Sunday, March 25, 2012

1972 - What a Year!

I'm back.

Without going into the detail as to why I have been on radio silence this past month, I'd like to dive straight into the cold waters of blogging with my oft-neglected series of the best of years. Hopefully I will keep this up (it's something I've been promising myself and to my handful of readers, but bear with me - this will happen).

1972 ... what a year!

World, what were you up to in 1972?

  • Minerva claims independence. Tonga would have none of it.
  • Mariner 9 sends pictures of Mars. The lack of alien photobombs was disappointing.
  • Women participated for the first time in the Boston Marathon. Seriously? 1972?!
  • The usual stuff in Malaysia.

Not a lot, I must admit. I think the main reason was that the world was busy watching a certain film, which became an undisputed classic. You know which one I'm talking about. So, before I unveil the most obvious choice for the top film of the year in this series, let's have a look at the only highlight from this year outside the Top 3.

  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, in which a first world problem is milked hilariously for nearly two hours in a brilliant fashion.
But enough of that. What are the Top 3? Glad you asked:

3- Deliverance (dir: John Boorman; wri: James Dickey)

Sadly, this will always be remembered for the piggy-squealing scene. But anybody who has seen this tense study of male bonding and the city vs country tome will know that Deliverance goes well beyond its famous and shocking event. Yes, it's as hard to watch to this day (not because of an unconventional reversal of roles, at least in Hollywood), but looking beyond that easy highlight, it's not difficult to find other incredible set pieces. The duelling banjos has been immortalised as one of the most iconic soundtrack pieces and it stands as one of the most suspenseful scenes ever filmed. Deliverance is one of the superior films of the 70s and if you haven't watched it at least once, you're missing out.

2- The Return (dir: Tũrkan Șoray; wri: Safa Önal)

This is a little out of way and the chances of finding a decent legal copy is close to impossible, which makes it all the more shameful that this masterpiece of Turkish cinema is not available to the mass audience. Grouped unfairly with the 70s mainstream fare, The Return doesn't even get enough recognition in its native country. The queen of Turkish cinema, Șoray takes on the directing duties (patchy and amateurish at times, but incredibly daring in so many scenes) and stars in this film of a single-mom in a remote Turkish village who struggles to cope with her husband being away (he emigrates to Germany) and the predatory advances of the village men. The devastating and hard-hitting finale is not easy to forget and the ethereally beautiful Șoray is simply magnificent throughout.

1- The Godfather (dir: Francis Ford Coppola; wri: Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola)

I can't praise it enough.

1972 ... what a year!

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