The 50 best films of 2021

After over 1000 votes by more than 100 critics and contributors, we announce the results of our annual poll – the best films in cinemas, at festivals and online in 2021 How many have you seen?

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111 voters

Kaleem Aftab

Critic, UK

  1. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
  2. Radiograph of a Family
  3. Brighton 4th 
  4. Apples 
  5. The Innocents 
  6. The Hand of God 
  7. Titane
  8. Întregalde 
  9. Encounter
  10. King Richard
  • Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Radu Jude) – Hate the title, love the movie. Radu Jude’s inventiveness is on full display as his slice of life that manages to show pandemic life and a world full of people living in social bubbles, and limited relationships.
  • Radiograph of a Family (Firouzeh Khosrovani) – Firouzeh Khosrovani won Best Documentary at IDFA for this astonishing visually perfect documentary about revolution, emigration and marriage that sees the director tell the story of how her mother falls in-and-out of love, with men, ideas and Europe.
  • Brighton 4th (Levan Koguashvili) – The Renaissance of Georgian cinema continues with Levan Koguashvili’s magnificent film that sees an ex-wrestler go to New York to visit his son, only to discover that the new world isn’t that different from the Europe he has left behind. Winner at Tribeca.
  • Apples (Christos Nikou) – The Greek Weird Wave continues to impress and befuddle as Christos Nikou plays with memories and pays homage to great moments in cinema in this tale of romance and lies, and man’s failure to connect.
  • The Innocents (Eskil Vogt) – Debuting in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, Eskil Vogt looks at kids with special powers in a mediation on humanity’s willingness to turn a blind eye to what is really going on around us until disaster strikes.
  • The Hand of God (Paolo Sorrentino) – Football, Fellini and Fucking. Paolo Sorrentino gives his own bend on the coming-of-age movie, going back to Naples excited by the news that the great Maradona will don their shirts.
  • Titane (Julia Ducournau) – Julia Ducournau deservedly won the Palme d’Or with this visceral gut-punch of a movie that made up for what it lacked in plot, by putting it’s balls on full display.
  • Întregalde (Radu Muntean) – Radu Muntean’s beguiling film about aid workers lost in the mountain went rather unnoticed in Cannes, despite it having one of the great performances by a non-actor and a cutting commentary about what is aid.
  • Encounter (Michael Pearce) – British director Michael Pearce and Riz Ahmed combine to create an alien-invasion movie, or is it a look at the way men lose their mind once patriarchal power is taken from them? A film about belonging, family and self-destruction.
  • King Richard  (Reinaldo Marcus Green) – Reinaldo Marcus Green doesn’t look revolutionary on the surface. And yet, his take on Richard Williams (Will Smith, we forgot you could act), the father of tennis sensations Serena and Venus Williams, who has been maligned and demonised in the [white] media, reinvents him as  anti-hero, while pointing out institutional racism in the media.
  • Special Mention: Compartment Number 6 (Juho Kuosmanen). This was the film that I may not have loved the most, but had the most healthy debate around. And in 2021 director Juho Kuossomen is the person whose films I’m most excited to see in future years.

Jason Anderson

Programmer (Toronto International Film Festival)

  1. Drive My Car
  2. Compartment No. 6 
  3. The Card Counter
  4. Minari 
  5. Bad Trip
  6. The Velvet Underground
  7. Nobody 
  8. Ste. Anne 
  9. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar 
  10. Annette 

Michael Atkinson

Critic, USA

  1. Quo Vadis, Aida?
  2. Beginning 
  3. This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection 
  4. Slow Machine 
  5. Malmkrog 
  6. Brighton 4th 
  7. Stillwater
  8. The Father 
  9. Undine 
  10. New Order

Anne Billson

Novelist and film critic, UK

  1. Come True
  2. Demon Slayer: Mugen Train 
  3. First Cow 
  4. The Green Knight 
  5. Mandibles 
  6. News of the World 
  7. Nomadland 
  8. Riders of Justice
  9. The Truffle Hunters 
  10. Undine 

Robin Baker

Head curator, BFI National Archive

  1. Dune
  2. The Disciple
  3. Flee
  4. The Green Knight 
  5. Hit the Road 
  6. Limbo 
  7. The Lost Daughter 
  8. Nomadland 
  9. Playground
  10. The Power of the Dog

Erika Balsom

Critic and scholar, UK

  1. Drive My Car 
  2. The Girl and the Spider 
  3. Delphine’s Prayers
  4. A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces 
  5. A Night of Knowing Nothing 
  6. The Card Counter 
  7. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  8. Fabian or Going to the Dogs
  9. Juste un mouvement 
  10. We

Matthew Barrington

Curator, UK

  1. From Where They Stood 
  2. Lost Course 
  3. Juste un mouvement
  4. Titane
  5. Historya Ni Ha
  6. ear for eye
  7. The I and S of Lives 
  8. All Light, Everywhere 
  9. Neptune Frost 
  10. Belle

James Bell

Senior curator of fiction, BFI National Archive, UK

  1. Drive My Car
  2. Playground
  3. After Love
  4. The Disciple
  5. Sound of Metal
  6. Limbo
  7. The Velvet Underground
  8. ear for eye
  9. The Souvenir Part II  
  10. Azor 

Anton Bitel

Critic and programmer, UK

  1. Broadcast Signal Intrusion
  2. Censor
  3. Flashback (aka The Education of Frederick Fitzell)
  4. The Green Knight
  5. Lamb
  6. Limbo 
  7. Mad God 
  8. Malignant
  9. Mosquito State 
  10. Surge 

Ela Bittencourt

Critic and curator, Brazil/USA

  1. Faya Dayi 
  2. Saint Maud
  3. Taste
  4. Haruhara-san’s Recorder
  5. El Gran Movimiento
  6. Întregalde 
  7. The First 54 Years 
  8. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  9. Censor
  10. Les Heroiques

John Bleasdale

Critic, UK

  1. Titane
  2. Il buco
  3. The Lost Daughter 
  4. Annette
  5. Mad God
  6. Hit the Road
  7. Vortex 
  8. Dune 
  9. The Green Knight
  10. The Last Duel
  • Titane (Julia Ducournau)  – Nuts
  • Il buco (Michelangelo Frammartino)
  • The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) – Massively impressive debut.
  • Annette (Leos Carax) – A real twist on the musical in the year of Sparks!
  • Mad God (Phil Tippett) – Triumphant after decades of gestation.
  • Hit the Road (Panah Panahi)
  • Vortex (Gaspar Noé) – Really unexpected. Finally a touching movie.
  • Dune (Denis Villeneuve)
  • The Green Knight (David Lowery)
  • The Last Duel (Ridley Scott) – Triumphant return to the Middle Ages for RS.
  • Also-rans would include No Time to Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga) – not a great film but a great final chapter – and The Souvenir Part II (Joanna Hogg).

Michael Blyth

Senior programmer, BFI Festivals

  1. Spencer
  2. Pleasure
  3. Dashcam
  4. The Power of the Dog
  5. Coda
  6. Great Freedom
  7. Old
  8. The Lost Daughter
  9. The Sparks Brothers 
  10. Censor 

Anna Bogutskaya

Writer, critic and broadcaster, UK

  1. Titane
  2. Censor
  3. The Worst
  4. Shiva Baby
  5. Zola
  6. Promising Young Woman 
  7. The Human Voice
  8. The Velvet Underground 
  9. C’mon C’mon 
  10. Sound of Metal

Clara Bradbury-Rance

Writer, UK

  1. No Ordinary Man
  2. Bergman Island 
  3. The Power of the Dog 
  4. Rebel Dykes 
  5. The Souvenir Part II
  6. Petite Maman 
  7. The Velvet Underground
  8. Black Widow 
  9. Sweetheart 
  10. My First Summer

Sophie Brown

Writer, programmer, UK

  1. Users
  2. Memoria
  3. Flee
  4. Candyman 
  5. Titane 
  6. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
  7. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  8. All Light, Everywhere
  9. El Planeta 
  10. A Man and a Camera

Rick Burin

Freelance film critic/writer

  1. Playground
  2. Petite Maman
  3. Nascondino
  4. A Hero
  5. The French Dispatch
  • Playground (Laura Wandel) – A staggering debut that begins like Être et avoir and ends like a prison movie.
  • Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma) – Sciamma’s quietly magical fairy tale casts a spell that doesn’t leave you. A gentle departure.
  • Nascondino (Victoria Fiore) – A gutting doc, with shades of Pixote, that’s often dream-like on the surface, yet brutal beneath.
  • A Hero (Asghar Farhadi) – You can’t just write “a riveting moral thriller” each time Farhadi makes a film, and yet…
  • The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson) – Anderson to the nth degree, which will send some screaming for the hills, but equipped with three or four emotional pay-offs as good as anything he’s ever done.

Kambole Campbell

Critic, UK

  1. The Summit of the Gods
  2. Flee
  3. Mad God
  4. Belle 
  5. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice upon a Time 
  6. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
  7. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  8. Petite Maman 
  9. Pig
  10. Old

Tom Charity

Year-round programmer, Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada

  1. Petite Maman
  2. Annette
  3. Titane 
  4. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
  5. The Power of the Dog
  6. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  7. The Worst Person in the World 
  8. Drive My Car
  9. A Cop Movie
  10. Hanagatami

Like everyone else, I endured an enforced exile from the big screen during the pandemic, a separation which made me reflect on what is most precious about cinema, as opposed to ‘movie’ or ‘film’. This list constitutes an answer to that question, I suppose. My top three are all fantasy films from France, where the spirit of Jean Cocteau still casts a spell. Cinema as enchantment, a medium which conjures itself before our eyes. Céline Sciamma’s delicate and original Petite Maman expresses volumes of feeling with simplicity and grace. Annette is a sacred monster, a movie at war with itself. And Titane… even watching it in a theatre with only six or seven people, the visceral and voluble reactions it provoked made this the most memorable cinematic experience of a lopsided year. La séance recommence…

Nick Chen

Film critic, UK

  1. Memoria
  2. ergman Island
  3. Quo Vadis, Aida? 
  4. Drive My Car 
  5. Annette 
  6. The Worst Person in the World
  7. Flee 
  8. The Disciple
  9. Ninjababy 
  10. Compartment No. 6

Nearly two years into the pandemic, COVID is still affecting (or infecting?) how I digest movies. No matter when the film was shot or is set, I’m uneasy when characters entangle in enclosed spaces. Can’t they open that window? Did they forget their masks? And why is Meryl Streep suddenly singing ‘The Winner Takes It All’? (OK, that last one only applied to my rewatch of Mamma Mia). 

I don’t necessarily want new releases to acknowledge the virus. In fact, I would prefer the opposite. Yet my emotional engagement heightened when two films in my top 10 concluded with the protagonist masking up for a COVID-referencing epilogue. Even with films shot before 2020, I will forever associate them with 2021 if I experienced them wearing a mask. For instance, my two highlights of the year were during the London Film Festival: the group hypnosis of Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) in a sold-out screening at the Royal Festival Hall, and the collective nods at Curzon Mayfair when Mia Wasikowska burst into – you guessed it – ‘The Winner Takes It All’ in Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve).

That said, a third highlight was the nail-biting tension of Quo Vadis, Aida? (Jasmila Žbanić) in February, during lockdown, on my laptop. Not ideal viewing conditions, of course, but powerful art can transcend on a screen of any size. (You should see Memoria in a cinema, though).

Ashley Clark

Curator, USA

  1. All Light, Everywhere
  2. Bad Trip 
  3. Drive My Car
  4. ear for eye 
  5. Eyimofe – This Is My Desire
  6. Faya Dayi
  7. Petite Maman 
  8. Portrait of Kaye 
  9. The Souvenir Part II 
  10. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Roger Clarke

Writer, UK

  1. First Cow
  2. Flee
  3. Zola 
  4. Spencer
  5. Martin Eden 
  6. Compartment No. 6 
  7. Deerskin
  8. Sabaya
  9. Sweat
  10. The Souvenir Part II 

Philip Concannon

Film critic, UK

  1. Drive My Car 
  2. Petite Maman
  3. The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin) 
  4. Babi Yar. Context 
  5. Benedetta
  6. Il buco
  7. Red Rocket
  8. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  9. The Souvenir Part II
  10. A Hero

Kieron Corless

Associate editor, Sight and Sound, UK

  1. Feathers
  2. Il buco
  3. The Tsugua Diaries
  4. Archipelago
  5. Memoria 
  6. Ahed’s Knee 
  7. A Night of Knowing Nothing 
  8. The Witches of the Orient
  9. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  10. A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces

Lillian Crawford

Critic and researcher

  1. The Souvenir Part II
  2. Bergman Island
  3. Annette
  4. The Worst Person in the World
  5. Petite Maman
  6. Titane
  7. The French Dispatch
  8. I’m Your Man
  9. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  10. The Tsugua Diaries

Based on the films I have managed to see – there are plenty more festival releases and mainstream films to look forward to before the year is out. Expect to see Benediction and The Matrix Resurrections added to this list soon.

