PRINT December 2004

FILM: Best of 2004

Chrissie Iles


1. Five (Abbas Kiarostami) The contemplative stillness of Kiarostami’s five-part masterpiece reveals the rhythms of the Caspian seashore through slowly observed details.

2. Notre Musique (Jean-Luc Godard) In Godard’s divine tragedy, Paradise is guarded by the US Marines: Empire knows no bounds.

3. ( ) (Morgan Fisher) ( ) frees insert shots from classic Hollywood movies from their marginalized role as the connective tissue of cinematic narrative and promotes them to an egalitarian conceptual role.

4. Michelangelo Eye to Eye (Michelangelo Antonioni) The director stands in front of his namesake’s statue of Moses. As if confronting his own and our mortality, his gaze onto Michelangelo’s mastery recalls our own cinematic gaze onto his.

5. Not Yet (Jim O’Rourke) O’Rourke’s first film deconstructs panning shots from Blow Out, layering electronic tones and film loops into a harmonic composition of gradual abstraction.

6. The Uncles (Tacita Dean) Fragments of remembered experience become indivisible from the elusive past of cinema.

7. Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry (George Butler) A clear rebuttal to the distortions of Kerry’s war record in Vietnam, Butler’s documentary was a beacon in the otherwise murky preelection political mire.

8. Memory Bucket (Jeremy Deller) An outsider’s portrait of Texas, seen through the other end of the telescope. Highly charged locations intercut with bats flocking out of a cave at sunset proffer a jolting contrast between the natural beauty of America’s Lone Star State and its reputation as the red heartland.

9. Top Spot (Tracey Emin) The British artist interviews six teenage girls whose stories echo aspects of her own traumatic youth in Margate, a seedy seaside town in the south of England.

10. Luke (Bruce Conner) A reworking of Super-8 footage the filmmaker shot in 1967, Conner’s study of a day on the set of Cool Hand Luke shows cast and crew both in front of and behind the camera.

Chrissie Iles is a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.