Best Films of 2004


At the end of 2004, these are the films that I most look forward to seeing again. Several films that impressed me at the time — Ousmane Sembene’s Moolaadé, Mark Wexler’s Tell Them Who You Are, Lars Von Trier’s Dogville, and Kim Ki-Duk’s 3-Iron — have since faded from memory, while a few that did make the list have done so despite my reservations about their style (Tarnation and ScaredSacred) and despite my frustrated incomprehension (L’Intrus). I’m paralyzed by the process of ranking films, but Café Lumière was an easy choice for favorite of the year. A transcendent film about transcendence, Hou’s homage to Ozu is a beautifully human piece, full of silence and grace and, most of all, curiosity.

Favorite Film of 2004:

  • Café Lumière by Hou Hsiao-hsien

Nine More (in alphabetical order):

  • Before Sunset by Richard Linklater
  • Cinévardaphoto by AgnèsVarda
  • Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi
  • The Holy Girl by Lucrecia Martel
  • L’Intrus by Claire Denis
  • 9 Songs by Michael Winterbottom
  • ScaredSacred by Velcrow Ripper
  • Tarnation by Jonathan Caouette
  • Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow by Theo Angelopoulos

Ten Favorite Older Films I Saw for the First Time in 2004

  • Dog Star Man by Stan Brakhage
  • Hiroshima, Mon Amour by Alain Resnais
  • In the Bathtub of the World by Caveh Zahedi
  • The Landlord by Hal Ashby
  • The Last Bolshevik by Chris Marker
  • The Son by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardennes
  • Spirit of the Beehive by Victor Erice
  • Ten by Abbas Kiarostami
  • Woman in the Dunes by Hiroshi Teshigahara