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Added by Gerru on 9 Jan 2015 10:50

Movie Year 2014: A Recap

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Film of the Year

When a silent film manages to surpass your wildest expectations, you know you've stumbled on something personally influential. Not only one of the artistically most accomplished masterpieces ever, Körkarlen is the single most emotional cinematic experience I've had ever since Murnau's Sunrise three years earlier.

Sjöström's deeply melancholic take on a lutheran moral tale is possibly as close to my own perceptions and allusions of death as a work of art can ever be. The harshest winter, the eternal loneliness, all the unredeemable failures, everything fading silently away, it's all present here in such a pure cinematic form.

KTL's ambient soundtrack on Criterion's DVD worked perfectly here, elevating the already distressing mood to another level. Slowly but surely, my whole self-control collapsed. No competitors left for the film of the year.
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The Rest of the Best

If I had to pick the rest of the top ten, these would be my choises. In chronological order, of course. Prelude: Dog Star Man counts for the entire film.

Stan Brakhage was one of the most significant new discoveries of the last year, and Dog Star Man earns quite an entitled position here. I watched it twice in a row, at first silent, then with the broken microwave oven on. Worked both times. The Color of Pomegranates is an antropologist's wet dream with an endlessly fascinating narrative through the life of an Armenian poet. Funeral Parade of Roses is about as perfect a mess as a film can be, exploding towards every imaginable direction while still maintaining its focus on a transvestite's psyche.

Once again, satire towards western consumerism was one of the key elements of the year. Arrabal's I Will Walk Like a Wild Horse provided this well enough but also surprised me with a certain tenderness. The Ruling Class, on the other hand, starts off as a totally bonkers comedy but really creeps you out towards the end. For Ruggero Deodato's part, he shows us bloodthirsty swines exactly what we expected to see in his notorious take on the cannibalism subgenre, yet not quite in the way we wanted to...

Notice the tone of my favourites of the year getting kind of downward? This isn't helped by the fact that Carlos Saura's Cria Cuervos is all about showing how childhood can actually be considered the worst period of one's life. Andrzej Zulawski goes even further and shows us how mankind totally fucks up its second chance in his unfinished epic On the Silver Globe.

The only feelgood film of the top ten is as impressive as it gets though. Departures is a powerful melodrama that always pulls out the right emotions. All the funeral ceremonies are genuinely touching.
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Another Ten

Ten other films that I felt that I couldn't exclude from this list. All of these were thoroughly enjoyable, intellectually stimulating and/or emotionally wrecking and haunting cinematic experiences. No doubt everyone should see them.
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+ Two New Ones

I wasn't at my most active concidering the newest releases, nor did I discover as many modern masterpieces as I would have wanted. Regardless of that, the local cinemas did provide me with something to remember. I saw Manakamana in a local documentary festival, and Spike Jonze's Her did actually get a release in our nation-wide cinemas. Manakamana uses a simple idea to turn into a complex examination on how we perceive other people and what kind of role models we expect from them. Her amazed me with the relevancy of its description of people starting to fill in their emotional vacuums with some handy artificial intelligence.
Manakamana (2014)
Her (2014)
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Laughs of the Year

Movies that bring me imminent pleasure every time I even think about them. Shitloads of priceless intentional/unintentional/WTF comedy here. A special mention goes to Samurai Cop which officially is the king of bad film making.

I'm still wondering how did I manage to watch Doggiewoggiez! Poochiewoochies! twice on the same day and like it even more the second time...
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Shorts of the Year

The far too often neglected aspect of cinema that most definitely deserves its own section.
Shuffle (1981)
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Best Rewatches

I did have many other great rewatches this year, but I decided to settle down with these so that I wouldn't have to add like 20 titles. L'Atalante was seen in cinema for the first time, and Playtime that I hadn't previously appreciated as much as I should've became my new favorite from Tati. The other three were rewatched because I more or less felt like it.
L'Atalante (1934)
Playtime (1967)
Blue Velvet (1986)
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During the Football World Cup of 2014 I noticed they were showing the Finnish Ihmebantu series before some matches, and since I was familiar with some of the appreciation towards the series (not to mention some single sketches) I decided to take a peek. And what do you know, the pitch black comedy hooked me at once, and at times Ihmebantu grew even bigger in itself than the games.

Some of the members of the cast in Ihmebantu also collaborated in Studio Julmahuvi, one of the actually good Finnish TV comedy classics. With this series I couldn't wait until Ihmebantu was finished, as I had easier access to it than Ihmebantu. I also watched some of the spinoffs of Studio Julmahuvi, the delicious and actually kind of thrilling mini series parody Mennen tullen among them.

After rewatching time to time some of the priceless sketches in both series I gradually understood their relationship with each other. Whereas Studio Julmahuvi is, newsflash, a satire of the TV world, Ihmebantu satirizes and puts under question the whole concept of sketch series. If you look at our film industry, this is more interesting content than all the Finnish fictional films put together in the last decade.

A wrap-up of the highlights of my movie year 2014.

Fellow listal user Lamourderer made a similar list a couple of years ago. I decided to borrow the idea, since I was getting really sloppy with the commenting towards the end of the year so I wanted to compensate my short-comings a bit.

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