It may just be the start of December, but there’s already no shortage of best-of-2016 lists. While ours won’t arrive until closer to year’s end, one of the most astute organizations have delivered theirs today. The BFI magazine Sight & Sound polled over 150 UK and international film critics on their favorite films of the year and the resulting 20 selections are quite fantastic.
Led by Maren Ade‘s Toni Erdmann, its top five is rounded out by Moonlight, Elle, Certain Women, and American Honey. One of our favorite selections is Bertrand Bonello‘s Paris-set terrorism drama Nocturama, one of the most distinct and bold features I’ve seen all year, and one in desperate need of U.S. distribution. In terms of documentaries, Kirsten Johnson‘s fantastic Cameraperson made the cut as did Italy’s Oscar entry Fire at Sea.
“I am delighted that our poll recognizes the talent of women directors at the top of the art form; this follows closely on from Sight & Sound’s Female Gaze issue which shone a light on overlooked female filmmakers, and it is encouraging to think that such neglect will soon be a thing of the past,” says editor Nick James. “I send my congratulations to Maren Ade, Kelly Reichardt and Andrea Arnold, but also to Barry Jenkins, for his deeply moving, trail-blazing second feature and to Paul Verhoeven, who has made a powerful and subversive woman-centric film.”
Check out their list below, along with links to our reviews of all films.
1. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
3. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
4. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
5. American Honey (Andrea Arnold)
6. I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach)
7. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
8. Things to Come (L’Avenir) (Mia Hansen-Løve)
9. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch)
10. The Death of Louis XIV (Albert Serra)
11. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas)
11. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu)
13. Fire at Sea (Fuocoamare) (Gianfranco Rosi)
13. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)
13. Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar)
16. La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
16. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
18. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
19. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)
19. Victoria (Sebastian Schipper)