Film Comment Back Issues 728x90 Film Society of Lincoln Center

Film Comment’s End of Year Critics’ Poll 2002

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Will these films age like fine wine or just go flat like cheap champagne? Only time will tell, but for now here's what our critics thought were the best films of 2002

20 BEST FILMS OF 2002
(Released theatrically in the U.S.)

1. Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, U.S.) 597 points
2. Adaptation (Spike Jonze, U.S.) 471
3. Y tu mama también (Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico) 413
4. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain) 403
5. About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, U.S.) 367
6. Time Out (Laurent Cantet, France) 361
7. The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, Canada) 334
8. Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, U.S.) 318
9. Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, Russia/Germany) 303
10. Gangs of New York (Martin Scorsese, U.S.) 297
11. Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, U.S.) 296
12. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, Japan) 277
13. In Praise of Love (Jean-Luc Godard, France/Switzerland) 264
14. I'm Going Home (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/France) 247
15. Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass, U.K./Ireland) 236
16. The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, Austria/France) 220
17. What Time Is It There? (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France) 200
18. Femme Fatale (Brian De Palma, U.S.) 192
19. The Pianist (Roman Polanski, Poland/U.K./ France) 185
20. Late Marriage (Dover Kosashvili, Israel) 174

10 BEST UNRELEASED FILMS OF 2002
(Seen last year but not yet released in the U.S.)

1. Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhangke, China) 223
2. The Man Without a Past (Aki Kaurismäki, Finland) 217
3. Spider (David Cronenberg, Canada/U.K.) 209
4. Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran/France) 174
5. Springtime in a Small Town (Tian Zhuangzhuang, China) 150
6. Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, France/Taiwan) 145
7. Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, Palestine/France) 124
8. The Son (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France) 123
9. To Be and to Have (Nicolas Philibert, France) 120
10. The Uncertainty Principle (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/France) 118

Fifty-nine of this year's contributors and selected colleagues voted for the 20 best films released in the US in 2002, and the ten best unreleased films of the year. Participants: John Anderson, David Ansen, Nicole Armour, Paul Arthur, Michael Atkinson, Marjorie Baumgarten, Chris Chang, Travis Crawford, Edward Crouse, Manohla Dargis, Roger Ebert, F. X. Feeney, Graham Fuller, Jason Gross, Ernest Hardy, Dennis Harvey, J. Hoberman, Robert Horton, Gary Indiana, Harlan Jacobson, Kent Jones, Kristin Marriott Jones, Dave Kehr, Sarah Kerr, Stuart Klawans, Michael Koresky, Nathan Lee, Jacob Levich, Philip Lopate, Alice Lovejoy, Guy Maddin, Todd McCarthy, Maitland McDonagh, Wesley Morris, Nick Nicastro, Chris Norris, Geoffrey O'Brien, Mark Olsen, Gerald Peary, Richard Peña, Mark Peranson, Tony Pipolo, Alissa Quart, Bérénice Reynaud, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Gavin Smith, Roger Smith, Gregory Solman, Chuck Stephens, David Sterritt, Amy Taubin, Anne Thompson, Kenneth Turan, Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan, Armond White, Michael Wilmington.

EDITORS’ CHOICE

Gavin Smith
Adaptation; Bloody Sunday; demonlover; Far From Heaven; Femme Fatale; Friday Night (Claire Denis); Ichi the Killer; Super 8 films of José Rodriguez; Unknown Pleasures; The Visitation (Nathaniel Dorsky); Video:; One Mile per Minute (Robby Abate); Down from the Mountains (Alfred Guzzetti); Music Video: Six Days – DJ Shadow (Wong Kar-wai)

Chris Chang
1. Minority Report; 2. Late Marriage; 3. Talk to Her; 4. The Fast Runner ; 5. The Son; 6. Ichi the Killer; 7. Unknown Pleasures; 8. Alias Betty; 9. Domestic Violence ; 10. Exam (Nasser Refaie); Short: Zeno Writing (William Kentridge); Best Dog: Mouki (Late Marriage)

Alice Lovejoy
Adaptation; Domestic Violence; Gangs of New York; Late Marriage; The Man Without a Past; Russian Ark; The Son; Sunshine State; Talk to Her; To Be and to Have; Best Dog: Tähti as Hannibal (The Man Without a Past)

