Best Movies of 2019 (So Far)

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We are now halfway through the year and as has become an annual tradition here at The End, it’s time to look back at the best movies of the year so far. As I discussed in the 2013 halfway post, the consensus movie-dating system is nonsensical and posits New York as the center of the universe. Far more logical (and much easier to use) is a system reliant on imdb’s dating system, which locates a film in whatever year it first played for an audience. That’s what we use here for all Rankings & Awards as it’s the most fair to all eras and areas. (A dating system reliant on playing in a certain locality I think can be valuable for a publication that is geographically specific, like a local newspaper or website. But here at The End, we have a global reach.)

A by-product of the system is that a number of films that first go into wide-release in any given year actually had their premiere in the year before. A number of the films on many critics’ halfway-point lists will include these films, films that find their proper home here on my 2018 list. And so here we have two lists: the Best Movies of 2019, following the strict imdb dating system, and the Best 2018 Movies of 2019, which includes those films from last year (and one from 45 years ago) that you might find on a more chronologically-illogical list. I also have a third list, Best Unreleased Movies of 2018, of last year’s films that have yet to see a New York release and therefore don’t (yet) exist by the standards of most critics. And there’s a fourth list, a halfway version of my annual Best Older Movies list, counting the top movies I saw for the first time this year that are more than a few years old.

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The Best Movies of 2019 (So Far)

1. A Home with a View (Herman Yau)
2. Lynch: A History (David Shields)
3. The Rolling Thunder Revue (Martin Scorsese)
4. Deadwood: The Movie (Daniel Minahan)
5. The New King of Comedy (Stephen Chow & Herman Yau)
6. The Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch)
7. Furie (Lê Văn Kiệt)
8. Avengers: Endgame (Anthony & Joe Russo)
9. Booksmart (Olivia Wilde)
10. Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (Yuen Woo-ping)
11. White Snake (Amp Wong & Ji Zhao)
12. Missbehavior (Pang Ho-cheung)*
13. Pegasus (Han Han)
14. The Wandering Earth (Frant Gwo)
15. Triple Threat (Jess V. Johnson)
16. Us (Jordan Peele)

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The Best 2018 Movies of 2019 (So Far)

1. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhangke)
2. Asako I & II (Ryusuke Hamguchi)
3. Grass (Hong Sangsoo)
4. The Fate of Lee Khan (King Hu, 1973)
5. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
6. Transit (Christian Petzold)
7. Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)
8. The Crossing (Bai Xue)
9. Legend of the Demon Cat (Chen Kaige, 2017)*
10. Suburban Birds (Qiu Sheng)
11. The Eyes of Orson Welles (Mark Cousins)
12. The Image Book (Jean-Luc Godard)
13. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
14. Hotel by the River (Hong Sangsoo)
15. Diamantino (Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt)
16. Shadow (Zhang Yimou)

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The Best Unreleased Films of 2018 (So Far)

1. The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack)
2. Hidden Man (Jiang Wen)
3. Little Forest (Yim Soonrye)
4. Blue (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
5. No. 1 Chung Ying Street (Derek Chiu)
6. Chinese Portrait (Wang Xiaoshuai)
7. Tourism (Daisuke Miyazaki)
8. La cartographe (Nathan Douglas)
9. Veslemøy’s Song (Sofia Bohdanowicz)
10. Norman Norman (Sophy Romvari)
11. Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes (Graham Carter)
12. Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan)
13. A Land Imagined (Yeo Siew Hua)
14. Girls Always Happy (Yang Mingming)
15. House of Hummingbird (Kim Bora)
16. Song Lang (Leon Le)

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2019 Discoveries (So Far)

1. Chan is Missing (Wayne Wang, 1982)
2. Street Angel (Yuan Muzhi, 1937)
3. Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman, 1985)
4. War and Peace (Sergei Bondarchuk, 1966)
5. Taxi Hunter (Herman Yau, 1993)
6. Suzhou River (Lou Ye, 2000)
7. Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou, 1987)
8. The Untold Story (Herman Yau, 1993)
9. From Beijing with Love (Stephen Chow & Lee Lik-chi, 1994)
10. Yellow Earth (Chen Kaige, 1984)
11. Cry Me a River (Jia Zhangke, 2008)
12. Duel to the Death (Ching Siu-tung, 1983)
13. The Horse Thief (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1986)
14. Legend of the Stardust Brothers (Makoto Tezuka, 1985)
15. Useless (Jia Zhangke, 2007)
16. Troublesome Night 3 (Herman Yau, 1998)
17. The Mindscape of Alan Moore Dez Vylenz, 2003)
18. Captain America: Winter Soldier (Joe & Anthony Russo, 2014)
19. Xiao Shan Going Home (Jia Zhangke, 1995)
20. Howard the Duck (Willard Huyck, 1986)
21. Ju Dou (Zhang Yimou, 1990)
22. Maximum Risk (Ringo Lam, 1996)
23. Springtime in a Small Town (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 2002)
24. Dong (Jia Zhangke, 2006)
25. Three Sad Tigers (Raúl Ruiz, 1968)
26. Breakin’ (Joel Silberg, 1984)

