11. Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos)
The year’s psychosexual art-film hothouse bloom unrolls in a bourgeosie suburban compound in which three systematically sheltered teenage siblings gallivant and battle and fuck and, eventually, helplessly, rebel. Neo-con paranoia hatches totalitarian madness, and the upshot feels in your shorts like the creepiest avant-garde science fiction movie Kafka never wrote.
12. Lourdes (Jessica Hausner)
A meditation on, not so much on the possibility of the divine, as the hopes, envies and petty resentments of mankind, Hausner’s film steeps its eponymous miracle-seeking mecca in an aura of the godly—until a mid-film intrusion of the (possibly) miraculous exposes what it means to be all too human.
13 (tie). Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette)
A movie with artistry so subtle it’s easy to dismiss, or to miss. There are scenes that illustrate the singularity of film art and then scenes that casually support those. Demonstrates what Hawks said was the filmmaker’s discipline: Make a few great scenes and the rest of the time don’t annoy anyone.
13 (tie). Marwencol (Jeff Malmberg)
This isn’t just a documentary about a brain-damaged man turned outsider artist and the (analog) Second Life he creates with dolls in his backyard. It’s about the way we all turn our lives into stories, and how that helps us make sense of our lives—but also damagingly oversimplifies them.
15. Daddy Longlegs (Josh and Benny Safdie)
To Lenny (Ronald Bronstein), divorced father of two (graffiti tag: Dad), somebody else is always at fault, and everything is always in flux. The Safdies’ remarkable film is funny for its depiction of a topsy-turvy Manhattan, alarming for its catalog of parenting blunders, and moving for its uncanny texture of memory.
Didn’t anyone see Mother and Child with Naomi Watts and Annette Benning….it
was my favorite film of the year…..and better than The Kids are Alright…which I think was condescending, and only interesting to a naive audience.