ScreenAnarchy's Best of 2012: Most Memorable Scenes

Contributor; Seattle, Washington
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ScreenAnarchy's Best of 2012: Most Memorable Scenes

In 2012, the ScreenAnarchy family has grown even more global. With a line-up of contributors that stretches right around the planet, we've had the means to see a huge proportion of the new films that have emerged in the past 12 months from some of the world's most far-flung regions - and we want to tell you all about them! Whether they be the ones we love, the ones we hate, or all those that fall somewhere in between, we want to share. 

So enjoy ScreenAnarchy's Most Memorable Scenes of 2012!


Todd Brown - Founder and editor

Hellfjord - A horse dies, Todd laughs (and cries, maybe?)

The horse death in Hellfjord. It's this enormously funny, very deeply wrong moment that also manages to play as weirdly tragic.


Ryland Aldrich - Festivals Editor

Holy Motors - Take your pick

While it's pretty hard to forget Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" performance, I don't think I can actually get away with mentioning Les Misérables on the ScreenAnarchy end-of-year list. Therefore, my vote goes to just about any scene in Leos Carax's Holy Motors. The most memorable is perhaps the troll scene because it is the first time in the film when you really ask yourself "What the fuck is happening?!" Both the accordion interlude and the scene with Kylie Minogue are both incredible as well. Suffice to say, Holy Motors is a film well worth tracking down.

James Marsh - Asian Editor

Holy Motors (dir. Leos Carax) - "Let My Baby Ride"

Denis Levant leads an accordion-fuelled rendition of "Let My Baby Ride" through the bowels of a deserted church in Leos Carax's Holy Motors. Trois! Douze! Merde!

You can watch the scene below.

Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg - Contributing Writer

Holy Motors (dir. Leos Carax) - Accordion time (also The Master gets released)

This is a tie, between the accordion band interval in Holy Motors, and from The Master, the confrontation between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams in the bathroom. For the former, it is strange in an already strange film, and yet acts as a kind of purging of the mental imagery of the first half of the film, a cleansing that will allow you to plunge deeper and darker. It will make you want to keep the clip (which can be watched below) bookmarked for those strange moments in life when you don't have an answer at the ready. For the latter, (and those who have seen the film will know what I'm talking about,) it shows you just who the Master really is, and why. It also shows that Adams is capable of being far more than a quirky sidekick.


Ben Umstead - East Coast Editor

Holy Motors (dir. Leos Carax) - Opening scene

Never did I feel such a potent combination of elation and contemplation on the big screen in 2012 than I did when I looked up from my seat and saw from the other end of the looking glass a sleeping movie audience laid out in almost perfect symmetry to my own. Though I was fully engaged, and very much delighted at the title shot for Leos Carax's triumphant return to feature films, what a mystifying reflection of sorts this was. Unfolding like a surrealist chamber play taking place entirely inside Carax's own psyche, Holy Motors' opening scene also features an old dog lumbering the aisle of the slumbering theater, the nubile light of a tottering cherub, and Carax himself as the man who wakes to what may perhaps be the last and also first night at the movies. Whimsical, curious and ruminative in tone, it is an opening that does more than hint at the greatness to come, it solidifies it right out of the gate.


Kwenton Bellette - Contributing Writer

The Land of Hope (dir. Sion Sono) - A harrowing trip to the beach

I did not like Sion Sono's The Land of Hope. The post-trauma films coming out of Japan are almost unbearably painful to watch. This is a shame because I revel in Sono's anarchistic socio-political commentary. The Land of Hope is set just a town is abandoned following a nuclear reactor meltdown, and this particular story concerns the siblings of a family that move away, while the mother and father stay behind, possibly to die. It is a story not only about the nationwide tension and unease, but also the personal struggles in such extreme circumstances, as well as the value of family. It is a hard watch, but the final scene of the couple on a beach (she is expecting a child) is quite simply terrifying and unforgettable. It is not visceral or physical in any way, and I would hate to spoil it, but the mood of the scene moves through paranoia and the "invisible death" of nuclear fallout and radiation to utter stark and hopeless realization.


