2008 Best Of – Film Edition


Rachel Getting Married (USA) (for anne hathaway. for jenny lumet’s flawless script, and inspired cinematography)
Entre les Murs (France) (for authenticity and the desire to generate a debate)
Wall-E (USA) (for being a perfect movie, and pixar’s best to date)
The Dark Knight (USA) (for making batman play out like Nietzche)
Up the Yangtze (Canada/China) (a truly compelling documentary)
La Graine et le Mulet (France) (for the most genuine characters this year)
The Edge of Heaven (Germany/Turkey) (for being true  to human emotions and confirming Fatih Akin’s supremacy)
The Band’s Visit (Israel) (for the sheer simplicity of its story and message).
Happy-Go-Lucky (UK) (for Mike Leigh vision, script and Sally Hawkins’ fantastic performance)
Changeling (USA) (for eastwood’s masterful directing, avoiding any superflousness and focusing on the characters)
Synecdoche, NY (USA) (for awaking the existential demons in me — and making me say “what the fuck@#!@” again at the movies)
Let The Right One In (Sweden) (for being original, moving and creepy at the same time — and having the creepiest scene featuring house-cats)

Update ( January 15) – New films added to the list
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionnaire

NOTE : there are films I have yet to see and that could end up in this list : Slumdog Millionaire, Doubt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, Frost/Nixon… If needed, I will post an update as soon as I have seen them, in early 2009.

ALSO : non-2008 releases that graced my eyes and ears

Delicatessen (France)
Some Kind of Monster
Into the Wild (USA)
4 minutes (Germany)
12 angry men (USA)
Network (USA)

2008 Highlights – Music Edition

The list is not in any preferential order — Song previews will expire eventually, so don’t be bummed if you get an error message — If you read this off facebook, you may not be able to see the music player.


HIGHLIGHTS IN MUSIC : Live and/or Recorded

Portishead (album: third — for being gently psychadelic and violently catchy at the same time)
(live tour and best b-side ever — for being the best concert I’ve ever been to in my life and giving us the gift of Bangers and Mash)
The Luyas
(album: faker death — for being so delicate you could break them)
(album: parlovr and live shows — for being the catchiest act in town)
(album: Microcastle — for being just great)
Aimee Mann
(album: @!#!@$ Smilers — for being  both compelling and lyrically fascinating)
Sigur Ros
(live tour : despite my general disinterest in their last album, their live show delivered the most emotional 10 minutes I’ve ever experience in my concert-going life)
Benjamin Biolay
(album: Trash YéYé and live tour —  for being so subtle and referential on his new record, and for delivering a surprisingly rocking live performance) (myspace)


ALSO : Non-2008 releases that graced my ears

King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
Philip Glass – Glassworks , Symphony #3 & Kronos Quarter Performs Philip Glass
Panda Bear – Person Pitch
Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Bob Dylan – Modern Times


1984 : was it so long ago ?
December 6, 2008, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Books | Tags: ,

I just finished my “second” reading of George Orwell’s 1984 (my first was 15 years ago, when I was just 12 — and I realize now it was a comic book adaptation!) and I have to say I’m stunned by how good this novel is.  Orwell’s style is a crazy blend of wit, suspense and penmanship that is rarely found. Usually, one has to sacrifice pace for style, or suspence for deepness. But not here. Orwell carfts a story so compelling and thrilling, while provoking an explosion of neurones in your brain.

It must not be surprising for anyone reading this post to learn that this book is  simply one of the best works of science fiction (science fiction, really?) ever written.  Drop the Science, let me also say it’s probably one of the best works of fiction! The story surprises you at every turn, but not in a thriller kind of way. It just takes unexpected philosophical turns, with long moments of reflection, pondering on society and how we function as human beings.

Frankly, I’m a bit freaked out by the book, because so much of what he was talking about, back in the 50s, is now common practice. Apart from the totalitarian aspect of it, we can argue that society today is governed by single, extreme ideas that aim at making everyone similar and devoid of originality.

I don’t want to talk about it more than that. All I will say is that this is a must-read and you should get your copy ASAP.

PS: I’m told the film adaptation is terrific. So that’s my next step. Watch out for an update on this blog.