A Statement of Explanation and a Mea Culpa
One plan I had this year was to discuss the BAM Awards’ past, which I may do. It’s a way to self-examine, look at oddities, and acknowledge past triumphs and errors.
When acting as a committee of one, you may wonder what’s the point of a Jury Award. It’s really because somethings that should be considered or rewarded don’t fit into categories, and on occasion, like this to acknowledge a film where you couldn’t – even if in error.
I’ve had them infrequently for a while, and learned later that Ebert did them on his best of the year lists. Quite frankly, this one is to acknowledge an unforgivable bookkeeping error. The system will improve for 2016.
As you can see here, I love Stranger (Zhat). Somehow, it was on my Letterboxd but didn’t enter my offline BAM lists and a later, second braincramp kept it out of consideration. So the Special Jury Award becomes my salvation. Below I will cite its best aspects, and rest assured it will be on my top films of the year list, which starts soon.
Be that as it may its a richly deserving film that I will gladly champion and I hope it sees US distribution.
This is a Special Jury Award Commending Stranger (Zhat) for:
Yermek Tursunov for writing and directing;
Murat Aliyev for his lush, layered cinematography;
Nurgali Nugman and Erzhan Nurymbet for magnetically portraying Ilya at many ages;
as an overlooked film;
and, finally, in recognition of its being one of the finest films of 2015.