1. Holy Motors
Director: Leos Carax
2. The Master
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
3. Moonrise Kingdom
Director: Wes Anderson
4. This Is Not a Film
Directors: Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
5. Amour
Director: Michael Haneke
6. The Turin Horse
Director: Béla Tarr
7. The Kid With a Bike
Directors: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
8. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
9. Lincoln
Director: Steven Spielberg
10. Zero Dark Thirty
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Rankings #11 – #20

11. Tabu, Director: Miguel Gomes
12. The Deep Blue Sea, Director: Terence Davies
13. Bernie, Director: Richard Linklater
14. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Director: Benh Zeitlin
15. Cosmopolis, Director: David Cronenberg
16. Barbara, Director: Christian Petzold
17. The Loneliest Planet, Director: Julia Loktev
18. Silver Linings Playbook, Director: David O. Russell
19. Oslo, August 31st, Director: Joachim Trier
20. Neighboring Sounds, Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho

Rankings #21 – #30

21. Django Unchained, Director: Quentin Tarantino
22. Almayer’s Folly, Director: Chantal Akerman
23. Magic Mike, Director: Steven Soderbergh
24. Argo, Director: Ben Affleck
25. Attenberg, Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
26. The Color Wheel, Director: Alex Ross Perry
27. Rust and Bone, Director: Jacques Audiard
28. Killer Joe, Director: William Friedkin
29. Looper, Director: Rian Johnson
30. Life of Pi, Director: Ang Lee

Rankings #31 – #40

31. A Man Vanishes, Director: Shohei Imamura
32. Skyfall, Director: Sam Mendes
33. The Gatekeepers, Director: Dror Moreh
34. Elena, Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev
35. Haywire, Director: Steven Soderbergh
36. Damsels in Distress, Director: Whit Stillman
37. Abendland, Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
38. Two Years at Sea, Director: Ben Rivers
39. How to Survive a Plague, Director: David France
40. Keep the Lights On, Director: Ira Sachs

Rankings #41 – #50

41. A Burning Hot Summer, Director: Philippe Garrel
42. Miss Bala, Director: Gerardo Naranjo
43. Footnote, Director: Joseph Cedar
44. Compliance, Director: Craig Zobel
45. Alps, Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
46. Kill List, Director: Ben Wheatley
47. Farewell, My Queen, Director: Benoît Jacquot
48. In Another Country, Director: Hong Sang-soo
49. The Dark Knight Rises, Director: Christopher Nolan
50. The Day He Arrives, Director: Hong Sang-soo

1. Our Children
Director: Joachim Lafosse
2. Memories Look at Me
Director: Song Fang
3. First Cousin Once Removed
Director: Alan Berliner
4. When Night Falls
Director: Ying Liang
5. Bwakaw
Director: Jun Robles Lana
6. Gebo and the Shadow
Director: Manoel de Oliveira
7. differently, Molussia
Director: Nicolas Rey
8. Perret in France and Algeria
Director: Heinz Emigholz
9. The Extravagant Shadows
Director: David Gatten
10. Three Sisters
Director: Wang Bing

Rankings #11 – #20

11. Dormant Beauty, Director: Marco Bellocchio
12. Far From Afghanistan, Directors: John Gianvito, Travis Wilkerson, Jon Jost, Minda Martin & Soon-Mi Yoo
13. Camille Rewinds, Director: Noémie Lvovsky
14. Wadjda, Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
15. Greatest Hits, Director: Nicolás Pereda
16. small roads, Director: James Benning
17. Everybody in Our Family, Director: Radu Jude
18. Shepard and Dark, Director: Treva Wurmfeld
19. Hannah Arendt, Director: Margarethe von Trotta
20. Araf: Somewhere in Between, Director: Yesim Ustaoglu

Rankings #21 – #30

21. Thursday Through Sunday, Director: Dominga Sotomayor
22. Goodbye, Director: Mohammad Rasoulof
23. After Lucia, Director: Michel Franco
24. Reconversão, Director: Thom Andersen
25. Kon-Tiki , Directors: Joachim Roenning & Espen Sandberg
26. Tiger Tail in Blue, Director: Frank V. Ross
and Traveling Light, Director: Gina Telaroli (TIE)
28. Sun Don’t Shine, Director: Amy Seimetz
and Postcards from the Zoo , Director: Edwin (TIE)
and 3, Director: Pablo Stoll (TIE)

