Sunday, March 4, 2012

2011 Year in Review: My Top 10

And now for my Top 10 Films of 2011, and even though this 3 part series has been a look at all the films I saw in the theatre in 2011, I have decided not to include classic films such as "The Terminator" and "Joint Security Area", both of which would have been in this list otherwise.

Overall the quality of films I saw dropped this year. In 2010 I gave 22% of the films I saw an 8 or higher out of 10, that was halved in 2011 with just 11% of films receiving similar ratings. A few close cuts include "Amador" and "Win Win", 2 films that I hated for parts (largely due to the State Theatre audience), but eventually came around to thoroughly enjoying.  

"The King's Speech" was the final film I cut, simply because the ending speech was a let down. Interesting tid-bit: I saw all 10 of the following films at film festivals! (4 @BIFF, 3 @MIFF, 2 @SFF and 1 @JFF)

10. "The Town's Children", Japan, Event George St @JFF - 27/11/11
By no means a masterpiece, just short and sweet. It is kind of pretentious in parts, but it worked for me overall and it was an enjoyable night out in Kobe with the 2 characters. A lot of the dialogue seemed to be filled with exposition, so lucky I don't speak Japanese!

9. "Ari, Ari, the Korean Cinema", Korea, Megabox Haeundae @BIFF  - 11/10/11
While the version shown at the BIFF was clearly hurriedly put together, with some poor editing and titles, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for a Korean film fan. With interviews with nearly every person in the Korean industry I have ever heard of, it was just a wealth of content that delivered a rounded view of the industry. The fake side story simply wasn't necessary.

8. "Jam Doco Kangjung", Korea, Megabox Haeundae @BIFF - 11/10/11
An omnibus film that mostly delivers, it's an inspiring piece made by the actual people effected. A people power film that makes you want to get up and change the world, and so it deserves a spot on this list.

7. "The Trip", UK, State Theatre @SFF - 11/06/11
Took a little while to get going but I was dying of laughter by the mid way point. I fear it may not quite hold up on repeated viewings due to the repetitive nature of the jokes, but I cant stop watching short clips on YouTube and I am definitely interested to see it in it's original TV episode form. Gentlemen to bed!

6. "The Day He Arrives", Korea, Forum Theatre @MIFF - 05/08/11
Hong Sang-soo makes another film. Kieran Tully includes another Hong Sang-soo film in his Top 10. Nuff said really.

5. "The Journals of Musan", Korea, Greater Union Melbourne City @MIFF - 06/08/11
Another stellar Korean film from a first time director, it was a real pleasure to present a film of such weight at KOFFIA 2011. It's also further evidence of the progression of assistant directors in the Korean industry, with Park Jung-bum being a former Lee Chang-dong AD ("Poetry"). A powerful film.

4. "Brother Number One", New Zealand, Greater Union Melbourne City @MIFF - 06/08/11
Once again a Kiwi film at No.4, last year it was a very different film though with Taika Waititi's "Boy". A great doco should do 2 things, enlighten you to a subject you were previously ignorant of, and make you feel for it at the same time. This delivered on both, with Rob Hamill's emotional journey to find out what happened to his brother during the regime of the Khmer Rouge. Superb!

3. "A Journey with Korean Masters", Korea, Busan Cinema Center @BIFF - 12/10/11
A film I wasn't so sure about going in to, while I was excited to see new films from these classic Korean directors, would they still be able to deliver? Well 3 out of 4 did, with absolutely brilliant entries from Lee Jang-ho, Jeong Ji-yeong and Lee Doo-yong. Park Chul-soo's was unfortunately disappointing. The filmmakers not only made great short films, but they even seemed to express their inner grief and feelings towards being left in the wind in recent years, as most haven't been able to get a film off the ground for decades. Inspiring stuff.

2. "A Separation", Iran, State Theatre @SFF - 13/06/11
Memories of my experience seeing "About Elly" at the State Theatre were brought back when the screen rolled, which is a good thing because I loved that film. This is even more well rounded and once again looks deeply into Iranian society, Farhadi is one to watch. 

1. "P-047", Thailand, CGV Centum City @BIFF - 13/10/11
Once again a Thai film tops my best of list, following "Hello Stranger" as my No.1 pick for 2010. Kongdej's latest film was my most anticipated film at BIFF, and it didnt disappoint. One of my favourite directors since the 2000's continues to deliver, with this intruiging film that switches tone half way through. Loved it!

Kieran Tully
Follow Me @TullysRecall

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