Films

Favorite films seen in 2013:

Birders: The Central Park Effect (2011, USA, Jeffrey Kimball)
The Deep Blue Sea (2011, UK, Terence Davies)
Arbitrage (2012, USA, Nicholas Jarecki)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012, USA, Wes Anderson)
The Way (2012, USA, Emilio Estevez)
Margaret (2011, USA, Kenneth Lonergan)
My Afternoons with Margueritte (2010, FR, Jean Becker)
Fugitive Pieces (2007, CA, Jeremy Podeswa
Patience (After Sebald) (2012, UK, Grant Gee)
The Woman with the Five Elephants (2009, SZ, Vadim Jendreyko)
A Late Quartet (2012, US, Yaron Zilberman)
Life of Pi (2012, US, Ang Lee)
Obselidia (2010, US, Diane Bell)
The Intouchables (2011, FR, Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano)
The Brontes of Haworth (1973, UK, TV series)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011, UK, John Madden)
Georgia O’Keefe (2009, US, Bob Balaban)
Shun Li and the Poet (2011, IT, Andrea Segre)
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (2011, FR, Thierry Binisti)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012, US, Stephen Chbosky)
The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000, FR, Tran Anh Hung)
The Window (2008, AR, Carlos Sorin)
Another Earth (2011, US, Mike Cahill)
Life is Sweet (1990, UK, Mike Leigh)
50/50 (2011, US, Jonathan Levine)
Rust and Bone (2012, FR, Jacques Audiard)
Breaking and Entering (2006, UK, Anthony Minghella)
The Sea Gull (1968, UK, Sydney Lumet)

Favorite films seen in 2012:

Beginners (2010, USA, Mike Mills)
Design for Living (1935, USA, Ernst Lubitsch)
Sophie Scholl (2005, GER, Marc Rothemund)
Incendies (2010, FR, Denis Villeneuve)
The Tree of Life (2011, USA, Terence Malick)
The Keys to the House (2004, IT, Gianni Amelio)
Hereafter (2010, USA, Clint Eastwood)
One Day (2011, USA/UK, Lone Scherfig)
Jane Eyre (2011, UK, Cary Fukunaga)
Educating Rita (1983, UK, Willy Russell)
Queen to Play (2009, FR, Caroline Bottaro)
Sarah’s Key (2010, FR, Gilles Paquet-Brenner)
Descendant’s (2011, USA, Alexander Payne)
Hereafter (2010, USA, Clint Eastwood)
Body and Soul (1993, UK, Moira Armstrong)
Educating Rita (1983, UK, Lewis Gilbert)
The Names of Love (2010, FR, Michel Leclerc)
The Sleeping Beauty (2010, FR, Catherine Breillat)
Blue Valentine (2010, USA, Derek Cianfrance)
Café de Flore (2011, CAN, Jean-Marc Vallée)
My Week with Marilyn (2011, UK, Simon Curtis)
Mozart’s Sister (2010, FR, René Féret)
The Ides of March (2011, USA, George Clooney)
The Hedgehog (2009, FR, Mona Achache)
An Autumn Afternoon (1962, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
The End of Summer (1961, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Late Autumn (1960, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Floating Weeds (1959, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Equinox Flower (1958, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Tokyo Twilight (1957, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Early Spring (1956, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Tokyo Story (1953, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Early Summer (1951, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
Late Spring (1949, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
There Was a Father (1942, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
The Only Son (1936, JAP, Yasujiro Ozu)
The Good Fairy (1935, USA, William Wyler)
Melancholia (2011, DEN, Lars von Trier)
Monsieur Lazhar (2011, CAN, Philippe Farlardeau)
The Station Agent (2003, USA, Thomas McCarthy)
The Artist (2011, FR, Michel Hazanavicius)
Zazie dans le Metro (1960, FR, Louis Malle)

Favorite films seen in 2011:

Divided We Fall (2000, CZECH, Jan Hřebejk)
Mademoiselle Chambon (2009, FR, Stéphane Brizé)
The King’s Speech (2011, UK, Tom Hooper)
Burnt by the Sun (1994, RUS, Nikita Mikhalkov)
Before the Rain (1994, Macedonia, Milcho Manchevski)
Before Sunrise (1995, USA, Richard Linklater)
Of Time and the City (2008, UK, Terence Davies)
Thérèse (1986, FR, Alain Cavalier)
Together (2002, CH, Chen Kaige)
Kinky Boots (2005, UK, Julian Jarrold)
I Am Love (2009, Italy, Luca Guadagnino)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009, SWED, Niels Oplev)
Weddings & Babies (1958, USA, Morris Engel)
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970, Italy, Vittoria de Sica)
The Shop on Main Street (1965, CZECH, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos)
Washington Square (1997, USA, Agnieszka Holland)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009, SWED, Daniel Alfredson)
Around a Small Mountain (2009, FR, Jacques Rivette)
La Belle Noiseuse (1991, FR, Jacques Rivette)
Temple Grandin (2010, USA, Mick Jackson)
The Secret Life of Words (2005, SP, Isabel Coixet)
Mao’s Last Dancer (2009, AUS, Bruce Beresford)
The Kids Are All Right (2010, USA, Lisa Cholodenko)
The Secret of the Grain (also, Couscous) (20007, FR, Abdellatif Kechiche)
Nowhere Boy (2009, UK, Sam Taylor-Wood)
The Harmonists (1997, GER, Joseph Vilsmaier)
Lisbon Story (1994, GER/POR, Wim Wenders)
Mostly Martha (2002, GER, Sandra Nettelbeck)
Leon Morin, Priest (1962, FR, Jean-Pierre Melville)
Scent of Green Papaya (1993, VIET, Anh Hung Tran)
Mother of Mine (2005, FIN/SWED, Klaus Härö)
The Four Feathers (2002, UK, Shekhar Kapur)
French Film (2008, UK, Jackie Oudney)
Three Colors: Blue (1993, FR, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Three Colors: Red (1994, FR, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Caramel (2007, FR, Nadine Labaki)
School Ties (1992, USA, Robert Mandel)
In a Better World (2010, DEN, Susanne Bier)
Things We Lost in the Fire (2007, USA, Susanne Bier)
Dodsworth (1936, USA, William Wyler)
Hobson’s Choice (1954, UK, David Lean)
The Razor’s Edge (1946, USA, Edmund Goulding)
America, America (1963, USA, Elia Kazan)

