Diez discos de 2009

No me da el tiempo ni la paciencia para armar un ranking a conciencia de los mejores discos del año, así que dejaré acá una lista de diez álbumes que escuché bastante en 2009 y que los recomiendo. Pero podrían ser otros diez diferentes también. Tal vez en enero haga una lista más "seria"... Bah, quien sabe.

Para más información sobre cada uno de ellos, cliqueen en la tapa.

Hasta el año que viene. Felicidades!

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You

Fever Ray - Fever Ray

Vic Chesnutt - At the Cut

The Felice Brothers - Yonder Is The Clock

Richmond Fontaine - We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River

The Antlers - Hospice

Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle

Best Film of the Decade (Roger Ebert)

"Synecdoche, New York" is the best film of the decade. It intends no less than to evoke the strategies we use to live our lives. After beginning my first viewing in confusion, I began to glimpse its purpose and by the end was eager to see it again, then once again, and I am not furnished. Charlie Kaufman understands how I live my life, and I suppose his own, and I suspect most of us. Faced with the bewildering demands of time, space, emotion, morality, lust, greed, hope, dreams, dreads and faiths, we build compartments in our minds. It is a way of seeming sane.

The mind is a concern in all his screenplays, but in "Synecdoche" (2008), his first film as a director, he makes it his subject, and what huge ambition that demonstrates. He's like a novelist who wants to get it all into the first book in case he never publishes another. Those who felt the film was disorganized or incoherent might benefit from seeing it again. It isn't about a narrative, although it pretends to be. It's about a method, the method by which we organize our lives and define our realities.

Very few people live their lives on one stage, in one persona, wearing one costume. We play different characters. We know this and accept it. In childhood we begin as always the same person but quickly we develop strategies for our families, our friends, our schools. In adolescence these strategies are not well controlled. Sexually, teenagers behave one way with some dates and a different way with others. We find those whose have a persona that matches one of our own, and that defines how we interact with that person. If you aren't an aggressor and are sober, there are girls (or boys) you do it with and others you don't, and you don't want those people to discover what goes on away from them.

But already "Synecdoche" has me thinking in terms of the film's insight. That is its power. Let me stand back and consider it as a movie. It's about a theater director named Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who begins with a successful regional production, is given a MacArthur genius grant, and moves with a troupe of actors into a New York warehouse. Here they develop a play that grows and grows, and he devises a set representing their various rooms and lives. The film begins as apparently realistic, but as the set expands it shades off into -- complexity? fantasy? chaos?

In the earlier scenes, he was married to Adele (Catherine Keener). She leaves, and he marries Claire (Michelle Williams), who to some degree is intended to literally replace the first wife, as many second spouses are. Why do some people marry those who resemble their exes? They're casting for the same role. Caden has hired an actor named Daniel London (Tom Noonan) to star in the play, as a character somewhat like himself. Many writers and directors create fiction from themselves, and are often advised to.

What happens in the film isn't supposed to happen in life. The membrane between fact and fiction becomes permeable, and the separate lives intermingle. Caden hardly seems to know whose life he's living; his characters develop minds of their own. How many authors have you heard say their dialogue involves "just writing down what the characters would say?"

Living within different personas is something many people do. How can a governor think to have a mistress in Argentina? An investment counselor think to steal all the money entrusted to him? A famous athlete be revealed as a sybarite? A family man be discovered to have two families? I suspect such people, and to some degree many of us, find no more difficulty in occupying those different scenarios that we might find eating meat some days and on others calling ourselves vegetarian.

"Synecdoche" is accomplished in all the technical areas, including its astonishing set. The acting requires great talent to create characters who are always in their own reality, however much it shifts. Philip Seymour Hoffman's character experiences a deterioration of body, as we all do, finds it more difficult to see outside himself, as we all do, and becomes less sure of who "himself' is, as sooner or later we all do. He shows us this process with a precise evolution.

Kaufman has made the most perceptive film I can recall about how we live in the world. This is his debut as a director, but his most important contribution is the screenplay. Make no mistake: He sweated blood over this screenplay. Somebody had to know what was happening on all those levels, and that had to be the writer. Of course he directed it. Who else could have comprehended it?

Floating in the Digital Experience (The New York Times)

By Manohla Dargis

HOW much our world of moving-image entertainment has changed in the past decade! We now live in a world of the 24-Hour Movie, one that plays anytime and anywhere you want (and sometimes whether you want it to or not). It’s a movie we can access at home by pressing a few buttons on the remote (and agreeing to pay more for it than you might at the local video store) or with a few clicks of the mouse. The 24-Hour Movie now streams instead of unspools, filling our screens with images that, more and more, have been created algorithmically rather than photographically.

And yet how little our world of moving-image entertainment has changed! On April 14, 1896, The New York Times ran an article with the exciting if cryptic headline “Edison’s Latest Triumph.” The triumph was the Vitascope, a machine that “projects upon a large area of canvas groups that appear to stand forth from the canvas, and move with great facility and agility, as though actuated by separate impulses.” A proprietor of the music hall where the Vitascope was shown off said this machine would reproduce “scenes from various successful plays and operas of the season, and well-known statesmen and celebrities,” adding, “No other manager in this city will have the right to exhibit the Vitascope.”

Today, even when digital, our movies are still filled with celebrities and scenes from successful plays (and books and comics), and the owners of image technologies continue to hold on to their exclusive rights ferociously. Edison didn’t invent the Vitascope, but that’s another story. The story I want to tell here does involve him. But first I want to fast-forward to a recent night when, at a movie theater rigged for 3-D projection, I saw James Cameron’s “Avatar” with an audience that watched the screen with the kind of fixed attention that has become rare at the movies. True, everyone was wearing 3-D glasses, which makes it difficult to check your cellphone obsessively, but they also seemed captivated.

When it was over, people broke into enthusiastic applause and, unusually, many stayed to watch the credits, as if to linger in the movie. Although much has been made of the technologies used in “Avatar,” its beauty and nominal politics, it is the social experience of the movie — as an event that needs to be enjoyed with other people for maximum impact — which is more interesting. That’s particularly true after a decade when watching movies became an increasingly solitary affair, something between you and your laptop. “Avatar” affirms the deep pleasures of the communal, and it does so by exploiting a technology (3-D), which appears to invite you into the movie even as it also forces you to remain attentively in your seat.

“Avatar” serves as a nice jumping-off point to revisit how movies and our experience of them have changed. For starters, when a critic calls a new release “a film” these days, there’s a chance that what she (and you) are looking at wasn’t made with film processes but was created, from pre-visualization to final credits, with digital technologies. Yet, unless a director or distributor calls attention to the technologies used — as do techno-fetishists like Michael Mann and David Fincher, who used bleeding-edge digital cameras to make “Collateral” (2004) and “Zodiac” (2007) — it’s also probable that most reviewers won’t mention if a movie was even shot in digital, because they haven’t noticed or don’t care.

This seems like a strange state of affairs. Film is profoundly changing — or, if you believe some theorists and historians, is already dead — something that most moviegoers don’t know. Yet, because the visible evidence of this changeover has become literally hard to see, and because the implications are difficult to grasp, it is also understandable why the shift to digital has not attracted more intense analysis outside film and media studies. Bluntly put, something is happening before our eyes. We might see an occasional digital artifact (usually, a bit of unintentional data) when a director shoots digital in bright light — look for a pattern of squares or a yellowish tint — but we’re usually too busy with the story to pay much mind.

Should you care? I honestly don’t know, because I’m not sure what to think about this brave new image world we have entered. I love the luxurious look and warmth of film, and I fervently hope it never disappears. And yet many of us who grew up watching movies in the predigital era have rarely experienced the ones in, and shown on, film in all their visual glory: battered prints and bad projection have helped thwart the ideal experience. Theater 80 St. Marks, a downtown Manhattan repertory house where I spent a lot of time in the 1970s, showed threadbare prints of classic and not-so-classic movies in rear projection, which meant they often looked worse on screen than they did on my television back home.

It is because the movies and our experience of them has changed so radically in recent years — we can pull a movie out of our pocket now, much as earlier generations pulled out a paperback — that makes it difficult to grasp what is happening. In 1996, Susan Sontag set off a storm in cine-circles with an essay, “The Decay of Cinema,” which could have been titled the death of specialized cinephilia, one centered on art-house film (“quintessentially modern”), from Dziga Vertov to Jean-Luc Godard, and experienced inside a movie theater, “ideally the third-row center.” Sontag’s essay inspired a spate of similarly themed if often less vigorous examinations: Google the words “death of cinema,” and you get more than 2.5 million hits.

In one sense the beginning of the end of cinema as we tend to understand it can be traced to 1933, the year that a feature-length film — a 1932 detective tale called “The Crooked Circle” — was first shown on television. Few Americans owned sets in the 1930s, but the genie was already out of the bottle, or, rather, the movies were out of the theater. As televisions began to fill postwar American homes — from an estimated 20,000 in 1946 to 30.5 million in 1955 — so did the movies, which, despite Hollywood’s initial anxiety, became a crucial television staple. (The studios soon learned that television was a revenue source.) Generations of cinephiles fell in love with the object of their obsession while flopped on the floor, basking in the glow of the family television.

