Surprises of the Year : 2009 Edition

As I’ve expanded my film watching habits, I have frequently taken chances and moved outside of the kind of film that I might have expected to like (more on this when I put up my best of 2009 post!).  Sometimes, the results were disastrous.  Other times, I was nonplussed but looked into the director and found good things.  But occasionally, I have been pleasantly surprised.  I have gone into films expecting the worst and come out not only impressed me but also changed me.  This is a list of those films.

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Edward II (1991) – The Irony of Queenship

Jarman the icon.  Jarman the experimentalist.  Jarman the punk.  Jarman the queer.  Derek Jarman’s adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II was made three years prior to his death from an AIDS-related illness.  It is not only his most politically outspoken film, it is also the film that brings together the various strands of his career : It is a radical interpretation of an Elizabethan play, It is shot with all of the stylised pomp and careful staging of a 1980s music video and it speaks directly to the gay community’s history of oppression at the hands of self-righteous British establishment.

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