Jordan Cronk

Film critic, curator, USA

  1. Annette
  2. Benedetta
  3. Il buco
  4. The Card Counter
  5. Cry Macho
  6. Drive My Car
  7. France 
  8. In Front of Your Face
  9. Memoria 
  10. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 

Alex Davidson

Cinema curator, Barbican, UK

  1. Flee
  2. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn 
  3. Benediction 
  4. Rebel Dykes 
  5. Titane 
  6. Azor 
  7. Luzzu 
  8. Love Yourself Today 
  9. Celts
  10. ear for eye

It’s been a pleasure to see so many great films by LGBTQ+ filmmakers at the top of their game, from established directors such as Terence Davies to new queer voices exploding through our cinema screens.

Maria Delgado

Critic, curator and academic, UK

  1. A Cop Movie 
  2. Azor 
  3. The Odd-Job Men
  4. Costa Brava Lebanon
  5. Hit the Road 
  6. Parallel Mothers 
  7. Spencer 
  8. Prayers for the Stolen
  9. Sundown 
  10. Petite Maman 
  • A Cop Movie (Alonso Ruizpalacios), Sis Dies Corrents / The Odd Job Men (Neus Ballús) – Two hybrid documentaries offered unusual and perceptive insights into workplace politics. Corruption and exploitation exposed in Alonso Ruizpalacios’ inventive drama which exposes the tensions involved in performing a role to uphold law and order when nepotism and bribery are a way of life. The Odd Job Men provided pure comedy in observing three plumbers navigate changing circumstances at work over the space of six anything-but-ordinary days. Deserved winner of the Best Actor Award at Locarno for plumbers Mohamed Mellali and Valero Escolar. Please someone in the UK, buy this film for distribution.
  • Azor (Andreas Fontana) Costa Brava, Lebanon (Mounia Aki), Hit the Road / Jadde Khaki (Panah Khaki) – What a year for debuts. Azor proved a taut conspiracy thriller exposing the monied international players that upheld the Argentine dictatorship. Co-written by La flor’s Mariano Llinás, it presented a lean, mean and dangerous world of ominous wheeler-dealing. Clara Roquet (whose Libertad played in Cannes), co-scripted Mounia Aki’s impressive Costa Brava, Lebanon, a film about a utopian idyll that turns sour. It is realised with wit, compassion and a real eye for the absurdities of a family trying to shut themselves off from the world. Hit the Road was funny, perceptive and insightful. A film able to shift tone and mood with a brilliance that left me speechless.
  • Parallel Mothers (Pedro Almodóvar) – A brave and beautiful look at Spain’s history refracted through the tale of two single mothers who bond in the maternity unit of a hospital while giving birth. Arguably his most political film to date and a terrific contemplation of the need to face up to a difficult past.
  • Spencer (Pablo Larraín) – Part horror, part-psychological ticking clock drama, Spencer felt like a bold jazz riff on a familiar tune. Surprising, strange and unnerving, embodying what it means to stage defiance in the face of tradition. An outsider’s peep into the strangeness of an institution trapped by tradition.
  • Prayers for the stolen / Noche de fuego (Tatiana Huezo) – So many powerful films denouncing the abuses enacted on women’s bodies in Mexico in 2021 – La Civil, Nudo Mixteco and Prayers for the Stolen. The latter, a debut feature by documentary filmmaker Tatiana Huezo maps the consequences on a trio of girlfriends over two stages of their childhood, defiantly refusing to give the abusers screen time.
  • Sundown (Michel Franco) – To move from the epic New Order to the intimate chamber piece Sundown in the space of a year sums up the brilliance that is Michel Franco. Lean filmmaking that rewards close observation and never makes things easy for the viewer.
  • Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma) – I loved the economy of the storytelling in this magical fairytale-cum-ghost story told from the perspective of its child protagonist. A stylish and playful reflection on memory.

Mar Diestro-Dópido

Film critic and researcher, Sight and Sound, UK

  1. The Human Voice
  2. Annette
  3. Titane 
  4. Dune 
  5. Drive My Car 
  6. Cruella 
  7. Last Night in Soho 
  8. Spencer 
  9. Bergman Island 
  10. Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon 

Alex Dudok de Wit

Deputy editor, Cartoon Brew, UK

  1. Affairs of the Art
  2. Cryptozoo 
  3. Easter Eggs 
  4. Flee
  5. Dune
  6. Judas and the Black Messiah
  7. Steakhouse 
  8. Peel 
  9. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  10. The Summit of the Gods 

My film of the year is, once again, a short: Affairs of the Art by Joanna Quinn. Few can tell jokes and an engrossing story, and also animate like a classically trained master. Quinn can. (Credit too to her longtime writing partner Les Mills.) That the film hasn’t been seen more widely says much about how animated shorts are distributed, promoted, and considered by gatekeepers.

Jamie Dunn

Film & TV editor, The Skinny, UK

  1. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  2. Friends and Strangers 
  3. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet 
  4. Petite Maman
  5. Ham on Rye
  6. Limbo
  7. Memoria 
  8. Rose Plays Julie
  9. The Twentieth Century
  10. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

The most thrilling film of the year was Alexandre Koberidze’s What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?, a modern fairytale set in Kutaisi, Georgia, a city so romantically sun-dappled it makes Paris look like Cumbernauld. The two-and-a-half-hour epic knocked my socks off despite a less than ideal single viewing on my laptop.

Elsewhere in 2021, it was small scale gems that stayed with me most: James Vaughan’s toe-curling comedy of post-millennial malaise, Friends and Strangers; Ana Katz’s miniature epic, The Dog Who Wouldn’t be Quiet; Céline Sciamma’s uncanny mother-daughter story, Petite Maman; and Tyler Taormina’s wistful teen movie, Ham on Rye. All were characterised by dreamy atmospheres and plaintive vibes. And most winningly, brevity: all told their gem-like narratives in under 90 minutes.

The Ferroni Brigade

Critics and programmer, Austria, Germany

  1. Alone 
  2. Benedetta 
  3. Caak3 daan2 zyun1 gaa1 2 
  4. Cārpaṭṭā Paramparai 
  5. Fabian or Going to the Dogs 
  6. Historya Ni Ha 
  7. Inuō
  8. Sentinelle 
  9. Wesele 
  10. Xuányá zhīshàng

Thomas Flew

Editorial assistant, Sight and Sound, UK

  1. Henry Glassie: Field Work
  2. Hit the Road
  3. In Front of Your Face
  4. Memoria 
  5. Minari
  6. Petite Maman
  7. Rūrangi 
  8. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  9. The Tsugua Diaries
  10. Twin Peaks

Hanna Flint

Critic, writer, co-host of the Fade to Black podcast, UK

  1. The Green Knight 
  2. Nomadland
  3. Minari 
  4. Shiva Baby
  5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  6. Riders of Justice
  7. Pig
  8. Passing 
  9. The Man Who Sold His Skin
  10. Another Round 

Charles Gant

Awards editor, Screen International, UK

  1. The Power of the Dog
  2. The Souvenir Part II
  3. C’mon C’mon 
  4. Great Freedom 
  5. 7 Prisoners 
  6. Zola
  7. Belfast 
  8. Dune 
  9. New Order
  10. Flee 

Ryan Gilbey

  1. Quo Vadis, Aida? 
  2. First Cow 
  3. Dear Comrades! 
  4. The Filmmaker’s House
  5. Ham on Rye 
  6. The Father
  7. Spencer 
  8. Tick, Tick… Boom! 
  9. The Green Knight
  10. Rose Plays Julie 

Jane Giles

Writer and filmmaker, UK

  1. Another Round
  2. Candyman
  3. Censor
  4. Earwig
  5. The Father 
  6. In the Earth
  7. The Most Beautiful Boy in the World 
  8. No Time to Die 
  9. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  10. The Velvet Underground 

With cinemas locked down, I saw a fraction of the films I would usually, but these were all of interest for different reasons, particularly the strength of music documentaries and female directors working in the horror/surrealist genres. Long live the big screen.

Devika Girish

Film critic, USA

  1. Memoria 
  2. The Girl and the Spider
  3. Annette
  4. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn 
  5. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  6. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  7. Bergman Island 
  8. Benediction
  9. Petite Maman 
  10. Labyrinth of Cinema 

Carmen Gray

Freelance film critic and programmer for the Berlinale, Germany

  1. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
  2. Ahed’s Knee 
  3. The Scary of Sixty-First 
  4. Annette 
  5. The Velvet Underground
  6. All Light, Everywhere
  7. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  8. Compartment No. 6
  9. Azor (Andreas Fontana)
  10. Friends and Strangers

In a year in which the world felt upended by the pandemic and radical, divisive tendencies in global power structures, the three most striking films of all were wild, transgressive, loud, abrasive, inventive, appalled at the status quo and politically subversive. There was much else of great beauty and strangeness to escape into, besides.

Steph Green

Film critic, UK

  1. The Worst Person in the World 
  2. Promising Young Woman
  3. The Power of the Dog 
  4. The Green Knight 
  5. The Card Counter 
  6. The Hand of God 
  7. Petite Maman 
  8. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  9. Titane
  10. The World to Come

Lindsay Hallam

Academic, UK

  1. Candyman
  2. Censor
  3. First Cow
  4. The Green Knight 
  5. In the Earth 
  6. Judas and the Black Messiah 
  7. Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon 
  8. Passing
  9. Titane 
  10. Violation 

I must also note two excellent documentaries made with such love for cinema that watching them was a very moving experience: Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (Kier-La Janisse) and The Story of Film: A New Generation (Mark Cousins).

Simran Hans

Film critic, the Observer, UK

  1. The Lost Daughter
  2. Zola
  3. The Souvenir Part II 
  4. The Power of the Dog
  5. Listening to Kenny G
  6. Beginning
  7. The Worst Person in the World
  8. Drive My Car
  9. Delphine’s Prayers
  10. Spencer 

Rebecca Harrison

Film critic and academic, UK

  1. Spencer
  2. The Green Knight
  3. Nomadland
  4. Limbo
  5. Our Ladies 
  6. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  7. Supernova
  8. The Dig 
  9. Petite Maman
  10. Annette

Molly Haskell

Film critic, USA

  1. Petite Maman
  2. Vortex
  3. Benedetta
  4. The Souvenir Part II
  5. Ahed’s Knee
  6. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  7. The Worst Person in the World

Michael Hayden

Film programmer and lecturer, UK

  1. The Velvet Underground 
  2. The Power of the Dog 
  3. Ballad of a White Cow 
  4. The Souvenir Part II
  5. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  6. The Lost Daughter 
  7. Memoria 
  8. Petite Maman
  9. Brother’s Keeper 
  10. La Mif 

Tim Hayes

Freelance writer, UK

  1. Quo Vadis, Aida? 
  2. Army of the Dead 
  3. I Care A Lot 
  4. The Banishing
  5. Undine 
  6. State Funeral 
  7. A Glitch in the Matrix 
  8. Mad God 
  9. Cryptozoo
  10. The Show 

Surely a missed opportunity that, with every other part of the film ecosystem forced to reconsider how it connects with a public, film criticism did not likewise take the chance to consider how to become better paid and better organised and less accepting of the things getting in the way of those goals.

J. Hoberman

Film critic, author, US

  1. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn 
  2. Memoria
  3. Ahed’s Knee 
  4. Lower East Side Trilogy
  5. Paths of Fire II 
  6. The Velvet Underground 
  7. Fire Music: The Story of Free Jazz 
  8. Karen Dalton: In My Own Time 
  9. Red Rocket 
  10. The Meaning of Hitler

Philip Horne

Film critic, UK

  1. The Truffle Hunters
  2. My Donkey, My Lover and I 
  3. The French Dispatch 
  4. Minari 
  5. The Souvenir Part II 
  6. Il buco 
  7. A Hero 
  8. Petite Maman
  9. Paris, 13th District 
  10. The Father

Melanie Hoyes

Industry inclusion executive, BFI, and co-editor, Black Film Bulletin, UK

  1. Petite Maman 
  2. Hit the Road
  3. Bantu Mama
  4. Belfast
  5. Raya and the Last Dragon 
  6. ear for eye
  7. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  8. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  9. Language Lessons
  10. 7 Days 

I have really enjoyed the prevalence of independent productions and releases over the last couple of years and am loving the innovative ways in which creatives have been able to keep bringing us great stories in spite of ongoing restrictions. I’m so pleased that my selection is so representative of a multitude of identities in front of, and behind the camera.

