Now, I -did- like the #1 Winner, Lost in Translation. # 2 is "Elephant", which seemed like an "important" film but wasn't very engaging to watch (maybe that was the point of it), as it had lots of footage of high school students walking through corridors for what seemed like 3 minute segments. "Elephant" is about Columbine and the point of it seems to be there's no tidy wrap up or reason why when something like Columbine happens. Which makes a good Existentialism 1001 term paper, but not an incredibly compelling story. Incredibly, "elephant" includes the standard "any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental" disclaimer in the credits, which I find hard to not laugh at, as there are MANY elements of the "real" Columbine story here and it's obviously a retelling, even if not meaning to be a faithful one.
So the 3rd best film of the year is "Demonlover", which I remember seeing a trailer for at some point last year, but don't even remember it coming out. It is a French film (with a few non-French actors, such as Chloe Svegny) about businessmen and women attempting to corner the market on anime Internet porn. Later, the "snuff film" aspect of online porn enters the picture and drives the action, but not like Videodrome (which was a much better film). The first hour is all corporate intrigue and backstabbing executives. After about the first hour, it turns into a seemingly different movie. People get killed for no reason. Executives involved in the deals set up in the first half change loyalty and do things that don't make sense form a love, greed, or logic point of view.
I guess I -did- like elephant better than demonlover, but that's hardly the point. Why this movie is #3 of the year (according to enough critics to make it #3) mystifies me. I wonder if I saw a different film also called Demonlover? I guess I should be wary of any critics poll where there are films in the top 10 that NO ONE I know is seeing, discussing, or liking. I mean, plenty of my friends liked American Splendor, Fog of War, and Capturing the Friedmans, but I don't remember anyone I know seeing Demonlover. So, did anybody? And did you like it?
Even the voice essay says:
Take Five's big surprise was the popularity of the mainly French-language demonlover, which finished a solid third. Olivier Assayas's hilariously self-reflexive exercise in cybergame aesthetics and image circulation was widely derided at Cannes in 2002 and passed over by the New York Film Festival. The movie always had a few strong, initially beleaguered champions; clearly, its five-minutes-into-the-future ambience and just-below-the-radar American release (complete with judicious trimming) lasered in on at least an alt-critical audience.
In conclusion, village voice critics poll is obviously on crack. Roge Ebert, voice of reason, gave demonlover 2 stars.