I usually refuse to compare CCC films on a merit basis, since this blog is dedicated to the study of the aesthetic, of this narrative mode, not to fuel the craving of detractors for reasons to dismiss "bad" CCC films (because they don't know how to find CCC-specific reasons to blame a film for failing to achieve its goal).
But in the context of Sight & Sound 2012 Top10 canon, let's also establish a referential standard for the quintessence of CCC, the greatest achievements of this particular aesthetic, which is now a little over 40 years old.
My (partial and non-consensual) Top10 ballot of the greatest aesthetic achievements in Contemporary Contemplative Cinema since 1970 :
- Sátántangó (1994/TARR Béla Tarr/Hungary)
- Mother and Son (1997/SOKUROV/Russia)
- Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (1975/Chantal AKERMAN/Belgium)
- The Turin Horse (2011/TARR Béla/Hungary)
- Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003/WANG Bing/China)
- I don't want to sleep alone (2006/TSAI/Taiwan)
- Los Muertos (2004/ALONSO/Argentina)
- Blissfully Yours (2002/WEERASETHAKUL/Thailand)
- Freedom (2000/BARTAS/Lithuania)
- Our Daily Bread (2005/GEYRHALTER/Germany)
Only 3 titles predate 2000, but they occupy all 3 top ranks! Instead of the big names, I went for the films that rely the less on narrative conventions and dialogue and music and editing (Technical minimum profile), to celebrate the core of the minimalist cinematic image (CCC basics), among the films I know qualify for the contemplative narrative mode (Recommended CCC). Many of these on my ballot could arguably replace numerous winners of the S&S2012 final Top10, yet they wind up outside of their Top250 because none of the voters watched them or didn't learn how to look at and appreciate this new aesthetic...
If there are any CCC fans still alive and kicking, please leave your own personal Top10 in the comments below... Thanks for your contributions over the years.