Sunday, February 22, 2009

Muriels: the Best Picture countdown begins!

Well Muriels fans, the day you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived- the day when the winner of this year’s Golden Muriel for Best Picture will be revealed to a salivating public. But before that happens, I’d like continue a Muriels tradition which I began last year, in which I recognize some of the voters’ favorite films that didn’t win the top prize. So all this afternoon and extending into the evening, I’ll be posting a piece on a film every half hour, complete with commentary written by one of our esteemed Muriels voters. Nearly all of this afternoon’s films was ranked as the year’s best by at least one voter, so there’s plenty of passion on display in this afternoon’s announcements, even if their overall placement wasn’t especially strong. The announcement of our Top 10 vote-getters will begin at 5 PM today, leading up to the announcement of our five top movies- our “nominees”, as it were, just after 8:00. So keep checking in here today. Who knows, there may be some surprises in store…

But first, Michael Lieberman, one of our resident experimental film lovers, offers some thoughts on one of the year’s most acclaimed films. This one was a favorite of several of our voters- myself included- but, alas, didn’t meet the eligibility requirements for Best Picture due to its running time. Nonetheless, it’s well worth seeking out once it hits DVD this spring. Take it away, Mike:

“Though ineligible for the Muriels, John Gianvito's Profit motive and the whispering wind is one of the most memorable political documents of the Bush years and the best documentary released in 2008. Cataloguing grave stones of those who stood up for the oppressed, as well as including the locations of horrendous, racist massacres, Profit motive is not at all didactic, though like the films of Straub and Huillet, the rigid formal tendencies become reassuring. If anything, the landscapes surrounding the graves and encompassing the former battle sites give peace and urgency to these dormant, rotting landmarks. The ending, wholly inspiring and motivating, gives the present day its much deserved place in history: the wind is at our backs.” ~ Michael Lieberman

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