In “The Virtual Life of Film,” an elegant 2007 inquiry into the past, present and future of film, the theorist D. N. Rodowick writes, “All that was chemical and photographic is disappearing into the electronic and digital.” Film captures moments in time, preserving them spatially in images we can root around in, get lost in. Digital delivers data, zeroes and ones that are transformed into images, and this is a difference to contemplate. The truth is that the film object has already changed, from preproduction to projection. And the traditional theatrical experience that shaped how viewers looked at film and, by extension, the world, has been mutating for some time. The new types of image consumption and digital technologies have complicated our understanding of cinema.

And yet we still watch movies. And if it looks like a duck (in widescreen) and quacks like a duck (in stereo), nothing has changed, right? It has and it hasn’t, as we will only understand as film continues to disappear. These days instead of falling in love with the movies at home in front of the television, new generations fall in love with movies they watch on hand-held devices that, however small, play images that are larger than those Edison showed to customers before the invention of the Vitascope. A teenager watching a movie on her iPhone might not be looking at an actual film. But she is enjoying something like it, something that because of its narrative strategies and visual style carries the deep imprint of cinema.

It’s also a good bet that this teenager also watches movies in theaters. If she goes to “Avatar,” she will see a movie that, despite its exotic beauty, seems familiar, even in 3-D. Narrative cinema employs devices, from camera placement to editing, that direct your attention and, if the movie is successful and you fall under its sway, lock you into the story. Mr. Cameron might be a visionary of a type, but he’s an old-fashioned (and canny) storyteller and he locks you in tightly. The 3-D images are often spectacular, and his characters, like the figures in that 1896 Edison film, “appear to stand forth from the canvas, and move with great facility and agility, as though actuated by separate impulses.”

You can get lost in a movie, or so it seems, and melt into its world. But even when seated third row center and occupying two mental spaces, you understand that you and the movie inhabit separate realms. When I watched “The Dark Knight” in Imax, I felt that I was at the very edge of the screen. “Avatar,” in 3-D, by contrast, blurs that edge, closing the space between you and the screen even more. Like a video game designer, Mr. Cameron seems to want to invite you into the digital world he has created even if, like a film director, he wants to determine your route. Perched between film and digital, “Avatar” shows us a future in which movies will invite us further into them and perhaps even allow us to choose not just the hero’s journey through the story, but also our own.

Encuesta de Film Comment - Mis votos completos

1.- Film Comment End of the Decade List – Top 10 - Alphabetical Order

-Café Lumière – Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2003, Taiwan/Japan

-La Ciénaga – Lucrecia Martel, 2001, Argentina/France/Spain

-Colossal Youth – Pedro Costa, 2006, Portugal/France/Switzerland

-The Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Cristi Puiu, 2005, Romania

-Inland Empire – David Lynch, 2006, USA/France/Poland

-Kings and Queen – Arnaud Desplechin, 2004, France

-Los Muertos – Lisandro Alonso, 2004, Argentina/France/Netherlands/Switzerland

-The Royal Tenenbaums – Wes Anderson, 2001, USA

-Syndromes and a Century – Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006, Thailand/France/Austria/Netherlands

-The Woman on the Beach – Hong Sang-soo, 2006, South Korea

Top 11-50 – Alphabetical Order

35 Shots of Rum – Claire Denis, 2008, France/Germany

A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Steven Spielberg, 2001, USA

Black Book – Paul Verhoeven, 2006, Germany/Netherlands/UK/ Belgium

Collateral – Michael Mann, 2004, U.S.

Elephant – Gus Van Sant, 2003, USA

En Construcción – José Luis Guerín, 2001, Spain

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Michel Gondry, 2004, USA

Far From Heaven – Todd Haynes, 2002, USA/France

Goodbye, Dragon Inn – Tsai Ming-Liang, 2003, Taiwan

Gran Torino – Clint Eastwood, 2008, U.S.

The Headless Woman – Lucrecia Martel, 2008, Argentina/France/Italy/Spain

A History of Violence – David Cronenberg, 2005, Germany/USA

In the Mood for Love – Wong Kar-Wai, 2000, Hong Kong/France

In Vanda’s Room – Pedro Costa, 2000, Portugal/Germany/Switzerland/Italy

Japon – Carlos Reygadas, 2002, Mexico/Germany/Netherlands/Spain

La Libertad – Lisandro Alonso, 2001, Argentina

Longing – Valeska Grisebach, 2006, Germany

Memories of Murder – Bong Joon-ho, 2003, South Korea

Mulholland Dr. – David Lynch, 2001, France/USA

Our Beloved Month of August – Miguel Gomes, 2008, Portugal/France

Platform – Jia Zhang-ke, 2000, Hong Kong/Japan/France/Netherlands/Switzerland

Les Ponts des Arts – Eugene Green, 2005, France

Regular Lovers – Philippe Garrel, 2004, France/Italy

Shara – Naomi Kawase, 2003, Japan

The Son – Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002, Belgium/France

Spirited Away – Hayao Miyazaki, 2001, Japan

Superbad – Greg Mottola, 2007, U.S.

Tarnation – Jonathan Caouette, 2004, U.S.

There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007, USA

Time Out – Laurent Cantet, 2001, France

Tropical Malady – Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004, France/Thailand/Germany/Italy/Switzerland

Turning Gate – Hong Sang-soo, 2002, South Korea

Unbreakable – M. Night Shyamalan, 2000, USA

Wendy and Lucy – Kelly Reichardt, 2008, USA

Yi Yi – Edward Yang, 2000, Taiwan/Japan

Zodiac – David Fincher, 2007, USA

Historias extraordinarias - Mariano Llinas, 2008, Argentina

El aura - Fabian Bielinsky, 2005, Argentina

Honor de cavalleria - Albert Serra, 2006, España

Madame Sata - Karim Ainouz, 2002, Brazil

































"Avatar", de James Cameron (Clarín)


Aquí abajo, la versión extendida (y no corregida) de la crítica:

Cuando se pensaba que James Cameron no podía apostar a hacer algo más grande que Titanic –o que había perdido la razón en el intento-, doce años después de aquel megaéxito aparece Avatar, una película que deja, al menos en tamaño y en búsqueda creativa, a aquel clásico como un filme pequeño... y hasta es probable que lo supere también en taquilla.

Cameron tenía todo servido para el gran fracaso: el tiempo transcurrido daba la impresión de que se había internado en una conquista tecnológica imposible y los primeros avances con las criaturas azuladas que pueblan el filme (los Na'vi, habitantes del casi mágico planeta Pandora) eran casi risibles. Pero no hay más que calzarse los anteojos 3D, sentarse frente a la pantalla y casi todas las dudas desaparecen: Cameron está de vuelta. Y, con todas sus virtudes y defectos, su regreso es más que bienvenido.

Avatar cuenta una historia muy simple y de manera bastante tradicional, al punto que definirla como “Danza con lobos” en el espacio” no es tan reduccionista como suena. El filme se centra en Jake Sully, un marine lisiado (Sam Worthington) que es enviado a Pandora en una misión especial: debe reemplazar a su hermano gemelo, un científico que ha muerto, como parte de un equipo de investigación en la cultura y costumbres de los Na'vi. La forma de hacerlo es a través de los “avatares”: el hombre se coloca en una camilla, su ADN es transportado al cuerpo inerte de un nativo y así puede ingresar a la increíble “caja/mundo” de Pandora.

Pero, como Jake es marine, los militares que están apostados en Pandora quieren utilizarlo para otros fines. Básicamente, convencer a los Na'vi de dejar su tierra ya que debajo del gigantesco árbol que les sirve de “hogar” hay una importante reserva de unobtanium, valioso material que los terrícolas quieren llevarse. Tras una serie de errores y accidentes (cuando Sully pasa a su cuerpo azul y gigante se entusiasma con la posibilidad de volver a correr), el avatar de Sully termina entre los Na'vi, entra en su extravagante mundo (una mezcla de selva amazónica con pecera psicodélica que contiene la flora y la fauna más extravagante jamás imaginada en el cine) y, a lo largo del filme, deberá debatirse entre cumplir su misión militar o la científica: aprender las costumbres de los “indígenas”.

En el medio habrá espacio para una épica romántica (Sully se enamora de la Na'vi Neytiri), una bélica (será inevitable la batalla y la invasión militar), un recorrido geográfico-cultural (Neytiri le muestra a Sully, y a nosotros, los hábitos, costumbres y criaturas de esta versión elongada de los hobbits) y un combate interior entre varios mundos: el de la ciencia (con Sigourney Weaver como la científica a cargo del programa), el militar (con Stephen Lang en el rol del comandante invasor, un George W. Bush con esteroides) y el espiritual/ecológico que profesan los habitantes de Pandora, conectados a la “Madre Tierra” de una manera, digamos, inusual.

Más allá del aspecto “virtual” de Sully que lo obliga a una extraña doble vida, hay muy poco en Avatar que escape a la estructura tradicional de un western o una película bélica. De hecho, pueden hacerse muchas lecturas del filme como una crítica a la política invasora de los Estados Unidos (de Irak para atrás, cualquier comparación funciona), tanto en lo militar como en lo cultural (“¿qué le podemos ofrecer nosotros a ellos? -se pregunta Jake en su videodiario personal-. ¿Bluejeans y cerveza light?”) al punto que uno se pregunta si lo que sucede en la Tierra, paralelamente a estos hechos (corre el año 2154) no se parecerá al futuro visto en Terminator.

