A Year With Women: December 2015 in Films
What a year this was! I’m going to write a proper wrap up post for A Year With Women later today; this post is just to wrap up December. I crammed quite a few films into December as I saw the calendar days getting less and less, which led to quite some great discoveries, as well as viewing several films I’d been meaning to watch for years. As always, a list of everything I watched, plus some highlighted favorites can be found after the cut.
- Somewhere Only We Know
- Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
- So Far from India
- India Cabaret
- The Laughing Club of India
- The Day the Mercedes Became a Hat
- 11’09’01 September 11: India
- How Can It Be?
- The Summer of Sangaile
- A Very Murray Christmas
- Janis: Little Girl Blue
- Nénette et Boni
- Arthur Christmas
- The Wolfpack (2015)
- Sleeping with Other People
- Le meraviglie (The Wonders)
- The Girl in the Book
- Seven Women, Seven Sins
- Bleeding Heart
- A Case of You
- A Christmas Melody
- Paris Is Burning
- Mixed Nuts (1994)
- Holy Smoke!
- Heart of a Dog
- Le Bonheur
- Sans toit ni loi (Vagabond)
- Je Tu Il Elle
- Les rendez-vous d’Anna
- The Ascent
A few of the 2015 releases I watched in December made it into my Favorite Fifteen Films of the Year post, so I’m not going to highlight them here. You should read that post if you want to know my thoughts on Mustang, Janis: Little Girl Blue and The Wolfpack. That said, I watched a lot of great films to end A Year With Women, and as always here were a few films that really resonated with me.
Nénette et Boni, 1996 (dir. Claire Denis)
I was lucky enough to see this gem from the 1990s on the big screen at the Cinefamily. A lot of films I watched this year were about teenage girls and I’m so grateful to discover so many films by women about teen girls, because they really get it. The titular duo is a brother and sister living in Marseille, going through some family angst. Besides its great lead performances, it has some delightfully wacky scenes with Vincent Gallo and Denis makes Marseille the city a character in and of itself.
Paris Is Burning, 1990 (dir. Jennie Livingston)
I saw part of this documentary many years ago when I was in fashion school, but somehow had never seen the whole thing. I’m so glad I finally remedied that! It’s such a beautiful film, full of hope and desire and anguish and perseverance. Set in the world of New York City’s ball culture in the 1980s, its main theme is about acceptance – both by society and of yourself, but it’s also about what we do to survive in a hostile world and the importance of self-care.
Le bonheur, 1965 (dir. Agnès Varda)
A candy-colored look at “happiness” in the form of romantic love and family units, Varda pull no punches in her commentary of French society and its inherent hypocrisy. I particularly love the ending sequence – which inspired many a conversation with my friends about what Varda was trying to say. Subversive cinema at its finest.
Je Tu Il Elle, 1974 (dir. Chantal Akerman)
I saw a bunch of different release dates for this film, so forgive me for choosing 1974 for this post! Akerman’s first feature films takes a lot of the themes of isolation that we see in her earlier shorts and expands on them. We follow a young woman as she starts in a self-imposed isolation in her stark apartment, writes and re-writes letters, picks up a truck driver, and has a tryst with what appears to be an ex-girlfriend. Although most notable for its explicit – yet never lurid, it definitely sets the tone for the singular style of Akerman’s later works.
Persepolis, 2007 (dir. Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud)
I really have no idea what took me so lang to see this film, especially since Satrapi and Paronnaud’s follow-up film Chicken With Plums was one of my favorite films from 2011. Based on Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel of the same name, the animated film follow Satrapi as she grows from a child in pre-revolution Iran, to her eventual decision to leave her country for good. Equal parts humorous and heartbreaking, this film is definitely a must-see.
So that was my December. Check back in a few hours as I post my end-of-the-year wrap-up for A Year With Women!