Top 15 Films of 2014


1. Goodbye to Language

“The idea is simple.” So begins the official summary of Jean-Luc Godard’s 43rd feature film, his first in 3-D. And indeed, Goodbye to Language, the 84-year-old’s award-winning audio/visual extravaganza, does have a rather simplistic premise. A man and woman meet, fall in love, discuss life, and quarrel. There’s a dog in there too, watching things and walking around. That’s about it in terms of narrative (and even this much is never quite straightforward or easily discernable). But why Goodbye to Language is one of the year’s best films has little to do with its “story.” Like so much of Godard’s work, the film is more than its ostensible plot; the idea may be simple, the ideas are not. There are arguments made and questions posed—about relationships, politics, technology, communication, society, and concepts of cinema itself—and Godard’s provocative take on conventional film form thrives in this thematic mosaic. Added to the mixture of topical concerns is an incomparable visual strategy that coalesces Godard’s penchant for natural beauty, abstract imagery, and color and light experimentation with, new this time, and most notably, three-dimensional composition. Godard’s self-consciously inventive use of 3-D as an aesthetic and theoretical tool goes beyond any previously instituted use of the format. Many 3-D films benefit from the technology; this is the first time where 3-D is imperative to a film’s objective and total impact.

In 1967, Godard concluded Week End with titles declaring “End of Cinema,” but that was just the beginning of one of his most audacious periods of filmmaking. If this, then, is how he says “goodbye to language,” one can only imagine what he will greet next.

2. Noah
3. Under the Skin
4. The Rover
5. Two Days, One Night
6. Ida
7. Nightcrawler
8. Mr. Turner
9. Enemy
10. Borgman
11. We Are The Best!
12. Only Lovers Left Alive
13. Birdman
14. Fury
15. Winter Sleep

For more on the top films of the year, visit Sound on Sight

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