In cinematic terms, for me 2018 was mainly interesting in the first half of the year for the continuing discovery of the works of Peter Watkins, and in the second half of the year for the continuing discovery of the works of Straub and Huillet. Together with Syberberg, these are the European filmmakers whose works of political art seem to me to be of the most lasting significance (even if they all also seem largely forgotten).
- 2018 SUMMARY
New films watched during 2018: 209 films. Average percentile: 50.
Masterpieces (scores between 91 and 100) watched in 2018: 0 new films. But among the films re-watched in 2018 was Rivette's The Beautiful Troublemaker, whose score was boosted by one point to 91, meaning that the total number of masterpieces is now 98.
Percentile between 90 and 99 in 2018: 10 films. They are: Othello (Orson Welles) and Der Tod des Empedokles (Straub and Huillet) with scores of 90, and eight films with scores of 85: Akira Kurosawa's Dreams, Fireworks Wednesday, I Live in Fear, Jacquot de Nantes, Mother!, Once Upon a Time There Was a Country, The Salesman, The Tree of Wooden Clogs.
Percentile between 80 and 89 in 2018: 21 films, ten with a score of 80 and eleven with a score of 75. This includes a further three films from Straub and Huillet (Antigone, Class Relations, Moses and Aaron) and three films from Watkins (La Commune (Paris, 1871), The Freethinker, Culloden).
Lowest scoring films watched in 2018: 7 films with a score of 20: The Chronicles of Riddick, Halloween (2018), Ida, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), The Other Guys, Point Break (2015), Split.
First and last films watched in 2018: first was Antigone (Straub and Huillet, 1992); last was The Other Side of the Wind (Welles, 2018).
Seen at the theatre in 2018: 9 films. They are: scores of 80 for Climax and Isle of Dogs, 70 for Caniba, 65 for Over the Limit, 60 for Everybody Knows, People's Republic of Desire, Shoplifters, 55 for Mandy, and 20 for Halloween.
Non-threatrically-released films and television watched in 2018: excluding the release type "films" leaves 49 titles. The highest scoring were Once Upon a Time There Was a Country (85, TV series), The Freethinker (80, straight to video), Twin Peaks (80, the 2017 TV series), Wormwood (80, TV mini-series) and Culloden (75, TV movie). The highest-scoring short movies watched in 2018 were Welcome Home (70, the 2018 Apple commercial directed by Spike Jonze) and Conrad & Butler Take a Vacation (65, the Noah Baumbach comedy from 2000).
2018 films watched: 38 films. Highest scores were for Climax and Isle of Dogs, both with scores of 80, followed by Caniba, Unsane and Welcome Home, with scores of 70. The lowest score for a 2018 movie was received by Halloween (20), and the second lowest was Ready Player One (25).
Re-watched in 2018: 22 films. Among them: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Beautiful Troublemaker (score boosted a point to 91) and Nymphomaniac (director's cut). Also watched was the extended Criterion edition of The Tree of Life (not recommended for a first viewing of this film). See also the obituary below.
Total number of rankings at end of 2018: 4110.
Relationship between scores and percentiles at end of 2018:
- 94 to 100: 99th percentile
92 to 93: 98th percentile
91: 97th percentile
90: 96th percentile
85: 93rd percentile
80: 89th percentile
75: 83rd percentile
70: 76th percentile
65: 69th percentile
60: 60th percentile
55: 51st percentile
50: 42nd percentile
45: 33rd percentile
40: 25th percentile
35: 19th percentile
30: 13th percentile
25: 7th percentile
20: 2nd percentile
0 to 15: 0th percentile
Obituary: Finally, on 28 January 2018, Mariya Saakyan died tragically of cancer at the age of 37, leaving behind five young children. An obituary can be found here: https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/obituaries/maria-saakyan-young-visionary-reinvigorated-armenian-cinema. Mariya (sometimes spelled Maria) was a wonderful and beautiful Armenian director with whom I spent some memorable days at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, where her short film Proshchanie (or Farewell, 2004) was playing, and where The Ister premiered in 2004. I recall in particular one cold night, her last day at the festival, when she had already checked out of her hotel room to save money, even though her train back to Moscow did not leave until the next morning. Saakyan was a true cinematic artist, and after her death I re-watched her 2004 autobiographical short as well as her great debut feature film on war and displacement, Mayak (or The Lighthouse, 2006). I also tracked down a copy of her other very interesting movie, I'm Going to Change My Name (2012), which retells the Eurydice myth through the person of an adolescent girl lost in the hell of contemporary digital life, and who gradually realises that the song capable of bringing her back is to be found elsewhere than her supposed Orpheus. Although I knew Mariya only briefly, she is greatly missed and a huge loss to cinema.