Pamela Hutchinson

Film critic, UK

  1. The Souvenir Part II
  2. Nomadland
  3. Beginning
  4. Petite Maman 
  5. Parallel Mothers 
  6. First Cow
  7. After Love
  8. Another Round 
  9. Undine 
  10. The Lost Daughter 

Eric Hynes

Curator of film, Museum of the Moving Image, US

  1. The Viewing Booth 
  2. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  3. This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection 
  4. Procession 
  5. Drive My Car
  6. Annette
  7. Memoria 
  8. Downstream to Kinshasa 
  9. Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time 
  10. Benedetta
  11. Wendy Ide

Critic, UK

  1. Hit the Road 
  2. The Lost Daughter 
  3. Small Body 
  4. Brother’s Keeper 
  5. Zola
  6. The Souvenir Part II
  7. Titane 
  8. Azor
  9. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  10. The Worst Person in the World 

Nick James

Writer and critic, UK

  1. Azor 
  2. The Souvenir Part II 
  3. The Power of the Dog 
  4. The Hand of God
  5. Drive My Car
  6. The Velvet Underground 
  7. Stars Await Us
  8. A Cop Movie 
  9. Titane 
  10. The Nest

Ella Kemp

Film critic, UK

  1. The Worst Person in the World
  2. The Power of the Dog
  3. Petite Maman 
  4. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  5. Shiva Baby 
  6. Pig
  7. Paris, 13th District 
  8. The World to Come
  9. Spencer 
  10. The Mitchells vs the Machines

Philip Kemp

Writer and film historian, UK

  1. After Love (Aleem Khan)
  2. ear for eye (debbie tucker green)
  3. The Father (Florian Zeller)
  4. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt)
  5. The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson)
  6. Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King)
  7. Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright)
  8. Minari (Lee Isaac Chung)
  9. Nomadland (Chloé Zhao)
  10. Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma)

Robert Koehler

Film critic, USA

  1. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  2. The Tsugua Diaries 
  3. Friends and Strangers 
  4. Babi Yar. Context 
  5. Espiritu Sagrado 
  6. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
  7. From the Planet of the Humans 
  8. Taming the Garden
  9. The Girl and the Spider
  10. A New Old Play

Leila Latif

Film critic, UK

  1. Titane
  2. Judas and the Black Messiah
  3. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  4. The Father
  5. Dune 
  6. The Night of the Kings 
  7. The Card Counter
  8. The Green Knight
  9. Shiva Baby 
  10. Faya Dayi 

I don’t know that this year will go down as one of the strongest years for film, the fall out from the pandemic made a few months’ releases feel a little lean, but these top 10 films are all truly remarkable achievements. They all have singular visions and feel uncompromising and distinct from easy genre classification.

James Lattimer

Programmer/curator (Berlinale Forum, Viennale, Documenta Madrid), Germany

  1. A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces
  2. Ahed’s Knee
  3. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
  4. The Girl and the Spider
  5. Memoria 
  6. One Thousand and One Attempts to Be an Ocean
  7. Polycephaly in D 
  8. Ste. Anne 
  9. Surviving You, Always
  10. Train Again 

Elena Lazic

Critic, UK

  1. Happening 
  2. The Souvenir Part II
  3. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  4. Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror 
  5. Skies of Lebanon 
  6. Vortex
  7. Mr. Bachmann and His Class 
  8. Benedetta 
  9. Sound of Metal 
  10. The Last Duel 

Michael Leader

Critic, UK

  1. Drive My Car
  2. Petite Maman
  3. The Father
  4. The Nest 
  5. The Velvet Underground
  6. ear for eye 
  7. Belle
  8. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  9. Dune 
  10. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes 

Beatrice Loayza

Editor and film critic, USA

  1. Annette
  2. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  3. Bergman Island 
  4. Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
  5. El Planeta 
  6. Wood and Water 
  7. Feast 
  8. Rock Bottom Riser 
  9. Friends and Strangers 
  10. The Souvenir Part II 

Guy Lodge

Film critic (Variety, the Observer, Film of the Week), UK

  1. Azor 
  2. Drive My Car
  3. The Green Knight 
  4. The Lost Daughter
  5. Prayers for the Stolen
  6. President 
  7. Reflection
  8. The Scary of Sixty-First
  9. The Souvenir Part II
  10. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 

A year that felt like a renewal of sorts, as cinemas and the festival circuit largely resumed operations after last year’s pandemic shutdown, proved appropriately rich in remarkable debuts, from Nekrasova’s raw, riotous provation to Gyllenhaal’s brittle but emotionally full-blooded Ferrante adaptation to Fontana’s supremely controlled, withholding spin on Heart of Darkness for the capitalist age. And the list could as easily have included Rebecca Hall’s perfectly poised Passing and Laura Wandel’s shattering Playground: the future of the medium may be uncertain in many senses, but not for lack of talent.

Violet Lucca

Web editor at Harper’s Magazine and freelance critic, USA

  1. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
  2. The Souvenir Part II 
  3. Memoria 
  4. Faya Dayi
  5. El Gran Movimiento
  6. The Power of the Dog
  7. Bergman Island
  8. The Last Duel 
  9. Dune
  10. I Want to Talk About Duras 

Roger Luckhurst

Critic and academic, UK

  1. 76 Days
  2. Gagarine
  3. Apples
  4. Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time 
  5. Another Round 
  6. First Cow 
  7. Paris, 13th District
  8. Pig 
  9. The Dark and the Wicked
  10. The Father 

Another year of a very fractured viewing experience, caught between lockdowns, streaming and tentative cinema visits only once they reopened in May. This feels like a local, odd and probably unrepresentative list.

Łukasz Mańkowski

Film critic, Poland

  1. Drive My Car 
  2. Memoria
  3. Haruhara-san’s Recorder 
  4. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
  5. Ripples of Life
  6. Death of a Virgin, and the Sin of Not Living
  7. Annette 
  8. Aloners
  9. Petite Maman

Ian Mantgani

Filmmaker, writer, curator, UK

  1. Petite Maman
  2. The Souvenir Part II
  3. The Card Counter
  4. Red Rocket 
  5. Mayor 
  6. City Hall 
  7. Judas and the Black Messiah 
  8. Malignant 
  9. Belfast 
  10. Cry Macho 

Ten more standouts: La Abuela, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Benedetta, Bolt Driver, Drive My Car, No Sudden Move, Passing, The Viewing Booth, the short VR spectacular Samsara and my friend Daniel Draper’s zero-budget documentary love-letter Almost Liverpool 8.

And a pat on the back for my own brilliant short documentary Vaccination, because as a wise old Scouse regular once said to me in my bartending days, if you don’t believe in yourself, what the hell do you believe in?

Gabrielle Marceau

Film critic, UK

  1. Annette
  2. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  3. The Card Counter 
  4. Memoria 
  5. Drive My Car 
  6. Slow Machine
  7. Zeros and Ones
  8. Cry Macho 
  9. Bergman Island
  10. The Last Duel 

Ross McDonnell

Writer and programmer, UK/Ireland

  1. Bergman Island 
  2. Drive My Car 
  3. Memoria
  4. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  5. The Cloud in Her Room 
  6. Her Socialist Smile 
  7. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  8. Correspondence 
  9. The Power of the Dog 
  10. Slow Machine 

There are lots of films I’m looking forward to catching up with: Alice Diop’s We, Amalia Ulman’s El Planeta, Axelle Ropert’s Petite Solange, Hong Sang-soo’s Introduction and In Front of Your Face, Michelangelo Frammartino’s Il buco, Matías Piñeiro’s Isabella, Ramon and Silvan Zürcher’s The Girl and the Spider, and many more.

Katie McCabe

Reviews editor, Sight and Sound

  1. Another Round 
  2. Memory Box
  3. Petite Maman
  4. Memoria
  5. Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché 
  6. ear for eye 
  7. Pebbles 
  8. Minari 
  9. First Cow 
  10. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Katherine McLaughlin

Critic and writer, UK

  1. Bergman Island 
  2. Benediction 
  3. The Souvenir Part II
  4. Zola 
  5. Titane
  6. Petite Maman 
  7. Red Rocket
  8. Dinner in America
  9. Pig 
  10. Censor

Book me a flight to Fårö so I can watch 35mm prints in a wooden cabin and go on ‘Bergman Safari’! Mia Hansen-Løve’s seventh feature film wonderfully captures the strife and joy of balancing life and work, and the process of creation. Terence Davies never fails to move me. His tribute to poet and soldier Siegfried Sassoon is an elegantly directed elegy for those whose lives are forever altered by conflict. It’s also beautifully queer and often hilarious. Joanna Hogg delivers a painfully raw, honest and uplifting conclusion to her autobiographical drama of a filmmaker in her twenties.

Janicza Bravo’s interpretation of a legendary twitter thread pops with colour and character as it toys with multiple aspects of cultural appropriation. Julia Ducournau’s dismantling of social constructs dazzled me with potent dance sequences and extreme body horror lit with gorgeous pinks and purples. Céline Sciamma delivers complex emotions with a seemingly simple concept. Sean Baker’s  riotous character portrait of a complete piece of work is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen.

Adam Rehmeier’s future cult classic is an obnoxiously charming love letter to the outsider spirit featuring a major earworm performed by its two lead actors. Nic Cage turns in an incredibly moving performance in Michael Sarnoski’s tenderly crafted modern western. Prano Bailey-Bond’s unforgettable love letter to video nasties perfectly captures 1980s Britain in all its grim hand-wringing ugliness.

Wendy Mitchell

Journalist and film festival consultant, UK

  1. The Power of the Dog 
  2. The Innocents 
  3. Titane 
  4. Flee 
  5. Spencer 
  6. Zola 
  7. Ammonite 
  8. Compartment No. 6 
  9. Censor
  10. Supernova

Sophie Monks Kaufman

Contributing editor, Little White Lies, UK

  1. C’mon C’mon 
  2. The Souvenir Part II 
  3. Titane
  4. Sound of Metal 
  5. The Power of the Dog 
  6. The French Dispatch
  7. Little Palestine – Diary of a Siege
  8. Red Rocket 
  9. Bergman Island 
  10. Benediction

James Mottram

Film critic, UK

  1. Dune 
  2. The Hand of God
  3. The Green Knight 
  4. The Power of the Dog
  5. The Velvet Underground 
  6. Drive My Car
  7. Nitram
  8. Everything Went Fine
  9. A Hero 
  10. Titane 

On reflection, putting this list together, it feels like a resilient year for cinema. Festivals back in person, attendances at cinemas slowly creeping back up and some really strong films. Villeneuve’s Dune was a personal favourite for its bold vision, but the intimate storytelling of Sorrentino or Hamaguchi (who had a hell of a year with Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy too) was just as striking.

Christina Newland

Lead film critic at the i, UK

  1. The Power of the Dog
  2. The Card Counter
  3. Minari
  4. The Green Knight
  5. Annette
  6. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  7. The Lost Daughter
  8. Drive My Car
  9. Apples
  10. Zola

Kim Newman

Critic, UK

Black Bear
Collective
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes 
John and the Hole
Last Night in Soho
Malignant 
Nomadland 
Palm Springs 
Riders of Justice 
The Suicide Squad 

Ben Nicholson

Critic and curator, UK

  1. Il buco 
  2. Bodies in Dissent 
  3. Memoria
  4. The Blind Rabbit 
  5. Hotel Royal
  6. Lago Gatún 
  7. A Night of Knowing Nothing 
  8. Wood and Water
  9. Psychic Meat 
  10. Anachronic Chronicles: Voyages Inside/Out Asia 

Caitlin Quinlan

Film critic, UK

  1. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  2. The Worst Person in the World 
  3. Memoria 
  4. Petite Maman 
  5. El Planeta 
  6. We
  7. The Tsugua Diaries 
  8. The Souvenir Part II 
  9. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  10. Il buco 

Naman Ramachandran

Critic, journalist, UK/India

  1. Dune 
  2. Rehana 
  3. Once upon a Time in Calcutta 
  4. Sundown
  5. Feathers
  6. Arthur Rambo 
  7. A Hero 
  8. Paka: River of Blood 
  9. Dostojee aka Two Friends
  10. No Land’s Man

Nicolas Rapold

Film critic, UK

  1. Annette 
  2. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn 
  3. Friends and Strangers
  4. Petite Maman 
  5. Memoria
  6. El Planeta
  7. The Souvenir Part II
  8. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  9. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
  10. The Woman Who Ran

Honorable Mentions: The Power of the Dog, Parallel Mothers, The French Dispatch, Mr. Bachmann and His Class, Zola, Azor, The Velvet Underground, The Lost Daughter, Procession, The Beta Test and The Viewing Booth.