Lo que sí es diferente, revolucionario en el sentido de iniciar un cambio tecnológico clave en la historia del cine, es su formato tridimensional y sus personajes digitales. En el primer caso, la película es un triunfo absoluto. Cameron ha creado un mundo en 3D inmersivo, que permite al espectador ser un segundo “avatar” en todo este proceso, casi un participante más del asombroso universo de un filme hecho en base a incontables transferencias (psicológicas, físicas, metafóricas). Y lo hace casi sin apelar a los trucos de lanzar objetos a la cara del espectador: el 3D en Avatar ensancha la pantalla, le otorga volumen, la expande. Cameron sabe que hay mucho en el cuadro para observar y tiene la discreción (o el clasicismo narrativo) de, más que tirarnoslo por la cabeza, hacernos entrar como en un encantamiento.

Donde la película no termina de “revolucionar” es en el tema de los personajes digitales. Los Na'vi son un gran paso en ese viaje (si vale la pena hacerlo o no, es otro tema), pero sigue habiendo algo indescifrable en ellos y resulta complicado involucrarse emocionalmente en la historia de la misma manera que se lo haría con actores. Sin embargo, el poder narrativo de Cameron es tal que, al ver el filme más de una vez, uno empieza a olvidar esa extrañeza y logra compenetrarse, un poco, con esas criaturas gigantescas y con cola, más allá de que se los pinte con un dejo de condescendencia (¿o inocencia?, ¿o decisión política?) new-age.

Avatar es un cúmulo de contradicciones. Una película ecologista y defensora de la naturaleza hecha casi toda de manera digital, virtual. Un filme sobre el respeto a la identidad cultural de los pueblos que aterriza en los cines de todo el mundo a la manera de un ejército invasor. Una apuesta a una revolución técnica armada con una estructura narrativa propia de la literatura del siglo XIX. Una épica de motivos cristianos para una película que abraza una suerte de panteísmo científico. Una crítica al abuso de la tecnología que no podría hacerse sin “abusar” de ella. Y así se podría seguir al infinito.

Sin embargo, todas esas contradicciones, más que arruinar la experiencia, la expanden, la complejizan, enriquecen su lectura. Sí, es una película con momentos y escenas cursis, con otras prestadas (de “King Kong” a “Matrix”, de “Pocahontas” a “El Rey León”, de “Tarzán” a “Los pitufos” y se podría seguir, interminablemente) y una buena cantidad de autocitas (“Terminator” y “Aliens” en lo audiovisual; “El abismo” en lo filosófico). Pero su poderío visual y narrativo procesa todo ese material sin fagocitárselo, sin llevárselo por delante. Cameron cuenta, seduce, involucra e impacta. Por momentos exagera y se le va mano, es cierto, pero en tiempos de entretenimientos que se esfuman en el momento en que la pantalla se pone en negro, uno agradece y celebra el exceso.


Tras ver Avatar en una proyección 3D y en otra IMAX 3D se puede concluir que la primera es la opción más conveniente, al menos para verla por primera vez. Es que, sentado en una sala de cine convencional, la diferencia que hace su formato resulta muy llamativa y es recomendable para observar todos los detalles. El IMAX de por sí es una tecnología mucho más “envolvente”, con lo que esas diferencias se destacan menos. Es buena idea volverla a ver allí y “meterse” literalmente en la pantalla gigante. Eso sí, no conviene arrancar viéndola en un cine convencional 2D ya que se pierde parte de “la revolución”. Aunque bien podría verse allí... por tercera vez. Y seguir comparando.

Diego Lerer


Murió Ivan Zulueta (El País)

El director de cine Iván Zulueta ha fallecido a los 66 años en su San Sebastián natal. Cartelista, decorador y diseñador gráfico además de cineasta, Zulueta se abrió paso como director de cine experimental, adelantado a su tiempo, en los difíciles años finales de la dictadura. Su obra más conocida es la minoritaria película de culto Arrebato, que le encumbró como director maldito.

Zulueta dijo en una ocasión que rodó aquella película en La Mata, finca de Jaime Chavarri, en 1979, pensando que sería lo último que haría y, en lo tocante al cine, así fue. Después de someterse a la vampirizacion que le supuso filmar Arrebato, paralela a la que sufre el protagonista de la película, y de tocar fondo en su adicción a la heroína, se retiró a su San Sebastián natal y se sometió a un tratamiento de desintoxicación.

Su labor como cartelista no se vio interrumpida. Ilustró películas de Almodóvar, José Luís Garci o Manuel Gutierrez Aragón, entre otros muchos, y sus carteles se mostraron en numerosas exposiciones pero no volvió a filmar nada. En una de sus últimas apariciones públicas para recoger el Premio a la Película de oro en el Festival de cine de Málaga en 2008, Zulueta dijo que tenía un grave problema para trabajar. "No arranco, lo último que hice fueron una decena de carteles de cine y de eso hace ya casi diez años. Quisiera no perderme en esos entresijos de la metadona. Los últimos carteles que he hecho no me han gustado mucho y eso para mí es muy doloroso". En aquella ocasión, el director dijo no haber tirado la toalla y tener ganas de volver al cine.

Zulueta se formó en la Escuela Oficial de Cinematografía, como Pilar Miró, Álvaro del Amo, Juan o Jaime Chávarri y allí conoció al guionista José Luis Borau, que se convirtió en su mentor y amigo. Arrebato fue su segunda película. En 1968 había rodado Un, dos, tres, escondite inglés, contra los escollos del control franquista. La película se estrenó en Cannes en 1969 y no se proyectó en salas españolas hasta 1970. Durante los años setenta, y siempre con un tono experimental realizó cortos como KingKong (1971), Frank Stein (1972), Masaje (1972) o Roma-Brescia-Cannes. En estos años también dirigió el programa televisivo Último grito, presentado por José María Íñigo

En su faceta como artista visual, igual que en la cinematográfica, Zulueta apostó por la experimentación. Deja una colección de más de 10.000 polaroids en las que volcó su inventiva a partir de los ochenta sometiéndo el papel hasta a 48 sobreimpresiones, pintando o rayando la imagen con una cuchilla de afeitar.

Su trayectoria estuvo ensombrecida por la constante lucha contra su adicción a la heroína y dejó como legado una película de culto que le granjeó para siempre el sambenito de "director maldito". En una de las últimas exposiciones de su obra gráfica aún se preguntaba "¿Pero como es posible que con 60 años tenga que dar cuentas de cómo es mi vida?"

The Sleepwalker Awakes: "The Headless Woman", on DVD (IFC)

By Michael Atkinson

Bearing the sulphurous odor of a film artist with very particular and often well-hated views on how much visual narrative should mean and how little it should actually show or "make" us feel a certain way, Lucrecia Martel has made only three features, but immediately, at 35 with "La Ciénaga" (2001), she had a unique vocabulary and a unique voice. (She's also become, for whatever difference it might make, arguably the world's greatest working woman filmmaker.)

Sure, she falls into the neo-minimalist catalogue -- an idiotic label, given how inhabited and rich and unsolvable so many of those films are, by Tsai or Reygadas or Weerasethakul or Costa or whomever. But Martel's movies are entirely hers, breathtakingly sustained essays in unease that lance the cyst of our pressurized anxieties better than any genre film, as well as being experiments in how to experience story -- as spectacle, which is how Hollywood has come to define cinema, or as a mystery we have to wonder about and understand as a living metaphor for bigger, badder, hairier questions of emotional existence. One of the best (and, naturally, least seen) films of 2009, "The Headless Woman" is about disconnection -- so how can anyone have expected to connect?

Martel routinely lays into the comfortable, well-pickled Argentine bourgeoisie she apparently knows so well, and the new movie begins at a simple afternoon outing of mothers and kids and cars. But right away, the framing and cutting and layered busyness suggest an imbalance, a lack of seeing clearly, an impending catastrophe -- we're not being fed expository information, but instead observing the smug, shallow, utterly real nouveau riche as they walk some kind of precipice... Something's going to happen, and it won't be good.

When it does, we're still not sure what it is -- Veró (María Onetto), an aging bleached-blonde wife and mother, runs over something on the way home. But does she? She's not sure, either, but whatever happened, it cut her loose from her privileged moorings.

She stalks back into her life in a dumbfounded daze -- is she an amnesiac? Does she remember the husband, the kids, the old boyfriend who seduces her? -- and her discombobulation is so complete that her sleepwalk through rampaging affluence, where everyone is solicitous to her, becomes not only an existential dynamic but a political one as well. It's worth remembering, because Martel needs no reminding, how small a percentage the SUV-driving, couture-wearing suburbanites represent in South America, surrounded by oceans of poor people just like the ones that landscape Veró's garden.

Throughout "The Headless Woman," Martel keeps us as off-kilter as Veró, chopping up time and launching into traveling shots that imply wicked narrative torque, but which are, finally, just as enigmatic to us as the moments are to the half-lidded heroine. The experience is electrifying; like a journey through an underlit basement or a strange neighborhood after dark, you're wide awake. Onetto's performance is almost entirely passive, and is rather amazing for that, but Martel, and the subjective, upsetting lens she aims at the world, is the star.

If you have come to see movies, or really any narrative art form, as a perpetual conflict between how much should be explained away in unambiguous detail and how much should be left unsaid, coaxing us forward in our seats and asking us questions, then Martel's movie is a crucible you need to pass through.

