TIFF Cinematheque (previously Cinematheque Ontario) - the year-round screening program of the Toronto International Film Festival - has, under the direction of Programmer James Quandt, compiled a selection of the 50 best films of the past ten years.
Who, you may wonder, is the authority behind this Best-of-the-2000s list? The rankings are based on a poll of over 60 experts from around the world, with films that got equal votes sharing a ranking.
Ranked number one by various curators, archivists, historians, and programmers, is Thai director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's bifurcated masterpiece Syndromes and a Century, followed by Platform and Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke, China), Beau Travail (Claire Denis, France), and In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong).
The list includes 21 films from France, nine from the U.S., seven from Germany, six from Taiwan, and four each from Japan, China, and Italy.
Canada secured three spots, with Guy Maddin's The Heart of the World and My Winnipeg, ranking 23 and 25 respectively, and Zacharias Kunuk's Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner at 29. Another Canadian who made the list was David Cronenberg for A History of Violence, though his film was categorized as American.
Some might be familiar with a few of these titles - such as Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, and Michael Haneke's Cache - but may argue that the list excludes some undeniably important films of the last decade, such as No Country for Old Men or Zodiac.
Though it was no easy task, the panel (some of whom did indeed vote for Lord of the Rings and Gran Torino) narrowed it down to a list that is composed of mainly art cinema. Hollywood-populist films just don't make the cut here, and this a good chance to see art house films that have previously only been screened at film festivals and rep cinemas.
Best of the Decade: An Alternative View runs from Jan 21 - Feb 23 at Jackman Hall (317 Dundas St. W) For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.cinemathequeontario.ca.