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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Beyond Hollywood

The 10 Best Films of 2013

by JEFFREY ST CLAIR

In advance of the more enlightened year-end lists forthcoming from CounterPunch’s real film critics, Louis Proyect and Kim Nicolini, I offer my own solipsistic assessment of last year’s 10 best films, shorn of any tedious commentary. Just the goods, baby, just the goods–as they say on Sunset Blvd.

The Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, shortly after I compiled my favorite films of the year. It is refreshing to see that there is absolutely no cross-over between our lists, though how Farhadi’s “The Past” failed even to be nominated is beyond me, since it is clearly one of the best films of the last 10 years. Oh, yeah, it was made by Iranians and Hollywood has already been there and done that. Never mind. (I have included trailers for the films. A note about Kitamura’s “No One Lives.” It’s stigmatized in the genre of “slasher” film–how could a top 10 list not include at least one slasher film?– and therefore the trailer is restricted to viewing by boys between the ages of 13 and 54–but I’m sure the curious will find a way  … )

1. Something in the Air — Olivier Assayas

2. A Touch of Sin — Jia Zhang-ke

3. No — Pablo Larrain

4. Bastards — Claire Denis

5. The Past — Ashgar Farhadi

6. Closed Curtain — Jafar Pahani

7. At Berkeley — Frederick Wiseman

8. Starred Up — David McKenzie

9. Drinking Buddies — Joe Swanberg

10. No One Lives — Ryuhei Kitamura

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of NatureGrand Theft Pentagon and Born Under a Bad Sky. His latest book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net