Category Archives: List

Top 10 Films of 2013, and more.

2013 was a good year in the cinemas for me. It is impossible to sum up the best of what I’ve seen in a list of ten. My “Top 7” is pretty much locked in, but I must admit that the positions of #8-#20 can be switched around on any given day. Top_10_2013

11. Nobody’s Daughter Haewon (dir. Hong Sang-soo)

12. Closed Curtain (dir. Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi)

13. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (dir. Sion Sono)

14. Her (dir. Spike Jonze)

15. Three Sisters (dir. Wang Bing)

16. Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater)

17. 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen)

18. The Act of Killing (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)

19. No (dir. Pablo Larraín)

20. Upstream Color (dir. Shane Carruth)

Honorable mention: The Last Time I Saw Macao, A Touch of Sin, The Grandmaster, The Lunchbox, Trace, The Angels’ Share and Beyond the Hills.

I also participated in voting for In Review Online’s Top 20 Films of 2013, which I had to exclude a few of the above films (Stranger By the Lake, Stray Dogs, etc) due to their lack of American release in 2013. I wrote a little blurb for InRO on my favorite, Leviathan. You can also read my review of Carlos Reygadas’s Post Tenebras Lux and Claire Denis’s Bastards at InRO.

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Our favorite films

After a few blog posts, we have compiled the lists of what the Film Monitor crew consider the greatest films of all-time, as a response of the latest edition of the canonical Sight & Sound poll. All of us agree that narrowing down the best films to a mere list of ten is extremely difficult and I can imagine things were a little easier in 1952 when the British magazine first conducted their poll since there were a lot fewer movies then. Our selections are mostly based on personal favorites and you can click on our names to read about our reasoning. A few observations: Chungking Express is the most popular film among the six of us (with three votes) and Wong Kar-wai is the most popular director (with two additional votes for In the Mood For Love). And no one picked Citizen Kane.

Modern Times

Francisco Lo (editor/writer)

1.     Playtime (1967, dir. Jacques Tati, France)

2.     Winter Light (1962, dir. Ingmar Bergman, Sweden)

3.     Modern Times (1936, dir. Charles Chaplin, USA)

4.     My Little Loves (1974, dir. Jean Eustache, France)

5.     High and Low (1963, dir. Akira Kurosawa, Japan)

6.     Chungking Express (1994, dir. Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong)

7.     Close-Up (1990, dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran)

8.     Land of Silence and Darkness (1971, dir. Werner Herzog, USA)

9.     To Be or Not To Be (1942, dir. Ernst Lubitsch, USA)

10.  35 Shots of Rum (2008, dir. Claire Denis, France)

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Joe Ross (graphic designer)

  1. The Firemen’s Ball (1967, dir. Milos Forman, Czechoslovakia)
  1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, dir. Stanley Kubrick, USA/UK)
  1. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949, dir. Robert Hamer, UK)
  1. The Third Man (1949, dir. Carol Reed, UK)
  1. Rashomon (1950, dir. Akira Kurosawa, Japan)
  1. Jules and Jim (1962, dir. François Truffaut, France)
  1. The Battle of Algiers (1966, dir. Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/Algeria) Continue reading

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If we were to pick the greatest films of all time… (part three)

(Editor’s note: Sight & Sound magazine recently published the newest edition of their esteemed poll of the “greatest films of all time” and we thought it will be interesting to ask our own writers about which ten films they consider as the greatest. Personal favorites? Most Influential? There is no criterion for their choices. This is the list by me, Francisco Lo, writer/editor of this publication.)

Inevitably, a lot of equally deserving films will be excluded when one has to narrow down a list of greatest films to ten. I was not able to fit in the movies by some of my favorite filmmakers, including Yasujiro Ozu, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnes Varda, Robert Bresson, Edward Yang, Rainer Wener Fassbinder… among many others. It’s safe to say half of my list will be different on any given day. Also, I’m on “Team Citizen Kane” (as opposed to “Team Vertigo”).

1. Playtime (1967, dir. Jacques Tati, France)

Jacques Tati virtually went bankrupt for his magnum opus, in which he went to the great lengths of building an enormous set in the outskirts of Paris called Tativille for its production. Free from the conventions of narrative filmmaking, Tati’s world is connected by his endless series of Rube-Goldberg-machine-like gags that highlight the paradoxical beauty of life in the technological era. Tati finds humor and amusement in the most mundane daily routines in a cinematic kaleidoscope that truly rewards repeated viewings. Playtime is the Chaplin movie of the space age and the Koyaanisqatsi of comedy.

2. Winter Light (1962, dir. Ingmar Bergman, Sweden)

In a career defined by existential and spiritual crises, Winter Light is Bergman’s most direct and brutal film. Stripped of any symbolisms and metaphors, the story follows a day in the life of a tormented priest whose faith is further shaken by the suffering he could not heal and the pain he has caused others. Sven Nykvist’s black-and-white cinematography is exquisite and the small ensemble takes the audience to Bergman’s most gripping hour. The characters’ unflinching spiritual despair shakes me to the core.

3. Modern Times (1936, dir. Charles Chaplin, USA)

Few legends of the silent era had the many talents that Chaplin possessed.  He was the lead actor, director, screenwriter and music composer to many of his films, not to mention his relatively successful transition to talkies. Modern Times was a topical film in the midst of The Great Depression, but it has remained timeless. Chaplin’s greatness lays in his film’s universality— its appeal transcends language and cultural boundaries. Perhaps the same can be said about City Lights. But I choose Modern Times over the equally great 1931 film because of lead actress Paulette Goddard, whose infectious charm raises her above the standard love interest. Continue reading

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If we were to pick the greatest films of all time… (part two)

(Editor’s note: Sight & Sound magazine recently published the newest edition of their esteemed poll of the “greatest films of all time” and we thought it will be interesting to ask our own writers about which ten films they consider as the greatest. Personal favorites? Most Influential? There is no criterion for their choices. Here is the top 10 list from our former writer David Stiles.)
These are not in any particular order. (David Stiles)
A Separation (2011, dir. Asghar Farhadi, Iran)
The “separation” in the film’s title is merely one instance in a profound meditation on all kinds of separation.
The Headless Woman (2008, dir. Lucrecia Martel, Argentina)
Seldom have I seen a film with such subtlety. It is a devastating critique of both class society and bourgeois culture yet abstains from self-righteousness.
 
The Bad Sleep Well (1960, dir. Akira Kurosawa, Japan)
An intricate and flawlessly plotted revenge film against a backdrop of corporate malfeasance. Continue reading

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If we were to pick the greatest films of all time… (part one)

(Editor’s note: Sight & Sound magazine recently published the newest edition of their esteemed poll of the “greatest films of all time” and we thought it will be interesting to ask our own writers about which ten films they consider as the greatest. Personal favorites? Most Influential? There is no criterion for their choices. First up, we have our former writer R.M. Crossin‘s top 10 movies.)

These are ten of my favorite films. (R.M. Crossin)

1. Pulp Fiction (1994, dir. Quentin Tarantino, USA). There’s nothing I can say about this film that you haven’t already read. It is endlessly quotable and has only improved with age.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA). Ambitious filmmaking of the highest order.

3. Taxi Driver (1976, dir. Martin Scorsese, USA). Scorsese’s portrait of a post-Vietnam antihero is a snapshot of loneliness in New York City’s urban jungle. Continue reading

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