Film Comment’s annual end-of-year survey was revealed today with Lucrecia Martel’s Zama, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, and Paul Schrader’s First Reformed taking the top spots among films released in 2018. Of the films that screened at festivals worldwide but have not announced stateside distribution, Roberto Minervini’s What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, Mariano Llinás’s La Flor, and Khalik Allah’s Black Mother received the top rankings.

The nearly 100 poll participants are all Film Comment contributors from the past year and include Ina Diane Archer (The Smithsonian), Ela Bittencourt (Brazil-based programmer), Andrew Chan (The Criterion Collection), Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times), K. Austin Collins (Vanity Fair), Nick Davis (FC contributing editor, Northwestern University), Nicholas Elliott (Cahiers du Cinéma, BOMB), Molly Haskell, J. Hoberman (The New York Times), Eric Hynes (FC columnist and Museum of the Moving Image curator), Kristin M. Jones (The Wall Street Journal), Nellie Killian (programmer and FC contributing editor), Violet Lucca (Harper’s), Aliza Ma (Metrograph), Farran Smith Nehme (Self-Styled Siren), Christina Newland, Sheila O’Malley (, Nick Pinkerton, Jonathan Romney (FC contributing editor), Girish Shambu, Imogen Sara Smith (FC columnist), Amy Taubin (FC and Artforum contributing editor), Ella Taylor (NPR), Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan (curator and critic), and Manu Yáñez Murillo (Otros Cines Europa).

The top 10 films of 2018 were unveiled last night at a special live talk with critics Molly Haskell, Michael Koresky, Sheila O’Malley, and Nick Pinkerton, moderated by Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold; listen to the lively discussion on this week’s Film Comment podcast. The complete lists of released and unreleased films are included below.

“There’s a breathtaking ambition and deep emotional drive to what these hugely talented filmmakers have done. Watching the movies that our contributors have voted for should give any movielover a beautiful picture for the future of cinema,” said Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold. “Film Comment is also proud to have covered these movies over the past year in print, online, and with our podcasts—so you know where to look for next year’s vanguard!”

Film Comment’s Top 20 Films Released in 2018:

  1.   Zama Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Brazil/Spain
  2.   Burning Lee Chang-dong, South Korea
  3.   First Reformed Paul Schrader, USA
  4.   ROMA Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico
  5.   Western Valeska Grisebach, Germany/Bulgaria
  6.   Shoplifters Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan
  7.   Let the Sunshine In Claire Denis, France
  8.   The Other Side of the Wind Orson Welles, USA
  9.   Happy as Lazzaro Alice Rohrwacher, Italy
  10. Hale County This Morning, This Evening RaMell Ross, USA
  11. Sorry to Bother You Boots Riley, USA
  12. If Beale Street Could Talk Barry Jenkins, USA
  13. The Rider Chloé Zhao, USA
  14. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Joel & Ethan Coen, USA
  15. Support the Girls Andrew Bujalski, USA
  16. You Were Never Really Here Lynne Ramsay, UK/France/USA
  17. Monrovia, Indiana Frederick Wiseman, USA
  18. Personal Problems Bill Gunn, USA
  19. The Favourite Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/UK/USA
  20. BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee, USA

Film Comment’s Top 20 Unreleased Films of 2018:

  1.   What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? Roberto Minervini, Italy/USA/France
  2.   La Flor Mariano Llinás, Argentina
  3.   Black Mother Khalik Allah, USA
  4.   A Family Tour Ying Liang, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia
  5.   Feast of the Epiphany Michael Koresky, Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman, USA
  6.   América Claus Drexel, France
  7.   Donbass Sergei Loznitsa, Germany/Ukraine/France/Netherlands/Romania
  8.   The Grand Bizarre Jodie Mack, USA
  9.   Your Face Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan
  10. Casanova Gene Luise Donschen, Germany
  11. Shakedown Leilah Weinraub, USA
  12. The Task Leigh Ledare, USA
  13. Sophia Antipolis Virgil Vernier, France
  14. Second Time Around Dora García, Belgium/Norway
  15. Manta Ray Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, Thailand/France/China
  16. Flight of a Bullet Beata Bubenets, Russia/Latvia
  17. Our Time Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Germany/Denmark/Sweden
  18. Reason Anand Patwardhan, India
  19. Season of the Devil Lav Diaz, Philippines
  20. A Wild Stream Nuria Ibáñez Castañeda, Mexico

The complete list of films and participants can be found on, on the Film Comment app, and in the January/February issue, which hits newsstands the second week of January—subscribe today and get a gift subscription for free with our holiday offer.