Monday, December 23, 2013

My Answer to the Latest Criticwire Survey: Best Non-2013 Culture You Discovered This Year

Q: What's the best piece of non-2013 culture you discovered in 2013?

As a film buff, I always feel like I’m playing catch-up – there is so many great or at least worthwhile films in history that it is impossible to have seen everything, so I’m always trying to see as much from the past as I can. This past year was no exception.

Some of the films I “discovered” for the first time this year include Barbara Loden’s wonderful Wanda (1970), Nicolas Ray’s Johnny Guitar (1954), Frank Borzage’s Man’s Castle (1933), and Vincente Minelli’s Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) – all of which I loved.

This year, I really did try and catch up on some of the greatest short films ever made – and made some great “discoveries” there as well - Yuriy Norshteyn’s wonderful Tale of Tales (1979) is among the greatest animated works of all time, I caught up with, for the first time, some of Stan Brakhage’s work, and it mystified and fascinated to the same degree. Peter Tscherkassky’s wonderfully weird Outer Space (1999) is a masterful cinematic destruction of a horror film. The best though was probably two works by Bruce Conner – A Movie (1958) and  Report (1967) – the first a look at how editing and music change the perception of what we watch, and the later being a fascinating look at the Kennedy Assassination, from tragedy to just something else to sell. I wish I could track down more of his work.

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