2013 Top 50 Best Films


GRAVITY

And to put a wrap to our film review, after a long and excellent awards season, here’s our blog’s favourite films of the past twelve months. Their subjects ranged from harrowing Oscar winning tales of slavery to the jaw-dropping forces of Gravity; going through teenage sexual explorations; artistic failures; religious dogmas; political calls to arms; financial debauchery; a somali hijacking double bill; a tripe order of paradise; techie romance; child labour; massacre and redemption.

The new year has already started in style with such early heights as Lars Von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac” and Wes Anderson’s “The Great Budapest Hotel”, but before we begin with their review. Let’s take a last glance at those movies that made of 2013 such an special here:

gravity1- GRAVITY
(Alfonso Cuarón)

The movie 3D and IMAX were invented for, Cuarón’s epic survival sci-fi classic has fully brought the jaw-dropping quality of cinema back to the screens.
The_Selfish_Giant2- THE SELFISH GIANT
(Clio Barnard)

This contemporary take on Oscar Wilde’s fairytale dealt with the grim reality of child labour and proved that British social realism has found a new deserving heir.
Her3- HER
(Spike Jonze)

Jonze’s unique vision raised important questions about our relationship with technology in this near future-set romance between a writer and his operative system. Scar-Jo’s voice stole the show.
la_grande_bellezza4- THE GREAT BEAUTY
(Paolo Sorrentino)

Compared to Fellini and Rosellini for its portrait of Today’s Roman decadent society, Sorrentino’s best wowed audiences and won the Foreign Language Oscar.
Blue-Is-The-Warmest-Color5- BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR
(Abdellatif Kechiche)

Exarchopoulos and Seydoux gave the performances of the year in this controversy-ridden Palme D’Or winner, depicting in finely observed detail a teen girl’s sexual awakening and her first, same-sex relationship .
12-years-a-slave6- 12 YEARS A SLAVE
(Steve McQueen)

The British arthouse director conquered the mainstream with the real story of Solomon Northup; a harrowing depiction of slavery impeccably crafted and brought to life by the finest ensemble cast of 2013.
inside llewyn poster7- INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
(Joel & Ethan Coen)

The Coens recovered their most classic vibe through this study of artistic failure set in Greenwich Village’s 60s bohemian folk scene. Oscar Isaac’s nailed it as the taciturn musician on a quest for that always elusive big break.
the act of killing8- THE ACT OF KILLING
(Joshua Oppenheimer)

A far-reaching gaze at the darkest corners of human condition, this documentary offered some of the paramilitary heads, responsible for the Indonesian massacre of the 60s, a chance to re-enact their war crimes, finally realizing the consequences.
wolf_of_wall_street9- THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
(Martin Scorsese)

Despite his age, Scorsese gave a powerful lesson on how to defy convention, applying the learnings from his classic mafia movies to this timely satire of Wall Street’s financial excess in three energetic hours of fast-paced sleaze, bad taste and great fun!
beyond-hills10- BEYOND THE HILLS
(Cristian Mungiu)

The Romanian auteur confirmed his penchant for damsels in distress with this tale of trainee nun, whose debate between the safety of the convent and the chance of a normal life with her childhood girlfriend escalates into tragedy.
frances_ha11- FRANCES HA
(Noah Baumbach)

The tribulations of arty twenty-somethings pursuing a professional career in New York reminded us to Lena Dunham's TV series ‘Girls’. Oozing charm and joie de vivre, Greta Gerwig co-penned with the director what's easily the best indie comedy in years.
stories-we-tell12- STORIES WE TELL
(Sarah Polley)

A ground breaking documentary, Polley’s exploration of her family’s closet unearthed some shocking revelations and built a compelling drama about the secrets we keep in order to preserve a good balance in our relationships.
gloria13- GLORIA
(Sebastian Lelio)

Another sign of Chile’s current film renaissance, this glorious celebration of female maturity, earned acting honours for Paulina García at the Berlinale and has been conquering audiences across the globe since.
blue-jasmine14- BLUE JASMINE
(Woody Allen)

This tragicomic look at the fall from grace of a financial fraudster's wife was hailed as Allen’s best work in two decades. It's just granted Cate Blanchett an Oscar and Sally Hawkins her long deserved first nomination.
behind_the_candelabra15- BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
(Steven Soderbergh)

The relationship of flamboyant Las Vegas star Liberace with one of his lovers was the subject of this master class on how to make a biopic, boasting career best performances by Michael Douglas; Matt Damon and even Rob Lowe.
Nebraska16- NEBRASKA
(Alexander Payne)

An acting showcase for veterans Bruce Dern and June Squibb, also the most touching road movie since David Lynch’s “The Straight Story”, shot in brilliant black and white; it meant Payne’s full recovery after The Descendants’ career low.
Before-Midnight17- BEFORE MIDNIGHT
(Richard Linklater)

