This is somewhat random in that the following is restricted to what I saw and read. So while this is hardly an exhaustive selection, I suggest all these works merit our careful attention.
If you’ll indulge me further, here’s the best of what I saw or read in 2012:
Best feature film: “The Master”, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson; strong runner-up “Argo” ,dir. Ben Affleck (the new Clint Eastwood).
Best non-fiction film: “Cuates de Australia” dir, Everardo Gonz (“Drought”en inglés) – a documentary about a community in northern México besieged by drought and globalization; runner-up “The Law In These Parts” dir. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz – a courageous, intellectually rigorous film in which the director stages a devastatingly clever mock trial of the very Israeli jurists and military governors who have built ‘legal’ bulwarks to justify Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967.
Best Fiction Book: “War and Peace”, Leo Tolstoy. I finally read it this year. Having done so, I figure it would be the best novel any year since Leo coughed it up in 1869 except perhaps “Madame Bovary” or “Oliver Twist”. Tolstoy manages to describe the most intimate and sweeping epochal events of human experience simultaneously. He was a genius. His novel about Napoleon’s doomed invasion of Russia reads like an account of current events.
Best Non-Fiction book: “A Geography of Blood – Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape”, by Candace Savage. The sort of history/geography/environmental study Canadians and Americans generally don’t want to know about told with great verve. In this case, people are reading it. Ms. Savage is winning awards. Her slim, powerful, elegantly written and researched effort is truly mind expanding. “There are a lot of things nobody talks about in the imposition of colonial power.” -Keith Bell, companion of Candace Savage-