Kent Jones
Afghanistan Year 1380 (Vendemmiati & Lazzaretti); Blissfully Yours; demonlover; Friday Night; Gangs of New York; The Son; Spirited Away; Springtime in a Small Town; Talk to Her; Unknown Pleasures; Shorts: Voice of the Prophet (Bob Edwards); Int. Trailer – Night (Jim Jarmusch); And one great scene: An ss officer peering through a window at a demonstration of the new gas chambers in Costa-Gavras’s Amen; Best Dog: Scooby Doo

SELECT CONTRIBUTOR'S CHOICE

Nicole Armour (Toronto)
1. Lilja 4-Ever (Lukas Moodysson); 2. Punch-Drunk Love; 3. To Be and to Have; 4. Biggie & Tupac; 5. Run Ronnie Run (Troy Miller); 6. Morvern Callar; 7. fubar (Michael Dowse); 8. About a Boy; 9. Friday Night; 10. The Man Without a Past

Paul Arthur (New York)

Chihwaseon (Im Kwon-taek); Domestic Violence; Confessions of a Sociopath (Joe Gibbons); I'm Going Home; Profit and Nothing But! (Raoul Peck); Psalm III: Night of the Meek (Phil Solomon); Russian Ark; Solaris; The Trials of Henry Kissinger; The Visitation

Frédéric Bonnaud (Paris)
1. Playtime (restored version); 2. Mischka (Jean-François Stévenin); 3. Talk to Her; 4. The Uncertainty Principle ; 5. Choses secrètes (Jean-Claude Brisseau); 6. Va savoir + (220-min. director's cut); 7. Spider; 8. Russian Ark ; 9. Ten ; 10. From the Other Side (Chantal Akerman)

Manohla Dargis (Los Angeles)
About Schmidt; Blissfully Yours; Far From Heaven; Femme Fatale; In Praise of Love; Japón (Carlos Reygadas); The Pianist; The Piano Teacher; Time Out; Y tu mama también

Chris Darke (London)
1. Ten; 2. Morvern Callar; 3. London Orbital (Chris Petit & Iain Sinclair); 4. Time Out; 5. What Time Is It There?; 6. Sans soleil (reissue); 7. Eija-Liisa Ahtila at Tate Modern, London; 8. Sweet Sixteen (Ken Loach); 9. The Quiet American; 10. Austerlitz, the remarkable last novel by the German writer W.G. Sebald, who died, tragically, in 2001. Like all of his works, it's an interplay of stills and text. No one has fully explored the kinship his writing has with essay filmmaking specifically, and with photographic images in general. A year late, maybe, to commemorate the passing of this great, humane and wise voice whose echoes will reverberate for a long time to come.

Howard Hampton (Los Angeles)
Of the too-few movies I was able to see, only What Time Is It There? and its secret soulmate Punch-Drunk Love are truly Top 5 material, with Volcano High a solid 8, Solaris, Y tu mama también, Pistol Opera, and The Piano Teacher fighting for 9 and 10, and the rest, appropriately, blanks. But down here in the lower depths, who needs to go to the movies for a dose of anguish or hopelessness or numbed-out despair anyway? Real life - what a concept. Word is S. Jonze, C. Kaufman and J-Lo have bought the exclusive rights: Coming Xmas '03: Mouchette - The Musical. ("All-singing! All-dancing! All-drowning!")

Shigehiko Hasumi (Tokyo)
Blood Work; Bright Future (Kiyoshi Kurosawa); Dolls (Takeshi Kitano); Ghosts of Mars (John Carpenter); The Man Without a Past; Novo (Jean-Pierre Limosin); Russian Ark; Unknown Pleasures; Women in the Mirror (Kiju Yoshida); Zanjin Zanba Ken (Daisuke Ito, 1929, recently discovered in 9.5mm print for Pathé Baby) plus one book: La Promesa de Shanghai by Victor Erice (scenario and dialogue of an unrealized project, Areté, 2001, Madrid)

Alexander Horwath (Vienna)
About Schmidt; All or Nothing; demonlover; To Be and to Have; Far From Heaven; The Son; An Injury to One (Travis Wilkerson); The Man Without a Past Racine-1 (Dietmar Brehm, Austria); Unknown Pleasures

