Timbuktu. Courtesy of Cohen Media Group.

Curators’ Choice

January 1–10

Astonishing images abound in this annual survey of some of the year’s best films, including several reinventions of familiar genres. Hou Hsiao-hsien’s jaw-droppingly beautiful and long-awaited martial arts film The Assassin blends exquisite interior tableaux and lush landscapes. Clouds of Sils Maria, largely set in a remote location in the Swiss Alps. is an atmospheric and beautiful drama, set in the world of theater and film, with strong, layered performances by Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart. And Johnnie To’s thoroughly delightful The Office tackles the recent economic crisis in the guise of a candy-colored musical. Spellbinding visual beauty is also on view, perhaps surprisingly, in two politically astute films that deal with political repression and terror: Abderrahmane Sissako’s all-too-timely Timbuktu about Jihadist terror in Mali, and Joshua Oppenheimer’s staggeringly powerful documentary The Look of Silence. Other one-of-a-kind films round out the selection: a portrait of Marlon Brando made with an extensive collection of private audiotapes, John Magary’s vivid and wildly emotional independent drama The Mend, and Laurie Anderson’s deeply personal yet universal Heart of a Dog.

Organized by Chief Curator David Schwartz and Associate Film Curator Eric Hynes