2013 has been another good year for us. We have witnessed that cinema is very much alive through many excellent films to show something new and interesting to talk and think about, and I found myself surprised by the amount of good movies I’d love to mention in my annual top 10 list. I initially thought I would struggle to fill the list as disappointed by several films I did not respond well, but now I have more than 20 films about which I wrote passionately in my reviews while somehow managing to find the time to write while juggling my studies and works at my laboratory.
Speaking of my academic work, this year has been a lot more hopeful compared to the last year. I almost killed myself due to depression, but I got better after my psychiatrist and other expert confirmed that my depression was caused by Asperger’s syndrome, and, thanks to my kind advisor professor’s help and support, things started to look better during last 12 months. I made lots of advancement in my study and experiments, and I finally went through the proposal presentation for my thesis on Dec 16th, and all I will have to do now is moving onto the next logical steps with more sweats and thoughts. I will probably finish my graduate course around the next year, and my doctoral degree may help my small career as a movie critic.
Too bad Roger Ebert, my friend, teacher, and role model, is no longer around me to see my academic situation getting a lot more improved. My friends and acquaintances associated with rogerebert.com experienced a great deal of sadness after his death on April 4th in this year, and we also lost two other acquaintances Tom Dark and Jeff Shannon. I must confess that I did not know them quite well, but their deaths were sad news indeed, and the same thing can be said about many recently diseased figures including James Gandolfini, Paul Walker, Elmore Leonard, Nelson Mandela, Doris Lessing, Dennis Farina, Joan Fontaine, and Peter O’Toole.
I watched and reviewed 158 films in my blog in this year, and I frequently wondered about how Roger would have reacted to certain films if he had still been alive. “Gravity” took me to when I watched “Hubble 3D” with him in Chicago, and he would certainly love its vivid details and fantastic special effects. I strongly believed he would wholeheartedly support the movies like “Fruitvale Station” and “12 Years a Slave” while possibly disagreeing with me on “The Butler”, and, considering how much he loved Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” with all his heart, I could not possibly imagine how much he would be exalted by another visual panorama unfolded on Rome in “The Great Beauty”.
As he used to say, annual Top 10 movie list is no more than a ritual every movie critic has to endure. While certainly enjoying talking again about the movies I am very enthusiastic about, I also have to scratch my head sometimes while trying to choose 10 movies and then determine the rank among them. Choosing No.1 is comparably easy in this year(if you read my recent reviews, you know why), but I have kept changing the rank in my list while constantly adding or eliminating the candidates.
Anyway, for now, I have completed my list of 10 films, and, as I did before, I add to my list a number of other excellent films as runner-ups along with another bunch of good films you might have missed. Animations and documentaries will be mentioned separately, and, as your average South Korean moviegoer, I will also give you the list of South Korean films you may be interested in.
By the way, you will recognize that prominent Oscar season films such as “12 Years a Slave”, “Nebraska”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”, “Dallas Buyers Club”, “American Hustle”, “Her”, and “The Wolf of Wall Street” or acclaimed foreign films like “A Touch of Sin”, “Wadjda”, and “The Attack” are not included in my list. The reason is simple: I did not have the chance to watch them, and they will probably be reviewed in 2014 and then be mentioned briefly at the end of 2014, as the excellent films of 2012 I belatedly watched in 2013 will be mentioned in the small section here.
In this year, I reviewed for the first time the works by Ang Lee, Robert Zemeckis, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Paul Greengrass, Paul Thomas Anderson, Nanni Moretti, Ken Roach, Michael Winterbottom, Ron Howard, Richard Linklater, William Friedkin, Baz Luhrmann, Sofia Coppola, Brian De Palma, Jacques Audiard, Abdellatif Kechiche, Leos Carax, François Ozon, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Ramin Bahrani, Hayao Miyazaki, Wong Kar-wai, Johnnie To, Park Chan-wook, and Bong Joon-ho. I wish you were here to share the joy of reviewing their works with me, Roger.