Alex Ramon

Critic, UK/Poland

  1. The Power of the Dog 
  2. Annette 
  3. Leave No Traces
  4. The Souvenir Part II 
  5. The Tragedy of Macbeth
  6. Mosquito State 
  7. The Lost Daughter 
  8. Never Gonna Snow Again
  9. Everyone Has a Summer
  10. My Wonderful Life

For sure, the big screen felt freshly encompassing, expressive and overwhelming after so many months away from it. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see the majority of the 10 films on the list, from Jane Campion’s perfectly pitched adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel to Joanna Hogg’s exquisite exploration of grief and creativity, a rare sequel that deepened the experience of its predecessor while standing firmly on its own two feet.

Leos Carax’s sublime Sparks-scored musical extravaganza Annette and Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth offered completely different, but equally thrilling, combinations of theatrical and cinematic techniques. Filip Jan Rymsza’s Mosquito State had a trippy blend of bio/body horror and corporate comedy that created an idiosyncratic origin story for the 2007-2008 financial crisis while keeping us fully immersed in its protagonist’s freaky headspace. Tomasz Jurkiewicz’s Everyone Has a Summer was a radiant small-town summer charmer with a sly subversive streak, while, set in a wintry Warsaw, Małgorzata Szumowska’s Never Gonna Snow Again combined social satire and spiritual drama to great effect.

Leave No Traces (Jan P. Matuszynski) offered an intricate portrait of 1980s communist corruption that also jibed with a very contemporary focus on instances of police violence. The delicious My Wonderful Life (Lukasz Grzegorzek) presented Agata Buzek as an English teacher memorably straining against her social roles. And, making her directorial debut, Maggie Gyllenhaal adapted Elena Ferrante’s deeply ambivalent ode to motherhood, The Lost Daughter, with the kind of sensitivity and piercing intelligence that has characterised her screen performances over the years.

Vadim Rizov

Director of editorial operations, Filmmaker Magazine, USA

  1. Bergman Island
  2. Days 
  3. El Planeta
  4. The Inheritance 
  5. Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream 
  6. Short Vacation
  7. Slow Machine
  8. The Souvenir Part II 
  9. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
  10. The Woman Who Ran 

Jonathan Romney

Film critic, UK

  1. A Cop Movie 
  2. Il buco 
  3. Playground
  4. The Pink Cloud
  5. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
  6. The Velvet Underground
  7. Vortex
  8. Drive My Car
  9. The Souvenir Part II 
  10. Mr. Bachmann and His Class

Against the odds, 2021 brought a cornucopia of inventive, urgent, often revelatory cinema. In any other year, my Top 10 would certainly have included Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma), Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul), Babi Yar. Context (Sergei Loznitsa), The Card Counter (Paul Schrader) and discoveries like Carajita (Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra) and Captain Volkonogov Escaped (Natalya Merkulova, Alexey Chupov). That wealth of quality is a problem in its own way. There’s now a serious gap between the richness of contemporary film culture and its increasing marginalisation in the real world, between the wealth of possibility that cinema currently offers and the possibility of these films being seen, allowed to breathe and indeed, remembered. Il buco and Memoria were prime examples of films that needed the concrete space of the cinema to fully communicate in their singular, space-sculpting way. Streaming platforms have kept us all sane and visually nourished over the last two years – they’ve fed struggling film-makers too – but they also contribute to a certain amnesia, the culture of watch-and-forget. The challenge of the future will be to let films not just emerge into the daylight, but once they’re out there, resound – and resound for posterity too.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Film critic, USA

  1. First Cow 
  2. Her Socialist Smile
  3. Tiong Bahru Social Club 
  4. Martin und Hans
  5. John Farrow Hollywood’s Man in the Shadows
  6. While We Were Here 
  7. Letters from the Ends of the World
  8. Uncut Gems
  9. Cry Macho

An incomplete list of nine titles for an incomplete pandemic year that cries out for updates and afterthoughts. That may help to explain why many items here are at least partially films/videos about films/videos (and at least one item, Letters from the Ends of the World, is about the pandemic). Having to compile a so-called ‘2021’ list in October compels me to add Uncut Gems, seen too late in 2020 to make it onto last year’s list.

Julian Ross

Curator and scholar, Netherlands

  1. A Night of Knowing Nothing 
  2. Memoria
  3. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
  4. Memoryland
  5. Inside the Red Brick Wall 
  6. El Gran Movimiento 
  7. The Story of Southern Islet 
  8. Maat Means Land
  9. Surviving You, Always 
  10. Manifesto 

Joshua Rothkopf

Senior editor of movies, Entertainment Weekly, USA

  1. Licorice Pizza 
  2. The Souvenir Part II
  3. Dune
  4. Drive My Car 
  5. Flee
  6. Listening to Kenny G
  7. Red Rocket
  8. Passing
  9. The Worst Person in the World 
  10. C’mon C’mon 

Caspar Salmon

Film critic, UK

  1. Beginning
  2. Drive My Car
  3. Mariner of the Mountains
  4. The Souvenir Part II
  5. First Cow
  6. Întregalde
  7. Notturno
  8. Shiva Baby
  9. Lo Invisible
  10. Benedetta

Sukhdev Sandhu

Film critic, USA

  1. Blackwater Mouth Tollesbury Creek Jumping Ladz 
  2. Leech
  3. Undine 
  4. State Funeral
  5. Parallel Mothers
  6. About Endlessness
  7. Liberation Radio
  8. Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue 
  9. Dune
  10. The Green Knight

Ren Scateni

Critic and curator, UK

  1. A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces
  2. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  3. The Women’s Revenge 
  4. Come Here 
  5. The Backside of God
  6. North by Current 
  7. The Good Woman of Sichuan
  8. Lemongrass Girl
  9. The Story of Southern Islet
  10. Minamata Mandala 

Jourdain Searles

Film critic, USA

  1. The Power of the Dog 
  2. Drive My Car 
  3. Titane 
  4. The Souvenir Part II
  5. Shiva Baby 
  6. Pig 
  7. Test Pattern 
  8. The Inheritance
  9. French Exit
  10. Jumbo

Matt Zoller Seitz

Editor-at-large, RogerEbert.com, staff writer, New York Magazine, US

  1. The Velvet Underground
  2. The French Dispatch
  3. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  4. Pig 
  5. Annette
  6. Riders of Justice 
  7. Titane
  8. Wrath of Man 
  9. The Harder They Fall
  10. Holler 

Andrew Simpson

Programmer and critic, UK

  1. Il buco 
  2. Memoria
  3. Drive My Car
  4. The Works and Days
  5. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  6. Madalena
  7. Titane 
  8. The Inheritance
  9. The Souvenir Part II
  10. No Sudden Move

Whilst all of the year’s best films felt like excavations of a kind, two films took this approach quite literally, digging into the earth to discover something about life. Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) arrived like a signal beamed from a filmic godhead, communicating an intrinsic truth via the sound that Tilda Swinton simply can’t get out of her head. The search for a tonal pitch that may or may not be emanating from the earth was another exquisite vehicle for Apichatpong’s exploration of the oneness of things. Il buco’s descent into an ancient cave system felt like a journey to the centre of the earth, one that took cinema back not just to its beginnings, but to that of storytelling itself, with light flickering on the wall of a cave offering the year’s most transportative, transcendent cinema experience. As if that wasn’t enough of a gift, Frammartino, true to form, made sure the goats got a cameo.

Watching What Do We See When We Look at the Sky (Alexandre Koberidze) on a laptop was an ironic way to experience a film that at heart is about looking up and embracing the possibility of human connection. Bressonian frames repurposed for a playful game of misdirection, this is a film that asked us to contemplate love whilst looking at two pairs of feet, or the most intimate experiences whilst gazing at the sky above the city. These films, like The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin), seemed to seek some inherent truth about living, exploring the personal within the wider frame of existence itself.   

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi continued to explode the inner lives of his characters in Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy by asking what might happen if we dared reveal our true selves to one another. Drive My Car took this idea of bridging the spaces between people, and pushed it to its soul-cracking limit, using the simplest of elements. Does any filmmaker currently working make such high art with so little fuss?

The Souvenir Part II (Joanna Hogg) was a wry, sad, reflexive work that reflected, expanded and played with the first part of The Souvenir, utilising the kind of emotional ellipses that used to be the stock and trade of Maurice Pialat. Joanna Hogg’s diptych on creativity, loss and getting wise is something of a wonder. Madalena (Madiano Marcheti) was another beautiful film structured around an absence, its opening discovery giving way to a contemplation of legacies of trauma and discrimination. It felt fresh, humane and absolutely vital, as did The Inheritance (Ephraim Asili), which is a film that everyone should watch and learn from.

I liked rather than loved Julia Ducournau’s Raw, but Titane was something else entirely. A transgressive, fully automated, boundary pushing work, it was wonderful to see it take the top prize at a festival that has spent decades embracing the peccadillos of male auteurs. All hail the new flesh.

Finally, another crime thriller, another reflexive and expansive exploration of both genre and digital filmmaking. Working away in his own little corner of the filmmaking universe, Steven Soderbergh is quietly fashioning a body of work that’s almost Altman-like in its metatextual redefinition of movie storytelling, creating work that’s both instantly recognisable and speaking to a larger whole.   

Special mentions go to Another Gaze’s revelatory online retrospective of the work of Cecilia Mangini; the exquisitely moving, beautifully barbed Benediction (Terence Davies); the continuation of young Latin American filmmakers’ thrilling unpacking of the legacy of facism in Azor (Andreas Fontana); the apple falling very close to the tree in Hit the Road (Panah Panahi); Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (Lili Horvát); The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes); Friends and Strangers (James Vaughan); Summer of Soul (Questlove); Mad God (Phil Tippett).

Leigh Singer

Journalist, programmer, video essayist, UK

  1. Hit the Road 
  2. Red Rocket
  3. The Souvenir Part II 
  4. Compartment No. 6 
  5. Nitram
  6. The Worst Person in the World 
  7. The Power of the Dog 
  8. Riders of Justice
  9. Petite Maman
  10. Pebbles 

Josh Slater-Williams

Critic, UK

  1. The Worst Person in the World
  2. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
  3. Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
  4. Our Ladies 
  5. Petite Maman 
  6. The Souvenir Part II
  7. Drive My Car
  8. Belle 
  9. Limbo (Soi Cheang)
  10. I’m Your Man

For this year’s poll, I’ve mainly stuck to features that premiered in 2021, but only films that played at least one public-facing festival in the UK during this year. I decided I also wanted to champion 2019 or 2020 festival premieres that had been in release limbo thanks to the pandemic, not being commercially available anywhere in the world until this year. Gillian Wallace Horvat’s I Blame Society and Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby are examples of the latter that made my longlist, though only one ultimately made my final ten: Our Ladies, Michael Caton-Jones’s excellent, bittersweet adaptation of Alan Warner’s The Sopranos. It’s a gem that practically had me sobbing at the end the first time I saw it during its much-delayed theatrical run, despite already knowing what was coming from having seen it at the London Film Festival in 2019. Somewhat overlooked in British press coverage and hindered by a lacklustre marketing campaign, it’s a film I really hope becomes a bigger word-of-mouth success through home media.

Christopher Small

Programmer, UK

  1. Orpheus 
  2. The Tsugua Diaries 
  3. A Night of Knowing Nothing 
  4. Summer 
  5. Charm Circle 
  6. Nũhũ Yãg Mũ Yõg Hãm: This Land Is Our Land! 
  7. Riverock / É Rocha e Rio, Negro Leo
  8. Surviving You, Always
  9. Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
  10. Lines

Anna Smith

Film critic, broadcaster and host of the Girls on Film podcast, UK

  1. The Power of the Dog
  2. I’m Your Man
  3. Nomadland 
  4. First Cow
  5. I Care A Lot 
  6. Zola 
  7. True Things
  8. Petite Maman
  9. Quo Vadis, Aida? 
  10. Titane

Kate Stables

Film critic, UK

  1. The Power of the Dog
  2. Memoria 
  3. The French Dispatch
  4. The Green Knight 
  5. Zola
  6. Censor
  7. Flee 
  8. Azor 
  9. No Sudden Move 
  10. Spencer 

Isabel Stevens

Managing editor, Sight and Sound, UK

  1. Il buco
  2. Flee 
  3. Memoria
  4. Drive My Car 
  5. The French Dispatch
  6. The Souvenir Part II 
  7. After Love
  8. Playground
  9. Belle
  10. Azor 

Amy Taubin

Film critic, USA

  1. The Power of the Dog
  2. The Velvet Underground
  3. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  4. Memoria
  5. Petite Maman 
  6. Mr. Bachmann and His Class
  7. Azor
  8. In the Same Breath 
  9. Lingui: The Sacred Bonds
  10. Prayers for the Stolen 

Matthew Taylor

Critic

  1. Drive My Car 
  2. Dune
  3. First Cow 
  4. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 
  5. Beginning
  6. Labyrinth of Cinema
  7. The Souvenir Part II 
  8. Benediction 
  9. Bergman Island
  10. Hit the Road

Lou Thomas

BFI digital production editor and film critic, UK

  1. Titane
  2. Judas and the Black Messiah
  3. Pig
  4. Palm Springs
  5. Censor 
  6. In the Earth
  7. The Souvenir Part II 
  8. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  9. The World to Come
  10. Dune

Another challenging year for cinemas, but there was plenty of thought-provoking work out there when our beloved dream palaces did reopen in earnest. All the titles I’ve chosen offer something extraordinary: heightened emotional intensity, incredible spectacle and searing truths. That these elements can sometimes be buried in a comedy, period drama, concert doc, sci-fi blockbuster or psychedelic horror is irrelevant but pleasing. Most gratifying of all, none of the work listed pulls any punches. One hopes to see more of the same energetic filmmaking next year.

