The 25 Best Films of 2012

12/17/2012 5:00 AM |

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25. Girl Walk//All Day
Jacob Krupnick
Set to a Girl Talk album, this goofy, dialogue-free dance movie was shot all around the city, capturing the pure joy and exuberance of being alive in New York. That it had a week at reRun just after Sandy made it all the more poignant. Henry Stewart

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24. Tabu
Miguel Gomes
Emerging top-10-regular Gomes takes us from an exhausted modern-day Lisbon to a swoony vision of 1950s Africa, engaging questions of history, memory, and the movies through his bold formal and structural moves. It manages to be both more sidelong and more affecting than 2012’s other great film on the colonial legacy, Chantal Akerman’s Almayer’s Folly. Benjamin Mercer

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23. Haywire
Steven Soderbergh
If Steven Soderbergh really does retire from filmmaking next month, as he’s promised over and over to do, he’ll have gone out marvelously—with as fun and sexy and, dare I say arty a thriller as he’s produced since The Limey. It finds the ever-shifting auteur enthralled by the Olypian body, Roman beauty and steely, made-for-exploitation-film presence of ex-MMA performer Gina Carano. Soderbergh may have unearthed a Pam Grier for our troubled times, an action hero far more convincing than Taylor Lautner ever was. Brandon Harris

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22. Whores’ Glory
Michael Glawogger
The third, final entry in the Austrian director’s “globalization series” is itself a triptych, trespassing inside prostitution markets in Bangkok, Bangladesh and finally the “La Zona” section of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a godforsaken hell-pit where we’re shown un-simulated, paid-for sex. Like the films of sometime-collaborator Ulrich Seidl, the photographic beauty complements the humanity-voiding horror in provocative, mesmerizing ways. Justin Stewart

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21. Almayer’s Folly
Chantal Akerman
The director’s return to fiction takes as its source Joseph Conrad’s 1895 maiden voyage in full-length prose. The film’s borderless subject is malaise and its inheritances, and, shot in Cambodia, it’s the farthest afield the filmmaker has gone to portray those displacements of the past that are carried within the heart. Nicolas Rapold

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