Friday, January 13, 2012

Wasting Light



This was a pretty easy list to make, since after seeing every single one of these, I immediately knew they would end up here. Throughout the year, each of these films have occupied my thoughts for days/weeks/months at a time, always speaking straight to my heart. In their own way, they all even seem to investigate life itself- its origins and destinations, its nature and rhythms, and its very meaning.

Favorite Films of The Past Year

1. Copie Conforme - Abbas Kiarostami
2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives - Apichatpong Weerasethakul
3. Le Havre - Aki Kaurismäki
4. The Future - Miranda July
5. Beginners - Mike Mills
6. Melancholia - Lars Von Trier
7. The Tree Of Life - Terrence Malick
8. Film Socialisme - Jean-Luc Godard
9. The Skin I Live In - Pedro Almodóvar
10. Le Quattro Volte - Michelangelo Frammartino

Copie Conforme is a total knockout- Kiarostami and La Binoche just keep getting better and better in more ways than should even be possible. I could watch this forever.

Uncle Boonmee
exists, as does the rest of Weerasethakul's cinema, on an entirely different and other plane than anything else I can think of. Thoroughly mystifying and truly magical.

Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre is certainly the most uplifting of the list- whimsically, old-fashionedly perfect.

The Future by Miranda July is a heartbreaking, reassuring, and insightfully honest understanding of daily life and the bigger picture. One of the most personally affecting films I have ever seen- our fears, hopes, dreams, disappointments.. they're all in there.

is brilliantly designed, truly felt, and original from the inside out. Mike Mills does so many things so well, and part of the beauty of this film is watching them all come together in one place.

If Melancholia is really how the world will end, I can't imagine better company than the career-best acting from both Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Aside from the perfectly nostalgic and true to growing up memories it evokes, I love The Tree Of Life for its scope of history, human life, the meaning of science and of God. Ambitious is an understatement. Malick still has a way with light that I will never understand.

Godard as Godard- always that much ahead of the rest of us, even decades later. If this really is his ending, I can't imagine a better way out.

Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In is peculiar, inspired, and always maintains a perfect level of overblown understatement.

Finally, Le Quattro Volte is a wordless film in a way that is completely unlike any I have ever seen. The mysteries this film unlocks more than make up for those it creates.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kim Free

My latest guest list is from Los Angels local Kim Free, who just released one of last year's most singularly beautiful records, Angel Shadow. For years Kim recorded and performed as Black Church, releasing several limited edition cassettes on various labels. Now recording under her own name, Kim's new work is filled with an enormous sense of calm and an equal feeling of wonder and clarity. Using primarily guitar, violin, and synth, along with her wide-eyed, echoing vocals, these songs sound personal, true to life, and more than anything: sincere.

One thing that strikes me about these songs is their sense of time, or rather of being lost in time. The record almost plays out in the same way as I imagine a perfectly quiet day in life to sound- even ending with Silver Screen as the perfect lullaby. Her violin songs in particular sound like faint flickers long-lost since the '20s, while her vocal songs have the dreaminess and immediacy of the early-80s Cherry Red/Crépuscule/Postcard/Factory Records sound. A truly gorgeous, heart-shaped record through and through- one I encourage you to spend some time with this year.

Angel Shadow
was released digitally on iTunes by LA's Fine, with a vinyl release forthcoming. Three songs from the record are available to listen to on Kim's Soundcloud. You can also find out more information on her official Facebook page.
Photos courtesy of Jeana Sohn, creator of Closet Visit.

Here is Kim's list, along with a mix she made of all ten tracks.


These are my ten favorite tracks from 2011. Hope you like them too, and happy 2012. Counting down:

10. Scheherazade - PANDA BEAR
9. Love Triangle - HTRK
8. Let Me See You - OCTO OCTA
7. Soft - WASHED OUT
6. John Is The Last Of A Dying Breed - RANGERS
5. A Love So Strong - MARIA MINERVA
4. Electric Chair - BLEACHED
3. Separator - RADIOHEAD
2. Into Black - BLOUSE
1. Wish You Were Mine - TERIUS NASH

My fave 10 tracks from 2011 by kimfree