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Best of 2001: Film.

John Waters

1. Bully (Larry Clark) My favorite movie of the year: a dirty true-crime sexploitation picture that dares to be art. Larry Clark invents the "crotch-cam" shot and inspires the most outraged New York Times review of the season.

2. Faithless (Liv Ullmann) Liv Ullmann channels Ingmar Bergman8. See it on acid.

3. L.I.E. (Michael Cuesta) A feel-good child molester with a hard-on of gold befriends a confused Long Island teen and his Gacy-bait sidekick.

4. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch) Lipstick lesbians never had this much celluloid fun.

5. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Kevin Smith) GLAAD was wrong on this one. Jason Mewes can tell me a blow-job joke any day of the week.

6. Our Lady of the Assassins (Barbet Schroeder) The perfect boyfriend: He's young, cute, and kills whoever gets on your nerves.

7. Lumumba (Raoul Peck) If the distributor of this stylishly realistic biopic about slain Congolese statesman Patrice Lumumba could afford to send out screening videotapes to Academy members, the film's star, Eriq Ebouaney, would be a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination.

8. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell) Finally, a new kind of hippunk-gay musical that makes all the old-fashioned show-tune queens run for the exits.

9. Chopper (Andrew Dominik) Eric Bana, as the Australian psycho-murderer who wrote a best-selling autobiography, is as scarily likable as Faye Dunaway was in Mommie Dearest.

10. Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat) Anais Reboux, dressed in puke green, is perfect as the sullen, overweight child-woman who yearns to be desired. She could play a young Divine.

Ian Birnie

1. Va Savoir(Jacques Rivette) A luminous comedy of manners that follows six characters in search of an exit-from themselves, their lovers, and their routine. As satisfying as Lubitsch.

2. Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr) Innocence is destroyed in Tarr's enigmatic and hypnotic survey of human weakness and cruelty, set in a desolate Hungarian village.

3. My Voyage to Italy (Martin Scorsese) Only a great director could turn four hours of clips- even from these masterpieces of Italian cinema- into a coherent, compelling drama addressing personal, cultural, and aesthetic concerns.

4. L 'Empioi du temps/Time Out (Laurent Cantet) The year's acutest psychological portrait is of an alienated French businessman who goes to abnormal lengths to appear normal.

5. Be My Star (Valeska Grisebach) This little Austrian jewel uses non-professionals from a Berlin neighborhood and nails both the yearning and the pain of a young teenage boy's on-again, off-again relationship with his girlfriend.

6. La Cienaga (Lucrecia Martel) By the end of this remarkable debut, fifteen or so characters from two large Argentine families have stopped their bickering and mischief just long enough to reveal a veritable paella of psychological and physical damage.

7. Together (Lukas Moodysson) A satirical look at '70s commune dwellers in Sweden that's refreshingly free of malice.

8. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch) A veteran Lynchaholic, I relished the fetishes, gargoyles, and doubles that tumbled into the garden court of this down-the-rabbit-hole "Hollywood" movie.

9. Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann) What can I say? From the moment the CinemaScope curtain opened onto a 3-D Paris, I was hooked.

10. Dogtown and Z.Boys (Stacy Peralta) Style is everything in this former Z-Boy's adrenalinecharged documentary tribute to the birth of vertical skateboarding.

Kent Jones

1. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson) Some saw repetition and inflation, but I found Anderson's comic epic about a family of eccentric genuises, set in a romantically reconfigured Manhattan, every bit as surprising and inventive as Bottle Rocket and Rushmore.

2. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch) Probably the best movie ever made about Hollywood.

3. Waking Life (Richard Linklater) A dizzying, oddly moving metaphysical inquiry, a sort of oneiric first cousin to Slacker.

4. Loin (Andre T&hin6) A gorgeous tapestry of emotional, sexual, and cultural crosscurrents in modern Tangier.

5. Jung (War): In the Land of the Mujaheddin (Alberto Vendemmiati and Fabrizio Lazzarretti) Timeliness aside, this documentary about a hospital set up by an Italian doctor in Afghanistan provides an unflinching look at a people caught up in a never-ending cycle of war.

6. Sobibor, Oct. 14,1943, 4 PM (Claude Lanzmann) The most suspenseful movie of 2001

7. The Man Who Wasn't There (Joel Coen) I'm not exactly a Coen Brothers fan, but this lustrous, Cain-drenched story about displaced passion and dry cleaning in 1949 Santa Rosa is probably their most emotionally powerful film-with one of the greatest last lines in movie history.

