I was going to finish this post in December but depression, etc. I saw a lot of very affecting movies in 2017 – not necessarily 2017 movies. These are the most important movies that I happened to watch in the year 2017 and why they were important, underexplained and with no internal consistency.
I finally! saw Dario Argento’s cult classic in its beautiful 4K restoration. The story, about American ballet student Suzy who travels to Germany to attend an elite dance school that may have ties to evil witchcraft, is ultimately very stupid, but that doesn’t matter. Just the Grand Guignol ass setpieces and stunning colors wash over you. It was also an influence on Kunihiko Ikuhara, so that qualifies it as essential viewing.
This was a relatively subdued Almodovar (and I love me a convoluted Almodovar). The story of middle-aged, independent Julieta is framed by a tell-all letter to her estranged daughter, Antia. Julieta is played brilliantly by two actresses, representing her youth and middle age, the division between which is also marked by life-changing grief. It’s a simple story in some ways: a woman alone meets a man, by the alignment of circumstance they build a life and family, there is loss, there is estrangement, and the woman is alone again. What stuck with me about Julieta is its exploration of how much of ourselves we put aside in relationships without planning to or realizing it, how grief can rewire our entire self, and how we really just don’t fucking understand other people – especially our parents.