(write-ups in progress)
Yup, there were only four 2011 releases that I liked, like one per season. One isn’t in the mubi database, Li Ning’s Tape.
Here’s my review of the film.
Nostalgia For The Light
This was the most emotional viewing experience I had this year, by far. Patricio Guzman has crafted a body of work that revolves around a pivotal event in Chile’s history. I’m almost embarrassed to say that this film was my introduction to Patricio Guzman, but it led me to his other seminal documentary, The Battle of Chile, and its heartbreaking companion piece, Chile, Obstinate Memory. The moment in the latter film, when after screening The Battle of Chile to Chilean students, reducing them to tears was my reaction to Nostalgia For The Light. I felt the pain and suffering of the Chileans, their experience draws some parallels to human rights violations occurring in the Philippines. The amnesia people have of atrocities committed by the government is also all too familiar.
And this just brought my tears flooding:
“Those who have a memory are able to live in the fragile present moment. Those who have none don’t live anywhere.”
What is there else to say? When was the last time you spent time looking at twenty faces, spending 2 hours total?
The Day He Arrives
Also one of the trailers of the year, it performs a couple of coups: 1) The film is not in colour, 2) The film does not play backwards; what it does do is hark back to Hong’s own Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, not only by its black and white photography, but also in its repetition with variation structure. Hong creates a wonderful paradox in which time moves forward and repeats itself at the same time, again making us question what really “happened”, as each event is painfully truthful in its depiction. Not only is it one of best of 2011, I consider it to be one of Hong’s finest.