Joshua Chaplinsky - Contributing Writer

Killer Joe (dir. William Friedkin) - Kentucky Fried fellatio

There wasn't a more horrifying, audacious, degrading, hysterical, shocking, or - dare I say - erotic scene all year. It really evoked a conflicting mélange of emotions within me. Is it weird that every time I smell Popeye's I now think of Matthew McConaughey? I love that William Friedkin still has the balls to make this kind of film at his age. It makes sense, though. You can't spell "fried chicken" without "Friedkin."


Brian Clark - European Editor

The Grey (dir. Joe Carnahan) - The plane crash

While most of this year's memorable film scenes were in Holy Motors, I'm giving this prize to the masterful plane crash scene in The Grey. Besides the fact that the scene is horrifying, intense and will probably haunt me on every plane trip for the rest of my life, its pacing mirrors the bleak thematic territory of the rest of the movie quite well. On first watch, the way Joe Carnahan builds from the turbulence to relief and eventually to the actual crash seems calculated simply to sustain the audience's dread and give the event itself maximum impact.

But really, the relief during the moments leading up to the crash comes from the passengers rather than anything tangible. They all seem to feel relatively safe until the last moment. They feel that they are meant to live, that someone (be it the pilot or the Universe) is looking out for them. This is, of course, not the case. As the film goes on, various characters surmise that perhaps they miraculously survived the crash for a reason, that maybe the Universe has work left for them to do. Once again, not the case.

With so many movies structured around the idea that everything happens for a reason, that the Universe has some sort of order that brings destined lovers together and saves the protagonist, the plane crash scene, along with the rest of the film, offers a refreshing reality check.


Jason Gorber - Contributing Writer

Looper (dir. Rian Johnson) - Grasping at straws

One reason I love Looper so much is the "straws" scene, it's just such a beautifully economical way of winking at the audience, and doing so without being obnoxious.


Peter Gutiérrez - Contributing Writer

After Lucia (dir. Michel Franco) - The water surges

Would I be messing with you too much if I said that the single most memorable moment in the cinematic year of 2012 occurred during Madagascar 3? Well, it's true. A few of the kooky little animals are exploring a spooky setting that, as far as I can recall, is part of a rundown circus... or something (yeah, I'm hazy on the details, I know). Creepy props and menacing shadows are all over the place - and then suddenly, to top it off, we hear an Argento-era Morricone-esque high-pitched "La... la... la" song, the kind that raises gooseflesh and keeps it raised. But then there's a downward pan and we see that this isn't part of the score, but ambient - one of the kooky little animals is actually, and innocently, singing "La la la." The moment is so gratuitous, so unexpected, and so well executed, that I defy you to show it to giallo fans and bet on them not cracking up.

All right, that tee-up for the most memorable scene was too long, I know. But that's okay because I actually don't want to spill too many details about Michel Franco's superb, Haneke-like After Lucia in case you haven't seen it: the film sports some highly effective shocks. The scene in question concerns a teenage girl being coerced by classmates to take a late-night dip in the ocean to clean herself off, while they decide to follow her in, laughing and joking. With everything captured in a single, very long take, we see this character disappear into the dark, surging water in a way that echoes everything from the ending of Kate Chopin's The Awakening to that of Coming Home...yet nonetheless manages to come across as real, unforced, arresting. Maybe that's why I'm still thinking about it.


Kurt Halfyard - Contributing Writer

Moonrise Kingdom - Romance on the beach

Jared Gilman (Sam) in Moonrise Kingdom piercing Kara Hayward's (Suzy) ear with a fish-hook stands for the most succinct and original way to show the loss of virginity on screen, perhaps since the inception of the medium! The wince, the telltale trickle of blood. Metaphoric bliss.


J Hurtado - Contributing Writer

Agneepath - When eunuchs attack!

The eunuch attack in Agneepath is the first thing that comes to mind in this category, although all of the runners up in my head also come from Indian films. At one point in Karan Malhotra's stunning debut feature, the villainous Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor) abducts our hero's younger sister and attempts to sell her on the steps of the city's plaza. He is foiled by an attack by Vijay Dinanath Chauhan and his army of hijras (eunuchs), all carrying machetes and guns. If that doesn't catch your eye, I don't know what will. In the three times I've seen the film this year, it never fails to get a hearty fist pump out of me.


