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The Ferroni’s Film Comment Decade Lists


Some might wonder: Does the Ferroni Brigade celebrate Christmas together? The answer is: No, as our families have the right to occasionally enjoy our respective presences—there are lives to the Ferroni Brigade beyond the first rows of this island earth's cinemas. But: If we would celebrate together, we'd probably do so by watching René Cardona's relentlessly mind-blowing Santa Claus (1959) while sipping a glass of L'Enclos from our winery of choice, Le Domaine des 2 ânes; after that and if we were in Cologne, we'd pay a visit to our god-donkeys Lisa, Hupsiand Pedro and enjoy their kind and calming company.

As a little Christmas special, we offer a few lists of ours which you haven't seen yet in their entirety: Our complete contributions to the Film Comment Decade Poll. Remember?: In its Jan/Feb 2010-edition, Film Comment featured a massive international Noughties-poll, with a secondavant-garde-only helping in one of its following issues. So many luminaries great and small were called upon that it was all but impossible to feature each and every contribution on the issues' respective pages – which means: You got but the tip of the iceberg. Here's now our part of that white behemoth.

As for the lists' parameters: 1. Best Films of the Decade (up to 50 titles; mark the ten best), 2. Best Avant-garde Films of the Decade (up to 50 titles; mark the twenty best; only TO1 . . ., comrade Möller was asked for this one; rest assured, TO1 . . ., comrade Huber would have come up with similarly intriguing stuff—let's just mention Nicolas Mahler's neglected masterpiece Der Park [2005], ideally to be shown as double feature with Wiseman's quasi-suppressed chef d'ouevre The Garden from the same year—but alas lacked the time before Christmas to make good), 3. Best Filmmakers of the Decade (up to 20 names; mark the three most outstanding), 4. Best New Filmmakers of the Decade (up to 20 names; mark the three most outstanding), 5. Film of the Decade, 6. Phenomenon of the Decade, 7. A Free Style List. As you'll notice, we had some fun with inter-connecting the lists.

TO1 . . . comrade Möller's choices:


(Great Films in General. Ten Bravest in Bold)

Aku ingin menciummu sekali saja (Garin Nugroho) //  L’Avocat de la terreur (Barbet Schroeder) //  Cǎiyóu rìjì (Wáng Bìng) //  Chìbì (Wú Yǔsēn{John Woo}) //  Contact High (Michael Glawogger) //  Demonlover (Olivier Assayas) //  Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Lav Diaz) // Evropa preko plota (Želimir Žilnik) //  Flags of Our Fathers (Clint Eastwood) //  Gruz 200 (Aleksej Balabanov) //  Hat Wolff von AmerongenKonkursdelikte begangen? (Gerhard Friedl) //  Das Himmler-Projekt (Romuald Karmakar) //  A History of Violence (David Cronenberg) //  The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow) //  L’Intrus (Claire Denis) //  Izo (Miike Takashi) //  King of the Ants (Stuart Gordon) //  Lavoura Arcaica (Luiz Fernando Carvalho) //  Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen) //  Maa (Veikko Aaltonen) //  The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein (John Gianvito) //  Maicling Pelicula Ñang Ysañg Indio Nacional (O Ang Mahabang Kalungkutan ng Katagalugan) (Raya Martin) //  The New World (Terrence Malick) //  Operai , contadini (Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub) //  Peterka : leto odločitve (Vlado Škafar) //  Sagkoshi (Bahrām Bayzā’i) //  Schuss! (Nicolas Rey) //  State Legislature (Frederick Wiseman) //  Staub (Hartmut Bitomsky) //  Sungnyangpali sonyeouijaerim (Jang Seon-u) //  Survival of the Dead (George A. Romero) //  Tachiguishi retsuden (Ōshii Mamoru) //  Täydellisen pimennyksenvyöhyke (Mika Taanila) //  Tsui-hao te shih-kuang (Hou Hsiao-hsien) //  Vibrator (Hiroki Ryūichi) //  Vokaldy paralelder (Rustam Chamdamov) // Yolda (Erden Kıral) //  Zwartboek (Paul Verhoeven)


(Great Avant-Garde Films in Particular. 20 Recon-Valiants in Bold)