Mi Top Ten: Puesto 1°

Enemigos públicos/Public Enemies (Michael Mann)

"Lo que está haciendo Mann está a años luz del resto de sus colegas generacionales. Allá donde todos empiezan a ir a lo seguro, a buscar el Oscar, el respeto de los premios o el éxito de taquilla, el tipo experimenta y se arriesga cada vez más. "Public Enemies" intenta un acercamiento jugadísimo a los filmes de gángsters y ladrones de los años '30, filmando en digital, con cámara en mano, con una imágen que podría parecer de un reality show, de un making off o de un drama realista callejero tipo "Cops". Pero todo atravesado por un riesgo formal que, hoy, me atrevo a comparar (en su relación, no sé todavía si en sus logros), al "Sin aliento", de Godard.

Deconstrucción del cine de gángsters para tornarlo políticamente relevante hoy, acción "in your face" --de imagen y sonido--, sacarse de encima por completo el look "prolijo" y "elegante" de "Heat" para ir hacia algo parecido a un amateurismo expresionista, colores vivos y la sensación de "estar ahí", viviendo todo eso hoy. Muchísimo más que "Colateral" y con más coherencia que en "Miami Vice". Una película alucinante. Scott Foundas, cenando, decía que era casi "videoarte". No diría tanto, pero sí que es admirable que el tipo siga probando y experimentando con el cine y no se quede en lo que todos sabemos que él sabe hacer.

Si bien sus riesgos redundarán en dificultades comerciales --la película es atrapante pero imagino que no será un enorme éxito-- y su antivirtuosismo formal la aleja por momentos de los conceptos de "emoción" cinematográfica clásica, me preocupa muy poco en ese sentido, ya que no soy el productor del filme. Como espectador y crítico que todavía cree que Hollywood puede encontrar resquicios para renovarse sin traicionarse del todo, "Public Enemies" me da esperanzas de que es posible tomar los clásicos y, con un enorme respeto que queda demostrado al final (no diré cómo), deconstruirlos y transformarlos en otra cosa."

Corneliu Porumboiu Gets the Last Word (IFC)

"Police, Adjective" is one of the year's most striking films, the type that will be embraced by some and derided by others for its bone dry humor, its solemnly long takes (including scrolling down hand-written police reports) and the fact that its climax pivots on the dictionary definition of "conscience." It is, in some ways, an extension of Corneliu Porumboiu's first film, "12:08 East of Bucharest," which dazzled as much with its debate over the hazy recollections of the Romanian Revolution as with its startling final image of snow falling over the city of Vaslui. "Adjective" is similarly wintry, following the daily grind of a policeman (Dragos Bucur) assigned to follow a student suspected of dealing marijuana to his friends and arriving at a conclusion that leads his boss to pull out the Merriam-Webster's to convince him otherwise. While at the Toronto Film Festival, Porumboiu took some time to talk about the film's origins, its mixed reception (including two prizes from this year's Cannes) and why he needs to start playing sports again. [Spoilers ahead.]

How did "Police, Adjective" come about?

After "12:08," I started four different stories, but at the end, a friend of mine, a policeman, told me a story, a small case of conscience. And he told me he had a case like [the one in the film], and he didn't want to solve it. I was touched by a story like that because usually you see the movie and it's very big cases and all the time, it is possible that policemen can save the world. I [also] heard another story about a brother who betrayed his brother. So these were the two stories that I started with.

This film suggests that many things are in decay in contemporary Romanian society, but do you feel language in particular has been a catalyst?

No, I think we're living in a world [where] each [person] has his own individuality, more and more in how we communicate, what are our values. At the same time, there's a lot of loneliness in my movies; the characters I construct, they are living in a bubble. The starting point [for "Police, Adjective] was how we understand each other, what is the background, what is their representation of the world for each one of us. It's a world that's very fragmented and each one has his own truth. For me, it's a quite absurd if we follow a dictionary because sometimes we can use words to speak to each other and after that, we reuse words and there are so many [words] used, they lose their meaning.

It requires a certain confidence to shoot such long scenes, and it's been a point of contention among audiences -- why did you feel it was necessary for this film?

When I'm making the movie, I don't think about the audience. I'm interested in finding the spirit of my character. So [in doing research], I saw that the policeman spent so much time waiting and following and at the end, it's a movie of meanings and sense. It's real time there, but in my [film], it becomes absurd time - watching, waiting, watching, waiting -- that could [demonstrate] a certain psychology that's unexplainable.

I've spoken with a lot of people and [some of them] don't believe that at the end [the main character is] convinced by his chief [to make the arrest] because his chief gives him the meaning, gives him the sense. A lot of people like to think that he was forced. But I think maybe this kind of audience didn't enter into the first part of the movie. It's weird because yeah, the people need the explanation, but for me, it was more important to show character -- he's like a hunter, you see that he's born for this, he likes what he's doing, but at the same time, he has this conscience problem and he's in between and how could he do this.

Much has been made of a Romanian New Wave that includes Cristian Mungiu ("4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days") and Cristi Puiu ("The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu"), but as a filmmaker, what do you make of that label?

As a director, you choose your own way, you choose your own cinema. Of course, cinema is an art, it's been around 100 years, so you have a lot of forms, you have a lot of types of cinema. I'm quite strict and I have a point of view of cinema, but at the same time, I'm not feeling that this is the ultimate truth. For me, it's important to have all these kind of movies. At the same time, I want to find my own voice.

How did you actually get interested in cinema?

First, I was studying management in Bucharest [at the Academy of Economic Studies] and after that, I started to go to the cinematheque and there I discovered Chaplin, Antonioni and after that, Polish cinema and Nouvelle Vague Français and after that, I said I want to do this.

You're the son of a football referee and I was wondering whether that contributed to your interest in language and rules.

No, I think this obsession is coming more from my mother because she was a Romanian teacher - she's now retired. And [from] my father, I [played] sports when I was a teenager and this helped in my development. Now, I'm smoking too much and drinking too much coffee, so for me, it was very important I [played] sports when I was a teenager. [laughs] That keeps me alive, even now.

"Police, Adjective" is now open in limited release and available on VOD.

15 Masterful Directors with Films in 2010 (Paste)

Even the best actors will occasionally take a paycheck from a film they know is a stinker, but a great director is the closest Hollywood has to a sure thing. Some of these films may not live up to Raging Bull, The Squid and the Whale or The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but we’ll be giving all 15 directors a chance to wow us once again. Here are 15 films from 15 great directors to look forward to in 2010:

1. Martin Scorsese
Film: Shutter Island
Release Date: February 19
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
The scoop: Fresh off his first Oscar win for The Departed, Scorsese re-teams with his 21st-century muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays a U.S. Marshall investigating the escape of a murderer from a hospital for the criminally insane.

2. Tim Burton
Film: Alice in Wonderland
Release Date: March 5
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
The scoop: The trailer and early stills make this match between Lewis Carroll’s classic tale and Burton—the creator of countless wonderlands himself—a perfect fit.

3. Noah Baumbach
Film: Greenberg
Release Date: March 12
Starring: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Dave Franco, Jennifer Jason Leigh
The scoop: The master of family dysfunction directs his sixth film, starring Stiller as Roger Greenberg, who moves from New York to L.A. to house-sit for his brother and falls for his brother’s housekeeper.

4. Paul Greengrass
Film: Green Zone
Release Date: March 12
Starring: Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan
The scoop: After Greengrass’ gritty portrayal of one of Ireland’s darkest hours in Bloody Sunday, he was handed the Bourne series, and made two of the most compelling action movies we’ve seen. He again teams with Matt Damon, who plays an American investigated the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and stumbles on a cover-up instead.

5. Atom Egoyan
Film: Chloe
Release Date: March 19
Starring: Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Max Thierot
The scoop: The director of The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica and Ararat explores jealousy and infidelity when a doctor hires a young escort to test her husbands faithfulness.

6. Roman Polanski
Film: The Ghost
Release Date: Spring 2010
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson
The scoop: It’s hard for us not to consider the heinous crime for which Polanski is currently under house arrest, but there’s no denying his talent as a filmmaker. His latest follows a former British Prime Minister writing his memoirs with the help of a ghostwriter, who uncovers secrets that put him at risk.

7 .Christopher Nolan
Film: Inception
Release Date: July 16
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard
The scoop: Everything Nolan has done has been fun to watch, and his latest looks to be another mind-blowing affair.

8. Anton Corbijn
Film: The American
Release Date: September 1
Starring: George Clooney, Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten, Paolo Bonacelli
The scoop: He’s only got one feature film under his belt—the Joy Division biopic Control—but we’ve been a fan on Corbijn from his days as music video director, documentarian and photographer. Clooney plays an international assassin ready to retire on his final assignment, and while that sounds like a familiar trope, Clooney isn’t known for picking unoriginal scripts.

9. Darren Aronofsky
Film: Black Swan
Release Date: Fall 2010
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder
The scoop: Aranofsky’s last film, The Wrestler, made hulking gladiators seem vulnerable. In Black Swan he does the opposite, taking the elegant world of ballet and exposing a vicious underbelly.

10. Anna Boden/Ryan Fleck
Film: It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Release Date: November 2010
Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham
The scoop: The filmmaking pair of Boden and Fleck have delivered two films (Half Nelson and Sugar) which both managed to be simultaneously sweet and unflinching. Their third is a teenage romance set in a mental health clinic.

