Back to IndieWire

J. Hoberman’s Best Movies of the 21st Century

The veteran critic saw other lists of the best movies released in the past two decades and decided to join the fun.

“The Assassin”

There have been a lot of lists about the best films of the 21st century. IndieWire has been digging through the last two decades one genre at a time; meanwhile, the New York Times’ top movie critics provided their own takes. J. Hoberman, the longtime Village Voice film critic who now works as a freelancer, decided to join the fray. Here’s his take, also available at his site, and republished here with permission. 

People have been asking me, so I thought I might as well join (or crash) the party initiated by the New York Times and put in my two cents regarding the 25 Best Films of the 21st Century (so far). I don’t see “everything” anymore and I haven’t been to Cannes since 2011.

There is some overlap but this is not the same as the proposed 21-film syllabus of 21st Century cinema included in my book “Film After Film.” Those were all in their way pedagogical choices. Begging the question of what “best” means, these are all movies that I really like, that I’m happy to see multiple times, that are strongly of their moment and that I think will stand the test of time.

My single “best” film-object is followed by a list of 11 filmmakers and one academic production company (in order of “best-ness”) responsible for two or more “best films,” these followed by another eight individual movies (again in order) and finally four more tentatively advanced films (these alphabetical). I’m sure I’m forgetting some but that’s the nature of the beast.

Christian Marclay: “The Clock”

Lars von Trier: “Dogville” & “Melancholia” (and none of his others)

Hou Hsiao Hsien: “The Assassin” & “Flight of the Red Balloon”

Jean-Luc Godard: “In Praise of Love” & “Goodbye to Language”

David Cronenberg: “Spider,” “A History of Violence,” “Eastern Promises,” & “A Dangerous Method”

David Lynch: “Mulholland Drive” & “Inland Empire”

Ken Jacobs: “Seeking the Monkey King,” “The Guests” (and more)

Cristi Puiu: “The Death of Mr Lazarescu” & “Aurora”

Chantal Akerman: “No Home Movie” & “La Captive” (assuming that 2000 is part of the 21st Century)

Paul Thomas Anderson: “The Master” & “There Will Be Blood”

Kathryn Bigelow: “The Hurt Locker” & “Zero Dark Thirty”

Alfonso Cuarón: “Gravity” & “Children of Men”

Sensory Ethnology Lab: “Leviathan,” “Manakamana,” & “People’s Park”

“The Strange Case of Angelica” — Manoel de Oliviera

“Corpus Callosum” — Michael Snow

“West of the Tracks” — Wang Bing

“Carlos” — Olivier Assayas

“Che” — Steven Soderbergh

“Ten” — Abbas Kariostami

“Russian Ark” — Aleksandr Sokurov

“The World” — Jia Zhangke

“Citizenfour” — Laura Poitras

“Day Night Day Night” — Julia Loktev

“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” — Nuri Bilge Ceylan

“WALL-E” — Andrew Stanton

 

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,