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Daily | Lists | 1923, Schrader, and the Underseen

Plus an hour-long mix of some of the year’s best film music.

By David Hudson December 30, 2013
Jean Epstein's 'Coeur fidèle' (1923)

Jean Epstein’s ‘Coeur fidèle’ (1923)

We begin in 1923. Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell have been drawing up lists of the best films of 90 years ago for six years now. “It’s a way of drawing attention to some wonderful but often little-known films, for those who are interested in exploring the treasures of silent cinema,” explains Thompson, adding that 1917 was relatively easy. 1923, not so much:

1923 should be packed with worthy candidates. But oddly, some of the most significant directors of the era didn’t make films that year. This seems to have been partly because success brought greater ambitions. In 1923 Fritz Lang was preparing his epic two-part Die Nibelungen, guaranteed to show up in next year’s list. Abel Gance had embarked the long road to the release of Napoléon, four years later.

Carl Dreyer, who had made three films in 1919 and two each in 1920 and 1921, was bouncing around among companies and countries in the mid-1920s, and didn’t again release anything until his 1924 German-produced film, Michael.

Still: Chaplin, Lubitsch, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Jean Epstein, Ivan Mosjoukine, Germaine Dulac, Robert Wiene, and Man Ray make the list, so, you know, not too shabby.

BEST OF 2013

Paul Schrader‘s thoughts on the year are making the rounds. “‘Stunt’ performances which were once relatively rare (DeNiro in Raging Bull, Cage in Leaving Las Vegas) are becoming a necessary audience hook: emaciated McConaughey, comb over Bale, silent Redford as well as stunt themes: merciless look at slavery, nonjudgemental view of Wall Street immorality, computer love story…. Every theatrical film has to be an event. I don’t know where this leads, but it’s been great for movies this year.”

Omar Ahmed‘s not only posted his 2013 top ten but also his top ten Indian films of the year.

The latest friends of Paste to post lists: Actress Beth Grant and producer Anne Hubbell.

Viola was underseen, argues Josef Braun; here’s The Seventh Art‘s interview with director Matías Piñeiro

“The year in underseen cinema” is a smartly annotated list from Josef Braun. Recommended.

Designer Sam Smith‘s posted his top albums and films of the year. “And as I’ve done for the past few years, I’ve compiled an hour-long continuous playlist of selections from my favorite film scores of the year…. The tracks I selected—mostly original scores with a couple exceptions—are mostly very dark and very ambient so consider yourself warned.”

In German. Once again, Cargo‘s asked friends and contributors to write a bit about “Was vom Jahr bleibt.”

In Spanish Portuguese. Filipe Furtado‘s put together a list of some of the year’s best writing about film (and a few of these pieces are in English).

MEANTIME

Gorilla vs. Bear‘s videos of 2013. And Hyperallergic recommends 13 books of poetry published this year.

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