11. Michel Gondry
Film: The Green Hornet
Release Date: December 22
Starring: Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, Jay Chou, Edward James Olmos, Christoph Waltz
The scoop: A comic-book movie from the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotted Mind and a half-dozen Björk videos? Count us in.

12. Clint Eastwood
Film: Hereafter
Release Date: December
Starring: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile de France
The scoop: Eastwood’s transformation from one of the most accomplished actors of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s into one of the most accomplished directors of the ’90s and ’00s has been a pleasure to witness. His latest is a supernatural thriller about a blue-collar American, a French journalist and a London school boy.

13. Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Film: Micmacs (à tire-larigot)
Release Date: 2010
Starring: Dany Boon, Andre Dussollier, Nicolas Marie, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Yolande Moreau
The scoop: Jeunet’s Amélie was our pick for the second best movie of the decade. Micmacs is a carnivalesque revenge tale about a man who was struck by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting. It comes out in March in the U.K., but no U.S. date has been set.

14. Kevin Macdonald
Film: The Eagle of the Ninth
Release Date: 2010
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim
The scoop: Macdonald was a documentary filmmaker before directing Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in the Last King of Scotland_. His new film reaches much further back into the past, following a Roman centurion in ancient Britain.

15. Wong Kar-Wai
The Grand Master
Release Date:
Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Chang, Zhao Benshan, Brigitte Lin
Wong Kar Wai was scheduled to begin shooting this month on a Bruce Lee biopic, meaning that he’ll be following a Norah Jones road-trip movie with a kung-fu flick. Chang (Crouching Tiger, 2046, Red Cliff) will have his work cut out for him portraying the martial arts legend.

Library of Congress adds 25 to Registry (Variety)

Pics ranging from "Pillow Talk" and "The Muppet Movie" to "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Once Upon a Time in the West" are among the 25 titles selected as this year's addition to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, the feds' official archive of film gems worthy of preservation.

This year's crop includes the Registry's first musicvideo -- Michael Jackson's 1983 landmark "Thriller" -- and "Hot Dogs for Gauguin," a 1972 entry from then-NYU student Martin Brest featuring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman in her film debut.

The titles join 500 other pics that have been added to the Registry since it was created in 1989 by the National Film Preservation Act. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington selects 25 films each year that are deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant," culled from hundreds of titles nominated by the public, members of the National Film Preservation Board and the library's motion picture staff.

The Registry "spotlights the importance of protecting America's matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity," Billington said. "By preserving the nation's films, we safeguard a significant element of our cultural patrimony and history." The films (and video) on the list are not tapped as the "best" of all time but are merely deemed works of enduring importance to American culture, he said.

To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old. All titles in the registry are available for screening free of charge at the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill.

This year's entries again include a mixture of classics and obscure gems spanning most of the 20th century, from the 1911 live action/animation work "Little Nemo" and Mabel Norman's 1914 silent pic "Mabel's Blunder" to Helen Hill's 1995 student film "Scratch and Crow." Others include 1938's "Jezebel," the William Wyler-directed pic that won Bette Davis her second Oscar; 1957 sci-fi classic "The Incredible Shrinking Man"; and William Wyler's 1942 WWII British homefront drama "Mrs. Miniver," which earned six Oscars, including best picture.

The library reached back to WWI for 1920's "Heroes All," one of many films produced by the Red Cross Bureau of Pictures about the Great War and its aftermath. The WWII era is also represented by 1945's "The Story of G.I. Joe," featuring Burgess Meredith as the gritty war correspondent Ernie Pyle.

Among the other obscure titles added to the registry are 1967's "The Jungle," a docu-drama made by a group of young African-American gang members in Philadelphia, and 1932's "A Study in Reds," an amateur film by Miriam Bennett that spoofed women's clubs and the Soviet menace in the 1930s.

Also selected were the 1927 film "Stark Love," director Karl Brown's depiction of mountaineers of North Carolina and Tennessee, and "The Revenge of Pancho Villa," a compilation film from 1930-36 that demonstrates the early Mexican-American film presence.

Other films from the '30s and '40s were "Under the Western Stars," the 1938 pic that turned Roy Rogers into a matinee idol; 1940's "The Mark of Zorro," with Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone; and 1949's "The Lead Shoes," from avant-garde filmmaker Sidney Peterson.

Among the more prominent titles, 1959's "Pillow Talk" marked the first teaming of Doris Day and Rock Hudson and is considered by the library to be "a time capsule of 1950s America." Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon," starring Al Pacino, predicted the contempo era of media frenzy in its portrayal of a bank robbery gone awry as a media circus ensues. Jim Henson solidified his position as a spiritual heir to Walt Disney with the success of 1979's "The Muppet Movie."

Filmmaker Kent MacKenzie's 1961 docu "The Exiles" "sensitively captures the raw essence of a group of 20-something Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live among the decayed Victorian mansions of Los Angeles' Bunker Hill district." Sergio Leone's 1968 epic "Once Upon a Time in the West" marked a peak of the spaghetti Western genre.

The Registry's other new entrants are 1975's cult-fave toon "Quasi at the Quackadero"; 1986 docu "Precious Images," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America; and 1994 experimental pic "The Red Book," from helmer Janie Geiser.

The complete list of 2009 selections:

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The Exiles (1961)
Heroes All (1920)
Hot Dogs for Gauguin (1972)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
Jezebel (1938)
The Jungle (1967)
The Lead Shoes (1949)
Little Nemo (1911)
Mabel's Blunder (1914)
The Mark of Zorro (1940)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
The Muppet Movie (1979)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Pillow Talk (1959)
Precious Images (1986)
Quasi at the Quackadero (1975)
The Red Book (1994)
The Revenge of the Pancho Villa (1930-36)
Scratch and Crow (1995)
Stark Love (1927)
The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
A Study in Reds (1932)
Thriller (1983)
Under Western Stars (1938)

"The White Ribbon", de Michael Haneke (críticas)

By A.O. Scott/The New York Times

The last shot of Michael Haneke’s “White Ribbon” is haunting not because it sums up the unnerving, at times horrifying series of events that have filled up the previous 2 hours 25 minutes, but rather because it seems to unfold as if none of them have taken place. Taken alone, the film’s final image might conjure a mood of gentle, pastoral nostalgia. Here, in glowing, understated black and white, we glimpse part of a world that used to be. The camera sits inside an austerely beautiful village church that is illuminated by winter morning sunlight, its pews filling with congregants whose dark clothes and weathered faces bespeak hardy old virtues of work, faith and family.

By now we know otherwise. The only comfort offered by “The White Ribbon,” a chronicle of small-town German life on the eve of World War I, is that the social order it depicts has vanished from the earth. Good riddance to the good old days! But at the same time, Mr. Haneke may intend that sense of distance, of pastness, to be illusory, so that the strangeness of these people and their doings is shadowed by an uncomfortable sense of recognition. We fool ourselves if we think bygones are bygones. We’re on a guilt trip down memory lane. And though the road twists and turns and reveals some pretty scenery, in the end we arrive in a familiar place, to be lectured and scolded by a filmmaker whose rich craft disguises the poverty of his ideas.

Our guide is the village schoolteacher, played on screen in his relative youth (by Christian Friedel) as an earnest, chubby-faced bumbler and in voice-over narration (by Ernst Jacobi) as a ruminative old man. This teacher, who like most of the adult characters in the film is not referred to by name, is by far the most benign — if also the most ineffectual — authority figure in a place that turns out to be a veritable theme park of patriarchal abuses.

The wholesome facade of this hamlet, with its tidy brick houses and wind-swept wheat fields, where residents tip their hats and address one another with unfailing formality, masks a carnival of cruelty. Children are beaten and molested. Women are silenced and humiliated. Workplace accidents claim the lives of innocent farmwives. Horses and house pets are maimed, cabbages are wantonly decapitated and the only force more fearsome than the brutality of fathers is the innocence of children.

Mr. Haneke, born in 1942 and perhaps the most lauded living European filmmaker with a surname other than Dardenne, traffics in shock and terror, but in a cerebral, systematic way. His films rarely foreshadow their jolts or speed up their plots to generate suspense, but rather proceed, with almost meditative calm, to weave a cocoon of dread around intimations of mystery and implications of violence.

“The White Ribbon,” which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes and the top European Film Award this year, is a rare foray out of the clamor and anomie of modern urban Europe that is Mr. Haneke’s favored setting. The film also marks his return to his native German after a decade of mainly French-language films. In it, he uses the sharp elegance of Christian Berger’s monochrome cinematography (achieved by shooting in color, then draining it away), the grammatical precision of old-fashioned speech and the pageantry of period drama to lull and also to inflame the audience’s expectations. The effect is something like a ghost story, the horror of which is at once elusive and pervasive. What is happening here? Why is it happening?

The answer to the first question: a lot of weird stuff. The town doctor (Rainer Bock) is injured when his horse trips over a wire strung across his gate, apparently for just that sinister purpose. That apparently inexplicable crime is followed by others, including the abduction and beating of one small child and the near blinding of another. There are whispers and denunciations, and visits from the police, but no solutions are forthcoming.

