Mar 28, 2012

Pictures: My Top Dozen Favourite 2011 Films

So here it is, finally. My top dozen favourites of 2011. I wanted to dedicate a post to each of the films and write about them in detail, but this has taken long enough (3 months!) and school work never seems to be over. I’ll just go ahead with a small list for now, and hopefully in the future, I’ll get to give some space to each of them separately.

Though I’d like to think that I have a pretty good taste and my favourite film equates the best film, I’m not confident enough in my academic knowledge of cinema to claim such a thing – and generally, I don’t think anyone should be. So what I’ve written here is a list of my favourite films of 2011. A film like Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, which I respect much more than I love, couldn’t find a place here, for example, because having seen it twice now and despite absolutely,wholeheartedly being floored by its central performance, I can’t say the film as a whole touches me in any way.

There are a few titles I wish I hadn’t missed but as I said, it’s already late March and definitely time to move on to the new year. Ultimately, the entire year can be summarized in 18 films for me. As per tradition – and by that I mean an arbitrary rule I made up just last year – this blog only awards a Top Dozen so as much as it pains me to do so, I’ll have to leave six films off the list. Ask me on a different day and these honourable mentions can swap places with any of the films in the bottom six of my top dozen. No matter the placement, I love all these films and I’ll be going back to them in the future. And if you haven’t had the chance to see any of them yet, I really hope I can encourage you to do so.

Honourable Mentions
Miss Bala (dir. Gerardo Naranjo), Young Adult (dir. Jason Reitman), Weekend (dir. Andrew Haigh), The Skin I Live in (dir. Pedro Almodovar), Attack the Block (dir. Joe Cornish), Tomboy (dir. Celine Sciamma)

12. Moneyball (dir. Miller)
There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s fifty feet of crap. And then there’s us.

11. Sleeping Beauty (dir. Leigh)
You are very beautiful, very talented. But we are going to make you even more beautiful, even more talented.

10. Project NIM (dir. Marsh)

The fact that we could share language with an animal seemed very radical at that time.

9. This is not a Film (dir. Panahi, Mirtahmasb) (My Review)

I think this space here is enough for the story we want to tell.

8. Melancholia (dir. von Trier)

Life is only on earth... and not for long.

7. Of Gods and Men (dir. Beauvois)

Remember that love is eternal hope. Love endures everything.

6. Martha Marcy May Marlene (dir. Durkin) (My Review)

Martha, you look like a Marcy May.

5. Drive (dir. Refn) (My Review)

You put this kid behind a wheel, there’s nothing he can’t do.

4. Senna (dir. Kapadia) (My Review)

Ayrton has a small problem. He thinks that he can’t kill himself. I think that’s pretty dangerous.
3. ALPS (dir. Lanthimos) (My Review)

You’re not ready for pop.

2. A Separation (dir. Farhadi)

It got serious.

1. Oslo, August 31st (dir. Trier) (My Review)

I know I’ve said this before, but I’m doing better. You’ll see. 


  1. Interesting list, Amir. You and I well know that it's never too late to submit your Top 10 list. I did 2010 just last summer, and will probably have 2011 ready by June or July. I just want to be able to see everything first!

    I haven't seen more than half of your titles, but I am intrigued by them, especially Oslo. Thanks for singling them out. Senna and A Separation, especially, are on the near-top of my queue.

    Keep up the great work.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Dave. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
    And yeah, I guess it's never late to write about good films. Hopefully Oslo will get a theatrical release. It's an underrated gem. It just stayed with me since TIFF.

  3. Wow! Never even heard of "Oslo, August 31st". Very interested in checking it out now. Might be hard to find in my country though. I loved "Project Nim" & "Senna" too. shame neither were nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars.

  4. Indeed. Though from what I've seen (and hear about the ones that I haven't seen) the final five in the doc category were all worthy nominees. Still, would have been nice to see one of these two up there.

  5. I agree with David, there's never late. Like, I say there's the deadline of before the Oscars' and if it's after the Oscars' it's fair game. Never heard of your number one, but I like your choice and use of quotes from the films.

  6. I feel like I've found a kindred spirit, because this is the first time ever when someone's top three is exactly the same as mine. And I also loved Melancholia, Sleeping Beauty, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Drive, so there you go!

  7. Thanks Jan. I'm really glad to hear that! And yeah, almost one year on, all these films are still unbeatable for me at the top.