Missed Movies of 2010, Part 2: Life During Wartime to Wild Grass

Every year, we put the call out to our staff to pick the year’s best—best films, best DVDs, best TV and performances—and every year, out staff comes up with more selections than we can initially handle. That’s why now, once all the hoopla has subsided and the consensus drawn, we can branch out a with 50 additional efforts our writers felt we overlooked. Call them misjudged (or misguided), but from A to Z, these are the movies we missed for 2010.

* * *

Film: Life During Wartime

Director: Todd Solondz

Cast: Ally Sheedy, Allison Janney, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Marquette, Paul Reubens. Michael Kenneth Williams

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Display Width: 200Life During Wartime

Using the themes of redemption and forgiveness like scabs on a festering wound, director Todd Solondz throws aside the crude scatology of Happiness to make this unusual “sequel” a celebration of endurance. Once again, the characters are no more settled than when we meet them the first time, sexual psychosis and maladjustment staining their every action. But instead of dealing with shock and scandal, Solondz has turned political and what he has to say is a far more accurate reflection of America circa 2010 than his previous film was as a look at life in 1997. By turning the bogeyman from the past into a take on terrorism and homosexuality as the new “evils”, he mines exceedingly fresh material. A whole new cast aside, these are really the same Jordans, obsessed with their own petty fears and completely incapable of conquering these imaginary ‘monsters’. Bill Gibron


Film: The Living Wake

Director: Sol Tryon

Cast: Mike O’Connell , Jesse Eisenberg, Jim Gaffigan, Ann Dowd

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Display Width: 200The Living Wake

If there is a fine line between quirky and irritating, this film finds it and then crosses it several dozen times during its nutty 90-minute run. As a surreal starring vehicle for Funny or Die fixture Mike O’Connell, this bizarro black comedy has eccentricity to spare. Focusing on the clueless, delusional lead and his universe of equally offbeat associates, we are prepared for something very unusual. Instead, we are ramrodded into a realm so freaking unreal that we often wonder if we’re watching a broadcast from another dimension. Luckily, it’s a wildly entertaining and easily enjoyable transmission. Bill Gibron


Film: Made in Dagenham

Director: Nigel Cole

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, Rosamund Pike, Jaime Winstone, Bob Hoskins, Richard Schiff

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Display Width: 200Made in Dagenham

The period tunes plinking out of radios or layered behind montages in Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenham are all perfectly appropriate for its time. Small Faces, Traffic, and Desmond Dekker summon up a time and mood, but as this overly winsome film goes on, they feel more and more like a crutch for a movie that can’t quite face up to its deadly serious topic. Though he has vegetables on his menu, Cole tries time and again to serve up dessert first, in the form of perky tunes, self-consciously retro costumes (beehives and hot pants), and light humor, distractions from a story that doesn’t need the help. Chris Barsanti


Film: La Mission

Director: Peter Bratt

Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Max Rosenak, Erika Alexander, Jesse Borrego

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Display Width: 200La Mission

La Mission was a true labor of love for its filmmaker, Peter Bratt. Having long sat in the shadow of his far more famous brother, Benjamin, he yearned to find a means of making his mark in the otherwise cutthroat world of entertainment. By staying close to his Latino roots, he has done just that. First there was Follow Me Home, a bracing introspection of the cultural divide between Chicanos, African Americans, and Native Americans. Now he further focuses his vision with La Mission, looking at the struggles of a recovering alcoholic ex-con (brother Ben) who builds lowriders for a living. When he discovers that his estranged yet beloved son is gay, the reverberations both internally and within the community make for compelling exploration. While not always perfect or free from its low budget leanings, La Mission is still a provocative and proud film. Bill Gibron


Film: My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

Director: Werner Herzog

Cast: Chloë Sevigny, Willem Dafoe, Michael Shannon

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Display Width: 200My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done?

