As I did last year, I’m making a Best of the Year list following the conventional system for what counts as a 2015 film, mainly the nonsensical and ahistorical system that decrees that critics may only consider movies to have existed once they have played for a week in a commercial venue in New York City. (This is the system that claims my favorite film of 2013 (La última película), which played for a week in Seattle in 2014, can only be considered a 2015 film because that is when it finally got a New York release, although it will only play Los Angeles in 2016). (Not to mention the absurdity that is the fact that Tsai Ming-liang’s 1992 debut feature is qualified for this list.) But alas, we all must bow to convention, however silly, every once in awhile.

My 2015 list of course will never be finalized, as there’s no such thing as a final list here at The End: there are always more new movies to discover and old movies to reevaluate. But in a couple of weeks I’ll have the nominations up for the 2015 Endy Awards, with the winners to be announced during the Academy Awards ceremony. This list is a snapshot of my favorites of 2015 as they stand now, on the last day of the year.

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1. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien)

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2. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)

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3. La última película (Raya Martin & Mark Peranson)

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4. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)

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5. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson)

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6. Blackhat (Michael Mann)

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7. Horse Money (Pedro Costa)

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8. The Royal Road (Jenni Olson)

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9. Carol (Todd Haynes)

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10. World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt)

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11. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson)

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12. Arabian Nights Volume 2 (Miguel Gomes)

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13. Mistress America (Noah Baumbach)

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14. Rebels of the Neon God (Tsai Ming-liang)

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15. Phoenix (Christian Petzold)

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16. Taxi (Jafar Panahi)

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17. The Taking of Tiger Mountain (Tsui Hark)

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18. La Sapienza (Eugène Green)

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19. Office (Johnnie To)

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20. The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams)

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21. 45 Years (Andrew Haigh)

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22. The Martian (Ridley Scott)

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23. Tangerine (Sean Baker)

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24. Heaven Knows What (Josh & Benny Safdie)

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25. Tokyo Tribe (Sion Sono)

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26. In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman)

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27. Jupiter Ascending (Andy & Lana Wachowski)

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28. Ballet 422 (Jody Lee Lipes)

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29. The Visit (M. Night Shyamalan)

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30. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)

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31. The Hateful 8 (Quentin Tarantino)

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32. She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich)

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33. Go Away Mr. Tumor (Han Yan)

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34. Results (Andrew Bujalski)

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35. The Pearl Button (Patricio Guzmán)

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36. When Marnie Was There (Hiromasa Yonebayashi)

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37. Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas)

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38. Creed (Ryan Coogler)

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39. Arabian Nights Volume 3 (Miguel Gomes)

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40. Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg)

And here are my favorite films of the year that aren’t eligible by this reckoning. The Best 2015 Films of 2016 (Hopefully):

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1. 88:88 (Isiah Medina)

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2. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)

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3. The Thoughts that Once We Had (Thom Andersen)

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4. Li Wen at East Lake (Luo Li)

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5. Kaili Blues (Bi Gan)

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6. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)

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7. Port of Call (Philip Yung)

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8. Murmur of the Hearts (Sylvia Chang)

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9. A Tale of Three Cities (Mabel Cheung)

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10. My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)

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One thought on “A Top 50 Films of 2015, More or Less

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