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 (2020 premiere)

01. The Killing of Two Lovers (Robert Machoian, USA)
02. French Exit (Azazel Jacobs, USA)
03. The Nest (Sean Durkin, UK/Canada)
04. Enemies of the State (Sonia Kennebeck, USA)
05. Short Vacation (Kwon Min-pyo & Seo Han-sol, South Korea)
06. Red, White and Blue (Steve McQueen, UK)
07. Tenet (Christopher Nolan, USA/UK)
08. Shithouse (Cooper Raiff, USA)
09. The American Sector (Courtney Stephens & Pacho Velez, USA)
10. Dick Johnson Is Dead (Kirsten Johnson, USA)

THE "POLLS" LIST (2020 commercial "release"; includes streaming)

01. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, USA)
02. A White, White Day (Hlynur Pálmason, Denmark/Iceland/Sweden)
03. French Exit (Azazel Jacobs, USA)
04. The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack, USA)
05. The Nest (Sean Durkin, UK/Canada)
06. Fourteen (Dan Sallitt, USA)
07. Red, White and Blue (Steve McQueen, UK)
08. Tenet (Christopher Nolan, USA/UK)
09. Shithouse (Cooper Raiff, USA)
10. Dick Johnson Is Dead (Kirsten Johnson, USA)