How Does He Do It?

I mean, my colleague and friend Michael Giltz. On his excellent blog, Popsurfing, Michael today has listed each of the 126 new releases he saw last year with a star rating. That is scary. I have been looking at my own list of (115, so far) 2006 releases and am dismayed (but not surprised) to discover that there are films on the list of which I have no recollection whatsoever. I keep confusing Pam Yates's State of Fear with Ellen Perry's The Fall of Fujimori. (What's more embarrassing is that I went to a press screening of one of them last winter only realize after 15 minutes that I had seen it in the previous summer's Human Rights Watch festival. I ended up staying to the end, I still can't recall which film it was.) I know I saw Toi et Moi, Julie Lpes-Curval's second film because I remember that I was disappointed that her follow-up the charming Seaside was so weak. But I can't recall anything else about it.

Of course, there are also those films you try to forget. But that's a different thing altogether. (Another category that belongs with those titles are the movies you discover you have screeners for that you wouldn't keep on a bet.

I have promised to withhold my ten-best list until the Iras, which will be held at my humble home towards the end of March (our latest date ever, almost absurdly so). And I gave a list of the better stuff from last year a few weeks ago. But there are still more movies to see and forget. For me 2006 may never end. (Now there is a truly ghastly thought.)

I also see that Daryl Chin mentions me among others in his blog today. As he notes, we were both at the screening of the Straub-Huillet (although the film's credits reverse that order) These Encounters of Theirs, which is part of the upcoming Film Comment Selects series at the Walter Reade. I will talk about the film later today (it's 5:32 and I've been kept up all night by a devilish head cold and sore throat), or in a day or two. I'd like to write this one up while my notes still makes some kind of sense.

What I will say, on one foot, as the rabbinical saying goes, is that this is one of their most sublime films in many years, gracefully composed, with vibrant, verdant landscapes and color from Renato Berta, whose recent filmography is quite remarkable -- several films for Gitai, Straub-Huillet, Chabrol, Oliveira and Resnais. Although I doubt that Huillet knew how sick she was the film has a strangely valedictory feeling that extends to its content and a remarkable final shot.


Thanks for the shout out. But since you saw 115 (so far) and I saw 126 (so far) released in 2006, the proper response is really how do WE do it. And of course many of your films are far more difficult, formally challenging and (I suspect) longer than mine. Gotta run, I'm headed to a screening of Bridge of Terabithia....