The Best Films of 2010

Written by Mike Lyon on January 1st, 2011

Comrades! Once again, the list-making season is upon us, and I must answer the call. As per usual, for a film to be eligible it must have received a theatrical release in its country of origin in 2010. Of course, these lists are never immutable, but here are ten great films that defined 2010 for me.

1. Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé, France)

2. I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino, Italy)

3. Carlos (Olivier Assayas, France)

4. White Material (Claire Denis, France)

5. The Social Network (David Fincher, United States)

6. Restrepo (Tim Hetherington & Sebastian Junger, United States)

7. Hahaha! (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)

8. Outrage (Takeshi Kitano, Japan)

9. Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik, United States)

10. Alamar (Pedro González-Rubio, Mexico)

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. What I find interesting about your choices this year is the comparative sparsity of Asian films (at least in comparison to certain years). Which leads me to ask: what did you think of this year’s bigger Japanese releases – such as CONFESSIONS and 13 ASSASSINS? I might have expected at least one of these.

  2. Mike Lyon says:

    Sorry, Mike, I didn’t see this comment until today! Which might tell you a little something about how busy I’ve been with my new job; regardless I apologize! A lot of the tentpole Asian features I saw this year failed to impress, although even as I type I have a Thai DVD copy of UNCLE BOONMEE winging it’s way to me and I am quaking with anticipation! I was curious about CONFESSIONS, but didn’t immediately make the import DVD purchase; I loved one of the director’s previous films, KAMIKAZE GIRLS, but was underwhelmed by the promising but ultimately mediocre follow-up, MEMORIES OF MATSUKO. If you recommend CONFESSIONS, tho, I’ll surely look into it.
    As for 13 ASSASSINS, I’m always in the bag for a new Miike picture regardless of what mode he’s in (batshit horror, batshit action, batshit children’s film, etc), but the late-year release in Japan means there’s been no DVD release so far…
    I will say that there is another Asian film hovering just outside the top 10 – Pang Ho-cheung’s excellent horror outing DREAM HOME. I wanted to dovetail it into the top 10 as I’ve done for Pang in previous years with films such as ISABELLA and EXODUS, but I feel it just missed the mark in terms of his usual craftsmanship. In my opinion, however, it is certainly one of the most clever Cat III films ever made, and even gives a run in the shock arena with obviously more exploitative recent Cat III films like PROSTITUTE KILLERS.
    Pang released 2 films in 2010 actually, the other being LOVE IN A PUFF, a very funny comedy about the HK smoking ban. Its slice-of-life drama seems far outside the range of the director’s normal work, but I was impressed; taken as a duo, maybe they could’ve been afforded a spot on the list in a less-stellar year at the movies.
    I found almost nothing interesting whatsoever from Korea this year, which leaves me worried but not completely without hope for 2011…

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