David Thompson

Critic, curator, filmmaker; UK

  1. Benedetta 
  2. Dune 
  3. Earwig
  4. The Lost Daughter 
  5. The Power of the Dog 
  6. Playground
  7. The Souvenir Part II
  8. Spencer 
  9. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  10. The Velvet Underground 

Matthew Thrift

Critic, UK

  1. Benediction
  2. Bergman Island
  3. Parallel Mothers
  4. Lago Gatún 
  5. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  6. Annette
  7. Drive My Car 
  8. The Souvenir Part II 
  9. Cry Macho 
  10. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

Matt Turner

Film writer and programmer, UK

  1. Memoria
  2. All of Your Stars Are But Dust on My Shoes
  3. Shared Resources
  4. Maat Means Land 
  5. All About My Sisters
  6. Come Here
  7. Do Not Circulate
  8. Delphine’s Prayers
  9. Drive My Car
  10. Summer 

“I want to do something that helps people.” — Apichatpong Weerasethakul

J. M. Tyree

Critic, US

  1. Sound of Metal 
  2. Nomadland 
  3. The Green Knight 
  4. Annette 
  5. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  6. The French Dispatch
  7. Bergman Island 
  8. Lamb 
  9. Titane
  10. The Village Detective

Weird films, long-delayed films, films distributed on (or abandoned to) alternative platforms, all in a year when release dates often remained wobbly. A joyful film of great concert footage, unseen for decades, from 1969 Harlem. An experimental documentary about films rediscovered at the bottom of the ocean. Strange films – surely some of the most odd movies in recent years, if not since the 1970s? – to accompany another surreal year. Films that attempt to acknowledge the generalised state of horror and paralysis, yet steadfastly refuse to relinquish a shared sense of the future and the necessity of love. An artform and a ‘business model’ in utter chaos – but still productive of movies that are as interesting as ever.

Ginette Vincendeau

Professor in film studies, King’s College London, UK

  1. Nomadland
  2. Everything Went Fine
  3. Hold Me Tight 
  4. After Love
  5. Petite Maman
  6. Stillwater
  7. Promising Young Woman 
  8. The Father 
  9. The French Dispatch 
  10. Drive My Car

Ian Wang

Film critic, UK

  1. Belle 
  2. Cousins 
  3. The Cloud in Her Room
  4. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice upon a Time
  5. the lights are on, no one’s home
  6. Shangri-La 
  7. No Ordinary Man
  8. Samraa 
  9. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie Part Two 
  10. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Moving back to Manchester and not attending any festivals this year means I have yet to see several films that certainly would’ve made this list: All About My Sisters (Qiong Wang), We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Jane Schoenbrun) and A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces (Shengze Zhu) in particular. 

The best feature-length work I saw all year was Hazel’s video essay Why Did We Like Elfen Lied?, an intimate and historically-grounded analysis of Western anime culture in the 2000s and the teenage girls who helped build it. 

Catherine Wheatley

Academic and critic, UK

  1. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot)
  2. Compartment No. 6 (Juho Kuosmanen)
  3. Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve)
  4. Black Bear (Lawrence Michael Levine)
  5. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (Alexandre Koberidze)
  6. Undine (Christian Petzold)
  7. Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (Lili Horvat)
  8. I Care A Lot (J Blakeson)
  9. Nomadland (Chloé Zhao)
  10. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt)

My top ten of the year, in no particular order. While I thought each of these films were excellent in different ways, it’s a list that’s indicative of what I’ve seen rather than what’s out there, and astute readers will notice that it skews very white and western, so I’m submitting it with along with a promise to myself to broaden my geographical viewing horizons in 2022!

I’d have liked to have included both Bergman Island / Black Bear and Undine / Preparations as pairs ideally, as they speak to such similar themes (female creativity and female desire, respectively).

Charlotte Whitehouse

Film critic, UK

  1. The Hand of God 
  2. Cry Macho
  3. After Love
  4. Quo Vadis, Aida? 
  5. Titane 
  6. The Power of the Dog
  7. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy 
  8. Censor 
  9. Spencer 
  10. Sound of Metal 

Sam Wigley

BFI digital features editor, UK

  1. Benediction
  2. Memoria 
  3. Labyrinth of Cinema
  4. Lago Gatún 
  5. Il buco 
  6. Drive My Car
  7. All Hands on Deck
  8. Annette 
  9. Bergman Island
  10. The Souvenir Part II 

Spelunking in the Calabrian mountains courtesy of Il buco was the perfect first cinema trip after 18 months away. Venturing back into the darkness, I knew how the cavers felt. Some of the most transfixing moments of the year were almost pure darkness: those bits in Kevin Jerome Everson’s extraordinary Panama Canal film Lago Gatún in which the closing lock shuts out the light and we’re left to watch tiny glints shimmering on a black screen. Memoria in a hushed audience of 2,000. The wrench of Terence Davies’ Benediction – as shaking an account of a man and his times as The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. It’s been good to be back.

Mike Williams

Editor-in-chief, Sight and Sound, UK

  1. Petite Maman
  2. Spencer 
  3. Ham on Rye
  4. Beginning 
  5. The Souvenir Part II 
  6. The Hand of God 
  7. Censor
  8. Sound of Metal
  9. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  10. Judas and the Black Messiah 

Craig Williams

Programmer, The Badlands Collective, UK

  1. Benedetta 
  2. Benediction 
  3. Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
  4. Zack Synder’s Justice League
  5. Pig
  6. Monster Hunter 
  7. Here Today 
  8. Malignant
  9. The Empty Man 
  10. The Killing of Two Lovers 

Neil Young

Film critic, curator, maker, UK/Austria

  1. 13 
  2. (third study for) Swedge of Heaven 
  3. In Shallow Water 
  4. Train Again 
  5. Nenad
  6. Looking for Venera 
  7. The Dust of Modern Life
  8. The Blood is White 
  9. Friends and Strangers
  10. Nemesis 

“I went to Hong Kong to set up production on a picture called In a Dream of Passion, but it never got made, because the producer bailed on us at the last minute. Then I went back to Hong Kong a year later to do a film called Shatter (1974)… and then I got fired by the producer, Michael Carreras, halfway through the shoot. I think that Michael really wanted to direct it from the beginning. We just fought a lot on the set. I didn’t like the way he was treating a Black actor in the film. I thought it was demeaning, the things that he wanted me to make him do, so we had a lot of fights. And I just finally said, “There is some shit I will not eat.”” – Monte Hellman, 1929-2021

362 films

(third study for) Swedge of Heaven

Richard Forbes-Hamilton

Voted for by: Neil Young

13

Shinya Isobe

Voted for by: Neil Young

7 Days

Roshan Sethi

Voted for by: Melanie Hoyes

7 Prisoners

Alexandre Moratto

Voted for by: Charles Gant

76 Days

Hao Wu, Weixi Chen

Voted for by: Roger Luckhurst

About Endlessness

Roy Andersson

Voted for by: Sukhdev Sandhu

Affairs of the Art

Joanna Quinn

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit

After Love

Aleem Khan

Voted for by: Charlotte Whitehouse, Ginette Vincendeau, Isabel Stevens, James Bell, Pamela Hutchinson, Philip Kemp

Ahed’s Knee

Nadav Lapid

Voted for by: Carmen Gray, J. Hoberman, James Lattimer, Kieron Corless, Molly Haskell

All About My Sisters

Wang Qiong

Voted for by: Matt Turner

All Hands on Deck

Guillaume Brac

Voted for by: Sam Wigley

All Light, Everywhere

Theo Anthony

Voted for by: Ashley Clark, Carmen Gray, Matthew Barrington, Sophie Brown

All of Your Stars Are But Dust on My Shoes

Haig Aivazian

Voted for by: Matt Turner

Alone

John Hyams

Voted for by: The Ferroni Brigade

Aloners

Hong Sung-eun

Voted for by: Łukasz Mańkowski

Ammonite

Francis Lee

Voted for by: Wendy Mitchell

Anachronic Chronicles: Voyages Inside/Out Asia

Yu Araki, Lu Pan

Voted for by: Ben Nicholson

Annette

Leos Carax

Voted for by: Alex Ramon, Beatrice Loayza, Carmen Gray, Christina Newland, Devika Girish, Eric Hynes, Gabrielle Marceau, J. M. Tyree, Jason Anderson, John Bleasdale, Jordan Cronk, Lillian Crawford, Łukasz Mańkowski, Mar Diestro-Dópido, Matt Zoller Seitz, Matthew Thrift, Nick Chen, Nicolas Rapold, Rebecca Harrison, Sam Wigley, Tom Charity

Another Round

Thomas Vinterberg

Voted for by: Hanna Flint, Jane Giles, Katie McCabe, Pamela Hutchinson, Roger Luckhurst

Apples

Christos Nikou

Voted for by: 

Christina Newland, Kaleem Aftab, Roger Luckhurst

Archipelago

Felix Dufour-Laperriere

Voted for by: Kieron Corless

Army of the Dead

Zack Synder

Voted for by: Tim Hayes

Arthur Rambo

Laurent Cantet

Voted for by: Naman Ramachandran

Azor

Andreas Fontana

Voted for by: Alex Davidson, Amy Taubin, Carmen Gray, Guy Lodge, Isabel Stevens, James Bell, Kate Stables, Maria Delgado, Nick James, Wendy Ide

Babi Yar. Context

Sergei Loznitsa

Voted for by: Philip Concannon, Robert Koehler

The Backside of God

Hogan Seidel

Voted for by: Ren Scateni

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

Radu Jude

Voted for by: Alex Davidson, Carmen Gray, Devika Girish, J. Hoberman, James Lattimer, Kaleem Aftab, Nicolas Rapold, Robert Koehler, Violet Lucca

Bad Trip

Kitao Sakurai

Voted for by: Ashley Clark, Jason Anderson

A Balance

Harumoto Yujiro

Voted for by: Łukasz Mańkowski

Ballad of a White Cow

Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghadam

Voted for by: Michael Hayden

The Banishing

Christopher Smith

Voted for by: Tim Hayes

Bantu Mama

Ivan Herrera

Voted for by: Melanie Hoyes

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Josh Greenbaum

Voted for by: Jason Anderson

Beginning

Dea Kulumbegashvili

Voted for by: Caspar Salmon, Matthew Taylor, Michael Atkinson, Mike Williams, Pamela Hutchinson, Simran Hans

Belfast

Kenneth Branagh

Voted for by: Charles Gant, Ian Mantgani, Melanie Hoyes

Belle

Hosoda Mamoru

Voted for by: Ian Wang, Isabel Stevens, Josh Slater-Williams, Kambole Campbell, Matthew Barrington, Michael Leader

Benedetta

Paul Verhoeven

Voted for by: Caspar Salmon, Craig Williams, David Thompson, Elena Lazic, Eric Hynes, Jordan Cronk, Molly Haskell, Philip Concannon, The Ferroni Brigade

Benediction

Terence Davies

Voted for by: Alex Davidson, Craig Williams, Devika Girish, Katherine McLaughlin, Matthew Taylor, Matthew Thrift, Sam Wigley, Sophie Monks Kaufman

Bergman Island

Mia Hansen-Løve

Voted for by: Beatrice Loayza, Catherine Wheatley, Clara Bradbury-Rance, Devika Girish, Gabrielle Marceau, J. M. Tyree, Katherine McLaughlin, Lillian Crawford, Mar Diestro-Dópido, Matthew Taylor, Matthew Thrift, Nick Chen, Ross McDonnell, Sam Wigley, Sophie Monks Kaufman, Vadim Rizov, Violet Lucca

