With just over a week to go, here's the final list of what I consider to be the best films of the past twelve months, and some worthy of discussion that may or may not be good films, to be discussed at my 'films of the year' seminar at Greenbelt - I know this will be a controversial list, so do please comment on these in advance and I'll try to respond to some of the comments at the seminar. It's on the Monday afternoon, so I hope you'll join us for some serious film discussion and at least one major surprise.
THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR (released between end August 2006 - end August 2007)
16: The Queen - fascinating experience of seeing someone we had previously only seen in parody – what does it mean for what Britain is as a nation?
15: An Inconvenient Truth – truly campaigning film – changed the direction of the wind
14: Dreamgirls - for pure entertainment value, the most exciting film of the year
13: Little Children – when will we all grow up?
12: Flags of our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima - Clint Eastwood, a former Republican city mayor produces two of the most profound anti-war statements ever committed to film
11: Jindabyne - a Raymond Carver short story transplanted from the US to Australia, which manages to squeeze in reflections on men and women's relationships, aboriginal rights, ancient religious culture, guilt and shame, self-identity and the fear of what lurks under the bed
10: Into Great Silence - a film that makes you feel like you're living in a monastery
9: The Departed – violence as a way of life; what should policing be about?
8: Stranger than Fiction - what would you do if you really believed you could write your own life?
7: The Lives of Others - a film that makes you feel you might be living in a prison, but that your perceived enemy may well be your best friend
6: Zodiac - an American thriller that takes murder seriously
5: Little Miss Sunshine – let families be real by reducing your expectations
4: Ten Canoes – storytelling and how we muddy the waters
3: Children of Men – one of the finest films of the year – a fearful nightmare of what might be happening to us; but the lengths to which people will go to preserve human life out-reach the killing: love is stronger than death
2: Once - a beguiling love story that takes the underclass seriously
1: The Fountain - a film that actually succeeds in conveying what it feels like to be in love
WORTHY OF CONVERSATION
Bobby/Tell No One/Babel/Borat/Casino Royale/Pan’s Labyrinth/Shortbus/Sicko/Perfume/Apocalypto/A Prairie Home Companion/Crank/This Film is Not Yet Rated/Rocky Balboa/Old Joy/Notes on a Scandal/Transformers/Knocked Up/Half Nelson/Inland Empire/Idiocracy/Hot Fuzz/This is England/Beyond Hatred/300/Amazing Grace/Shooter/Alpha Dog/Black Gold/Die Hard 4.0/The Bourne Ultimatum