Okay, I'm getting tired of tracking down 2008 releases - it's time to move on. So here's my wrap-up of films that received their first one-week theatrical run in New York during 2008. (I exclude films that were made too long ago to feel contemporary.)
The ten-best list that I published at the Auteurs' Notebook needs modification, because I saw Silent Light a second time and got more excited about it. And also because I guess I'll stop my list at nine.
1. The Tracey Fragments (Bruce McDonald)
2. Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas)
3. Ballast (Lance Hammer)
4. Still Life (Jia Zhang-Ke)
5. Une vieille maîtresse (The Last Mistress) (Catherine Breillat)
6. Nights and Weekends (Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig)
7. Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo)
8. Before I Forget (Jacques Nolot)
9. The Wackness (Jonathan Levine)
Any film on this list of honorable mentions (in alphabetical order) could fill the tenth slot: Beaufort (Joseph Cedar), Entre les murs (The Class) (Laurent Cantet), In the City of Sylvia (José Luis Guerín), Leatherheads (George Clooney), Opera Jawa (Garin Nugroho), Paraguayan Hammock (Paz Encina), Poor Boy's Game (Clement Virgo), Stuff and Dough (Cristi Puiu).
Films with a lot going for them: Alexandra (Alexander Sokurov), Burn After Reading (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen), Ne touchez pas la hache (The Duchess of Langeais) (Jacques Rivette), The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin), Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog), Good Dick (Marianna Palka), Hamlet 2 (Andrew Fleming), Milk (Gus Van Sant), My Brother Is an Only Child (Daniele Luchetti), Romance of Astree and Celadon (Eric Rohmer), Shotgun Stories (Jeff Nichols), The Silence Before Bach (Pere Portabella), Son of Rambow (Garth Jennings), Summer Palace (Lou Ye), Take Out (Sean Baker & Tsou Shih-ching), Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman), (Naissance des pieuvres) Water Lilies (Céline Sciamma).
Films with something going for them: Alice's House (Chico Teixeira), Appaloosa (Ed Harris), Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry), Beauty in Trouble (Jan Hrebejk), Brick Lane (Sarah Gavron), Canary (Akihiko Shiota), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher), Elite Squad (Jose Padilha), Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou Hsiao-hsien), Four Christmases (Seth Gordon), 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu), A Girl Cut in Two (Claude Chabrol), Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh), La Question humaine (Heartbeat Detector) (Nicolas Klotz), I Served the King of England (Jiri Menzel), Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson), Love Songs (Christophe Honoré), The Man From London (Bela Tarr), Mukhsin (Yasmin Ahmad), My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar Wai), My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin), Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant), The Pleasure of Being Robbed (Joshua Safdie), Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito), Reprise (Joachim Trier), Roman de gare (Claude Lelouch), Slingshot (Brillante Mendoza), Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris), Stuck (Stuart Gordon), Warsaw Bridge (Pere Portabella), Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt), Wonderful Town (Aditya Assarat), Yes Man (Peyton Reed).
Films that some people liked but I couldn't get into: Baghead (Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass), Che Part I (Steven Soderbergh), A Christmas Tale (Arnaud Desplechin), Frownland (Ronald Bronstein), Diary of the Dead (George A. Romero), I've Loved You So Long (Philippe Claudel), JCVD (Mabrouk El Mechri), Jellyfish (Shira Geffen & Etgar Keret), La France (Serge Bozon), Liberty Kid (Ilya Chaiken), Married Life (Ira Sachs), Mary (Abel Ferrara), Momma's Man (Azazel Jacobs), My Father, My Lord (David Volach), Noise (Henry Bean), Of Time and the City (Terence Davies), The Other Half (Liang Ying), The Pool (Chris Smith), Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme), La Graine et le mulet (The Secret of the Grain) (Abdellatif Kechiche), Snow Angels (David Gordon Green), Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman), Taking Father Home (Liang Ying), Tehilim (Raphael Nadjari), Times and Winds (Reha Erdem), WALL*E (Andrew Stanton), The Wedding Director (Marco Bellocchio), The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky), XXY (Lucía Puenzo), Yella (Christian Petzold).