Yesterday you had a chance to see the bottom half of my 20 favorite films and film experiences of 2014 (The best movies of 2014, according to Hans Morgenstern — Part 1). As you might have noticed, this year felt tricky for me and cinema, as it was hard to find movies, especially more popular ones, that satisfied this writer’s need for that transcendent moment in film. So I have added shorts and multimedia in the mix and, dare I say, visual art. Ultimately, I seek out experiences in movies that offer more than stories. It’s a personal choice, but if I didn’t have this personal choice I wouldn’t have the drive to write about moving images the way I do.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 movies of 2014. Like yesterday’s post, where available, all titles link to the item description page on Amazon. If you purchase via the specific link, you will be financially supporting this blog. If we reviewed it here, there will be a link to the review under the poster art. Finally if we haven’t reviewed it, I’ll share a few words about the film’s significance. Let’s begin with another short:
10. “Crème Caramel” by Canada
Commissioned by the art and culture blog Nowness for its hit and miss series “Defining Beauty,” this short is the series’ crowning achievement. It’s by a group of filmmakers from Spain called Canada. It’s shot in 35mm and beautifully composed featuring a great tune by French band La Femme. It’s hilarious in its objectification of a woman, but it has a great build up to a sly payoff at film’s end. It’s also NSFW.
9. Norte, The End of History
Completely contrary to the short film above is this four-hour-and-ten-minute film by the brilliant Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz. The pay-off also has great impact but asks the viewer for patient attentiveness. Norte, The End of History explores a law student’s descent into madness after getting away with murder and a parallel story of a man falsely imprisoned for the killing, as he comes to terms with his injustice. The film’s ironic twist is earned through both long, thoughtful conversation and quiet, deliberate pacing.
8. The Summer of Flying Fish
Read my review in the “Miami New Times”
7. Under the Skin
Read my review
Read my review in “Reverse Shot”
5. Love Song R. Buckminster Fuller
Here’s that multimedia experience alluded to in yesterday’s post. The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller is so much more than a slide show with film clips because documentary filmmaker Sam Green is such a grand storyteller. He doesn’t simply present weird facts about a man sometimes called the 20th century’s Leonardo DaVinci. He offers a poetic tribute to thinking outside the box and the rewards to the self as well as society. And it helps that the legendary New Jersey indie band Yo La Tengo are live, off to the side of the screen providing a sublimely atmospheric musical accompaniment. Thanks to MDC Live Arts for bringing this multimedia documentary to Miami.
Read my review
3. Goodbye To Language 3D
Read my review
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Read my review and an interview with Ralph Fiennes
1. Only Lovers Left Alive
Read my review
And that’s it! We’re very busy for next year. Surprisingly, early January is quite active: I loved Winter Sleep, Ana has glowing words for Selma, and we have preview appointments with the Dardennes’ Two Days, One Night and Liv Ullman’s Miss Julie with a favorite actress, Jessica Chastain. Plus, once again, IndieEthos is invited to introduce a couple of key films at the upcoming Miami Jewish Film Festival (Jan. 15 – 29). I will host Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem and Ana will host Zero Motivation. We also plan to participate in Q&As after the screenings. You might want to get tickets for Zero Motivation now because ticket sales are brisk. Both screenings of Gett are already sold out.
Thank you for your interesting and informing best of lists. I’m so glad to see that we share many similar tastes in films this year.
I wanted to share with you my reviews for
Only Lovers Left Alive http://tawfikzone.com/?p=680
As somebody who has never seen any of Richard Linklater’s other films, I appreciated the way you contextualized Boyhood in relation to his oeuvre.
Happy New Year.
Thanks for checking out some of the reviews I linked to here. Hope you got something from the shorts, too. Love your writing and excitement for Only Lovers and Boyhood (though I see you are “getting it” more with hindsight)! They are both greats. Boyhood will get tons more accolades, but more people should give Only Lovers a chance.