Russ Fischer’s Top Ten Films of 2014

Russ Fischer top ten films 2014

Focus, simplicity and control. As I look back over the films of 2014, the ones that most stay with me are not the sprawling epics or the movies that tried to cram a surplus of ideas or technique into one story. (Sorry, Birdman and Interstellar.) They’re the movies, not even necessarily the “small” ones, that exhibit something specific in filmmaking technique, or unusually refined in their approach to story. 2014 was packed with movies I loved, and this list could easily be three times as long as it is. Below, you’ll find the ten films that have stuck with me most intensely, along with a page of extra picks that all offer something special, too. Read More »

Duke of Burgundy trailer

As I’ve worked on a “Top Ten Films of 2014” list I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to include movies I saw at festivals, but which aren’t yet in general release. If I decide to go the festival route, The Duke of Burgundy will be in my top three for this year. If not, it is likely to be in the top few spots of next year’s list. This ravishing movie is a gorgeous visual experience, as the trailer below will indicate. But the film is also a wonderfully nuanced portrait of a relationship — one which is made seemingly more exotic by its daily particulars, but which, in the end, fraught with the same issues everyone faces. Check out The Duke of Burgundy trailer below.

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Duke of Burgundy clip

Berberian Sound Studio director Peter Strickland returns with The Duke of Burgundy, but this film offers a fairly different sort of experience. There’s still a hazy, less-than-real aesthetic and sense of place, but this movie has a more focused and recognizable story at its core. The short synopsis of this movie is very simple: “Peter Strickland’s dark melodrama follows the intense relationship between two women.”

In truth, The Duke of Burgundy is a good bit more complex than that, especially as relates to the specific dynamics of the relationship. To keep things close to the vest, I’ll just say that their relationship is atypical, but the beauty of the film is that it does not treat the couple’s interactions as unusual. Their problems are the same problems any couple has; they just happen to be articulated through more eccentric means.

I really love this film and can’t wait for more people to have a chance to see it. Below, get a first taste via a Duke of Burgundy clip. Read More »