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DN 2012 Top Ten

It’s been great fun (arduously heartbreaking) ranking our film watching of 2012 into succinct lists of 10, but let’s face it, the holidays are over, you’re back at work and probably don’t have time to check out every film across all our personal lists no matter how good they are – luckily you don’t have to as we’ve crunched the numbers for a definitive DN Top Ten Films of 2012. Happy watching!

9&10. DREAMS OF A LIFE

Dir: Carol Morley

If you died, who would notice? Nobody noticed when Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit above a shopping mall in North London in 2003. Her body was found three years later, in front of a still flickering television, a pile of wrapped Christmas presents at her feet. Carol Morley’s film touched me deeply as it examines a modern kind of loneliness. In a world of social media and apparent connectedness who would actually miss you? As is the mark of a good film I thought about it long after watching. [Jeanie]

9&10. THE KID WITH A BIKE

Dir: Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne

Beautiful and sad and French, this won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. Jérémie Renier is an amazing actor and plays a father who has abandoned his boy. Uncomfortable in places, we watch the 11 year old boy search for both his bike and father with the help of a hairdresser who tries to give him the support and love he is sorely lacking. [Miss D]

7&8. THE IMPOSTER

Dir: Bart Layton

With a plot that many would probably find unbelievable in a work of fiction, The Imposter has to be the stand-out documentary of 2012. Chronicling the disappearance of 13 year-old Texan boy Nicholas Barclay, Layton’s thrilling film has more twists and turns than you would expect to find in a Hollywood thriller. Not content with letting his feature rest on its powerful story, Layton weaves his cleverly reconstructed plot with atmospheric Noir-ish visuals, adding to The Imposter’s nail-bitting tension. [El Vez]

7&8. SOUND OF MY VOICE

Dir: Zak Batmanglij

This film is one of those that makes me mad. Just tell me what happens, don’t leave me on the edge like that! I think I jumped up and just went ‘aaarghhh’ when it came to an end. It was in MarBelle’s top 10 last year as he saw it at SXSW and I won’t repeat the plot. It is very good although did leave me humming The Cranberries Dreams for days after. Could have done without that Zak, ta very much! [Miss D]

5&6. SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS

Dir: Will Lovelace & Dylan Southern

Fanboy alert. I adore LCD Soundsystem and this document of their final days is a superb dissection of the creative impulse, and a moving and stunning concert film that manages to capture the energy and wonder of the band’s impact on fans and incendiary live show. I smiled, I cried, I got goosebumps. They will be missed. [Neil]

5&6. MOONRISE KINGDOM

Dir: Wes Anderson

Symmetry, pastels, whimsy, curly typography and Bill Murray – It played like a Now That’s What I Call a Wes Anderson movie. If you like those things, and I do, it’s a very stylish and enjoyable ride into teenage defiance and falling in love. [Jeanie]

4. SIGHTSEERS

Dir: Ben Wheatley

I’ve never been on a caravanning holiday, after this I’m not sure I ever will. Blackly comedic with the very smallest of heart, as I travelled around England with Sightseers I was reminded that you should never litter and to be careful about with whom you enter a caravan. Whilst the laughs don’t come thick and fast it was clever enough to end up here in my top 3 of the year. I can’t say if it’s Wheatley’s best because it’s so incomparable to what he has done before. [Subs]

Listen to the interview with Ben Wheatley and read the review.

2&3. THE WALL

Dir: Julian Pölsler

If you relocated the Luna Brothers’ limited series comic Girls to the Austrian mountains, culled its population to one and did away with the egg-laying naked alien woman then you’d still be a fair bit away from Julian Pölsler’s adaptation of Marlen Haushofer’s 1963 novel. Where the Luna Brother’s use of the ‘trapped in an invisible forcefield’ as a mystery to be solved, The Wall is more a reflection on the human condition and an exploration into the validity of continuing to go on when the only person you’re living for is yourself. The Wall is carried on the shoulders of Martina Gedeck as ‘The Woman’ in a phenomenal performance, enhanced by her philosophising voiceover and cinematography captured over several seasons by a team of cinematographers, which renders the natural world in breathtaking detail. The Wall is a film that took me completely unawares when I saw it at the London Film Festival and it’s never been far from my thoughts since. [MarBelle]

2&3. RUST AND BONE

Dir: Jacques Audiard

I’m a little bit obsessed with Marion Cotillard which would be embarrassing if she was not such an amazing actress. Pair her with the director of A Prophet and The Beat That My Heart Skipped and you end up with a film is both thought provoking and beautifully shot. Cotillard’s movements post Incident That Will Not Be Mentioned and Stephanie’s ability to hit rock bottom and slowly come back to a wholly new life makes one see that life is indeed what you make of it. [Subs]

1. ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA

Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

At its core, the sixth feature from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan appears to be a film about waiting, where not much happens and much more goes unsaid. At 150 minutes, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is certainly in no rush to get to its finale (not that it really has one), but Ceylan’s film is perfectly paced, beautifully shot and packed with atmosphere and mystery. Films like Once Upon a Time in Anatolia don’t come along very often and whilst Ceylan’s film won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, those who do appreciate the craft of its director will find they may well have discovered a true classic of the 21st century. [El Vez]

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