Instead, as suspicions multiply, we are led on a tour of several households, which taken together offer a sociological composite portrait of guilt and repression. The schoolteacher, whose courtship of a milky-fresh young woman named Eva (Leonie Benesch) provides hints of tender comedy, traffics mainly in rumors and surmises while the camera assumes a position of omniscience. (Unless, that is, it is the vehicle for the narrator’s retroactive speculation or self-protecting deceit, which is not unthinkable.)

In due course we enter the homes of the Baron (Ulrich Tukur), the town’s principal employer and landowner; the doctor, a widower with two children and an interesting relationship with the midwife (Susanne Lothar); the steward (Josef Bierbichler); a tenant farmer (Branko Samarovski); and, perhaps most important, the pastor (Burghart Klaussner).

Each of these men, with the partial exception of the poor farmer, represents a different face of power. And each one, accordingly, manifests his own special brand of awfulness, mistreating those close to him with methods appropriate to his station. The Baron is cold and sarcastic with his wife (Ursina Lardi). The steward beats his children in a state of volcanic rage, while the pastor does the same in a mood of pious sorrow.

Monstrous as these daddies are, their children may be worse. A gaggle of towheaded darlings walks through the film, their mild smiles so sinister that they might have wandered in from the 1960 British science-fiction horror chestnut “Village of the Damned.” Anyone who has seen Mr. Haneke’s “Cache” or his twin versions of “Funny Games” will be aware that he does not believe in the blamelessness of youth. Quite the contrary: children, in his world, carry the sins of their parents in concentrated, highly toxic form, and are also capable of a pure, motiveless, experimental evil.

What will become of these particular blond children, who are either demons or victims, driven to mischief by severe paternal discipline or so intrinsically bad that no punishment could suffice? Do the math: it’s 1914. In 20 or 30 years, what do you suppose these children will be up to? Our narrator, well into old age, tells us that he is revisiting the strange events in the village to “clarify things that happened in our country” afterward.

But “The White Ribbon” does the opposite, mystifying the historical phenomenon it purports to investigate. Forget about Weimar inflation and the Treaty of Versailles and whatever else you may have learned in school: Nazism was caused by child abuse. Or maybe by the intrinsic sinfulness of human beings. “The White Ribbon” is a whodunit that offers a philosophically and aesthetically unsatisfying answer: everyone. Which is also to say: no one.

The teacher may be Mr. Haneke’s obvious surrogate: an intellectual whose pursuit of the truth is enabled by his inability to change anything. But really the filmmaker is closer to the pastor, his chosen emblem of blindness and hypocrisy. After caning his children for a minor infraction, the pastor makes his oldest son (Leonard Proxauf) and daughter (Maria-Victoria Dragus) wear white ribbons, which serve both as emblems of shame and reminders of the purity of soul they are in danger of sacrificing. “The White Ribbon” is offered to its grateful, masochistic audience in a similarly punitive and yet oddly forgiving spirit, as a reminder of just how awful we are and how much worse we used to be.

“The White Ribbon” is rated R (under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Sex, violence, repression.

The White Ribbon

Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Written and directed by Michael Haneke; director of photography, Christian Berger; edited by Monika Willi; produced by Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Margaret Menegoz and Andrea Occhipinti; released by Sony Pictures Classics. At the Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, South Village. In German, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes.

WITH: Ulrich Tukur (the Baron), Susanne Lothar (the Midwife), Christian Friedel (the Schoolteacher), Burghart Klaussner (the Pastor), Leonie Benesch (Eva), Josef Bierbichler (the Steward), Rainer Bock (the Doctor), Ernst Jacobi (the Narrator), Ursina Lardi (Marie-Louise, the Baroness), Fion Mutert (Sigmund), Branko Samarovski (the Farmer), Leonard Proxauf (Martin),Maria- Victoria Dragus (Klara) and Michael Kranz (the Tutor).


By Betsy Sharkey/Los Angeles Times

We don't go to Michael Haneke films for comfort, but to gaze through a glass darkly. That vision -- tense, provocative and unnerving -- is on full display in "The White Ribbon," which could be considered a culmination of this difficult director's brilliant career.

Set in an ordinary German village on the eve of World War I, the film looks at the children who would survive that war and grow into the generation that would bend to Hitler's sway. Shot in black and white, which serves as both a statement and a style, Germany's foreign language Oscar entry has rightfully been collecting critical acclaim since it took the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Here the dramatic interplay of innocence, evil and human behavior so often on Haneke's radar has been joined by themes of guilt and responsibility. He's woven all this into a mysterious, often eerie parable that attempts to explain the seeds of Nazism. That the setting is a seemingly idyllic farming community is not accidental.

But accidents are very much at the heart of "The White Ribbon." As the narrator of this tale explains as the film begins, there were a series of strange events years ago in his village that "could perhaps clarify some things that happened in this country."

Ernst Jacobi, our narrator here, affects a grandfatherly, almost apologetic tone that could lead you to believe that he will fill in all the missing pieces for us. Don't be fooled. This is a film that requires concentration -- a don't blink, don't breathe approach will serve the viewer well.

The world we're dropped into by cinematographer Christian Berger, whose work with Haneke includes two of the director's better known films, "Caché" and "The Piano Teacher," is both beautiful and harsh. The farmland with its rolling fields of wheat stands in lush contrast to the families in the region, hard folk tied to a rigid Protestant vision of morality where pleasures are few, forgiveness is slow in coming and retribution rules the day.

"The White Ribbon" is told from the point of view of the village schoolteacher, with Christian Friedel playing him as a young man on-screen and Jacobi's voice his latter-day, much wiser and reflective self. The story is framed by the family life of all those who make up the region, a perfect socio-economic mix of the Baron, the Pastor, the Steward, the Doctor, the Farmer and the Schoolteacher.

It all begins when the village doctor (Rainer Bock) is thrown after his horse runs into a trip wire set on the road to his home. After school that day, the village children gather at the doctor's house. When someone spots them outside, innocent faces smile and explain that they're just there to see after their classmate Anna (Roxane Duran), the doctor's teenage daughter.

But their politeness is eerie; the way they move through the village in groups suddenly seems sinister. Haneke is just starting to sow the seeds of mistrust, and like any good provocateur, he soon has us suspecting everyone in town of secret schemes and dark deeds.

Next, the farmer's wife is killed, the Baron's son is beaten, an infant catches a worrisome fever, and on it goes. There are no suspects and there are few clues, though the governing principle seems to be punishment.

While the accidents drive the action, they are also there to give context to the most significant question posed by "The White Ribbon": What is it about someone's childhood that creates the adults they become? Haneke, who wrote the screenplay with veteran writer Jean-Claude Carrière ("Cyrano de Bergerac," "Valmont") consulting, puts the responsibility on both parents and society as a whole, rather than any genetic predisposition, which leads you back to the question of who is minding the children.

In "White Ribbon," Haneke is, and it is to the children he always returns -- building scenes in such a way that you wonder are they responsible? Is it all or just a few? Planned or happenstance? And hovering over it all -- if it is the children, then why?

Before we can condemn them, the director begins opening the doors to their homes and the texture of their lives: the indifference in one household, the denial in another; for others, it's neglect, or brutality. Harshness and humiliation seem the guiding principals of parenting here.

The schoolteacher, an excellent Friedel, represents kindness in this unkind land, thinking the best of everyone until he no longer can. His courtship of another gentle soul, Eva (Leonie Benesch), a nanny in the Baron's employ, also provides needed relief from the film's somewhat unrelenting grimness. Meanwhile, the overbearing Pastor (Burghart Klaussner) represents the church's role in creating an environment of fear and retribution.

The pastor's ritualistic and sadistic punishment of his teenagers -- Klara and Martin, very powerfully played by Maria-Victoria Dragus and Leonard Proxauf -- gives the film its name: the white ribbon they must wear to remind them that purity is their goal and that thus far they've failed. Of course, there are beatings, and self-righteous tirades too. Their crime? They were late for dinner.

That the story plays out in black and white makes things easier in a way -- the images have the beauty of old photos. That look, coupled with the faces (the director reportedly saw more than 7,000 children to try to capture the era), gives the film the feel of an artifact, a historical document.

History hovers over "White Ribbon" with the force of impending doom. These children will inherit this world of sin and sorrow, and the consequences will be catastrophic. Whatever responsibility we might feel for future generations after seeing a cautionary tale like this one, well that's just one of the questions Haneke leaves us to figure out.



By J. Hoberman/Village Voice

The White Ribbon is Michael Haneke's first German-language film since the original Funny Games (1997) and, addressing what used to be called "the German problem" while dodging the filmmaker's own likeability issues, it's his best ever.

A period piece set on the eve of World War I in an echt Protestant, still-feudal village somewhere in the uptight depths of Northern Germany, The White Ribbon—which won a deserved Palme d'Or at last May's Cannes-fest of Cruelty—is as cold and creepy and secretly cheesy as any of Haneke's earlier films, if not quite as lofty. Instead of sermonizing, Haneke sets himself to honest craftsmanship. Detailed yet oblique, leisurely but compelling, perfectly cast and irreproachably acted, the movie has a seductively novelistic texture complete with a less-than-omniscient narrator hinting at a weighty historical thesis: It's Village of the Damned as re-imagined by Thomas Mann after studying August Sander's photographs of German types while perusing Wilhelm Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism.

