David Walsh chooses his favorite films of 2000

30 December 2000

I thought this was a particularly poor year for American films, perhaps European as well. The strongest films continue to come from Asia. But film and art in general need a new aesthetic and social perspective. The current political crisis in the US marks a turning point, and much that has been taken for granted in a stagnant time will be shaken up. We are on the eve of a great change.

10 Best Films of 2000

(Lists are not strictly in order of preference, but the latter clearly plays some role.) Links to WSWS reviews have been provided.

1. The House of Mirth, Terence Davies (UK)

Terence Davies' The House of Mirth: a comment and a press conference with the director
[28 December 2000]

British director Terence Davies' extraordinary adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about New York society circa 1905 and the precise way in which it grinds people to pieces.

2. Little Cheung, Fruit Chan (Hong Kong)

“The world is so complicated, who'd want to see it?”
[9 October 2000]

In Hong Kong, a small boy endures his father's stupidities; a small girl, from a poorer family, and a Filipino maid endure Hong Kong. The richness of detail adds up to something.

3. Platform, Jia Zhang-ke (China)

Independent filmmaking that is genuinely independent
[12 October 2000]

A young Chinese filmmaker looks at the Mao and the “free-market” eras in a provincial backwater, and finds them both wanting from the point of view of human needs.

4. Beresina, Daniel Schmid (Switzerland)

Preserving the utopian moment
[8 June 2000]

A comic assault on all that the Swiss petty bourgeoisie holds dear, by veteran Swiss director Daniel Schmid, a survivor of the '60s generation.

5. A Time for Drunken Horses, Bahman Ghobadi (Iran)

Children in the mountains
[5 October 2000]

A devastating look at existence on the Iran-Iraq border, for four Kurdish children, directed by Iranian Kurd Bahman Ghobadi.

6. Cecil B. Demented, John Waters (US)

The rise and fall and rise again of John Waters
[23 August 2000]

“Death [or at the very least, ignominy] to those who support mainstream cinema!” John Waters made the best, most pointed American film of the year.

7. The Circle, Jafar Panahi (Iran)

Why are these women escaping?
[2 October 2000]

A film about oppression, of women in Iran—and everyone in every country—by Jafar Panahi, one of the world's most courageous artists.

8. Bye Bye Africa, Mahamet-Saleh Haroun (Chad)

Without flinching
[28 September 2000]

An African filmmaker, who lives in Paris, returns to Chad and discovers the disastrous situation for cinema, and most of the population, in his homeland.

9. Looking for Angel, Akihiro Suzuki (Japan)

The difference between feeling and playing at feeling
[26 October 2000]

Beauty and tragedy for Japanese young people. “Whatever I care for, I always lose. Whatever I want, I'll never get. Whoever I love, I can never have. Wherever I want to be, I can never stay.”

10. Hamlet, Michael Almereyda (US)

Youth's anguish
[26 July 2000]

Honorable mention: Bundled, Singing Chen (Taiwan); Peppermint Candy, Lee Chang-Dong (South Korea); Yi Yi, Edward Yang (Taiwan); Daughters of the Sun, Mariam Shahriar (Iran); The Day I Became a Woman, Marziyeh Meshkini (Iran); Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, Bahman Farmanara (Iran)

Some remarkable performances

1. Gillian Anderson, The House of Mirth
2. Sol Kyung-Gu, Peppermint Candy (South Korea)
3. Ethan Hawke, Hamlet
4. Elena Panova, Beresina
5. Melanie Griffith, Cecil B. Demented
6. Steve Lawrence and Tony Musante , The Yards
7. Wang Hongwei, Platform
8. Geraldine Chaplin, Beresina
9. Iben Hjejle , High Fidelity
10. Samantha Morton in two bad films, Sweet and Lowdown and Jesus' Son

Best Director

Terence Davies, The House of Mirth

Best Screenplay

Martin Suter, Beresina/Davies , The House of Mirth

Best Cinematography

Lam Wah Chuen, Little Cheung

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