PRINT December 2005

FILM: Best of 2005

James Quandt


1 THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU (CRISTI PUIU) Olfactory cinema—one can verily smell the film’s sodden protagonist—and a miracle of observational empathy. In our diminished culture, the title probably qualifies as a spoiler, but the inevitability of Mr. Lazarescu’s demise does nothing to lessen the surprise of his squalid Dantean odyssey toward death.

2 THREE TIMES (HOU HSIAO-HSIEN) Conscious summa or inadvertent sampler of Hou’s career, his triptych of love stories opens rapturously and ends attenuated; no one in contemporary cinema comes closer to Vermeer’s interiors with his pellucid lighting and composed domestic space.

3 THE SUN (ALEXANDER SOKUROV) The Russian director’s “Men of Power” trilogy concludes with a hushed, troubling portrait of Hirohito—a Götterdämmerung made literal by spectral lighting and fungal color. Issei Ogata’s scarily endearing rendition of

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the discounted holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 2005 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.