Top 10 Films of 2009

This is a dynamic list, so it’ll be updated each time I see a film which had its world premiere in 2009 that is better than at least one of the films already on the list.

  1. Wild Grass (Alain Resnais)
  2. In Comparison (Harun Farocki)
  3. Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)
  4. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
  5. Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu)
  6. Happy End (Jean-Marie & Arnaud Larrieu)
  7. Rapt (Lucas Belvaux)
  8. Ne change rien (Pedro Costa)
  9. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
  10. Hadewijch (Bruno Dumont)


My Top 10 Discoveries During 2009 (applies to films made before the 21st century; obviously, this list will remain static.)

  1. Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)
  2. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
  3. A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)
  4. Where is the Friend’s Home? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)
  5. Cria Cuervos… (Carlos Saura, 1976)
  6. Train of Shadows (José Luis Guerín, 1997)
  7. News From Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977)
  8. The Nun (Jacques Rivette, 1966)
  9. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (Todd Haynes, 1987)
  10. Benilde, or The Virgin Mother (Manoel de Oliveira, 1975)


Other 2009 films I’ve seen (Alphabetical)

  • About Elly (Asghar Farhadi)
  • Act of God (Jennifer Baichwal)
  • After Last Season (Mark Region)
  • Ajami (Yaron Shani & Scandar Copti)
  • Alamar (Pedro González-Rubio)
  • All Fall Down (Philip Hoffman)
  • Amer (Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani)
  • The Anchorage (Anders Edström & C.W. Winter)
  • Antichrist (Lars von Trier)
  • Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette)
  • Art & Copy (Doug Pray)
  • Audition (Nelofer Pazira)
  • Avatar (James Cameron)
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (Werner Herzog)
  • Beeswax (Andrew Bujalski)
  • Best Worst Movie (Michael Stephenson)
  • Bluebeard (Catherine Breillat)
  • The Box (Richard Kelly)
  • Bright Star (Jane Campion)
  • Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodóvar)
  • Brüno (Larry Charles)
  • Call of the Wild (Richard Gabai)
  • Carcasses (Denis Côté)
  • Cat Ladies (Christie Callan-Jones)
  • Chloe (Atom Egoyan)
  • A Christmas Carol (Robert Zemeckis)
  • City of Life and Death (Lu Chuan)
  • Clubland (Eric Geringas)
  • Coraline (Henry Selick)
  • The Cove (Louie Psihoyos)
  • Crab Trap (Oscar Ruiz Navia)
  • Craneway Event (Tacita Dean)
  • Disco and Atomic War (Jaak Kilmi)
  • Disorder (Huang Weikai)
  • District 9 (Neill Blomkamp)
  • Double Take (Johan Grimonprez)
  • Double Tide (Sharon Lockhart)
  • Daniel & Ana (Michel Franco)
  • Drag Me To Hell (Sam Raimi)
  • Duplicity (Tony Gilroy)
  • Eastern Plays (Kamen Kalev)
  • Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (Manoel de Oliveira)
  • Eden is West (Costa-Gavras)
  • Eighteen (Jang Kun-jae)
  • Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé)
  • Everyone Else (Maren Ade)
  • The Exploding Girl (Bradley Rust Gray)
  • Face (Tsai Ming-liang)
  • Farewell (Ditteke Mensink)
  • The Father of My Children (Mia Hansen-Løve)
  • Fig Trees (John Greyson)
  • Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
  • The Forest (Piotr Dumala)
  • 45365 (Bill Ross VI & Turner Ross)
  • Gamer (Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor)
  • General Orders No. 9 (Robert Persons)
  • The Girl on the Train (André Téchiné)
  • The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh)
  • Greetings From the Woods (Mikel Cee Karlsson)
  • The Happiest Girl in the World (Radu Jude)
  • A Hard Name (Alan Zweig)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (David Yates)
  • Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (Serge Bromberg & Ruxandra Medrea)
  • The Hole (Joe Dante)
  • Humpday (Lynn Shelton)
  • I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino)
  • I Am Not Your Friend (György Pálfi)
  • I Killed My Mother (Xavier Dolan)
  • I Love You Phillip Morris (Glenn Ficarra & John Requa)
  • I Shot My Love (Tomer Heymann)
  • I Went To the Zoo the Other Day (Luo Li)
  • In the Loop (Armando Iannucci)
  • Independencia (Raya Martin)
  • The Informant! (Steven Soderbergh)
  • The Invention of Dr. NakaMats (Astrup Schröder)
  • Irene (Alain Cavalier)
  • Jackpot (Alan Black)
  • Kanikôsen (Sabu)
  • Karaoke (Chris Chong Chan Fui)
  • Katalin Varga (Peter Strickland)
  • Kill Daddy Goodnight (Michael Glawogger)
  • Kinatay (Brillante Mendoza)
  • The King of Escape (Alain Guiraudie)
  • La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet (Frederick Wiseman)
  • Lebanon (Samuel Maoz)
  • The Legacy (Bernard Émond)
  • Let Each One Go Where He May (Ben Russell)
  • Letters to Father Jacob (Klaus Härö)
  • Life During Wartime (Todd Solondz)
  • Like You Know it All (Hong Sang-soo)
  • The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
  • Lourdes (Jessica Hausner)
  • The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson)
  • Lula, Son of Brazil (Fábio Barreto & Marcelo Santiago)
  • Mammoth (Lukas Moodysson)
  • Mark (Mike Hoolboom)
  • Milk of Sorrow (Claudia Llosa)
  • Moloch Tropical (Raoul Peck)
  • Moon (Duncan Jones)
  • Mother (Bong Joon-ho)
  • The Mouth of the Wolf (Pietro Marcello)
  • My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (Werner Herzog)
  • No One Knows About Persian Cats (Bahman Ghobadi)
  • Nothing Personal (Urszula Antoniak)
  • Objectified (Gary Hustwit)
  • Optical Illusions (Cristián Jiménez)
  • Oxhide II (Liu Jiayin)
  • Petropolis (Peter Mettler)
  • Polytechnique (Denis Villeneuve)
  • P.opular (Ryan Trecartin)
  • Precious (Lee Daniels)
  • A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
  • Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
  • The Road (John Hillcoat)
  • Ruhr (James Benning)
  • Samson and Delilah (Warwick Tornton)
  • A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen)
  • She, a Chinese (Guo Xiaolu)
  • Soul Kitchen (Fatih Akin)
  • Spring Fever (Lou Ye)
  • Star Trek (J.J. Abrams)
  • Sweet Rush (Andrzej Wajda)
  • Symbol (Hitoshi Matsumoto)
  • Tales From the Golden Age (Hanno Höfer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, & Ioana Uricaru)
  • Tetro (Francis Ford Coppola)
  • The Time That Remains (Elia Suleiman)
  • To Die Like a Man (João Pedro Rodrigues)
  • A Town Called Panic (Stéphane Aubier & Vincent Patar)
  • Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine) – 4.6
  • Unmade Beds (Alexis Dos Santos)
  • Up (Pete Docter)
  • Vincere (Marco Bellocchio)
  • Vision (Margarethe Von Trotta)
  • Waste Land (Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, & João Jardim)
  • Whatever Works (Woody Allen)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
  • Whip it (Drew Barrymore)
  • White Material (Claire Denis)
  • The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
  • The Wind Journeys (Ciro Guerra)
  • The Wolfberg Family (Axelle Ropert)
  • Women Without Men (Shirin Neshat)