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Stranger by the Lake

‘Stranger by the Lake’

Roger Koza has asked some of the top filmmakers, critics, and programmers to list the top five films of 2013, prompting Michael Sicinski to tweet: “I could live inside these lists for years.” The intro’s in Spanish, but you know how to translate it. Topping the poll with 34 votes is Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake, with Joaquim Pinto’s What Now? Remind Me a close second (30 votes). Among those polled are Viennale programmer Hans Hurch, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Nicole Brenez, Adrian Martin, Robert Koehler, Joshua Oppenheimer, Darezhan Omirbayev, Gabe Klinger, Denis Côtè, Lisandro Alonso, Cristina Álvarez López, Avi Mograbi, and on and on and on.

“This is the first year since 1967 to end without a Top 10 list from Roger Ebert,” notes Criticwire‘s Sam Adams. “But at, Roger’s widow, Chaz, weighs in with some of her favorites, and offers a few insights into how Ebert approached the process of list-making.”

Michael Atkinson at Sundance Now: “I’d just like to say that not many years ago—alright, it was 15 friggin’ years—I was the one who thought someone should start an aggregate year-end film critics’ poll, a la The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop survey, and I nagged editors at both the Voice and Film Comment about it endlessly. It was several years before my idea took, first at the Voice, then, now it seems, everywhere. It would seem I’m to blame.” His #1: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

The Los Angeles Times‘ John Horn talks with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harrison Ford, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Thompson, and Forest Whitaker

2013 “was just like last year, only with different movies,” writes J.R. Jones, introducing the lists in the Chicago Reader. “In 2012, the big Oscar contenders included a fact-based political intrigue set in the late 70s (Argo), a period piece about slavery (Django Unchained), a screwball comedy about a mentally ill man and his wacky family (Silver Linings Playbook), and a historical drama set in the White House (Lincoln). In 2013, the big Oscar contenders include a fact-based political intrigue set in the late 70s (American Hustle), a period piece about slavery (12 Years a Slave), a screwball comedy about a mentally ill man and his wacky family (Nebraska), and a historical drama set in the White House (The Butler). When I asked my boss if we could just run the copy from 2012 and change the titles, she said that would be fine as long as we recashed our paychecks from last year. So here’s our new copy.” His #1: The Act of Killing.

And Ben Sachs‘s #1 is At Berkeley: “Frederick Wiseman‘s epic, mosaic-like documentary ponders the state of the American experiment in the wake of the second Bush administration, a period marked by deregulation, cultural disunity, and sweeping disinvestment in social programs. How do we agree on higher values, much less preserve them, asks Wiseman, when everything is for sale and citizens are urged to look out only for themselves?”

Tallie Medel in The Unspeakable Act

Paste has asked “some friends” for lists and posted two so far. Neither list—from Gimme the Loot director Adam Leon or Tallie Medel, the remarkable actress most of us have seen for the first time in Dan Sallitt‘s The Unspeakable Act—seems to be in any particular order.

Topping Steve Erickson‘s list is Leviathan: “A night on a fishing boat becomes a means of opening the doors of perception, a la head-trip cinema of the late 1960s and early ’70s.” Also in Gay City News, Gary M. Kramer looks back on “The Year in Queer.” His favorite: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Score another one for Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab: Libbie Dina Cohn and J. P. Sniadecki’s People’s Park tops Charles Mudede‘s list at the Stranger.

Critics for the Japan Times have weighed in. Mark Schilling‘s #1 is The Tale of Princess Kaguya: “Likely to be the last film by 78-year-old Ghibli anime maestro Isao Takahata, this retelling of this 10th-century Japanese folktale is also among his best.” Giovanni Fazio goes for Cloud Atlas: “Completely blown away.” And Kaori Shoji goes for The Perks of Being a Wallflower: “Fresh, engaging, beautiful.”

Geoffrey Macnab introduces the Independent‘s “Top five films of 2013,” and it’s nice to see Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant in there.

Topping Nelson Carvajal‘s list of 30 at Free Cinema Now: Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners.

From The Credits: “10 New Books for Film Lovers.”

Barbara Sukowa in Hannah Arendt

At Filmmaker, critic Brandon Harris writes about “some of the movies that transported me in that way which makes this silly pastime, this fool’s lottery, this rich kids’ game, this hackwork where ‘the pay sucks and there’s no future in it’ all worthwhile.” His Indiewire ballot is here (“already outdated, I would change them if I could”), but in this piece he writes about James Wan’s The Conjuring, “the rarest of things, a studio horror film built of relationships and wit as opposed to CGI,” Su Friedrich’s Gut Renovation, “a polemical howl in the night,” and Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt, “a handsomely and economically constructed, magnificently written and elegantly performed look at the brouhaha caused by the German-Jewish philosopher.”

Leshu Torchin has another fine year-end overview at Souciant.

At Twitch, Eric Ortiz Garcia writes up his top eight Mexican films of the year.

“The year 2013 was a weird one for horror movies.” Mike Bracken looks back on the best of them at

One of Laurie Penny‘s “20 best online pieces of 2013” is a post from Mark Fisher. In November, he began: “There’s something so uncannily timely about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that it’s almost disturbing.”

Kentucker Audley‘s NoBudge, a platform for “true indie films,” has had a very good year.

“Overall, it was a good year for filmmakers crowd funding on Kickstarter,” reports Paula Bernstein for Indiewire. “9,516 film projects launched with $79,305,924 dollars pledged to film projects and at least 100 Kickstarter-funded films released in theaters, digitally or on television in 2013, according to figures from the crowd funding site.” She looks back on “some milestones from 2013.”

Viewing (21’27”). Guardian film critics Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard discuss their top three films of the year.

Clip from Lav Diaz‘s Norte, the End of History

For those who read German, Perlentaucher film critics Lukas Foerster, Thomas Groh, and Jochen Werner have invited a round of illustrious guests to join them in writing about some of the best films of 2013 that have yet to see a theatrical release in Germany.

Listing the worst films of 2013: Bilge Ebiri (Vulture), David Edelstein (Vulture), and Ed Gonzalez (Slant).

Reelizer picks the “Top 10 Alternative Movie Posters of 2013.”

John Lichman revisits “Great Moments in Jeffrey Wells 2013.”

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