Next year, we will take up a collection to buy him a shirt.
And, another piece of Ira ritual, my ten-best list for 2010, based on 110 films, neatly enough:
1. The Strange Case of Angelica – Manoel de Oliveira
2. White Material – Claire Denis
3. Carlos – Olivier Assayas
4. The Ghost Writer – Roman Polanski
5. DDR/DDR – Amie Siegel
6. Boxing Gym – Frederick Wiseman
7. The Social Network -- David Fincher
8. The Portuguese Nun – Eugene Green
9. Un Prophete – Jacques Audiard
10. Mademoiselle Chambon – Stephane Brize
Honorable Mention (in no particular order): Sweetgrass (Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor), Carmel (Amos Gitai), The Girl on the Train (Andre Techine), Daddy Long Legs (Josh and Benny Safdie), The Juche Idea (Jim Finn), Lebanon (Samuel Maoz), Our Beloved Month of August (Manuel Gomes), Nora’s Will (Maria Chenillo), I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino), Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-Dong), Eyes Wide Open (Haim Tabakman), Inspector Bellamy (Claude Chabrol), Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette).
All in all, a very good year. The length of the honorable mention list suggests what I have felt all along about 2010 -- it was a year in which there were a lot of very good movies, a year of rich and varied pleasures, although not a year with any single drop-dead stand-out monster work of genius. Given a choice between a deep field of imperfect but graceful works like these and a year of one great movie and not much else, you can imagine where I stand.
I never have cottoned to drop-dead masterpieces anyway. I like my films like I like people, with all their flaws intact. (Of course, I'd rather spend time with, say, Martin Luther King, Jr. or Ted Williams or Alfred Hitchcock, than with folks whose flaws vastly overbalance their virtues, like Bernie Madoff or Leni Riefenstahl.)
And another year goes in the books.