This annual ritual of looking back has rarely seemed so apt. As it turns out, a majority of the year's worthy films take up precisely this theme, treating the messy processes of memory and/or history as exercises in creativity, anxiety, and futility.
|BEST FILM AND TELEVISION OF 2004|
|::||BEST MOVIES 2004||By Cynthia Fuchs|
And I feel like I'm just writing my life away.
This annual ritual of looking back has rarely seemed so apt. As it turns out, a majority of the year's worthy films take up precisely this theme, treating the messy processes of memory and/or history as exercises in creativity, anxiety, and futility. Too many current events -- from the recent U.S. presidential election to the genocide in Sudan and the imperialism of the world's reigning superpower -- are making the past alarmingly relevant, even as it also seems elusive, incomprehensible, and so subject to revision.
The following list takes an alphabetical, unranked order.
1. The Agronomist (Jonathan Demme, 2003)
2. The Assassination of Richard Nixon (Niels Mueller)
3. Baadasssss! (Mario Van Peebles)
4. Code 46 (Michael Winterbottom)
5. Control Room (Jehane Noujaim)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
7. Hero/The House of Flying Daggers (Zhang Yimou)
8. Maria Full of Grace (Joshua Marston, 2003)
9. The Motorcycle Diaries (Walter Salles)
10. Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2003)
It's worth mentioning as well the extraordinary documentaries that did not garner the attention of Michael Moore's or Morgan Spurlock's splashier films. These include Robert Stone's Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (reconsidering the story not so much through the SLA or even Hearst's experience, as through the ludicrous behaviors of the press and the police and federal agents); Nick Broomfield's powerful indictment of U.S. legal and media collusion, in particular the death penalty system, in Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer; Patrick Paulson and Michael John Warren's Fade to Black, a smart concert film, about Jay-Z's historic MSG performance in 2003; and Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's revelation of the ways that children might see their world, as they become documentary photographers in Born into Brothels.