Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Best Films of 2009, and of the 00s

So, I'm aware that by now most people's 'best of the year' lists have come and gone, passing by like the ships in the night they always end up being. However, I always like to wait until the year is well and truly gone before looking back, just in case the last few hours of the year bring along some kind of cinematic revelation. As it happens, this year, for me, they bought along Julie Delpy's 2 Days in Paris, which, although I enjoyed a lot, hasn't found a place in my list below of the best films from previous years that I saw for the first time in 2009 – but it could have, which is why I've waited until the start of 2010 to post these lists.

Unlike the 'round-up' approach that I took
last year, I've decided to go for the list format... a decision I think I'm already starting to regret. Lists are, almost by definition, impossible beasts. The lists below have been through many revisions with films coming and going and moving up and down the lists. I therefore stand by these lists only for as long as it takes me to post them online, and I hereby reserve the right to change my mind. Lest that makes me sound flaky, let's be honest: our opinions of films are always changing as we see more and as we revisit – true classics get better with each and every viewing, while other films fall by the wayside as products of 'emperor's new clothes' syndrome. With this in mind, I'd like to point out that I've seen many great films this year and that many of them may well creep up my list of 'the best of 00s' as I become more familiar with them. Finally, I would also like to say that although I'm cautious about being too rigid about my lists, I do feel good about them and I love each and every one of the films I've mentioned.

There were also, of course, many disappointments this year, and films that I didn't love, though I won't dwell on them here...

Without further ado, then, here are my lists. Where relevant, titles link to pieces I've written on the films, while all director names link to their IMDB profiles.

The Best Films of 2009

01) In the City of Sylvia (dir. José Luis Guerín)
Wendy and Lucy (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
The Father of My Children (dir. Mia Hansen-Løve)
Lourdes (dir. Jessica Hausner)
05) The Portuguese Nun (dir.
Eugène Green)
06) Me and Orson Welles (dir.
Richard Linklater)
Kin (dir. Brian Welsh)
Humpday (dir. Lynn Shelton)
09) Enter The Void (dir.
Gaspar Noé)
The Exploding Girl (dir. Bradley Rust Gray)
11) Encounters at the End of the World (dir.
Werner Herzog)
Beeswax (dir. Andrew Bujalski)

Bubbling under:
Three Days with the Family, All That She Wants, The Time That Remains, The Road, Bluebeard, Lake Tahoe, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, The Informant!, The White Ribbon, A Light in the Fog.

The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2009
01) Der Letzte Mann (1924, dir.
F.W. Murnau)
02) Dreams (1955, dir.
Ingmar Bergman)
03) Laila (1929, dir.
George Schnéevoigt)
04) All These Women (1964, dir.
Ingmar Bergman)
05) The Third Part of Night (1971, dir.
Andrzej Zulawski)
06) Colossal Youth (2006, dir.
Pedro Costa)
07) Ossos (1997, dir.
Pedro Costa)
Night of the Demon (1957, dir. Jacques Tourneur)
09) Underworld (1927, dir.
Josef von Sternberg)
10) Paranoid Park (2007, dir.
Gus Van Sant)

Bubbling under: The Wind, Marie Antoinette, Hunger, Man Push Cart.

The Best Films of the 00s
01) Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, dir.
Béla Tarr)
Gangs of New York (2002, Martin Scorsese)
03) Saraband (2003, dir.
Ingmar Bergman)
04) Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004, dir.
Theo Angelopoulos)
05) Solaris (2002, dir.
Steven Soderbergh)
06) Waking Life (2001, dir.
Richard Linklater)
07) A Cock and Bull Story (2005, dir.
Michael Winterbottom)
08) Before Sunset (2004, dir.
Richard Linklater)
09) Duck Season (2004, dir.
Fernando Eimbcke)
10) The Devil's Backbone (2001, dir.
Guillermo del Toro)
In the City of Sylvia (2007, dir. José Luis Guerín)
The Man from London (2007, dir. Béla Tarr)
Summer Hours (2008, dir. Olivier Assayas)
14) Pan's Labyrinth (2006, dir.
Guillermo del Toro)
15) Ocean's Twelve (2004, dir.
Steven Soderbergh)
16) Caché (2005, dir.
Michael Haneke)
17) In The Mood for Love (2000, dir.
Wong Kar Wai)
18) Birth (2004, dir.
Jonathan Glazer)
19) The Proposition (2005, dir.
John Hillcoat)
20) Brokeback Mountain (2005, dir.
Ang Lee)

Bubbling under: Turtles Can Fly, X-Men 2,
Che, Full Frontal, Stranger than Fiction, Garden State, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring, Heaven, Good Night, And Good Luck, Hannah Takes the Stairs, and too many more to mention...

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