The L Magazine's 2011 Film Poll 

Page 4 of 6

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11. Melancholia (Lars von Trier)
Having displaced his clinical depression into extreme hostility towards the audience in Antichrist, Lars von Trier tries asking for our empathy instead. As his latest female alter-ego, Kirsten Dunst embodies his malady as the movie transfers his/her feelings onto the audience. A near-masterpiece with (as von Trier's noted) "too much cream" in the extravagant opening giving way to a disturbingly blissed-out wait for the apocalypse. Vadim Rizov

12. Mysteries of Lisbon (Raul Ruiz)
A Brechtian would have a field day with Mysteries of Lisbon, but like Jacques Rivette's 2007 masterpiece The Duchess of Langeais, Ruiz's labyrinthine period piece is far more than the sum of its distancing devices. While "impossible" tracking shots, theatrical tableaux, and a servant given to an odd hopping motion ward off the reassuring haze of historical comfort, the film's ever-unfolding, infinitely branching narratives and the late Chilean master's graceful camerawork ensure an enraptured involvement that's anything but distanced. Andrew Schenker

13. The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar)
Almodóvar's "wait-how-serious-is-this?" The Skin I Live In boasts about as lurid and serpentine a movie plot as we are ever likely to get, and its focus on skin and surgery and rape and power never gets in the way of the director's trademark cheerful horniness. Dan Callahan

14. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong)
In every measured moment of its 139 suspenseful, graceful minutes, Poetry sets a new standard for cinematic empathy, and in Yoon-Jeong hee's spectacularly open lead performance, it sets new standards for honesty in acting, too. Callahan

15. To Die Like a Man (Joao Pedro Rodrigues)
About halfway through, To Die Like A Man—up to that point a gorgeously shot but relatively conventional drag queen melodrama—shifts gears as its characters leave the city for the countryside. In the forest, the pace slows; characters relax, drink some tea, casually burst into unexplained song, and then plunge into a gut-wrenching third act. Rodrigues mesmerizingly synthesizes self-aware queer melodrama with the contemporary, Apichatpong Weerasethakul-esque arthouse rural idyll. Rizov

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