This is my first year with MovieMaker. Accordingly, when I sat down to mull over my 2012 Top 10 films list, I needed, first, to define my role as a critic and trend-arbiter. But what the hell is my role?
My taste ranges from painfully esoteric miserablist epics to some mainstream blockbusters (during the last twelve months, I sat through the entire seven and a half hours of Sátántangó; I was also sort of kind of pleasantly surprised by the brutality of The Hunger Games). Ultimately, though, I decided my job wasn’t to remind everyone that Daniel Day-Lewis plays a phenomenal Lincoln in Lincoln. Rather, I’ve tasked myself with spotlighting the risk-taking films that stunned me over the last 12 months.
Suffice it to say, though, culling this list down to 10 proved challenging. I had a rough time, for instance, deciding between Markus Schleinzer’s Michael and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. I ultimately picked Once Upon a Time, not because it had a greater emotional impact on me (Once Upon a Timemade me feel as if I’d watched a crime committed, whereas Michael made me feel as if I were actively committing one), but because I already had one Austrian director on my list (Michael Haneke), and because Turkish cinema needs more attention.
With everything said and done, I hope this list stirs up controversy. But much more than that, I hope it exposes our readers to some incredibly worthy films they might not otherwise have discovered. Here they are in reverse order. Happy arguing!