We surveyed 100 of our favorite film critics and cineastes for their top films* and cinematic experiences of the year. The winners for top ten documentaries are listed below. Look back for the top feature films and performances of the year; look forward for the most memorable moments and best/worst trends, which will appear by month’s end.
1. Manakamana (Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez)
2. Citizenfour (Laura Poitras)
3. National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman)
4. Actress (Robert Greene)
5. What Now? Remind Me (Joaquim Pinto)
6. Life Itself (Steve James)
7. A Spell to Ward off the Darkness (Ben Rivers and Ben Russell)
8. The Overnighters (Jesse Moss)
9. The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh)
10. Happy Valley (Amir Bar-Lev)
*We asked that they choose films in distribution in the U.S. for the year 2014 for consistency’s sake.
Contributors: Aaron Cutler, Adam Cook, Adam Hartzell, Adam Schartoff, Anna Tatarska, Brandon Harris, Brian Darr, Chuck Bowen, Cody Lang, David Ehrenstein, Dennis Harvey, Glenn Heath, Jr., Ehsan Khoshbakht, Ella Taylor, Eugene Hernandez, Jaime Grijalba, Jay Keuhner, Jonathan Kiefer, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jordan Cronk, Kevin B. Lee, Lauren Treihaft, Laya Maheshwari, Max Goldberg, Michael Atkinson, Michael Pattison, Michael Tully, Micheal Sicinski, Miriam Bale, Nick Schager, Pam Grady, Samuel Fragoso, Sean Axmaker, Shade Rupe, Steve Erickson, Steven Jenkins, Susan Gerhard, Tara Judah, Tomas Hachard.