Kamran’s Top Twenty of 2013

Top Twenty Films of the Year

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE

Through a combination of graceful crane movements that unravel the mystery, and still close ups to depict human repose, strength, and dignity, McQueen covers all the bases, both eliciting highly emotional experiences as well as remaining detached enough to provide freedom and ambiguity in the image. While dissolves are used to elide time, reprisals of scenes—the commencing scene shown twice—flashbacks, and crosscutting keep the film constantly referring both forwards and backwards in time. This not only makes the narrative inscrutably tight and continuous, it lends support to each scene, allowing the intensity of each revelation to reach new heights. As the film progresses, these images linger. McQueen ensures that no one forgets the past; before any major revelation is a series of images—perhaps a present montage or an illustration of the past—that collide and construct, in the vein of Sergei Eisenstein, a highly affective aesthetic. This cinema of attractions is further buttressed by astonishing performances, a staggering script, and a well-befitting soundtrack capturing both melancholia and hope.

  1. 12 Years a Slave (Read TIFF 13 Review Here)
  2. Place Beyond the Pines (Read Review Here)
  3. Prisoners (Read TIFF 13 Review Here)
  4. Gravity (Read TIFF 13 Review Here)
  5. Blue is the Warmest Colour (Read TIFF 13 Capsule Review Here)
  6. Before Midnight (Read Review Here)
  7. To the Wonder (Read Review Here)
  8. The Oxbow Cure (Read Review Here)
  9. Her
  10. American Hustle  (Read Review Here)
  11. Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her (Read TIFF 13 Capsule Review Here)
  12. The Wolf of Wall Street
  13. Walesa: Man of Hope (Read TIFF 13 Review Here)
  14. The Wind Rises (Read TIFF 13 Review Here)
  15. Nebraska (Read Review Here)
  16. Inside Llewyn Davis
  17. The Great Beauty (Read Review Here)
  18. Philomena
  19. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Read Review Here)
  20. Child’s Pose (Read Review Here)
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About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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