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Online Exclusive: Film Comment’s End of Year Critics’ Poll 2011

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The return of a revered filmmaker and the confinement of a persecuted fellow director drove passions high for the top released and unreleased picks in this year’s critics’ poll, now in its 12th edition. Many of the theatrical favorites will be familiar from last year’s unreleased best-of slate—such titles as Uncle Boonmee may not have come soon to a theater near our respondents, but when they did, they were still very well liked. Other striking vote-getters include Andrei Ujica’s three-hour compilation film, Asghar Farhadi’s anatomy of divorce—slipping into theaters December 30—and Kenneth Lonergan’s long-in-coming production maudit Margaret. A note on the poll’s workings: around 120 North American colleagues (see complete participant list below) ranked their favorites in two categories: 1) those that received theatrical runs and 2) those viewed this year but not receiving U.S. theatrical distribution until 2012—if at all. For each ballot, a first-place choice was allotted 20 points, 19 for second, and so on. We published the results for the Top 20 in the current issue. Below are the Top 50.

ENTER OUR READERS' POLL!
You’ve heard our take on this year’s crop of films. Now it’s your turn to give us your top picks and your takes on the movies of 2011. We’ll print the poll results in our March/April issue and publish your comments on our website—and all entries will automatically be entered in a contest for free DVDs from the Criterion Collection! Stand up and be counted: send your ranked list of the year’s 20 best films (plus your rants, raves, and insights) with your name, address, and phone number, to fcpoll@filmlinc.com, mail them to Film Comment Readers’ Poll, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, or submit them online here. Deadline: February 10, 2012. Prizes: First Prize: your choice of Criterion Collection DVDs, up to $200 in value. Second Prize: up to $120. Third & Fourth Prizes: up to $80. The winners, who will be picked by random draw, will select prizes, subject to availability, from the Criterion Collection catalogue.

The Tree of Life

BEST FILMS OF 2011
(Released theatrically in the U.S.)

1. The Tree of Life Terrence Malick, U.S.
2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/U.K./France/Germany
3. Melancholia  Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany
4. A Separation Asghar Farhadi, Iran
5. A Dangerous Method David Cronenberg, Canada/Germany
6. Mysteries of Lisbon Raúl Ruiz, France/Portugal
7. Certified Copy, directed by Abbas Kiarostami, France/Italy/Belgium
8. Meek's Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt, U.S.
9. Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, U.S.
10. Poetry Lee Chang-dong, South Korea
11. Film Socialisme Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland
12. Le Havre Aki Kaurismäki, Finland/France
13. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu Andrei Ujica, Romania
14. Le quattro volte Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy/Germany/Switzerland
15. The Descendants Alexander Payne, U.S.
16. Nostalgia for the Light Patricio Guzmán, Chile/France/Germany
17. A Brighter Summer Day Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan
18. Midnight in Paris Woody Allen, Spain/U.S.
19. Take Shelter Jeff Nichols, U.S.
20. Margaret Kenneth Lonergan, U.S.
21. Shame Steve McQueen, U.K.
22. Drive Nicolas Winding Refn, U.S.
23. Cave of Forgotten Dreams Werner Herzog, U.S.
24. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Tomas Alfredson, U.K./France/Germany
25. To Die Like a Man João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal/France
26. The Interrupters Steve James, U.S.
27. The Artist
 Michel Hazanavicius, France
28. Tuesday, After Christmas Radu Muntean, Romania
29. Aurora Cristi Puiu, Romania
30. Weekend Andrew Haigh, U.K.
31. The Skin I Live In Pedro Almodóvar, Spain
32. City of Life and Death
 Lu Chuan, China/Hong Kong
33. Contagion Steven Soderbergh, U.S.
34. Of Gods and Men
 Xavier Beauvois, France
35. Martha Marcy May Marlene Sean Durkin, U.S.
36. Bridesmaids Paul Feig, U.S.
37. The Trip Michael Winterbottom, U.K.
38. Moneyball Bennett Miller, U.S.
39. The Arbor Clio Barnard, U.K.
40. The Future
 Miranda July, U.S./Germany
41. Incendies
 Denis Villeneuve, Canada/France
42. Super 8 J.J. Abrams, U.S.
43. United Red Army Koji Wakamatsu, Japan
44. Road to Nowhere Monte Hellman, U.S.
45. Tabloid Errol Morris, U.S.
46. Rise of the Planet of the Apes Rupert Wyatt, U.S.
47. Terri
 Azazel Jacobs, U.S.
48. J. Edgar Clint Eastwood, U.S.
49. Jane Eyre Cary Fukunaga, U.K.
50. Pina
 Wim Wenders, Germany/France

This Is Not a Film

BEST UNRELEASED FILMS OF 2011
(*Currently without U.S. distribution)                                            

