As 2012 draws to a close we find ourselves looking back on the year that has passed. In short it’s been a good one. Just yesterday I passed comment on my surprise to find that Leos Carax’s Holy Motors hadn’t been named the film of the year by Sight & Sound (expecting it to be a shoe-in), with instead my own favourite of 2012 topping the list, in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. In answer to my surprise Mark Cousins tweeted in return ” but that’s because it was a great year for films, isn’t it?“, to which my own response agreed, and echoed a longstanding inner monologue concerning my own notion that “every successive year seems to outdo the previous“, which is an idea I completely stand by.
But why is this? In the past I’ve put it down to the face that with each year that passes I see more films than the in the 12 months before, but I’m not so sure that that’s the case with 2012. Perhaps it’s something to do with the scope of pictures seen this year: for the first time in my own charting of film successes an Iranian feature, a Portuguese film and a Turkish movie all feature in my year-end long-list. Maybe it’s down to the more discerning approach I’ve employed this year, in so much as I’ve purposefully avoided films which I’ve taken for granted as being not for me. Admittedly this could be a problematic approach, but when it’s the likes of Dennis Dugan’s Jack & Jill being ignored one struggles to convince oneself that it’s the wrong approach!
While it might not come as any surprise to find a film like The Master at the top of any year end list, predictability ought not be mistaken for blandness. A number of complaints were levelled at Empire magazine for running with The Avengers as their number one, which struck me as a particularly odd complaint, given that Empire’s approach to cinema and that employed by Joss Whedon’s movie go hand in hand. Was anyone really surprised to see such a film top that kind of list? Will the same complaints be levelled at Sight & Sound for choosing The Master, a film which brings with it a comparative weight and kudos to it’s specific demographic that a film like The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises brings to the Empire readership. It’s worth mentioning that both lists are decided by committee, with the individual lists that made up the Sight & Sound list especially telling in their diversity, ensuring that Paul Thomas Anderson’s film has truly earned it’s placing at the top of the class. It’s also worth noting that just last week Cahiers du cinéma were lambasted in some quarters for being too left-field for naming Francis Ford Coppola’s Twixt in their own top ten. It would seem that major publications can’t win either way.
I make no apologies for fully enjoying this time of the year. I take great joy in seeing everyone’s lists and taking note of those which might otherwise have have been missed out on. Speaking of which that’s precisely what I’m up to at the moment, having just this morning caught a screening of Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, and picking off the rest of the missing flicks before commmitting to my own top ten. Hopes are high for Twixt, while Les Misérables, Zero Dark Thirty and The Man With The Iron Fists deserve evaluation prior to bringing to a close the cinema of 2012. And then there’s Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which is proving the most illusive film of the season, and one which, if early word is to be believed, is a genuine contender for all manner of accolades come the new year.
The Hope Lies round-up of 2012 begins next week, with a look at the finest reissues of 2012, a strand which will be headlined by major pieces on The Passion Of Joan Of Arc and Heaven’s Gate.
Adam Batty – Editor-In-Chief
The Hollywood Reporter Round Tables – THR have begun rolling out their annual round-table chats with those expected to fare well come Oscar time. Start with the directors and work from there.
The Playboy Interview With Quentin Tarantino – Tarantino discusses Django Unchained.
Two Hollywood Titans Brawl Over A Gang Epic – A fantastic piece from 2002 on Scorsese Vs. Weinstein over Gangs Of New York.