FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail