Just realised I hadn't made a favourites list for last year's releases so here it is, albeit a bit late. It really was a strong year for film and also a strong year for British cinema even though the recent Oscar nominations seem to show quite the opposite.
1. The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick's film makes for an unforgettable experience whether you loved or hated it, there certainly aren't many in between. It is an audacious, boundary pushing masterpiece that operates on both an epic and an intimate scale. A film of limitless beauty filled with excellent child performances and a stellar Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain. The Tree of Life is my film of 2011.
2. The Artist
This surprise silent hit is just as touching as it is daring. A film lover's dream and an incredibly moving story of such simplicity it seems almost effortless. The Artist just breezes along and sweeps you away with its charm (mostly helped by lead Jean Dujardin's oozing charisma). The Artist doesn't signify a new wave of silent pictures through a new found love of the era, it is a story shown through a medium that tells its story best. What The Artist does signify however, is that filmmakers are still taking huge risks that in this case have well and truly paid off, because after all through his courage and determination Michel Hazanavicius has delivered the most purely enjoyable film of the year.
3. Dreams of a Life
Nothing quite moved me like this British documentary did last year. This story of modern living and alienation is a must see for everyone. Dreams of a Life is an earth shatteringly affecting film that shows just how close we can come to being forgotten, even in these times of mass communication much loved people can slip off the map and disappear. When the credits rolled I was frozen stiff at the story of Joyce Vincent's tragic end.
4. Le Quattro Volte
This unique Italian film about a dying elderly goat farmer covers the frailty of life but also the beauty of it and its circular nature. Of course this leans towards Buddhism and reincarnation but no matter what your creed is, it won't stop this film from blowing you away.
A complete surprise hit and a sure cult classic in the making - Drive sees director Nicolas Winding Refn at the top of his game with the help of a very fine cast. A pure B-Movie at heart, this ultra violent fairy tale of boy saves girl is a rare cinematic delight that's hard to define why, because on paper it really shouldn't be this good.