Sight and Sound, the esteemed monthly film magazine published by the British Film Institute, has unveiled the top twenty films of 2015. Compiled by 168 film critics from around the globe, the list is an impressive array of art films, international titles and even a few Hollywood blockbusters that nonetheless represent a highly eclectic read of the cinematic landscape throughout the past year- George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road scored very well.
However it the Taiwanese drama The Assassin (directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien of Flight of the Red Balloon fame) that topped the list overall. The Assassin opened in the United States in mid-October and is Taiwan’s official Oscar submission– the film won the Best Director prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Carol, Todd Haynes’ critically beloved period romance placed second on the Sight and Sound poll- that film is currently heating up art house theaters in the US and will expand gradually throughout the month. It was Miller’s grandiose epic Fury Road that took the third spot- a coup that may bode well for the films’ possible (if seemingly unfathomable) awards prospects as critics start handing out their end of the year prizes and publishing individual top ten lists. While many titles on the list may be of the more opaque variety, Sight and Sound did include a few other films that should be familiar to the less cinephilic (including the documentary Amy, Charlie Kaufman’s upcoming stop-motion film Anomalisa and the Pixar blockbuster Inside Out.
Sight and Sound began in 1932. The film magazine famously rounds up international critics once every decade and publishes a poll for the best film ever made. For fifty years, the Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane prevailed as the top scoring film. However, the latest poll (published in 2012) in a somewhat surprising turn, it was Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo that jumped out ahead with Kane forced to settle for second place. We will have to wait until 2022 to see the next Sight and Sound showdown for best film ever honors. In the meantime, check out their list of the twenty best films of the 2015.
1. The Assassin (directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
2. Carol (directed by Todd Haynes)
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (directed by George Miller)
4. Arabian Nights (directed by Miguel Gomes)
5. Cemetery of Splendor (directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
6. No Home Movie (directed by Chantal Akerman)
7. 45 Years (directed by Andrew Haigh)
8. Son of Saul (directed by László Nemes)
9= Amy (directed by Asif Kapadia)
9= Inherent Vice (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson)
11= Anomalisa (directed by Charlie Kaufman)
11= It Follows (directed by David Robert Mitchell)
13. Phoenix (directed by Christian Petzold)
14= Girlhood (directed by Céline Sciamma)
14= Hard to Be Good (directed by Aleksei German)
14= Inside Out (directed by Pete Docter)
14= Tangerine (directed by Sean Baker)
14= Taxi Tehran (directed by Jafar Panahi)
19= Horse Money (directed by Pedro Costa)
19= The Look of Silence (directed by Joshua Oppenheimer)