With 2013 drawing to a close, we have compiled the annual Picturehouse Top 5 Films of the Year. The rules were pretty strict for the survey. Only films released theatrically in 2013 could be voted for. This meant ruling out films screened at festivals and as yet unreleased, DVD-only titles, and artists’ film and video. These parameters were obviously needed to make some sense of it all and avoid total chaos.
The survey was thrown open to cinema staff for the first time, 56 people participated and a whopping 75 films were voted for at least once, compared with 49 films last year.
Thirty of the 75 films received just one vote; 14 received two votes; and six received six votes. With these 50 films taken out of the running, 25 films were left sharing the remainder of the votes. Six of those 25 received four votes each; three received five; and six received six. This left a neat top ten remaining films, with the qualifier that two of them shared their position, making for a top eight breakdown.
Sharing joint eighth place with seven votes each were American indies MUD and BEFORE MIDNIGHT. At seventh place, with eight votes, was controversial thriller ONLY GOD FORGIVES, Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to DRIVE, incidentally our top film of 2011. Then in joint sixth place, equally epic dramas THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES and BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR shared ten votes apiece.
This left the final top five. GRAVITY was the clear winner with a third of the votes and there was some tight competition for the remaining places as follows.
1.) GRAVITY (Alfonso Cuarón, UK/USA) (30 votes, 33%)
2.) FRANCES HA (Noah Baumbach, USA) (18 votes, 20%)
3.) STOKER (Park Chan-wook, USA) (16 votes, 17%)
4.) THE ACT OF KILLING (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/UK) (15 votes, 16%)
5.) DJANGO UNCHAINED (Quentin Tarantino, USA) (13 votes, 14%)
Here’s a helpful graphic of the 75 films voted for with the size of text reflecting the number of votes.
Of the 75 films voted for in the survey, eight were documentaries (11%); 15 were foreign-language titles (20%); 12 were saturation releases (16%); and only three were directed solely by women, although two were co-directed by women (LEVIATHAN and CLOUD ATLAS). Two of the eventual top five went out on saturation release via major studios, one went wide from a major, and the remaining two went out on comparatively limited release from indie distributors.
Four were American films in the English language, only one could be described as a comedy, one was a documentary and three feature strong female characters facing up to crisis. Both FRANCES HA and STOKER would safely pass the Bechdel test, while the fact that Sandra Bullock overcomes the threat of certain death in space is surely testament to the girl power of GRAVITY and the Top 5 as a whole. Although DJANGO UNCHAINED perhaps less so.
As a sidebar OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN was a strong player in the ‘guilty pleasure’ category.
As with last year it was great to see a diversity of taste at play, and the increase of adored films this year only bodes well for another exciting year of cinema in 2014.