PRINT December 2012

Film: Best of 2012

John Waters

Terence Davies, The Deep Blue Sea, 2011, 35 mm, color, sound, 98 minutes. Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz)

1 The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies) The agony and passion of obsessive love and a broken heart are so well wrought here that you’ll wish you were suicidal over someone who didn’t love you back.

2 Paradise: Faith (Ulrich Seidl) Fassbinder died, so God gave us Ulrich Seidl. I laughed uproariously throughout this horrifying portrait of a religious fanatic, and if there’s something the matter with you, you will, too.

3 Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl) Middle-aged women sex tourists can be just as piggish as their male counterparts. But when the sexually exploited begin to exploit back, who’s the victim? The audience, that’s who, and we deserve it.

4 Amour (Michael Haneke) Misery is really in this year. “Hurts! Hurts! Hurts!” yells out the dying elderly wife to her longtime-caretaker husband, and ticket buyers will agree. Makes Saw seem like a romantic comedy.

5 Killer Joe (William Friedkin) The best Russ Meyer film of the year—only it’s not directed by him. Gina Gershon, you shocked me raw!

6 Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin) Directed as if the film crew snuck aboard a Weather Channel boat during Hurricane Katrina, kidnapped the skipper, hijacked the storm chasers’ equipment, swam ashore, and made a boldly original movie.

7 Compliance (Craig Zobel) A “based on real life” horror story that will make you want to regurgitate both the fast food and the blind allegiance to authority served up in this restaurant setting. Ann Dowd, who plays the ChickWich franchise’s manager, is by far the best actress of 2012.

Matthew Akers, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, 2012, digital video, color, sound, 105 minutes.

8 Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present (Matthew Akers) Maybe the most perfect documentary ever made about an artist. Abramović stares back at the public with a magic-trick power that will get you high and make you cry.

9 Beloved (Christophe Honoré) Another crackpot Umbrellas of Cherbourg homage by the French director who adores unrequited love, cigarettes, Catherine Deneuve, and especially Louis Garrel. Yes, it’s L-O-N-G, but I wished the characters would have kept on singing in the theater even after the projectionist had gone home for the night.

10 The Imposter (Bart Layton) A whodunit documentary that is better than any mystery novel. When Frédéric Bourdin, a twenty-three-year-old teen imposter and scam-artist supreme, dances alone on camera in his prison cell looking like an exhibitionist Sirhan Sirhan, you’ll want to hide your children and lock the doors.

John Waters recently hitchhiked alone across the USA. He is currently writing a book on his experience, titled Carsick, to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux next year.