We’re halfway out the door, headed back to California for the holidays, but a few last things before we go:
The chatter in film circles this year seemed repeatedly to touch on the relative dearth of truly exciting films, or–since those in our profession are not exactly immune to hyperbole–on the irreversible decline and looming death of film culture, film criticism, film distribution, and even film viewing. It’s only fitting then that our No. 1 movie is about a decrepit old timer’s grim passage into oblivion. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu," Romanian director Cristi Puiu‘s virtuosic second feature, left behind its competition by almost as large a margin as last year’s Voice poll runaway winner "A History of Violence." Just over half of our 107 voters included it on their 10-best list and it was the #1 film for nine of them.
It was our great pleasure to participate in the poll this year, and to now obsess over its intense clickability. Also at indieWIRE, Anthony Kaufman looks at the Best Undistributed Films list â€” returning champion: Hong Sang-soo. Also, here are comments from the defenders of orphans receiving only one vote â€” among them is Mike D’Angelo on his choice of "Sleeping Dogs Lie." More comments here and here.
The folks at the Onion AV Club have their best ofs/year in film piece up.
On the parent network front, IFC has picked up the rights to three docs to premiere on the network eventually: Jerry Rothwell‘s "Heavy Load" follows a punk band of the same name made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities; "At the Death House Door" centers on Pastor Carroll Pickett, the chaplain who spent the last day of the wrongfully executed Carlos DeLuna’s life with him, and is the latest work from "Hoop Dream"‘s Steve James; and, yes, SXSW Doc Audience Award winner "Darkon" (via Kimberly Nordyke at the Hollywood Reporter).
The Reeler has a Woody Allen salute that includes quotes from various New York luminaries. Weinstein watch: Harvey observes "He’s also a helluva great guy." Wait â€” that’s not interesting! On the other hand, La Manohla does note that she’s "very grateful that he is no longer sticking his tongue down the throats of his dewy young female co-stars." Our own Matt Singer‘s over there, writing about Allen’s on-screen work; Andrew Filmbrain Grant discusses growing up on Allen.
+ 2006 Critics Poll (indieWIRE)
+ The Year In Film 2006 (Onion AV Club)
+ IFC pumps original slate with docus (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Film Forum’s Allen Retrospective Gets City Talking (The Reeler)