Thursday, 8 March 2012

Encore Awards (2011 in Review): Memorable Scenes, Take Two

As I said before, this is less about choosing the “best” scenes of 2011 because doing such a thing would necessitate meticulous measuring which would be a bit silly. This is, simply, as the title implies pointing out these scenes which my memory has held on to for various reasons from some of the finest films of 2011. Last year The Kids Are All Right had two great scenes in my top 10, and my first place winner (2010 ballot here).
Potential spoilers ahead, maybe.
(as always, click on images and they take you reviews.)

Certified Copy / Breakdown in the Café
So much of what makes Certified Copy works is its words and that final restaurant “argument” between the couple is the highpoint of it all. The conversations between Binoche and Shimmell have been responsible for most of the film’s dramatic thrust and it’s all been leading up to this explosion of sorts. The entire scene is deftly acted, slyly directed by Kiarostami and emotionally distressing.

Hugo / The Automaton works
Even though the eponymous Hugo and his machinations do not exist as my favourite portion of the film the moment which I’m most apt to remember happens because of him. So much of the film rests on that automaton working and the fake-out when it does not, and the wonder when it does is something beautiful to espy. It’s also Asa Butterfield’s finest moment in the film. (Also, the score!)

Take Shelter / Leaving the Shelter
The entire sequence in the shelter elicits excellent performances from both Chastain and Shannon, but it’s the moment when the family must leave the shelter which manages to deliver on the emotional crux of the story. As Curtis must struggle to come to grips with his delusions, as Samantha must struggle to fight for her husband as the family must assemble leading to that beautiful shot of the three in embrace when they reach ground is a series of image seared into my memory.

Winnie the Pooh / Leaving the Pit
There are so many adorable scenes I could single out from this one, but the one which continues to make me smile when I remember it is the kerfuffle which arises when they all fall into the pit meant for the Backson and despite owl’s lack of intelligence realising that the letters of the book could help them out. It’s such a lovely gaffe, and such a sweet, funny, and still innocent moment so evocative of the entire film’s charm.

Young Adult / “I love your sweater…”
Not a subtle moment, but still one that’s irresistible. Reaser is my favourite supporting player in the film (bit part, and all) and she’s lovely on the edges here. Of course, it’s all Charlize and the quasi-monologue nature of the scene is an excellent showcase for her as she navigates through comedy, bitterness, sadness and disgust. It’s a trip for the audience in more ways than one, and completely unforgettable.

Beginners / Catharsis
This scene is a perfect example of Beginners appeal to me. “When you feel sad go into this room and scream. It’s called catharsis.” The line is funny, it’s sad and it’s also rather pertinent to life and that’s what Beginners is. The entire scene, from Oliver’s questions to her responses plays out like a lovely moment for the wonderful Mary Page Keller and Keegan Boos (so excellent as young Oliver)...also You with the FBI? CIA?

Drive / Blanche and The Driver
Sure, Christina Hendricks is nice in her bit role, but the reason the entire sequence of the Driver and Blanche works so well is because it reveals the undertones of violence in this rather silent man. It’s jarring, but it’s also exciting (in a guilty sort of way) and it’s a fine moment for Gosling. It’s also the turning point for the narrative.

Hugo / Georges’ memories
Hugo is ultimately visual splendour (so, yes, its visual effects win thrills me) and as when Méliès finally does allow himself to recall his past and we launch into his memories it’s such a beautiful, moving moment. If film is a visual medium, how can one disparage the beautiful visual thrust of that moment?

Insidious / Entering the Dreamscape
I’m so anxious for Patrick Wilson to get some more good film roles. When Josh must travel back to the Further to capture his son it’s a significant moment for the narrative it also happens to be a gorgeous moment for the film’s production design all buoyed on by the creepy music.

Melancholia / “It’s going to hit us”
Yes, Dunst was the one who made my shortlist and Gainsbourg only gained honourable mention but they’re both fantastic in Melancholia. That moment where Claire realises that the meteor is heading back to earth is the film’s most agonising sequence and Gainsbourg nails the fear, the terror and the madness of it all. Brilliance.

Honourable Mentions: previous post, the fifteen runners up here

Encore Awards: Openings / Forgotten Characters / Sound and Music / Actress / Audacious Cinema / Ensemble Acting / Visuals (Editing, Photography, Editing, Costumes, Choreography, Art Direction, Makeup) / Actor / Writing / Supporting Actor / Supporting Actress, Director, Picture end Endings to come

What were your most memorable movie scene of 2011?


Amir said...

I'm in love with your choice for gold. I'm not that high on the film, though I understand why people are, but that ending was, indeed, pure gold.

It all comes down to the performances for me. I like Chastain better in The Help but she's magnificent here in the way she treads back and forth between support and suspicion. And Shannon is, needless to say, great.

Paolo said...

Oh THAT's what the gold fond is for. #CurlsHairLikeCeliaFoote.

Bottle blonde moment aside, my favourite scene in Hugo is one of your finalists. The memories was more costume galore (we're friends now, Sandy Powell!) and a more diverse colour palette than the rest of the movie. And I've always wanted to see Gandhi dressed as a prince via green lobster.

Squasher88 said...

Great choices. Especially the Take Shelter and Melancholia scenes.

I love when Jessica tells him he has to do this on his own.

You are so right about Charlotte Gainsbourg, she captured the moment perfectly.

Nick Prigge said...

Such an interesting choice for #1. Didn't you think while that scene was unfolding that he was going to throw open the shelter door and then the film would cut to black? That's what I thought was going to happen anyway. And then it didn't! And that great shot you mention! And then the movie reverses AGAIN!

Also, as expected, I love that Beginners scene too, and I love how the film cuts immediately to the graffiti/vandalism right after the mention of catharsis. Wonderful stuff.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

amir well if you can not love the film and still like the choice, then i'm doing something right :( (also, yes, shannon is exceptional. it cannot be overstated.)

paolo did you seriously NOT know what the colour codes meant? shakes head. and, ugh, rewatching hugo i now take full umbrage at neither sandy nor o'connor taking that oscar. damn you artist.

squasher that moment with charlotte was all about shit getting real, so to speak. and she nails it.

nick YES, and it would have been an ending that made sense but one which was ultimately less satisfying and thoughtful than the one they do give. i'm SO EXCITED to see what nichols' does next. what a talent!