PRINT December 2005

FILM: Best of 2005

Amy Taubin


1 A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (DAVID CRONENBERG) The perfect American family, the perfect American small town—how could they not be a hallucination? In this wide-angle version of Spider, the insanity is institutional, implicating us all.

2 2046 (WONG KAR-WAI) Dense, sprawling, intoxicatingly erotic in its images, sounds, and rhythms, Wong’s magnum opus is a cautionary tale in which obsessive love is inseparable from the aesthetics of its representation.

3 THE HOLY GIRL (LUCRECIA MARTEL) This Argentinean filmmaker remakes film language to reflect the interaction of mind and senses in a coming-of-age narrative about a Catholic schoolgirl’s compounding of the sacred and the profane.

4 THE INTRUDER (CLAIRE DENIS) An epic poem by one of cinema’s most adventurous poets about an adventurer betrayed, physically and metaphorically, by his own heart.

5 BLUE MOVIE (ANDY WARHOL) Seen for the first time since 1968, it’s ethereal hardcore—and very witty. Viva proves that she deserved her “superstar” designation.

6 LAST DAYS (GUS VAN SANT) This Kurt/not Kurt biopic is an act of mourning; it’s also the ultimate junkie movie. Looping through time and space, it delivers déjà vu every ten minutes.

7 NO DIRECTION HOME (MARTIN SCORSESE) The director and his subject—Bob Dylan—never crossed paths when they lived blocks from each other in the ’60s, but their virtual meeting in this exquisitely edited documentary unleashes our collective cultural unconscious.

8 FUNNY HA HA (ANDREW BUJALSKI) Often compared to Cassavetes, this twenty-six-year-old 16-mm fetishist is also the Rohmer of post-college malaise.

9 POLICE BEAT (ROBINSON DEVOR) A character study and a cityscape movie, it merges inside and outside in a stranger-in-a-strange-land narrative about a West African immigrant working as a bicycle cop in Seattle.

10 ROBERT BEAVERS and OWEN LAND RETROSPECTIVES (WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK) These back-to-back Whitney shows demonstrated the range not only of each of these polar-opposite filmmakers but also of the project best known as the “New American Cinema.”

Amy Taubin is a contributing editor of Film Comment and Sight and Sound.