From the press release:
Toronto – Beginning January 21, 2010, TIFF Cinematheque presents The Best of the Decade: An Alternative View, a curated series based on a poll conducted by TIFF Cinematheque’s Senior Programmer James Quandt. An esteemed panel of over sixty film curators, historians, archivists and programmers from festivals, cinematheques and similar organizations around the world participated and were asked to pick the films they thought were the most important of the past decade. The poll’s participants are connected by their leadership in the field of historical film curation, with most having published books, essays and polemics on cinema, bringing perspectives that distinguish this poll from other end-of-the-decade polls.
“Their perspective,” says Quandt, “should give us a longer view of the films made in this decade, the films that should stand the test of time and be acknowledged as historically influential works in the decades to come.”
The poll includes works by venerable masters such as Abbas Kiarostami, Agnès Varda, Ingmar Bergman, Jean Luc Godard and Pedro Almodóvar; directors who broke onto the international scene in the past 10 years, including Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Carlos Reygadas, Cristi Puiu, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Jia Zhang-ke and David Cronenberg; and indie renegades like Gus Van Sant, Pedro Costa and Lucrecia Martel. It also features many pleasant surprises, from the inclusion of a largely unknown film, Valeska Grisebach’s Longing (2006), which was highlighted during TIFF Cinematheque’s Berlin School series last Winter, to the strong showings for films that were not necessarily well received on their initial outings, such as Gus Van Sant’s Gerry (2003) and Claire Denis’s L’Intrus (2004).
Films were scored according to a point system designed to measure not only how many individual votes a film received, but also the intensity of support (i.e., an indication of frequency and strength of advocacy). The poll participants, half of them new to the task since the 1990s poll, include representatives from some of the most important film institutions from around the world including the Museum of Modern Art (New York); the British Film Institute (London); the UCLA Film & Television Archive (Los Angeles); Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus); Filmoteca de la UNAM (Mexico City); George Eastman House (Rochester); Austrian Film Museum (Vienna); World Cinema Foundation (New York); Vancouver International Film Festival (Vancouver); Centre National de la Cinématographie (Paris); Canadian Film Institute (Ottawa); Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival (Gran Canaria); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley); Swedish Film Institute (Stockholm); Berlin International Film Festival (Berlin); Haghefilm Foundation (Amsterdam); Tokyo FILMeX (Tokyo) and TIFF Cinematheque (Toronto). A complete list of contributors is available on request.
The countries most prominently represented in the poll include: France (21), USA (9), Germany (7), Taiwan (6), and Japan, China and Italy (4 each). Other countries represented include: Argentina; Austria; Belgium; China; Denmark; Hong Kong, China; Hungary; Iran; Japan; Mexico; Netherlands; Romania; Russia; South Korea; Spain; Sweden; Thailand; Turkey and the UK. Canada is well represented with three films: Guy Maddin’s The Heart of the World (2000) and My Winnipeg (2007), and Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner (2001). The Best of the Decade: An Alternative View proves that international art cinema is more alive than ever.
The series will run until February 23, featuring a curated selection of 38 films from the final poll, which contains 54 titles in total. It will spotlight the two most influential and revered filmmakers of the decade, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Jia Zhang-ke, as both placed very high in number of films (three each) and position in the poll: Apichatpong’s Syndromes and a Century (2006) is ranked the top film of the decade while Jia Zhang-ke’s Platform (2000) is second on the list. Their twin triumphs illustrate not only the continued ascendancy of Asian cinema, but also a taste for the elliptical and allusive. TIFF Cinematheque previously featured both directors in a Film Now retrospective, and it is with immense pleasure that it brings back their most important films to celebrate them as leading filmmakers of the decade. The series will also feature the full-length version of Jia Zhang-ke’s Platform, which runs more than 30 minutes longer than all other prints, to be presented for the first time anywhere since its initial festival outings.
Organized in part to launch the 20th anniversary celebrations of TIFF Cinematheque (née Cinematheque Ontario), The Best of the Decade: An Alternative View includes many films that have screened previously at TIFF Cinematheque. The final results of the poll are attached, followed by a list of the films to be screened in TIFF Cinematheque’s series.
