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January 2, 2014 6:04 pm
A film critic emerges bruised and battered from the Christmas and New Year festivities if he has failed to gratify friends or family with a “10 best of the year” list. It is no good claiming amnesia. Nor alcoholic haze. Nor even the simple, truer fact that he hasn’t yet composed a list. The customers demand names and titles. They want to know what films they should catch up on, or what films they should congratulate themselves on seeing if they already have done.
So here they are. The best films of 2013, in approximate order of merit.
Two comments. Wadjda is there partly for its quality, partly for the incandescent miracle of a film by a Saudi woman that “cries freedom”, and cries it well, in a country where men still rule for men.
Second, it has become the uncoolest thing in the world to like Steven Spielberg. But fact is fact. Lincoln is a marvellous American screen drama about politicking and presidency. It presents the plain but for some unpalatable truth that chicaning and horse-trading – sometimes in the best cause (here the abolition of slavery) – existed as intensively in Lincoln’s Washington as it does in that of Barack “Can we please solve the budget crisis?” Obama.
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