The White Ribbon's original title identifies the movie as "A German Children's Story" and, recounted by the village schoolteacher 40 or 50 years later, this dark fable has a mock legendary aspect. The tale may not reflect "the truth in every detail," the elderly teacher-narrator announces. Much is known only by hearsay and "a lot of it remains obscure to me even today." Many questions are unanswerable, he admits, and yet "the strange events that occurred in our village . . . may cast a new light on some of the goings-on in this country." No need to speculate on what those goings-on might be.

The first strange event occurs seconds into the action, when the irascible village doctor is thrown by his horse, having tripped on a mysterious wire strung across his habitual path. Thereafter, this quiet town, comfortably nestled into its peaceful landscape yet seething with hidden resentments, is subjected to an escalating series of inexplicable accidents and unsolved incidents of terror, most of which are discussed after the fact, but never shown. Some are precipitated by the angry son of a tenant farmer after his mother is fatally injured in a barn collapse while working for the local baron; other events, foretold by dreams and portents, appear connected to a pack of angelic-looking little towheads, led by the pastor's eldest daughter and seemingly possessed of a group mind. In the meantime, the narrator—or, rather, his youthful avatar—shyly woos the equally bashful nanny who watches over the baron's children.

This circumspect courtship may be the one purely innocent activity in a movie unfolding beneath a rubric of innocent purity. Nothing is ever truly revealed, least of all who commissioned the most heinous crimes. With one exception, the only wrongs shown onscreen are committed against the village children—who are regularly subjected to corporal punishment, among other abuses. (There is to be no laffing at these funny games!) In a scene that could have been lifted straight from Reich's Mass Psychology, the implacable pastor, a poster boy for vindictive divinity, ties his eldest son's hands to prevent even the possibility of nocturnal masturbation; the widowed doctor meanwhile engages in unmentionable practices with his 14-year-old daughter. (Notable for its obdurate, unsmiling, and down-right mean-spirited fathers, the town is populated by case studies from The Authoritarian Personality; it might be re-christened Patriarchalischenplatz or just plain Schweinhundtstadt.)

In a sense, Haneke is strictly bound by his own white ribbon. Although based on an original screenplay, the movie strongly resembles his adaptations of Franz Kafka and Joseph Roth. The odd quality of seeming to faithfully follow an acknowledged literary classic is heightened by Haneke's deliberate, almost parodic, classical filmmaking. The camera is quiet; the compositions are studied and seldom in close-up. The black-and-white images are etched on the screen with precise hyperreal clarity. (Christian Berger's impeccable cinematography was cited as the year's best by the New York Film Critics Circle.) Only rarely is the ominous stillness disturbed, as with the sudden eruption of deftly choreographed collective activity that is the town's harvest festival and, not coincidentally, leads to the single instance of revolt against Herr Baron.

History has the same brusque impact. Just as the baroness prepares to leave her unpleasant husband, citing not only his own insensitivity but the intolerable "malice, envy, apathy, [and] brutality" of his town, the steward rushes in with news that Archduke Ferdinand of Austria has been assassinated in Sarajevo. End of story, almost. All police investigations are halted; everything is subsumed by the expectation of war, if not the 30-year nightmare about to convulse Europe. The final shot finds the townspeople gathered in church, perhaps for the last time. In any case, the narrator maintains that he never saw any of them again.

No one's idea of a cinematic cuddle-bunny, Haneke is as much strategist as filmmaker and more pedagogue than visionary. The White Ribbon is certainly the most beautiful movie he has made—a sort of triumphantly willed Meisterwerk. His use of narrative uncertainty, resembling those in the unsolved mystery at the heart of Caché, may be standard-issue, but there's no denying The White Ribbon's seriousness and unity. The severe, withholding culture that Haneke critiques is precisely mirrored by his methods. The White Ribbon keeps the viewer in a state of perpetual uncertainty, but it's more than clear how things will end.

J. Hoberman will be on leave for the next two months

Top 150 de la década (Film Comment)

Sepan disculpar el autobombo, pero me encanta la parte del listado donde aparece mi nombre seguido, en orden alfabético, por Jonathan Lethem, a quien este blog le debe su nombre...

This past fall, Film Comment conducted an international poll of critics, programmers, academics, filmmakers, and others to identify the top films and filmmakers of the decade. The best films of the decade, as decided by their vote, follows, as well as a full list of voters. To read more from the respondents—including comments, films and filmmakers of the decades, and personal lists—grab a copy of the January/February 2010 issue of Film Comment magazine!

