The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Thursday, December 26, 2002
TWENTY YEARS AFTER: In which we continue the
practice of listing the top ten movies, not of this year, but of other years ending with the digit "2." Today: the best of 1982.

1. Sans Soleil
Written and Directed by Chris Marker

A bizarre and wonderful essay-film about Africa, Japan, festivals, robots, Hitchcock, and much, much more. There is no movie in the world that is remotely like this one.

2. Danton
Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Written by Wajda, Jean-Claude Carrière, Jacek Gasiorowski, Agnieszka Holland, and Boleslaw Michalek, from a play by Stanislawa Przybyszewska

The best film ever made about the French Revolution, salted with pointed parallels to events in the director's native Poland.

3. Blade Runner
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples, from a novel by Philip K. Dick

There are those who say the director is the true author of a movie. That theory doesn't fit this film, which owes its greatness to Dick's story and Lawrence G. Paull's production design. That said: if you haven't seen Blade Runner before, it's the director's cut that you should rent, not the studio's somewhat blandified original release.

4. Fitzcarraldo
Written and Directed by Werner Herzog

Herzog's best picture, about a mad scheme to build an opera house deep in the Brazilian jungle.

5. Dimensions of Dialogue
Written and Directed by Jan Svankmejer

As with most of Svankmejer's short films, this is rather difficult to describe. Suffice to say that you might never be satisfied with ordinary animation again.

6. The Draughtsman's Contract
Written and Directed by Peter Greenaway

Greenaway is one of those moviemakers whose shorts tend to be better than his features, perhaps because there isn't enough time for the picture's conceit to get tiresome. Despite that, this feature-length puzzle-box about sex, sketches, and secret societies is my favorite of his films.

7. Burden of Dreams
Directed by Les Blank

A documentary about the making of Fitzcarraldo (see above), in which Werner Herzog seems at least as mad as his title character.

8. Moonlighting
Written and Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski

No, not the TV series. This one's a rather depressing picture about Polish workers in London during the Solidarity uprising.

9. The Return of Martin Guerre
Directed by Daniel Vigne
Written by Vigne, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Natalie Zemon Davis, from a novel by Janet Lewis

A middlebrow historical picture. Sometimes they're actually good, you know?

10. America Is Waiting
Written and Directed by Bruce Conner

A music video of sorts, though I doubt it ever aired on MTV.


posted by Jesse 2:04 PM
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