For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.

What I Saw: 2011

by Otie Wheeler
In Brief My Own Private Idaho is a revelation, a film that takes risks, is unafraid of failure, stars mainstream actors, yet retains its integrity and soul. My faith in American Cinema after 1980, which was at zero, is in need of reevaluation… Budd Boetticher is an important discovery; he provides the missing link between Anthony Mann and Peckinpah/Leone. His Ranown westerns portray a rural, hardheaded, taciturn, moralist type that I’ve known in life but rarely in films… The so-called mumblecore of Swanberg (and, to a lesser extent, Bujalski) reinforces an idea that’s slowly dawning on me: it is still possible to make an American film with a… Read more

In Brief

My Own Private Idaho is a revelation, a film that takes risks, is unafraid of failure, stars mainstream actors, yet retains its integrity and soul. My faith in American Cinema after 1980, which was at zero, is in need of reevaluation… Budd Boetticher is an important discovery; he provides the missing link between Anthony Mann and Peckinpah/Leone. His Ranown westerns portray a rural, hardheaded, taciturn, moralist type that I’ve known in life but rarely in films… The so-called mumblecore of Swanberg (and, to a lesser extent, Bujalski) reinforces an idea that’s slowly dawning on me: it is still possible to make an American film with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Their films, as slight and insular as they are, at least contain the possibility of a way forward… La Stanza del Figlio is one of the best films of recent years, despite failing into the beyond-deplorable Grief-Stricken-Parents-Cope-with-Accidental-Death genre… Repo Man is a great popcorn movie… With Tashlin’s help, I finally get Jerry Lewis.

Cairo as Told By Youssef Chahine is a very small masterpiece that, in the year of the Arab Spring, should be watched by everyone… My first encounter with Abel Ferrara renews my faith in American Cinema and proves once and for all that critical consensus is not to be trusted. I watch China Girl and the critically reviled New Rose Hotel a combined five times in three days. Over the next two months, I watch all his films… Jacques Tourneur’s Stars in My Crown is one for the ages… The Tree of Life could benefit from a joke or two, and the use of Thomas Wilfred’s lumia without more prominent attribution is appalling. Anyone putting it at the top of their best-of lists would do well to watch Jordan Belson’s films eight or ten times apiece… Big Wednesday is the great coming-of-age film of the seventies. In a just world, it, rather than the blockbusters of Spielberg & Lucas, would’ve been the decade’s biggest success…

Not on Mubi:

Keep Busy (Robert Frank)
The Outsider: A Film About James Toback (Nicholas Jarecki)
Merde (Leos Carax)
La leçon de guitare (Martin Rit)
Neige au Village (Martin Rit)
Ambassador Bill (Sam Taylor)

Read less