Mid-way Through The Year 2012 – Welcome to another week on Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second. So, we’re halfway through another year of fantastic cinema. While it’s occasionally easier to bemoan than embrace, even the most cynical will struggle to pick fault with some of the gems that 2012 has seen hit big screens up and down the land.

Earlier this week, and in what is fast becoming an annual tradition, I was asked to compile my own personal top five thus far of 2012 by Simon Kinnear, of Total Film and Kinnemaniac fame. I went with this –

1. Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
2. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg)
3. Vivan Las Antipodas! (Victor Kossakovsky)
4. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
5. The Avengers (Joss Whedon)

I guess what’s most notable is that all five of the films have been potential top placers at some point, with the top three films being ones that have been seen only in the last couple of weeks. Will their greatness prolong, or will they fall by the wayside come the long winter months? While I’m fairly confident that they’ll still be there come December time one can never quite tell at this point.

Even after compiling the list I found myself questioning my decisions: Killer Joe snuck up just two days ago, and is now destined to feature quite highly in our end of year poll, while some of the major omissions from earlier in 2012 (due to fractured UK release dates) makes for some tough decisions: Note that I’ve only included films that have screened for the first time in the UK in 2012. While this policy means that some films do slip through the net thanks to a particularly prolonged festival to theatre discrepancy (Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, This Is Not A Film, The Kid With A Bike) it’s by far the easiest way for me personally to keep track of a specific release pattern. With that in mind, I am considering implementing some kind of secondary list for years end, of works not of the year in question but only released then.

What is perhaps most exciting about the cinematic landscape at the halfway point in 2012 is that only two of the films we named as “heavily anticipated” back in January have actually been released so far this year. While some (Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity) have been bumped to next year, we still have the likes of The Wettest Country In The World (retitled Lawless in the six months since we put the initial article together), Cogan’s Trade (retitled Killing Them Softly in the six months since we put the initial article together) and Low Life (known only as The Return Of James Gray six months ago when we put the initial article together) to look forward to, and thats without mentioning the return of the 21st Century’s Finest American Filmmaker™ in the shape of Paul Thomas Anderson and The Master (aka the only film we’ve deemed worthy enough to run preview material on this year). And lets not forget the great surprises. Neither our film of the year so far, Miguel Gomes’ enchanting Tabu nor DocFest highlight Vivan Las Antipodas! featured on our preview of 2012, and who knows what joys are awaiting around the corner.

Having already attempted to answer the often-raised question of “Are there fewer great films being made these days, or am I missing something?” earlier this year, following the posing of the query at a Q&A session with Mark Cousins following a screening of a truncated version of his Story Of Film, I probably don’t need to go over that old ground again so soon (the short answer is “No, there aren’t fewer great films being made these days, and yes, you must be missing something”), but here’s a link anyway. If the number of nominees already sitting in wait for my year end poll at this stage of 2012 is any indication to go by then 2012 is destined to be a vintage year.

Further reading –

Our preview of 2012 from January 2012
Kinnemaniac’s 2012 Half-Way Point Survey
Musings On The Digital Age And The Future Of Cinema