Sight & Sound 30 Key Films of Decade

Saturday, February 06, 2010

I picked up the latest issue of Sight & Sound magazine, which I used to subscribe to in my college years. I can always recall sitting in the library debating the prospect of studying, but instead becoming lost in its pages of historical, foreign and current cinema. Admittedly this was initially by default as the library didn’t stock much in the way of non-educational literature but they must have been running a film or media course to warrant its inclusion in the racks. Back then there was only really Empire magazine which still doesn’t do it for me and Total Film had yet to be launched for a few years yet. The only contender since was the excellent FilmStar magazine and that was tragically cut short for now. However I have just discovered the refreshing Little White Lies which I'll talk about another time.

Still, plenty of reading in any issue of Sight & Sound and a sizeable chunk of information and potential purchases to be assimilated. This issue they’ve gone for their 30 key films of the decade in no particular order and the emphasis is on foreign cinema. Whilst they argue that this is only the result of a poor decade from Hollywood and Britain with the transition towards special effects and blockbusters over drama prompting such an emphasis, I’m not entirely sure.

·       Adaptation – Spike Jonze
·       Battle in Heaven – Carlos Reygadas
·       The Beat That My Heart Skipped – Jacques Audiard
·       The Bourne Ultimatum – Paul Greengrass
·       Caché – Michael Haneke
·       Colossal Youth – Pedro Costa
·       The Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Cristi Piu
·       Éloge de l’amour – Jean-Luc Godard
·       The Five Obstructions – Lars von Trier and Jorgen Leth
·       The Gleaners and I – Agnès Varda
·       The Holy Girl – Lucrecia Martel
·       Inland Empire – David Lynch
·       In the Mood for Love – Wong Kar-Wai
·       Memories of Murder – Bong Joon-ho
·       Platform – Jia Zhangke
·       Russian Ark – Aleksandr Sokurov
·       The Son – Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
·       Spirited Away – Hayao Miyazaki
·       Talk to Her – Pedro Almodovar
·       Ten – Abbas Kiarostami
·       There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson
·       35 Shots of Rum – Claire Denis
·       Touching the Void – Kevin Macdonald
·       Tropical Malady – Apichatpong Weerasethakul
·       United Red Army – Wakamatsu Koji
·       Uzak – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
·       Waiting for Happiness – Abderramane Sissako
·       Werckmeister Harmonies – Béla Tarr and Agnes Hranitzky
·       Workingman’s Death – Michael Glawogger
·       Yi Yi – Edward Yang

Immediately I scramble to count how many of these I’ve seen or dismissed, perhaps adding a few oversights to my DVD rental list.  I’m about halfway in terms of viewing and that’s a decent result, most certainly above the general public who will have probably seen just a handful at best. There Will Be Blood remains a favourite and certainly the best film released during my lifetime at the time of writing.  However there are some films worth investigations, 35 Shots of Rum keeps on appearing and is a recent release in the scheme of things. Russian Ark is another, offshoot of this ‘slow cinema’ fab I’ve been reading about. How we always need to categorise films, music and so on or into convenient brackets or geographical areas is always a complaint of mine.

Yet as long as the television remains critical with little reward, I'll have plenty of time to check out the gaps.

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