Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 2, 2018

The best films of 2017

Filed under: Counterpunch,Film — louisproyect @ 5:19 pm

My sentimental favorite

To repeat what I said in last year’s selection of the best films available as VOD (video on demand), Amazon continues to provide access to those that show up originally in obscure art house venues in the largest cities and nowhere else. The rental fee ranges between $3.99 to $6.99 and is worth every penny.

Despite the decline of such theaters as I pointed out in a recent CounterPunch article, the on-line availability of leading-edge independent, foreign-language, and documentary films is greater than ever. In the 1950s and 60s, arguably the golden age of film, your only opportunity to see something like Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” was to live in a city where it was playing. And even if you did, it might have been impossible for you to fit it into your schedule. That’s the demand for which a revival house like The New Yorker or Bleecker St. Cinema began to meet decades ago.

In 1985, the video shop revolution began with the opening of the first Blockbuster. Now, for the first time, you could go rent a VHS for “Yojimbo”, even though it was more likely that you’d rent it from the video store equivalent of The New Yorker, which in the Big Apple was a place called Kim’s Video and Music that shut down in 2014, a victim of Amazon just like the massive record shops Tower and J&R. Who knows? Maybe in ten years every capitalist commodity can only be ordered from Amazon. At that point, we should arm the workers, seize power, nationalize it once and for all, and exile Jeff Bezos to that space station colony he is obsessed with.

With the steady improvement of bandwidth and the convenience of devices such as the Roku box, it has reached the point where many of these envelope-pushing films can be rented not long after they premiere in an art house. In fact, most of the films I review were seen on Vimeo, a streaming site that is essential for the film industry’s publicity departments.

This year’s selection of ten narrative and ten documentaries was drawn from an especially rich pool. While Hollywood continues to decline, such films trend upwards—a function no doubt of living in a time when the social and economic crisis creates an enormous magnetic pull on filmmakers with a conscience. No matter how bleak things seem, let’s support such films since it is better than cursing the darkness.

The list below contains a link to and excerpt from my reviews.

Continue reading

2 Comments »

  1. Louis: Your list has me realizing I’ve got to find more time for more than the occasional film. Also, I must compliment you on your mention of “the Swedish detective stories written by Marxists such as the Wallander series”; that the fiction I’ve been looking for. Thank you. BB

    Comment by Bill Boyd — February 2, 2018 @ 8:46 pm

  2. Hell on Earth: the Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS? Really? That you’d have a sympathetic post below to the late and great Robert Parry is a head scratcher. They recently added Caitlin Johnstone, Vanessa Beeley should join her http://21stcenturywire.com/2018/01/28/last-men-aleppo-al-qaeda-presented-white-helmets-annual-terrorist-oscarnomination/

    Comment by Colm — February 3, 2018 @ 11:14 am


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