First of all … I have finished below the Day 8 capsules with CLOUD 9 and I will do the Day 9 and 10 capsules over the next few days, though frankly there’s no “holy crap, dude” films in that mix (only two as high as 7 and none higher … though now that I think, CHOCOLATE actually IS a “holy crap, dude” film, albeit in a more literal sense than the sense of a great film).
So here’s the best films I saw over the fest, the 9s and 8s, ranked in order of preference.
- HUNGER (Steve McQueen, Britain) — 9
- REVANCHE (Gotz Spielmann, Austria) — 9
- THE SILENCE OF LORNA (the Dardenne brothers, Belgium) — 9
- DETROIT METAL CITY (Toshio Lee, Japan) — 9
- HAPPY GO-LUCKY (Mike Leigh, Britain) — 8
- GOODBYE SOLO (Ramin Bahrani, USA) — 8
- STILL WALKING (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan) — 8
- A CHRISTMAS TALE (Arnaud Desplechin, France) — 8
- LAST STOP 174 (Bruno Barreto, Brazil) — 8
- SOUL POWER (Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, USA) — 8
So I saw 10 “definite keeper” films this year, though some of the 7s are also quite excellent and better than the 8s in some ways but had flaws too great to overlook — THE BROTHERS BLOOM, ASHES OF TIME, e.g.. That 10 was down from last year’s 13, but still quite impressive compared to the low expectations that the year’s earlier festivals had produced. (Though it was made quite clear to me by Noel, Mike and others that I may be alone in thinking DETROIT METAL CITY is a great movie.)
What’s also encouraging is that four of the top six films are by directors new to my popped-out eyeballs. The top two are clearly by great directors, in command of the medium and it’s only McQueen’s first film (it’s also Lee’s first film, though I wouldn’t credit him so much). Bahrani and Spielmann also have some body of work behind them — at least Bahrani’s two previous films have been spoken well of, and Spielmann has a substantial credit list at the IMDb, though I don’t know how much of it is significant (Herr Huber?).