The Top 10 Films Of The 21 Century – And Why No.2 Should Have Been No.1
The century’s two best films invite a questioning of the criteria by which any work of art is judged.
Recently, the BBC called upon 177 film critics to establish a list of the best 100 films made in the 21st century, i.e.; after 2000. The complete and detailed results can be found here. But for now we’ll share but the top ten:
- Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
- In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
- There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
- Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
- Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
- The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
- Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
- A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
- No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
Beyond mere personal preferences, the ranking may seem acceptable and consistent. At a glance, both an amateur and a cinephile may agree that these ten films represent an astonishingly high degree of cinematic quality from these past 16 years.
On the website, Quartz, journalist Huang Zheping proposed an interesting point of discussion regarding the two highest ranking films; Mulholland Drive and In the Mood for Love. Both are masterpieces, no doubt. The two are together multiple times in the lists of top five films even among critics who ranked others above them. This seems to suggest that while Mulholland Drive seems to be an unrivalled first for critics of a certain profile, In the Mood for Love might well take the same position if another critical profile is preferred.
In suggesting this, Huang pointed out that of the 177 specialists who participated in the BBC poll, 55 were women (almost a third), and among them, the Wong Kar-wai film won the majority of votes.
Even without reducing the question to gender, Quartz’s reporter notes that the emotions conveyed in In the Mood for Love – a story of infidelity and love between two abandoned spouses – and indeed, the how of that emotions translation to the cinema. In a video essay, another critic, Evan Puschak highlighted scenes from the film in which the protagonists are doubly framed. First, they’re under the proper frame of the film camera and then within another frame within that filmed environment: within a window frame, or reflected in a door. Wong Kar-wai’s direction seems to suggest that infidelity lives secretly, stealthily, delimited by both social and individual morality.
Is it possible to explain Mulholland Drive with that same simplicity?
It’s been said that art doesn’t have to be simple. But if we’re to expound on the criteria of a new century, might it not be worth questioning this and other premises?
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now