As always, I thought I'd wait until early January to post up my films of the year but, as with last year, my list has already appeared elsewhere: this year on Cinetalk, here. The Cinetalk version of the list contains comments on all the films, so if you're interested in my reasons for choosing this particular batch of films I suggest you stop by there and take a look. What you won't find there, however, is my list of The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2011, which I've included below.
I have to say, 2011 has been an incredibly strong viewing year for me, and many of the films below have excited me a great deal (and also make me realise how right I was when bemoaning the weakness of 2010 around this time last year). As strong as it was, though, there were, of course, many films that I missed. It's very possible that Jan Svankmajer's Surviving Life, the Dardenne Brother's The Kid with a Bike and Alexander Payne's The Descendants would all be included here if I'd managed to catch them. Luckily, the last two are only getting their official UK releases in 2012, so perhaps they'll be included here next year.
On a related note: seeing as it's topped so many end of year lists, I feel that I should mention that I have seen The Tree of Life, it just didn't chart (it was my 30th favourite film of the year, if anyone's interested).
Anyway, without any further ado, here are my lists. All director names link to their IMDb profiles while, where applicable, titles link to reviews I've written on the films (not including my comments on Cinetalk, which you can find here).
My Top Films of 2011
02) Blue Valentine (dir. Derek Cianfrance)
05) Biutiful (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)
06) Meek's Cutoff (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
07) Concrete Walls (dir. Michael Higgins)
09) Le Quattro Volte (dir. Michelangelo Frammartino)
10) Hugo (dir. Martin Scorsese)
Bubbling under: Cold Weather (dir. Aaron Katz), Wild Bill (dir. Dexter Fletcher), Weekend (Andrew Haigh), Two Years at Sea (dir. Ben Rivers).
Special mention: Correspondence: Jonas Mekas –JL Guerin, for having one of the most powerful sequences of the year, even if it didn't quite satisfy as a whole.
The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2011
01) A City of Sadness (1989, dir. Hsiao-hsien Hou)
02) Cría cuervos (1976, dir. Carlos Saura)
03) Les Enfants du Paradis (1945, dir. Marcel Carné)
04) Die Gezeichneten (1922, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)
05) A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929, dir. Anthony Asquith)
06) The Old and the New (1929, dir. Sergei Eisenstein)
07) Our Mother's House (1967, dir. Jack Clayton)
08) A Brighter Summer Day (1991, dir. Edward Yang)