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Best of 2017: Film/Video picks

Mon, Jan 8, 2018
By Wex Film/Video staff

Each year, the curators and editors of our Film/Video department compile their favorite viewing experiences from the past 12 months for the Wex blog. This year's contributors cover big screen and small, restorations and new releases, and experimental as well as narrative and nonfiction. Links are provided for titles now available to stream online.

David Filipi, Director

Top 15:
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck)
Get Out (Jordan Peele)
Ex Libris (Frederick Wiseman)
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes)
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies)
Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)
Whose Streets? (Sabaah Folayan)
Brimstone & Glory (Viktor Jakovleski)
Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)​​​​​​​
The Square (Ruben Östlund)​​​​​​​
Quest (Jonathan Olshelfski)​​​​​​​
Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)

Films that may have made my top 10 if they had opened in Columbus during 2017:
Happy End (Michael Haneke)
Mrs. Fang (Wang Bing)
Zama (Lucrecia Martel)

A list of memorable new restorations and other repertory screenings in 2017:
Anna Magnani Restrospective – Wexner Center for the Arts, January
O Cangaceiro (Lima Barreto, 1953) – Wex, January
Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomas Gutierrez Alea, 1968) Wex, February
Shoes (Lois Weber, 1916) Wex, February
Panique (Julien Duvivier, 1947) – Wex, May
Three films by Iranian director Samuel Khachikian screened at il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna in June: Delhorah (1962), Storm in Our City (1958), and Zarbat (1964)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento, 1970) Introduced by Argento at il Cinema Ritrovato in June.
Inferno (Roy Ward Baker, 1953)  Wex, August.
Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) –Wex, September.
Lightning Over Braddock (Tony Buba, 1988) – Wex, October
Sleeping Beauty (Clyde Geronimi, 1959 – 70MM) Wex, November.
 

Chris Stults, Associate Curator

Despite all the reports of this being a golden age for TV and forecasts of the extinction of movies, I had a much better time this year going to the movies than watching TV. Even if what those things mean are all muddled. Two highlights of the year (Twin Peaks: The Return and Wormwood) present themselves as a hybrid form that’s part television and part cinema.
There were so many films that I was enthusiastic about this year that it seems silly to assign rankings to them. Instead, these are all movies that, when asked by a friend if I’d seen anything good lately, I would mention and say, “OMG! You have to see this!” That said, there were a number of films that consumed my thoughts this year and those are singled out at the top of each category.
All films listed premiered in Columbus in 2017, either in theaters, streaming, or on video.

Ex Libris - New York Public LibraryDocumentary

  1. Ex-Libris – The New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman)
  2. Quest (Jonathan Olshefski)
    Brimstone & Glory (Viktor Jakovleski)
    Contemporary Color (Bill & Turner Ross)
    Dina (Antonio Santini & Dan Sickles)
    Faces Places (Agnés Varda)
    The Force (Peter Nicks)
    I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck)
    Rat Film (Theo Anthony)
    The Work (Jairus McLeary)

Notable: Last Men in Aleppo (Feras Fayyad), Strong Island (Yance Ford), Two Trains Runnin’ (Sam Pollard)

Fiction

  1. Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch)
  2. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)
    The Florida Project (Sean Baker)
    Get Out (Jordan Peele)
    Good Time (Josh & Bennie Safdie)
    Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
    Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas)
    A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies)
    Silence (Martin Scorsese)

Notable: Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan), Marjorie Prime (Michael Almereyda), The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Noah Baumbach), Mudbound (Dee Rees), Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)

Whatsits

  1. Strangely Ordinary This Devotion (Dani & Sheilah Restack)
  2. Sine at the Canyon & Sine at the Sea (by Kelly Gabron) (Cauleen Smith)
    The Big Sleep (Evan Meaney)
    O Caseiro (Jonathas de Andrade)
    Edge of Alchemy (Stacey Steers)
    The Illinois Parables (Deborah Stratman)
    Mad Ladders (Michael Robinson)
    Sixty Six (Lewis Klahr)
    Wormwood (Errol Morris)

Repertory Screenings

  1. Lightning Over Braddock (Tony Buba, 1988)
  2. A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)
  3. Assault on Precinct 13 (John Carpenter, 1976)
  4. Hiatus (Ericka Beckman, 1999/2015)

Notable: Cousin Bobby (Jonathan Demme, 1992), Emperor of the North (Robert Aldrich, 1973)

Best Films I Finally Got Around to Watching
A Poem Is a Naked Person (Les Blank, 1974)
Poto and Cabengo (Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1980) 
Study of a River (Peter Hutton, 1997)

TV Shows
Notable:
 Baskets (Season 2), Insecure (Season 2), Lady Dynamite (Season 2), Transparent (Season 4)

Kyle MacLachlan as Dougie in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: The Return​​​​​​​
Mike Olenick, Film/Video Studio Archivist

I traveled a lot last year and saw very few new films in Columbus. Many of the films I did see were at film festivals including Fantastic Fest, Fantasia International Film Festival, and Palm Springs Short Fest. I won’t pretend that I’ve seen every new film this year (in the past few months alone I’ve missed Phantom ThreadBlade Runner 2049Jigsaw, and Mother!), and this list contains the films that were most memorable to me in 2017.

Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch)
I love how David Lynch and Mark Frost delay giving us everything we wanted and expected from a third season of Twin Peaks. And then when they finally do deliver what we wanted (though not necessarily as expected), they quickly pull the rug out from under us and take it all away again.

The Laplace’s Demon (Giordano Giulivi)
This is such a strange movie about a group of people disappearing in an equally strange mansion that’s inhabited by an even more mysterious entity. I cannot stop thinking about this film.

Raw (Julia Ducournau)
You know a movie is working when someone in the audience yells out, "Oh god, please don't do it!" and then the character does exactly what we all don't want her to do. The film has some pretty stunning camera work, too (the single-take rave scene, for example).

Let the Corpses Tan (Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani)
I had a hard time getting into Cattet and Forzani’s previous film (The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears), but dove into this one immediately. The cinematography is gorgeous, the editing is great, and the film looks and sounds like you’re watching a newly discovered European crime thriller from the late '60s or early '70s.

Found Footage 3D (Steven DeGennaro)
I’m not usually one for found footage movies, but there’s something about this one that clicked for me. It starts out in 2D, takes its time switching to 3D, and builds to a crazy moment that I still remember vividly.

A Day (Sun-ho Cho)
Imagine Groundhog Day as a thriller where a doctor has to save his daughter from dying in a car accident. As the film races to its conclusion, the narrative spirals outward and gives us increasingly more context for the accident that we see unfold numerous times.

Call of Cuteness (Brenda Lien)
If you like grotesque animated cat movies, then you’ll love this experimental short by Brenda Lien.

Great Choice (Robin Comisar)
If they made 1980s Red Lobster commercials in hell, they would probably look something like this.

Images: I Am Not Your Negro, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures; Ex Libris – The New York Public Library, courtesy of Zipporah Films; Twin Peaks: The Return, courtesy of Showtime.

 

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