 

*According to Mike D’Angelo’s list, neither Missbehavior nor Legend of the Demon Cat played in New York in 2019, but they did play in other North American cities, including Seattle, and so I’m considering them to exist.

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This Week in Rankings

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A lot of end of the year stuff since the last update: the nominees for the 2018 Endy Awards, the Best Books I Read in 2018, my favorite Film Discoveries of the Year, and the Seattle Film Critics Society Awards. I contributed to Frame.land’s Favorite Cinematic Moments of 2018 and Underseen and Unloved Films of 2018 (on Ash is Purest White and Liz and the Blue Bird, respectively), InReview’s Top 20 Films of 2018 (on Blackkklansman) and the Mubi Notebook’s annual Fantasy Double Features collection.

Also at the Notebook I had a column on the Best Chinese Films of the year and a retrospective on the work of the late Ringo Lam. Only one review over at Seattle Screen Scene, on Mojin: The Worm Valley, where we also have a round-up of our Favorite Things of 2018.

If you like what I do here or at Seattle Screen SceneThe Chinese Cinema, or anywhere else, please consider donating at my kofi page. Every little bit helps.

These are the movies I’ve watched or rewatched over the last few weeks, and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

Something Good–Negro Kiss (William Selig) – 1, 1898
Street Angel (Yuan Muzhi) – 4, 1937
Spring in a Small Town (Fei Mu) – 3, 1948
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Bill Melendez) – 4, 1965
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Chuck Jones) – 13, 1966
Three Sad Tigers (Raúl Ruiz) – 15, 1968

Chan is Missing (Wayne Wang) – 3, 1982
Yellow Earth (Chen Kaige) – 13, 1984
The Horse Thief (Tain Zhuangzhuang) – 17, 1986
City on Fire (Ringo Lam) – 2, 1987
Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou) – 5, 1987

School on Fire (Ringo Lam) – 2, 1988
Full Contact (Ringo Lam) – 11, 1992
Farewell, My Concubine (Chen Kaige) – 62, 1993
Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants (David Mamet) – 29, 1996
Maximum Risk (Ringo Lam) – 53, 1996

Full Alert (Ringo Lam) – 17, 1997
X-Men (Bryan Singer) – 37, 2000
Replicant (Ringo Lam) – 39, 2001
Springtime in a Small Town (Tian Zhuangzhuang) – 21, 2002
Looking for Mr. Perfect (Ringo Lam) – 15, 2003
X2 (Bryan Singer) – 33, 2003

In Hell (Ringo Lam) – 44, 2003
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright) – 18, 2004
X-Men: The Last Stand (Brett Ratner) – 68, 2006
Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright) – 32, 2007
X-Men: First Class (Matthew Vaughn) – 65, 2011

Flowers of Taipei: Taiwan New Cinema (Chinlin Hsieh) – 48, 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer) – 76, 2014
X-Men: Apocalypse (Bryan Singer) – 121, 2016
Deadpool (Tim Miller) – 137, 2016
Paddington 2 (Paul King) – 99, 2017

Blackkklansman (Spike Lee) – 4, 2018
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) – 6, 2018
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr. & Rodney Rothman) – 16, 2018
Blue (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 21, 2018
Us and Them (René Liu) – 41, 2018

Venom (Ruben Fleischer) – 47, 2018
Aquaman (James Wan) – 48, 2018
Animal World (Han Yan) – 54, 2018
Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher) – 58, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony & Joe Russo) – 61, 2018
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler) – 69, 2018

The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard) – 72, 2018
A Quiet Place (John Krasinski) – 76, 2018
Deadpool 2 (David Leitch) – 78, 2018
At Eternity’s Gate (Julian Schnabel) – 79, 2018
Roma (Alfonso Cuarón) – 81, 2018

