Its that time of year when ‘Film of the Year’ lists begin popping up everywhere, and not wanting to disappoint we here at Soda have merrily jumped on the festive film list bandwagon. So for the past few weeks I’ve been asking Soda staff and Soda friends to let me know what their ‘Film of the Year’ was (n.b. in hindsight I think requesting just one film of the year was a little mean- so I’ve allowed the occasional extra few films slip through the net) and finally here are the responses…
Guy Maddin | Director ‘My Winnipeg‘
Synecdoche, New York
I loved Synecdoche! Even granting, which I’m not sure I will, that it has too many problems to be considered a masterpiece I must insist that it has more great, wildly original stuff in it than all the other movies put out this past year combined!
Kate Gerova | Soda’s Head of Distribution
My film of the year is XXY the delicately and deftly handled feature debut from Lucía Puenzo with a startling and mesmerising central performance from Inés Efron. Give yourselves a Christmas treat and watch this unusual film that heralds the arrival of two major talents. And at the very least you will know what Klinefelter’s syndrome is.
Marie Foulston | Soda’s Online Co-ordinator
King of Kong
The fair weather gaming geek in me is what brought me to this documentary, but it was the compelling story of rivalry, backstabbing and determination that has made it my film of the year. King of Kong was both both heartbreaking and hilarious, so much so that I had to remind myself from time to time that I wasn’t watching a mockumentary. (Special extra mention for Shotgun Stories also which came a very very close second)
Duane Hopkins | Director ‘Better Things‘
Import / Export
A perfect meeting of fiction and documentary ideas that combine to create an aesthetic that is as original in its execution as it is humane in its representation of its characters. A incredible vision of Europe and the personal strain our systems place on people as they search for something more than just survival.
Precise and intense. Film making as art. A powerful use of editing and montage that builds and flows to it’s own unique rhythms. A concise exploration of beliefs and the sacrifices they ask of you, and the extremes possible when you believe a higher cause is your motivation.
Frances Harvey | Soda’s Acquisitions Co-ordinator
Having scoured this year’s releases there are depressingly few that I actually saw in the cinema and my favourites are ones that I didn’t even see this year, so do they even count? Then there are films that I know will be favourites but I haven’t had a chance to see them - Step Up to the Streets 2 being the prime example. With the risk of being greedy I’m going to have to pick 2, one that I actually saw as a cinema goer this year and one from festivals of yesteryear which saw its release in 2008. (And if films from next year were allowed - I’d also have Milk).
Marvin Belle | Directors Notes
There Will Be Blood
Don’t know why but it seems somehow wrong to have such an obvious choice as the year’s favourite. Even with all the hype of greatness foreshadowing TWbB, Paul Thomas Anderson far exceeded any expectations I went in with. Yes there are blinding performances from Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano, but for me it’s the assured pacing that’s the main draw. The film moves at a measured stroll that allows a foreboding knot to continuously tighten in your gut, yet the 158mins slip by unnoticed. Months later I still find myself playing back scenes in my head and maniacally shouting about milkshakes.
Ben Metcalf | Soda’s Theatrical Sales Co-ordinator
With an austere, static, style and natural, realistic, unnerving and unhinged performances from Mathieu Amalric and Michael Lonsdale, Heartbeat Detector is an emotive, breath taking cinematic experience that left me emotionally drained and wholly elated. Emotive cinema at its very best, this is real cinema.