Poll: Chinese Films of the Decade

Running on Karma (dir. Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai) Over on the dGenerate Films website, the results of weeks of emailing Chinese film experts and tabulating of ballots to determined the top Chinese language films of the last 10 years. I'm kind of whateverz about the top pick, which I've reflected upon already, but I think results are quite interesting. I didn't expect West of the Tracks to place so highly, and didn't realize Devils on the Doorstep had so much support as well. But the showing for Oxhide was truly amazing - and heartening. I still need to write at length what I think about that film as well as it's equally astounding sequel.

I didn't submit a top ten list to the poll to avoid conflict of interest, but for what it's worth here's what mine would have looked like:

Before the Flood (Yu Yan and Li Yifan) Crime and Punishment (Zhao Liang) - still waiting to see Petition though Hero (Zhang Yimou) Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow) Oxhide (Liu Jiayin) Platform (Jia Zhangke) Running on Karma (Johnnie To and Wa Ka-Fai) The Wayward Cloud (Tsai Ming-liang) West of the Tracks (Wang Bing) - sort of the 800 pound gorilla whose massiveness can't be denied Yi Yi (Edward Yang)

See what everyone else voted by going here

Top 50 of the '00s (as seen on Twitter)

For those not following, here's the rundown: 50: ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (04 McKay) The purest, most protean offering from the Judd Apatow juggernaut. 49: HERO ('02, Zhang) Up there with TRIUMPH OF THE WILL among great propaganda movies. (The '08 Olympic ceremonies could have this spot 2) 48: CACHE. Former #1 of '05 4 me, but I've lost interest in Haneke's puppet-stringing along of his audience no matter how masterful 47: WOMAN ON THE BEACH (06) My favorite Hong Sang-soo film b/c it goes furthest beyond the psychosexual self-flagellation of prickish males 46: WEST OF THE TRACKS (04 Wang Bing) The SHOAH or SATANTANGO of the '00s? Europe/Asia say yes, US has no clue - I'm somewhere in between 45 KUNG FU HUSTLE (04) Not as deliriously funny as Chow's 90s work but more consistent, world audience-friendly, and still crazy inventive 44 GRIZZLY MAN (05 Herzog) Rarely has a filmmaker revealed so much of himself (boorishly & brilliantly) by sifting through another's work 43 WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE (06) 25th HOUR is great, but Spike Lee's 4 hr Katrina doc is like a Mahler symphony: 1 long cumulating heartbreak 42 BEFORE THE FLOOD (05 Yan Yu, Li Yifan) docu inspiration for STILL LIFE, w/o the arthouse dressing. Sometimes raw is better than cooked. 41 PAPRIKA (06 Satoshi Kon) like an anime Cronenberg movie, and even more chockfull of animation styles than SPIRITED AWAY 40: MOOLAADE (04 Sembene) A feel-good movie on female genital mutilation: one of many contradictions from this African JOHNNY GUITAR 39 FOUR MONTHS THREE WEEKS AND TWO DAYS (07 Mungiu) The terrifying splendor of claustrophobic long takes. 38 ESTHER KAHN (00) Less multitasking/audience-pleasing, more focused/iconoclastic than Desplechin's more touted films. Sinuous + defiant 37 THE HURT LOCKER (09 Bigelow) thoroughly exploits the paradox of its premise. War = cinema = traumatic high 4ever beckoning 36 WALL-E (08) My favorite Pixar film of the decade; their most purely cinematic achievement, at times approaching a musical formalism 35 RUSSIAN ARK (02) Yes it's a stunt, but it pushed digital cinema to uncharted territory. The last 5 minutes always takes my breath away. 34 MY ARCHITECT (03 Nathaniel Kahn) Essay on architecture woven into a heartfelt father-son dialogue. The final scene in Dhaka DESTROYED me 33 THE GLEANERS AND I (00 Varda) timely theme of recycling thoroughly explored to become a manifesto for living, seeing and filmmaking 32 HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (04 Miyazaki) Prefer this to SPIRITED AWAY - narrative more vibrant and disruptive, sentiments more adult. 