Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Top Ten Films of 2010

My annual top ten list was published in The Dispatch today. Click here to read my full write-up.

1
LOURDES
(Jessica Hausner, Austria)
"The brilliance of "Lourdes" stems from its enigmatic nature, its ability to be spiritual without being religious, to question without being cynical, to embrace both faith and doubt without judgment -- and that is a miracle in itself."

2
WHITE MATERIAL

(Claire Denis, France)
"Like her best work, "White Material" is a deeply reflective collection of moments, both of great beauty and great horror, and it continues to reveal its treasures upon repeat viewings. It is a feast, and for both fans of Denis and newcomers to her talents, it delivers plenty of extraordinary material to explore."

3
CARLOS
(Olivier Assayas, France)
"A bold and meticulous portrait of a complex man, from his glory days as a proud leftist revolutionary to a man on the run in his twilight years searching for relevancy in a changed, post-Cold War world, "Carlos" is the kind of fearless filmmaking Hollywood has forgotten how to do."

4
TOY STORY 3
(Lee Unkrich, USA)
"It is both an elegy for and a celebration of childhood with the power to make grown men cry. And while it feels like saying goodbye to old friends, no other film this year felt so emotionally pitch-perfect."

5
DOGTOOTH
(Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece)
"As blunt and frightening as it is sly and rife with pitch black humor, "Dogtooth" is a bleakly satirical look at the dangers of an oppressive society as seen through the microcosm of what could possibly be one of the most bizarrely dysfunctional families to ever grace the silver screen."

6
BLACK SWAN
(Darren Aronofsky, USA)"It's an exhilarating exercise in pure cinema, something both trashy and deeply beautiful, taking an old story and making it feel thrillingly new. 'Swan Lake' never sounded so beautiful -- or so immensely frightening."

7

ECCENTRICITIES OF A BLONDE-HAIRED GIRL
(Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal)
"De Oliveira is a kind of cinematic poet, a Portuguese bard whose film seems to defy time and place. It transcends the delicate intricacies of language by remaining fixed in its own sense of time while seeming effortlessly timeless. It is both of the past and the present, as if it could be anytime or anywhere or nowhere at all. It is of its own time and place, it is anywhere and everywhere, and de Oliveira beckons us into a peculiar and beguiling world whose treasures will continue to reveal themselves with repeated viewings."

8
LETTERS TO FATHER JACOB
(Klaus Haro, Finland)
"Its themes may not be terribly complex, but its genius lies in the disarming power with which they are conveyed. It leaves an indelible impression, a searing an unforgettable evocation of one man's simple faith and compassion, that finds something of the divine in simple human kindness."

9
ALAMAR
(Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, Mexico)
"Sometimes less really is more, and in this case the silence speaks volumes. "Alamar" is a small wonder of a film, a beautiful and bittersweet ode to the love shared by a father and son that resonates in powerful and unexpected ways."

10
THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA
(Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal)
"If "Eccentricities" is the work of a master painter, then "The Strange Case of Angelica" is the work of a master photographer for whom every picture is a glimpse into its subject's soul. De Oliveira playfully toys with the ideas of perspective through art, but he is also a sly wordsmith as well. At 102 years old, he continues to grow and to impress, and here his narrative is a multi-layered work of great meaning and formalist skill."

Honorable mentions - AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN (Jacques Rivette, France), THE RED CHAPEL (Mads Brugger, Denmark), WINTER’S BONE (Debra Granik, USA), PRINCE OF BROADWAY (Sean Baker, USA), MOTHER (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea), THE GHOST WRITER (Roman Polanski, France), THE SOCIAL NETWORK (David Fincher, USA), LAST TRAIN HOME (Lixin Fan, Canada/China), BLUEBEARD (Catherine Breillat, France), LEBANON (Samuel Maoz, Israel).

5 comments:

Sam Juliano said...

Well Matthew, it appears that both you and I are the only people in the US who have chosen LOURDES as the #1 film of 2010.

I will not officilly release my own Top 10 list for another two weeks until I make sure every potential candidate is seen, but it appears we have some other mutual choices as well. Where we differ though is with BLACK SWAN, a film I have little regard for.


My list potentially is comething like this:

Lourdes
Blue Valentine
Carlos
Rabbit Hole
Un Prophete
Toy Story 3
Another Year
The King's Speech
Winter's Bone

And then any two of teh following (I always have a two-way tie for #10 to allow for 11 choices. Ha!)

My Dog Tulip
White Material
Wasteland
The Kids are All Right
Inside Job
Wasteland
Mademoiselle Chambon
Welcome
Vincere
How to Train Your Dragon

Anyway, fabolous list Matthew!

Matthew Lucas said...

Thanks, Sam! Nick Schager at Slant Magazine also picked LOURDES as his #1. So we're not alone.

Sam Juliano said...

Nick Schaeger is EXCELLENT company Matthew!!!

And earlier this evening I watched THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELIKA at the IFC Film Center and again I must enthusiastically endorce your placement of it here! It has now entered my own unfinished Top 10 list (I will be seeing WASTELAND in a few days and that should be it), though I am envious you saw ECCENTRICITIES.

Would you happen to know Matthew, if there is any way to see this at the present time?

Matthew Lucas said...

It's currently on DVD from the Cinema Guild. I was given an advance copy which is how I was able to see it.

Sam Juliano said...

Many thanks Matthew! I'll hunt that down.