Ard Vijn - Contributing Writer

Eega - "A fly prepares"

A film I really loved this year was Eega, the story of a man who is killed by a gangster and is then reincarnated as a fly. With some help from his girlfriend, he then embarks on a campaign to avenge his death. Words fail me to describe how utterly awesome parts of this film are. The battles between the increasingly stressed-out gangster and his tiny, persistent nemesis are filmed like John Woo's bullet ballets, and if I had to make a top 10 of most memorable scenes this year, Eega would score several entries on that list.

But one sticks out: a fantastic montage of failed assassination attempts, intercut with a training montage which shows the fly doing exercises to get stronger, faster, better.
Thankfully I own Eega now on Blu-ray, and have been able to re-re-re-re-watch this sequence at will. The animation of the fly is so well done, the effects great, the action exciting and the jokes hilarious. The Eega training montage is perfect Cinema and nothing less, making it a worthy number one for most memorable scene of 2012.

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More about ScreenAnarchy Best of 2012

Todd BrownJanuary 1, 2013 1:16 PM

Alright, I give in. Where can I get a bluray of Eega?

mortis rexJanuary 1, 2013 1:43 PM

"The animation of the fly is so well done"

Was Eega the first movie with cgi you ever saw or something? The cgi looks plain awfull, like Plasystation 1 graphics; horribly outdated!!! Cool movie, terrible cgi.

JoshJanuary 1, 2013 2:03 PM

I reviewed it, boss. There are always links attached ;P

Todd BrownJanuary 1, 2013 2:13 PM

Ugh. Reading is for chumps. Which is why I just read ahead to your best Indian flicks list nd bought half of the titles on there, too.

JoshJanuary 1, 2013 2:56 PM

Fuck yeah!

mightyjoeyoungJanuary 1, 2013 5:59 PM

"Jared Gilman (Sam) in Moonrise Kingdom piercing Kara Hayward's (Suzy) ear with a fish-hook stands for the most succinct and original way to show the loss of virginity on screen, perhaps since the inception of the medium! The wince, the telltale trickle of blood. Metaphoric bliss."
I must have been asleep when that scene ocurred, Mr Halfyard......damn it...well, well, I guess that´s why one should read these kind of lists....hahahhahahh....thanks for the list Twitch Crew.

Ard VijnJanuary 1, 2013 8:11 PM

Animation and cgi are two different things.
I'll agree the actual rendering could have been better in places (although it certainly was OK-ish overall, and never distractingly bad) but the way the fly moves and "acts" is absolutely fantastic.

PeterKapowJanuary 1, 2013 10:43 PM

Lincoln has the greatest shot of the year. It's a rack-focus on Daniel Day Lewis sitting down and turning to Michael Shulberg telling him to vote for the amendment. Subtle, but the most magnificent alchemy between actor and director this year.

PeterKapowJanuary 1, 2013 11:01 PM

In hind sight it might just be a subtle dolley track, but there's some kind of magical ineffable Spielbergian choreography at play.

harumphJanuary 2, 2013 1:16 AM

I haven't seen Looper yet, but I just listened to a dvd review on NPR and the reviewer pointed out that the "straws scene" doesn't actually make sense until you've seen one of the cut scenes on the disc's extra features. He played a clip of the deleted scene's commentary where the director is lamenting the loss of a vital bit of plot info that they tossed out on the cutting room floor with that scene.

Todd BrownJanuary 2, 2013 10:27 AM

It made perfect sense to me.

harumphJanuary 2, 2013 4:01 PM

Well, I'm obviously speaking from complete ignorance here, since I haven't seen it yet, but both the reviewer and the director were saying that a plot detail about a certain aspect of time travel not being "adjustable" was lost along with the excised "straws" scene.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to seeing it. And maybe I'll even know what I'm talking about afterwards.

Air WalkerJanuary 3, 2013 10:20 AM

anyone know how long I gotta wait to catch Holy Motors on dvd?

Air WalkerJanuary 3, 2013 2:46 PM

also any notice this is the same guy from Glazer's UNKLE video
"Rabbit in your headlights"?