Well, this is it, mates: the last of the Decade List segments, which forced me to new extremes of evaluation. I started out complaining to my editors about having to draw up lists and (even worse) ranking titles, but the process is a bit addictive (damn you, Sam C. Mac and A.A. Dowd!) and I may not be responsible for my actions if I start reflecting on the 90s, the 80s, the 70s… I also foresee writing some kind of “In Defence Of” series some day, with a heavy focus on 2009 films; three of the titles below have as many detractors as they do admirers (the Jarmusch, the Mann and the Tarantino), and I’m ready to go to bat for them. Whatever you think of them, it says a lot when such films stand out even in a year like 2009, which gave us an embarrassment of cinematic riches.
As always, films are listed in alphabetical order, and ‘year’ is determined over at InRO by a movie’s first US release, limited or wide (not festivals or exclusive screenings).
24 City, directed by Jia Zhang-ke (China)
35 Shots of Rum, directed by Claire Denis (France)
Inglourious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino (US)
Il Divo, directed by Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)
The Limits of Control, directed by Jim Jarmusch (US)
Public Enemies, directed by Michael Mann (US)
Revanche, directed by Götz Spielmann (Austria)
Summer Hours, directed by Olivier Assayas (France)
Tokyo Sonata, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)
Tulpan, directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy (Kazakhstan)
Also: Ten Favourite Films of 2000; Ten Favourite Films of 2001; Ten Favourite Films of 2002; Ten Favourite Films of 2003; Ten Favourite Films of 2004; Ten Favourite Films of 2005; Ten Favourite Films of 2006; Ten Favourite Films of 2007; Ten Favourite Films of 2008.
(List originally published on In Review Online, on March 11, 2010.)