Friday, June 18, 2010

The Best Films of 2010 (so far...)

The first six months of any given year are traditionally seen as the time when studios dump whatever leftovers or lower-tier children's fare they have lying around onto an entertainment deprived community of undiscriminating filmgoers. However, it's also the time when a lot of the films on the prior year's festival circuit finally make their way stateside, meaning there is plenty of quality material out there for those so inclined to seek it out. With that in mind, I'd say that 2010 has started out particularly strong, though I appear to be in something of a minority opinion there, even amongst fellow cinephiles. What I see, though, is a broad range of very good art-house and foreign product, to such a degree that a number of films that I've quite enjoyed-- including Fish Tank, Best Worst Movie, Father of My Children and The Ghost Writer-- couldn't even find room on this list of the fifteen best.

What is here, however, is an exceedingly diverse crop of films, with everything from a devastating, Bergman-worthy relationship drama (Everyone Else, the year's best thus far, pictured above and again designated in red below), a deliciously uneasy fairytale re-imagining (Bluebeard), a ridiculously entertaining meta-documentary on street art and forgery (Exit Through the Gift Shop), an ingratiatingly evil familial deconstruction (Dogtooth), a zany and freewheeling romantic comedy from a French master (Wild Grass), and one film so bracingly out-there that I can truly say I've never seen anything quite like it (Trash Humpers). Not bad for just six months, and with the Los Angeles Film Festival now bringing in previews of a few of the year's most enticing indies (White Material, Cold Weather, Lebanon, The Kids Are All Right) to go along with the highly anticipated critical darlings from Cannes (Uncle Boonmee, Certified Copy, Carlos, and hopefully Film Socialisme), the year is shaping up to be quite special indeed. Anyhow, this is the year in film as I see it now-- my fifteen favorite theatrically released films of 2010 so far.

Bluebeard / Catherine Breillat
Everyone Else / Maren Ade
Exit Through the Gift Shop / Banksy
Dogtooth / Giorgos Lanthimos
Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl / Manoel de Oliveira
Greenberg / Noah Baumbach
I Am Love / Luca Guadagnino
Lourdes / Jessica Hausner
Mother / Bong Joon-ho
A Prophet / Jacques Audiard
Sweetgrass / Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Trash Humpers / Harmony Korine
Vincere / Marco Bellocchio
Wild Grass / Alain Resnais
Winter’s Bone / Debra Granik


Charles said...

Nice list, Jordan. Since I'm curious and too lazy to ask on Twitter, what're your thoughts on "I Am Love"? It's one I liked but didn't wholeheartedly embrace. Curious.

Stereo Sanctity said...

Well Chazz, let me start by saying that "I Am Love" was the last film I saw before putting together this list, and therefore the last film added (bumping off "Father of My Children" for whatever it's worth). With that being said, I found the film extremely beautiful-- as most everyone has I'm sure-- and the way it balanced self-conscious melodrama with familial and professional concerns felt very honest to me. Also, Swinton's performance was top-notch while the classical aesthetic stylings did their part in enveloping me in the grandiosity of the story. In other words, it's a bold film, and I don't think we get to see that all too often anymore.

whyyouallwetbaby? said...

you forgot "Shutter Island," homie.

Stereo Sanctity said...

Nope, I don't believe I did.

Isaiah Barney said...

So does Eclipse knock any of these off?