8. Shallow Hal (Bobby and Peter Farrelly) A romantic comedy that stares down the ugliest side of American culture and doesn't blink. It moved me to tears.

9. Confessions of a Sociopath (Joe Gibbons) Treating life as an aesthetic inquiry, Gibbons's hilarious sixty-minute DV/Super-8 "autobiography," thirty years in the making, is as harrowing as Hawthorne's "Wakefield."

10. Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann) Most cinephiles despised this glittering pop object. I had a blast-and happily sat through it four times.

Susan Sontag

1. Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr) Tarr continues his magistral collaboration with Hungarian novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai, who wrote Satantango as well as the source of this film, The Melancholy of Resistance (New Directions).

2. Southern Comfort (Kate Davis) You'll never forget this documentary's wise hero--he animates a brave community of the transgendered in the rural South--who is dying of ovarian cancer.

3. La Pianiste (Michael Haneke) Won the bestactor/actress prizes at Cannes but didn't even make it into the New York Film Festival. Not Haneke's best film, but Isabelle Huppert is stupendous.

4. Waking Life (Richard Linklater) Linklater's Candide. A melancholy youth ambles almost wordlessly through deep America--rendered in dancy graphics--receiving counsel from a parade of uproariously soliloquizing, exquisitely goofy pundits.

5. Journey to the Sun (Yesim Ustaoglu, 1999; US release 2001,) An important, unaffected film that takes you somewhere you don't know (Turkey) and makes you feel and think--and care.

6. The Gleaners and I (Agnes Varda) A thrilling subject, and Varda's best film since Vagahond.

7. The River (Tsai Ming-liang, 1997; US release 2001) Nobody pictures despair--and silence--like this marvelous Taiwanese filmmaker, who uses the same actors, often the same apartment location, in film after film.

8. Last Resort (Pawel Pawlikowski) A superb British filmmaker, Pawlikowski is equally gifted in fiction (like this film, about the plight in bleakest England of a young Russian emigre and her son) and in documentary.

9. Moloch (Alexander Sokurov, 1999) The greatest contemporary Russian filmmaker explores a day in the life of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. (Never released here; I saw it this year in Paris, twice.) Ravishing, weird, insolent.

10. Intimacy (Patrice Chereau) Worth seeing just for the performances. Mark Rylance may be the most gifted English-language actor of his generation.

Guy Maddin

1. Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff) This movie harpoons me! The director of Crumb adopts Daniel Clowes's comic book, limning out the hopelessly trapped characters making do in hopeless times--without being mean-spirited. Exquisite agony!

2. The Blue Bird (Maurice Tourneur) OK, this silent came out in 1918, but it screened around this year (and it's on VHS, from Grapevine Video). Maeterlinck's children's play is as cruel and strange as anything by Hans Christian Andersen. Happily full of beautiful early homages to Melies.

3. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg) The year's longest love letter to mother. The avalanche of real feeling pushed me through Spielberg's obnoxious surfaces clear into a place of true desolation, a place without popcorn or Twizzlers.

4. Hey, Happy! (Noam Gonick) Blake Edwards's The Party transplanted to the Winnipeg rave scene. Equal parts crystal meth and Old Yeller.

5. FILM (dzama) (deco dawson) This twenty-minute short started out as a profile of artist Marcel Dzama and ended up a narcotically edited, rapturously degraded film poem.

6. In Absentia (Brothers Quay) In the twin animators' live-action, close-up study of a mad woman furiously scribbling letters to her dead husband, the forlornness of pencil lead is inscribed on our brains to the excruciating drones of Stockhausen.

7. Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat) A brutal sexual polemic buried in the Garden of the Deflowered. So savage that I had to watch through splayed fingers.

8. Dog Days (Ulrich Seidl) Austrian film recipe is equal parts Vinterberg, Korine, and Tati!

9. Kandahar (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) Hope and despair walk together in this Iranian film, which features an unforgettable scene of land-mine victims scrabbling toward dozens of prosthetic legs suspended in the sky by tiny parachutes.

10. Freddy Got Fingered (Tom Green) Patriotically, I include fellow Canadian Green's one-note ragefest, if only because he plays that organ with the sausage mobile all roped up to it.
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Publication:Artforum International
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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