The Best Films of 2011

Cover 2011

So, that was 2011, huh?

As if turning thirty, getting engaged, and moving into a new place wasn’t enough, I also – on the off-chance anyone reading this site doesn’t know – got a TV show up and running on ABC2. It was called The Bazura Project and it was about movies. (And if you’re in Australia, all six episodes are being repeated from tonight until the 30th! 9pm on ABC2.)

It was a joy to make, but it was damn hard work, and it resulted in my biggest irony of the year: if you spend six months making a TV show about films, you have time to watch neither TV or films. Crazy, right? Somehow – in-between the intense shooting schedule, the intense post-production schedule, and the subsequent catching-up-on-life stuff – I did actually manage to see most of 2011’s films, even if I did have to forego my annual Melbourne International Film Festival marathon. (Last year I saw 65 films at MIFF alone, many of which have not been, and may never be, released. How many obscure gems was I forced to miss this year? I’ll never know.)

Funnily enough, the best things I saw on a cinema screen this year were not actually movies. They came from the NT Live*, the ongoing series of National Theatre plays filmed in the UK and beamed to cinemas around the world. I was floored by the minimalist “King Lear” with Derek Jacobi, delighted by the should-have-been-seventy-times-as-long “Fela!”, and blown away by the best interpretation of “Hamlet” I’ve ever seen (Rory Kinnear reinventing the role in a way I thought was impossible). But the best productions were Danny Boyle’s astonishing “Frankenstein” with Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller, and – my favourite thing of 2011 – “One Man Two Guvnors”, adapted from “A Servant of Two Masters”. Nothing I saw all year was as consistently entertaining, hilarious and addictive as Nicholas Hytner’s play. I saw it twice, and I’m praying I’ll be able to see it again.

But enough of that. Why so many entries? Yeah, about that… Continue reading