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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
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