Tomorrow, because it’s December 25 and nobody typically has much going on that day, I will finally reveal my top 10 films of 2013. And with the final draft of the list having sat in my head for about a week now, I’m pretty happy with it — not just because it’s a fine bunch of films (from one’s own perspective, at least, that should go without saying), but because I’m positive that the 10 I chose are also the right ones in defining and outlining the year I had at the movies; the more I think about them, the more unexpected connections, parallels and complementary differences emerge alongside the intended ones.
Still, list-making is never an entirely satisfying process, and as I mulled over my initial longlist of over 60 titles for consideration,10 came to seem a thoroughly inadequate number — it always is, really, but too many films meant too much to me this year to go by unthanked.
It’s become a standard line in this Top 10 season that 2013 was some kind of banner year, and I suppose this suggests it was — though a lot of the films that resonated most with me did so for reasons more personal and idiosyncratic than universal, or even particularly cinephilic. And I’m not sure how a year is defined anyway: as usual, my list was built on the basis that any new film seen, whether at a festival or a multiplex, was fair game, meaning a number of inclusions here will be 2014 films for others. On this evidence, at least, 2014’s looking pretty damn good too.
Anyway, 25 seemed a more representative number, not to mention a more generous one — it is Christmas, after all. It didn’t exactly ease the selection process; once you’re going as far as 25, there’s little to stop you going to 50 and beyond, and I’m feeling guilty about any number of films that still managed to miss the cut. (I’m not going to do honorable mentions; I’ve been greedy enough as it is.) But I eventually arrived at a fat 2013 playlist that I certainly wouldn’t trade for anyone else’s, and the first 15 films in it are listed in the gallery below.
I’ll reserve a more reflective introduction for tomorrow’s Top 10; for now, check out my picks from #25 to #11, and share your thoughts and favorites in the comments.