By Ray Pride








NEW YORK – December 14, 2012 – Film Comment’s annual end-of-the-year survey of film critics, journalists, film section editors, and past and present contributors was released today with Leos Carax’s HOLY MOTORS, Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER and Wes Andreson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM taking the top spots among films released in 2012. Among films that made appearances at film festivals or special screenings worldwide, but haven’t been picked up for stateside distribution as of yet, Joachim Lafosse’s OUR CHILDREN, Song Fang’s MEMORIES LOOK AT ME and Alan Berliner’s FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED received the top rankings.


Offering the most comprehensive assessment of the year in film, Film Comment received responses from more than 120 participants including (in alphabetical order): Melissa Anderson (NYFF Selection Committee), David Ansen (LAFF Artistic Director), Richard Brody (The New Yorker), David Fear (Time Out New York), Scott Foundas (The Village Voice), Haden Guest (Director, Harvard Film Archive), Eugene Hernandez (Director of Digital Strategy, Film Society of Lincoln Center), J. Hoberman (Film Comment Contributing Editor), Glenn Kenny (MSN Movies), Stuart Klawans (The Nation), Eric Kohn (IndieWire), Karina Longworth, Scott Macaulay (Filmmaker Magazine), Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight), Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter), Wesley Morris (Boston Globe), Mark Olsen (Los Angeles Times), Andréa Picard (Programmer, Toronto Film Festival’s “Wavelengths” Curator), Jonathan Rosenbaum, Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly), Amy Taubin (Film Comment Contributing Editor and NYFF Selection Committee), and Kenneth Turan (LA Times).


Film Comment’s Top 10 Films Released in 2011 are; 1. Leos Carax’s HOLY MOTORS, 2. Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER, 3. Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM, 4. Jafar Panahi’s & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s THIS IS NOT A FILM, 5. Michael Haneke’s AMOUR, 6. Béla Tarr’s THE TURIN HORSE, 7. Jean-Pierre’s & Luc Dardenne’s THE KID WITH A BIKE, 8. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA, 9. Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN, and 10. Kathryn Bigelow’s ZERO DARK THIRTY.


The rankings of other films making strong showings during the awards season are Benh Zeitlin’s BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (#14), David O. Russell’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (#18), and Ben Affleck’s ARGO (#24).


Film Comment’s survey also ranks films that have screened and made notable appearances at film festivals throughout the year, but remain without distribution in 2012 are 1. Joachim Lafosse’s OUR CHILDREN , 2. Song Fang’s MEMORIES LOOK AT ME, 3. Alan Berliner’s FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED, 4. Ying Liang’s WHEN NIGHT FALLS, 5. Jun Robles Lana’s BWAKAW, 6. Manoel de Oliveira’s GEBO AND THE SHADOW, 7. Nicolas Rey’s DIFFERENTLY, MOLUSSIA, 8. Heinz Emigholz’s PERRET IN FRANCE AND ALGERIA, 9. David Gatten‘s THE EXTRAVAGANT SHADOWS, and 10. Wang Bing’s THREE SISTERS.


LINCOLN will serve as the cover story subject of Film Comment Magazine’s Jan/Feb issue, with THE MASTER, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, and THE KID WITH A BIKE also landing on Film Comment covers this past year. HOLY MOTORS, AMOUR, LINCOLN, Miguel Gomes‘s TABU, Christian Petzold’s BARBARA, Dror Moreh‘s THE GATEKEEPERS, and Ben Rivers‘s TWO YEARS AT SEA, as well as THE KID WITH A BIKE screened at this year’s New York Film Festival. A dozen films in the Unreleased Films category screened at this year’s NYFF, including top ten members OUR CHILDREN, MEMORIES LOOK AT ME, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED, BWAKAW, and THE EXTRAVAGANT SHADOWS.


Film Comment editor Gavin Smith said, “Film Comment’s annual Best Films lists offer a comprehensive look at the year in film by combining the viewpoints of most of the magazine’s staff and contributors as well as many of America’s most influential film critics, writers and minds – with a specific emphasis this year on soliciting votes both in print and online.”


“Film Society: The Conversation starts here…” will be available at on Tuesday, December 18 with the Film Comment editor Gavin Smith discussing the 2012 Film Comment Best of Year lists with the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s new programming team of Kent Jones (New York Film Festival Director of Programming) and Robert Koehler (Director of Programming, Year Round).


The lists of films and poll participants can be found on and in the January/February issue of Film Comment, which hits newsstands January 7.






