Film Editor, Tagesspiegel
|Au hasard Balthazar
|In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden
|Rainer Werner Fassbinder
|Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag
|Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
|Djibril Diop Mambéty
|Francis Ford Coppola
Possibly the first queer western in film history, disguised as a hot mess of repressed passions running wild (those colours!), dancing cowboys and one gun-slinging saloon owner in a bulletproof dress. Nick Ray was always a director with a soft spot for melodrama, but this time he aims for full-blown operatic.
Au hasard Balthazar
You don't need to go as far as consulting the book of all books to read the poor donkey, who dies for our sins, as a metaphor for our quest for redemption. Bresson is so tender and patient (with us humans) and relentless at the same time, he puts all the self-proclaimed tough guys out there to shame.
In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden
Just before his grandiose Sirkian phase comes this tale of a woman trapped in the wrong body, which is so incredibly sad it tears your heart out (and eats your soul). The perfect companion piece to Ulrike Ottinger's Ticket of No Return, about depreciated female subjectivities in the weary 'years of lead' in West Germany.
Not the antithesis of the male gaze but rather its daring inversion. This is how women would see the world through the eyes of men. Partly documentary about the vibrant downtown New York scene in the early 80s, partly a homage to ramshackle porn theatres around the Times Square Skid Row, partly erotic thriller, and most of all: an unapologetic meditation on female desire, for which women in other movies (by men) in that particular Hollywood era most certainly still had to be punished.
Claire Denis was always more interested in the male body than the female experience. With this one she reaches – in form and story – the boiling point (and most primal expression) of her art. Never has male physicality at work, both martial and domestic (the good work!), been observed so unapologetically by a female filmmaker as a fetish, while being the agent of national and cultural transgression. And, last but not least, it is – going back to its literary source in Melville – a cinematic poem about water, which separates both continents and Frenchmen in a foreign country, the latter still to be civilised.
Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag
The most important rediscovery in world cinema in recent years. Brocka not only put the Philippines on the map, he invented a whole new cinematic language blending melodrama, social realism and crime story. And with the young Hilda Koronel, he found a face that embodies the desperate hopes and willpower of a whole generation.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Minimalism not as an exercise in structural restraint but as an expression of structural repression. Akerman employs a rigid formalism that does not function solely as a prison for her heroine, but also as an illusion of shelter. Delphine Seyrig as the sad, objectified housewife maintains a strict regime of daily routines, which Akerman describes with the utmost empathy, rarely seen since.
Few movies from the 70s still feel as contemporary as the (fairy)tale of Mory and Anta: a re-imagination of the griot tradition through the prism of Jean-Luc Godard and Arthur Penn. Diop Mambéty went on to direct only a few more movies. But this one, proudly realised without any French money, is an icon, which resonates – well beyond the narrow framework of 'Third Cinema' – in pop culture right up to today.
The quintessential New Hollywood movie: the dissolution of the individual in front of a backdrop of rampage politics. What Antonioni would do with Professione: Reporter to the Hollywood idea of 'journalism movies', Coppola had already done the previous year to Antonioni's Blow Up – for the post-Nixon zeitgeist. Surveillance specialist Harry Caul is the archetype of the Great American Paranoia of the 1970s.
A 'post-racial' fantasy turned into the American nightmare. Jordan Peele's tongue-in-cheek commentary on the Obama years comes across as a wry social satire, on whose many jokes his white audience is not always in. The horror movie still feels, more than 50 years after Night of the Living Dead, like the only adequate genre to talk about racism in America.