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"Summer Hours" Wins indieWIRE '09 Critics Poll; "Mulholland Dr." is Best of Decade

By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire December 22, 2009 at 2:31AM

Olivier Assayas' "Summer Hours," a quiet sibling battle over the objects inside a French family's summer home, was named the best film of 2009 in indieWIRE's annual poll of more than 100 film critics and bloggers. David Lynch's "Mullholland Drive," a sort of American fever dream set in Hollywood, was chosen as the best film of the decade.
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Olivier Assayas' "Summer Hours," a quiet sibling battle over the objects inside a French family's summer home, was named the best film of 2009 in indieWIRE's annual poll of more than 100 film critics and bloggers. David Lynch's "Mullholland Drive," a sort of American fever dream set in Hollywood, was chosen as the best film of the decade.

Assayas' latest topped The Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man" and Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" which tied for second place in the iW survey, which this year features the ballots of 114 critics and bloggers. Bigelow was also named best director of the year, while the Coens were singled out with a best screenplay nod for their work.

Tilda Swinton was named best actress for her performance in Erick Zonca's "Julia" and Christoph Waltz was selected best supporting actor for his work in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."

Sacha Gervasi's "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," about the Canadian heavy metal band, narrowly beat out Agnes Varda's personal doc, "The Beaches of Agnes" as the best documentary of 2009.

Steve McQueen's "Hunger," from last year's Cannes Film Festival, was selected as the best first feature of the year.

Harmony Korine's "Trash Humpers," the provocative film from this year's fall festival circuit, was named the best undistributed film of the year.

The Results:
Best Film of '09 | Best Film of the Decade | Best Lead Performance | Best Supporting Performance | Best Director | Best Documentary | Best Screenplay | Best First Feature | Best Undistributed Film

Assayas' "Summer Hours," which debuted at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, was released in theaters earlier this year by IFC Films. The French auteur, director of "Clean," "demonlover," "Boarding Gate" and others, originally conceived of the film as a short commissioned for the 20th anniversary of Paris' Musee d'Orsay. Another film involved in that program was Hou Hsiao-hsien's "Flight of the Red Balloon," which topped indieWIRE's annual critics poll last year.

"I started with a really simple storyline," Assayas told indieWIRE in an interview about the film. "This had more to do with the objects than the characters. To me, the arch of the film and the structure of the film has to do with the fate of the objects. The notes that I was scribbling intially was about how an artwork has a life cycle. It is born out of nature... It lives its life among individuals in households and at some point it ends up buried in a museum."

Released in 2001, David Lynch's "Muholland Dr." was an award winner at that year's Cannes Film Festival where Lynch shared the best director prize with The Coen Brothers. It topped Wong Kar-Wai's "In The Mood For Love" on the indieWIRE survey, which also debuted at Cannes in '01.

A re-tooled pilot episode for a would-be TV series, "Mulholland Dr." has been discussed and debated for much of this decade by critics and bloggers. "One night, sitting down in my chair, the ideas unraveled," Lynch said in Cannes in 2001, "They came to me like a string, and that was a beautiful night." He continued, "Ideas come with many threads, you don't know what's going to happen; the ideas string themselves into a whole."

The Results:
Best Film of '09 | Best Film of the Decade | Best Lead Performance | Best Supporting Performance | Best Director | Best Documentary | Best Screenplay | Best First Feature | Best Undistributed Film

This article is related to: Features, Critics' Groups