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BEST OF 1999 (RANKED)

by Sandy Connell
Fight Club (USA, dir. David Fincher) In the final year of the 20th Century the flood-gates opened to release a torrent of cinematic gold onto those hungry cinephiles not huddled on an arm-chair made of Heinz baked bean and Spam cans in bomb shelter. To some extent, I would venture that much of the late 90s’ cultural lineage is owed to the pre-millennial furor, in particular the Y2K bug theory. With the imminent collapse of modern technology looming on the horizon (and many rubes happily buying-in to the bullshit theory) one can be forgiven for thinking that perhaps artists and their financiers were a little more keen to turn-out something… Read more


Fight Club (USA, dir. David Fincher)

In the final year of the 20th Century the flood-gates opened to release a torrent of cinematic gold onto those hungry cinephiles not huddled on an arm-chair made of Heinz baked bean and Spam cans in bomb shelter. To some extent, I would venture that much of the late 90s’ cultural lineage is owed to the pre-millennial furor, in particular the Y2K bug theory. With the imminent collapse of modern technology looming on the horizon (and many rubes happily buying-in to the bullshit theory) one can be forgiven for thinking that perhaps artists and their financiers were a little more keen to turn-out something remarkable and extraordinary – their dream project – before the digital clocks went kaput and filmmakers the world over found themselves wishing they’d spent more time reading John Wiseman’s SAS Survival Guide than rambling through the collected essays of Lacan or, more likely, fast-forwarding through Basic Instinct to catch a glimpse of Sharon Stone’s beef curtains.

At any rate, the sense that a great change was upon the world could not be shaken-off and the natural marker flag that comes with the end of a century (let alone a millennium) lent a great creative energy to people across all industries and disciplines. Many writers, directors, producers, financiers and distributors wanted in on the race to make the last great American/French/British/Japanese/Russian/Sci-fi/Action/Horror/Comedy/Porn masterpiece of the 20th Century. The result was an average of 2.91 exceptionally good films per month by my reckoning, to say nothing of the many, many lauded films of 1999 that I still haven’t gotten-around to.

One particular change marked by the end of the century, one that was still much in doubt at the time, despite its seemingly obvious inevitability, was that of the rise in digital filmmaking techniques, ably represented by the likes of Fight Club, The Blair Witch Project, The Matrix, South Park and Toy Story 2.

One Day In September demonstrated the resurgent potential for the cinematic distribution of documentaries, which have all but dominated the art house release schedules in the digital age, and Takashi Miike’s Audition began the slow incursion of twisted East Asian genre movies into the international cult market. And heavy-hitting auteurs, like Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Claude Chabrol, Woody Allen, Werner Herzog, Pedro Almodovar, David Cronenberg, Steven Soderberg, Raul Ruiz and Anthony Mingella, contributed end-of-an-era masterpieces along with emergent talents, like Spike Jonze, P.T. Anderson, Antonia Bird, Alexander Payne, M Night Shyamalan, Sofia Coppola, David O’Russel, John Lasseter, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, to enrich one of the most remarkable periods in the history of pop culture.


Audition (Japan, dir. Takashi Miike)

1999 Watchlist:WOMENAFTER THE RAINAMERICAN MOVIEBANGKOK DANGEROUSBEAU TRAVAILBUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUBTHE CUPGIRL ON THE BRIDGEHIMALAYAHOLY SMOKETHE INSIDERTHE IRON GIANTJULIEN DONKEY-BOYKIKUJIROMAN ON THE MOONTIME REGAINEDTHE MISSION – MY NEIGHBOURS THE YAMADASNOT ONE LESSRATCATCHERRIDE WITH THE DEVILSEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORYTABOOTOPSY-TURVYTHE WAR ZONETHE WIND WILL CARRY US


Merci, Pour le Chocolat (France, dir. Claude Chabrol)

Honorable Mention: ARLINGTON ROADTHE BLAIR WITCH PROJECTBOYS DON’T CRYBRINGING OUT THE DEADDEAD OR ALIVEEAST IS EASTeXistenZFELICIA’S JOURNEYGRASS – ’"THE LIMEY":http://mubi.com/films/the-limey – THREE KINGS


South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (USA, dir. Trey Parker)

Read my blog, Films Of Every Colour

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