31 BORAT (06 Larry Charles) Many arguments for, many against. Ultimately, I laughed my ass off more than any other film in 2000s. 30 THE CLASS (08 Cantet) One of the smartest, most energetic and immersive depictions of institutional education among fiction films. 29 JACKASS NUMBER TWO (06) The most meta Hollywood comedy of 2000s, exposing desperation and terror behind the endless pursuit of laughs 28) CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (07 Zhao Liang) 1 of the best Frederick Wiseman docs not directed by Wiseman. 1 of the best police movies period. 27 BEESWAX (09 Bujalski) Transcends "mumblecore" - too busy peeling away the intricacies of language to be bothered with labels. 26 PEPPERMINT CANDY (2000, Lee Chang-dong) Like diving headlong into a festering national wound. Absolutely devastating. 25 TAKE CARE OF MY CAT (01 Jeong Jae-eun) Sublime chronicle of pre-adult friendships fading - if only Hollywood teen movies were this good. 24 VIBRATOR (03 Hiroki Ryuichi) Of the many films about the malaise that hit 2000s Japan, this one was the most fun and inventive. 23 BATTLE IN HEAVEN (05 Reygadas) A camera that dances like a needle, sinuously weaving together the disparate patches of a society 22 HAPPY GO LUCKY (08 Leigh) Has serotonin levels rivalling MGM musicals, but also thoughtful reflection on social politics of happiness 21 MILLION DOLLAR BABY (04) Forget Paul Haggis' script - it's just a vehicle for Eastwood's determinist battle waged in light and shadow. 20 THE CENTURY OF THE SELF (02) Adam Curtis may be England's answer to Michael Moore; but this treatise on human desire is worthy of Bunuel 19 THERE WILL BE BLOOD (07) My favorite movie with a capital M this decade. My tastes so different from 10 yrs ago (MAGNOLIA my #1 then) 18 THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX ('09) a deceptively breezy, anthropomorphic masterpiece that dares to dance upon humankind's self-made tomb. 17 BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE (00 Bong Joon-ho) Comically obsessive, socially incisive. Set the template for Korea's best director of 2000s. 16 MIAMI VICE (05 Mann) For me this was the film that advanced digital cinematic art into Hollywood filmmaking (or vice versa) Romantic trifecta: 15) EVERYONE ELSE (09 Ade), 14) BEFORE SUNSET (04 Linklater) 13) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (04 Gondry) 12) THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU (05 Christi Puiu) Romanian health care = Dante's Inferno. When's the US remake? Oh yeah, we're living it. 11) THE WAYWARD CLOUD (05 Tsai Ming-liang) Can't think of a braver, more inventive film about sex and movies. So darkly candid it hurts. 10) BY COMPARISON (09 Harun Farocki) Film on how bricks are made around the world becomes a stunning probe into humankind's destiny. 9) BAMAKO (06 Sissako) The world put on trial for Africa's cultural genocide. Witness "reclamation cinema," scathing and serenely eloquent 8: L'INTRUS (04 Claire Denis) the ultimate anti-Tom Friedman book: the world ain't flat, it's got as many curves as your dreams and fears. 7) LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF (03 Thom Andersen) Had a profound influence on my own criticism/filmmaking - I can only hope to be as good. 6) YI YI (00 Edward Yang) The best instance of the decade's worst subgenre, the multi-character globalization drama. All downhill from here. 5) A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (01 Spielberg)http://bit.ly/BRnqg 4) PLATFORM (00 Jia Zhang-ke) http://bit.ly/8Vd7qL 3) OXHIDE (04) and OXHIDE II (09). Liu Jiayin turns mom, dad and their tiny apartment into 2 experimental yet heartfelt Cinemascope epics 2) WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? (01 Pedro Costa) The best documentary AND romantic comedy of the decade.http://bit.ly/7rZsgv 1) THE MAD SONGS OF FERNANDA HUSSEIN (01 John Gianvito) Changed my view on the meaning of movies like no other film. http://bit.ly/5bH98L

Stay tuned for a podcast between me and another critic who shares my choice for #1...