Undeniably quirky, but also very effective from a straight dramatic standpoint, this offbeat film argues for Werner Herzog’s continued viability as one of the great filmmakers of the post-modern age. With an eye that can’t help but produce masterworks and an aesthetic which neatly balances the weird with the clear and concrete, he forges a path toward enlightenment while tossing as many unusual beats at the audience as possible. Yet the director always counterattacks the initial oddness with an insight or explanation that furthers our understanding of the subtext involved in the story. Bill Gibron


Patrick, Age 1.5 and more…

Film: Patrick, Age 1.5

Director: Ella Lemhagen

Cast: Gustaf Skarsgård, Torkel Petersson, Tom Ljungman, Annika Hallin, Amanda Davin

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Display Width: 200Patrik 1,5 If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming family comedy about an imperfect couple and their struggles to adopt a child, allow me to recommend Patrick, Age 1.5 by Swedish director Ella Lemhagen. It’s predictable in the way such films usually are but also includes several elements which stretch the range of the genre. First of all, the adoptive parents are two men, Goran (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Sven (Torkel Petersson). Second, someone in the social services office misplaced a decimal point and Goran and Sven’s bundle of joy turns out to be a 15-year-old juvenile delinquent and homophobe who is less than delighted with his prospective new home. No points for guessing that most of it works out in the end, although not entirely as expected, but isn’t the purpose of this type of film to reassure us that most people are well-intentioned and everything will be OK? Sarah Boslaugh


Film: Piranha 3D

Director: Alexadre Aja

Cast: Elisabeth Shue ,Adam Scott, Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Jessica Szohr, Steven R. McQueen

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Display Width: 200Piranha 3D

There is never a moment when Piranha 3D doesn’t know exactly what it is doing. From the abundant female nudity to the equally plentiful gore, it’s got the fright film fan zeitgeist right in its Web head sites. This is the kind of movie that gets Messageboard Nation all nerd-ed out. Heck, it even starts with a gum-flapping cameo that will have true cinephiles giggling like 1975 school girls. This may also be the first time in the artform’s history that a remake of a rip-off actually goes back to deliberately channel the original title that spawned the copycat. In other words, Aja and his team of screenwriters are so enamored of what Steven Spielberg did with Jaws that the shout-outs are obvious, and the knotty nods more than a little meta. Bill Gibron


Film: Presumed Guilty

Director: Roberto Hernández, Geoffrey Smith

Cast: Antonio Zúñiga, Eva Gutiérrez, Rafaél Ramirez Heredia, Roberto Hernández, Layda Negrete

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Roberto Hernandez’ and Geoffrey Smith’s collaboration has gone out into the world as a documentary, but I defy anyone to make a more riveting, pulse-pounding crime thriller. This singular story stands as an example of what happens to thousands of inmates in Mexico. José Antonio Zúñiga is facing a closed “trial” with the state prosecutor’s office, an entity with a 95 percent conviction rate, in which guilt, not innocence, is presumed, abetted by casual and malicious perjury by local police officers. Zúñiga is serving 20 years for a homicide that took place as he was blocks away in full view of several witnesses. His case caught the attention of Berkeley, California-based attorneys Hernández and Layda Negrete (The Tunnel). Their cameras blow the lid off the Mexican court system by meticulously recording Zúñiga’s surreal appeal process inside prison walls. Particular nod of admiration to Smith (The English Surgeon) for razor-sharp dramaturgical work. Pamela Cohn


Film: Putty Hill

Director: Matthew Porterfield

Cast: Sky Ferreira, Cody Ray, Dustin Ray, James Siebor, Jr.

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Display Width: 200Putty Hill Matthew Porterfield’s second feature is an unabashed ode to shared memory and loss, a beautifully realized piece of work, making good on the artistic promise that many critics and supporters noted in his début film, Hamilton. Putty Hill, a mostly improvised piece with non-actors, represents a bespoke style of narrative realism. The film coalesces around the story of a young man’s untimely death, which brings together his fractured family in a working-class community in Baltimore. Porterfield has a certain genius for expressing an unfiltered state of mind using the minimum of dialogue. His film is lush, filled with nostalgia and longing, the performances of his young protagonists tender and strange, a rare portrayal of teens lost in suburbia, told in the subtle rhythms that represent a life lived. Haunting and gorgeous, Putty Hill is a homegrown elegy that cagily, and quietly, packs an emotional wallop. Pamela Cohn


