Best of the Rest


Spectacularly nasty dads (the alcoholic abuser in Affliction, the pedophiles in Happiness and The Celebration) seemed to dominate a year that was also marked by a paucity of fine films by and about women. I’m looking forward to the February release of The Apple, by Samira Mahkmalbaf; the father in her film, who merely locks his daughters up, seems mild by comparison. Carine Adler’s Under the Skin didn’t make it onto my list, but Samantha Morton’s wrenching performance in it was one of the year’s most compelling. Here, some ancillary awards are followed by a list of 10 films that, through formal brilliance, emotional depth, or sheer gutsiness and soul, helped push the margins of the medium.

Most ambitious documentaries with little hope of distribution: Herve Le Roux’s Le Repris; Ron Havilio’s Fragments * Jerusalem

Film with the greatest relevance to a contemporary American psycho drama: Emile de Antonio and Daniel Talbot’s Point of Order, on the Senate’s 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings.

And the top 10, in order of

1. Fireworks
2. Touch of Evil
3. Flowers of Shanghai
4. The Butcher Boy
5. Taste of Cherry
6. Affliction
7. Gadjo Dilo (Tony Gatlif)
8. Destiny (Youssef Chahine)
9. The Celebration
10. If You Hear I’m Dead
(Vincente Aranda)

Read other Voice critics’ 1998 favorite film lists.