Cineticle (Russia): Best Movies of 2021 | “Figure and I” Listed in Best Music Videos

Best Movies of 2021 | Maxim Karpitsky. “Any revolution, no revolution”
By Maxim Karpitsky  

This is a google translation from Russian 

There is a certain tension between the statements “any revolution is possible” and “no revolution is possible”, which seem to be the most obvious difference between the two translations of one of the texts of Marguerite Duras , but they are not opposite, because the inevitable, at least according to the old Marxist tablets, communist the revolution is postponed indefinitely – and the whole world is not frozen in a state of delicate equilibrium, is not moving towards general consumer welfare, but is rolling towards its own end. “Any revolution is possible,” which means that it is devoid of meaning and future, “no revolution is possible,” which means they will continue indefinitely – until the very end.

Duras writes:

“There is no longer any point in feeding us films about socialist hope. Or capitalist hope. There is no point in feeding us films about social justice, economic justice, and any other upcoming justice. You don’t need films about work. About values. About women. About youth. About the Portuguese. About the Malays. About intellectuals. About the Senegalese.

There is no point in feeding us fear films. About the revolution. About the dictatorship of the proletariat. About freedom. About straw scarecrows. About love. It doesn’t make sense anymore.

There is no point in feeding us films about cinema.

We don’t believe in anything anymore. We believe. Joy: we believe: nothing else.

We don’t believe in anything anymore.

There is no point in making your films anymore. It doesn’t make sense anymore. It is necessary to make films, realizing that there is no more meaning.

Let cinematography end, this is the only cinematography.

Let the end of the world come, let it end, this is the only policy “… [one]

The notorious stability of Belarus is finally destroyed, now the end of the world is approaching us, we have become part of a larger world. Even migrants are no longer in the news, on the fabulous Mediterranean Sea, where you can die in joy, but next to us, on our gray streets. Our prisons are as full as ever. A quick, gentle, beautiful “revolution” did not work, which means that you can finally get down to business. The illusion of a welfare state has collapsed, so you can strive for it. The main film festival of the country was de facto destroyed by the officials who seized it, and both main “national” film projects were afraid to release them – it means that cinema matters.

To have an end means to have a future.

Main events of the year:

1. The main event was absence. At the end of 2021, we can say for sure that the protests and repressions in Belarus, although they caused some increase in interest in our country in the international media (and, as a result, at festivals), activist, engaged cinema, the creators of which would try to directly take part in what is happening around them did not appear. Not a single film, not a single director or partisan group of authors. Either the cinema itself is not keeping up with the current communities, yielding to the “new media”, or it is here that it has not acquired a critical mass in order to give rise to autonomous activity. The adage “there is no Belarusian cinema” stuck in my teeth is so annoying precisely because over and over again it turns out, albeit not completely, but partly true. Films, however, were at foreign festivals.Nikita Lavretsky – “Liberation” . Despite all the street scenes and the fact that the film “Nikita”, even occasionally remaining alone, looks at the world around it through a computer screen, the film itself is rather inwarda person living in troubled times. Awkward jokes about taking your own brother to the woods to the historical place of executions, nervous cries of “listen to me” and a predictable ending – perhaps the most accurate hit on the nerve of Minsk in 2021. Winter is in the yard, activism is paused or moved abroad, where the emigrated Belarusian mounts her old fears and hopes with shots of pacified cats (“Dear Revolution” by Tasha Orlova). The cat is always pleased with himself and always strives to improve the quality of life. So the philosopher John Gray believes that we’d better be like cats.

2. Retrospectives Another Screen . Some of them are also held with Russian subtitles.

3. Online retrospectives of Amit Dutta by Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution and Mubi, as well as Shrikantha Srinivasan’s book on his cinema .

4. Films and Forensic Architecture Investigations .

5. The Refurbished Truck (Le camion, 1977) by Marguerite Duras (Gaumont, 2021) and her film book, recently translated into English, The Darkroom (Contra Mundum Press, 2020).

Best New Movies:

1. “Dragon and Princess with Freckles” (Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime), Mamoru Hosoda, Japan, 2021

2. “Zeros and Ones”, Abel Ferrara, Germany, USA, UK, Italy, 2021

3. Ste. Anne, Rhine Vermette, Canada, 2021

4. Romeo & Juliet, Simon Godwin, UK, 2021

5. Mad God, Phil Tippett, USA, 2021

6. The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion, UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, 2021 

7. Everything Is Cinema, Don Palathara, India, 2021

8. “Introduction” (Inteurodeoksyeon), Hong Sang Soo, South Korea, 2021

9. Truth or Consequences, Hannah Gianti, USA, 2020

10. “Listen to the rhythm of our images” (Écoutez le battement de nos images), Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Maxime Jean-Baptiste, Guiana, France, 2021

