Documentaries Lists News

Sight & Sound’s Greatest Documentaries List

Sight and Sound Doc Poll

Sight and Sound have recently released the results of a poll of critics and filmmakers to find the greatest documentaries of all time.

The Critics’ Top 10 documentaries are:

1. Man with a Movie Camera, dir. Dziga Vertov (USSR 1929)

2. Shoah, dir. Claude Lanzmann (France 1985)

3. Sans soleil, dir. Chris Marker (France 1982)

4. Night and Fog, dir. Alain Resnais (France 1955)

5. The Thin Blue Line, dir. Errol Morris (USA 1989)

6. Chronicle of a Summer, dir. Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin (France 1961)

7. Nanook of the North, dir. Robert Flaherty (USA 1922)

8. The Gleaners and I, dir. Agnès Varda (France 2000)

9. Dont Look Back, dir. D.A. Pennebaker (USA 1967)

10. Grey Gardens, dir. Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer (USA 1975)

The poll report is released in the September edition of Sight & Sound published today, Friday 1st August.

The full lists of all the votes received and films nominated will be available online from 14th August.

You can join in the debate at Twitter using the hashtag #BestDocsEver.

> Sight and Sound
> More on documentary film at Wikipedia

Lists News

Sight And Sound’s Top Films Of 2012

This year’s Sight and Sound end-of-year poll has been topped by Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

As usual, the UK film magazine polled around 100 critics and but have refrained from publishing it online for now.

But my print copy arrived in the post this morning and I can confirm that the list is as follows:

1. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA)

2. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, Portugal/Germany/France)

3. Amour (Michael Haneke, France/Germany/Austria)

4. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, France/Germany)

5. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, USA)

=  Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, UK/Germany)

7. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, USA)

8. Beyond the Hills (Christian Mungiu, Romania/France/Belgium)

= Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, Canada/France/Portugal/Italy)

= Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey/Bosnia & Herzegovina)

= This is Not A Film (Jafar Pahani & Mojtaba Mirtahmaseb, Iran)

N.B. Because of the crossover of UK and US release dates some titles have been duplicated from last year’s list.

Sight and Sound on TwitterFacebook and YouTube
> 2012 reviews at Metacritic
Wikipedia on 2012 in film

Lists News

Sight and Sound’s Top Films of 2011

This year’s Sight and Sound poll has been topped by Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.

The UK film magazine polled around 100 critics and – as usual – the list has surfaced on various websites before the official one, even though they have confirmed the top two films on their Twitter feed:

“Most of you guessed right: our film of 2011 is The Tree of Life (by a country mile)”

Which begs the question, why has this film got the reputation of being critically divisive?

Whilst a minority booed at the Cannes press screening and it presumably baffled some audiences, if you look at the filtered critical consensus there is a lot of love for Malick’s opus: 85/100 on Metacritic, 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, 79/100 on Movie Review Intelligence and 7.3/10 on IMDb.

As is often the case, there is a good spread of European auteur royalty amongst the list (Von Trier, Dardennes and Tarr), which makes it read a bit like Thierry Frémaux‘s contacts book, but its good to see Michel Hazanavicius, Tomas Alfredson and Asghar Farhadi join the club with films of real distinction and class.

1. The Tree of Life (Dir. Terrence Malick).

2. A Separation (Dir. Asghar Farhadi).

3. The Kid With a Bike (Dir. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne).

4. Melancholia (Dir. Lars von Trier).

5. The Artist (Dir. Michel Hazanavicius).

=6. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan).

=6. The Turin Horse (Dir. Béla Tarr)

8. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Dir. Lynne Ramsay).

9. Le Quattro Volte (Dir. Michelangelo Frammartino).

=10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Dir. Tomas Alfredson).

=10. This Is Not a Film (Dir. Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmashb)

Sight and Sound (follow them on Twitter or connect on Facebook)
Wikipedia on 2011 in film

Lists News

Sight and Sound’s Top Films of 2010

Sight and Sound have selected their best films of 2010 and it has been topped by The Social Network.

They asked 85 critics from across the globe to select their five favourite films of the past year and the titles that appeared the most were then selected for this list which will appear in their January 2011 issue.

(Note that the list can be a little out of sync with US and foreign release dates).

The final selection has already reached the magazine subscribers, although it won’t be on the Sight and Sound website until December 7th.