A Cool Fish (Rao Xiaozhi) – 85, 2018
Blockers (Kay Cannon) – 91, 2018
The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos) – 93, 2018
The Leakers (Herman Yau) – 98, 2018
Springsteen on Broadway (Thom Zimney) – 110, 2018

Mojin: The Worm Valley (Fei Xing) – 112, 2018
Destroyer (Karyn Kusama) – 113, 2018
Fat Buddies (Bao Beier) – 126, 2018
Green Book (Peter Farrelly) – 128, 2018
Vox Lux (Brady Corbett) – 134, 2018
Vice (Adam McKay) – 137, 2018

This Week in Rankings

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Since the last update quite a few film festivals have come and gone. Over at Mubi I wrote about retrospectives on Sylvia Chang and Chang Cheh, as well as the New York Asian Film Festival and the Chinese film program at the Seattle International Film Festival. We also covered SIFF at Seattle Screen Scene, where I had brief reviews of Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary, Matangi/Maya/MIA, People’s Republic of Desire, Girls Always Happy and The Widowed Witch, along with longer reviews of Dead Pigs and The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful and non-SIFF titles Solo, ManhuntHow Long Will I Love U, Ocean’s 8 and Lu Over the Wall. We also recorded an episode of The Frances Farmer Show, devoted to this year’s SIFF. At The Chinese Cinema I posted a bibliography of the various sources I’ve used over the years.

If you like what I do here or at Seattle Screen Scene, The Chinese Cinema, or anywhere else, please consider donating at my kofi page. Every little bit helps.

These are the movies I’ve watched or rewatched over the last few weeks, and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

Charlie Brown’s All-Stars (Bill Melendez) – 28, 1966
The Water Margin (Chang Cheh, Wu Ma & Pao Hsueh-li) – 18, 1972
Shaolin Temple (Chang Cheh) – 15, 1976
The Dream of the Red Chamber (Li Han-hsiang) – 9, 1977
The Brave Archer (Chang Cheh) – 20, 1977

Crippled Avengers (Chang Cheh) – 8, 1978
ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg) – 3, 1982
House of Traps (Chang Cheh) – 36, 1982
That Day, On the Beach (Edward Yang) – 5, 1983
Passion (Sylvia Chang) – 21, 1986

Sisters of the World Unite (Sylvia Chang & Maisy Tsui) – 39, 1991
Mary from Beijing (Sylvia Chang) – 42, 1992
Eat Drink Man Woman (Ang Lee) – 21, 1994
Kamikaze Taxi (Masato Harada) – 10, 1995
Siao Yu (Sylvia Chang) – 33, 1995

Tonight Nobody Goes Home (Sylvia Chang) – 20, 1996
Tempting Heart (Sylvia Chang) – 8, 1999
Tears of the Black Tiger (Wisit Sasanatieng) – 10, 2000
20 30 40 (Sylvia Chang) – 9, 2004

Beast Stalker (Dante Lam ) – 38, 2008
Run Papa Run (Sylvia Chang) – 55, 2008
Tig (Kristina Goolsby & Ashley York) – 65, 2015
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson) – 13, 2017
Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis) – 17, 2017

Angels Wear White (Vivian Qu) – 21, 2017
Hit the Night (Jeong Gayoung) – 28, 2017
1987: When the Day Comes (Jang Joonhwan) – 33, 2017
Sekigahara (Masato Harada) – 37, 2017
Wrath of Silence (Xin Yukun) – 42, 2017

Lu Over the Wall (Masaaki Yuasa) – 57, 2017
Microhabitat (Jeon Gowoon) – 64, 2017
The Third Murder (Kore-eda Hirokazu) – 67, 2017
The Looming Storm (Dong Yue) – 87, 2017
The Brink (Jonathan Li) – 97, 2017

The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful (Yang Ya-che) – 120, 2017
Little Fiorest (Yim Soonrye) – 2, 2018
Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan) – 3, 2018
Matangi/Maya/MIA (Steven Loveridge) – 5, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony & Joe Russo) – 8, 2018

La cartographe (Nathan Douglas) – 11, 2018
Girls Always Happy (Yang Mingming) – 12, 2018
The Widowed Witch (Cai Chengjie) – 14, 018
Solo (Ron Howard) – 16, 2018
People’s Republic of Desire (Hao Wu) – 18, 2018

Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg) – 19, 2018
Game Night (John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein) – 20, 2018
Freaks and Geeks: the Documentary (Brent Hodge) – 23, 2018
Ocean’s 8 (Gary Ross) – 24, 2018
House of the Rising Sons (Antony Chan) – 25, 2018

The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century

The Times started this earlier this week, and like I’ve said, I’m unable to resist the call to list making. For the past few years, when one of these comes out I get annoyed that mainstream critics’ list don’t contain enough Chinese films, and that the ones they do list are the most boring, obvious choices. The Times list has three, which considering they only list 25 movies, isn’t a bad ratio, and only one of them is In the Mood for Love or Yi yi, which is nice. I haven’t done an actual best of the century list for awhile, so here it goes. One film per director, but with no more than three other titles by them I think are great listed as an aside.

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1. The New World (Terence Malick, 2005)
Also: The Tree of Life, Knight of Cups, Song to Song

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2. Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001)
Also: Three Times, Flight of the Red Balloon, The Assassin

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3. Oki’s Movie (Hong Sangsoo, 2010)
Also: The Day He Arrives, Hill of Freedom, Yourself and Yours

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4. Running on Karma (Johnnie To & Wai Ka-fai, 2003)
Also: My Left Eye Sees Ghosts, Exiled, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2

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5. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)
Also: Blissfully Yours, Syndromes and a Century, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

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6. Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
Also: Inland Empire

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7. La Commune (Paris 1871) (Peter Watkins, 2000)

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8. Oxhide II (Liu Jiayin, 2009)
Also: Oxhide, 607

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9. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
Also: Like Someone in Love

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10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000)

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11. 2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004)
Also: In the Mood for Love, My Blueberry Nights, The Grandmaster

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12. The Midnight After (Fruit Chan, 2014)

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13. Sita Sings the Blues (Nina Paley, 2008)

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14. Love Exposure (Sion Sono, 2008)
Also: Suicide Club, Tokyo Tribe

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15. It Felt Like a Kiss (Adam Curtis, 2009)
Also: The Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares, The Trap

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16. The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, 2013)

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17. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Also: The Limits of Control, Only Lovers Left Alive

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18. Linda Linda Linda (Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2005)
Also: La La La at Rock Bottom

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19. Miami Vice (Michael Mann, 2006)
Also: Ali, Public Enemies, Blackhat

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20. La danse (Frederick Wiseman, 2009)
Also: At Berkeley, National Gallery, In Jackson Heights

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21. Baahubali (SS Rajamouli, 2015 & 2017)

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22. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke, 2015)
Also: Platform, Still Life, The Hedonists

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23. Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003)
Also: Get Out of the Car, The Thoughts that Once We Had

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24. 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008)
Also: Friday Night, L’Intrus, Bastards

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25. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang, 2003)
Also: What Time is it There? Stray Dogs, Journey to the West

This Week in Rankings

Since the last update I made several end of the year lists for 2016: of The Best Older Films I Saw, The Best Books I Read, and The Best Films of the Year (via conventional chronology), along with a collection of pictures I took of passages from books I read throughout the year. I also announced the nominees for this year’s Endy Awards and wrote about the first two of Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China movies. Over at Seattle Screen Scene I wrote about Paul WS Anderson’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, the Jackie Chan vehicle Railroad Tigers, Cheng Er’s The Wasted Times, and Derek Yee’s The Sword Master.

Also at SSS, we had the results of our annual year-end poll of local critics, programmers and directors, along with a fourpart roundtable discussion of the year in film among regular SSS contributors. I wrote about Oliver Stone’s JFK for Movie Mezzanine, contributed some Double Features to Mubi’s year-end collection, wrote about Toni Erdmann and Zhao Tao for InReview Online, voted in Movie Mezzanine’s end of the year poll and wrote about the Best Chinese Films of the Year and my Film Discoveries of 2016 for them. I also recapped the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival for Offscreen.

