PRINT December 2015


James Quandt

Manoel de Oliveira, Visita ou memórias e confissões (Visit, or Memories and Confessions), 1982/2015, 35 mm, color, sound, 68 minutes.

1 LABOUR IN A SINGLE SHOT (Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann) Farocki’s stirring final testament offered the Venice Biennale’s most moving moment, a two-minute masterpiece by Nguyen Trinh Thi in which a massive block of ice makes its way onto a little boy’s bike on a rainy Hanoi night.

2 VISIT, OR MEMORIES AND CONFESSIONS (Manoel de Oliveira) An equally poignant filmic will, made in 1982 and then withheld until after the director’s death, Visit winds past and future into a Marker-like whorl.

3 BLEAK STREET (Arturo Ripstein) The Mexican maestro of prole baroquerie peoples his squalid via dolorosa with the desperate and dissolute, extending sympathy to all.

4 SINGULARITY (Albert Serra) Pulling myself away from Serra’s engrossing epic, a Fassbinderian five-screen installation about gold, drones, and scheming bawds, before its twelve hours had transpired felt heretical.

5 NEON BULL (Gabriel Mascaro) Picture Robert Mitchum in The Lusty Men designing outfits for Susan Hayward after riding broncos all day to conjure the audacity of this lovely Brazilian update of the rodeo film.

Arturo Ripstein, La calle de la amargura (Bleak Street), 2015, digital video, black-and-white, sound, 99 minutes. Center: Patricia Reyes Spíndola.

6 ASHES (Steve McQueen) Time regained—unused footage shot in Grenada in 2002—while investigating a life grievously lost, McQueen’s memorial for a friend ominously named Ashes shares the precision of the tombstone meticulously made for the murdered man.

7 THE FILMS AND VIDEOS OF MICHAËL BORREMANS The staggering Borremans retrospective at the Dallas Museum of Art revealed that the Belgian artist’s forays into filmmaking are less addendum than analogue to his disquieting paintings.

8 LOST AND BEAUTIFUL (Pietro Marcello) The Pulcinella sequences could move you to look up the Italian word for twee, but the rest of Marcello’s Werner Schroeter–influenced elegy for Italy is magnificently misbegotten.

9 ACTUA 1 (Philippe Garrel) A rediscovered protest short from the 1960s discloses a surprising Garrel, more polemical than self-pitying.

10 “THE OWNERS OF DIXIE,” FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS TRILOGY, VOL. 2, THE DESOLATE ONE (Miguel Gomes) Its invocation of Au hasard Balthazar may be unearned, but the tale of an adorable dog called Dixie passed from master to master provides the most cogent and touching sequence in Gomes’s outrageously overrated Arabian Nights Trilogy.

James Quandt, senior programmer at TIFF Cinematheque in Toronto, is the editor of Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Wallflower Press, 2009) and Robert Bresson (Revised) (University of Indiana Press, 2012).