Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ten Best Films' 2013 Mini-Poll

1. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
73 points (LB, MA, ML, PK, SB)
2. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
72 points (AZ, KW, LB, PK, SB)
3. The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-wai)
70 points (KW, LB, MA, ML)
4. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino)
68 points (KW, LB, MA, ML)
5. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke)
67 points (KW, LB, MA, RS)
6. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
64 points (AZ, KW, MS, SB)
7. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)
60 points (AZ, LB, MS, PK)
8. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, 2012)
52 points (LB, MA, RS)
9. Her (Spike Jonze)
50 points (KW, MS, PK)
10. Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)
39 points (AZ, ML, SB)

Runners-up: The Past (Asghar Farhadi) - 35 points (AZ, PK), Upstream Color (Shane Carruth) - 33 points (AZ, SB), Nebraska (Alexander Payne) - 31.5 points (MH, PK), Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass) - 29 points (MS, SB), Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012) - 28 points (LB, SB), Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012) - 26 points (KW, MS), To the Wonder (Terrence Malick, 2012) - 26 points (MA, RS). 

Our annual indulgence - one more very unnecessary, unscientific year-end film poll with little more reason for existing than the fact that it allows old NYU friends to re-connect around the holidays - produced a surprising, but appropriate result in its sixth official incarnation: the latest in one of the art form's great, multi-part inscriptions of a long-term relationship, Richard Linklater's Before Midnight. The Linklater film was one of only two pictures to be cited by at least half of our voters, with Alfonso Cuarón's 3-D blockbuster Gravity finishing second, a single vote behind.The Grandmaster, The Great Beauty, A Touch of Sin and 12 Years a Slave - excellent choices all - round out those films that met the forty percent threshold of our admittedly small (or 'mini') body.

Contributors' Key: AZ - Alberto Zambenedetti (Ten Best Films), KW - Karen Wang, LB - Lisa K. Broad (Tativille), MA - Michael J. Anderson (Tativille), MH - Matt Hauske, ML - Mike Lyon, MS - Matt Singer, PK - Pamela Kerpius, RS - R. Emmet Sweeney (Ten Best Films), SB - Soren Bailey (Ten Best Films).

2013: R. Emmet Sweeney

1. Drug War (Johnnie To, 2012)
2. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (Ben Russell and Ben Rivers)
3. Wolf Children (Mamoru Hosoda, 2012)
4. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, 2012)
5. To the Wonder (Terrence Malick, 2012)
6. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Adam McKay)
7. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke)
8. Ninja II (Isaac Florentine)
9. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie)
10. Gold (Thomas Arslan)

Honorable mentions: Pain & Gain (Michael Bay), Our Sunhi (Hong Sang-soo), Blind Detective (Johnnie To), Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón), The Package (Jesse V. Jackson), Bastards (Claire Denist), Story of My Death (Albert Serra), Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski), Abuse of Weakness (Catherine Breillat), This is Martin Bonner (Chad Hartigan), Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, 2012), Riddick (David Twohy), Manakamana (Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez), Closed Curtain (Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi), The Immigrant (James Gray), When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism (Corneliu Porumboiu), Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz)

R. Emmet Sweeney has his M. A. in Cinema Studies from New York University, writes a weekly column for Movie Morlocks, and recently penned his magnum opus on Anchorman 2 for Film Comment.

2013: Soren Bailey

1. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
2. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski)
3. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)
4. Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)
5. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012)
6. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
7. American Hustle (David O. Russell)
8. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)
9. Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero)
10. Before Midnight (Richard Linaklater)

Runners-up: This Is the End (Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen), Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)

Soren Bailey has his Master's in Cinema Studies from New York University, works as a filmmaker and editor, and currently resides with his wife and children in Brooklyn, New York

2013: Alberto Zambenedetti

1. The Past (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
3. Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche)
4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
5. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)
6. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)
7. We Are the Best! (Lukas Moodysson)
8. The Strange Little Cat (Ramon Zürcher)
9. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
10. Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)

Top five ineligible films (released in 2012, but seen in 2013): Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012), Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012), Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, 2012), Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas), Not Fade Away (David Chase, 2012)

Alberto Zambenedetti is an Assistant Professor of Italian Cinema at the University of Toronto, and a regular contributor to GLI SPIETATI.