PRINT December 1999

Christopher Münch

1. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991) Having restricted my list to English-language narrative features, I begin with one of the most idiosyncratic and heartrending.

2. Jo-Jo at the Gate of the Lions (Britta Sjogren, 1992) This life of a modern Joan of Arc heralded the arrival of a vastly promising voice.

3. Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould (François Girard, 1993) No finer proof that the best biopics unfold episodically by emotional themes rather than linear narrative.

4. The Bed You Sleep In (Jon Jost, 1993) Haunting portraits of a logging town in decline propel this anatomy of a family’s disintegration.

5. Land and Freedom (Kenneth Loach, 1995) Historical tapestry unerringly authentic at its spiritual center.

6. Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995) A masterpiece of intricate ideas and dense tableaux from a limitless talent.

7. Angela (Rebecca Miller, 1995) Languorous rhythms and painterly images (by cinematographer Ellen Kuras) draw us into a girl’s inner life with the intimacy of a Sally Mann photo.

8. Grace of My Heart (Allison Anders, 1996) Fine music, varied and energetic performances, and an epic sweep give this ambitious, imperfect work the stamp of greatness.

9. Kundun (Martin Scorsese, 1997) The courage to convey with quiet density a great man’s journey reaffirmed Scorsese’s humanism and skill.

10. The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998) The most poetic “big” film since 2001, flawed but unsurpassable.