Jan Sverak's Kucy se vraci (Kooky; Czech Republic; 2010): a truly intelligent and innovative fantasy.
Tsumetai nettaigyo (Cold Fish; Japan; 2010): Cinematic acid for the eyes, ears, and synapses. Like director Sono's previous film Love Exposure (another diamond), this goes where convention fears to tread. A (mostly) true story that will drop your jaw.
Koi no tsumi (Guilty of Romance; Japan; 2011): Incredible erotic adventure, and one of the purest studies of depravity, paraphilias, and desire ever committed to the silver screen.
Hwanghae (The Yellow Sea; Korea, 2011): Fierce and emotionally punishing action/drama boasting one of the best villains of the year.
Do-ga-ni (Silenced; Korea, 2011): Devastating true story of rampant sexual abuse at a Korean elementary school. The incendiary subject matter is not treated with kid gloves.
Jûsan-nin no shikaku (13 Assassins; Japan, 2010): Stellar action adventure from the still prolific Takeshi Miike.
Melancholia (Denmark; 2011): Emotional wreckage wrought by a novel science fiction premise. Extremely honest study of depression.
Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death; China; 2011): 'The Rape of Nanking' from a surprisingly even-handed Chinese perspective. Staggering action sequences never stomp on the emotional intimacies.
Drive (US; 2011): most purely cinematic event of the year.
Tyrannosaur (Ireland; 2011): Blisteringly frank character study of a decent man handicapped by himself.
We Need To Talk About Kevin (UK; 2011): best look at a damaged brain for quite some time.
A Dangerous Method (Canada; 2011): Thought-provoking and focused cinematic essay on sexuality and its complex psychology.
Akmareul boatda (I Saw The Devil; Korea; 2010): The darkest of thrillers in which violence and depravity take on an almost erotic glow. Truly sublime.:
The Skin I Live In (Spain)
My Joy (Russia)
Young Adult (US)
Tree of Life (US)
The Ides of March (US)
Pan Negro (Spain)
Point Blank (Fr)
The Last Circus (Spain)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (US)
A Separation (Iran)