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes

Yamaguchi Junta

Voted for by: Kim Newman, Michael Leader

Black Bear

Lawrence Michael Levine

Voted for by: Catherine Wheatley, Kim Newman

Black Widow

Cate Shortland

Voted for by: Clara Bradbury-Rance

Blackwater Mouth Tollesbury Creek Jumping Ladz

Tilly Shiner

Voted for by: Sukhdev Sandhu

The Blind Rabbit

Pallavi Paul

Voted for by: Ben Nicholson

The Blood is White

Óscar Vincentelli

Voted for by: Neil Young

Bodies in Dissent

Ufuoma Essi

Voted for by: Ben Nicholson

Brighton 4th

Levan Koguashvili

Voted for by: Kaleem Aftab, Michael Atkinson

Broadcast Signal Intrusion

Jacob Gentry

Voted for by: Anton Bitel

Brother’s Keeper

Ferit Karahan

Voted for by: Michael Hayden, Wendy Ide

C’mon C’mon

Mike Mills

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Charles Gant, Joshua Rothkopf, Sophie Monks Kaufman

Caak3 daan2 zyun1 gaa1 2

Jau1 Lai5 Tou4, Hermann Yau

Voted for by: The Ferroni Brigade

Candyman

Nia DaCosta

Voted for by: Jane Giles, Lindsay Hallam, Sophie Brown

The Card Counter

Paul Schrader

Voted for by: Christina Newland, Erika Balsom, Gabrielle Marceau, Ian Mantgani, Jason Anderson, Jordan Cronk, Leila Latif, Steph Green

Cārpaṭṭā Paramparai

Pā. Rañcit

Voted for by: The Ferroni Brigade

Celts

Milica Tomović

Voted for by: Alex Davidson

Censor

Prano Bailey-Bond

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Anton Bitel, Charlotte Whitehouse, Ela Bittencourt, Jane Giles, Kate Stables, Katherine McLaughlin, Lindsay Hallam, Lou Thomas, Michael Blyth, Mike Williams, Wendy Mitchell

Charm Circle

Nira Burstein

Voted for by: Christopher Small

City Hall

Frederick Wiseman

Voted for by: Ian Mantgani

The Cloud in Her Room

Zheng Lu Xinyuan

Voted for by: Ian Wang, Ross McDonnell

Coda

Sian Heder

Voted for by: Michael Blyth

Collective

Alexander Nanau

Voted for by: Kim Newman

Come Here

Anocha Suwichakornpong

Voted for by: Matt Turner, Ren Scateni

Come True

Anthony Scott Burns

Voted for by: Anne Billson

Compartment No. 6

Juho Kuosmanen

Voted for by: Carmen Gray, Catherine Wheatley, Jason Anderson, Leigh Singer, Nick Chen, Roger Clarke, Wendy Mitchell

A Cop Movie

Alonso Ruizpalacios

Voted for by: Jonathan Romney, Maria Delgado, Nick James, Tom Charity

Correspondence

Carla Simón, Dominga Sotomayor

Voted for by: Ross McDonnell

Costa Brava Lebanon

Mounia Aki

Voted for by: Maria Delgado

Cousins

Mandy Marcus

Voted for by: Ian Wang

Cruella

Craig Gillespie

Voted for by: Mar Diestro-Dópido

Cry Macho

Clint Eastwood

Voted for by: Charlotte Whitehouse, Gabrielle Marceau, Ian Mantgani, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jordan Cronk, Matthew Thrift

Cryptozoo

Jane Samborski, Dash Shaw

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit, Tim Hayes

The Dark and the Wicked

Bryan Bertino

Voted for by: Roger Luckhurst

Dashcam

Rob Savage

Voted for by: Michael Blyth

Days

Tsai Ming-Liang

Voted for by: Vadim Rizov

Dear Comrades!

Andrei Konchalovsky

Voted for by: Ryan Gilbey

Death of a Virgin, and the Sin of Not Living

George Peter Barbari

Voted for by: Łukasz Mańkowski

Deerskin

Quentin Dupieux

Voted for by: Roger Clarke

Delphine’s Prayers

Rosine Mbakam

Voted for by: Erika Balsom, Matt Turner, Simran Hans

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train

Sotozaki Haruo

Voted for by: Anne Billson

The Dig

Simon Stone

Voted for by: Rebecca Harrison

Dinner in America

Adam Rehmeier

Voted for by: Katherine McLaughlin

The Disciple

Chaitanya Tamhane

Voted for by: James Bell, Nick Chen, Robin Baker

Do Not Circulate

Tiffany Sia

Voted for by: Matt Turner

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet

Ana Katz

Voted for by: Jamie Dunn

Dostojee aka Two Friends

Prasun Chatterjee

Voted for by: Naman Ramachandran

Downstream to Kinshasa

Dieudo Hamadi

Voted for by: Eric Hynes

Drive My Car

Hamaguchi Ryusuke

Voted for by: Andrew Simpson, Ashley Clark, Caspar Salmon, Christina Newland, Eric Hynes, Erika Balsom, Gabrielle Marceau, Ginette Vincendeau, Guy Lodge, Isabel Stevens, James Bell, James Mottram, Jason Anderson, Jonathan Romney, Jordan Cronk, Josh Slater-Williams, Joshua Rothkopf, Jourdain Searles, Łukasz Mańkowski, Mar Diestro-Dópido, Matt Turner, Matthew Taylor, Matthew Thrift, Michael Leader, Nick Chen, Nick James, Philip Concannon, Ross McDonnell, Sam Wigley, Simran Hans, Tom Charity

Dune

Denis Villeneuve

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit, Charles Gant, David Thompson, James Mottram, John Bleasdale, Joshua Rothkopf, Leila Latif, Lou Thomas, Mar Diestro-Dópido, Matthew Taylor, Michael Leader, Naman Ramachandran, Robin Baker, Sukhdev Sandhu, Violet Lucca

The Dust of Modern Life

Franziska von Stenglin

Voted for by: Neil Young

ear for eye

debbie tucker green

Voted for by:

Alex Davidson, Ashley Clark, James Bell, Katie McCabe, Matthew Barrington, Melanie Hoyes, Michael Leader, Philip Kemp

Earwig

Lucile Hadžihalilović

Voted for by: David Thompson, Jane Giles

Easter Eggs

Nicolas Keppens

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit

El Gran Movimiento

Kiro Russo

Voted for by: Ela Bittencourt, Julian Ross, Violet Lucca

El Planeta

Amalia Ulman

Voted for by: Beatrice Loayza, Caitlin Quinlan, Nicolas Rapold, Sophie Brown, Vadim Rizov

The Empty Man

David Prior

Voted for by: Craig Williams

Encounter

Michael Pearce

Voted for by: Kaleem Aftab

Espiritu Sagrado

Chema Garcia Ibarra

Voted for by: Robert Koehler

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice upon a Time

Hideaki Anno

Voted for by: Ian Wang, Kambole Campbell

Everyone Has a Summer

Tomasz Jurkiewicz

Voted for by: Alex Ramon

Everything Went Fine

François Ozon

Voted for by: Ginette Vincendeau, James Mottram

Eyimofe – This Is My Desire

Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri

Voted for by: Ashley Clark

Fabian or Going to the Dogs

Dominik Graf

Voted for by: Erika Balsom, The Ferroni Brigade

The Father

Florian Zeller

Voted for by:

Ginette Vincendeau, Jane Giles, Leila Latif, Michael Atkinson, Michael Leader, Philip Horne, Philip Kemp, Roger Luckhurst, Ryan Gilbey

Faya Dayi

Jessica Beshir

Voted for by: Ashley Clark, Ela Bittencourt, Leila Latif, Violet Lucca

Feast

Tim Leyendekker

Voted for by: Beatrice Loayza

Feathers

Omar El Zohairy

Voted for by: Kieron Corless, Naman Ramachandran

The Filmmaker’s House

Marc Isaacs

Voted for by: Ryan Gilbey

Fire Music: Story of Free Jazz

Tom Segal

Voted for by: J. Hoberman

The First 54 Years

Avi Mograbi

Voted for by: Ela Bittencourt

First Cow

Kelly Reichardt

Voted for by: Anna Smith, Anne Billson, Caspar Salmon, Catherine Wheatley, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Katie McCabe, Lindsay Hallam, Matthew Taylor, Pamela Hutchinson, Philip Kemp, Roger Clarke, Roger Luckhurst, Ryan Gilbey

Flashback aka Education of Frederick Fitzell

Christopher MacBride

Voted for by: Anton Bitel

Flee

Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Voted for by: Alex Davidson, Alex Dudok de Wit, Charles Gant, Isabel Stevens, Joshua Rothkopf, Kambole Campbell, Kate Stables, Nick Chen, Robin Baker, Roger Clarke, Sophie Brown, Wendy Mitchell

France

Bruno Dumont

Voted for by: Jordan Cronk

The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson

Voted for by: Ginette Vincendeau, Isabel Stevens, J. M. Tyree, Kate Stables, Lillian Crawford, Matt Zoller Seitz, Philip Horne, Philip Kemp, Rick Burin, Sophie Monks Kaufman

French Exit

Azazel Jacobs

Voted for by: Jourdain Searles

Friends and Strangers

James Vaughan

Voted for by: Beatrice Loayza, Carmen Gray, Jamie Dunn, Neil Young, Nicolas Rapold, Robert Koehler

From the Planet of the Humans

Giovanni Cioni

Voted for by: Robert Koehler

From Where They Stood

Christophe Cognet

Voted for by: Matthew Barrington

Gagarine

Fanny Liatard, Jeremy Trouilh

Voted for by: Roger Luckhurst

The Girl and the Spider

Ramon Zurcher, Silvan Zurcher

Voted for by: Devika Girish, Erika Balsom, James Lattimer, Robert Koehler

A Glitch in the Matrix

Rodney Ascher

Voted for by: Tim Hayes

The Good Woman of Sichuan

Sabrina Zhao

Voted for by: Ren Scateni

Great Freedom

Sebastian Miese

Voted for by: Charles Gant, Michael Blyth

The Green Knight

David Lowery

Voted for by: Anne Billson, Anton Bitel, Christina Newland, Guy Lodge, Hanna Flint, J. M. Tyree, James Mottram, John Bleasdale, Kate Stables, Leila Latif, Lindsay Hallam, Rebecca Harrison, Robin Baker, Ryan Gilbey, Steph Green, Sukhdev Sandhu

Ham on Rye

Tyler Taormina

Voted for by: Jamie Dunn, Mike Williams, Ryan Gilbey

Hanagatami

Obayashi Nobuhiro

Voted for by: Tom Charity

The Hand of God

Paolo Sorrentino

Voted for by: Charlotte Whitehouse, James Mottram, Kaleem Aftab, Mike Williams, Nick James, Steph Green

Happening

Audrey Diwan

Voted for by: Elena Lazic

The Harder They Fall

Jeymes Samuel

Voted for by: Matt Zoller Seitz

Haruhara-san’s Recorder

Sugita Kyoshi

Voted for by: Ela Bittencourt, Łukasz Mańkowski

Henry Glassie: Field Work

Pat Collins

Voted for by: Thomas Flew

Her Socialist Smile

John Gianvito

Voted for by:

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Ross McDonnell

Here Today

Billy Crystal

Voted for by: Craig Williams

A Hero

Asghar Farhadi

Voted for by: James Mottram, Naman Ramachandran, Philip Concannon, Philip Horne, Rick Burin

Historya Ni Ha

Lav Diaz

Voted for by: Matthew Barrington, The Ferroni Brigade

Hit the Road

Panah Panahi

Voted for by: John Bleasdale, Leigh Singer, Maria Delgado, Matthew Taylor, Melanie Hoyes, Robin Baker, Thomas Flew, Wendy Ide

Hold Me Tight

Mathieu Amalric

Voted for by: Ginette Vincendeau

Holler

Nicole Reigel

Voted for by: Matt Zoller Seitz

Hotel Royal

Salomé Lamas

Voted for by: Ben Nicholson

The Human Voice

Pedro Almodóvar

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Mar Diestro-Dópido

The I and S of Lives

Kevin Jerome Everson

Voted for by: Matthew Barrington

I Care A Lot

J Blakeson

Voted for by: Anna Smith, Catherine Wheatley Tim Hayes

I Want to Talk About Duras

Claire Simon

Voted for by: Violet Lucca

I’m Your Man

Maria Schrader

Voted for by: Anna Smith, Josh Slater-Williams, Lillian Crawford

Il buco

Michelangelo Frammartino

Voted for by:

Andrew Simpson, Ben Nicholson, Caitlin Quinlan, Isabel Stevens, John Bleasdale, Jonathan Romney, Jordan Cronk, Kieron Corless, Philip Concannon, Philip Horne, Sam Wigley

