Last year when I made up my list of films I said that I had a hard time thinking of a list of the best films since there didn’t seem to be a lot of great films that year. I think that this year was a better year for films and my track record was certainly better. Here is my list of my seven favourite films of 2003 in no particular order (since it was a better year than last year):
American Splendor - Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini tell the story of Harvey Pekar in an entertaining and independent way that blurs the line between documentary and drama, much in the way that Pekar’s own work does.
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself - Lone Sherfig directs the odd story of a Glasgow man who wants to kill himself, but it’s really a carefully crafted character study of brothers and the woman they love.
Lost in Translation - Sofia Coppola’s beautiful, subtle exploration of the possibilities and intimacy that can exist in transitory, foreign places stays with me as one of my all-time favourites.
Whale Rider - Niki Caro’s New Zealand film features Keisha Castle-Hughes as a Maori girl who struggles to fit in with her family in an amazing performance that is very moving.
28 Days Later - Danny Boyle’s zombie disaster movie follows many horror conventions, but the DV-shot film is far more than that and explores questions about humanity and morality in a smart, character-driven fashion that is amazing to watch.
L’Homme du Train (Man on the Train) - Patrice Leconte’s simple story of two men who meet by chance in provincial French town and wish they had lived different lives.
The Saddest Music in the World - Guy Madden’s completely unique story of a contest to find the saddest music in the world looks and sounds amazing and what can you say about a film that has Isabella Rossellini with beer-filled glass prosthetic legs.
Films that were very close to making my list (in no particular order) would be Bad Santa, Love That Boy, The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, Comedian, Proteus, and The Barbarian Invasions.