Best of 2013: Films

From Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful documentary The Act of Killing to Harmony Korine’s dazzling Spring Breakers, these are the best films of 2013, selected by Radar Magazine editors and contributors. 

The Place Beyond the Pines
Dir. Derek Cianfrance
What starts out as a fleeting love affair between a waitress and a motorcycle stunt rider, ends in desperation and death. Derek Cianfrance’s latest film is a sweeping drama unfolding over fifteen years, starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, and Bradley Cooper, It’s sad, sordid, and beautiful.

Spring Breakers
Dir. Harmony Korine
Disturbing, uncompromising, and visually dazzling, Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers is one of best portraits of strong, independent, and complex teenage girls since Lukas Moodyson’s 1998 classic Fucking Åmål. Filled with drugs, guns, and neon balaclavas, Spring Breakers is most definitely a future cult film.

Django Unchained
Dir. Quentin Tarantino
From the excellent acting and sharp dialogue, to the fantastic soundtrack and stunning sceneries, Quentin Tarantino’s take on a Western classic is nothing but a cinematic masterpiece.

The Act of Killing 
Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer
A documentary that challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing is a powerful and poignant study of evil and regret.

Silver Lining’s Playbook
Dir. David O Russell
Based on a novel by Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook is a raw and tender depiction of love and mental illness, with wonderful performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Dir. Benh Zeitlin
Visually stunning, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastic blend of surreal fantasy, climate apocalypse, and social realism, starring the wonderful Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl living with her alcoholic father in the Bathtub, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world.

The Master
Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
The director of Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson returned with a claustrophobic cult drama, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the charismatic leader of The Cause, a cult engaging in various exercises to clear emotions.

Blue is the Warmest Color
Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche
Written, directed, and produced by Tunisian-French Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color is a raw and honest story about love and lust, innocence and experience, with outstanding performances from Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos as the young lovers Emma and Adèle.

Belleville Baby
With Belleville Baby, internationally acclaimed Swedish filmmaker Mia Engberg tells the love story between a bank robber in Paris and a film director in Stockholm. Put together with Super 8 footage from now and then: his mobile phone images from Paris and her 16mm footage from Stockholm, it is a story about individuals, memories, and time, but also about society, politics, and a cat named Baby.

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The Reunion
Dir. Anna Odell
In her eagerly-awaited feature debut, Stockholm artist Anna Odell blurs the boundaries of fiction and reality to highlight the power structures within social groups, Evolving from her experience of being bullied as a child, the film begins with a high school reunion, where Anna Odell unleashes a torrent of traumatic memories and bitter accusations. No less controversial than her 2009 attempted suicide art performance, The Reunion is one of this year’s strongest debuts.