Top 50 New to Me Viewings of 2016

My viewing habits in 2016 were characterized by grief. There was a pattern I formed of crying on my husband’s shoulder & then watching movies starring or directed by those who passed away and weeping once more. David Bowie, Prince, Jacques Rivette and Chantal Akerman are all here because it was within that pattern that I discovered a lot of their greatest cinematic achievements. If I could have them back and give away these movies I would. I’m always going to end up remembering 2016 as a year of mourning. It seemed like each month an icon of mine died, and I hadn’t even had the time to process the deaths of 2015 like the already mentioned Chantal Akerman. I miss them dearly, but luckily there are many cinematic experiences this year that weren’t shrouded in death like the colossal Only Angels Have Wings or the sweepingly romantic All that Heaven Allows or the The Lake House. And speaking of The Lake House Keanu Reeves was another pattern in my viewings this year as I decided to fill in the gaps of one of my favourite actors. This proved a rich experience with movies like My Own Private Idaho & Speed enchanting me for days. No other film moved me quite like the Female Prisoner Scorpion series, which I have written about at length here on Curtsies and Hand Grenades and more briefly at The Village Voice and Movie Mezzanine. Cinema always brings riches and it is the one guiding vessel of my life. It is a joy to recount my favourite older movies I watch each year, even in a year like 2016 which seemed to bring nothing more than sorrow, grief and anxiety about the future of the world. It is my hope, and I do have hope, that we’ll get through these coming years with as few scars as possible and we’ll be able to rebuild everything that we’ve lost. Here’s to hoping 2017 brings 2018 and so on. If that is the case I’ll be here talking about movies, because art is sometimes all we’ve got.

*one note: films from 2015 & 2016 are not allowed on this list. Everything else is fair game.

1. Female Prisoner Scorpion Series (Shunya Ito & Meiko Kajii, 1972-73)
2. A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1991)
3. Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939)
4. Sign O’ The Times (Prince, 1987)
5. The Terrorizers (Edward Yang, 1986)
6. All that Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955)
7. The Lake House (Alejandro Agresti, 2006)
8. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Lau Kar-Leung)
9. Opening Night (John Cassavetes, 1977)
10. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
11. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
12. Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997)
13. Joan the Maid (Jacques Rivette, 1994)
14. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
15. Terms of Endearment (James L. Brooks, 1983)
16. My Name is Julia Ross (Joseph H. Lewis, 1945)
17. Gang of Four (Jacques Rivette, 1989)
18. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991)
19. Love and Basketball (Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2000)
20. The Yakuza Papers Volume 2: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima (Kinji Fukasaku, 1973)
21. Flirting (John Duigan, 1991)
22. Noroit (Jacques Rivette, 1976)
23. Tomorrow We Move (Chantal Akerman, 2004)
24. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (D.A. Pennebaker, 1973)
25. Running on Karma (Johnnie To, 2003)
26. Wuthering Heights (Jacques Rivette, 1985)
27. Death Becomes Her (Robert Zemeckis, 1991)
28. Out 1 (Jacques Rivette, 1971)
29. Moonstruck (Norman Jewison, 1987)
30. The Mission (Johnnie To, 1999)
31. Flowers of Shanghai (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 1998)
32. Under the Cherry Moon (Prince, 1985)
33. Speed (Jan de Bont, 1994)
34. Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
35. Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1991)
36. Caught (Max Ophuls, 1949)
37. The Unbelievable Truth (Hal Hartley, 1989)
38. Heaven Knows What (Ben and Joshua Safdie, 2014)
39. The Furies (Anthony Mann, 1950)
40. Sympathy for the Underdog (Kinji Fukusaku, 1971)
41. Lovely and Amazing (Nicole Holofcener, 2001)

42. What Maisie Knew (Babette Mangolte, 1976)

43. The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicholas Roeg, 1976)
44. The Nightwatchman (Claire Denis, 1990)
45. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983)
46. Next of Kin (Tony Williams, 1982)
47. Paris Belongs to Us (Jacques Rivette, 1961)
48. Godzilla vs. Mothra (Ishiro Honda, 1964)
49. Beyond the Lights (Gina Price-Bythewood, 2014)
50. I Married a Witch (Rene Clair, 1942)