  1. Mulholland Drive David Lynch, U.S. 2001 2808
  2. In the Mood for Love Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong 2000 2687
  3. Yi Yi Edward Yang, China 2000 1833
  4. Syndromes and a Century Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/Austria/France 2006 1738
  5. There Will Be Blood P. T. Anderson, U.S. 2007 1664
  6. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Cristi Puiu, Romania 2005 1407
  7. A History of Violence David Cronenberg, U.S./Canada 2005 1303
  8. Tropical Malady Apichatpong Weerasethakul, France/Thailand/Italy/Germany 2004 1301
  9. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Cristi Mungiu, Romania 2007 1249
  10. The New World Terrence Malick, U.S. 2005 1223
  11. Platform Jia Zhangke, Hong Kong/Japan/France 2000 1206
  12. Zodiac David Fincher, U.S. 2007 1143
  13. The Intruder Claire Denis, France 2004 1110
  14. The Son Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France 2002 1089
  15. Dogville Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/U.K./Germany/Netherlands 2003 1084
  16. Caché Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany/Italy 2005 1083
  17. Kings and Queen Arnaud Desplechin, France 2005 1080
  18. Elephant Gus Van Sant, U.S. 2003 1036
  19. The Royal Tenenbaums Wes Anderson, U.S. 2001 1007
  20. Before Sunset Richard Linklater, U.S. 2004 1005
  21. Spirited Away Hayao Miyazaki, Japan 2001 1000
  22. The Gleaners and I Agnès Varda, France 2000 985
  23. Goodbye, Dragon Inn Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan 2003 975
  24. The World Jia Zhangke, China/Japan/France 2004 974
  25. Talk to Her Pedro Almodóvar, Spain 2002 973
  26. Inland Empire David Lynch, U.S./France/Poland 2006 960
  27. Still Life Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong 2006 934
  28. Colossal Youth Pedro Costa, France/Portugal/Switzerland 2006 929
  29. Russian Ark Alexander Sokurov, Russia/Germany 2002 870
  30. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Steven Spielberg, U.S. 2001 850
  31. In Praise of Love Jean-Luc Godard France/Switzerland 2001 834
  32. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Michel Gondry, U.S. 2004 832
  33. No Country for Old Men Joel & Ethan Coen, U.S. 2007 791
  34. Werckmeister Harmonies Béla Tarr, Hungary/Italy/Germany/France 2000 778
  35. Grizzly Man Werner Herzog, U.S./Canada 2005 777
  36. Three Times Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan 2005 767
  37. Café Lumière Hou Hsiao-hsien, Japan/Taiwan 2003 761
  38. Regular Lovers Philippe Garrel, France 2005 759
  39. Blissfully Yours Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/France 2002 713
  40. I'm Not There Todd Haynes, U.S./Germany 2007 703
  41. 2046 Wong Kar Wai, China/Hong Kong/France 2005 700
  42. In Vanda's Room Pedro Costa, Portugal/Germany/Switzerland 2000 654
  43. Los Angeles Plays Itself Thom Andersen, U.S. 2003 649
  44. Millennium Mambo Hou Hsiao-hsien, France/U.S./Spain/Greece 2001 636
  45. La Commune (Paris, 1871) Peter Watkins, France 2000 632
  46. The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow, U.S. 2009 623
  47. Million Dollar Baby Clint Eastwood, U.S. 2004 607
  48. What Time Is It There? Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France 2001 600
  49. demonlover Olivier Assayas, France 2002 583
  50. The Headless Woman Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy 2009 581
  51. La Captive Chantal Akerman, France/Belgium 2000 580
  52. Esther Kahn Arnaud Desplechin, France/U.K. 2000 579
  53. Notre musique Jean-Luc Godard, France/Switzerland 2004 562
  54. Distant Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey 2002 559
  55. Saraband Ingmar Bergman, Sweden 2003 553
  56. The Holy Girl Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Italy/Netherlands/Spain 2004 550
  57. Y Tu Mamá También Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico 2001 537
  58. Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee, U.S. 2005 537
  59. Children of Men Alfonso Cuarón, Japan/U.K./U.S. 2006 537
  60. Ten Abbas Kiarostami, France/Iran/U.S. 2002 527
  61. Silent Light Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands 2007 527
  62. La ciénaga Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Spain 2001 511
  63. L'Enfant Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France 2005 511
  64. Star Spangled to Death Ken Jacobs, U.S. 2004 508
  65. Flight of the Red Balloon Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan/France 2008 498
  66. RR James Benning, U.S. 2007 491
  67. The House of Mirth Terence Davies, U.K./France/Germany/U.S. 2000 484
  68. 25th Hour Spike Lee, U.S. 2002 469
  69. 35 Shots of Rum Claire Denis, France/Germany 2008 460
  70. Summer Hours Olivier Assayas, France 2009 453
  71. The Host Bong Joon-ho, South Korea 2007 441
  72. Adaptation Spike Jonze, U.S. 2002 438
  73. Lost in Translation Sofia Coppola, U.S./Japan 2003 435
  74. Gerry Gus Van Sant, U.S. 2002 433
  75. Private Fears in Public Places Alain Resnais, France/Italy 2006 430
  76. My Winnipeg Guy Maddin, Canada 2007 430
  77. Punch-Drunk Love P.T. Anderson, U.S. 2002 426
  78. Fat Girl (A ma soeur!) Catherine Breillat, France/Italy 2001 422
  79. The Departed Martin Scorsese, U.S./Hong Kong 2006 422
  80. Far From Heaven Todd Haynes, U.S./France 2002 421
  81. Donnie Darko Richard Kelly, U.S. 2001 413
  82. Moolaadé Ousmane Sembene, Burkina Faso/Morocco/Tunisia/Cameroon/France 2004 410
  83. Woman on the Beach Hong Sang-soo, South Korea 2006 407
  84. Memories of Murder Bong Joon-ho, South Korea 2003 405
  85. West of the Tracks Wang Bing, China 2003 398
  86. Wendy and Lucy Kelly Reichardt, U.S. 2008 395
  87. Trouble Every Day Claire Denis, France/Germany/Japan 2001 390
  88. Femme Fatale Brian De Palma, U.S./France 2002 386
  89. Songs from the Second Floor Roy Andersson, Sweden 2000 386
  90. Letters from Iwo Jima Clint Eastwood, U.S. 2006 379
  91. Gran Torino Clint Eastwood, U.S. 2008 375
  92. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Andrew Dominik, U.S. 2007 374
  93. Last Days Gus Van Sant, U.S. 2005 368
  94. The Man Without a Past Aki Kaurismäki, Finland/Germany/France 2002 368
  95. When the Levees Broke Spike Lee, U.S. 2006 360
  96. The Best of Youth Marco Tullio Giordana, Italy 2003 358
  97. Turning Gate Hong Sang-soo, South Korea 2002 356
  98. 24 City Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong/Japan 2008 352
  99. In the City of Sylvia José Luis Guerín, Spain/France 2007 352
  100. The White Ribbon Michael Haneke, Austria/Germany/France/Italy 2009 348
  101. La libertad Lisandro Alonso, Argentina 2001 344
  102. Nobody Knows Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan 2004 343
  103. The Pianist Roman Polanski, France/Poland/Germany/U.K. 2002 343
  104. The Duchess of Langeais Jacques Rivette, France/Italy 2007 343
  105. Pan’s Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro, Mexico/Spain/U.S. 2006 335
  106. WALL·E Andrew Stanton, U.S. 2008 331
  107. Pulse Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan 2001 329
  108. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 Quentin Tarantino, U.S. 2003 328
  109. A Christmas Tale Arnaud Desplechin, France 2008 326
  110. Time Out Laurent Cantet, France 2001 326
  111. Police, Adjective Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania 2009 325
  112. Secret Sunshine Lee Chang-dong, South Korea 2007 324
  113. Mystic River Clint Eastwood, U.S./Australia 2003 323
  114. Morvern Callar Lynne Ramsay, U.K./Canada 2002 321
  115. Va Savoir Jacques Rivette, France/Italy/Germany 2001 321
  116. Head-On Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey 2004 319
  117. Tarnation Jonathan Caouette, U.S. 2003 318
  118. Hunger Steve McQueen, U.K. 2008 310
  119. Miami Vice Michael Mann, U.S./Germany 2006 309
  120. Los muertos Lisandro Alonso, Argentina/France/Netherlands 2004 306
  121. Eureka Shinji Aoyama, Japan/France 2000 305
  122. Irreversible Gaspar Noé, France 2002 305
  123. Black Book Paul Verhoeven, Netherlands/Germany/Belgium 2006 304
  124. The Lives of Others Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany 2006 303
  125. The Secret of the Grain Abdellatif Kechiche, France 2007 301
  126. Oldboy Park Chan-wook, South Korea 2003 300
  127. The Piano Teacher Michael Haneke, Germany/Poland/France/Austria 2001 300
  128. The Lady and the Duke Eric Rohmer, France 2001 299
  129. The Incredibles Brad Bird, U.S. 2004 292
  130. Mysterious Object at Noon Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand 2000 292
  131. Death Proof Quentin Tarantino, U.S. 2007 288
  132. Let the Right One In Tomas Alfredson, Sweden 2008 287
  133. Ghost World Terry Zwigoff, U.S./U.K. 2001 275
  134. Waltz with Bashir Ari Folman, Israel/France/Germany 2008 274
  135. Dancer in the Dark Lars von Trier, Denmark/Germany/Netherlands/U.S./U.K. 2000 273
  136. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Quentin Tarantino, U.S. 2004 273
  137. Spider David Cronenberg, U.K./Canada 2002 272
  138. Friday Night Claire Denis, France 2002 271
  139. Memento Christopher Nolan, U.S. 2000 270
  140. United Red Army Kôji Wakamatsu, Japan 2007 269
  141. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone Tsai Ming-liang, Malaysia/China/Taiwan/France/Austria 2007 264
  142. Still Walking Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan 2008 262
  143. Paranoid Park Gus Van Sant, France/U.S. 2007 262
  144. Wild Grass Alain Resnais, France/Italy 2009 261
  145. Divine Intervention Elia Suleiman, France/Morocco/Germany/Palestine 2002 261
  146. Gosford Park Robert Altman, U.K./U.S./Italy 2001 260
  147. Collateral Michael Mann, U.S. 2004 259
  148. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button David Fincher, U.S. 2008 254
  149. 13 Lakes James Benning, U.S. 2004 254
  150. Dog Days Ulrich Seidl, Austria 2001 251

The All-Star Cast of Contributors include: Gilbert Adair, Sam Adams, Florence Almozini, Thom Andersen, Melissa Anderson, Dudley Andrew, Geoff Andrew, David Ansen, Alvaro Arroba, Anjelika Artyukh, Michael Atkinson, Miriam Bale, Alberto Barbera, Michael Barker, Margret Barton-Fumo, Jeanine Basinger, Marjorie Baumgarten, Raymond Bellour, Michael Berry, Stig Björkman, Livia Bloom, Frédéric Bonnaud, Nicole Brenez, Richard Brody, Andrew Bujalski, Joumane Chahine, Michael Chaiken, Andrew Chan, Chris Chang, Tom Charity, Paolo Cherchi Usai, Godfrey Cheshire, Li Cheuk-to, Ian Christie, Michel Ciment, Jem Cohen, Richard Combs, Mark Cousins, Noah Cowan, David Cox, Gary Crowdus, Doug Cummings, Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, Mike D’Angelo, Evan Davis, Michel Demopoulos, Arnaud Desplechin, Sam Di Iorio, Anton Dolin, Lisa Dombrowski, Bilge Ebiri, Cheryl Eddy, David Edelstein, David Fear, Leslie Felperin, Paul Fileri, Richard Foreman, Scott Foundas, Lizzie Francke, Patrick Friel, Roger Garcia, Leonardo García-Tsao, Charlotte Garson, Susan Gerhard, John Gianvito, Eugène Green, Stefan Grissemann, Larry Gross, Haden Guest, Tom Gunning, Howard Hampton, Piers Handling, Molly Haskel, Shigehiko Hasumi, Sandra Hebron, Eugene Hernandez, J. Hoberman, Zdenek Holy, Travis Hoover, Bill Horrigan, Robert Horton, Alexander Horwath, Marcus Hu, Matthew Hubbell, Christoph Huber, Nick James, Jia Zhangke, Thierry Jobin, J.R. Jones, Kristin Jones, Kent Jones, Serge Kaganski, Laurence Kardish, Danny Kasman, Laura Kern, Dohoon Kim, Lewis Klahr, Stuart Klawans, Uri Klein, Gabe Klinger, Robert Koehler, Michael Koresky, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Jean-Marc Lalanne, Nathan Lee, Elisabeth Lequeret, Diego Lerer, Jonathan Lethem, Dennis Lim, Phillip Lopate, Jan Lumholdt, Guy Maddin, Adrian Martin, Todd McCarthy, Maitland McDonagh, Mark McElhatten, Don McMahon, Gary Meyer, Olaf Möller, Marco Mueller, Amir Muhammad, Rob Nelson, Katja Nicodemus, Geoffrey O’Brien, Mark Olsen, Damon Packard, Gilberto Perez, Jake Perlin, Vladan Petkovic, Andrea Picard, Tony Pipolo, John Powers, James Quandt, Quintín, Nicolas Rapold, Megan Ratner, Jean-Francois Rauger, Tony Rayns, Carlos Reviriego, Bérénice Reynaud, Jim Ridley, Pierre Rissient, Kong Rithdee, João Pedro Rodrigues, Jonathan Romney, Rachel Rosen, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Joshua Rothkopf, Sukhdev Sandhu, Andrew Sarris, Richard Schickel, Regina Schlagnitweit, Alex Leo Serban, Gene Seymour, Girish Shambu, Josh Siegel, Irma Simanskyte, Alissa Simon, P. Adams Sitney, Gavin Smith, Vivian Sobchak, Chuck Stephens, Bob Strauss, Chris Stults, Daniel Stuyck, Jim Supanick, Amy Taubin, José Teodoro, David Thomson, Kenneth Turan, Keith Uhlich, Noel Vera, Tom Vick, Peter von Bagh, John Waters, Ryan Werner, Brynn White, Donald Wilson, Jessica Winter, Sergio Wolf, Manuel Yáñez Murillo, Genevieve Yue, David Zuckerman