TIFF Cinematheque’s 20th anniversary: TIFF Cinematheque (née Cinematheque Ontario) became part of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 1990, when the organization assumed the operation of the Ontario Film Institute, which had been founded by Gerald Pratley in 1969. Next year will represent a milestone year for TIFF Cinematheque, as 2010 marks its 20th anniversary of presenting the best of classic and contemporary world cinema year-round through carefully curated programming, lectures, filmmaker monographs and international touring exhibitions. In its twenty year history, TIFF Cinematheque has risen to be one of the preeminent programming institutions of its kind. Film professionals in the international arena recognize its programming as among the best in the world, highlighting its inspired approach, the quality of presentation and the serious consideration it gives all genres and periods of cinema.
TIFF Cinematheque presents an ambitious selection of more than 300 films annually, including acclaimed directors’ retrospectives, national and regional cinema spotlights, thematic programmes, experimental and avant-garde cinema, exclusive limited runs and classic and contemporary Canadian and international cinema, including many new and rare archival prints. For more information, visit tiff.net/cinematheque.
TIFF Cinematheque screenings are held at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto (McCaul Street entrance), unless otherwise noted. Passports for members and non-members for The Best of the Decade: An Alternative View go on sale beginning November 24, 2009. Customers can choose any 10 films from the series to make up their personal passport, for a cost of $91.26 (Members may purchase the same Passport for $53.10). Films playing at TIFF Cinematheque that have not been rated by the Ontario Film Review Board are restricted to individuals 18 years of age or older; check the TIFF Cinematheque website for updates on film ratings. Visit our Box Office at 2 Carlton Street (on the West Mezzanine, Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm ) or call 416-968-FILM or toll-free 1-877-968-FILM for tickets and more information.
POLL FINAL RESULTS
(Score received follows country of origin)
1. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand) – 53 votes
2. Platform (Jia Zhang-ke, Hong Kong, China/China/Japan/France) – 49 votes
3. Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke, China) – 48 votes
4. Beau travail (Claire Denis, France) – 46 votes
5. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong, China) – 43 votes
6. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, France/Thailand/Germany/Italy) – 38 votes
7. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, Romania) – 35 votes
Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, Hungary) – 35 votes
8. Éloge de l’amour (Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland/ France) – 34 votes
9. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, Romania) – 33 votes
10. Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands) – 32 votes
11. Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, Russia/Germany) – 31 votes
12. The New World (Terrence Malick, USA) – 30 votes
13. Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, France/Thailand) – 29 votes
14. Le Fils (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France) – 27 votes
15. Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa, Portugal/France/Switzerland) – 25 votes
16. Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (Agnès Varda, France) – 24 votes
In Vanda’s Room (Pedro Costa, Portugal/Germany/Italy/Switzerland) – 24 votes
Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Andersson, Sweden/Denmark/Norway) – 24 votes
17. Caché (Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany/Italy) – 23 votes
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, USA) – 23 votes
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, France/USA) – 23 votes
Three Times (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan) – 23 votes
18. Rois et reine (Arnaud Desplechin, France) – 21 votes
19. Elephant (Gus Van Sant, USA) – 20 votes
20. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain) – 19 votes
21. The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran/France)– 18 votes
YI YI (A One and a Two) (Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan) – 18 votes
22. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, Spain) – 17 votes
23. L’Enfant (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France) – 16 votes
The Heart of the World (Guy Maddin, Canada) – 16 votes
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France/Austria) – 16 votes
Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs, USA) – 16 votes
24. The World (Jia Zhang-ke, China/Japan/France) – 14 votes
25. Café Lumière (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Japan) – 13 votes
The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy) – 13 votes
L’Intrus (Claire Denis, France) – 13 votes
Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan/France) – 13 votes
My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, Canada) – 13 votes
Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden) – 13 votes
Spirited Away (Hiyao Miyazaki, Japan) – 13 votes
I’m Not There (Todd Haynes, USA) – 13 votes
26. Gerry (Gus Van Sant, USA) – 12 votes
27. Distant (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey) – 11 votes
Dogville (Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/UK/France/Germany) – 11 votes
The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, USA) – 11 votes
28. Alexandra (Alexander Sokurov, Russia/France) – 9 votes
demonlover (Olivier Assayas, France) – 9 votes
29. Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, Canada) – 8 votes
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan) – 8 votes
30. Longing (Valeska Grisebach, Germany) – 7 votes
Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea) – 7 votes
Vai e Vem (João César Monteiro, Portugal) – 7 votes
Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, USA/France) – 7 votes