Favorite films seen in 2010:

The River (1951, FR, Renoir)
Fanny & Alexander (1982, SWED, Ingmar Bergman)
A Sunday in the Country (1984, FR, Bertrand Tavernier)
In the Mood for Love (2000, FR/Hong Kong, Kar Wai Wong)
As It Is in Heaven (2004, SWED, Kay Pollak)
Seraphine (2008, FR, Martin Provost)
Coco Before Chanel (2009, FR, Anne Fontaine)
The Last Station (2009, GER/UK, Michael Hoffman)
Scenes from a Marriage (1973, SWED, Ingmar Bergman)
Cherry Blossoms (2008, GER, Doris Dörrie)
Japanese Story (2003, AUS, Sue Brooks)
The Edge of Heaven (2007, IT, Fatih Akin)
After the Wedding (2006, DEN, Susanne Bier)
Departures (2008, JAP, Yôjirô Takita)
Strangers in Good Company (1990, UK, Cynthia Scott)
The Young Victoria (2009, UK, Jean-Marc Vallée)
The Chorus (2004, BEL, Christophe Barratier)
Since Otar Left (2003, FR, Julie Bertucelli)
Summer Hours (2008, FR, Olivier Assayas)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007, FR, Julian Schnabel)
Monsieur Ibrahim (2003, FR, François Dupeyron)
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (1994, US, Ang Lee)
Faubourg 36 (2008, FR, Christophe Barratier)
Everlasting Moments (2008, SWED, Jan Troell)
Osama (2003, AFGHAN, Siddiq Barmak)
The Best of Youth (2003, ITA, Marco Tullio Giordana)
Lady Chatterley (2006, FR, Pascale Ferran)

Favorite Christmas Movies:

Animated:

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) — Inhabitants of Halloween land do a number on Christmas. Even if you can’t figure out the plot, it is visually mesmerizing much the same way Edward Scissorhands is; in fact, because Scissorhands includes a Christmas segment, it could also be added to the list.

Classics:

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) gets to see what his hometown would be like had he never lived. Lovely man, Forties innocence, or a world the Forties generation longed for after having just survived WWII. As Helen Hunt’s character in As Good as It Gets inspires Nicholson’s Melvin to say, “You make me want to be a better man,” this movie makes the viewer want to be a better human being.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940) — Bickering store clerks (Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan) pine for pen pals as the holidays approach. Their rapid-fire repartée is electric.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)– Macy’s Santa (Edmund Gwenn), with help from the U.S. Postal Service, restores a little girl’s faith (adorable Natalie Wood in her first film role). Also starring Maureen O’Hara and John Payne.

The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) — An easygoing priest (Bing Crosby) and a no-nonsense nun (Ingrid Bergman) try to save their run-down school. Holiday sentimentality at its best.

Little Women (1933, 1994) – Incomparable Katherine Hepburn as Jo March in ’33 version is worth seeing, but the ’94 version, as a whole, is more satisfying.

Comedy:

A Christmas Story (1983) — All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. If you were young in 40s or 50s in Smalltown USA, you’ll see and hear much of your old life here.

Elf (2003) — A human (Will Ferrell), raised at the North Pole searches for his family in New York. Endearing character, totally guileless.

Love, Actually (2003) — Loosely related tales of love in its many guises.  Touching, funny, and, of course, the adorable Hugh Grant and the perfect Colin Firth.

Drama:

Joyeux Noël (AKA Merry Christmas) (2005) – World War I trenches go silent during the “Christmas Truce” of 1914.

The Apartment (1960) — A young executive (Jack Lemmon) climbs the corporate ladder by loaning out his apartment to bosses for their extramarital trysts and falls for one of them (Shirley Maclaine). MacMurray is wooden but Lemmon and Maclaine shine.

A Christmas Memory (1966) — Award-winning adaptation of Truman Capote’s poignant, nostalgic reminiscence about his childhood best friend — a childlike elderly relative (Julie Harris) with whom he makes fruitcakes and other gifts, in Depression-era Alabama.

The Dead (1987) – Last film directed by John Huston starring his daughter Angelica Huston and released posthumously, is an adaptation of the short story of the same name from the James Joyce collection Dubliners. It’s about how our dead continue to influence our lives and how the holidays tend to resurrect their ghosts.

84 Charing Cross Road (1987) – A must-see for book lovers despite the weak ending. Based on the 1970 epistolary memoir of New York writer and book lover Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) about her 20-year correspondence with London antiquarian bookseller Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins). I could smell that old bookstore and longed to be in it.

Babette’s Feast (1987) – Danish film adapted from a short story by Karen Blixen who also wrote Out of Africa. Not about Christmas at all (although the blustery cold and snow of Jutland make it seem so) but one of the best movies ever made about the spirit of giving.

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