Village Voice Critics Choose Best Films of 1965

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January 13, 1966, Vol. XI, No. 13

Film Critics Choose Their Favorites for 1965

By Jonas Mekas

Once more we are playing the Best Movies of the Year game. The usual answer this year is that even the best ones are hardly worth listing and remembering. Just forget the whole year, wash your memory out, that's all.

That's what happens when you live too long with Papa's cinema, dragging it behind you like an empty tin can on a string. Hollywood is our old, nice Papa, and we forgive it, even when nothing comes out of its rusty faucet.

Only those few of us (as you can see from Ken Kelman's and my own lists) felt differently, last year. There is a new cinema, and what a shame that so few people came to see it last year. I hope you aren't going to make the same mistake this year. For the new cinema -- some people call it the Second Cinema -- has given a few truly beautiful evenings.

Here are some of the Best lists.

WILLIAM K. EVERSON: ("The best ones were pretty bad. 'Les Vampyres' was better than all pictures of 1965 put together.") "The Loved One" (Richardson), "The Knack" (Lester), "Dear John" (a Swedish movie, not yet released in this country, directed by Lars Eric Lindgren), "Gertrud" (Dreyer), "The Leather Boys" (Furie), "The Damned" (Losey), "Juliet of the Spirits" (Fellini), "The Collector" (Wyler), "World Without Sun" (Cousteau), "Help!" (Lester).

DWIGHT MACDONALD: "No prizes should be given this year."

HERMAN G. WEINBERG: "Of the new films I saw in '65 I like Pasolini's "Accattone," Norman McLaren's "Canon" and "Mosaic," Chris Marker's "Komiko," Adolfas Mekas's "The Double Barrelled Detective Story," Jonas Mekas's "The Brig," Ichikawa's "Tokyo Olympics" (original version), Rossif's "To Die in Madrid," and the BBC film on Steinberg's "I Claudius": "The Epic that Never Was."

RUDY FRANCHI: (in order of preference) "Nobody Waved Goodby" (Don Owen), "What's New Pussycat?" (Donner), "A Married Woman" (Godard), "In Harm's Way" (Preminger), "Help!" (Lester), "Repulsion" (Polanski), "These Are the Damned" (Losey), "Alphaville" (Godard), "Red Desert" (Antonioni), "Darling" (Schlesinger).

KEN KELMAN: The Best Five Films of 1965: "Gertrud" (Dreyer), "The Art of Vision" (Brakhage), "The Trial of Joan of Arc" (Bresson), "Skin" (Carl Linder), Landow's "Loop." Other Worthy Works: "Mass" (Baillie), "John and Ivy" (Palmer-Warhol), "A Married Woman" (Godard), "Report" (Conner), "Songs and Traits" (Brakhage), "March of the Garter Snakes" (Lawder), "The Death of Hemingway" (Markopoulos), films by Bob Branaman, "Le Petit Soldat" (Godard), "The Man Who Invented Gold" (MacLaine), "Vinyl" (Warhol), "Sins of the Fleshapoids" (Kuchar), "Jeux des Anges" (Borowczyk), "Echoes of Silence (Goldman), "Pastorale" (Vanderbeek), "Quixote" (Baillie), "Lisa and Joey in Connecticut" (Ken Jacobs), "Normal Love" (Jack Smith), "A Hurrah for Soldiers" (Baillie), "Olga's Shame" (Borden), "Evocations" (Cowan), "Diary of a Chambermaid" (Bunuel), "Fistfight" (Breer).

MY OWN CHOICES: The Old Cinema gave one masterpiece: "Gertrud" by Carl Dreyer. Other old movies of interest: "The Trial of Joan of Arc" (Bresson), "These Are the Damned" (Losey), "Red Desert" (Antonioni), "Alphaville" (Godard), "Before the Revolution" (Bertollucci), "La Terra Trema" (Visconti), "Bunny Lake is Missing" (Preminger). From the New Cinema: Two most important occasions of 1965 were the first public screening of Brakhage's "The Art of Vision" and the work of Harry Smith. Other moments of beauty and excitement: "Songs and Traits" (Brakhage), "Report" (Conner), "Komiko" (Marker), "Quixote" (Baillie), "Loop" (Landow), "Fistfight" (Breer), "Allan for Allan" (Barbara Rubin), "Summerwind" (Dorsky), "Jerovi" (Rodriguez-Soltero), "Oh them Watermelons" (Nelson), "Skin" (Linder), "Peyote Queen" (De Hirsch). Three new film-makers have appeared on the scene with glimpses of beauty and promises for the future: Andy Meyer, Robert Nelson, and Piero Heliczer. Andy Warhol continued his series of works the importance of which will grow with time: "Vinyl," "Juanita de Castro," "Screen Test," "The Poor Little Rich Girl," "Beauty II" "The Kitchen," "My Hustler." One of the most creative areas during last year has been the "expanded" cinema, "mixed media" area. I should point out particularly the work of Jerry Joffen, Gerd Stern, Stan Vanderbeek, Robert Whitman, Angus MacLise, Ken Jacobs, Nam June Paik, Don Snyder, Jack Smith.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]

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