Surprise last instalment of this excellent trilogy with Delpy and Hawke recapturing the magic of their characters’ relationship, now well-established and with twin daughters of their own; circumstances evolved, but their over analytical ways remained intact.
AHijacking18- A HIJACKING
(Tobias Lindholm)

2013 delivered an unexpected double ration of Somali hijack thrillers based in true events. The first of them from Denmark, more subdued and focused in the long negotiation between the boat’s company manager with the pirates. Two familiar faces from TV series Borgen were the superb leads.
captain_phillips19- CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
(Paul Greengrass)

In the second and most spectacular of the Somali hijack offerings, Barkhad Abdi showed a never better Tom Hanks who was captain; whereas Paul Greengrass refined his trademark directorial style, packed with fast-paced thrills and crowned with a bombastic US navy rescue operation.
UpstreamColor20- UPSTREAM COLOR
(Shane Carruth)

The long awaited follow-up to Primer was an oblique sci-fi thriller, laced with an even more abstract narrative which depicted a bizarre circle of life, love and parasites, apparently symbolizing the struggle of our individual identity to prevail against the many elements trying to cage it. Mind-blowing, it was!
paradise love21- PARADISE: LOVE/HOPE/FAITH
(Ulrich Seidl)

Soul of the party Seidl explored the ways we pursue happiness and the entrapments each one contains in this accomplished trilogy, anchored by three excellent central performances, which showed the Austrian auteur on top of his game. Love was our favourite, but in Hope he showed his tender side.
wadjda22- WADJDA
(Haifaa Al-Mansour)

And best debut film goes to... the first Saudi female directed feature, charmingly using the deceptively simple story of a girl saving to buy a bicycle, and the rejection she faced for that not being socially acceptable, to look at a wider picture of women discrimination in the tradition-ruled Arab society.
missing picture23- THE MISSING PICTURE
(Rihty Panh)

One of the unusual Foreign Language Oscar nominated documentaries, this moving memoir of a childhood under the bloody Khmer Rouge’s rule, looked at Cambodia’s traumatic past by mixing real footage with animated clay figurines scenes that underlined its poetic tone.
Computer-Chess24- COMPUTER CHESS
(Andrew Bujalski)

Mumblecore went nerdy in this hilarious fake documentary about a bizarre tournament of pioneer chess software developers, whose delegates get mixed with a self-improvement new age group; adding a genuine touch of retro authenticity with its black and white cinematography.
MMCulpa25- MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD (Alex Gibney)
The best of three superb works by documentarist of the year Gibney was timely released to coincide with the former Pope’s historical resignation, prompted by the scandalous cover up of thousands of cases with priests involved in children's sexual abuse.
Dallas-Buyers-Club26- DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (Jean-Marc Vallée)
Unforgettable performances by a reinvented McConaughey and a Leto back from rock stardom took them all the way to the Oscar in this original drama set at the origins of the AIDS pandemic, when victims had to organise themselves, fighting Law and Goverment’s inertia, in search for a good treatment.
like father like son27- LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
(Hirokazu Kore-Eda)

The Nippon auteur’s fine touch for family matters explored fatherhood in nature versus nurture thought-provoking reflection, through the premise of two families finding out their six year old kids were swapped at birth. Spielberg is rumoured for a remake.
caesar-must-die28- CAESAR MUST DIE
(Paolo E Vittorio Taviani)

Italian siblings Paolo and Vittorio Taviani won the Golden Bear with this half documentary, half dramatization of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as performed by the inmates of a Roman jail. The process to fit in their roles unveiled personal issues to touching, life-affirming effect.
childs-pose29- CHILD'S POSE
(Călin Peter Netzer)

Confirming Romania as a Mecca for heart-rending drama, this look at the country’s society through the tale of overpowering mother pulling every string to prevent his son from being jailed after his car run over a kid won big at Berlin and earned high praise for Luminita Gheorghiu.
in the house30- IN THE HOUSE
(François Ozon)

With this wink at Passolini, Ozon finds himself at his most playful, adapting an Spanish farce where the only bright pupil of a bored literature teacher's homework drags him and his wife into the kid's escalating intrusion in the lives of a wealthier classmate’s family.
our children31- OUR CHILDREN
(Joachim Lafosse)

The stars of Rosetta and A Prophet portrait the shocking real story of a strange triangle formed by a Belgium girl; the Arab emigrant she marries and his mysterious benefactor, whose controlling ways, added to cultural differences and the arrival of children, take their toll on the wife’s mental health.
all-is-lost32- ALL IS LOST
(J.C. Chandor)

Breath-taking account of a man’s struggle for survival after a shipwreck in the deep Ocean, told in near minimal fashion; it meant Robert Redford’s magnificent return to form with a full-physical and nearly silent role sadly snubbed by the Academy .
rush33- RUSH
(Ron Howard)

The legendary Formula 1 rivalry between James Hunt and Nicki Lauda was taken to the big screen with furious pace and astonishing technical skill in this superior biopic, another victim of an overcrowded awards season. Daniel Brühl ‘s breakthrough performance stole the show.
After_Lucia34- AFTER LUCIA
(Michel Franco)

