BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR (2002-2003)
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These are my favorite new films that played in Chicago this season (September 2002 - February 2003):
Kedma / Amos Gitai
Amos Gitai certainly is one of the greatest living narrative filmmakers and his latest film, Kedma, is a proof of that. Many people hate it because "it doesn't develop its characters" and others like it because "it is very truthful to history". I disagree with both sides. Gitai's films aren't about individual characters and in his films he uses the stories from Jewish history to explore and express universal feelings. Kadosh was less about women in the orthodox community than it was about any individual constrained by the society and his/her limitations (and every single person fits in this some way or another). Likewise, Kedma is less about Jews in 1948 than it is about individuals in search of answers and happiness. The story of immigrants who are escaping from the most "incomprehensible" episode of history only to find out that there is another struggle ahead provides a wonderful backdrop for what Gitai is trying to achieve. In Kedma, there is always a movement towards something and it only makes more sense that the film ends with a long take of trucks going forward slowly; The search for the happiness that characters are yearning for will never be final. And the only two shots in the middle of the film where there is no movement (in of them, a man tells his girlfriend how he is happy for the first time and he doesn't want to move although everybody is waiting for them) represent the rare moments of "perfect satisfaction".
There is no better way of describing Kedma than using Gitai's own words "Most of my movies deal with exile. It can be inner exile, or the exile of displaced persons, displaced in space and in time." (from Amos Gitai On-Line)
Le Fils / Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
It's very rare that an important film is recognised as such right away by a majority of critics. Luckily, it happened for Dardenne brothers' last film Le Fils (The Son). Their hand-held camera might seem "realistic" at first but it doesn't take long to discover that there is a purpose in the way each shot progresses.
Films Worth Seeing:
Russian Ark / Aleksandr Sokurov
Punch Drunk Love / Paul Thomas Anderson
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