Twenty Twelve: Films

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I think I’m ready to commit now. Here are my Top 20 films of 2012. From where I’m sitting – which is usually in a cinema, with a paid-for ticket in my hand, watching something subtitled, but not exclusively – it’s been a very good year: stimulating, surprising, modest and varied. (I’ve discounted reissues from the Top 20, although there are very few films I loved as much as Ordet and Le Quai des brumes.)

1 Once Upon A Time In Anatolia | Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Turkey/Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 Amour | Michael Haneke | Austria/France/Germany
3 Sightseers | Ben Wheatley | UK
4 Aurora | Christi Piui | Romania
5 The Kid With A Bike | Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne | Belgium/France/Italy
6 Marvel Avengers Assemble | Joss Whedon | US
7 Beasts Of The Southern Wild | Benh Zeitlin | US
8 The Master | Paul Thomas Anderson | US
9 The Hunt | Thomas Vinterberg | Denmark
10 Martha Marcy May Marlene | Sean Durkin | US

11 Carancho | Pablo Trapero | Argentina/Chile/France/South Korea
12 Headhunters | Morten Tyldum | Norway/Germany
13 Berberian Sound Studio | Peter Strickland | UK
14 The Queen Of Versailles | Lauren Greenfield | USA/Netherlands/UK/Denmark
15 A Royal Affair | Nikolaj Arcel | Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic
16 Silent Souls | Aleksi Fedorchenko | Russia
17 Margin Call | JC Chandor | USA
18 The Descendants | Alexander Payne | US
19 A Simple Life | Ann Hui | Hong Kong
20 Tabu | Miguel Gomes | Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France

Now, I’m just doing the following for the record. It’s every new film I have seen this year, pretty much in order of theatrical release (although some I will have caught up with on DVD), and this includes reissues. I think it adds up to 121 films. I feel annoyed that I somehow missed Argo, and This Is Not A Film, and Ill Manors, but there are only so many hours in a day, and days in a week. I’ve been a real trainspotter about country of origin, but usually, the first country is the “nationality” of the film.

