Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ed Gonzales's top 10 films of 2008.

Slant Magazine

1) A Dogme film with an Altmanesque soul, "Rachel Getting Married" is a richly eccentric and instinctive look at addiction and the toils, troubles, and joys of blood relations, in which a young girl struggles to save herself using a language no one either speaks or cares to, set by Jonathan Demme during a wedding whose pretense to multiculturalism reveals itself as a narcissistic clan's way of disguising from the world that they're hurting just as badly as the next family.

2) Built on sensuous interplays between people and objects, reality and representation, José Luis Guerín's rapturously alfresco "In the City of Sylvia" uses a voluptuous language of spatial-temporal equations to conflate one's love of people with one's love of movies.

3) A sterling follow-up to his similarly themed "Changing Times", "The Witnesses" is another triumph for the criminally underrated André Téchiné, who uses his sensual humanist verve to hone in on the desires and insecurities of a group of friends and lovers when AIDS rattles their sense of complacency.

4) Errol Morris's dramatic recreations are his aesthetic signature, and they're sometimes sore spots in his work, but in his heady Abu Ghraib exposé "Standard Operating Procedure" they are as purposeful as they were in "The Thin Blue Line", cannily dialoguing with his thesis about the veracity of image-making.

5) "Summer Palace" teems with sex scenes more meaningful than anything in "Lust, Caution", hinging on more than just a feeling of duplicity; in them, Ye Lou locates the soul of his young people, a woman's areola and the hairs on a man's chin popping off the screen as vividly and urgently as placards of political protest.

6) Filmmaker and explorer, Werner Herzog is a man obsessed with the secrets and wonders of uncharted terrains and their inhabitants, and with his sly, poetic, and melancholic "Encounters at the End of the World" he reflects on the eccentricity, compassion, and possible madness of people like himself united in their committment to looking beyond themselves.

7) A sweet and mellow Malaysia-set love story between a young boy and girl, "Mukhsin" is chockablock with bittersweet cultural observations, with Yasmin Ahmad peering at the ecstasies and haunts of her young characters with a mixture of lovingness and randiness that brings to mind Yasujiro Ozu's "Good Morning".

8) Lush with longing and history, "My Father My Lord" suggests an ancient vase with small precarious cracks spread across its surface. Writer-director David Volach's subjective use of video technology toys with space and distance, affecting the curiosity of his cherubic main character, whose love for his father is as powerful and incandescent as lightning.

9) An unexpectedly poignant queering of the horror genre, "Let the Right One In" is the story of one child's painful coming of age and another's insatiable bloodlust. Do not avert your eyes from Tomas Alfredson's gorgeously, meaningfully aestheticized vision, though you may want to cover your neck.

10) With "Happy-Go-Lucky", Mike Leigh engages silent-movie idiom for a study of human behavior that appears out of sync with the times but shouldn't really, and as memorably performed by Sally Hawkins using an arsenal of unbelievably orchestrated sniggers and jostles and punctuating guffaws, her wild child emerges as an example of humane perseverance.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: "Man on Wire", "Chris & Don", "Reprise", "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl", "The Strangers", "Redbelt", "Still Life", "Gran Torino", "Trouble the Water", and "Up the Yangtze".


lhp said...

WOW! What a way to end the year and start the next!

"Mukhsin" and "Let The Right One In".

glenn_marsalim said...

congrats, sayang.
this is a good news to end the year.

Anonymous banker said...

semua english title except for 'mukhsin' u made us proud! CONGRATS!!

kruel74 said...

Sadly, except for Mukhsin, we won't be seeing them on the silver screen or it got lost in the slot that they will choose without promotion. Except if they are one of the new Europe/German/French Festival...

azwad said...

What's a chockablock?

Some reviews requires me to check the dictionary :)


Azmi Danuri said...

top 10 films of 2008!


Kurt Kuden said...

sape gonzales?

troisnyx* said...

sweet review. congrats Kak Min.
aw man, you must be elated :D

yasmin said...


ed gonzales tu adik-beradik speedy gonzales kot?

azwad, chockablock tu sama dengan choc-a-bloc, dan maknanya ialah... rajin-rajinlah tengok dictionary supaya kita boleh maju. ;-)


fadz said...

Filem Mike Leigh bawah Mukhsin, tapi filem Jonathan Demme atas, tapi menyebut Mukhsin masuk pun dah cukup mengujakan :) syabas!

awiscool2007 said...

Whatever it is... I'm proud of u kak yasmin.. itu baru mukhsin.. I believe Muallaf will get more than that.. oscar maybe??


May Allah bless u always kak min..

awiscool2007 said...

ooppss... maybe ramai yang tak tahu slant magazine kot.. for those yang tak tahu i give u the link here..


then, u evaluate how proud Malaysia had Kak yasmin in this industry... (i'm crying coz terharu our film setaraf dengan dengan filem2 hebat in this world)

and, Ed Gonzalez yang pilih.. what do u expect?? tak tahu sapa dia?? search kat internet!!

well done again kak min!!!

lhp said...

siapa ed gonzales?

maybe this may reveal more...


