I’ve written before that I’m not a film critic, I just play one sometimes on this blog. But ’tis the season to make lists. Here are my top ten films of 2014:
My two (tied) favorites are very different films, but both about family, coming of age and finding one’s place in the world, Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida,” which spends a brief time with its eponymous novitiate nun, and Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” which follows Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from six to 18.
My two favorite songs from 2014 movies were both made by “families.” I can’t get the song at end of “Boyhood” (“Hero” by Family of the Year) out of my head but nor do I want to. I’ve also listened to The Handsome Family’s “Far From Any Road” , part of the opening credits of “True Detective,” on infinite repeat.
But I digress. In no particular order: “Listen Up Philip,” (Alex Ross Perry), “Goodbye to Language” (Jean-Luc Godard), “National Gallery” (Frederick Wiseman) “We Are The Best!”–more kids, here, three female adolescent misfits in Sweden (Lukas Moodysson), “Leviathan” (Andre Zvyaginstev), a pair of Alain Resnais films neither one new, but both first viewings for me, “Je’taime, Je’taime” (long unavailable in the United States) and “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” (it’s a mystery why I’d missed Resnais’ early masterpiece), “The Passionate Thief”– from 1960, with magnificent Anna Magnani (Mario Monicelli) and “Actress” (Robert Greene). (More than 10–who’s counting?)
I haven’t yet seen “Inherent Vice” or “Winter Sleep” or “Selma.” And I’m willing to admit that maybe there’s something peculiar in my wiring. “Birdman”? Eh. But it is the best of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s showboating films (which is easy–the others, with their we’re all interconnected/the beating of a butterfly’s wings could change everything “profundity”: way not for me). I watched “Birdman” looking for the cuts–obviously I was less than fully-engaged. Don’t much like “Whiplash” either, and not just because of its serious plot hole, big enough to drive the big truck (that drives the plot) through.
Harris and I have been trying to make a plan for me to photograph him and Eli since Eli was born. He’s six now. Things can take time in New York. Funny coincidence that the shoot happened in the year of “Boyhood.”
I’m taken with these portraits of Eli for the beauty of the back of his head and neck (front is pretty cute too), the uncharacteristic stillness (I’ve already mentioned he’s six) and the images’ feeling of now and only now. I suggested to Harris that we turn his son around like this in front of my camera every year until he’s 18 (Eli, like Ellar). Or maybe it’s more realistic for us, somewhat scheduling-challenged, to take our inspiration from elsewhere and do “Six Up”, and shoot again when Eli’s 12 and 18.