The Iron Lady | Phyllida Lloyd | UK/France
Margin Call | JC Chandor | USA
Shame | Steve McQueen | UK
War Horse | Steven Spielberg | USA
Haywire | Steven Soderbergh | USA/Ireland
Coriolanus | Ralph Fiennes | UK
J. Edgar | Clint Eastwood | USA
The Descendants | Alexander Payne | USA
The Grey | Joe Carnahan | USA
Carnage | Roman Polanski | France/Germany/Poland/Spain
Man On A Ledge | Asger Leth | USA
Martha Marcy May Marlene | Sean Durkin | USA
A Dangerous Method | David Cronenberg | UK/Germany/Canada/Switzerland
Girl Model | David Redmon, Ashley Sabin | USA/Russia/Japan/France
The Woman In Black | James Watkins | UK/Canada/Sweden
Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close | Stephen Daldry | USA
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel | John Madden | UK/USA/UAE
Rampart | Oren Moverman | USA
Carancho | Pablo Trapero | Argentina/Chile/France/South Korea
If Not Us, Who? | Andres Veiel | Germany
Michael | Markus Schleinzer | Austria
Bel Ami | Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod | UK/Italy
John Carter | Andrew Stanton | USA
Ordet | 1955, Carl Theodor Dreyer | Denmark
Trishna | Michael Winterbottom | UK
21 Jump Street | Phil Lord, Chris Miller | USA
Bill Cunningham New York | Richard Press | USA/France
Contraband | Baltasar Kormákur | USA/UK/France
In Darkness | Agnieszka Holland | Poland/Germany/Canada
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia | Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Turkey/Bosnia and Herzegovina
We Bought A Zoo | Cameron Crowe | USA
The Hunger Games | Gary Ross | USA
The Kid With A Bike | Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne | Belgium/France/Italy
Into The Abyss: A Tale Of Death, A Tale Of Life | Werner Herzog | USA/UK/Germany
A Cat In Paris | Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol | France/Netherlands/Switzerland/Belgium
Headhunters | Morten Tyldum | Norway/Germany
La Grande Illusion | 1937, Jean Renoir | France
Le Havre | Aki Kaurismäki | Finland/France/Germany
This Must Be The Place | Paolo Sorrentino | Italy/France/Ireland
Battleship | Peter Berg | USA
Blackthorn | Mateo Gil | Spain/USA/Bolivia/France
The Cabin In The Woods | Drew Goddard | USA
Elles | Malgorzata Szumowska | France/Poland/Germany
Marley | Kevin Macdonald | USA/UK
Marvel Avengers Assemble | USA
African Cats | Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey | USA
Albert Nobbs | Rodrigo García | UK/Ireland/France/USA
Damsels In Distress | Whit Stillman | USA
The Monk | Dominik Moll | Spain/France
American Reunion | John Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg | USA
Goodbye, First Love | France
Monsieur Lazhar | France
Le Quai des brumes | Marcel Carné | France
Cafe de Flore | Mia Hansen-Løve | France/Germany
Dark Shadows | Tim Burton | USA
The Raid | Gareth Evans | Indonesia/USA
Moonrise Kingdom | Wes Anderson | USA
Prometheus | Ridley Scott | USA/UK
The Angels’ Share | Ken Loach | UK/France/Belgium/Italy
Woody Allen: A Documentary | Robert B Weide | USA
Cosmopolis | David Cronenberg | Canada/France/Portugal/Italy
A Royal Affair | Nikolaj Arcel | Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic
Rock Of Ages | Adam Shankman | USA
Killer Joe | William Friedkin | USA
Silent Souls | Aleksi Fedorchenko | Russia
Friends With Kids | Jennifer Westfeldt | USA
The King Of Devil’s Island | Marius Holst | Norway
Your Sister’s Sister | Lynn Shelton | USA
The Amazing Spider-Man | Marc Webb | USA
God Bless America | Bobcat Goldthwait | USA
The Hunter | Daniel Nettheim | Australia
You’ve Been Trumped | Antony Baxter | UK
Magic Mike | Steven Soderbergh | USA
Electrick Children | Rebecca Thomas | USA
The Giants | Bouli Lanners | Belgium
Nostalgia For The Light | Patricio Guzmán | France/Germany/Chile/Spain
Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap | Ice-T/Andy Baybutt | UK/USA
The Dark Knight Rises | Christopher Nolan | USA/UK
In Your Hands | Lola Doillon | France
Swandown | Andrew Kötting | UK
Searching For Sugar Man | Malik Bendjelloul | Sweden/UK
El Bulli: Cooking In Progress | Gereon Wetzel | Germany
Dark Horse | Todd Solondz | USA
Ted | Seth MacFarlane | USA
Eames: The Architect And The Painter | Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey | USA
A Simple Life | Ann Hui | Hong Kong
Sound Of My Voice | Zal Batmanglij | USA
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry | Alison Klayman | USA
360 | Fernando Mereilles | UK/Austria/France/Brazil
The Bourne Legacy | Tony Gilroy | USA
Take This Waltz | Sarah Polley | Canada/Spain/Japan
The Imposter | Bart Layton | UK
The Watch | Akiva Schaffer | USA
Shadow Dancer | James Marsh | UK/Ireland
Berberian Sound Studio | Peter Strickland | UK
Anna Karenina | Joe Wright | UK
Lawless | John Hillcoat | USA
The Queen Of Versailles | Lauren Greenfield | USA/Netherlands/UK/Denmark
Tabu | Miguel Gomes | Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France
To Rome With Love | Woody Allen | USA/Italy/Spain
Killing Them Softly | Andrew Dominick | USA
Untouchable | Olivier Lakache, Eric Toledano | France
Barbara | Christian Petzold | Germany
Holy Motors | Leos Carax | France/Germany
Looper | Rian Johnson | USA/China
On The Road | Walter Salles | France/UK/USA/Brazil
Beasts Of The Southern Wild | Benh Zeitlin | USA
Grassroots | Stephen Gyllenhaal | USA
Ginger & Rosa | Sally Potter | UK/Denmark/Canada/Croatia
Elena | Andrey Zvyagintsev | Russia
Skyfall | Sam Mendes | UK/USA
Keep The Lights On | Ira Sachs | USA
Rust And Bone | Jacques Audiard | France/Belgium
The Master | Paul Thomas Anderson | USA
Alps | Giorgos Lanthimos | Greece
Aurora | Cristi Puiu | Romania/France/Switzerland/Germany
Great Expectations | Mike Newell | UK/USA
I, Anna | Barnaby Southcombe | UK/Germany/France
The Hunt | Thomas Vinterberg | Denmark
Amour | Michael Haneke | Austria/France/ Germany
Sightseers | Ben Wheatley | UK

A busy filmgoing year. Perhaps this is why I’ve spent so little of listening to new music – a fact that will be apparent when I do my Top 10 Albums of 2012 – and reading new books – ergo: my forthcoming Top 3 Books of 2012!

Looking forward to your own choices. Ideally, you won’t begin your comments with “I can’t believe you missed out …”

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