I have decided to split my favourite films into two distinct groups. The first group is a list of the films that I have particularly enjoyed this year but which were not made or released this year. It is a longer list than the other and because it is more a reflection of what I have seen than anything else, it will have a touch less impact. However, for those interested, here are some of my favourite films of the year.
Over the past week, I have been thinking about two particular works. The first, is Armando Iannucci’s spectacular In The Loop (2009) and the most recent of Adam Curtis’ documentary series The Trap (2007). Both works examine the social and political fall-out from Tony Blair and New Labour’s decade or so in power. Both present us with a post-modern political landscape in which facts and values are not only seen as open to manipulation by people in power, but where facts and values are seen solely as expressions of personal preference. Far from being a hyperbolic and polemical accusation or a satirical construct, this understanding of human cognition is shared by people on the left and the right and has come to dominate the political and conceptual landscape to the extent that it is almost impossible to think of an alternative to it. However, some films, such as those of Paolo Sorrentino present a radically different vision of human cognition. One in which rational self-interest serves as a mask for much deeper and darker passions.