19th Titanic Filmfestival

Festival Films Programs Press News

Snapshot of the past ten years

On the last but one afternoon the 17th Titanic International Film Festival gave place to a roundtable discussion about the list of the best 30 films of the last decade published in Sight & Sound. The participants in the discussion were attended by Tiina Lock, Teréz Vincze, Nick James and György Horváth.

Nick James, the chief editor of Sight & Sound who had described the trends attached to the films in the preface to the list, emphasised during the discussion that including certain directors’ films in the list also represents their other works. The aim of this catalogue is to describe the aesthetic changes occurred in the past ten years of cinema history. According to James such enlisting establishes a canon by all means, so this list made up by five critics is admittedly subjective. This may result in a superficial register that intends to be the starting point for a debate: “Firstly we wanted this snapshot-like catalogue to be a kind of provocation”, he said. He also accentuated that the makers of the list each represent very different tastes, so it is not a coincidence that they yet managed to agree easily: certain films were obviously sure to be selected.

According to Teréz Vincze, the list lays emphasis on the ‘author’-tradition, and further on highlights the national: Romanian or South-Korean film production, as well as the experimental genre: radical (David Lynch: Inland Empire) or less radical (Lars von Trier: The Five Obstructions), works of animation and high budget documentary. Tiina Lock called the participants’ attention to the fact that even if some filmmakers or trends, such as the undeniably significant Dogme movement are absent on the list, this latter aims primarily at defining these tendencies. As a festival director she also added that the critics’ opinion is indifferent to the selectors, as they are forced to deal with a much larger variety than what the journalists have to see.

Many of the audience were curious about the novelties that the participants of the discussion may have discovered in the film production of the last decade. According to Teréz Vincze most of the films on the list justify the directors as authors meaning that their works are marked by their initials like Taste of Cherry or 10 in Abbas Kiarostami’s career, two films that are quite similar despite the technical development. Nick James stressed that he personally always expects to be surprised, even if we can rarely be witness to great, explosion-like transformations. Still, he likes to believe in that the filmmakers’ work improves and that there are small but interesting steps forward. While in his opinion Inland Empire attacks narrative conventions in a unique way and therefore is one of the most surprising movies of recent years, Teréz insisted on that this picture can only be interpreted as an experimental film, and so it may not be that radical.

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