And a Happy New Year! At Least 100 Reasons to Be Happy

Jewish Week has my interview with Michel Hazanavicius up on the website. I very much liked The Artist, especially if you put it in the context of his first two features, the OSS 117 reboots. If those were odes to dumb humor that isn't very funny, The Artist is a warm, humane and sweet-tempered blend of comedy and melodrama that reminded me more of Leo McCarey than Hazanavicius's beloved Billy Wilder. (Although one could argue that the late Wilder films fit that description quite well.) I'm not saying it will make my ten-best list; in fact, I can almost guarantee it won't. But sometimes you see a film and it just has "Honorable Mention" status written all over it. The Artist feels like that to me, and that's an entirely -- no pun intended, for once -- honorable thing.

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So the year is almost over, I'm already steaming ahead through the films from next year's New York Jewish Film Festival (and a promising lot they are). But the members of the New York Independent Film Critics Circle (better known as "the Ira voters") are busily compiling their 100-best lists, which I will be tabulating on New Year's Day or thereabouts. My list has been pretty much complete for many weeks. So in honor of the impending change of calendar, here it is for your perusal and amusement. (Listing is alphabetical. If you count them and find more than 100 films, let me know.)

An Autumn Afternoon -- Yasujiro Ozu

Advise and Consent -- Otto Preminger

Affair to Remember, An -- Leo McCarey

Aguirre, the Wrath of God -- Werner Herzog

Anatomy of a Murder -- Otto Preminger

Andrei Rublev -- Andrei Tarkovsky

Ballet -- Frederick Wiseman

Bend of the River -- Anthony Mann

Big Heat, The -- Fritz Lang

Big Red One, The (restored version) -- Samuel Fuller

Bigger Than Life -- Nicholas Ray

Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, The -- Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Blue -- Kzrstyof Kieslowski

Caro Diario -- Nanni Moretti

Casablanca -- Michael Curtiz

Celine and Julie Go Boating -- Jacques Rivette

Chimes at Midnight -- Orson Welles

Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, The -- Jean-Marie Straub and Danielle Huillet

Cluny Brown -- Ernst Lubitsch

Contempt -- Jean-Luc Godard

Crime of M. Lange, The -- Jean Renoir

Day of Wrath -- Carl Dreyer

Detour -- Edgar G. Ulmer

Diary of a Country Priest -- Robert Bresson

Elena et les hommes -- Jean Renoir

Empress Yang Kwei Fei, The -- Kenji Mizoguchi

Floating Weeds -- Yasujiro Ozu

Flowers of St. Francis, The – Roberto Rossellini

Force of Evil – Abraham Polonsky

French Can-Can -- Jean Renoir

Great Dictator, The -- Charles Chaplin

Gun Crazy -- Joseph H. Lewis

Home from the Hill -- Vincente Minnelli

I Know Where I'm Going -- Michael Powell

Imitation of Life -- Douglas Sirk

It's a Wonderful Life -- Frank Capra

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles -- Chantal Akerman

Kings of the Road -- Wim Wenders

Kippur -- Amos Gitai

Kiss Me Deadly -- Robert Aldrich

Lancelot du Lac -- Robert Bresson

Le Samourai -- Jean-Pierre Melville

Leopard, The -- Luchino Visconti

Letter from an Unknown Woman -- Max Ophuls

Madame de . . . -- Max Ophuls

Magnificent Ambersons, The -- Orson Welles

Man Who Loved Women, The -- Blake Edwards

Man with a Movie Camera -- Dziga Vertov

Marnie -- Alfred Hitchcock

Mattei Affair, The -- Francesco Rosi

Memory of Justice, The -- Marcel Ophuls

Messiah, The – Roberto Rossellini

Miracle of Morgan's Creek, The -- Preston Sturges

Moses und Aron -- Jean-Marie Straub and Danielle Huillet

Mother and the Whore, The – Jean Eustache

My Darling Clementine -- John Ford

Naked Spur, The -- Anthony Mann

Near Death -- Frederick Wiseman

Night of the Hunter -- Charles Laughton

Numero Deux -- Jean-Luc Godard

Once Upon a Time In the West -- Sergio Leone

Ordet -- Carl Dreyer

Pandora's Box -- G.W. Pabst

Peeping Tom -- Michael Powell

Phantom of Liberty, The -- Luis Bunuel

Philadelphia Story, The -- George Cukor

Play Dirty -- Andre DeToth

Playtime -- Jacques Tati

Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The -- Billy Wilder

Providence -- Alain Resnais

Ride Lonesome -- Budd Boetticher

Ride the High Country – Sam Peckinpah

Rio Bravo -- Howard Hawks

Salvatore Giuiliano -- Francesco Rosi

Sans Soleil -- Chris Marker

Satantango – Bela Tarr

Scarface – Howard Hawks

Scarlet Empress, The -- Josef von Sternberg

Searchers, The -- John Ford

Senso -- Luchino Visconti

Shanghai Gesture, The -- Josef von Sternberg

Sherlock, Jr. -- Buster Keaton

Shoah -- Claude Lanzmann

Shock Corridor -- Samuel Fuller

Shop Around the Corner, The -- Ernst Lubitsch

Sunrise -- F.W. Murnau

The Lady Eve -- Preston Sturges

The Servant -- Joseph Losey

The Wedding March -- Erich von Stroheim

Travels with My Aunt -- George Cukor

Truck, The -- Marguerite Duras

True-Heart Susie -- D.W. Griffith

Utamaro and His Five Women -- Kenji Mizoguchi

Vertigo -- Alfred Hitchcock

Viaggio in Italia -- Roberto Rossellini

Viridiana -- Luis Bunuel

While the City Sleeps -- Fritz Lang

White Heat -- Raoul Walsh

Wild Bunch, The – Sam Peckinpah

Young Mr. Lincoln -- John Ford


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