In Front of Your Face

Hong Sangsoo

Voted for by: Jordan Cronk, Thomas Flew

In Shallow Water

Mark Moučka

Voted for by: Neil Young

In the Earth

Ben Wheatley

Voted for by: Jane Giles, Lindsay Hallam, Lou Thomas

In the Same Breath

Nanfu Wang

Voted for by: Amy Taubin

The Inheritance

Ephraim Asili

Voted for by: Andrew Simpson, Jourdain Searles, Vadim Rizov

The Innocents

Eskil Vogt

Voted for by: Kaleem Aftab, Wendy Mitchell

Inside the Red Brick Wall

Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers

Voted for by: Julian Ross

Întregalde

Radu Muntean

Voted for by: Caspar Salmon, Ela Bittencourt, Kaleem Aftab

Inuō

Yuasa Masa’aki

Voted for by: The Ferroni Brigade

John and the Hole

Pascual Sisto

Voted for by: Kim Newman

John Farrow Hollywood’s Man in the Shadows

Claude Gonzalez, Frans Vanderburg

Voted for by: Jonathan Rosenbaum

Judas and the Black Messiah

Shaka King

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit, Ian Mantgani, Leila Latif, Lindsay Hallam, Lou Thomas, Mike Williams, Philip Kemp

Jumbo

Zoe Wittock

Voted for by: Jourdain Searles

Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream

Frank Beauvais

Voted for by: Vadim Rizov

Juste un mouvement

Vincent Meessen

Voted for by: Erika Balsom, Matthew Barrington

Karen Dalton: In My Own Time

Richard Peete, Robert Yapkowitz

Voted for by: J. Hoberman

The Killing of Two Lovers

Robert Machoian

Voted for by: Craig Williams

King Richard

Reinaldo Marcus Green

Voted for by: Kaleem Aftab

La Mif

Fred Baillif

Voted for by: Michael Hayden

Labyrinth of Cinema

Obayashi Nobuhiko

Voted for by: Devika Girish, Matthew Taylor, Sam Wigley

Lago Gatún

Kevin Jerome Everson

Voted for by: Ben Nicholson, Matthew Thrift, Sam Wigley

Lamb

Valdimar Jóhannson

Voted for by: Anton Bitel, J. M. Tyree

Language Lessons

Natalie Morales

Voted for by: Melanie Hoyes

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Joe Talbot

Voted for by: Catherine Wheatley

The Last Duel

Ridley Scott

Voted for by: Elena Lazic, Gabrielle Marceau, John Bleasdale, Violet Lucca

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright

Voted for by: Kim Newman, Mar Diestro-Dópido, Philip Kemp

Leave No Traces

Jan P. Matuszyński

Voted for by: Alex Ramon

Leech

Bahman Kiarostami

Voted for by: Sukhdev Sandhu

Lemongrass Girl

Pom Bunsermvicha

Voted for by: Ren Scateni

Les Heroiques

Maxime Roy

Voted for by: Ela Bittencourt

Letters from the Ends of the World

a dozen of the first graduates of Béla Tarr’s FilmFactory

Voted for by: Jonathan Rosenbaum

Liberation Radio

Esther Johnson

Voted for by: Sukhdev Sandhu

Licorice Pizza

Paul Thomas Anderson

Voted for by: Joshua Rothkopf

lights are on, no one’s home

Faye Ruiz

Voted for by: Ian Wang

Limbo

Ben Sharrock

Voted for by: Anton Bitel, James Bell, Jamie Dunn, Rebecca Harrison, Robin Baker

Limbo

Soi Cheang

Voted for by: Josh Slater-Williams

Lines

Barbora Sliepková

Voted for by: Christopher Small

Lingui: Sacred Bonds

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Voted for by: Amy Taubin

Listening to Kenny G

Penny Lane

Voted for by: Joshua Rothkopf, Simran Hans

Little Palestine – Diary of a Siege

Abdallah al-Khatib

Voted for by: Sophie Monks Kaufman

Lo Invisible

Javier Andrade

Voted for by: Caspar Salmon

Looking for Venera

Norika Sefa

Voted for by: Neil Young

Lost Course

Jill Li

Voted for by: Matthew Barrington

The Lost Daughter

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Voted for by: Alex Ramon, Christina Newland, David Thompson, Guy Lodge, John Bleasdale, Michael Blyth, Michael Hayden, Pamela Hutchinson, Robin Baker, Simran Hans, Wendy Ide

Love Yourself Today

Ross Killeen

Voted for by: Alex Davidson

Lower East Side Trilogy

Ernie Gehr

Voted for by: J. Hoberman

Luzzu

Alex Camilleri

Voted for by: Alex Davidson

Maat Means Land

Fox Maxy

Voted for by: Julian Ross, Matt Turner

Mad God

Phil Tippett

Voted for by: Anton Bitel, John Bleasdale, Kambole Campbell, Tim Hayes

Madalena

Madiano Marcheti

Voted for by: Andrew Simpson

Malignant

James Wan

Voted for by: Anton Bitel, Craig Williams, Ian Mantgani, Kim Newman

Malmkrog

Cristi Puiu

Voted for by: Michael Atkinson

A Man and a Camera

Guido Hendrickx

Voted for by: Sophie Brown

The Man Who Sold His Skin

Kaouter Ben Hania

Voted for by: Hanna Flint

Mandibles

Quentin Dupieux

Voted for by: Anne Billson

Manifesto

Ane Hjort Guttu

Voted for by: Julian Ross

Mariner of the Mountains

Karim Aïnouz

Voted for by: Caspar Salmon

Martin Eden

Pietro Marcello

Voted for by: Roger Clarke

Martin und Hans

Mark Rappaport

Voted for by: Jonathan Rosenbaum

Mayor

David Osit

Voted for by: Ian Mantgani

The Meaning of Hitler

Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker

Voted for by: J. Hoberman

Memoria

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Voted for by: Amy Taubin, Andrew Simpson, Ben Nicholson, Caitlin Quinlan, Devika Girish, Eric Hynes, Gabrielle Marceau, Isabel Stevens, J. Hoberman, James Lattimer, Jamie Dunn, Jordan Cronk, Julian Ross, Kate Stables, Katie McCabe, Kieron Corless, Łukasz Mańkowski, Matt Turner, Michael Hayden, Nick Chen, Nicolas Rapold, Ross McDonnell, Sam Wigley, Sophie Brown, Thomas Flew, Violet Lucca

Memory Box

Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige

Voted for by: Katie McCabe

Memoryland

Kim Quy Bui

Voted for by: Julian Ross

Minamata Mandala

Hara Kazuo

Voted for by: Ren Scateni

Minari

Lee Isaac Chung

Voted for by: Christina Newland, Hanna Flint, Jason Anderson, Katie McCabe, Philip Horne, Philip Kemp, Thomas Flew

The Mitchells vs the Machines

Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe

Voted for by: Ella Kemp

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon

Ana Lily Amarpour

Voted for by: Lindsay Hallam, Mar Diestro-Dópido

Monster Hunter

Paul W. S. Anderson

Voted for by: Craig Williams

Mosquito State

Filip Jan Rymsza

Voted for by: Alex Ramon, Anton Bitel

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri

Voted for by: Jane Giles

Mr. Bachmann and His Class

Maria Speth

Voted for by: Amy Taubin, Elena Lazic, Jonathan Romney

My Donkey, My Lover and I

Caroline Vignal

Voted for by: Philip Horne

My First Summer

Katie Found

Voted for by: Clara Bradbury-Rance

My Wonderful Life

Łucasz Grzegorzek

Voted for by: Alex Ramon

Nascondino

Victoria Fiore

Voted for by: Rick Burin

Nemesis

Thomas Imbach

Voted for by: Neil Young

Nenad

Mladen Bundalo

Voted for by: Neil Young

Neptune Frost

Anisia Uzeyman, Saul Williams

Voted for by: Matthew Barrington

The Nest

Sean Durkin

Voted for by: Michael Leader, Nick James

Never Gonna Snow Again

Małgorzata Szumowska

Voted for by: Alex Ramon

A New Old Play

Qiu Jiongjoing

Voted for by: Robert Koehler

New Order

Michel Franco

Voted for by: Charles Gant, Michael Atkinson

News of the World

Paul Greengrass

Voted for by: Anne Billson

A Night of Knowing Nothing

Payal Kapadia

Voted for by: Ben Nicholson, Christopher Small, Erika Balsom, Julian Ross, Kieron Corless

Night of the Kings

Philippe Lacôte

Voted for by: Leila Latif

Ninjababy

Yngvild Sve Flikke

Voted for by: Nick Chen

Nitram

Justin Kurzel

Voted for by: James Mottram, Leigh Singer

No Land’s Man

Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

Voted for by: Naman Ramachandran

No Ordinary Man

Chase Joyntisling Chin-Yee

Voted for by: Clara Bradbury-Rance, Ian Wang

No Sudden Move

Steven Soderbergh

Voted for by: Andrew Simpson, Kate Stables

No Time to Die

Cary Joji Fukunaga

Voted for by: Jane Giles

Nobody

Ilya Naishuller

Voted for by: Jason Anderson

Nomadland

Chloé Zhao

Voted for by: Anna Smith, Anne Billson, Catherine Wheatley, Ginette Vincendeau, Hanna Flint, J. M. Tyree, Kim Newman, Pamela Hutchinson, Philip Kemp, Rebecca Harrison, Robin Baker

North by Current

Angelo Madsen Minax

Voted for by: Ren Scateni

Notturno

Gianfranco Rosi

Voted for by: Caspar Salmon

Nũhũ Yãg Mũ Yõg Hãm: This Land Is Our Land!

Isael Maxakali, Sueli Maxakali, Carolina Canguçu, Roberto Romero

Voted for by: Christopher Small

The Odd-Job Men

Neus Ballús

Voted for by: Maria Delgado

Old

M. Night Shyamalan

Voted for by: Kambole Campbell, Michael Blyth

Once upon a Time in Calcutta

Aditya Vikram Sengupta

Voted for by: Naman Ramachandran

One Thousand and One Attempts to Be an Ocean

Wang Yuyan

Voted for by: James Lattimer

Orpheus

Vadim Kostrov

Voted for by: Christopher Small

Our Ladies

Michael Caton-Jones

Voted for by: Josh Slater-Williams, Rebecca Harrison

Paka: River of Blood

Nithin Lukose

Voted for by: Naman Ramachandran

Palm Springs

Max Barbakow

Voted for by: Kim Newman, Lou Thomas

Parallel Mothers

Pedro Almodóvar

Voted for by: Maria Delgado, Matthew Thrift, Pamela Hutchinson, Sukhdev Sandhu

Paris, 13th District

Jacques Audiard

Voted for by: Ella Kemp, Philip Horne, Roger Luckhurst

Passing

Rebecca Hall

Voted for by: Hanna Flint, Joshua Rothkopf, Lindsay Hallam

Paths of Fire II

Neelon Crawford, Michael Mideke

Voted for by: J. Hoberman

Pebbles

P. S. Vinothraj

Voted for by: Katie McCabe, Leigh Singer

Peel

Silvain Monney, Samuel Patthey

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit

Petite Maman

Céline Sciamma

Voted for by: Amy Taubin, Anna Smith, Ashley Clark, Caitlin Quinlan, Clara Bradbury-Rance, Devika Girish, Ella Kemp, Ginette Vincendeau, Ian Mantgani, Jamie Dunn, Josh Slater-Williams, Kambole Campbell, Katherine McLaughlin, Katie McCabe, Leigh Singer, Lillian Crawford, Łukasz Mańkowski, Maria Delgado, Melanie Hoyes, Michael Hayden, Michael Leader, Mike Williams, Molly Haskell, Nicolas Rapold, Pamela Hutchinson, Philip Concannon, Philip Horne, Philip Kemp, Rebecca Harrison, Rick Burin, Steph Green, Thomas Flew, Tom Charity

Pig

Michael Sarnoski

Voted for by: Craig Williams, Ella Kemp, Hanna Flint, Jourdain Searles, Kambole Campbell, Katherine McLaughlin, Lou Thomas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Roger Luckhurst

The Pink Cloud

Iuli Gerbase

Voted for by: Jonathan Romney

Playground

Laura Wandel

Voted for by: David Thompson,  Isabel Stevens, James Bell, Jonathan Romney, Rick Burin, Robin Baker

Pleasure

Ninja Thyberg

Voted for by: Michael Blyth

Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

Celeste Bell, Paul Sng

Voted for by: Katie McCabe

Polycephaly in D

Michael Robinson

Voted for by: James Lattimer

Portrait of Kaye

Ben Reed

Voted for by: Ashley Clark

The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion

Voted for by: Alex Ramon, Amy Taubin, Anna Smith, Charles Gant, Charlotte Whitehouse, Christina Newland, Clara Bradbury-Rance, David Thompson, Ella Kemp, James Mottram, Jourdain Searles, Kate Stables, Leigh Singer, Michael Blyth, Michael Hayden, Nick James, Robin Baker, Ross McDonnell, Simran Hans, Sophie Monks Kaufman, Steph Green, Tom Charity, Violet Lucca, Wendy Mitchell

Prayers for the Stolen

Tatiana Huezo

Voted for by: Amy Taubin, Guy Lodge, Maria Delgado

Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Lili Horvat

Voted for by: Beatrice Loayza, Catherine Wheatley, Eric Hynes, Roger Luckhurst

President

Camilla Nielsson

Voted for by: Guy Lodge

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: Movie Part Two

Chiaki Kon

Voted for by: Ian Wang

Procession

Robert Greene

Voted for by: Eric Hynes

Promising Young Woman

Emerald Fennell

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Ginette Vincendeau, Steph Green

Psychic Meat

Stephen Wardell

Voted for by: Ben Nicholson

Quo Vadisida?