Film: Red Chapel

Director: Mads Brügger

Cast: Mads Brügger, Jacob Nossell, Simon Jul

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Display Width: 200Red Chapel

Winner of the 2010 Sundance World Cinema Jury Prize for Documentary, the aptly named Danish director, Mads Brügger, provides a rare glimpse of the dystopic urban nightmare that is Pyongyang, North Korea. And, what at first seems like a Python-esque charade played just for laughs, manages to provide plenty of fiercely sobering moments due mostly to a brilliant script masterminded by its director, a star journalist and personality in his native Denmark. In other countries, one can be labeled a dissident and still go home and have dinner with the kids. Not in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Brügger constantly compares current-day North Korea with Hitler’s reign (the title references a communist spy cell that operated in Nazi Germany), and chillingly portrays the mad clapping and smiling that goes on amongst its citizens as sheer terror. Brügger is a ferocious cultural insurgent, the camera his most potent weapon. Pamela Cohn


Le Refuge and more…

Film: Le Refuge

Director: François Ozon

Cast: Isabelle Carré, Louis-Ronan Choisy, Pierre Louis-Calixte, Melvil Poupaud

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Display Width: 200Le Refuge Despite winning the Best Film Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2009, François Ozon’s Le Refuge didn’t achieve the kind of international success that greeted some of the director’s other, flashier movies (8 Women, Swimming Pool). The cinematic equivalent of a perfectly constructed short story, Le Refuge is a low-key drama that traces the growing intimacy between a pregnant junkie (Isabelle Carré) and her dead lover’s brother (Louis Ronan-Choisy) during one summer. It’s a tender, sympathetic piece of work with a wonderful attention to atmosphere and emotional nuance, that builds to an unexpected, controversial — yet entirely appropriate — conclusion. Ultimately, it’s the movie itself that’s the refuge, inviting the viewer into a quiet, contemplative space in which to observe these two characters, their problems and their interaction, without judgment. You may find that you leave the film thinking about your own life, your dilemmas and decisions, what to embrace, what to renounce. Alex Ramon


Film: The Secret in Their Eyes

Director: Juan José Campanella

Cast: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Guillermo Francella, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino

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Display Width: 200The Secret in Their Eyes

The Secret in Their Eyes lingers on themes of police corruption, grief, the often astounding injustice of the justice system, and love lost. Hitchcockian tension, a breathtaking chase, and ambiguous victims and villains seamlessly coexist alongside existential musing on how to handle what life throws at you and, ultimately, what makes it worth living in the first place. Benjamin’s urge to write a book will not only keep him busy but also, he hopes, fill a gaping hole or two he’s been unable to forget. It’s personal, yes, but also a side effect of his relationship with the victim’s husband (Pablo Rago), whose daily dedication to finding his wife’s murderer shows Benjamin a purity of love he’d never seen or felt. This being a thriller, there is a bit of vagueness in the last chapters about who in fact killed the Buenos Aires woman. Another small knock on the film is its bright ending, which feels tacked-on. But it does reinforce the story’s strongest message of not dwelling on what has already happened. For if you do, as one character eloquently tells Benjamin, “You’ll have a thousand pasts and no future.” Tricia Olszewski


Film: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Director: Mat Whitecross

Cast: Andy Serkis, Naomie Harris, Ray Winstone, Olivia Williams, Noel Clarke, Toby Jones

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Display Width: 200 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Even his friends admit that Ian Dury was a bit of an asshole. After a childhood bout with polio left him disabled and bitter, he channeled that rage into a minor music career. When punk came about, he turned UK musical hall and Benny Hill like humor into a winning combination. Along with main collaborator Chaz Jankel, he turned Ian Dury and the Blockheads into a British household name. As played by Andy Serkis in this winning biopic, our angry anti-hero is a bad example, a bad parent, a bad bandmate, and a rather bad person overall. As we watch his erratic influence undermine his highly suggestive son Baxter, it ‘s clear that the title to this film is also the reason for its subject success — and failure. Bill Gibron


Film: Somewhere

Director: Sophia Coppola

Cast: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan, Chris Pontius, Simona Ventura

