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'Act of Killing,' 'Gravity' Lead Sight & Sound's Top 10 for 2013

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire November 29, 2013 at 11:55AM

The British Film Institute's house publication weighs in with its best of the year.
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"The Act of Killing"
"The Act of Killing"

Following Cahiers du Cinema by a few days, Britain's Sight & Sound has announced its own Top 10 for 2013. Since U.K. release patterns more closely follow those in the U.S., there are fewer outright shocks, but still a handful of noteworthy films that either haven't been released here -- The Selfish GiantNorte, The End of History -- or those like The Grand Beauty that haven't figured prominently in the year-end conversation. Be sure to scroll down for the individual ballots so you can see some list-making love for LeviathanMuseum Hours and Stories We Tell, among others. Cast your own vote in Sight & Sound's readers' poll here.

Sight & Sound's Best Films of 2013

1. The Act of Killing

2. Gravity

3. Blue Is the Warmest Color

4. The Great Beauty

5. Frances Ha

6 (tie). A Touch of Sin

  Upstream Color

8. The Selfish Giant

9 (tie). Norte, The End of History

   Stranger by the Lake

Some choice quotes from the ballots:

Nick James:

Upstream Colour really stands for three films -- I tie it together with Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and Spike Jonze's Her, all of which represent fresh kinds of cinema about the way we live and think now. Shane Carruth's film has many troubling morbid insights. I need to see Glazer's film again but I have the feeling it's a future classic about empathy as a virus. Her I’ve only just seen, think is tremendous, but want to hold back for next year’s poll.

Isabel Stevens:

We started the year surrounded by the ocean in Life of Pi and ended it there too, with JC Chandor's All is Lost. In between two smaller, but no less remarkable films floated along: Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran's collaboration with Indian cargo sailors, From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, but above all, Leviathan. Interestingly, it was this documentary about a fishing trawler, and not the sublime-courting Gravity, that offered the more immersive and disorientating spectacle about the horror of being adrift in an abyss.

Nick Bradshaw:


I chose The Act of Killing in last year's poll, but saw it anew (in its longer "director's cut") this year while watching its journey around the world, and continued to be enthralled by the ways in which it reconfigured the movies in front of our eyes, commandeered the writing of public history with ingenuity and courage, and threw up myriad moral challenges that cut to the quick.

This article is related to: From the Wire, Best of 2013


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