The Best Films of 2012

by LOUIS PROYECT

Best films of 2012. Those marked with an asterisk can be seen on Netflix either as DVD (D) or streaming (S). They are in no particular order of preference.

Narrative films

1. Neighboring Sounds – Urban ennui and class conflict in a Brazilian gated high rise community (reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/neighboring-sounds/)

2. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (S) – A sly policier by Nuri Bilge Ceylan in which you know the killer’s identity at the outset.  The films main charms are the stark beauty of the Turkish countryside and the small talk of the cops.

3. Oslo, August 31 (S) – 24 hours in the life of a heroin addict released from a rehab center that leaves you with the feeling that his choice to go back on smack is unavoidable given the emptiness of Swedish middle-class existence.

4. Elena (S) – A Russian oligarch challenged by his wife, a member of the working class who understands the new Russian realities. Straight out of Balzac.

5. White Tiger – A new Russian film about WWII with a Nazi ghost tank being challenged by a Red Army ghost crew. A return to the good old days of Russian cinema, a combination of a Spaghetti Western and Melville. (reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/the-900-days/)

6. This is Not a Film – Iranian film director under house arrest considers his craft and his nation. (reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/three-films-of-note-3/)

7. Hyde Park on the Hudson (D) – FDR knocked off his pedestal and a welcome relief from the adoration of the Lincoln cult. (reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/hyde-park-on-the-hudson/)

8. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (D) – remake of a Japanese classic about the social degradation of the Samurais and one warrior’s determination to right a terrible wrong. Reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/hari-kiri-death-of-a-samurai/

9. Arbitrage (D) – Don’t tell Oliver Stone that I said so, but this is much better than his “Wall Street” sequel.

10. The Well-Digger’s Daughter (D) – A terribly old-fashioned movie in the PBS Masterpiece Theater or Ivory-Merchant mold but beautifully filmed and acted. The real star is the French countryside.

Best documentaries

1. Central Park Five
2. The Loving Story

If you want someone to understand something about racism in America, have them see these, not “Django Unchained”. The first is about the miscarriage of justice that took place in a racist hysteria reminiscent of the Emmett Till case; the second is about a mixed-race couple’s successful fight against miscegenation laws in Virginia. Reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-central-park-five-the-loving-story/.

3. The Law in these Parts
4. Tears of Gaza
5. Five Broken Cameras (D)

Three terrific films about Zionism and the Palestinians. The first allows the Israeli judges who wrote Nuremberg type laws to dispossess Palestinians to hang themselves on their own petard. The second is war journalism about one of Israel’s blitzkriegs. The last is a beautiful and inspiring tale of a Palestinian photographer’s struggle to document his people’s struggle despite all sorts of odds, including the broken cameras. Reviewed athttp://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/5-broken-cameras-un-me/http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/tears-of-gaza-in-my-mothers-arms/ and http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/5-broken-cameras-un-me/respectively.

6. Dear Mandela – The first film to take on the corruption and greed of the ANC.

7. Detropia (D) – A study of Detroit’s decline without any bland reassurances about its recovery by becoming the next Williamsburg. (reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/detropia/).

8. Ikland – A courageous attempt to redeem the Ik, a Ugandan tribe described by anthropologist Colin Turnbull in 1972 as the “worst people in the world,” sadistic and unloving even toward their children. (reviewed a thttp://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/ikland/)

9. The Forgotten Space – Hardcore Marxist film about the worldwide transportation system and its awful impact on people and nature. (reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/the-forgotten-space/)

10. Robinson in Ruins – another hardcore Marxist film that takes a look at the horrible legacy of Thatcherism. This and number 9 will likely never make it to Netflix but should be mandatory viewing for everybody who cares about the future of the world. Political films at their best. (reviewed at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/lula-son-of-brazil-the-robinson-trilogy/ )

Louis Proyect blogs at http://louisproyect.wordpress.com and is the moderator of the Marxism mailing list at http://greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/marxism

Louis Proyect blogs at http://louisproyect.org and is the moderator of the Marxism mailing list. In his spare time, he reviews films for CounterPunch.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington