6. The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) -Italy/France - Italian. Directed by Paolo Sorrentino. An insanely gorgeous film which at time feels as though it's almost a novel in it's scope (Proustian, even). Every Italian film that tries to capture the sense of the time risks being compared to Fellini. And the Fellinian feel is in this film as well, capturing the era of Berlusconi's Italy. And like Berlusconi's Italy the film has to be darker than earlier Italian films, and so becomes an inspection of hedonism and emptiness. Quite a bleak film for all it's gorgeousness and very memorable.
7. Stories We Tell - Canada - English. Directed by Sarah Polley. It's been a good year for documentaries. Hard to say much about this without giving it away but it is a beautifully shot film with a masterful documentation of things not being what they seem to be. An autobiographical look at family stories and secrets, very subtly done as is everything from Polley, who might be one of the best young film-makers in the Western Hemishpere. An inspection of truth and perception.
8. 12 Years a Slave- UK/USA - English. Directed by Steve McQueen. Very difficult to watch,as should be expected from McQueen since both Shame and Hunger are films that if you never saw them again would remain in your head. This is the same, because it's very hard to stomach because of the seeming realness and rawness of emotion helped in no small part by wonderful performances by Ejiofor, Nyong'o and Fassbender. I think this film should be on the list of must-see films, not the 'must-see cause it's cinematic magic', though it is; but because it's essential, thought-provoking cinema.
9. Blue is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d'Adele- Chapitres 1&2) -France/Belguim/Spain- French. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. One of the most talked about films of the year due to long and graphic sex scenes (prompting still ongoing debates on social media about visualization and representation of cunnilingus in cinema. In social media of people who watch good films anyway cause most people here aren't aware the film exists). A raw, rollercoaster of emotions of love during teenage years, wonderfully acted by Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux. The director has a very minimalist approach so you get the feeling of actually seeing a brilliant story unfold its cache of anger, lust, love and sorrow.
10. Gravity - UK/US- English. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. A director with extremely wide range, he can probably make good movies about anything (Re: Y tu Mama Tambien; Children of Men; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). The director gets a lot of credit as does the acting of Sandra Bullock otherwise this film could have been less a worryingly tense thriller and an Atari-ish passage of floating around and dodging objects. I usually don't like 3D films but when they're done like this the effect is cinematic magic, with visuals unlike anything I've ever seen on screen before. This film is a redefining one like Terminator was for visual effects.