My top 40 films from 1990 (an arbitrary beginning, just to keep things manageable) through this year, again without commentary … though yes, I’m aware of the discrepancy between this list and the last one: why put Wild at Heart ahead of Pulp Fiction if the Tarantino’s in your all-time top ten and Lynch’s film isn’t? One of the mysteries of context, I guess, since a priori I wouldn’t put Pulp at the absolute head of any list of faves, much as I do value it, and there are plenty of personal/formal reasons for my treating Wild as a cause celebre (a millennial appreciation I wrote for Cinema Scope magazine being first among them). Anyway, my feel-good accomplices for the better part of a generation: if the invocation of names, connotative syllables, decontextualized phrasing, etc, is ever an apt substitute for run-of-the-mill critical yammer, then … well, enjoy!

   1. WILD AT HEART, David Lynch, USA, 1990
   2. PULP FICTION, Quentin Tarantino, USA, 1994
   3. JOAN THE MAID, Jacques Rivette, France, 1994
   4. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, 2002
   5. FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan, 1998
   6. INLAND EMPIRE, David Lynch, USA, 2006
   7. THREE TIMES, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan, 2005
   8. IN PRAISE OF LOVE, Jean-Luc Godard, France, 2001
   9. STILL LIFE, Jia Zhang-ke, China, 2006
 10. THE SON, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium, 2002
 11. WAKING LIFE (pictured), Richard Linklater, USA, 2001
 12. MONDAY MORNING, Otar Iosseliani, France, 2002
 13. ARCHANGEL, Guy Maddin, Canada, 1991
 14. ED WOOD, Tim Burton, USA, 1994
 15. VALLEY OF ABRAHAM, Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, 1993
 16. THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD, Guy Maddin, Canada, 2003
 17. CHASING BUTTERFLIES, Otar Iosseliani, France, 1992
 18. A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY, Edward Yang, Taiwan, 1992
 19. OF TIME AND THE CITY, Terence Davies, UK, 2008
 20. UNDERGROUND, Emir Kusturica, Serbia, 1995
 21. MOTHER AND SON, Alexander Sokurov, Russia, 1996
 22. DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY, Guy Maddin, Canada, 2001
 23. DREAM OF LIGHT, Victor Erice, Spain, 1992
 24. GOODBYE SOUTH, GOODBYE, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan, 1996
 25. FAREWELL, HOME SWEET HOME, Otar Iosseliani, France, 1999
 26. THE CONVENT, Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, 1995
 27. TOPSY-TURVY, Mike Leigh, UK, 1999
 28. THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, J.-P. Jeunet and Marc Caro, France, 1995
 29. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, Martin Scorsese, USA, 1993
 30. VAN GOGH, Maurice Pialat, France, 1992
 31. CYCLO, Tran Anh Hung, France/Vietnam, 1995
 32. OLDBOY, Chan-wook Park, South Korea, 2004
 33. SILENT LIGHT, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/Netherlands, 2007
 34. ACTRESS, Stanley Kwan, Hong Kong, 1992
 35. GARDEN OF SCORPIONS, Oleg Kovalov, Russia, 1991
 36. THE SUSPENDED STRIDE OF THE STORK, Theo Angelopoulos, Greece, 1992
 37. TROPICAL MALADY, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2004
 38. BABE: PIG IN THE CITY, George Miller, Australia, 1998
 39. ONCE UPON A TIME, CINEMA, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Iran, 1991
       SPIRITED AWAY, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2002
       THE INTRUDER, Claire Denis, France, 2004