1. This Is Not a Film Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Iran
2. The Turin Horse Béla Tarr, Hungary/France/Switzerland/Germany
3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey
4. The Kid with a Bike Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France
5. The Loneliest Planet Julia Loktev, U.S./Germany
6. Miss Bala Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico
7. Footnote Joseph Cedar, Israel
8. Kill List Ben Wheatley, U.K.
9. Sleeping Sickness Ulrich Koehler, Germany*
10. Play Ruben Östlund, Sweden/France/Denmark*
11. Policeman Nadav Lapid, Israel*
12. The Color Wheel Alex Ross Perry, U.S.
13. Two Years at Sea Ben Rivers, U.K.*
14. Alps Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece
15. Goodbye First Love Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany
16. 4:44 Last Day on Earth Abel Ferrara, U.S.
17. Dreileben Parts 1-3 Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf & Christoph Hochhäusler, Germany*
18. The Return Nathaniel Dorsky, U.S.
19. The Deep Blue Sea Terence Davies, U.K.
20. Wuthering Heights Andrea Arnold, U.K.
21. Corpo Celeste Alice Rohrwacher, Italy/France/Switzerland
22. Oslo, August 31st Joachim Trier, Norway*
23. The Student Santiago Mitre, Argentina
24. Attenberg Athena Rachel Tsangari, Greece
25. Elena Andrei Zvyagintsev, Russia
26. You Are Not I Sara Driver, U.S.
27. Words of Mercury Jerome Hiler, U.S.
28. Crazy Horse Frederick Wiseman, France/U.S.
29. Faust Alexander Sokurov, Russia*
30. Seeking the Monkey King Ken Jacobs, U.S.
31. Disorder Huang Weikai, China
32. Psychohydrography Peter Bo Rappmund, U.S.
33. Patience (After Sebald) Grant Gee, U.K.
34. Green Sophia Takal, U.S.
35. We Can’t Go Home Again Nicholas Ray, U.S.
36. Killer Joe William Friedkin, U.S.
37. Damsels in Distress Whit Stillman, U.S.
38. Slow Action Ben Rivers, U.K.
39. Bonsai Cristian Jimenez, Chile/France/Argentina/Portugal
40. Michael Markus Schleinzer, Austria
41. A Simple Life Ann Hui, Hong Kong*
42. Take This Waltz Sarah Polley, Canada
43. Hors Satan Bruno Dumont, France
44. Dark Horse Todd Solondz, U.S.*
45. Curling Denis Côté, Canada
46. Almayer's Folly Chantal Akerman, France/Belgium*
47. 20 Cigarettes James Benning, U.S.
48. Polisse Maïwenn, France
49. Without Mark Jackson, U.S.*
50. The Innkeepers Ti West, U.S.

Participants: Sam Adams, Thom Andersen, John Anderson, Melissa Anderson, Ina Archer, Mark Asch, Michael Atkinson, Saul Austerlitz, Miriam Bale, Margaret Barton-Fumo, Nico Baumbach, Marjorie Baumgarten, Livia Bloom, Richard Brody, Paul Brunick, Joumane Chahine, Chris Chang, Justin Chang, Tom Charity, Godfrey Cheshire, Edo Choi, Matthew Connolly, Travis Crawford, Gary Crowdus, Doug Cummings, Peter Debruge, Steve Dollar, Lisa Dombrowski, Roger Ebert, Bilge Ebiri, Cheryl Eddy, David Edelstein, David Ehrenstein, Steve Erickson, David Fear, Jesse P. Finnegan, Greg Ford, Scott Foundas, Patrick Friel, Graham Fuller, Susan Gerhard, Ed Gonzalez, Larry Gross, Haden Guest, Dennis Harvey, Molly Haskell, Eugene Hernandez, J. Hoberman, Robert Horton, Matthew Hubbell, Eric Hynes, Harlan Jacobson, J.R. Jones, Kent Jones, Kristin M. Jones, Daniel Kasman, Christopher Kelly, Ben Kenigsberg, Glenn Kenny, Peter Keough, Laura Kern, Gabe Klinger, Robert Koehler, Eric Kohn, Michael Koresky, Bill Krohn, Rose Kuo, Kevin Lee, Nathan Lee, Dennis Lim, Karina Longworth, Phillip Lopate, Cynthia Lucia, Scott Macaulay, Guy Maddin, Leonard Maltin, Sarah Mankoff, Todd McCarthy, Don McMahon, Joe Milutis, Wesley Morris, Aily Nash, Rob Nelson, Chris Norris, Mark Olsen, Michelle Orange, Andréa Picard, Nick Pinkerton, Tony Pipolo, Richard Porton, James Quandt, Nicolas Rapold, Megan Ratner, Rex Reed, Bérénice Reynaud, Jim Ridley, Vadim Rizov, Jonathan Robbins, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Joshua Rothkopf, Michael Rowin, Nick Schager, Ronnie Scheib, Paul Schrader, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Gene Seymour, Girish Shambu, Michael Sicinski, Gavin Smith, Roger Smith, Chuck Stephens, Bob Strauss, Daniel Stuyck, Dan Sullivan, Jim Supanick, R. Emmet Sweeney, Amy Taubin, José Teodoro, Peter Tonguette, Kenneth Turan, Keith Uhlich, Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, Brynn White, Donald Wilson, Genevieve Yue, David Zuckerman

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