As I looked over my list of the best movies of 2009, it suddenly struck me: where are all the women on screen? Except for Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia and Jia Zhang-ke's 24 City, this is a chronicle of lost, deluded, damaged, pathological men. Why is that? Has the chauvinism of the film industry run amok? Is this list a symptom of my own jaundiced personality? A knee-jerk reaction to the threat to masculinity posed by Sarah Palin? I don't have an answer to such questions, but these are my choices.
10. The Baader-Meinhof Complex
This account of the decade-long reign of terror of these pseudo-Leninist loonies left me torn between my impulse to overthrow the establishment and my revulsion at what idiots they were. Perhaps wisely, director Uli Edel doesn't reflect much on this dilemma — his jagged narrative rockets along like a Godard film without a subtext, propelled by violence and murky motives. Why did they do it? Was it to make up for the Nazi crimes of the past? Was it an excuse to engage in mindless anarchy? Bruno Ganz as a police investigator provides a quiet voice of reason that's mostly ignored.
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