It wasn't tough to come up with five great films from the past year, but I realized while making this list that I didn't have to go through an arduous elimination process in order to narrow it down to such a small number. Though there may not have been an abundance of masterworks in 2006, this is a handful of films that all deserve your attention:
Les amants rÃ©guliers (Regular Lovers)
Directed by Philippe Garrelâthe best French filmmaker you've probably never heard ofâand starring his son Louis, you didn't have to hate The Dreamers to appreciate this totally different approach to May '68. Buy it from Amazon UK.
Though most critics hated it and audiences stayed away, Michael Mann's big screen reworking of his 1980's TV show was the best American film of the year. Those who expected an action flick were likely disappointed by this lyrical tone poem more akin to Days Of Heaven than Die Hard. Available from Amazon.
The Science of Sleep
For those who find Charlie Kauffman's meta-cleverness alienating and impersonal, Michel Gondry's self-effacing confessional love story has all the warmth and humility you were looking for. Pre-order the DVD from Amazon.
Another love story, this one spare and somber, with Climates Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan directs himself and his real-life wife in the lead roles. Few films have so insightfully and tenderly portrayed a decaying relationship. Find out when it's playing at a theater near you from Zeitgeist.
The Pervert's Guide To Cinema The Pervert's Guide To Cinema is both a great introduction to and a brilliant summation of intellectual-phenom Slavoj Zizek's psychoanalytic writings on film. With a speaking voice almost as soothing as Werner Herzog's, he literally takes you inside films as diverse as Blue Velvet, Persona and The Matrix. Buy it directly from the filmmaker on his site The Pervert's Guide.