Kurt Kuden said...


Anonymous said...

ye, Ed Gonzales tu sape? dia kenai Mansur Puteh ka, Fadz tontonfilem ka? dia kaki wayang eh? Intro ler sikit :)

Kris Law said...

Is Slant an online film magazine? Sure sounds distinguished to be in any online film magazine list of the year's best films. Keeps "Mukhsin" film young and fresh always...Great mention.

New entry in my blog:

PS: When is the private screening of "Muallaf" for fans? psk...psk.. I offer my name, thanks.

mo said...

I love Techine. Have you watched Wild Reeds and My Favorite Season? Amazing.

andy gomes said...

kak min,
tell me about "wasurenagusa". is that the title of your next film? dont forget to post character auditions on your blog....i'm getting all exited=)

farah said...

Alhamdulillah. Congratulations K.Min!

Kinda scary when God gives and gives and gives kan? Whenever it happens to me it always makes me pause to think if I'm thanking him enough.

When it concerns you, though, I know God rewards those who are deserving - proven by your sheer hard work and sincerity.

All the best in the coming year. I'm sure it'll just be a greater year for you, inshaallah.

I'm so happy for you, K.Min. Looking forward to catching all your movies being aired next year.

the Razzler said...

Congrats!! Kak Min..

A great way to end 2008 & to kickstart 2009!! :) :)

lhp said...

Another great way to end 2008 and start the new year!


Averdim said...

Dearest Yasmin,

First off, a deeply felt congratulations! However, 'Sepet' still holds that special spot in my heart.

I was wondering if there is any way to contact you? I am a representative of the Malaysian Students Society of the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. I have always been a follower of your films and am enthralled by the way your films/stories find a way to the viewer's heart. I would like to instil this into an upcoming production of our Society that would see not only other Malaysian societies coming to watch, but also many of the locals.

With that in mind, I was wondering if it was possible to get a few pointers or so from you, or if you have any opinions as to how I can appraoch this? Even being far away from home, I dare say that the students here are still somewhat separated by the most obnoxious of barriers: race/colour. The past plays that have been produced in the years before never seem to appeal, nor do they even come close identifying the problems we now face as a nation/community.

It would be much honoured to receive a pinter or two from your vast experience. If you would be so kind as to indulge me, my email is shang_neng@hotmail.com

Regardless, may peace always be with you, and Allah always fill your heart in its entirety.

amethyst said...

yasmin,is it really d last week for muallaf to be in picturehouse? cuz i'm going to s'pore next week n was hoping to watch it... what a bummer if i'm one week late huhuh

Malaywood said...

wow.you beat Leigh's Happy go lucky.

damn, girl.

yasmin said...

salaam, all.

yes, malaywood. my thoughts precisely!

and amethyst, i think this IS the lsat week of muallaf's run in singapore. sigh...

Anonymous said...


"There are powerful emotions that are not pretentious in the movie."


kamal said...


mukhsin is a classic

maberik said...

as much as i'm glad for you that your film's in it, i still kinda hate this list.


because The Dark Knight is nowhere to be found. heheh so i prefer the "other guy's" list. :P

but then again Ed Gonzales' lists have always been kind of 'uncommon', pretentious even.

yasmin said...

haha, maberik. i think we should let everyone here know about your deep admiration for "dark night", and my utter disdain for it.

"why so serious?"

fortunately for me, maberik gave a good review of "mukhsin" in his blog. alhamduliilah.

afams-chan said...

Omedetou gozaimasu yasmin-sensei!!!!

U have brought up our nation's name to the world!

and thank you for sharing this info sensei! Keep on doing what you're doing..we're always support u.


Zed Adam said...

Wah congrats Kak Min!! Mukhsin diletak sebaris dengan filem Mike Leigh la! I've got several 2008 films on my to-watch list: Happy Go Lucky, Wendy & Lucy, Frozen River, I've Loved You So Long and Let The Right One In. What's your favourite film of 2008, Kak Min?

yasmin said...

salaam, zed.

i haven't seen that many films, but off-hand, the ones that left a deep impression in me were "juno" and "secret sunshine".

oh, and i watched neil jordan's "mona lisa" and yoji yamada's "tora-san, our lovable tramp", both for the umpteenth time, and i fell in love with them all over again.

another notable mention would have to be "dor" from india. they took massive shortcuts with the screenplay, but somehow the ellipses worked for me.

i saw 2 local films. ho yuhang's new, unfinished film "at the end of daybreak" and "budak kelantan". i loved them both.

"budak kelantan" was an intense drama, thick with humanity, and peppered with intelligent humour.

and "at the end of daybreak" was just about the most elegantly-made film ever to come out of this country. it was also very moving.



lhp said...


This is definitely the last 3 days at The Picturehouse Singapore for Muallaf.

Mon 22/12 - 10.30am, 2.45pm & 9.55pm
Tues 23/12 - 10.30am, 2.45pm & 9.55pm
Wed 24/12 - 10.30am, 2.45pm & 9.55pm (Christmas Eve)