Some more good films:

1. Bo Burnham. Inside, Bo Burnham, USA, 2021

2. Shadow in the Cloud, Rosanna Liang, New Zealand, USA, 2020

3. Her Socialist Smile, John Janvito, USA, 2020

4. “Identity” (Passing), Rebecca Hall, UK, USA, 2021

5. “Pebbles” (Koozhangal), P.S. Vinothraj, India, 2021

6. Sarpatta Parampara, Pa. Ranjit, India, 2021

7. An Unusual Summer, Kamal Aljafari, Germany, Occupied Palestinian Territories, 2020

8. Straight Up, James Sweeney, USA, 2019

9. “Pig” (Pig), Michael Sarnoski, UK, USA, 2021

10. Train Again, Peter Cherkassky, USA, 2021

11. Stop, David Domingo, Spain, 2021

12. “Shock Wave 2” (Chai dan zhuan jia 2), Herman Yau, Hong Kong, China, 2020

13. “Shalom, daddy!” (Shiva Baby), Emma Seligman, 2020

Returned cinema (online retrospectives, restoration and digitization of selected films):

Pirate torrent trackers remain the most extensive, convenient and publicly available movie archives, but traditional cinematics, funds, streaming services (and not only specialized ones like Mubi, but also giants like Netflix and Amazon), rental companies, as well as individual enthusiasts also store, digitize and show movies. Let not a single film be lost, even if only one person needs it.

1.  A Season of Classic Films” of the Association of European Cinematheques, which included not so much obvious “classics” as films like the wonderful “Maria do Mar” (1930) by Jose Leitana de Barros.

2. A large-scale project of the Polish Film Institute, which has restored many Polish films and several thousand newsreels, from 1945 to 1994, and made them publicly available with English subtitles.

3. Retrospective Anthology Film Archives, among which the most noteworthy was “Anthology Baltic modernist film» (Baltic Modernist Cinema Anthology).

4. Retrospective of John Jost, hosted by the Munich Film Museum.

5. Series An Other Cinema  on e-flux.

6. The Potato Eaters Collective YouTube channel , where enthusiasts post the rarities of Indian cinema.

7. YouTube-channel Modern Chinese Cultural Studies , where the historian of Chinese cinema Christopher Rea shares little-known Chinese films, as well as videos dedicated to them. He also recently published an excellent book, Chinese Film Classics, 1922-1949 (Columbia University Press, 2021).

8. Online program “Vidkritiy archiv”, conducted by the Dovzhenko Center.

1. “Alice in Wonderland” (Ali au pays des merveilles), Juhra Abuda, Alain Bonnami, France, 1976 (Il Cinema Ritrovato, 2021)

2. “Thunderbolt”, Joseph von Sternberg, USA, 1929 (Kino Lorber, 2021)

3. “Long road” (Toi ippon no michi), Sachiko Hidari, Japan, 1977 (karagarga, 2021)

4. Ken Jacobs Film Collection , 1955-2021, (Kino Lorber, 2021)

5. Deep Cover, Bill Duke, USA, 1992 (Criterion, 2021)

6. Tongues Untied, Marlon Riggs, USA, 1989 (Criterion, 2021)

7. “Glorious fellow”, Boris Barnet, USSR, 1943 (Gosfilmfond, Kultura.rf, 2021)

8. “War has no woman’s face”, Viktor Dashuk, USSR, 1981-1984 (Belarusfilm Digital, 2020)

9. “Chess of the Wind” (Shatranj-e baad), Mohammad Reza Aslani, Iran, 1976 (MUBI, 2021)

10. “Lizards” (I basilischi), Lina Wertmüller , Italy, 1963 (MUBI, 2021)

Best Music Videos:

1. alt J – U&ME (Prosper Unger-Hamilton)

2. Arca – of Prada / Rakata (The Frederik Heyman, Arca)

3. BADBADNOTGOOD – Timid, Intimidating (Winston Hacking)

4. FKA twigs – with In for Tears of The Club (feat of The Weeknd.) (Amber Grace Johnson / @agjnyc)

5. Jon Jost – up on the mountain (Jon Jost)

6. Kanye West – for Come to Life (Kanye West, by Nico Ballesteros)

7. Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar – family ties (Dave Free)

8. Kristine Leschper – Figure and I (Lynne Sachs)

9. Lil Nas X – Montero (Tanu Muino, Lil Nas X)

10. Sleigh Bells – Justine Go Genesis (Alex Ross Perry, Derek Miller)


[1] Translated by Maxim Karpitsky based on the publication: Duras, Marguerite, Ifland, Alta, Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Darkroom. – Contra Mundum Press, 2021 .– P. 54

The lines quoted are the full text of the First Application for the film Truck ( Le Camion , 1977), a sketch of the idea for a future film. [Back]