Another year

Last Updated: April 7, 2012By Tags: , , ,

How the mind wanders. I was getting ready to write about the latest Mike Leigh (pictured) movie since Another Year is coming out in December and it’s a film that deserves to be talked about. I saw it in good company at the Cannes Festival, and what a charming Year that was.

In it, two colleagues have haphazardly managed to keep a friendship going for two decades. Thing is, they’re very different. One is growing ever more desperate as 60 looms large. She’s also unabashedly attracted to her coworker’s son. The other is lucky enough to still live an idyll with her long-time husband.

Today I had a look at the trailer and then posted it in the sidebar. Then I read some of the comments on Youtube. The oft-frenzied feedback shooting in every direction, it’s clever, it’s sometimes a little foolish but people react to things. One woman named Fiona wrote, “I think the trailer is meant to be really boring because I think the movie is about a couple who had an uninteresting life and they feel like they missed out…at least, thats the impression I get but I’m not sure.” A gentleman named Perez then sounded off in return (in his case I copied the quote verbatim, language and spelling faithfully replicated), “All i have to say is WTF why would you make a movie about old peoples lives this is the most boring trailer i have ever seen i need some fire fights bombs going off people screaming then i might go see it!” Well, Mr. Perez, I do agree with you about the fire fights and bombs going off, and the people screaming bit.

I moved on, continuing my search for some substantial writing concerning Mr. Leigh, who is Jewish and who is also a theatre man (and a successful one at that). My first initiative was to visit our Australian friends at Senses of Cinema, the venerable movies publication which publishes lengthy profiles and essays. I couldn’t really find what I wanted and knocked around the site until I saw their Top Tens section. The principle is evidently the same everywhere (here at Screen Comment we decided to up the ante and published our own index, except that there are over nine hundred movies listed and it’s called “One Hundred Years of Must-See Films”—in fact, I’m in the process of finalizing the new edition).

One Top Ten list in particular caught my attention. Its author was listed as being twenty one years-old. Struth is he a young ‘un! To me, that age doesn’t really scream cinephilia. The movies that came out that year were Look who’s talking, Back to the Future II and When Harry met Sally, among others. I was born the year A clockwork orange, Klut” and “The last picture show” saw light of day. Am I being overly symbolic? Probably. Can’t a twenty one year-old already be earning their stripes? M-ok. But my gut reaction was it. So, I gasped, then shock gave way to cynicism and then I started to look for the editor’s contact information to complain. Because seriously, how can a twenty one year-old be savy enough to compile a top ten list that’s going to stand out?

And then I started to read his choices, choices which are eclectic, to be sure, and very personal, but here’s a cinephile who’s been places. There’s some Matthew Barney (Drawing Restraint No. 9), Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Café Lumière), Béla Tarr, Kitano (Dolls) ,Cyclo by Anh Hung Tran and Harmony Korine’s Gummo. Hurray for that last choice, especially. So to Mr. 21 aka Daniel Gast, student from the Netherlands, Goed gedaan! Meanwhile, “Another Year” still hasn’t been reviewed by me. Might be a good time to call my crack team of fellow writers to the rescue.