(   ) (Morgan Fisher) //  4 x 4: Episodes of Singapore Art (Ho Tzu Nyen) //  10 Skies (James Benning) //  At Sea (Peter Hutton) //  Autoritratto Auschwitz & l’occhio è per così dire l’evoluzione biologica di una lagrima (Alberto Grifi) //  BlueSky BSoD (Training Attitude) (Francisco Ruiz de Infante) //  Der Bootgott vom Seesportclub. Die 100 ME - Teil 1 (Robert Bramkamp) //  Cheung Ping (Kong Khong Chang) //  La Commune (Paris,1871) (Peter Watkins) //  D’Annunzios Höhle (Heinz Emigholz; supporting auteurs: Irene von Alberti, Elfi Mikesch, KlausWyborny) //  The Decay of Fiction (Pat O'Neill) //  Dellamorte Dellamorte Dellamore (David Matarasso) //  De son appartement (Jean-Claude Rousseau) //  Daylight Moon (A Quartet) [ Valise Hard Green Soft Ticket Daylight Moon ] (Lewis Klahr) //  Discoveries on the Forest Floor 1-3 (Charlotte Pryce) //  FILM IST. a girl & a gun (Gustav Deutsch) //  Gala (Allan Sekula) //  The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (Stan Brakhage) //  The Great Art of Knowing (David Gatten) //  Hana no hi (Wada Atsushi) //  The Hedge Theater (Robert Beavers) //  Here (Fred Worden) //  Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (Peter Tscherkassky) //  Interessenvertretung (Julia Bränzel) //  To krifo scholio (Marina Gioti) //  Lai (Nuria Aidelman & Gonzalo de Lucas) //  Lancia Thema (Josef Dabernig) //  Malerei heute (Stefan Hayn & Anja-ChristinRemmert) //  Mary Koszmary (Yael Bartana) //  Missä on missä (Eija-Liisa Ahtila) //  Mit mir (Kerstin Cmelka) //  The Mongrel Sister (Luther Price) //  The Movie Orgy – Ultimate Edition (Joe Dante [& Jon Davison]) //  quadro (Lotte Schreiber) //  Predstavlenje (Sergej Loznica) //  Lapresenza (James Herbert) //  Puzzle (Yamada Isao) //  ssitkim : talking to the dead (Soon-Mi Yoo) //  Stationary Music (Jayne Parker) //  Die Stille vor Bach (Pere Portabella) //  Sulla (Klaus Wyborny) //  Super Documentary: Zen'ei-senjutsu (Kanai Katsu) //  Tahousse (Olivier Fouchard & Mahine Rouhi) //  Totó (Peter Schreiner) //  U kandžama velegrada (Mario Kovač & Ivan Ramljak & Krešimir Pauk) //  v.o . (William E. Jones) //  HaVidooyim Shel Roee Rosen (Roee Rosen) //  Volga-Volga (Andrej Sil’vestrov & Pavel Labazov) //  Weltkongress der Obdachlosen (Vlado Kristl & Johanna Pauline Maier & Carola Regnier)

3. Best Filmmakers of the Decade

(Three Paragons in Bold)

Julio Bressane // Cheang Pou Soi // Claire Denis // Lav Diaz // Clint Eastwood // John Gianvito // Michael Glawogger // Stuart Gordon // Werner Herzog // Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub // Jiǎ Zhāngkē // Romuald Karmakar // Khavn // Lee Ji-sang // Miike Takashi // Ōshii Mamoru // Ulrich Seidl // Frederick Wiseman // Herman Yau Lai To // Želimir Žilnik

4. Best New Filmmakers of the Decade

Maren Ade // Lisandro Alonso // Goran Dević // Amit Dutta // Aleksej (Aleksejevič) German // Eugène Green // Valeska Grisebach // ZachariasKunuk // Yorgos Lanthimos // Lù Chuān // Raya Martin // Eon McKai // Kazım Öz // Norbert Pfaffenbichler // Aleksandr Rastorguev // João PedroRodrigues // Sherad Anthony Sanchez // Wáng Bìng // Apichatpong Weerasethakul // Travis Wilkerson

5. Film of the Decade

Despairing View:  Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore)

Hopeful View:  Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Lav Diaz)

6. Film Phenomenon of the Decade (for the Better or the Worse)

Decidedly for the worse: The FRG-Film Financing/Subsidising Complex.

Just look at 2009: All three major festivals were won by films running in good—often even major—parts on FRG-subsidising money—and none of them was more than a social object to chat about while having an espresso after the screening…

7. Ferronian Films of the Decade: One Brigade, One Vision, One Orca of a High Old Time

Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon (Éric Rohmer) //  Cobrador – In God We Trust (Paul Leduc) //  Le Deuxième Souffle (Alain Corneau) // Finale (Klaus Lemke) //  Kenen joukoissa seisot (Jouko Aaltonen) //  Mak Dau bo lo yau wong ji (Toe Yuen Gin Tiu) //  Mou han fou wut (Jeff Lau Jan Wai) //  Summer Love (Piotr Uklański) //  Tertium non datur (Lucian Pintilie) //  Tōkyō X Erotica (Zeze Takahisa) //  Vincere (Marco Bellocchio) //  Visitors (Giulio Questi) //  Windows, Dogs and Horses (Michael Pilz) //  Windtalkers (John Woo [Wú Yǔsēn]) //  Yūheisha / Terrorist (Adachi Masao)

