or three favorite directors (I could not name a third, but I leave a seat open), and Prospero’s Books is just incredible in too many ways to remember. Even the screenplay, which I got from the library, which is not even really a screenplay, is amazing. However, I would definitely want to see the buildup to it, and perhaps even watch The Baby of Macon (beautiful new Swedish region free blu ray! Also Prospero’s on DVD, but not blu ray. Boo.) first. The three in that period, between The Cook… and Macon, share some similar elements, and Prospero’s is the most dense. It doesn’t help that it uses Elizabethan English, either. Or… how it uses it. But it cannot be helped; it is perfect. A Zed and Two Noughts is easily my second favorite. So amazing.

    Garrel: A big target of mine this year. Currently: No clue.

    Rivette: I’ve seen a few, and the best thing I can tell you is that he’s so unique and so disparate that every film seems at odds with every other film ever made, including his own, and they are oddities. They are all interesting, though. You’ve just got to keep going!

  3. Great lists! I admire your commitment to picking filmmakers to get acquainted with during the coming year. I do this more informally myself, and often fail to follow through.

    Rivette is a big favorite of mine, one of my unassailable top 5 all-time favorite filmmakers. So I’m always excited to see someone approaching him. He’s got a lot of masterpieces, but I’d recommend starting with CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING and THE HISTORY OF MARIE AND JULIEN. They’re probably his most accessible films, which is important with him because the length and complexity of his work can be daunting – but he’s also a very playful director, and there’s a lot of humor in his work. Other favorites I’d recommend: the noirish/magical DUELLE, the oddball pirate adventure NOIROT, GANG OF FOUR, LE PONT DU NORD, and the film your screencap is from, LA BELLE NOISEUSE. Considering your interest in women in film, he should be a very important director for you, since I can think of few other filmmakers who work so well with actresses.

    Ruiz is one I love as well, though I’ve seen much less in that case. THREE CROWNS OF A SAILOR is probably my favorite, a surreal and dreamlike ghost story with some stunning imagery. I also love the fiendishly clever pseudo-documentary essay THE HYPOTHESIS OF THE STOLEN PAINTING, and the cutesy, funny serial killer film CE JOUR-LA.

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