PRINT December 2000


Susan Sontag


1. Yi Yi (A One and a Two) (Edward Yang) Is Yang as great as Hou Hsiao-hsien? Well, he’s different. See this.

2. Faithless (Liv Ullmann) Ullmann’s best work by far, with one of the greatest film performances ever, by Lena Endre.

3. L’Humanité (Bruno Dumont) A very ambitious film about looking and about guilt.

4. Beau Travail (Claire Denis) A dazzling riff on Melville’s Billy Budd. You’ll never forget the final scene, when the amazing Denis Lavant starts to dance.

5. The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami) The best-known Iranian director has made another incomparable film.

6. Hamlet (Michael Almereyda) Hamlet lost in Manhattan. Witty, intelligent, and most convincing when it’s altogether over the top.

7. The Circle ( Jafar Panahi) Another marvel from Iran. A relentless, anguishing film by a director hitherto unknown to me, about the persecution of women.

8. La Captive (Chantal Akerman) Supposedly inspired by Proust. Atypically movieish (i.e., Hitchcockian) for Ackerman but still adamant, unpredictable.

9. Travelers (Bahram Beizai, 1991) OK, it came out eight years ago, but I just saw it (and I didn’t see ten films made this year that I really admired). Trust me, this masterpiece from Iran is unlike anything you’ve seen yet.

10. Smoking/No Smoking (Alain Resnais, 1993) I saw Resnais’s brilliant, ingenious, hilarious film for the first time this summer—it never got a theatrical release in this country. How come?