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Best Films of 2013

Tue, Dec 31, 2013
Image courtesy Cinema Guild

Pictured above: Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel, 2012) made its local premiere here in March 2013.


What do a groundbreaking documentary set on a fishing boat adrift in the North Atlantic, a handmade animated film more than 15 years in the making, the virulent, poisonous greed of Wall Street con men, tentative (and not-so-tentative) romances, and an array of riveting and conceptually rich experimental films have in common? All have a home on our Best Films of 2013 list as selected by members of our Film/Video department (there are more than a few surprises, too). One caveat: These are films that were released in the 2013 calendar year in Columbus, so if you don't see a few titles that are making appearances on other top 10 lists, that's why.

David Filipi, Director of Film/Video

Top 10 Films

1. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)

2. Leviathan (Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor)

3. Tabu (Miguel Gomes)

4. At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman)

5. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley)

6. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen)

7. Consuming Spirits (Chris Sullivan)

8. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

9. Inside Llewellyn Davis (Coen Brothers)

10. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski)

11. The Unspeakable Act (Dan Sallitt) (I cheated. Had to put this on the list.)

Top 10 Restorations and Revivals (Disclosure: All played only at the Wexner Center. In alphabetical order) 

Cocksucker Blues (Robert Frank, 1972) - Digital

Dial M for Murder – 3D (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) - Digital

Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980) - Digital

The Hitchcock 9 – our October presentation of Hitchcock’s surviving silent era films. Digital and 35mm

Le Joli Mai (Chris Marker & Pierre L’homme, 1963) - Digital

Kalpana (Uday Shankhar, 1948) - Digital

Northern Lights (John Hanson & Rob Nilsson, 1978) – 35mm

Nothing But A Man (Michael Roemer, 1964) – 35mm

Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke, 1967) – 35mm

Roberto Rossellini & Ingrid Bergman: Stromboli (1950), Europe ’51 (1952), Journey to Italy (1952) – Digital. That our screening of Europe ’51 was followed by a conversation between Isabella Rossellini and Guy Maddin made it unforgettable.

Special Mentions

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012) – 3 screenings in 70mm at the Wex in June.

Unmistaken Hands: Ex Voto F.H. (Quay Brothers, 2013) – the world premiere at the Wex on November 2 less than an hour after it was finished in our post-production studio.

Chris Stults, Associate Curator of Film/Video

Restricting myself to films that premiered in Columbus during 2013, this list indicates that it was a better year than usual for American cinema. With only a few exceptions, nearly all of the films on this list walk on a line between seduction and unpleasantness. Flaws are inseparable from beauty. The desire to flee is what kept me rooted to my seat.

1. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)

2. Leviathan (Lucian Castaing-Taylor, Varena Paravel)

3. Enough Said (Nicole Holofcener)

4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

5. First Cousin, Once Removed (Alan Berliner)

6. Films by Michael Robinson and Laida Lertxundi

7. The Conjuring (James Wan)

8. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen)

9. The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-wai)

10. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)

11. The Extravagant Shadows (David Gatten)

12. The Unspeakable Act (Dan Sallitt)

13. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer)

14. Bastards (Claire Denis)

15. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski)

Most eye-opening curated program: Artist’s Talk/Screening by Dennis McNulty

TV shows: Enlightened (perhaps the finest show of the past decade) and Veep

Actresses: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough SaidVeep), Mary Margaret O’Hara (Museum Hours), Tallie Medel (The Unspeakable Act)

Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall StreetThe Great Gatsby), Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra), James Gandolfini (Enough Said)

Supporting actresses: Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Zhang Ziyi (The Grandmaster)

Supporting actors: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Javier Bardem (The Counselor), Ben Mendelsohn (The Place Beyond the Pines)

Scenes: In shock (Captain Phillips), Opening scene (Like Someone In Love), When life gives you Lemmons… (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Don’t believe the hype: American HustleBlue Is the Warmest Color, Blue Jasmine

Adam Vincent, Program Assistant in Film/Video

1. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine)

2. Leviathan (Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor)

3. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen)

4. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)

5. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer)

6. I Used to Be Darker (Matt Porterfield)

7. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

8. Consuming Spirits (Chris Sullivan)

9. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)

10. All the Memory in the World (Mike Olenick)

Top five Wexner Center Film/Video screenings of 2013 (in alphabetical order)

ART THOUGHTZ with Hennessy Youngman: How to Make an Art (Jason Musson)

The Extravagant Shadows (David Gatten): To call this film wholly original does not begin to do the work justice.

M (Fritz Lang): new restoration 

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson): I was thrilled for the chance to see my favorite film of 2012 in 70mm, its intended screening format.

Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke): new restoration in 35mm


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