These are the movies I’ve watched and rewatched over the last few weeks, and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

Dangerous Encounters – First Kind (Tsui Hark) – 5, 1980
When Harry Met Sally… (Rob Reiner) – 8, 1989
Once Upon a Time in China (Tsui Hark) – 5, 1991
JFK (Oliver Stone) – 12, 1991
Once Upon a Time in China II (Tsui Hark) – 10, 1992

Once Upon a Time in China III (Tsui Hark) – 50, 1993
Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondō) – 3, 1995
Resident Evil (Paul WS Anderson) – 18, 2002
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Alexander Witt) – 34, 2004
Resident Evil: Extinction (Russell Mulcahy) – 14, 2007

Missing (Tsui Hark) – 28, 2008
All About Women (Tsui Hark) – 32, 2008
Resident Evil: Afterlife (Paul WS Anderson) – 11, 2010
Wishful Drinking – 51, 2010
Resident Evil: Retribution (Paul WS Anderson) – 13, 2012

Pompeii (Paul WS Anderson) – 27, 2014
The LEGO Movie (Chris Miller & Phil Lord) – 63, 2014
The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer) – 59, 2015
A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino) – 108, 2015
Silence (Martin Scorsese) – 5, 2016

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) – 9, 2016
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Paul WS Anderson) – 14, 2016
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Karan Johar) – 19, 2016
The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig) – 25, 2016
Tower (Keith Maitland) – 30, 2016

The Wasted Times (Cheng Er) – 31, 2016
Rogue One (Gareth Edwards) – 32, 2016
Train to Busan (Yeon Sangho) – 36, 2016
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan) – 38, 2016
Let Your Heart Be Light (Sophy Romvari) – 39, 2016
Split (M. Night Shyamalan) – 45, 2016

Garfunkel & Oates: Trying to be Special (Riki Lindhome & Jeremy Konner) – 65, 2016
The Wailing (Na Hongjin) – 67, 2016
🌲🌲🌲 (Various) – 76, 2016
13th (Ava DuVernay) – 82, 2016
Railroad Tigers (Ding Sheng) – 85, 2016

Sword Master (Derek Yee) – 88, 2016
Allied (Robert Zemeckis) – 89, 2016
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) – 92, 2016
Sing (Garth Jennings) – 95, 2016
Star Trek Beyond (Justin Lin) – 108, 2016

A Top 100 Films of All-Time

It is time once again for a Top 100 Films of All-Time list. As I’ve done for the last few years, the first ten spots on the list comprise a hypothetical Sight & Sound-style ballot. We had an on-going project related to this on The George Sanders Show, that will now be based at Seattle Screen Scene. This top ten is presented here in chronological order. The remaining 90 films were randomly selected from a consideration set of 867 films, which excluded films that made my Top Tens in 201220132014 and 2015.

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1. Ruggles of Red Gap (Leo McCarey, 1935)

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2. Hatari! (Howard Hawks, 1962)

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3. News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977)

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4. The Green Ray (Eric Rohmer, 1986)

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5. Peking Opera Blues (Tsui Hark, 1986)

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6. The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann, 1992)

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7. Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001)

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8. Running on Karma (Johnnie To & Wai Ka-fai, 2003)

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9. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)

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10. Linda Linda Linda (Nouhiro Yamashita, 2005)

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11. The Last Movie (Dennis Hopper, 1971)

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12. Murmur of the Hearts (Sylvia Chang, 2015)

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13. Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, 1956)

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14. Nomad (Patrick Tam, 1982)

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15. Run of the Arrow (Samuel Fuller, 1957)

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16. Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935)

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17. The Golem: How He Came Into the World (Paul Wegener & Carl Boese, 1920)

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18. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

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19. Wheels on Meals (Sammo Hung, 1984)

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20. Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997)

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21. The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch, 2009)

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22. Choose Me (Alan Rudolph, 1984)

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23. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000)

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24. Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)

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25. The Heroic Ones (Chang Cheh, 1970)

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26. What Time is it There? (Tsai Ming-liang, 2001)

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27. The Man Who Would Be King (John Huston, 1975)

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28. Hearts of the World (DW Griffith, 1918)

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29. Romancing in Thin Air (Johnnie To, 2012)

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30. There’s Always Tomorrow (Douglas Sirk, 1955)

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31. World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt, 2015)

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32. Written By (Wai Ka-fai, 2009)

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33. Big Night (Campbell Scott & Stanley Tucci, 1996)

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34. The Pan-American Exposition by Night (Edwin S. Porter, 1901)

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35. Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Kinji Fukasaku, 1973)

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36. Kiss Me Kate (George Sidney, 1953)

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37. Sixty Six (Lewis Klahr, 2015)

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38. Come Drink with Me (King Hu, 1966)

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39. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Jim Jarmusch, 1999)

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40. City Girl (FW Murnau, 1930)

