The Cinéaste's Progress from This List to That Which Is to Come (He Hopes)

Once upon a time, I used to play a coy, rather pointless game w/r/t my annual top ten list -- dramatically "unveiling" it sometime in January, as if most everybody who reads this site didn't already have a pretty good idea of what it was gonna look like. Instead, I now publicly revise the sucker as I go along, so that the whole affair becomes a suspenseful Journey Toward Aesthetic Nirvana. Or something.

Here, then, is what my list would look like if (god forbid) I were forced to make it today:

THE "PURE" LIST (2008 premiere)

01. Afterschool (Antonio Campos, USA)
02. Julia (Erick Zonca, France)
03. Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme, USA)
04. Home (Ursula Meier, Switzerland/France/Belgium)
05. Burn After Reading (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, USA)
06. Lorna's Silence (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy)
07. WALL•E (Andrew Stanton, USA)
08. Revanche (Götz Spielmann, Austria)
09. Sita Sings the Blues (Nina Paley, USA)
10. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/France/Italy/Spain)

THE "POLLS" LIST (2008 commercial release)

01. Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands)
02. Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, USA)
03. Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme, USA)
04. Burn After Reading (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, USA)
05. WALL•E (Andrew Stanton, USA)
06. Funny Games (Michael Haneke, USA)
07. The Duchess of Langeais (Jacques Rivette, France/Italy)
08. In the City of Sylvia (José Luis Guerin, Spain)
09. The Secret of the Grain (Abdellatif Kechiche, France)
10. Chicago 10 (Brett Morgen, USA)