Tuesday 26 November 2013

My Top 30 Of 2013: An Introduction

When I watched my first film of 2013 at the cinema, Texas Chainsaw 3D, I knew it could only get better from there onwards. Little did I know at that stage however that 2013 was going to be one of the most scintillating and exciting years for films for as long as I can remember, so much so that I feel the need to compile not a top 10 but a top 30 of 2013! Compared this to 2012 where, outside a strong top 4, I struggled to find a decent bunch to fill a top 10. Not only that, I have already seen enough films at various festivals this year with a UK release due for next year to set up a strong top 10 of 2014 which would satisfy me as end of year list.

I have read somewhere on Twitter that these top lists are tiresome at best, self-promoting at worst, and I cannot quite understand how more self-promoting these can be than any reviews or opinions on a blog? Besides, I just do not have the time to review every film I see sadly, ironically I end up having to skip covering films I have enjoyed the most, as these take more time to write than average or terrible films (the latter being the easiest ones of them all).

Which is why a top 10 (or 30) is not a rehash, but on the contrary a great way for me to put the spotlight on all those films I have championed yet never found the time to cover. There is no self-promotion involved, no showing off, my passion for films is always honest and free of any agendas. I was actually accused of contrarianism, and always going against the consensus, which is just is not true, I just have some unusual tastes.

While it is usually very difficult to find a running theme in a list of favourite films at the end of the year, this is not the case this time around. For me, 2013 is the year where US indie cinema has reigned supreme, and while it had never quite gone away, it has gone a bit hit and miss after the golden years of the 90's, but this is the year when it has truly shined again, promises have been fulfilled, new talents have emerged... The vast majority of my top 2013 is filled with those. On the other hand, for the first time in many years, not a single Asian film has found a spot on this list, a disappointment that is tempered considering that two Asian directors having worked on a film abroad find themselves with a film on it.

Going back to the allegation of contrarianism, what I just abhor above all is lukewarm, average films, with a nice and "important" story (usually Oscar worthy), so I will always privilege , stylised, experimental ones, pretentious ones even, as long as it's done with honesty, and champion those directors who at least try something different, because otherwise, what is the point? That does not mean those are devoid of emotions, on the contrary, they just find unusual ways of expressing them. And I am still sensitive to more traditional storytelling, as long as it's done with personality and a beating heart. If my films tastes were a person, I'd describe them as a tart with a heart.

But there is as much as I can write without revealing any titles, so over the next couple of weeks I shall reveal them in several successive posts, five films at the time, starting from the bottom. And what an unexpected film has found its place at the 30th position, you'll see... I have considered any films with a UK release in 2013, be it at the cinema, or straight to DVD, as long as it's a first release, as I believe it is the fairest way to compile list that can be compared to others. And because I had to put a picture on, I picked a title at random on my list and published a still from it at the top. It should not be too hard to guess which film it has been taken from!

I shall be updating this post with the list as I publish its titles throughout the next few days:

30) Birdemic 2: The Resurrection
29) Frankenstein's Army
28) All Is Lost
27) Twixt
26) Frances Ha
25) Gravity
24) You're Next
23) Behind The Candelabra
22) Gloria
21) The Wall
20) Lords Of Salem
19) American Mary
18) Pacific Rim
17) Computer Chess
16) Blue Is The Warmest Colour
15) Blancanieves
14) Atomic Age
13) The Paperboy
12) The Counsellor
11) Beyond The Hills
10) Drinking Buddies
9) Passion
8) No One Lives
7) Blue Jasmine
6) Post Tenebras Lux

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