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Archive for January 14th, 2012

By Bob Clark

And so, another year goes by, and with it another selection of movies to consider as candidates for the best of our most recent orbit around the sun. But along with that comes the question of what constitutes a film from that year– one that was made during the past 12 months, released in its own country, a run on the festival circuit, or a wider international theatrical tour? It’s something our regular contributors here at Wonders have argued unceasingly at the beginning of every new year when we tally up our choices for the best films of the last one, and something I’ve tried to pay as little attention as possible while assembling my own choices. My picks from last year, for instance, included a whole bevy of entries that were in reality late releases from previous years– the controversial Dogtooth and Mamoru Hosada’s modern anime classic Summer Wars among them. It’s something that I tend to make excuses for, being a big fan of anime and having grown used to the long periods one has to wait to get official releases of even the biggest movies and television shows (yes, lots of people resort to pirating them online, but considering that’s one of the things slowly killing the anime industry in America, I’d rather exercise a little patience). But having this year enjoyed a rather nice array of late releases both animated and live-action, fiction and non-fiction alike, I thought it’d be fun to precede my countdown of the best new films of 2011 with the best old films of 2011. Now, these are all films from years prior that were given their first theatrical runs in the United States in the past 12 months– with only one slight exception, I’m leaving out retrospective screenings like the Ben Hur show at the New York Film Festival or the Studio Ghibli gems the IFC Center just finished with.

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