Sunday, 30 December 2012

Top Ten Films Seen in 2012

Note: These are not the 'Top Ten films of 2012', but the ones that I stumbled across and have stayed with me..for whatever reason. Also, as a post christmas, pre New Year's Eve, Mollusc moment, this can act as a convenient bookend/or whatever the virtual blog based equivalent is - to the year. Next year will not be as committed to monthly film updates, as work priorities decree otherwise. A grandiose way of saying I need to concentrate on work which, as the non-specific titular mollusc of this blog, shall be shrouded in enigma, as simply: 'work'. I could be digging a subterranean network of unidentified alcohol cellars, joined via complex vaulted tunnels, beneath the Vatican. I could be drinking mind altering devil brew, with the papal converts of indecency and midnight shenanigans. In our underground capers of inebriation, blasphemously gulping barrels of mollusc-pop and howling anthems of degradation, while in full religious regalia. I could be doing that. Or I could be enrolled in a forward thinking academy for wood lice with dyslexia. It is to soon and too public a forum to confirm, either way, mollusc posts shall be less regular.

-To see all the films (listed) that have been reviewed this year: click here

So...It no particular order: Midnight Mollusc's TOP FILMS SEEN IN 2012

- L'Atlante - dir. Jean Vigo : A magical, eccentric and charming journey...two newly weds on a barge...with many a canal savvy kitten. Nods to surrealism, early (1934) cinematic innovation and the visionary imagination of Vigo.

- Le Quattro Volte - dir. Michelangelo Frammartino - a film that follows a goat herder, a goat, a dog and a tree. Closer to a meditative essay on nature and reincarnation than death. Poetic, peaceful and profound.

-The Tree of Life - dir. Terrence Malick - The earnest expression of inspiring ambition. While there are moments people may want to laugh at, or condemn as flatulent, indulgent or misjudged, I would argue it is instead a testament to both artistic vision and cinematic capability. A film exploded to the limits of what great art aspires to: an expression of life.

-Annie Hall - dir. Woody Allen - So...I was a tad late in getting round to this legendary comedy. Amazing writing (endlessly quotable), fuelled by the neurosis tick of constant wit.

-Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo - dir. Jessica Orek - A beautiful and fascinating documentary that explores the relationship between Japanese culture and insects. Philosophical and poetic, it eschews documentary conventions and leaves you feeling, not only in need of a giant moth to call your own, but also once again reminded of how materialistic and hollowing much of Western and commercialised society is. These bugs: what they teach Japan-how they inform social and cultural history, Vs the shame, screaming and greed of the bugs in 'Im A Celebrity Get me Out of Here' ...and how they 'teach', 'inform' and 'reflect' the England that bows down to Ant and Dec.

-The Headless Woman - dir. Lucrecia Martel - a film which cultivates a uniquely unsettling atmosphere; it is menacing, haunting and lingeringly powerful. With very little (in the way of concrete visuals or action) happening you get the impression of a life, and its grasp of sense, quietly unravelling. Painful, sad and clearly very intelligently crafted.

-Freaks - dir. Todd Browning - At once comedic and horrific, tragic and heart warming, unsettling and inspiring. This tale of carnival 'freaks', featuring the performance of actual carnival 'freaks' made this film ( back in 1932- and continues to make it) an unforgettable, visually stunning and unnerving feast of the odd, cruel and kind. Humanism as seen through the gloriously strange.

-Dead Ringers - dir. David Cronenberg - No one should ever recommend a film about twin gynaecologists and insanity with light abandon. This is a chilling, amazingly acted, bizarre tale. Without gore, or scarring visuals, and in-spite of its potentially ridiculous narrative, this manages to conjure a  disintegration into madness and an exploration of family, love, lust and life...all through the cold, entirely unique, eyes of Cronenberg.

- Songs from the Second Floor - dir. Roy Anderson - Through a sequence of static shots Roy Anderson creates a surreal and apocalyptic world of black humour. Drawing upon the macabre existentialism of Kafka and the 'everything is empty and void of purpose...but still pretty funny' charm of Beckett - Anderson has masterfully reimagined cinematic surrealism.

-Keyhole - dir. Guy Maddin - A film that approaches the beguiling mantra of ambience, like the static between radio channels Maddin joyously haunts his own lovingly haunted house of memories, myth and family. In parts hilarious and irreverent, and elsewhere hypnotic and bizarre. Occassionally recalling the photos of Man Ray: cloaking shadows and bondage. Maddin creates a subversive, humorous and original film (my favourite of all his films - that I have so far seen).

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