Jasmila Žbanić

Voted for by: Anna Smith, Charlotte Whitehouse, Michael Atkinson, Nick Chen, Ryan Gilbey, Tim Hayes

Radiograph of a Family

Firouzeh Khosrovani

Voted for by: Kaleem Aftab

Raya and the Last Dragon

Carlos López Estrada, Don Hall

Voted for by: Melanie Hoyes

Rebel Dykes

Harri Shanahan, Sian Williams

Voted for by: Alex Davidson, Clara Bradbury-Rance

Red Rocket

Sean Baker

Voted for by: Ian Mantgani, J. Hoberman, Joshua Rothkopf, Katherine McLaughlin, Leigh Singer, Philip Concannon, Sophie Monks Kaufman

Reflection

Valentyn Vasyanovych

Voted for by: Guy Lodge

Rehana

Abdullah Mohammad Saad

Voted for by: Naman Ramachandran

Riders of Justice

Anders Thomas Jensen

Voted for by: Anne Billson, Hanna Flint, Kim Newman, Leigh Singer, Matt Zoller Seitz

Ripples of Life

Wei Shujun

Voted for by: Łukasz Mańkowski

A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces

Zhu Shengze

Voted for by: Erika Balsom, James Lattimer, Kieron Corless, Ren Scateni

Riverock / É Rocha e Rio, Negro Leo

Paula Gaitán

Voted for by: Christopher Small

Rock Bottom Riser

Fern Silva

Voted for by: Beatrice Loayza

Rose Plays Julie

Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor

Voted for by: Jamie Dunn, Ryan Gilbey

Rūrangi

Max Currie

Voted for by: Thomas Flew

Sabaya

Hogir Hirori

Voted for by: Roger Clarke

Saint Maud

Rose Glass

Voted for by: Ela Bittencourt

Samraa

Dita Hashi

Voted for by: Ian Wang

The Scary of Sixty-First

Dasha Nekrasova

Voted for by: Carmen Gray, Guy Lodge

Sentinelle

Julien Leclerq

Voted for by: The Ferroni Brigade

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Destin Daniel Cretton

Voted for by: Hanna Flint

Shangri-La

Isabel Sandoval

Voted for by: Ian Wang

Shared Resources

Jordan Lord

Voted for by: Matt Turner

Shiva Baby

Emma Seligman

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Caspar Salmon, Ella Kemp, Hanna Flint, Jourdain Searles, Leila Latif

Short Vacation

Kwon Min-pyo, Seo Han-sol

Voted for by: Vadim Rizov

The Show

Mitch Jenkins

Voted for by: Tim Hayes

Skies of Lebanon

Chloé Mazlo

Voted for by: Elena Lazic

Slow Machine

Paul Felten, Joe DeNardo

Voted for by: Gabrielle Marceau, Michael Atkinson, Ross McDonnell, Vadim Rizov

Small Body

Laura Samani

Voted for by: Wendy Ide

Sound of Metal

Darius Marder

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Charlotte Whitehouse, Elena Lazic, J. M. Tyree, James Bell, Mike Williams, Sophie Monks Kaufman

The Souvenir Part II

Joanna Hogg

Voted for by: Alex Ramon, Andrew Simpson, Ashley Clark, Beatrice Loayza, Caitlin Quinlan, Caspar Salmon, Charles Gant, Clara Bradbury-Rance, David Thompson, Elena Lazic, Guy Lodge,Ian Mantgani, Isabel Stevens, James Bell, Jonathan Romney, Josh Slater-Williams, Joshua Rothkopf, Jourdain Searles, Katherine McLaughlin, Leigh Singer, Lillian Crawford, Lou Thomas, Matthew Taylor, Matthew Thrift, Michael Hayden, Mike Williams, Molly Haskell, Nick James, Nicolas Rapold, Pamela Hutchinson, Philip Concannon, Philip Horne, Roger Clarke, Sam Wigley, Simran Hans, Sophie Monks Kaufman, Vadim Rizov, Violet Lucca, Wendy Ide

The Sparks Brothers

Edgar Wright

Voted for by: Michael Blyth

Spencer

Pablo Larraín

Voted for by: Charlotte Whitehouse, David Thompson, Ella Kemp, Kate Stables, Mar Diestro-Dópido, Maria Delgado, Michael Blyth, Mike Williams, Rebecca Harrison, Roger Clarke, Ryan Gilbey, Simran Hans, Wendy Mitchell

Stars Await Us

Dalei Zhang

Voted for by: Nick James

State Funeral

Sergei Loznitsa

Voted for by: Sukhdev Sandhu, Tim Hayes

Ste. Anne

Rhayne Vermette

Voted for by: James Lattimer, Jason Anderson

Steakhouse

Špela Čadež

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit

Stillwater

Tom McCarthy

Voted for by: Ginette Vincendeau, Michael Atkinson

The Story of Southern Islet

Chong Keat Aun

Voted for by: Julian Ross, Ren Scateni

The Suicide Squad

James Gunn

Voted for by: Kim Newman

Summer

Vadim Kostrov

Voted for by: Christopher Small, Matt Turner

Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Ahmir Khalib Thompson

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit, Amy Taubin, Ashley Clark, David Thompson, Ella Kemp, Ian Wang, J. M. Tyree, Jamie Dunn, Jane Giles, Kambole Campbell, Katie McCabe, Leila Latif, Lillian Crawford, Lou Thomas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Melanie Hoyes, Michael Leader, Mike Williams, Nicolas Rapold, Rebecca Harrison, Sophie Brown, Thomas Flew

The Summit of the Gods

Patrick Imbert

Voted for by: Alex Dudok de Wit, Kambole Campbell

Sundown

Michel Franco

Voted for by: Maria Delgado, Naman Ramachandran

Supernova

Harry Macqueen

Voted for by: Rebecca Harrison, Wendy Mitchell

Surge

Aneil Karia

Voted for by: Anton Bitel

Surviving You, Always

Morgan Quaintance

Voted for by: Christopher Small, James Lattimer, Julian Ross

Sweat

Magnus Von Horn

Voted for by: Roger Clarke

Sweetheart

Marley Morrison

Voted for by: Clara Bradbury-Rance

Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

Jia Zhangke

Voted for by: Sukhdev Sandhu

Taming the Garden

Salome Jashi

Voted for by: Robert Koehler

Taste

Lê Báo

Voted for by: Ela Bittencourt

Test Pattern

Shatara Michelle Ford

Voted for by: Jourdain Searles

This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

Voted for by: Eric Hynes, Michael Atkinson

Tick, Tick… Boom!

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Voted for by: Ryan Gilbey

Tiong Bahru Social Club

Tan Bee Thiam

Voted for by: Jonathan Rosenbaum

Titane

Julia Ducournau

Voted for by: Alex Davidson, Andrew Simpson, Anna Bogutskaya, Anna Smith, Charlotte Whitehouse, J. M. Tyree, James Mottram, John Bleasdale, Jourdain Searles, Kaleem Aftab, Katherine McLaughlin, Leila Latif, Lillian Crawford, Lindsay Hallam, Lou Thomas, Mar Diestro-Dópido, Matt Zoller Seitz, Matthew Barrington, Nick James, Sophie Brown, Sophie Monks Kaufman, Steph Green, Tom Charity, Wendy Ide, Wendy Mitchell

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Joel Coen

Voted for by: Alex Ramon

Train Again

Peter Tscherkassky

Voted for by: James Lattimer, Neil Young

True Things

Harry Wootliff

Voted for by: Anna Smith

The Truffle Hunters

Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw

Voted for by: Anne Billson, Philip Horne

The Tsugua Diaries

Miguel Gomes, Maureen Fazendeiro

Voted for by: Caitlin Quinlan, Christopher Small, Kieron Corless, Lillian Crawford, Robert Koehler, Thomas Flew

The Twentieth Century

Matthew Rankin

Voted for by: Jamie Dunn

Twin Peaks

Al Wong

Voted for by: Thomas Flew

Uncut Gems

Josh Safdie, Benny Saftie

Voted for by: Jonathan Rosenbaum

Undine

Christian Petzold

Voted for by: Anne Billson, Catherine Wheatley, Michael Atkinson, Pamela Hutchinson, Sukhdev Sandhu, Tim Hayes

Users

Natalia Almada

Voted for by: Sophie Brown

The Velvet Underground

Todd Haynes

Voted for by: Amy Taubin, Anna Bogutskaya, Carmen Gray, Clara Bradbury-Rance, David Thompson, J. Hoberman, James Bell, James Mottram, Jane Giles, Jason Anderson, Jonathan Romney, Matt Zoller Seitz, Michael Hayden, Michael Leader, Nick James

Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash

Edwin

Voted for by: Christopher Small

The Viewing Booth

Ra’anan Alexandrowicz

Voted for by: Eric Hynes

The Village Detective

Bill Morrison

Voted for by: J. M. Tyree

Violation

Dusty Mancinelli, Madeleine Sims-Fewer

Voted for by: Lindsay Hallam

Vortex

Gaspar Noé

Voted for by: Elena Lazic, John Bleasdale, Jonathan Romney, Molly Haskell

We

Alice Diop

Voted for by: Caitlin Quinlan, Erika Balsom

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

Jane Schoenbrun

Voted for by: Sophie Brown

Wesele

Wojciech Smarzowski

Voted for by: The Ferroni Brigade

What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

Alexandre Koberidze

Voted for by: Andrew Simpson, Caitlin Quinlan, Carmen Gray, Catherine Wheatley, Christina Newland, Devika Girish, Ela Bittencourt, Eric Hynes, Erika Balsom, Guy Lodge, Jamie Dunn, Jonathan Romney, Jordan Cronk, Kieron Corless, Matthew Taylor, Matthew Thrift, Michael Hayden, Molly Haskell, Philip Concannon, Robert Koehler, Ross McDonnell, Tom Charity, Wendy Ide

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Hamaguchi Ryusuke

Voted for by: 

Beatrice Loayza, Caitlin Quinlan, Charlotte Whitehouse, Devika Girish, Elena Lazic, Gabrielle Marceau, Josh Slater-Williams, Julian Ross, Kambole Campbell, Łukasz Mańkowski, Matthew Thrift, Melanie Hoyes, Nicolas Rapold, Ren Scateni, Ross McDonnell, Steph Green, Tom Charity, Vadim Rizov

While We Were Here

Sunčica Fradelić

Voted for by: Jonathan Rosenbaum

The Witches of the Orient

Julien Faraut

Voted for by: Kieron Corless

The Woman Who Ran

Hong Sang-soo

Voted for by: Nicolas Rapold, Vadim Rizov

The Women’s Revenge

Su Hui-yu

Voted for by: Ren Scateni

Wood and Water

Jonas Bak

Voted for by: Beatrice Loayza, Ben Nicholson

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

Kier-La Janisse

Voted for by: Craig Williams, Elena Lazic, Josh Slater-Williams

The Works and Days of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin

C.W. Winternders Edström

Voted for by: Andrew Simpson, Philip Concannon

The World to Come

Mona Fastvold

Voted for by: Ella Kemp, Lou Thomas, Steph Green

The Worst Person in the World

Joachim Trier

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Caitlin Quinlan, Ella Kemp, Josh Slater-Williams, Joshua Rothkopf, Leigh Singer, Lillian Crawford, Molly Haskell, Nick Chen, Simran Hans, Steph Green, Tom Charity, Wendy Ide

Wrath of Man

Guy Ritchie

Voted for by: Matt Zoller Seitz

Xuányá zhīshàng

Zhāng Yìmóu

Voted for by: The Ferroni Brigade

Zack Synder’s Justice League

Zack Snyder

Voted for by: Craig Williams

Zeros and Ones

Abel Ferrara

Voted for by: Gabrielle Marceau

Zola

Janicza Bravo

Voted for by: Anna Bogutskaya, Anna Smith, Charles Gant, Christina Newland, Kate Stables, Katherine McLaughlin, Roger Clarke, Simran Hans, Wendy Ide, Wendy Mitchell