The twenty-city “John Waters Christmas Show” tour began November 29 in San Francisco.
PETER VON KANT (François Ozon)
By far the best movie of the year. Fassbinder’s classic lesbian melodrama is appropriated and remade as a gay Frenchman’s love letter to the original version. Hilariously stilted, often overwrought, but always highly entertaining, this cock-eyed tribute will make you swoon when Hanna Schygulla finally makes an appearance and Isabelle Adjani soon follows. My God, it’s just plain Douglas Sirk perfect.
EO (Jerzy Skolimowski)
Another tribute film, this time Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar meets Old Yeller. Can a donkey remember? Just ask Isabelle Huppert, who pops up in this movie for no apparent reason except that she’s the best actress in the world.
EVERYTHING WENT FINE (François Ozon—AGAIN!)
Assisted suicide for the elderly has never been so madcap. So I Love Lucy. So feel-so-bad-you’ll-feel-good. With a cast to die for—literally. Hanna Schygulla (AGAIN!), Jacques Nolot (my hero), and Charlotte Rampling as the nastiest ex-wife in the world.
SICK OF MYSELF (Kristoffer Borgli)
A pair of narcissistic Norwegian lovers can’t stop competing for the public’s attention. He’s a sculptor who uses furniture he steals as material, and she takes recalled poison medication on purpose to make her skin break out in rashes and boils so she can become a model with disabilities. No, it’s not Female Trouble, but it’s just as nuts. Pretty? Pretty? Pretty fucked up!
BRUNO REIDAL, CONFESSIONS OF A MURDERER (Vincent Le Port)
The boy can’t help it. Killing people. Jerking off. More jerking off. And the sight of meat made him do it! Yep, it’s true crime, Gallic style. One critic wrote, “If ever there was a movie tailor-made to appear on the annual list of the year’s best films that John Waters compiles for Artforum, it’s this one.” Boy, was he right.
DETAINEE 001 (Greg Barker)
John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban. This doc examines the hysteria of this case and asks the question I’ve been wondering about for years—was he an overhyped traitor or just a well-traveled kid caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? Oh, yeah, he’s really cute, in a grunge kind of way.
DINNER IN AMERICA (Adam Rehmeier)
A wonderfully nasty, politically incorrect punk-rock romantic comedy with great performances that somehow got canceled when it was screened at Sundance in 2020. Finally it was released this year, and nobody in the US seemed to notice except director Sean Baker, who sent me a screener, for which I’m eternally grateful.
WILL-O’-THE-WISP (João Pedro Rodrigues)
A racially risky, raunchy Portuguese musical about class and pyromania that will light you on fire. Facials! Fake dicks! A real arty head-scratcher of a film that makes Titane seem tame.
SMOKING CAUSES COUGHING (Quentin Dupieux)
Can a movie be both stupid and effete yet unironic? Only the French can pull that off, and this moronic auteur of ignoramuses does it again. Brilliant performances and dumbbell dialogue equal a superhero movie for idiots that surpasses all the tedium of Hollywood blockbusters.
BONES AND ALL (Luca Guadagnino)
Is there such a thing as a butch twink? Yes, there is, and Timothée Chalamet goes all Larry Clark on us here, a soft-trade hetero cannibal who kills an evil closeted gay trick so he and his flesh-eating girlfriend can feed. Is that gay-bashing or cannibally correct love? Just asking.