It's as if this year filmmakers remembered why God made movies. In a world of nonstop data where most of the static is gossip in 140 soul-destroying words or less, cinema has had a transcendent 12 months — a visual renaissance that has burned past convention.
The creative surge has not led to a perfect world. At times the performances stumbled, the stories struggled. But what we saw on screen was mind-blowingly inventive — the stuff of imaginations unbound.
Though visually evocative films are always a part of the landscape, the artistic leap of 2012 is particularly significant. The source of film's power as a distinctive medium has always been its ability to take us to another world, for reality to dissolve in the darkness while the images overtake us. When this happens, the experience is immersive. Watching the ethereal 3-D of
As the power and complexity of the illusions increase, so too the allusive impact. Filmmaker
There was provocation as well in understatement. The meticulously crafted minimalism of
Authenticity, as opposed to the now bastardized notion of reality, came into its own with unexpected force. Here life was stripped to its essential, naturalistic core. Ambient sounds provided the chorus for existential portraits in films that continued in the tradition of Kelly Reichardt's
Now a new generation of filmmakers is experimenting with the sensory possibilities. Andrea Arnold's
Sometimes films screamed for attention with their sheer size and how well they wore it.
There was surrealist progress as well. Benh Zeitlin's fearless magical realism blew up a bayou and broke ancient aurochs free in the cacophony of
But where Carax sees decline, I see reinvention — film's creative roots reimagined, the future reshaped.