Favorite Films of 2011

Melancholia by Lars von Trier — this is the first 8 minutes . . .

Kingdom by Lars von Trier — I think this must be the single funniest thing I watched this year, although the humor (and just about everything else) here is unlike any humor I’ve before seen. In my opinion, it was working on Kingdom that allowed von Trier to become the great director that so many know him as now . . .

Werckmeister Harmonies by Bela Tarr — the camera work here is beyond incredible. This is the film made from Melancholy of Resistance.

The Seventh Continent by Michael Haneke

Certified Copy by Abbas Kiarostami — for fans of postmodernism, Manuel Puig, Don DeLillo, translation, the performativity of character, etc . . .

Close-Up by Abbas Kiarostami — another one . . .

Summer/Le rayon vert by Eric Rohmer — Romer’s ability to make films out of the simplest gestures was amazing. Also, the women in Rohmer’s films don’t look like any other women . . .

Made in USA by Jean-Luc Godard — I had to watch this one about three times before I go the gist down . . .

Meek’s Cutoff — perfect cinematic match for Butcher’s Crossing.

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Nice to see some love for all these great films, especially underrated ones like Haneke’s THE SEVENTH CONTINENT which absolutely blew me away the first time I saw it, years ago on VHS, unaware of any of Haneke’s other work. If you liked those Von Trier films try THE IDIOTS.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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