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41. Fort Apache (John Ford, 1948)

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42. Night Across the Street (Raoul Ruiz, 2012)

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43. The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988)

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44. L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)

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45. Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

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46. Big Trouble in Little China (John Carpenter, 1986)

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47. Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009)

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48. Police Story (Jackie Chan, 1985)

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49. Friday Night (Claire Denis, 2002)

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50. Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen, 1986)

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51. Exiled (Johnnie To, 2006)

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52. Romance Joe (Lee Kwangkuk, 2011)

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53. Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2002)

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54. Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961)

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55. City on Fire (Ringo Lam, 1987)

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56. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)

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57. 24 City (Jia Zhangke, 2008)

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58. Prospero’s Books (Peter Greenaway, 1991)

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59. The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer, 1962)

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60. The Sword of Doom (Kihachi Okamoto, 1966)

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61. The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom (Adam Curtis, 2007)

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62. Shaolin Soccer (Stephen Chow, 2001)

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63. The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, 2013)

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64. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (Don Hertzfeldt, 2012)

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65. In Another Country (Hong Sangsoo, 2012)

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66. Toute la mémoire du monde (Alain Resnais, 1956)

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67. Kid Auto Races at Venice (Henry Lehrman, 1914)

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68. Wife! Be Like a Rose! (Mike Naruse, 1935)

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69. Culloden (Peter Watkins, 1964)

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70. Henry Fool (Hal Hartley, 1997)

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71. PTU (Johnnie To, 2003)

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72. The East is Red (Ching Siu-tung & Raymond Lee, 1993)

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73. Pom Poko (Isao Takahata, 1994)

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74. Hapkido (Huang Feng, 1972)

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75. Pickpocket (Robert Bresson, 1959)

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76. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)

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77. Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears, 1988)

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78. Chinese Odyssey 2002 (Jeffrey Lau, 2002)

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79. This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)

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80. A Woman is a Woman (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961)

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81. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

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82. Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949)

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83. Wee Willie Winkie (John Ford, 1937)

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84. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (Allan Arkush, 1979)

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85. Yesterday Once More (Johnnie To, 2004)

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86. The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941)

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87. Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichhardt, 2010)

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88. To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, 1944)

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89. Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002)

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90. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Bill Melendez, 1966)

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91. Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963)

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92. Prince of Darkness (John Carpenter, 1987)

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93. Two Tars (James Parrott, 1928)

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94. Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)

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95. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (Eleanor Coppola, Fax Bahr & George Hickenlooper, 1991)

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96. Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984)

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97. Body Double (Brian De Palma, 1984)

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98. Unfaithfully Yours (Preston Sturges, 1948)

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99. The Day He Arrives (Hong Sangsoo, 2011)

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100. Heroes of the East (Lau Kar-leung, 1978)

The 50 Best Chinese Language Films of the 21st Century

When Film4 published a list of their “100 Must-See Films of the 21st Century” and only bothered to include two Chinese films (Yi yi and In the Mood for Love, of course), I countered with this list on letterboxd of 100 Must-See Chinese Language Films of the 21st Century. Almost two years have passed since then, and I’ve been wanting to update that list, since honestly I was kind of stretching the limits of what I’d recommend when I got into the nineties. Well, yesterday came The Playlist’s list of The 50 Best Foreign Language Films of the 21st Century. Five of the films on their list are Chinese Language (the same obvious Edward Yang and Wong Kar-wai picks, along with Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Millennium Mambo, Tsai Ming-liang’s What Time is It There? and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That’s right: no Johnnie To.), and while they’re somewhat hampered by their self-imposed one-film-per-director rules, that, to me, is still an unacceptably low number for what has been and continues to be the most vibrant and fascinating film culture in the world. And today, Richard Brody’s response in the New Yorker, while an improvement in making room for Jia Zhangke and Wang Bing (and Korean director Hong Sangsoo), still has only seven Chinese titles.

So here are my 50 Best Chinese Language Films of the 21st Century. I’m limited in making this list by the movies I’ve seen, and there are still many, many Chinese films I haven’t watched yet. I’m also sticking with The Playlist’s rule and limiting myself to one film per director (in the case of collaborations, I’m counting them as separate directors: Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai together is a different director from either Johnnie To or Wai Ka-fai individually. This is arbitrary of course). The movies are ranked in order of my current preference, with links to where I’ve written about or discussed them, along with, in some cases, no more than five other recommended films by the director.

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