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Cahiers du Cinéma Names ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ the Best Film of the Decade, TV Be Damned

Expect the decision to reignite the debate over whether or not "Twin Peaks: The Return" is a film or a television series.

Laura Dern in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

“Twin Peaks: The Return”

Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Cahiers du Cinéma, the legendary French film magazine and one of the most prestigious movie publications in the world, has selected David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks: The Return” as the best film of the decade. The selection is a controversial one as there has been constant debate since over whether or not the program is a film or a television series. Critics have been arguing over which medium “Twin Peaks: The Return” belongs to since its debut in 2017. IndieWire’s television team placed “The Return” at #32 on its list of the best television shows of the decade.

“Twin Peaks: The Return” tops Cahiers du Cinéma’s 10 best films of the decade list. The magazine’s selections also include runner-up “Holy Motors,” Leos Carax’s 2012 fantasy drama that placed #6 on IndieWire’s best films of the decade list. Cahiers du Cinéma has also named Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann,” Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book,” and Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin.” Lynch is the only American filmmaker represented on Cahiers du Cinéma’s list.

Cahiers du Cinéma was founded in 1951 by André Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. The magazine’s prestigious reputation was solidified thanks to writers Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and François Truffaut, many of whom would go on to shape the French New Wave. Éric Rohmer served as editor of the magazine in 1957. Cahiers du Cinéma is the oldest French-language film magazine in the world.

Earlier this year, Jim Jarmusch also proclaimed “Twin Peaks: The Return” a highlight of the last decade in filmmaking. Jarmusch said in an interview with Variety, “The best of American cinema of the last decade is ‘Twin Peaks: The Return,’ an 18-hour film that is incomprehensible and dreamlike in the most beautiful, adventurous way. That is a masterpiece. Why can’t they just give David Lynch whatever money he needs?”

“Twin Peaks: The Return” aired weekly as a limited television series on Showtime, but Lynch conceived of the project as a single feature film script. The program was shot as a unified piece and then broken into 18 episodes for airing. The series can be streamed in its entirety on Showtime’s VOD platforms.

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