Dave Kehr (New York)
Spirited Away; About Schmidt; Talk to Her; Punch-Drunk Love; Time Out; In Praise of Love; I'm Going Home Mahagonny (Harry Smith); Windtalkers Warm Water under a Red Bridge

Guy Maddin (Winnipeg)
1. Punch-Drunk Love; 2. Far From Heaven; 3. Adaptation; 4. Undercover Brother; 5. The Kid Stays in the Picture; 6. About Schmidt; 7. Lovely & Amazing; 8. Secretary; 9. Devdas (Sanjay Leela Bhansali)

Olaf Möller (Cologne)
Ali Agitator (Takashi Miike); Demons (Mario O’Hara); Dog Days (Ulrich Seidl); One Week (Kobayashi Masahiro); To the Left of the Father (Luiz Fernando Carvalho); The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein (John Gianvito); Pau and His Brother (Marc Recha, Spain); Public Toilet (Fruit Chan, China); Killing Mad Dogs (Bahram Beizai)

Phillip Lopate (New York)
1. Ten; 2. Spider-Man; 3. Spirited Away; 4. The Son; 5. Safe Conduct; 6. Talk to Her; 7. Turning Gate (Hong Sang-soo); 8. Minority Report; 9. Waiting for Happiness; 10. Investigation of a Flame (Lynn Sachs)

Geoffrey O’Brien (New York)
1. The Lady and the Duke; 2. The Fast Runner; 3. Far From Heaven; 4. Auto Focus; 5. Minority Report; 6. Gangs of New York; 7. Femme Fatale; 8. Nine Queens; 9. Adaptation; 10. Merci pour le chocolat

Mark Olsen (Los Angeles)
; 1. Bloody Sunday; 2. Far From Heaven; 3. Gangs of New York; 4. The Good Girl; 5. Invincible; 6. Lovely & Amazing; 7. Morvern Callar; 8. Punch-Drunk Love; 9. The Quiet American; 10. What Time Is It There?

Jonathan Romney (London)
Cremaster 3 (Matthew Barney); Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (Guy Maddin); Every Day God Kisses Us on the Mouth (Sinis Dragin, Romania); Far From Heaven; Gangs of New York; The Man Without a Past; Morvern Callar; The Royal Tenenbaums; Spider; Ten

Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago)
1. *Corpus Callosum ; 2. Y tu mama tambien; 3. I'm Going Home ; 4. Russian Ark ; 5. In Praise of Love; 6. Far From Heaven; 7. The Cat's Meow; 8. Rabbit-Proof Fence and 25th Hour (tie); 10. Bowling for Columbine and Undercover Brother (tie)

Chuck Stephens (Bangkok)
1. Punch-Drunk Love ; 2. demonlover; 3. Unknown Pleasures; 4. Blissfully Yours ; 5. Japón; 6. Camel(s) (Park Ki-yong); 7. Paradox Lake (Przemyslaw Shemie Reut); 8. Ken Park (Larry Clark & Ed Lachman); 9. Doing Time (Yoichi Sai, Japan); 10. Eliana, eliana (Riri Riza, Indonesia)

Amy Taubin (New York)
1. Spider; 2. The Commune (Paris, 1871) (Peter Watkins); 3. Solaris; 4. Far From Heaven ; 5. Femme Fatale ; 6. *Corpus Callosum ; 7. The Fast Runner ; 8. The Uncertainty Principle ; 9. Gerry (Gus Van Sant); 10. Lovely & Amazing

David Thompson (London)
1. The Pianist; 2. Talk to Her; 3. Playtime (70mm restoration); 4. Gosford Park; 5. Far From Heaven; 6. Adaptation; 7. The Royal Tenenbaums; 8. Malpertuis (Harry Kummel, restoration); 9. Y tu mama también; 10. Gangs of New York

Armond White (New York)
1. Femme Fatale ; 2. Catch Me If You Can ; 3. Time Out ; 4. Minority Report ; 5. All or Nothing ; 6. Storytelling ; 7. The Triumph of Love (Clare Peploe) 8. The Cat's Meow ; 9. 24 Hour Party People; 10. Undisputed (Walter Hill)

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