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Mid-Way Review: Is 2006 a Boom or a Bust for Great Cinema?

by Anthony Kaufman
June 13, 2006 2:20 AM
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Can one really judge the year in film by its first half? It's a silly exercise, really, but I admit I had been thinking about it too, the very same day that indieWIRE's Reverse Shot gang published their own best-of mid-way list. Lists, lists, lists, everyone loves lists. My own list follows, and I must also admit that it largely follows Reverse Shot's picks, with the Dardenne brothers' poignant "L'Enfant" leading the pack, along with Carlos Reygadas's Mexican stunner "Battle in Heaven" and Cristi Puiu's morbid, absurd, inspired "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" as sure-fire favorites that will likely make it through the end of the year. But the rest, I'm not so sure.

Looking at my top ten list from 2005, only three films ("Kings and Queen", "The Holy Girl" "The World") were released during the first half of the year. I'd suspect 2006 fall releases such as Volver, Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men, Half Nelson, The Science of Sleep, The Good German, and Babel may displace some of my current favorites. They don't call it awards season for nothing -- even for arthouse fare.

In roughly chronological order, here are my faves so far:
Bubble
Tristram Shandy
Manderlay
Three Times
Battle in Heaven
Dave Chapelle's Block Party
L'Enfant
Somersault
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
The Proposition
The Road to Guantanamo

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