The BBC recently released its list of the 21st century's 100 greatest films (so far), according to 177 critics from 36 countries. As with any of these attempts, this one is sure to be hotly contested, but one thing can be said with certainty: due likely to the diversity of the critics themselves, the list contains more than just the usual suspects.
We discussed the list at length on a recent Indie Film Weekly podcast. Then, we asked video essayist Nelson Carvajal to give you a visual taste of the critics' top 25 choices. Carvajal points out that he chose to include moments from the films that focus on the common threads of birth and death, "as an attempt to give a cross-section of the type of 21st century semiotics we are sharing in our modern age." Indeed, in a century that kicked off with the 9/11 terror attacks, it's no wonder that fundamental questions about life and death are at top of mind.
Here are the films, in order of 25 to 1:
What common themes do you notice among the films? Haven't seen them all yet? Don't worry. This handy list of the top 25 (and where to find them online) will keep you busy, and perhaps inspire you to create #101.
25. Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
24. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
23.Caché(Michael Haneke, 2005)
22.Lost in Translation(Sofia Coppola, 2003)
21.The Grand Budapest Hotel(Wes Anderson, 2014)
20. Synecdoche, New York(Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)
17. Pan's Labyrinth(Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
16. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
Scarlett Johannson in Sofia Coppola's 'Lost in Translation'14. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)
13. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
12. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
11. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
8.Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000) [DVD only]
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) [DVD only]
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000) [DVD only]
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
Nelson Carvajal is a Webby-nominated video artist from Chicago, Illinois. His video essay work can be found at Fandor, Indiewire and RogerEbert.com.