Here is the list in full (with some ties):

1. The Social Network (Dir. David Fincher, USA)

2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand)

3. Another Year (Dir. Mike Leigh, UK)

4. Carlos (Dir. Olivier Assayas, France/Germany)

5. The Arbor (Dir. Clio Barnard, UK)

=6. I Am Love (Dir. Luca Guadagnino, Italy)
=6. Winter’s Bone (Dir. Debra Granik, USA)

=8. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (Dir. Andrei Ujică, Romania)
=8. Film Socialisme (Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, France/Switzerland)
=8. Nostalgia for the Light (Dir. Patricio Guzmán, France/Germany/Chile)
=8. Poetry (Dir. Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)
=8. A Prophet (Dir. Jacques Audiard, France)

=13. Certified Copy (Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, France/Iran/Italy)
=13. Meek’s Cutoff (Dir. Kelly Reichardt, USA)

=15. Dogtooth (Dir. Giorgos Lanthimos, Greece)
=15. Enter the Void (Dir. Gaspar Noé, France/Germany/Italy)
=15. Mysteries of Lisbon (Dir. Raúl Ruiz, Portugal/Brazil/France)
=15. Of Gods and Men (Dir. Xavier Beauvois, France)

=19. Aurora (Dir. Cristi Puiu, Romania/Switzerland/Germany/France)
=19. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Dir. Banksy, UK/USA)
=19. Four Times (Dir. Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy/Switzerland/Germany)
=19. The Ghost Writer (Dir. Roman Polanski, France/Germany/United Kingdom)
=19. Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow (Dir. Sophie Fiennes, UK/France/Netherlands)

> Sight and Sound (follow them on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook)
> MUBi and InContention on this year’s list
> Wikipedia on 2010 in film

Lists News

Sight and Sound’s Top Films of 2009

Sight and Sound - January 2010British film magazine Sight and Sound have published their top 10 films of 2009.

They asked 60 critics for their favourites of the past year and the titles that appeared the most were then selected for their January 2010 issue.

Here is the final list (with some ties):

1. Un Prophète (Dir. Jacques Audiard, France)
=2. The Hurt Locker (Dir. Kathryn Bigelow, USA)
=2. 35 Shots of Rum (Dir. Claire Denis, France)
4. The White Ribbon (Dir. Michael Haneke, Austria-Germany)
5. Let the Right One In (Dir. Tomas Alfredson, Sweden)
=6. Up (Dir. Pete Docter, USA)
=6. White Material (Dir. Claire Denis)
=8. Bright Star (Dir. Jane Campion, UK-Australia)
=8. Antichrist (Dir. Lars Von Trier, Denmark-Germany-Sweden-France-Italy)
10. Inglorious Basterds (Dir. Quentin Tarantino, USA)

With the exception of Antichrist (a sloppy, faux-controversial work) I find it hard to argue with the selection here.

As is often the case, the list can be a little out of sync with US and foreign release dates (Un Prophète doesn’t open in the UK until January 22nd) although that hasn’t affected this year’s selection too much.


> Sight and Sound (Follow them on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook)
> Wikipedia on 2009 in film
> Every film that came out in the UK in 2009
My favourite films of 2008


Sight and Sound’s Top Films of 2008

British film magazine Sight and Sound have published their top 10 films of 2008.

They asked 50 critics for their five favourites of the past year and the titles that appeared the most were then selected as their Top 10 of 2008.

Here is the final list (with some ties):

1. Hunger (Steve McQueen, UK)
2. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA)
3. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, USA)
4. Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone, Italy) 
=5. A Christmas Tale (Arnaud Desplechin, France) 
=5. The Class (Laurent Cantet, France)
7. Of Time and the City (Terence Davies, UK)
8. Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, UK)
=9. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/France/Italy/Spain)
=9. Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, Sweden).

The January edition of the magazine will have the full choices of each critic and you can also check out their best DVDs of 2008.

Lists like these are always difficult for UK critics as a lot of the best films open in the US during the last months of the year (for award consideration) and only get released in the UK during in January or February.

This means that a lot of US end-of-year lists are out of sync with their UK counterparts. My policy last year was to just list the films I had seen that year and ignore the UK release date.

After all, in years to come, if you look up There Will Be Blood in the IMDb or any self respecting film guide you will see ‘2007’ next to the title and not 2008.

However, I’m slightly puzzled by Sight and Sound’s policy. I thought they had gone with year of UK release policy but The Class (incidentally an outstanding film) is also in there.

It doesn’t get released here until February and won’t even qualify for this year’s BAFTAs as it is coming out in February. Does it get in because it had a public screening at the London Film Festival a few weeks back?

Anyway, whatever the policy, there are some real highlights above and if you haven’t seen Hunger yet then it is a film you really should catch in a cinema.

> Sight and Sound site and their 2002 polls
> My favourite films of 2007
> Metacritic end of year lists for 2007