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Display Width: 200Somewhere

Like the best fashion campaigns, Sofia Coppola’s film works very hard to sell its product while also just about convincing you that it might actually have some substance threaded in under the wispy, tissue-paper surface. Like the best works of art, it creates a world that very few of its viewers will ever come close to experiencing, but where they will nevertheless feel perfectly at home by its conclusion.Somewhere floats uneasily between these worlds, neither wholly honest storytelling nor wholly empty spectacle. Should I say that Stephen Dorff is a revelation? Perhaps that’s too strong a word. But when an actor who has been lost for years in the wilderness of blink-and-you-missed-them roles is thrown a role like this (where the spacious gaps between lines of dialogue leave him reliant on his face and eyes) and crafts something winningly gentle and touching, notice deserves to be paid. Coppola shuffles him through a short set of claustrophobic locales—hotel rooms, his car, the occasional hallway—and watches as the man begins to come unglued. Chris Barsanti


Film: Spud

Director: Donovan Marsh

Cast: John Cleese, Troye Sivan, Tanit Phoenix, Jason Cope, Jeremy Crutchley, Aaron McIlroy

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Display Width: 200Spud

South African director Donovan Marsh scored a coup when his feature-film adaptation of John van Ruit’s novel, Spud, secured British comedian John Cleese and Wolverine actor Troye Sivan in starring roles. The movie details the misadventures of 13-year-old Spud Milton (played with charm by Sivan) at a Durban boarding school, but instead of the expected coming of age story, the film struggles to fit into a defined genre. Despite a mostly child cast, the content seems too mature for younger audiences, while adult viewers may find the performances too static. Cleese’s performance as “The Guv”, for example, is comfortable rather than inspiring. His attempts to add drama fall short and too often he resorts to his usual dry quips to finish a scene. The film received some bad press in South Africa for its use of “sexist” dialogue. The jury is still out whether it will wow international audiences. Sally Fink


Tiny Furniture and more…

Film: Tangled

Director: Nathan Greno

Byron Howard

Cast: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Brad Garrett, Ron Perlman

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Display Width: 200Tangled Disney says it’s not ‘doing’ princesses anymore. Seems the seminal animation studio believes that boys won’t cotton to cutesy tales of little girls coming of cartoon age. In essence, more Lion King and less Little Mermaid. Well, perhaps the powers that be need to look at the response to this recent bout with feminine royalty. Universally praised as one of the House of Mouse’s contemporary best, it proves that the new direction taken under Head of Animation John Lasseter (himself of partner powerhouse Pixar) is working — and working well. Everything about this reconfiguration of Rapunzel works, from the voice acting to (surprisingly) the 3D. In a banner year for the artform, this stands as one of the best — boys or no boys. Bill Gibron


Film: Tano da Morire

Director: Roberta Torre

Cast: Ciccio Guarino, Enzo Paglino, Mimma De Rosalia , Maria Aliotta, Annamaria Confalone

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Display Width: 200Tano de Morire

Tano da Morire (To Die for Tano) is unlike any mafia movie you¹ve ever seen. Surreal and often very funny, this mobster musical is indebted to early Almodòvar and John Waters. But far from being just a spoof, Tano is a serious film that satirizes, mainly through outrageous musical numbers, the Sicilian mafia’s value system, particularly its perverse sex and gender codes. La Cosa Nostra is known to be violently homophobic. But it is an all-male society, so director Torre sends up mafia machismo by setting the title character’s mafia initiation in a ’70s-style gay club. Big-haired gangsters in bell-bottoms and stacked heels perform a homoerotic disco song, “Simm’a Mafia” (We are the Mafia), twirling, blowing kisses, and fondling Tano, the compliant initiate. The film’s penultimate sequence is a brilliantly nutty rap music video set in Palermo’s Vucciria marketplace, with dancing and rapping palermitani brandishing octopi and using long cucuzza squashes as microphones. Made in 1997, Tano da Morire was a critical and box office hit in Italy but it wasn’t released in the U.S. until 2010. George De Stefano


Film: Tiny Furniture

Director: Lena Dunham

Cast: Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Alex Karpovsky

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Display Width: 200Tiny Furniture

