Film: Best of 2011

James Quandt

Werner Schroeter, Der Tod der Maria Malibran (The Death of Maria Malibran), 1972, still from a color film in 16 mm, 104 minutes. Singer (Anette Tirier) and Maria Malibran (Magdalena Montezuma).

1 Eika Katappa and The Death of Maria Malibran (Werner Schroeter, 1969 and 1972) The restoration of Schroeter’s twin masterpieces anticipates a retrospective of his long-unavailable oeuvre, which will confirm that, as the refrain of the “hillbilly star from Massachusetts” in Eika Katappa has it, “life is very precious, even right now.”

2 The Clock (Christian Marclay) Along with Christoph Schlingensief’s overwhelming Fluxus-urchin altar-boy requiem, Marclay’s temporal epic was the best thing in the Venice Biennale. But one balks at its maker’s deterrence of close analysis; Marclay’s ingenious sport with film form—sound bridging, false edits, incongruent aspect ratios, associational montage—demands sustained, not anecdotal, scrutiny.

3 Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki) The po-faced Finn’s latest proletarian fable revives the communitarian spirit of Jean Renoir’s Popular

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