Wong Kar-wai's masterpiece: 2046.
I've been been ignoring doing this year-end thing in hopes that somehow I'll get to the likes of Moolaadé, Notre Musique, Goodbye, Dragon Inn, Vera Drake and Bad Education - but alas, it looks like that won't happen until next month, or until some of them are released on DVD.
So, whether or not any of those will make my final, final, final list is yet to be determined (some of them have to: we have heavyweights like Godard and Tsai in that lineup), but one thing is for sure: I've seen the best film of 2004, that isn't even technically a 2004 release. In fact, who knows when the great Wong Kar-Wai's sci-fi/romance, 2046, will get a theatrical release - but one can only assume that it will make its way to North American theaters in 2005. Considering the film takes the concept of time liberally (it's set both in the 1960s, and briefly in the year 2046, in mesmorizing fantasy sequences) - who really cares what year I put it on? All I know is that the more exposure it gets (although it already has quite a bit), the better. So, onto the list it goes - right at the top spot, where is belongs.
Two other films on my list are both technically 2003 releases - Jia's epic Platform and Hou's sadly beautiful Millenium Mambo - but their theatrical release was pretty damn scarce, so therefore onto the '04 list they go, as well. Mambo is on DVD and is definitely worth checking out - Platform isn't quite as easy to find; the best bet might be a purchase of the UK PAL disc, if you have a region-free DVD player. Otherwise, we can only sit around and hope that the film finally gets a North American DVD, because it's well worth viewing.