YOU'RE NOT GETTING AN ESSAY BECAUSE YOU'VE ALL BEEN BAD (or, how to finish out the year six weeks late, with class!)

 

As the wanton disparity between my "official" top ten list and the polls-list will attest, 2010 was pretty schizophrenic. The films that received U.S. commercial releases this year were a fairly terrible lot, capped off in their awfulness by a Fall Oscarbation slate that left me shellshocked and desolate, wondering why the hell I spend time I don't have doing this. I despair for "the profession," such as it is. Who can stare this middlebrow tripe in the eye and give it an unironic "atta-boy"? But 2010 was also a year in which a whole lot of good-to-great films came popping out of the festival berths like dandelions in an unmown field. Fortunately, many of those films will be receiving proper releases in 2011, so next year I should have a bit more to say that isn't just bitching and moaning.

 

As for those world premieres..... I've put finalizing the list off because (in addition to never finding the time to actually make it out of the house to see a movie properly -- the requisite "I suck" mea culpa) there remain a number of key films from 2010 that I haven't yet found the time to sit down and see. But I have to cry uncle at some point. So when I finally get to true list contenders like Aurora, Vapor Trail (Clark), or The Autobiography of Nicolai Ceausescu, I'll cross them off and stop looking stupid.

 

But for now:

 

2010 TOP ELEVEN (world premieres only)

 

1. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, France / Italy / Belgium) [review]

 

2. Film for Invisible Ink Case No. 323: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (David Gatten, U.S.) [s] [review forthcoming]

 

3. Film Socialism (Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland) [v] [review]

 

4. The City Below (Christoph Hochhäusler, Germany) [review]

 

5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand /U.K. / France / Germany / Spain / The Netherlands) [review]

 

6. Silent Souls (Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia) [review]

 

7. These Hammers Don't Hurt Us (Michael Robinson, U.S.) [v/s] [review]

 

8. O somma luce (Jean-Marie Straub, France) [v/s] [review]

 

9. Get Out of the Car (Thom Andersen, U.S.) [m] [review]

 

10. Oki's Movie (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea) [v] [review]

 

11. Promises Written In Water (Vincent Gallo, U.S.) [review]

 

 

AND A BAKER'S DOZEN RUNNERS UP:

 

ATTENBERG (Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece)

Coda (Vincent Grenier, U.S. / Canada) [v/s]

Coming Attractions (Peter Tscherkassky, Austria) [s]

Home Movie (John Price, Canada) [m]

I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhangke, China)

In The Shadows (Thomas Arslan, Germany)

Marwencol (Jeff Malmberg, U.S.)

The Oath (Laura Poitras, U.S.)

Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois, France)

Portrait; Teatime; Red Curtain (Helga Fanderl, Germany) [s]

Putty Hill (Matt Porterfield, U.S.)

Le Quattro Volte (Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy / Germany / Switzerland)

Sea Swallow'd (Andrew Kötting, U.K.) [s]

Slow Action (Ben Rivers, U.K.) [m]

Sugar Slim Says (Lewis Klahr, U.S.) [v/s]

Tokyo-Ebisu (Tomonari Nishikawa, Japan) [s]

Winter's Bone (Debra Granik, U.S.)

 

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2010 TOP TEN RELEASES (poll-eligible only)

 

1. Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal / France / Spain) [m]

 

2. Wild Grass (Alain Resnais, France / Italy)

 

3. Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine, U.S.)

 

4. Winter's Bone (Debra Granik, U.S.)

 

5. Everyone Else (Maren Ade, Germany)

 

6. The Oath (Laura Poitras, U.S.)

 

7. Around a Small Mountain [36 vues du Pic Saint Loup] (Jacques Rivette, France / Italy)

 

8. Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece)

 

9. Vincere (Marco Bellocchio, Italy)

 

10. Hadewijch (Bruno Dumont, France)