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indieWIRE CRITICS’ POLL ’08 | Daryl Chin

indieWIRE CRITICS' POLL '08 | Daryl Chin

This is the latest ballot in indieWIRE’s 2008 Critics Poll, continuing the tradition of a national survey of critics by calling attention to the year’s best — and, in many cases, most overlooked — films, providing a meaningful counterpoint to much of the year-end hoopla. Note that some lists are unranked at the discretion of the critic. For all categories except Best Undistributed Film, eligible feature films had first-run theatrical engagements in the U.S. during 2008. Films without a U.S. distributor, screened anywhere (festival circuit, one-off screenings, etc.), are eligible in the Best Undistributed Film category. The full list of critics poll ballots is available here at indieWIRE and tabulated results are being published by indieWIRE later this month.

Daryl Chin

Best Film
1 – My Winnipeg
2 – Waltz With Bashir
3 – Razzle Dazzle
4 – The Edge of Heaven
5 – The Silence Before Bach
6 – Times and Winds
7 – Tearoom
8 – Paranoid Park
9 – Wonderful Town
10 – My Father, My Lord

Best Performance
1 – Melissa Leo, Frozen River
2 – Andrew Garfield, Boy A
3 – Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy
4 – Pierce Brosnan, Married Life
5 – Flo Jacobs, Momma’s Man

Best Supporting Performance
1 – Fanny Ardant, Roman de Gare
2 – Ricardo Darin, XXY
3 – Alba Rohrwacher, Days and Clouds
4 – David Szabo, Men In the Nude
5 – Julie Depardieu, A Secret

Best Director
Jacques Rivette, The Duchess of Langeais

Best Screenplay
Jacques Nolot, Before I Forget

Best First Feature
Moving Midway

Best Documentary
Trouble the Water

Best Undistributed Film
1 – Megane
2 – Four Nights With Anna
3 – The Aquarium
4 – Everywhere At Once
5 – When It Was Blue
6 – Occident
7 – The Speed of Life
8 – The Mourning Forest
9 – Her Name Is Sabine
10 – Guest of Cindy Sherman

For the last week or so, kept hearing from friends that this year it was difficult to come up with a top ten list, yet once I started, I came up with at least 40 titles that I thought were worthwhile; it took me a while to winnow the list down to 10. But the reason is that I had no anticipation of including some big American film (cf. No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood from last year). There were so many fascinating “small” (foreign, independent) releases this year. Just off my Top Ten would be: Ballast, Chop Shop, The Class, Still Life, Lost in Beijing, Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind, Man On Wire, In the City of Sylvia, The Counterfeiters, Blind Mountain, I Served the King of England, Tell No One, The Last Mistress, August Evening, My Brother Is an Only Child. And then there were the anomalies, those “restored” films finding new releases, such as Lola Montes, Ashes of Time Redux, and The Exiles. In some ways, those were the most exciting films of all this year! But once I thought about it, I found a lot of merit in this past year, and it isn’t over yet.

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