Brutal study on teenage bullying exploring its degrading consequences; the vulnerability and shame felt by the victims and the safety the perpetrators find diluting their responsibility by hiding within the group; as disturbing as necessary a watch.
movies_place-beyond-the-pines35- THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
(Derek Cianfrance)

Cianfrance re-teamed with Ryan Gosling for this ambitious follow-up to ‘Blue Valentine’, which didn't collect the same universal acclaim. Heavily deterministic in its sins of the fathers carried on by their sons tale, it benefitted from an audaciously structured screenplay.
in the fog36- IN THE FOG
(Sergei Loznitsa)

The moral dilemma faced by a Belarus villager being taken for execution falsely accused of collaborating with the Nazis was a slice of Russian existential doom and gloom in full glory, exploring matters of guilt and doubt under the surface of a war movie.
mud37- MUD
(Jeff Nichols)

McConaughey amply confirmed his career’s qualitative shift with a string of great roles. In this coming of age drama, a big indie success, he’s the runaway convict hiding on an empty island of the Mississippi delta befriending two local kids who go there to play.
play38- PLAY
(Ruben Östlund)

Haneke’s legacy can be felt in this politically incorrect Swedish drama raising uncomfortable questions aboutthe way our society deals with racial minority youth’s misbehaviour, based on the real case of a gang of black teens robbing and bullying other children through role-playing intimidation.
The_Spirit_of_4539- THE SPIRIT OF '45
(Ken Loach)

A call to arms against the current dismantling of the welfare State, Loach researches the social and historical circumstances that made public institutions such as the NHS or the National Rail possible, lifting millions out of poverty, and follows their evolution through the years.
the square40- THE SQUARE
(Jehane Noujaim)

Oscar nominated open project monitoring the ongoing, history shaping changes brought by The Egyptian Revolution of 2011, which spawned the so-called Arab Spring, and the volatile situation the country has gone through since, right from its core in Tahir Square.
Museum-Hours41- MUSEUM HOURS
(Jem Cohen)

This Experimental filmmaker reflects upon the way we interact with art; the comfort of strangers and other poetic musing through the friendship of a museum guard in Vienna with a lonely American visitor. Quietly warm, this was one of the most underrated works of the year.
Spring-Breakers42- SPRING BREAKERS
(Harmony Korine)

James Franco excelled on his tongue in cheek portrait of a ganster rapper in Korine’s hyper real shocker about a group of high school girls’ who’d beg, borrow or steal to take this popular US holidays and the hedonistic world of drug, alcohol and sex abuse they find.
thegatekeepers43- THE GATEKEEPERS
(Dror Moreh)

Through in-depth interviews with six of the former heads of the secretive Israeli security agency, Shin Bet, Moreh’s Oscar nominated documentary provided fascinating insight of its role in the last forty years of the country’s shameful conflict against Palestine.
lore44- LORE
(Cate Shortland)

TheAussie director followed-up ‘Somersault’ with this gripping drama, set in Germany after the Nazi defeat, in which the daughter of an officer left in charge of her younger siblings is forced to escape after her parents imprisonment ; told with contemplative pace and gorgeous cinematography.
american hustle45- AMERICAN HUSTLE
(David O'Russell)

O’Russell repeated his winning formula ensuring great performances from a stellar cast in this terribly messy and convoluted comedy caper, loosely based on the real story of two caught fraudsters helping the FBI to capture some bigger fish; a tad overrated but great fun.
enough-said46- ENOUGH SAID
(Nicole Holofcener)

Superior romcom dealing with the difficulties that age brings to the dating game had a heartfelt screenplay and two towering performances by TV favourite comedian Dreyfuss and the late Gandolfini, whose onscreen chemistry is the film’s biggest asset.
stoker47- STOKER
(Park Chan-Wook)

The Korean master’s first foray into Hollywood delivered this visually exquisite, psychological Goth tale of fractured relationships and family secrets, helped by a top cast led by Kidman; Wasikowska ; Goode and Weaver.
The-Worlds-End-poster48- THE WORLD'S END
(Edgar Wright)

The celebrated Cornetto trilogy, adding a touch of British humour to traditional film genres, concluded in an unexpectedly moving note with a mates' reunion to reprise the pub crawl they couldn’t finish when younger turned to hell by a village of the damned-like scenario.
love-is-all-you-need-poster49- LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
(Susanne Bier)

Like Mamma Mia without the ABBA feast, but with a much tighter screenplay, Bier lightened up since winning the Foreign Language Oscar with this enjoyable wedding comedy, exporting the cream of Danish acting talent and presenting Pierce Brosnan with the best role of his career.
Fill-The-Void50- FILL THE VOID
(Rama Burshtein)

Another incredibly assured debut, this compelling gaze at the strict rules of marriage within the Orthodox Jew community showed the drama of a young girl, pressured to marry her sister's husband, after her death giving birth.