Let’s all just admit that 2012 started to get a little weird towards the end. At least Stateside, anyway. There was all that unpleasant political stuff going on; somehow rape became a gift and then it was bad again; and there was that inclement weather along the East Coast that totally had nothing to do with man-made climate change. Amid all this socialecological turmoil, we shouldn’t blame you for missing some pretty big news in the world of cinema. But we will, anyway.
After all, this year we said goodbye to one controversial auteur (Béla Tarr) and adopted a different personal pronoun for another (Lana Wachowski). Whit Stillman finally made another film after a nearly 15-year hiatus (Damsels In Distres), brilliantly showcasing the talent of Generation Me’s answer to Chloë Sevigny (Greta Gerwig). Plus, any year that a Zachary Oberzan film comes out (Your brother. Remember?) is a good year for movies. Thankfully, all that Mayan apocalypse dreck ran its course a couple years ago, leaving room for some more rarefied grapplings with the end of all things (Tarr’s number-one stunner, The Turin Horse). And all that IRL political stuff we mentioned earlier? Not nearly as troubling as 5 Broken Cameras or This Is Not A Film, movies that managed so brilliantly to elucidate the very real human loss of geopolitical conflict.
But what really blew us away this year weren’t the super-good films that defied convention or made grand political statements. Instead, we were left with our mouths agape by films helmed by auteurs confident enough to be okay simply ignoring convention, never feeling the need to prove anything outside the piece of work at hand, some of which were at ease merely reveling in the sheer virtuosity of their principal actors’ performances (The Master). Oh, and Béla, you’ll be missed.