I could watch this film from Guillaume Canet over and over again. In fact, I liked it so much that it inspired me to go out and read the book (which is also quite good). Tell No One is already set for an American remake, not unlike another film on my list.
The Dardenne brothers are two of the most interesting filmmakers working today, as this quiet and affecting drama proves. Filmed in a simple, unfussy way, its impact is nevertheless great.
One of the most acclaimed films of 2008, this documentary-like movie gets beneath the skin and stays with you. A year in the life of a high school class, with all its ups and downs and the sometimes complicated relationship between teacher and students - the story itself isn't new, but Laurent Cantet's take on it is.
A biopic that gets it right. This film about the life of the painter Seraphine de Senlis is brilliant and heartbreaking as it explores the agony and the ecstasy of the artist.
One of the most energetic films I saw all year, Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo barely gives you time to catch your breath. I don't know how much of it is actually true, but this story about the political life of Giulio Andreotti keeps you so exhilarated that truth doesn't even matter.
Douglas Coupland wrote a novel called All Families Are Psychotic. Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale proves that some are more psychotic than others. Part drama, part comedy, part character study, this film is endlessly rewarding.
Forget the sparkly vampires of Twilight, this adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel is the great vampire movie of the 2000s. A rivetting and atmospheric film with two great performances at its centre, its American remake (due in theaters later this year) has a lot to live up to.
An instant classic in the crime genre. In a city ruled by crime in every area, no one is safe and no one is entirely clean. One of the saddest scenes I saw all year was that of Gomorra's two teenagers play acting at being mobsters and paying the ultimate price.
This beautiful and groundbreaking film blurs the lines between fiction and documentary. As war films go, it's one of the most powerful I've ever seen and also one of the most visually arresting.
A film of almost unbearable intensity. Exploring the hardship and degredation of Irish political prisoners under Margaret Thatcher's rule, Steve McQueen's debut film is simply amazing.