Friday, February 13, 2009

The Argentine and Guerrilla: Soderbergh's Che

Steven Soderbergh's lengthy rumination on the revolutionary fighter Che Guevara is currently making the rounds in two forms: a roadshow version showing both parts of the film - The Argentine and Guerrilla - as one presentation, divided by an intermission, and as two films shown separately. IFC Films has made some small effort to make the roadshow a special event; in my city I received a program to go along with the film, and while it contains little besides set photography and credits, it's a nice souvenir. In either context, it's hard to grasp the logic behind seeing one of these films and not the other: in total, Che is a difficult but rewarding work, and what Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro, who plays Che, do in one installment is refracted in the other. This is because the film, far from settling on one vision of who, exactly, Che was, works to juxtapose impressions of the man and his moment in a series of composite sketches that accumulate significance.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Top Ten Films of 2008

1. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton)
2. Che (Steven Soderbergh)
3. The Duchess of Langeais
(Jacques Rivette)
4. Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant)
5. My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin)
6. Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt)
7. Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke)
8. A Christmas Tale
(Arnaud Desplechin)
9. Happy Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh)
10. JCVD (Mabrouk El Mechri)

Honorable Mentions:

The Edge of Heaven
Encounters at the End of the World
The Last Mistress
Man on Wire
The Wrestler

Worth Seeing:

Ashes of Time Redux
Boarding Gate
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Diary of the Dead
Flight of the Red Balloon
Gran Torino
I've Loved You So Long
Pineapple Express
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon
Shine a Light
Synecdoche, New York
Vicky Christina Barcelona