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indieWIRE CRITICS’ POLL ’08 | Graham Fuller

indieWIRE CRITICS' POLL '08 | Graham Fuller

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.

Graham Fuller

Best Film
1 – Hunger
2 – The Edge of Heaven
3 – A Christmas Tale
4 – Flight of the Red Balloon
5 – Summer Hours
6 – Gomorrah
7 – Mongol
8 – WALL-E
9 – The Romance of Astree and Celadon
10 – The Duchess of Langeais

Best Performance
1 – Michael Fassbender, Hunger
2 – Juliette Binoche, Flight of the Red Balloon
3 – Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
4 – Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long
5 – Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy

Best Supporting Performance
1 – Hanna Schygulla, Edge of Heaven
2 – Liam Cunningham, Hunger
3 – Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
4 – Mathieu Amalric, A Christmas Tale
5 – Ralph Fiennes, In Bruges

Best Director
Steve McQueen, Hunger

Best Screenplay
Arnaud Desplechin and Emmanuel Bourdieu, A Christmas Tale

Best Documentary
My Winnipeg

Two minimalist moments stand out. Traveling home on the train with the Chinese puppetmaster in Flight of the Red Balloon, Juliette Binoche offers him a treasured postcard, and all the pain in the world falls away. It’s picked up again by A Christmas Tale’s Mathieu Amalric, who sheepishly greets the sister who exiled him years ago–only to be ignored. (Mercifully, he has the amused Emmanuelle Devos to keep him warm.) It takes great filmmakers to make smiles, looks, evasions, and silences so pregnant with meaning, but Hou Hsiao-hsien and Arnaud Desplechin make it look like child’s play.

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