8. The Haunting: The Dozen I Still Have

After I—more often than not actually: we, the Ferroni Brigade—finished compiling the lists above (for Film Comment Jan/Feb 2010), the haunting began, with a masterpiece called  Shiro – The White , a work I’d been obsessing about the whole decade and which got me interested in itsauteur, porno-maverick Hirano Katsuyuki—and I had forgotten to put it in!!! (As it turned out, the film wouldn’t have been eligible anyway, as it had its premier in Tōkyō on December 18th 1999—i.e. it’s 13 days too old; which is somehow madder than Hirano gets even in his more insane fuck stunts…Same, by the way, goes for another Japanese masterpiece,  Kinpatsu no sōgen by the absurdly underrated Inudo Isshin—also a late 1999-premier…). Nevertheless, things started to work inside me – suddenly it hit me that I had also forgotten to include  Jitsuroku rengōsekigun. Asama sansō e no michi (Wakamatsu Kōji)…then, Noel Vera, after offering him a glimpse at my list, reminded me of  Bulong ng Balukyot a.k.a. Pangarap ng Puso (Mario O’Hara)…And so, yet another list started to take shape, which expressed with different films all equal in excellence and beauty to the ones above essentially the same ideas and hopes. (But Bulong ng Balukyot again didn't make it.)

And why did I—or we—not think about these films from the beginning? Because sometimes things do indeed develop a dynamic all their own that has little to do with a work’s “‘worth’” (for want of a better word) and all with a harmony that begins to take shape, starts demanding this or that—one title or name, then the next… It has to do with the moment, really, even if that moment is a week of thinking long, and with a momentum that makes things take their course. Which is to say that this dozen could just as well be the decade’s bunch of bravest. An exercise in relativism?—not exactly. More an essay in communication: The important thing is the harmony between the films, how they hopefully enrich each other, how their diversity throws each work’s uniqueness into even sharper relief. There’s plenty of genius around, but what do we do with it?

Besides: I could have named up to 50 films for Film Comment’s List #1, and as I only gave 38 titles for reasons rather dumb (38 was my age at the time of compiling, and somehow and without wanting to I stopped at exactly that number, so…) I’d say I still have that dozen:
Ainsi soit-il (Gérard Blain) //  Domino (Tony Scott) //  La Fidelité (Andrzej Żuławski) //  Jitsuroku rengō sekigun. Asama sansō e no michi (Wakamatsu Kōji) //  Lettere dal Sahara (Vittorio De Seta) //  El mar (Agustí Villaronga) //  Más allá del espejo (Joaquín Jordá) //  Mīler (Björn Speidel) //  La rabbia di Pasolini. Ipotesi di ricostruzione (Giuseppe Bertolucci) //  Le Rêve plus fort que la mort (Jean Rouch & Bernard Surugue) //  Seontaek (Hong Ki-seon) //  Unser tägliches Brot (Nikolaus Geyrhalter)

Shit! Again nothing by the Farrelly Brothers! Where is all this supposed to end?

TO1 . . ., comrade  Huber's choices

1) Films of the Decade

Top Ten
1.  Ebolusyon ng isang pamilyang Pilipino (Lav Diaz)
(rest in alphabetical order)
Contact High (Michael Glawogger)
Hundstage (Ulrich Seidl)
Izo (Miike Takashi)
Jitsoruko rengô sekigun: Asama sansô e no michi (Wakamastu Kôji)
King of the Ants (Stuart Gordon)
Looney Tunes: Back in Action (Joe Dante)
Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen)
Sungyangpali sonyeoui jaerim (Jang Sun-Woo)
Zwartboek (Paul Verhoeven)

The other 40:
Ai zuozhan (Cheang Pou Soi)
L'avocat de la terreur (Barbet Schroeder)
Between the Devil and the White Blue Sea (Romuald Karmakar)
Chi bi & Chi bi xia: Jue zhan tian xia (Wú Yǔsēn aka John Woo)
Cleopatra (Júlio Bressane)
La commune (Paris,1871) (Peter Watkins)
Demonlover (Olivier Assayas)
Domino (Tony Scott)
Encarnacão do Demônio (José Mojica Marins)
Evropa prevko plota (Zelimir Zilnik)
The Fashionistas (John Stagliano)
Garpastum (Aleksey Alekseyevitch German)
Hak se wui (Johnnie To Kei Fung)
Hamburger Lektionen (Romuald Karmakar)
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (Danny Leiner)
Hat Wolff von Amerongen Konkursdelikte begangen? (Gerhard Benedikt Friedl)
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
Idiocracy (Mike Judge)
L'intrus (Claire Denis)
Itinéraire de Jean Bricard (Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub)
Jazzclub - Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm (Helge Schneider)
Kung fu (Stephen Chiau Sing-Chi)
Kuro -obi (Nagasaki Shunichi)
La libertad (Lisandro Alonso)
Mein Stern (Valeska Grisebach)
Mortea domnului Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu)
The New World (Terrence Malick)
Opera Jawa (Garin Nugroho)
Le petit lieutenant (Xavier Beauvois)
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito)
Qian xi man po (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
Space Cowboys (Clint Eastwood)
Stossek 68-86 (Alexander Binder)
Stuck on You (Peter & Bobby Farrelly)
Survival of the Dead (George A. Romero)
Tachiguishi retsuden (Oshii Mamoru)
Die toten Körper der Lebenden (Peter Kern)
Vibrator (Hiroki Ryuichi)


