Favorite Film Discoveries of 2016

Introduction

This is an idea I first saw on Rupert Pupkin Speaks wherein he lists his favorite “new-to-me” titles of the prior year. My viewings were down in 2016 overall but there were things worth noting, even things that were not brand new. Some are rather short and can be viewed in their entirety below. For those who prefer features and talkies those can be found toward the end of this post. Enjoy!

Shorts

Many of the older films I was able to see for the first time last year that left an impression on me were both silent and short. The first two are archival shorts of Native Americans.

Sioux Ghost Dance (1894)

Buffalo Dance (1894)

Many of these short silents inspired me to start on a theme commemorating film firsts. Here is the first time the Statue of Liberty was filmed.

Statue of Liberty (1898)

Demolishing and Building Up the Star Theatre (1901)

Pan-American Exposition by Night (1901)

Georges Méliès almost always makes an appearance.

The Temptation of St. Anthony (1898)

The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895)

Now, a short film by Mike Leigh. I need to see the rest of these five-minute titles.

Five-Minute Films: The Birth of the Goalie of the 2001 F.A. Cup Final (1982)

Faces of November (1964)

John F. Kennedy Jr. Saluting His Father at Funeral

I got and saw the Kennedy films set from Criterion. Two of them made enough impact to land on this list. One dealt with the aftermath of the assassination.

Karin’s Face (1984)

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Any newly seen Bergman is worth noting even if it’s shot that is a study in stills and dissolves focused on his mother’s face.

Features

City of the Dead (1960)

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As much as this film relishes the artifices of more classical horror techniques its rooting itself in historical precedent and wanting to carve a fictional enclave amidst historical happenings is highly commendable indeed. One might watch this film and consider it to be dated. However, with older films that is a conversation that is mostly moot to me. All films are created for the times in which they exist, even ones borrowing older techniques. Timelessness is an alchemistic accident that cannot be manufactured.

Primary (1960)

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Also in the Robert Drew & Associates box set from Criterion is a feature called Primary which focused mostly on Kennedy’s campaign to try and win the Wisconsin primary.

Kamikaze 1989 (1982)

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“This is a film that stands as a unique statement on an artistic level. It’s being set but seven years in the future, whence the Berlin Wall would fall, also gives it a curious undertone that it likely didn’t possess upon its initial release. It societal relevance may be more culturally relativistic than some other films, but its function as allegory seems as it could spring eternal with increased intensity based on the changing tides of the world’s sociopolitical currents.”

Antonia’s Line (1995)

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“As if this film needs more accolades it is indeed one of those Academy Award winners that quote, truly deserved it, unquote. It’s a film that’s so good that I find it nearly an affront to it to discuss the feminist merits of it in the context of a standard review. Watch it, you’ll know what I mean. It’s spectacular.”

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