#11-20: Runners-up. Here we go.

11. She's One of Us (Siegrid Alnoy) [This and the Denis film were glorious throwbacks to a fearless era of art-film-ness. (In 2006 we have a rough equivalent in Battle in Heaven and 4.) Brave enough to eschew logic and linearity, Alnoy's film is the dream of a conformist who is also a woman, aware that in some ways being a successful woman in a misogynist world means mirroring everything back -- the smiles, the bullshit, the desire. This is what happens if you don't get enough sleep and miss too many therapy appointments.]

12. Pretty Persuasion (Marcos Siega) [A take-no-prisoners script by Skander Halim. All-out self-exposed riffing by James Woods. And Evan Rachel Wood in the finest female performance of the year. It was a flop, but now Halim and Siega have careers!]

13. Caché (Michael Haneke) [His infamous Austrian control has gotten the better of him here. He's gone and made an actual movie! But it's still brimming with ideas and seething with righteous hatred.]

14. Innocence (Lucile Hadzihalilovic) [One more film like this and Noé will be her better-half. Sugar and spice and everything nice as a sort of live embalming for the soul.]

15. Tokyo Magic Hour (Amir Muhammad) [Abstract processed imagery from around Tokyo as the visual evidence of a lyrical sexual encounter that can scarcely be imagined. A distant Muslim cousin to Brokeback Mountain?]

16. The Intruder (Claire Denis) [Here's a little story and you're bound to like it.]

17. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee) [First film in a long while that's grabbed all the brass rings in sight and not made me want to throw up my hands in disgust. Sort of the anti-Crash in tone, tolerance, maturity. Tends to spin epicness out of nothing at all (where does this relationship come from?) but makes bold new claims for the value of well-made middlebrow cinema.]

18. Munich (Steven Spielberg) [Here's a fellow who works best with external constraint. The "repetitious" middle section of the film is exacting and formally controlled because it has to function as variations on a single theme. With each iteration, things get less and less certain, hazier. It's the Fleming Faloon of political revenge flicks.]

19. Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch) [Well, it wasn't JJ's breakthrough as Focus no doubt hoped. But it's so painfully recessive, so offhandedly lyrical as to elude notice if you're just driving by. Final shot: 2005 Moment Out of Time/]

20. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg) [When DC cuts back to the fellow on the ground who's been shot through the face, I almost thought he'd earned all the plaudits.]