For Alexis (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

3) Best Filmmakers of the Decade (alphabetical)

Top Three:

Lav Diaz, Clint Eastwood, Romuald Karmakar


Júlio Bressane, Cheang Pou Soi, Claire Denis, Michael Glawogger, John Gianvito, Stuart Gordon, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Danièle Huillet/Jean-Marie Straub, Jia Zhangke, Khavn, Miike Takashi, Oshii Mamoru, Ulrich Seidl, Frederick Wiseman, Hermann Yau Lai To, Yi Chi-sang, Zelimir Zilnik.

4) Best New Filmmakers of the Decade (alphabetical)

Maren Ade, Lisandro Alonso, Goran Dević, Amit Dutta, Aleksey Alekseyevich German, Eugène Green, Valeska Grisebach, Zacharias Kunuk, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lu Chuan, Raya Martin, Eon McKai, Kazim Öz, Norbert Pfaffenbichler, João Pedro Rodrigues, Aleksandr Rastorgujev, Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Wang Bing, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Travis Wilkerson.

5) Film of the Decade: The Garden

Frederick Wiseman's finest film of the decade, a panoramic portrait of American enterainment and its management, still remains unseen due to legal matters, though that was hardly noticed. I guess the space was needed for profiles on that harbinger of the so-called comeback of the documentary, Michael Moore.

6) Person of the Decade: Giulio Questi

An uncompromising Italian maestro who directed outstanding shorts and omnibus contributions, before realizing three of the greatest genre films ever made between 1967 and 1972 (his subsequent television work remains shrouded in obscurity), Gulio Questi has reinvented himself since 2002 as a one-way-guerilla filmmaking army with (literally) homemade digital videos of incomparable intensity. Visitors (2007), his Haunting,inspired by his partisan fighter years in WWII, is a personal summation and a barbed rebuttal to the current Nazi fad pursued from Hollywood to the The FRG-Film Subsidising Complex - it may be considered the masterpiece, but the six films leading up to it are great as well: The Italian DVD box "by Giulio Questi" (by Ripley's) collects them, but as Questi proved recently with the mesmerizing short Lola (2009), the wondrous well is far from exhausted.

7) Ferronian Films of the Decade (alphabetical)

Les amours d'Astrée et de Céladon (Éric Rohmer)
Cobrador – In God We Trust (Paul Leduc)
Le deuxième souffle (Alain Corneau)
Finale (Klaus Lemke)
Kenen joukoissa seisot (Jouko Aaltonen)
Mak Dau bo lo yau wong ji (Toe Yuen Gin Tiu)
Mou han fou wut (Jeff Lau Jan Wai)
Summer Love (Piotr Uklanski)
Tertium non datur (Lucian Pintilie)
Tokyo X Erotica (Zeze Takahisa)
Vincere (Marco Bellocchio)
Visitors (Giulio Questi)
Windtalkers (John Woo aka Wú Yǔsēn)
Windows, Dogs and Horses (Michael Pilz)
Yuheisha / Terrorist (Adachi Masao

Glad to see there are still critics around that have unique taste. Lang lebe The Ferroni Brigade! Alles Gute im neuen Jahr :)
Tsui-hao te shih-kuang (Hou Hsiao-hsien) ??? i haven’t heard about it,, is it his segment in " To each his own cinema " ?
“Tsui-hao te shih-kuang”, aka Three Times. I think in Pin-yin it should be Zui-hao de shiguang, which means best of times. Maybe they’re using a different transcription system, like Wade-Giles? Or making allowances for the Taiwanese accent? Surprised to see this included here, didn’t think Olaf Möller liked HHH.
Beautiful list. I am very thrilled to see Lav Diaz, Raya Martin, Sherad Sanchez and Khavn in the list and hopefully their inclusion here will have people look for and watch their films. Thank you.
Maybe they’re using a different transcription system, like Wade-Giles? It’s W-G, which is traditionally used for Mandarin transcription in Taiwan (although it’s never been official and is usually used incorrectly). Hanyu Pinyin has been official there since 2009. But “Qian xi man po” (for Pinyin Qianxi manbo) is presumably just a typo carried over from the IMDb. On a similar topic, it took me a minute to connect “Yi Chi-sang” with Lee Ji-sang…

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