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Walker Staff Picks for Film 2012

The water cooler always buzzes with talk of movies, and it can reach a fever pitch in the Film/Video Department, occasionally roping in people from other departments. The lists below reflect the camaraderie, belligerence, and free-form sharing of these conversations as we digest the year in film each in our own special way. Courtney Sheehan Film/Video Intern […]

The water cooler always buzzes with talk of movies, and it can reach a fever pitch in the Film/Video Department, occasionally roping in people from other departments. The lists below reflect the camaraderie, belligerence, and free-form sharing of these conversations as we digest the year in film each in our own special way.

Jai Bhim Comrade, Anand Patwardhan, 2012

Jai Bhim Comrade, Anand Patwardhan, 2012.

Courtney Sheehan
Film/Video Intern

I spent July 2011-July 2012 traveling to twenty film festivals in India, Brazil, the Netherlands, Spain, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia on a research grant called the Watson Fellowship. For the most part, I stuck to lesser-known festivals in small cities and towns, which means that some of these films have yet to (and may not ever) make it to the U.S.  Because shorts get the shaft all too often, more than half of these titles run less than an hour in length. The final flair: this list consists solely of documentaries and animated films.

Jai Bhim Comrade by Anand Patwardhan, India
Mobitel: A Cell Phone Movie by Nedžad Begović, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Abendland by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria
Mirage by Srđan Keča, UK/UAE
Sag Mir Wann… (Tell Me When…) by Steffen Köhn and Paola Calvo, Germany
Apour Ti Yapour. Na Jang Na Aman. Yeti Chu Talukpeth. (Between the Border and the Fence. On Edge of a Map.) by Ajay Raina, India
Empire of Dust by Bram van Paesschen, Belgium
Oedipus by Paul Driessen, the Netherlands/Canada
Villa Antropoff by Kaspar Jancis and Vladimir Leschiov, Estonia
Le Tazidermiste by Paulin Cointot, Dorianne Fibleuil, Antoine Robert, and Maud Sertour, France

 

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Behn Zeitlin, 2012. Courtesy Fox Searchlights Pictures.

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Behn Zeitlin, 2012

Jeremy Meckler
Film/Video Intern

This year was a powerful one for movies, with a few surprisingly high-quality summer blockbusters (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Cabin in the Woods, Premium Rush) some excellent independent documentaries (This is Not a Film, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, The Queen of Versailles) and some decent formulaic Oscar bait (Silver Linings Playbook, Argo). These are the movies, though, that were most impactful on me this year. While many other films may indeed have been more skillfully crafted, written, shot, and  performed, these are the ones I will remember. Full disclosure, I have yet to see Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Tabu, or Something in the Air, and I suspect that at least one of them might have made this list otherwise. Also, I hated Cosmopolis.

10) Moonrise Kingdom
9) Margaret
8) The Master
7) Wreck-it-Ralph
6) Skyfall
5) The Turin Horse
4) Holy Motors
3) The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
2) Django Unchained
1) Beasts of the Southern Wild

Ugetsu, Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953

Ugetsu, Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953

Matt Levine
Film/Video Intern

My first choice is sort of an evasion: while it was actually made by Kenji Mizoguchi in 1953 and has long been one of my favorite movies, I saw it last year on 35mm for the first time at the Trylon, and it was like seeing it for the first time all over again. (I didn’t think it was possible for the ending to be any more devastating.) As for actual  2012 releases, a number of the most acclaimed films underwhelmed me a bit (Holy Motors, The Master, and the astonishingly bad Silver Linings Playbook especially), so here are the films that actually blew me away last year:

1. Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan, 1953)
2. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey/Boznia and Herzegovina)
3. This is Not a Film (Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Iran)
4. The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, USA/UK)
5. The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy)
6. The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr, Hungary/France/Germany/Switzerland/USA)
7. Looper (Rian Johnson, USA)
8. Neighboring Sounds (Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil)
9. The Raid: Redemption (Gareth Evans, Indonesia/USA)
10. Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley, Canada/Spain/Japan)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson, 2012.

Emily Davis
Film/Video Bentson Researcher

Top 10 movies adapted from a novel, in no particular order. The task of coming up with a top 10 list for people like me who are not hardcore movie goers can be a lot of pressure and a bit overwhelming. So, I came up with the theme Top 10 movies adapted from a novel to narrow the selection.

The Hobbit
Cosmopolis
Anna Karenina
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Wuthering Heights
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer
Life of Pi
Bless me Ultima
Lincoln
The Lorax

Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg, 2012.

Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg, 2012.

Kathie Smith
Film/Video Program Manager

Below are the top ten films I saw for the first time theatrically in 2012, regardless of release date or distribution status. In alphabetical order.

Cosmopolis (2012) David Cronenberg
Deep Blue Sea (2012) Terence Davies
Faust (2011) Aleksandr Sokurov
The Gang’s All Here (1943) Busby Berkeley
Leviathan (2012) Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
Margaret (2011) Kenneth Lonergan
Napoleon (1927) Abel Gance
Neighboring Sounds (2012) Kleber Mendonça Filho
Tabu (2012) Miguel Gomes
Three Sisters (2012) Wang Bing

Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow, 2012.

Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow, 2012.

Gary White
Human Resources Director

Top ten films of 2012, in random order.

Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Argo
Django Unchained
Silver Linings Playbook
Moonrise Kingdom
The Sessions
Les Mis
Hitchcock
Arbitrage

 

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Alison Klayman, 2012.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Alison Klayman, 2012.

Jared Maire
Mailroom Specialist

2012 was a year for tears. It only makes sense that I list all the movies I cried at in 2012. Feel free to give me a hug or pat me on the back if you see me in the corridors of the Walker.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry @ Walker
The Avengers @ Southdale
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye @ Walker
How to Survive a Plague @ Lagoon
Keep the Lights on @ Lagoon
Beasts of the Southern Wild @ Walker
Moonrise Kingdom @ Lagoon
Irwin Swirnoff’s short films @ Madame of the Arts

There were movies I didn’t actually cry at and really enjoyed, such as:
Beyond the Black Rainbow @ Trylon
Holy Motors @ the Edina