ScreenAnarchy's Best Of 2013 - Best Film

Editor, Asia; Hong Kong, China (@Marshy00)
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The year that was 2013 has run its course, so the time has come for Team ScreenAnarchy to pool its ever-growing troupe of contributors from the four corners of the planet, gather its collective thoughts and pay special tribute to those films that have made a particularly strong impact over the past twelve months. 

This is it, folks. The buck stops here. In the end, there can be only one - or at least, one each. These are the Best Films of 2013, according to our ever-growing band of writers and correspondents here at ScreenAnarchy, so there is nothing left to say except enjoy and Happy New Year - here's to a cracking 2014.

Todd Brown, Peter Martin, Ryland Aldrich, Brian Clark, Benjamin Umstead, Jaime Grijalba Gomez, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Ard Vijn, Patryk Czekaj, Joshua Chaplinsky, Eric Ortiz Garcia, Niels Matthijs, Patrick Holzapfel, Kurt Halfyard, Christopher O'Keeffe, Dustin Chang, J Hurtado, Jim Tudor, Ben Croll, Pierce Conran, , Ernesto Zelaya Miñano and Kwenton Bellette contributed to this story.

Upstream Color (dir. Shane Carruth, USA)

Brian Clark - European Editor

Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg - Contributing writer
In the end, I could not choose between this and Snowpiercer. In essence, they are about the same thing: free will. One is larger than life, the other is small and abstract, but both ask the same questions in their own way, beautifully.

Joshua Chaplinsky - Contributing writer
Mind control, parasites, Walden, damaged lovers, and cute little piglets all feature in this evocative, circular narrative from the director of Primer. Intimate, well-crafted, and thoroughly original. Released way back in January and no other film has come close to topping it.

Ben Croll - Contributing writer
In one corner: a Cannes prize-winning period piece by a pair of established Greats. In the other: a self-released digital headscratcher by a promising up-and-comer. What, beyond my starry eyed love, do Inside Llewyn Davis and Upstream Color have in common? Both share a cyclical structure that is in retrospect deceptively simple. Both deal in questions of personal accountability, of grief, luck and chance. Both are deeply warm films from artists previously accused of being a little too cold and cerebral. Both are unfailingly rewatchable. Both are 'effing masterpieces.

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More about ScreenAnarchy's Best of 2013

Around the Internet

Ben CJanuary 3, 2014 9:48 AM

What a remarkable year. Jawdropping stuff.

Pa Kent Says MaybeJanuary 3, 2014 11:03 AM

Pick your jaw up off the floor. How many of these titles were Americans even able to see, considering the poor, poor state of distribution in the US? No doubt SNOWPIERCER and THE GRANDMASTER will be films I'm still waiting to see while CAPTAIN AMERICA 2: WHATEVER monopolizes seventeen screens in my neighborhood.

(ONLY GOD FORGIVES and THE WAY WAY BACK. Really? I love lists!)

2013 was a terrible year with a couple of great months at the end of it.

BosJanuary 3, 2014 11:56 AM

Remarkable not for all genres. For example i will remember 2013 as one of the worst year in horror movies.
(As my main concern, i really noticed this).

Ben CJanuary 3, 2014 12:14 PM

Well, right off the bat, our front page pick came out in March.

Act of Killing, Before Midnight and Frances Ha livened up a summer of dreadful blockbusters, but you what, most summers are. Those films stuck out and will continue do so while the world collectively forgets the year's many duds. As it always does.

And while no one is defending Snowpiercer & The Grandmaster's dreadful US release morass, not one of the four writers who chose those films lives or works in the States. So why, pray tell, should that have affected their choice?

The reason these lists exists are to stimulate conversation and encourage debate. Chances are most people who saw last year's consensus choice, Vanishing Waves, didn't catch it until 2013. The love it got at 2012's year end encouraged people (like, me for instance) to check it out when the got the chance, rather than embittering them.

BosJanuary 3, 2014 12:57 PM

I really don't understand why no one mentioned Byzantium. Everyone, not just Twitch.
I have the habit to read these "top lists" at the end of each year on my favorite websites, usually agreeing with them, but this time not. No one mentioned Neil Jordan's last movie, imho a masterpiece.

Did the movie got poor distribution, maybe?
It was literally my favorite movie of 2013.

Johan ForsbergJanuary 3, 2014 3:27 PM

I preferred when all the twitch editors made their own top 10-lists. Its hard keeping up all year with trailers and reviews and those lists always had e few hidden gems in them that I felt I had missed. This list however is unfortunately very predictable.

KurtJanuary 3, 2014 3:56 PM

I liked Byzantium well enough - it has several truly striking images, and a very good performance from Saoirse Ronan (who is less good in this years mediocre HOW I LIVE NOW, unfortunately)

However, I caught Byzantium on the Festival circuit in 2012, so by my own complex logic, it was considered for my 2012 list, even though it didn't get a proper commercial release this year.

BenUmsteadJanuary 3, 2014 4:11 PM

Johan, please note some of us have already done our personal lists (Todd, Joshua Chaplinsky, Peter Martin, Jim Tudor and James Marsh), and more are coming (Kurt Halfyard and myself). So go and take a look, some of them are linked off of this list in the "more about".

Although I must say how is this predictable with things like THE STRANGE LITTLE CAT, NOBODY'S DAUGHTER HAEWON, UNDER THE SKIN and SIDDHARTH.

BosJanuary 3, 2014 7:13 PM

I usually look the year of release on imdb.
If it is allowed to link an external for instance:

and this movie was presented on one festival in 2012 yes, but then all the official releases are 2013, as you can see.

Anyway, no webistes mentioned this wonderful movie on their 2012s lists also, so... :P

To everyone guys: check it out.

marshy00January 3, 2014 8:12 PM

I saw it and yes I liked it quite a lot, but just not enough to make my Top 10. It should be noted that the list above is not really a ranked list, contributors were simply asked to submit their ONE favourite film of the year. Have yet to meet anyone for who that was BYZANTIUM.

Johan ForsbergJanuary 3, 2014 11:00 PM

Aight! Glad to hear, I missed that :)

Well I guess predictability depends on who you ask. 4 films out of 21 doesnt make it unpredictable imo. On the other hand, if each contributor only name a couple then I guess that's how its gonna be. Looking forward to reading the personal top-10's. Cheers!

CJJanuary 4, 2014 1:40 AM

THE WORLD'S END is the best movie of the year.

Incredible script, perfect ensemble performances and virtuosic directing.

Kujo2020January 4, 2014 7:46 PM

Thank God for newsgroups, and torrent sites. Otherwise, I would never get to see any of these films.

jonpaisJanuary 6, 2014 1:23 AM

I've said in the past that I respect Director Bong more than I love his films - which means exactly that. He's a wonderful human being and a highly talented filmmaker. But I couldn't help feeling while watching Snow Piercer (after years of anticipation) that I'd wasted my time and money. He remarked during a masterclass given at the Jeonju Film Festival that he'd always wanted to make a film like Punch Drunk Love, and I'm still waiting for him to really let go and deliver what he's capable of. I'm betting that neither this film nor The Host are indicative of what he is capable of (Mother was undeniably his best since Memories of Murder, and either one is superior to the English-language adaptation of a French graphic novel).

MathyesJanuary 25, 2014 8:17 PM

well done, Upstream Color was probably the worst movie of 2013. So annoying truism and triviality.