Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008.
1994: Les roseaux sauvages (André Téchiné)
Fans of Renoir’s A Day in the Country take notice! Along with that famous film, this is one of French cinema’s most poetic and lyrical pastoral works.
Not only is it visually stunning, Les roseaux sauvages (Wild Reeds) is also emotionally devastating. In fact, it captures the complexity of adolescence as well as anything I’ve ever seen. It’s intense, penetrating, nakedly honest and gets at the vulnerability of mid-teens in a remarkably truthful way.
This is one of those films where everything seems to have aligned perfectly: The director’s sensibility with the material, the casting, the choice of locations—it’s simply a staggering accomplishment from Téchiné. It’s one of my favorite films of the nineties and one to be seen by Francophiles and non-Francophiles alike as soon as possible.
What moviemakers can learn: Film is mostly an urban medium—it’s cumbersome and usually based in metropolitan areas. But there are still many geographical places yet to be explored, so push yourself, if the story demands it at all, to leave the city and show us something yet unseen.
Other contenders for 1994: From this year, I still have some things to see. These include: Olivier Assayas’ Cold Water, Patricia Mazuy’s Travolta et moi and Edward Yang’s A Confucian Confusion. At some point, I need to revisit Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Red, as it’s been too long since I’ve seen it to know where it’d place on this list. I also owe both Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption another look, as I’ve struggled with them a little in the past. From this year, though, I really like James Gray’s Little Odessa, Lodge Kerrigan’s Clean, Shaven and Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World. I love Abbas Kiarostami’s Through the Olive Trees and Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express. And my closest runner-up is Nanni Moretti’s Caro diario.
After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors. Goodman is now at work raising money for his next feature, Peril.