Tiny Furniture is a study of lost—and at times willingly sacrificed—momentum. It tells the story of Aura (played by director Lena Dunham), a recent college graduate who returns to the spacious chi-chi New York loft to live with her photographer mom, Siri (artist Laurie Simmons), and younger sister, Nadine (Grace Dunham). As her name suggests, Aura’s self-identity is not yet firm, and her future is in need of direction. As she meanders, so does Tiny Furniture… but it also vividly captures the emotional landscape of an increasingly familiar adult regression: the nostalgia for the comforts of the past, the sickening sweetness that comes with giving in to your longing, and the self-loathing and inertia that quickly follow. It is all quite funny. Marisa Carroll


Film: A Town Called Panic

Director: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar

Cast: Jeanne Balibar, Nicolas Buysse, Véronique Dumont

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Display Width: 200A Town Called Panic

The only time while watching A Town Called Panic that I found myself saying, “WTF?” occurs when the three protagonists, Cowboy, Indian and Horse, accidentally find themselves in the belly of a giant, mechanical penguin. When they realize that the penguin is being controlled by three mad scientists who have built it to collect snow in order to shape into perfectly symmetrical snowballs to launch at their [the scientists’] mortal enemies, our heroes look at each other and say, “Weird.” That was the only point in the movie when I seriously thought I was going crazy because I could not even fathom how the creators of this wonderful stop-motion feature had even come up with storyline. Acid? A Town Called Panic is one of those delightfully, self-deprecating films along the lines of The Triplets of Belleville – satires of satires – which seek to poke fun at French culture as well as the gross stereotypes found in the minds of most people outside Europe. This film evokes a feeling of comfort, especially for fans of The Muppet Show, who got used to humans and animals interacting and working with each other without any regard of their being major differences between them. In this, there are some important lessons for younger viewers, who will appreciate the friendships and never-ending chaos and intense energy of the characters – particularly the bumbling nitwits, Cowboy and Indian – as well as for adults who will “get” the more serious tinges of adult humor sprinkled throughout the film. In a world dominated by Pixar, it’s nice to see an independent release like this one finally get its due exposure.. Shyam Sriram


Film: The Town

Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper

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Display Width: 200The Town

Ben Affleck’s second time behind the camera is as compelling, complex, and crackling with excitement and suspense, as his first. It is every bit as good as his brilliant Gone Baby Gone. Using the 2005 novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan as a jumping off point and letting his narrative play out over a languid but legitimately intense two hour plus pace, The Town initially surprises the viewer. The crime element is handled with power and perfected no nonsense fierceness, our band of gun-toting antiheroes constantly able to one up the powers that be. Once the animalistic violence arrives, Affleck lets his confrontational approach answer for any plot holes. In fact, it’s hard to notice the minor missteps along the way when the film keeps us grounded in the lives of these working class scrubs.The results just resonate off the screen. Bill Gibron


Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and more…

Film: Trash Humpers

Director: Harmony Korine

Cast: Paul Booker, Dave Cloud, Chris Crofton, Charles Ezell, Chris Gantry

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/t/trash_humpers.jpg

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Display Width: 200Trash Humpers

First known to filmgoers as the teenage screenwriter of Larry Clark’s 1995 film Kids, Harmony Korine seems to have enjoyed that rarest of things within American cinema: the pursuit of a purely individual, often radically rebellious vision. Aided in this pursuit by world-class cinematographers, bold actors, and the vocal support of legends such as Werner Herzog and Bernardo Bertolucci, Korine’s filmography includes Gummo, julien donkey-boy, and Mister Lonely. These films are difficult to classify in conventional terms and, like their director, have become known as much for their puzzling and provocative qualities as they are for cinematic merits. His latest film, Trash Humpers, is a work which pushes Korine’s lack of narrative context to an extreme, offering a look into the lives of uniquely grotesque elderly figures that run around Nashville seeking to be entertained by outcasts and trash cans. Their scattered adventures combine to form a horrifically funny whole — what Korine considers at once “the future of horror film” and “the future of documentary”. Thomas Britt


Film: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Cast: Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee

