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Sunday, 15 December 2019

Films of the Year

I've done my photobooks of the year, so here are my films of the year. Of what I've seen which isn't much, but then I'm kind of picky. And most of them aren't even from this year, so films of the year?

So there's Border which is a brilliant and odd film about special woman and her relationship to herself and the land and her people, whoever they might be. There's a lot to be said for odd and this is odd. Not much is odd. This is. Have I mentioned that.

The Chambermaid (which is said to have been inspired by Sophie Calle - but it wasn't really) which is about the roles women play, and how class and gender and relationships all intersect in the very separate spaces of a Mexican hotel.

Women of  Ryazan with live organ accompaniment. Great Soviet film from Olga Preobrazhenskaya all about love, rape and hypocrisy in a small Russian town in 1927 Russia. I love the scene where the woman decides to live with her lover without getting married (her parents don't approve) and he says something like, but what will the village say, and she says something along the lines of fuck em,it's our lives, who cares what the village says.

Bangsokol, which was a screening of sequences from recent Cambodian images accompanied by live music and a soundtrack featuring Buddhist chanting, environmental soundscapes and song.It's composed by Him Sophy and the film is put together by filmmaker Rithy Panh in a sequence that runs from the US bombing campaign through to the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge and the mind-blowningly cruel and stupid attempt to transform Cambodia into a world-beating rural economy. It was devastatingly powerful to see this in Phnom Penh with people who had suffered huge loss during the Khmer Rouge years.  I'll be writing about this more at a later date.

Catsticks by Ronny Sen which is a brilliantly moody and beautiful meditation on drug addicts in Kolkata. It's a beautiful film but it's also a sophisticated film where relationships, hopes, dreams and the downfalls of the protagonists are set against a rapidly changing urban landscape.

Director Ronny Sen comes from a photographic background as well, and this is his first film which is just astonishing. It's beautiful, striking, but most importantly has an emotional depth that intensifies as the film goes on. I really didn't want it to end and I can't wait for what he does next (though seeing the amount of work he has to do just to get this shown is a revelation in itself).

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