1. Holy Motors

Director: Leos Carax


2. The Master 

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson


3. Moonrise Kingdom 

Director: Wes Anderson


4. This Is Not a Film 

Directors: Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb


5. Amour 

Director: Michael Haneke


6. The Turin Horse 

Director: Béla Tarr


7. The Kid With a Bike 

Directors: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne


8. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia 

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan


9. Lincoln 

Director: Steven Spielberg


10. Zero Dark Thirty 

Director: Kathryn Bigelow


Rankings #11 – #20

11.  Tabu, Director: Miguel Gomes

12.  The Deep Blue Sea, Director: Terence Davies

13.  Bernie, Director: Richard Linklater

14.  Beasts of the Southern Wild, Director: Benh Zeitlin

15.  Cosmopolis, Director: David Cronenberg

16.  Barbara, Director: Christian Petzold

17.  The Loneliest Planet, Director: Julia Loktev

18.  Silver Linings Playbook, Director: David O. Russell

19.  Oslo, August 31st, Director: Joachim Trier

20.  Neighboring Sounds, Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho


Rankings #21 – #30

21.  Django Unchained, Director: Quentin Tarantino

22.  Almayer’s Folly, Director: Chantal Akerman

23.  Magic Mike, Director: Steven Soderbergh

24.  Argo, Director: Ben Affleck

25.  Attenberg, Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari

26.  The Color Wheel, Director: Alex Ross Perry

27.  Rust and Bone, Director: Jacques Audiard

28.  Killer Joe, Director: William Friedkin

29.  Looper, Director: Rian Johnson

30.  Life of Pi, Director: Ang Lee


Rankings #31 – #40

31.  A Man Vanishes, Director: Shohei Imamura

32.  Skyfall, Director: Sam Mendes

33.  The Gatekeepers, Director: Dror Moreh

34.  Elena, Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev

35.  Haywire, Director: Steven Soderbergh

36.  Damsels in Distress, Director: Whit Stillman

37.  Abendland, Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter

38.  Two Years at Sea, Director: Ben Rivers

39.  How to Survive a Plague, Director: David France

40.  Keep the Lights On, Director: Ira Sachs


Rankings #41 – #50

41.  A Burning Hot Summer, Director: Philippe Garrel

42.  Miss Bala, Director: Gerardo Naranjo

43.  Footnote, Director: Joseph Cedar

44.  Compliance, Director: Craig Zobel

45.  Alps, Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

46.  Kill List, Director: Ben Wheatley

47.  Farewell, My Queen, Director: Benoît Jacquot

48.  In Another Country, Director: Hong Sang-soo

49.  The Dark Knight Rises, Director: Christopher Nolan

50.  The Day He Arrives, Director: Hong Sang-soo




1. Our Children

Director: Joachim Lafosse


2. Memories Look at Me

Director: Song Fang


3. First Cousin Once Removed

Director: Alan Berliner


4. When Night Falls

Director: Ying Liang


5. Bwakaw

Director: Jun Robles Lana


6. Gebo and the Shadow

Director: Manoel de Oliveira


7. differently, Molussia

Director: Nicolas Rey


8. Perret in France and Algeria

Director: Heinz Emigholz


9. The Extravagant Shadows

Director: David Gatten


10. Three Sisters

Director: Wang Bing


Rankings #11 – #20

11. Dormant Beauty, Director: Marco Bellocchio

12. Far From Afghanistan, Directors: John Gianvito, Travis Wilkerson, Jon Jost, Minda Martin & Soon-Mi Yoo

13. Camille Rewinds, Director: Noémie Lvovsky

14. Wadjda, Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour

15. Greatest Hits, Director: Nicolás Pereda

16. small roads, Director: James Benning

17. Everybody in Our Family, Director: Radu Jude

18. Shepard and Dark, Director: Treva Wurmfeld

19. Hannah Arendt, Director: Margarethe von Trotta

20. Araf: Somewhere in Between, Director: Yesim Ustaoglu


Rankings #21 – #30

21. Thursday Through Sunday, Director: Dominga Sotomayor

22. Goodbye, Director: Mohammad Rasoulof

23. After Lucia, Director: Michel Franco

24. Reconversão, Director: Thom Andersen

25. Kon-Tiki , Directors: Joachim Roenning & Espen Sandberg

26. Tiger Tail in Blue, Director: Frank V. Ross

and Traveling Light, Director: Gina Telaroli (TIE)

28. Sun Don’t Shine, Director: Amy Seimetz

and Postcards from the Zoo , Director: Edwin (TIE)

and 3, Director: Pablo Stoll (TIE)


Rankings #31 – #40

31. The Invisible Ones, Director: Sebastien Lifshitz

32. Everyday, Director: Michael Winterbottom

33. Twilight Portrait, Director: Angelina Nikonova

and Age Is…, Director: Stephen Dwoskin (TIE)

35. The Strawberry Tree, Director: Simone Rapisarda Casanova

36. Here and There, Director: Antonio Mendez Esparza

and Louise Wimmer, Director: Cyril Mennegun (TIE)

38. Outrage Beyond, Director: Takeshi Kitano

39. Back to Stay, Director: Milagros Mumenthaler

and The Final Member, Directors: Jonah Bekhor & Zach Math (TIE)


Rankings #41 – #50

41. Kinshasa Kids , Director: Marc-Henri Wajnberg

and The War, Director: James Benning (TIE)

and Nights with Theodore, Director: Sébastien Betbeder (TIE)

44. The Minister, Director: Pierre Schöller

45. Celluloid Man, Director: Shivendra Singh Dungarpur

and Gangs of Wasseypur, Director: Anurag Kashyap (TIE)

47. The Dead Man and Being Happy, Director: Javier Rebollo

and The Invader, Director: Nicolas Provost (TIE)

and Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, Director:Laurence Cantet (TIE)

50. Donoma, Director: Djinn Carrenard



Film Society of Lincoln Center

Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, having just celebrated its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.


The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit and follow #filmlinc on Twitter.

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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch