Tuesday, December 04, 2012

In thinking about the best films of the year, one problem is that release dates tend to be different from the dates one saw the movie, especially if one attended various festivals or showcases. Case in point is that several of my favorite movies of 2012 i saw in 2011: "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia", "The Kid With a Bike", "Two Years at Sea". And there's a tendency to forget some movies: this summer, Garrel's "A Burning Hot Summer" had a release at the IFC Center, and it was a movie i found very pleasing (fantastic settings, gorgeous cinematography). "Francine" had a one-week run, and it was a movie i thought was tough-minded and scrupulous, with a superb performance by Melissa Leo. So Yong Kim is one of the finest filmmakers working, i thought "Treeless Mountain" was one of the best films of recent years, so i was excited about her new film, "For Ellen"; unfortunately, i thought the script was problematic, but the performances by Paul Dano and Shaylena Mandigo were impeccable. And that was another thing this year, a lot of performances by children were terrific: Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), Shaylena Mandigo ("For Ellen"), Thomas Doret ("The Kid With a Bike"). (So Yong Kim certainly has a way with directing children, as she proved in "Treeless Mountain" and "For Ellen".) This question of how to judge a performance by a child has come up many times. (It's implicit in the documentary "Baby Peggy: The Elephant In the Room".) I remember when Jacques Doillon's "Ponette" (1996) was making the festival rounds, and there was a lot of discussion about the performance of the then-4-year-old Victoire Thivisol.

But there's so much now: until the 1990s, if 400 films were released in a year, that was a lot. We are reaching the point where the number of films released in a year comes in at over 700, and growing. There's no way anyone can see all the movies released in a year! There's no way anyone can even try to see all the movies.


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