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Display Width: 200 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Ignore the seemingly cumbersome title. Thai auteur artist-filmmaker, Apichatpong Weerasethakhul’s quiet masterpiece is one of the most deserving winners of the Palm d’Or in years. To try and relay a narrative here would be futile. Esoteric, mysterious, and dreamlike — the Thai filmmaker manages to merge mythology with his implicit spirituality. Arched around a meditative slowness, Weerasethakhul’s picture presents us with some of the most beguiling and lavish pieces of mis en scène to hit cinema screens this year. Heartbreaking at times, and filled with instances of dark humour in the same measure, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is the Thai artist’s most mature work to date. Created as part of the multi-media project called Primitive, Uncle Boonmee is an emblem of an artist who is able transcend generic borders, forcing different worlds to come unobtrusively collide, closer together. Omar Kholeif


Film: Vincere

Director: Marco Bellocchio

Cast: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Filippo Timi, Fausto Russo Alesi, Michela Cescon, Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, Corrado Invernizzi

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Display Width: 200Vincere

Marco Bellocchio¹s Vincere recounts an obscure piece of Italian history: the relationship between the young Benito Mussolini (Filippo Timi) and Ida Dalser (a mesmerizing Giovanna Mezzogiorno), an early admirer whom the future dictator married, impregnated and then discarded. Mussolini¹s treatment of Dalser parallels his seduction and betrayal of Italy and its people who, like Dalser, all too eagerly succumbed to his toxic allure. Bellocchio¹s film draws on the historical record while taking imaginative leaps from it. But Vincere also investigates how history is recorded and transmitted, and how those who control words and images manufacture consent to the dominant order. If that sounds dry and abstract, the film decidedly is not. Vincere is full of ideas, but it also pulses with operatic passion. The iconoclastic director, who made his debut in 1965 with Fist in the Pockets, created some of his best work in the past ten years — My Mother’s Smile (2002), Good Morning, Night (2003), and The

Wedding Director (2007). But Vincere may well be Bellocchio¹s masterpiece. George De Stefano


Film: Wild Grass

Director: Alain Resnais

Cast: Sabine Azéma, André Dussollier, Anne Consigny, Emmanuelle Devos

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Display Width: 200Wild Grass

I find it entirely delightful that one of the craziest, most genuinely eccentric movies of last year was made by an 88-year-old. The great auteur Alain Resnais’s adaptation of Christian Gailly’s experimental novel L’Incident employs an arsenal of stylistic tricks (flashbacks, abrupt fade-outs, inserts, fantasy scenes, stream-of-consciousness voiceover, second- and third-person narration) to explore the fixation that a middle-aged man, Georges Palet (Andre Dussolier), develops upon a woman called Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azema) whose stolen wallet he finds in a supermarket car-park. The film’s themes — stalking, ageing, obsession, fantasy — may not sound like a great basis for a comedy, but Resnais has produced one of his most amusing films here — albeit one that never cues the audience when to laugh. There’s a wonderfully disorientating sense throughout Wild Grass that anything might happen: the characters behave irrationally and inconsistently and take the viewer right along with them, and the film also boasts an audaciously enigmatic finale. Resnais’s mode here — whimsy with an undertone of menace — might not be to all tastes. But for those willing to enter into the ludic spirit of his vision, there are great pleasures to be had. Alex Ramon


Film: The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

Director: Julien Nitzberg

Cast: Jesco White, Mamie White, Sue Bob White, Kirk White, Mousie White, Bertie Mae White

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The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia With its cinema verite style and the brazen honesty of its subjects, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia becomes an instant classic, a kind of post-modern revisionism of such previous family oriented documentaries as Grey Gardens and Brother’s Keeper. It’s a freak show, a cautionary tale, a found comedy, a frightmare, and perhaps most importantly, a window beyond the white picket fences and weekly Wal-Mart trips of most mainstream America. This is the real world of life in these United States, small collectives of concerns which resonate and repel as they signify the state of the country’s philosophical collapse. No one would argue for the White’s crazed criminal way of doing things, but in many ways, they are closer to the so-called American Dream than many in their specific predicament. Bill Gibron

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