Rankings #31 – #40

31. The Invisible Ones, Director: Sebastien Lifshitz
32. Everyday, Director: Michael Winterbottom
33. Twilight Portrait, Director: Angelina Nikonova
and Age Is…, Director: Stephen Dwoskin (TIE)
35. The Strawberry Tree, Director: Simone Rapisarda Casanova
36. Here and There, Director: Antonio Mendez Esparza
and Louise Wimmer, Director: Cyril Mennegun (TIE)
38. Outrage Beyond, Director: Takeshi Kitano
39. Back to Stay, Director: Milagros Mumenthaler
and The Final Member, Directors: Jonah Bekhor & Zach Math (TIE)

Rankings #41 – #50

41. Kinshasa Kids , Director: Marc-Henri Wajnberg
and The War, Director: James Benning (TIE)
and Nights with Theodore, Director: Sébastien Betbeder (TIE)
44. The Minister, Director: Pierre Schöller
45. Celluloid Man, Director: Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
and Gangs of Wasseypur, Director: Anurag Kashyap (TIE)
47. The Dead Man and Being Happy, Director: Javier Rebollo
and The Invader, Director: Nicolas Provost (TIE)
and Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, Director:Laurence Cantet (TIE)
50. Donoma, Director: Djinn Carrenard

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  • 1 and 2 are spot on.

  • Any list with The Turin Horse on it is doing right by me!

  • Aragorn

    I wonder when there will be a posting about Detroit Film Critics’ Awards…Is it because Detroit is not important enough or simply because of their choices???

  • Every year when they publish their list I always feel just a tiny bit inadequate when it comes to keeping up with film. I’ve only seen half of this list! Slightly less than half, actually.

  • ethel charles

    Thrilled that Turin Horse made the list to elevate it’s profile. Altho a wonderful film it’s ghastly dull. A wondrous sedative for those with sleep issues. This one’ll put right down in no time!

    Holy Motors is a weird one isn’t folks. Interesting and terrifically silly stuff. If you see it, do so high.

  • I linked this earlier re: Detroit, Aragorn. It probably just wasn’t noticed.

  • steve50

    They had me until I saw Magic Mike rated higher than Argo, Life of Pi, and How to Survive a Plague

  • steve50

    (got interrupted)

    …other than that, damn good list.

  • kasper

    Holy Motors, The Master, and Turin Horse will probably make my personal top ten. I STILL haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty though.

  • Tony

    Jesus Christ, i saw The Turin Horse in September 2011, watched The Kid With A Bike and Once Upon A Time In Anatolia in November 2011!!!Interesting… Therefore my #1 movie of 2012 is “Synecdoche, New York” ’cause i watched it last Saturday. I feel superior now 😉

  • steve50

    Yikes! Checked out Paddy’s link for Detroit Critics winners – looks like they were only allowed to see 3 films this past year.

  • Radich

    I knew I could trust Film Comment with this task. 🙂

  • PaulH

    My guess is Film Comment is possibly not from our neck of the woods. An overseas group, perhaps?

  • Film Comment, Paul. The most prestigious and literate film magazine in America.

    Film Comment
    published by the Film Society of Lincoln Center
    Central Park West

    Not foreigners, Paul. Just dozens of well-educated people who aren’t afraid of subtitles.

  • rufussondheim

    You’ve heard of Manhattan, Paul? If you’re not sure, it’s the place where the red clam chowder comes from.

  • Bridgie James Rosenthal

    Great list as always…
    There are surprise omissions however (All are official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar submissions).

    1. Beyond the Hills
    Director: Cristian Mongiu

    2. Fill the Void
    Director: Rama Burshtein

    3. Pieta
    Director: Ki-duk Kim

    4. A Royal Affair
    Director: Nikolaj Arcel

    5. War Witch (Rebelle)
    Director: Kim Nguyen

    Interestingly, these have won awards in the three major filmfests this year (Cannes for …Hills; Berlin for War Witch and …Affair; and Venice for Pieta and Fill the Void.

  • PaulH

    OK, then; my bad. I thought it resided in the UK, specifically. Thanks for clarifying that 🙂

  • Houstonrufus

    Fantastic list.

  • Great to see my own #1 film, THE TURIN HORSE prominently on this list.

  • K. Bowen

    The list has my two favorite so far – The Master and Moonrise Kingdom – at the top of its list. Haven’t seen Holy Motors yet.

    And at least someone hasn’t forgotten Damsels in Distress.

    Although they did forget Killing Them Softly, imperfect as it is.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    If you want to know what foreign films to watch, Film Comment is a pretty good answer there. This is the kind of American movie magazine I could see myself subscribing. American Cinematographer and Film Score Monthly, too. I did get Premiere (American version) for a few years a long long time ago. From UK, Empire is fun to read, because it’s so silly.

  • ethel charles

    I too am surprised by their omission of Beyond the Hills given how ambitiously dull this one is, particularly when one thinks of 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, 1 minute and 0 seconds.

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